Chapter 1:

First Call

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[10:17 p.m. August 7th, 2048; Seoul, Korea. Sirens can be heard in the distance, as the shot pans to an abandoned villa, with a flickering tube light hanging from the ceiling of the second floor]

Dmitri: [On the phone] When’re we leaving? [Pauses] Okay. [Pauses] Yeah, yeah. [Pauses] Okay, will do. [Looks over to Elias] Yep, yep, who do you take us for? [Pauses] Yup, okay. Bye now. [Hangs up]

Elias: Was that Prokhov?

Dmitri: Nah. Friggin Fetistof. Bastard’s got a head too big for his damn body.

Elias: Why’s he callin? Ain’t he stationed in Petersburg?

Dmitri: Exactly! He ain’t even meeting us in Shanghai tomorrow, so you gotta wonder why he’s the one that’s contacting us now.

Elias: Whatever, we can’t get too hung up over this shit. What matters is getting this bounty into and out of Incheon without a hassle.

Dmitri: Why’re we even flying out of Incheon? We could’ve gone somewhere else and avoided the majority of the security hassles, no?

Elias: Probably, but we’re in Korea and we’re travelling international. Even if it isn’t into Russia or the Eastern States, they’re gonna be tight on us, especially with us holding Estonian papers.

Dmitri: Yeah, guess you’re right. Still, the thought of hauling all this shit into Shanghai through Incheon makes me pretty nervous.

[Shot pans to stacks of European and Korean currency on the ground, Artillery-Grade Firearms and bags of illicit street drugs, including Heroin and LSD]

Elias: Don’t sweat too much – remember that time a couple years ago when we moved shit from Warsaw to Paris? Not even a smitch, and we had way worse stuff than this time round. If anything, we gotta be careful of her.

[Shot pans to a nineteen-year-old Scandinavian-Korean girl, with her arms tied behind her back]

Dmitri: She won’t talk though. [Laughs, then moves towards her, speaking to her] Ain’t that right youngin?

[She doesn’t respond, to which Dmitri slaps her]

Dmitri: Eh? Ya didn’t hear me? You were the prize of this mission, y’know? I’d like it if you’d talk some more, y’know?

Elias: Forget her. If she does anything, she knows what’ll happen to her people.

[She murmurs something inaudibly]

Dmitri: Huh? What was that?

[Elias pulls him aside]

Elias: Quit bothering her, you friggin weirdo.

Dmitri: What, you’ve grown a soft spot for her? She’s being sold by the boss anyway, why grow attached to her?

Elias: I’m in this damn line of work but I’m not here to treat these people like shit, y’know?

Dmitri: We’re selling her off to God knows who anyway! We’ve smuggled hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of shit across borders and haven’t ever been caught! The people we’re with are probably top three most wanted groups in all of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and you’re worried about moral victories? Get a hold of yourself, damnit.

Elias: It’s not moral victories, dipshit. I’m doing this to make some money to feed my family, I ain’t doing this cause I want to.

Dmitri: And whether you want to or don’t want to doesn’t matter. Ya think any sane motherfucker would willingly enlist in such a scummy job? We’re obviously in it for the money, but what you fail to realize is there ain’t no way out of this shitshow. We’re wanted men Elias. Ain’t no way around it, ya know? So, it’s best to live up whatever you can now, and take advantage of whatever’s possible, cause remember, we’re just slaves to a shitty system after all.

Elias: If that’s how you think, sound off, but I’ll keep my own ethics till the day I die.

[Dmitri scoffs]

Dmitri: Do whatever you please. Today’s the last night anyway, so I’m crashing before the early flight. Knock yourself out with her, or sing sweet lullabies to yourself, whatever you prefer.

[Dmitri enters a smaller side room, with no lights and a couch, which he lies down in]

Dmitri [Thinking]: Everything that goes on in this world is pathetic. I get the sentiment that that bastard Elias has, but when you’re at a point like this, where are you even going? We’re already in such a shitty field, and we’re only in it to make enough to friggin survive – we can’t even leave cause we’re treasonous, scumbag criminals, but then again, what’s the point in staying when everything we earn goes towards those bastards like Prokhov and Katarov at the top?

