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Alexei Deberov

A career soldier, he has moved from battlefield to battlefield.

0 · 375 views · located in Earth

a character in “In Darkness I Have Walked”, as played by Azmodai2


The ISI, or International Security Initiative has been created with the purpose of preventing digital crime and cyber-war as well as regulating and controlling the use and proliferation of dangerous and new technologies.

So begins...

Alexei Deberov's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alexei Deberov Character Portrait: Ariana Denicela
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A hole, nowhere in particular

Vox sat, huddled in the damp confines of the soviet era bunker. His fur coat wrapped around him like a snake coiling around it's next meal, as the small heat lamp sputtered, trying to fight off the cold. A small television set played through scenes of destruction before him, the large-breasted blonde news anchor failing magnificently to capture the carnage with her nonchalant description of the disasters plaguing the world.

“... 13 dead in a bombing of a government facility this morning. Expert analysts from the pentagon are saying there has been a rapid increase in terrorist activity in the last two months. Attacks on German military bases, government buildings in Madrid and ISI checkpoints are being linked to several terrorist groups...”

A press of the remote flipped the channel. He began to surf through.

“... add in ¼ cup of water, ½ cup of eggs...”

“... Hold still, asshole, it's time I made you remember...”

“... Well here, James, is a great example of a perfectly cut 5 karat diamond pendant...”

“... The President of the NAA to speak today on the role of the new Digital Warfare Administration...”

He laughed, despite his hatred for the ISI and the fact that he knew his backer had some agenda, it was on some level amusing to him that he really had no affiliation to any of these idealistic groups. His attack on the ISI checkpoint had been for publicity and revenge, not some grand scheme, as far as he was concerned.

A quick check of the battery on his satellite phone yielded a promising 52%. Enough for him to wait out the ISI kill-teams looking for him. He grabbed a freeze dried packet of food and cracked it open, pouring some bottled water into it to bring the contents to life. It was going to be a long wait but he was confident his backer would come through with help.

ISI Command

Chief Warden Ariana Denicela had the target file scrolling past her personal computer slowly. It was more sparse than she had hoped. The holographic screen flickered in front of her, lighting her aquiline features, bunned red hair and thin steel-rimmed glasses. Her bright green eyes flickered over the disappointing information.

Subj: Mein Mentor
Real Name: Unknown
Age: Unknown
Race: Unknown
Gender: Unknown
Nationality: Unknown
Distinguishing Feat.: Unknown
Known Affil: Poss. Deus Ferrum, other watchlist groups.
History: Unknown
Skills: S Class Hacker
Last known loc.: N/A

It was an exercise in frustration. She shut down the folder and sent an Amber missive to the data mining team to gather more information. A short walk back to the command bridge and again she was overlooking the massive control room of the ISI HQ. Her Underchiefs saluted her and a simple nod returned them to their work. The command and control center of ISI was a large circular room, with six levels of terracing, every level filled end to end with holo-monitors attended diligently by grey-uniformed technicians. Four massive screens dominated the largest wall, directly opposite the highest terrace. This area was a raised dais occupied by the black-uniformed bodies of the Chief Warden and the three Underchiefs

An adjutant approached with a data-slate, “Ma'am, reports from the C.R.U. sent to S-22. It was definitely a targeted attack. As for the new additions to the Black Alpha files, data mining hasn't turned anything up yet but they're looking.”

She thanked him and sent him off, then turned her watchful gaze back to the massive monitors, blinking through video-feeds of different areas that the ISI had interest in. The Black Alpha file was on the far right with the names Mein Mentor, LondonsFog, MisterX and MasterCodec highlighted in yellow. After the attack on her men at Safehouse 22 she had ramped up the ISI readiness status. Her right hand, Warden Alexei Deberov was en route to capture MasterCodec. Another screen showed the smoky remains of the area outside S-22. The bodies had been chalked out and removed, the C.R.U. was making quick work of the investigation. The top middle screen was an aerial view of the damage to the German military research base that had been hit two days prior, rescue workers swarmed over it like termites repairing a hive. The far left screens had scrolling lifesign monitors for combat active units. No anomalies since the attack on S-22.

To the left of the screens the alert status indicator was still blinking. It read from bottom to top Peace, Single Engagement, Regional Conflict, Multi-regional Conflict, Small-scale War, Full-scale War. The light was emphasizing Multi-regional Conflict. It stopped flashing and went solid on the words, confirming more than 24 hours of the new alert level. Denicela sighed and began typing away at the holo-keyboard in front of her, issuing new readiness orders to the many ISI Safehouses.