[Dmitri sighs]

Dmitri: I can’t wait to die man. I can’t friggin wait.

[Dmitri falls off to sleep, as Elias tries to make conversation with the girl]

Elias: Are you from around Seoul?

[She doesn’t respond]

Elias [Thinking]: I get that she’s pissed off, and rightfully so, but not speaking at all? Come on now man, this is gonna be such a long night, especially since we’re not supposed to use our phones for the twelve hours before the flight.

Elias: I know you’re ticked off, and rightfully so, but could we talk a bit?

[Again, she doesn’t respond, to which Elias sighs]

Elias: That’s fine, I guess. I’ll go sit watch out the door. Let me just say something to you though.

[The girl looks up at him, cautiously]

Elias: I’m sorry. Really, I am. I hate this shitty line of work, but I gotta do what I gotta do to make ends meet. If I don’t, they’ll kill my people back home too. I heard you got Scandinavian background too, eh? That means you’d know the type of shit that goes on in those Eastern European countries – especially with Russia and countries like Latvia and whatnot. The black market’s so rampant there, so people get away with stuff like this on the daily. You’re probably thinking though, why can’t this rat bastard just go home empty-handed, and take jobs that involve illegal arms deals and money movement, rather than human trafficking? Well, when they assign you to a job, you can’t refuse it, if you refuse it, you and your people back home all are gonna be on the chopping block. If you accept it, and choose to not complete certain parts, or don’t complete any of it, again, they’ll kill you and your people. So, the only way I get out of this shitty situation is by becoming a demon, even though I don’t want to. That’s why I wanted to apologize. I know you probably don’t care about my shitty situation and would much rather have me dead than sympathize with me, but I want to finish the job with as little bloodshed as possible. That’s why, even though we’re trafficking you, I don’t want that guy to hurt you either. [Looks at his watch] Oh shit, I’m rambled on for quite a while, I should get going to watch the gate.

Ashe: Please…

Elias: Huh? You spoke?

Ashe: Please don’t kill my family.

Elias: You’re going to cooperate right? If you do, by an oath of God I swear that I won’t touch a single one of them.

Ashe: It’s not…

Elias: It’s not what?

Ashe: It’s not that I sympathize with you… you’re going to make my life a nightmare until I can manage to escape that country and fly back here. But I understand why you have to do what you have to do. It’s just that… this world isn’t very forgiving.

Elias: I agree wholeheartedly. I’m sorry again, quite frankly, I’d rather die here, but I have a family after all. [Pauses] You’re one of the few who talked to me, y’know? I hope you can get out of Shanghai and make it back here. Cause once our mission’s done, we don’t have to care about what you do – if you screw with the buyer or escape him, that isn’t on us.

Ashe: [Sadly] Thanks.

Elias: I’m gonna head out to watch the gate. I’ll see you tomorrow.

[Elias walks towards the door, which leads outside, and opens it]

Elias: Huh, that’s strange, why’s it unhinged…

[Ten bullets spray through the unopened door, killing Elias, and the door is slammed open]

Electra: This better be the right place, eh Shin? I better not have killed a civilian, ya hear?

[Naomi, Shin and Yuki walk into the room]

Yuki: Oh, we got it good this time. Look at the haul we have here.

[Ashe, in the corner of the room screams, as Dmitri, having woke up, runs towards her with a knife in his hand, grabbing her]

Dmitri: [Grits teeth] Who the hell are you?

Shin: I’d like to ask the same question of you, but seems as though we already know that answer… eh Elec?

[Electra picks up Elias’ bloodied passport]

Electra: Estonian papers eh? Ah, lemme guess, Dreadknight?

Dmitri: Shut it.

Shin: Oh come on, be nice, tell us a bit about who y’all are. I don’t wanna kill you, ya know?

Dmitri: You killed Elias mighty well there, what makes me any different?

Shin: Oh haha, what makes it different is now we’re here. And just like our intel said, there’s only two of you idiots! So you, with two fingers already on the trigger pointing towards your head, have nothing to love for, right? So tell me, where are you going tomorrow? Shanghai? Beijing? Tokyo? Singapore? Jakarta? Pre tell, pre tell.

Dmitri: Fuck off. Keep talking and there’ll be more blood in this room.

[He moves his knife towards Ashe’s neck]

Shin: Woah, woah, woah, let’s talk things over. We don’t want a mess on our hands. Hell, I’ll even let you keep your life, ya know? Just don’t kill her, she’s just an innocent civilian.

Yuki [To Electra]: She’s the girl we saw on the billboard on our way here, right?

Electra [To Yuki]: Yeah, smokes. She’s even better in person. They probably got a huge bounty on selling her into Russia or maybe even China.

Dmitri: I don’t give a shit. I have a job to complete, and I’m gonna complete it. I’m not losing this girl, no matter what.

[Naomi looks towards Ashe and whistles loudly towards her]

Dmitri: Huh? The hell are you doing?

[A shadow appears in the window, and suddenly, a knife flies through. It pierces Dmitri’s hand, forcing him to scream loudly and let go of the knife held towards Ashe’s neck. Ashe uses the moment to run towards Yuki]

Shin: You were saying buddy?

[Dmitri regains his composure, picks up the knife and swings it towards the shadow in the window, missing entirely, to which the person behind the shadow appears]

Drift: Good timing Naomi.

Naomi: Wow, I can’t believe you hit that!

Shin: There’s a reason why I didn’t want the signal to be that early, what if he missed?

Drift: You doubting me?

Shin: Well, yes.

Drift: You didn’t even deny it.

Shin: Well, I am the leader of this operation. I don’t want shit to hit the fan.

Dmitri [Thinking]: They’re just talking… to themselves… do I not matter to them? I have a knife? Who are these people?

Dmitri: DAMN YOU!

[He lunges forward towards Yuki and Ashe, while Shin, Drift and Naomi continue to talk. Yuki realizes quickly and raises her leg, kicking Dmitri’s head and sending him hard into a wall]

Yuki: Shit man, these guys are weak as hell.

Electra: You ever think that you were just strong Yuke?

Yuki: Nah. But these guys are definitely weak man. Don’t know how they’re pulling off heists like they say they are.

Dmitri: [Shakes his head] What? You heard?

Yuki: Of course. Shin’s been tapping into this place since you got here, haha. You guys should’ve stayed in Europe ya know? Comin to this end of the globe ain’t too hot, especially for lackeys like ya.

Dmitri: So then…

Yuki: Yeah, we know everything about everything. The destination question was just for our own fun… we know y’all are off, or should I say, were off, to Shanghai tomorrow.

Shin: That doesn’t mean we’ll let you off though.

Dmitri: The hell do you want?

Shin: We wanna know about your group. Eh, you know what? [Looks at Yuki] If you don’t talk, maybe we’ll let you live, ya know. If we just take all the shit you have here, you can’t even fight us, cause look at the difference in our power. Then, those uppers will kill your family eh? That sounds interesting, no?

Dmitri: Shut up, you friggin spawn of the…

[Dmitri lunges towards Shin with his knife, holding his head, and Electra appears from behind Shin, knocking Dmitri to the ground]

Electra: Don’t ya understand? [Twists his hand around his bloodied gun and a handkerchief] You struggling is pointless. Help us help you mate.

Dmitri: You said you’d leave me alive just to see my family die. Where’s the help there eh?

Shin: [Smirks] When did I say that eh?

Electra: Ignore the deranged sadist over there. [Points to Shin] We want information from you lot on who y’all are dealing with, and who you’re meeting in Shanghai.