Safehouse 17

The compound was a bustle of activity as combat active units began moving from the main staging area to their preassigned posts. The P.C.E.'s or Personal Combat Environments, huge single-man armored suits capable of laying down heavy firepower, lumbered off to the loading bay to be put on Nighthawks for deployment. Regular ISI infantry unites headed off to the garages to join up with their respective vehicles for rapid mobilization... if the call ever came down.

Deberov activated his helmet mic on the command channel, “Nightmare actual to all Easy Victors, safe travels kiddies.” A brisk walk to the hangar bay led him to his team waiting outside their Nighthawk. A wave of his hand and they understood the non-verbal order to embark, as his team climbed into the open back of the Nigthhawk gunship Warden Deberov ordered the men to sound off:

“One's clear!”
“Two's clear!”
“Three's clear!”
“Four's clear!”
He finished the count, “Actual's clear!”

They were all clad in the matte black ceramic-polymer plated armor of the ISI combat forces, though Deberov's men had a few non-standard issue toys as well. The Warden leaning into his helmet mic again, “Nightmare actual to Romeo actual, we are mobile and hot, how copy?”

The crackling response came back over his headset, “Good copy Nightmare actual, Haven advises a clean op and good hunting, Romeo out.”

Deberov walked over to the cockpit as the gunship gathered speed, leaving the grey, squat concrete ISI compound behind. He checked the timer on his HUD, they had 4 hours of transit time to the drop-zone, a rural area right outside of a train station, where they were supposed to pick up a High Value Target.
The Swiss were finicky about fly-over violations so they had to go high altitude before dropping almost vertically onto the target zone, anyone peering out the back of the gunship would see nothing but white moonlit clouds cascading by underneath them, like an ocean of mist in the night.

Deus Ferrum Monastery, Roma

From the outside the building looked as if it was one of the many ancient Roman style abbeys that littered the city, but once past the massive front doors (carefully crafted oak) the interior cloisters were as technologically advanced as any server cluster or picochip factory. Pulsing lines of code-hymns streamed across crystal clear holo-displays, manipulated by acolytes whose robes seemed more out of place than the exterior facade. The entire inner structure was lit by LED strip lighting, which combined with the white light from the holo-displays to bathe the rooms in an almost heavenly, soft, glow. As befit a place of worship.

An elder brother walked the rows, nodding to each acolyte in turn, as the youngest members of his order began their morning prayers. He approved, they were a most devout group. Very little words were exchanged in this place, what little had to be spoken aloud was done in hushed reverent tones.

Dominating the farthest wall of the room, opposite its entrance, was an enormous hologram of swirling streaming Ardent string code. The Scientia Universa, the font from which the Deus Ferrum derived their collective knowledge and dogma. An ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-evolving digital construct of the most complex nature.

Further back, in the more well protected areas of the monastery were server clusters, virtual dive consoles, a well-stocked and well-hidden armory and the private chambers of the inner circle members and the idyllic oasis of their private garden. It was here that Brother Able, Scholar to the Hands of God, Monk of the Woven Truth, Writer of High Chants and High Priest of the Deus Ferrum made his home. And it was in this most private of places that he sipped tea and decided the fate of millions.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alexei Deberov
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Silicon Valley, NetCom Securities, INC. building

The thunk of a .50 timed the beat that the god danced to, her every movement on or right between the beats of her death dealing drum. Her skin was wrapped tightly in a black and white bodyglove, devoid of armored plates and pulsing with thin blue power lines, it glowed brighter as she twisted and turned, spinning this way and that. In her left hand was Judgment, in her right Retribution. She smote down upon her enemies with righteous fury, her faith in her digital deity her greatest strength. Her long black hair flowed behind her, trailing like a black ribbon as she spun.

Judgment eviscerated a grey-fatigue clad security guard from nose to navel, and he struggled to hold the halves of himself together as he collapsed to the ground, blood pooling around him in pints. A step to her left and Retribution barked, exploding the head of another guard. Flecks of blood splatter across the skin of her too-white face and ran down onto the pulsating lights of the collar she wore.

The drum beats stopped and she turned, almost confused, as if the band had stopped playing for no reason. Data flitted across her view and she cam to the understanding that all the guards were dead. She licked blood of her lips then spat it out, it was too real, too organic. She turned and waved her compatriots to follow her. Five heavily armed men, her ensemble she liked to think, followed behind, their heavy white robes flowing over their red plated armor and white body-suits. The one carrying the .50 rested the smoking weapon on his shoulder as they passed the threshold of the large corporate tower that was the target of their assault. In the distance she vaguely processed the sound of alarms ringing and heavy doors shutting, but this did not perturb her.