Dmitri: You killed Elias damnit! You think I’ll just tell you eh?

Shin: It’s either that or we loot the shit outta you and leave you here, like I said before.

Dmitri: I don’t have to tell you shit.

Shin: Fine then. [Kicks him in the head] Lay here and die. We’ll meet your people and tell em to fuck off and they’ll order the executions.

Dmitri: Bastards.

Electra: This is the typa shit that happens when you come to this end of the world not knowing shit about who we are. Not like we’ll bother to tell ya either. But we wanna know who your boss is, eh? Ya know why?

[Dmitri doesn’t respond]

Electra: Well, I’ll tell you why. [Leans in] It’s cause we want to kill him.

Yuki [To Dmitri]: You hate him too, right? We may be underground guys too, but we aren’t here for the bullshit. There’s a reason we’re the ringleaders around here. We don’t tolerate that type of garbage, eh?

Electra: Your partner may be dead, but there isn’t a way for us to negotiate if we allow him to live. Especially considering you guys are from out of town, so we don’t know what type of shit you guys can or can’t do.

Yuki: We know there isn’t a way to make you understand, but we want to help you. Give us some information. We’ll beat em dead for you.

Dmitri: But you can’t just let me leave here with what we have, eh?

Yuki: Honestly take the money and drugs, couldn’t really give a shit about it. But the girl and the guns, we’ll be keeping. I know you have to do what you have to do, but we aren’t allowing some rich businessman to set a tag on her, you know?

Shin [To Yuki]: He won’t accept that.

Yuki [To Shin]: And why’s that?

Shin [To Yuki]: If they fail any part of their mission they can kiss their lives goodbye. Didn’t ya hear that on the tapping’s we got from Tak?

Yuki [To Shin]: Well yeah, but maybe there’s leeway?

Shin [To Yuki]: You’ve been in this shit business for as long as I have, you know there ain’t gonna be any loopholes. It’s friggin Russia or wherever the hell that we’re talking about.

Dmitri: Bastard’s right. We don’t have a choice.

Yuki: So, you won’t tell us anything?

Dmitri: Well, I hate those bastards more than you lot do, I’m just sittin here doing this shit job cause I have to.

Yuki: So you will tell us?

Dmitri: There ain’t much to tell. The bastard in Shanghai’s called Prokhov. Probably one of the more genuine asshats in the group, but an asshat nonetheless.

Electra: Is he the main guy we gotta worry about?

Dmitri: In Shanghai yeah. He’ll have some lackeys, but that should be it. The real geezer’s back in Europe though. Probably in Switzerland, Luxemborg or maybe even Russia… I couldn’t tell ya.

Electra: But you’re Estonian?

Dmitri: Yeah and the operation’s run from Petersburg, and we got bases in Latvia, Warsaw and Kiev, and those are the only one’s that I’ve even heard of.

Electra: So what’s this big guys name eh?

Dmitri: I don’t friggin know. I’m a lackey after all. They aren’t gonna tell me shit. All I know is he exists, and he’s only built this empire because he’s special.

Drift: Special?

Dmitri: That’s what everyone says, ya hear?

Drift: In what way?

Dmitiri: Didn’t I just say? I don’t know man. This is the extent of what I know.

Yuki [To Dmitri]: We appreciate it, y’know? You made our lives a lot easier.

Dmitri [To Yuki]: I don’t want your thanks. I’m only doing this outta spite for those shitters who made my life this way. Who? [Pauses] Who would willingly do shit like this? My death was sealed one of these days, I just didn’t want them to die along with me.

[Yuki looks at Drift, who picks up his phone and dials a number]

Drift: Yo Karina! Can you send Natsumi and Daisuke to Eastern Europe, pronto? [Pauses] Yeah, yeah, it’s Yuki’s call.


Drift: [On the phone] Yeah, yeah. [Looks at Dmitri] They’re in the capital, right?