The group strode into the empty, marble adorned, lobby of building and she guided the group over to the elevators, large shiny steel doors blocked their way into the shafts and a red light over top whined that the elevator was temporarily shut down. She laughed and put her palm up to the control panel, dendrites snaking their way out of the heel of her hand and piercing the wiring of the elevator. A few minutes, a sharp static shock later and the door dinged, sliding apart to reveal the empty interior of the elevator. The group stepped in and she punched the button for the 75th, the top, floor.

It was a 7 minute ride up to the top floor and the magnetically driven elevator made the journey smoothly. The override program she had injected into the command programming of the elevator system busted past any attempts to shut the rapidly rising box down, it's digital journey far more violent than the real one taking place in the elevator shaft. As they neared the 64th floor one of the men spoke into his helmet mic, the sound muffled by the full visors they all wore, “Guardian to Homeworld, we're nearing target zone, light resistance, we will have the server slate, request extract in ten.”

The crackling of the other end of the mic responded in kind, “Homeworld to Guardian, extract inbound, Father asks status of Daughter.”

The man gave a sidelong glance at the slender figure of the woman standing in front of him facing the door, the skintight bodyglove accentuating her figure in lewd ways, at odds with the gruesome display he had seen at the front doors of the building, he hesitated before responding, “Homeworld, Daughter is … good. Guardian out.” The mic went silent as the elevator dinged, signaling their arrival at their destination. A hand signal from the man who had been on the mic and the group spread to the sides of the elevator, out of view of the door, the girl grabbed the ceiling and slung herself up, bracing herself. The doors slid open to greet a hail of gunfire tearing through the small opening, murdering the back wall of elevator cabin.

After a solid 10 seconds of gunfire the sounds of guns clicking on empty resounded through the strange absence of roaring firearms. She slide gracefully down from the ceiling and flipped into the room, bridging 5 of the 20 yard distance from her to her attackers. The guards opposite her seemed unsure whether to unload on the beautiful, if eerily unreal, woman who had just appeared from the elevator. Their moment of hesitation was their death, the rest of the strike team stepped out of the small elevator and let lead fly, the first rounds killing the men at the far edges of the room. The .50 opened up on the men behind the security desk directly opposite the door, she made her way around the side and decapitated a door guard outside a blast slider with the words “Server Room” printed in small white letters.

Less than 12 seconds later the room was still again as the last guard slumped to the floor against the security desk, blood gurgling out of his mouth and running down his chin. All five men moved to the server room door, one of them affixing a small black square to the middle of it, “Clear zone, fire in seven.” They all stepped back and seven seconds later the door exploded inwards showering the room with metal fragments. The team stepped in to clear the room. Finding it vacant she walked in, striding directly to the central server cluster. A swipe of her hand across the console highlighted a specific sliver and she snapped her fingers, directing one of the men to withdraw it. He slid the wallet sized glowing piece of clear plastic, crisscrossed with tiny pulsating lines, out of the tall server frame and slipped into a small metal case, strapping it to his side. The team leader spoke into his mic again, “Guardian to Homeworld, target secure, ETA extract?”

“Guardian, Angel is on your high, extract is live, Homeworld out.”

The team leader waved his hand and they made their way back out into the main room and to the stairwell that led to the roof. The rooftop was as empty as the server room and they spread out as they waited for the whine of turbofans to near their position. The black bird's form lowered itself 5 feet from the rooftop and a small ramp slid out. The team ran out from their hiding spots, up the ramp and into the belly of the drop ship. The turbofans whined louder and the ship sped up into the darkness of the cloudy night sky.

Over Swiss airspace

The pilot came on over the Nighthawk's PA system, “Two minutes to drop, strap in, we're going straight down boys.” Deberov waved a hand and his team took their places strapped tightly into the harnesses on either side of the dropships hull.

The Warden went onto his team frequency, “Remember, no collateral, this is a grab and bag, regular ROE's.” Answer's of assent came back to him and he leaned forward giving the pilot the thumb's up for a mission-go.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alexei Deberov Character Portrait: Reginald Markham III
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ISI Command

A lieutenant seated at a center-right console sent up a yellow-flag to his Underchief 37 minutes after the game code had been leaked. It was marked “Possible security breach.” By 46 minutes post-leak three red-flag warnings had come from three different monitoring desks in the command center. The Digital Warfare division was put on high-alert and the pitter-patter of fingers rapidly pushing in keys began to fill the sub-room that housed the super-computers of ISI-DW.

The lieutenant who had first flagged the leak was called up to report to his Underchief, the report was concise and clear: “I tagged what looked like military code back-strung through a game-feed. It's not ours I can tell that for sure. It also isn't supposed to be public. I can't pin down what it is designed to do, it's encrypted beyond what my console can handle and I don't have access to the majority for it. Someone is doing a damn good job of keeping it out of our hands. I have a lead on some possibles that may be involved in the leak, but nothing concrete.” He was dismissed back to his computer while the Underchief began typing up an action-report for the Chief Warden. It advised immediate response.

ISI-DW Sub-room

Reginald Markham III was a spindly man, the kind who spent too much time in front of the computer and very little else. A classic hero in his own mind he wore his Digital Warfare uniform with the sort of bravado normally reserved for the men who had come out of the Academy toting a big gun, not a big brain. He was also one of the foremost geniuses that the ISI had managed to retain.

Reggie got endless shit from his coworkers, in a good-natured way for his pale skin, inability to hold his liquor and the fact that he couldn't help but remind them he had been on the Ardent development team at the age of 17. He spent a majority of his time pretending his code was compiling while he used his laptop to look up net content that he couldn't justify using company equipment for. MarkIII was a well known if relatively inactive member of the hacker community and, at the encouragement of the Chief Warden, maintained a carefully crafted relationship with non-ISI hackers for the purpose of information gathering. As far a the community at large knew, MarkIII was just an enthusiast who liked to frequent their chats, someone who always had a smart word but never took part.

When he was really working the alias Darkstar was the pseudonym he had adopted. Darkstars' reputation was concurrently opposite.

As soon as the Underchief's report came through it was Reggie that was put on the case of tracking down the parties involved. He estimated a delivery time of two hours, but he also wasn't expecting resistance.

Deus Ferrum Monastery, Roma

The sister walked into the inner garden quietly, escorted by a Templar clad in stark white poly-ceramic plated armor, carrying a ceremonial sword and functional sidearm. He stood by silently as she informed Brother Able that “She” had returned from her latest outing. The sister did not look happy to be delivering the news. He smiled and thanked her, then took a sip of his tea before standing slowly and walking out into the foyer that separated the garden from the rest of the monastery.

She was waiting for him, seated demurely at a small table in a comfortable armchair holding a small piece if shimmering data-slate. She was wearing loose white robes that hid her form, though the thing angular features of her face gave away the athletic body underneath. Brother Able took a moment to muse on the fact that such a dangerous creature appeared at the same time innocent, pure and beautiful. She stood and smiled widely, let out a quiet “Father!” and rushed to hug him tightly.

He laughed and coughed, “Ah my dear, how was you trip? Are you well?”

She nodded and handed him the small object in her hand that had been bought with blood. He took it and tucked it into his robes then nodded, kissing her forehead, “get some rest dear, your work is not yet done.”

She left with a wider smile than before, heading in the direction of the armory.

Much Lower in Swiss Airspace

The dropship plummeted towards the train station at a terrifying speed, fast enough to compress the air in beneath it, creating a heat front that made the bottom glow faintly. Had he been looking up at the moment it was descending almost directly above him, Deberov's target might have seen what looked like a large metal meteorite heading straight for him.

The reverse thrusters and turbofans went into maximum gear at 300 feet, rapidly slowing the descent of the Nighthawk until it was ten feet above the ground, spraying the area in dust and obscuring the hearing of everyone within 100 feet with the high-pictched whine of the fan blades chopping the air. The team bailed out the sides before the ship had fully stopped, descending 12 feet to the ground along thick synthetic ropes, their armor absorbing a majority of the shock. Once the team was clear of the bottom of the ship the pilot set it down and readied that back-ramp for their return. Two men from Deberov's team stood guard, weapons trained on anyone who came within 30 feet of the ramp.

A wave of his hand and they set off, weapons raised directly for Lan. If he had had the support of a Deus Ferrum response team, a military platoon or local SWAT he might've been able to get away. As things stood however, Lan didn't stand a chance.

Deberov's number one had him slammed down against the ground 32 seconds after landing. Lan hadn't even had a chance to run, as close as the Nighthawk had disembarked the team. He was cuffed and dragged bodily into he waiting transport, which screamed straight up into the sky and out of view of the natural eye. Deberov called in the arrest to Command, “Nightmare to Haven, package is secure, how copy?”

Bystanders would later describe the arrest “as if dark avenging angels had came from heaven,” “them fuckers nabbed him right out of the sky,” and “I think that's when this hell really started... that day.”