[Dmitri nods]

Drift: [On the phone] Yeah, the capital. [Pauses] Yeah, yeah. Get Nats and Dais a flight to London, we’ll put em under the Sybil’s custody there, eh? Then get em a flight to Petersburg, we’ll meet em there, once their done their negotiations.

Dmitri: Are you…

Drift [To Dmitri]: You told us what we needed. We don’t need your innocent family out here dying to those sewer rats. Nats and Daisuke will talk to the English guys and get em outta there and to safety, ya hear? So quit moping, dumbass.

Dmitri: But why?

Yuki: I told you, we aren’t like the others. We aren’t innocent by any means, ha, but we don’t like enterprises being established in the market, especially ones that exploit the shit out of their lackeys by holding their families hostage.

Drift [To Dmitri]: We’re killers, no doubt. But we have some sense of justice, ya know?

[Shin scoffs]

Yuki [To Shin]: Don’t scoff ya sadist, weren’t you the one to suggest this shit on the ride here?

Shin [To Yuki]: Hmph! Don’t remember whatever you’re talking about.

Drift: [On the phone] Yeah, okay. Oh yeah, I completely forgot, ha. [Pauses, looks at Dmitri] We need names.

Dmitri: Just search up the Mikolev family, with missing persons Serge von Mikolev.

Drift: [On the phone] Mikolev’s – Serge should be under missing persons… [Pauses] Yup. [Pauses] Okay, good. Send Nats and Daisuke on the early flight to London, they should be able to get to Petersburg when we do. [Pauses] Okay, okay. Thanks a ton. Bye now. [Hangs up]

Yuki [To Dmitri]: Missing persons?

Dmitri: Yeah. I went to work for these guys and haven’t went to see my family in years, nor have I really seen the light of day as a civilian and not a wanted man.

Yuki: Wait, so your name isn’t Dmitri then, its Serge?

Dmitri: My real name was Serge. But that’s a missing persons case, so I can’t revert back to using it unless I want suspicion to fall onto my family and friends as well. So I changed my name, and the man that’s wanted is Dmitri Mikolev.

Yuki: But if you go back to Serge, won’t you not be wanted anymore?

Dmitri: Yeah probably. But going back takes paperwork – paperwork which my higher ups wouldn’t touch. Hell, they love seeing us suffer. Bloody pigs.

Yuki: Dang.

Electra: Mate though, you’re free to go if you want. I know we caused a mess killing your friend over there, but if talking it out with y’all was this easy we wouldn’t have done it. I’m sorry if he was someone close to you man.

Dmitri: He wasn’t… still, he seemed a good man. But I can’t take up your offer.

Electra: Huh?

Dmitri: I’ve talked, and you guys are gonna help my family out, right?

Electra: We’re sending our guys, so hopefully all works out.

Dmitri: That’s all I could ever ask for. But, I can’t atone for all the shit I’ve done by living.

Electra: What’re you going on about?

Dmitri: Being alive would only pose a risk to my family if those rats found out. Even if the odds are slim, if they found me alive, they’d stop at nothing to kill em. If I’m dead, they don’t have a reason to give chase after your guys, ya know?

Electra: But…

Dmitri: And besides, I can’t atone for my sins by living. This shit’s been too taxing. All I’ve ever wanted was to save them. It’s all I’ve ever wanted… I’ve just been passing time with these jobs. And if you can promise me that, then I can finally die in peace without fear. All the shit I’ve done, all the deals, robberies, traffics, everything, it can finally friggin end. So please, shoot me too.

Yuki: You could reform though!

Dmitri: No. After all the lives I’ve ruined, I can be at peace. And it’s not like my family’s gonna miss me, they’ve thought I’ve been dead since Serge was ‘missing’. It’s okay. It truly is.

[Shin clenches his teeth, as Yuki and Electra turns their heads away. Naomi looks towards Ashe, who is shivering, and Drift walks forward]

Drift: Fine then. We will save your family. We will kill those bastards. It’s what we do.

Dmitri: Thank you.

Drift: Sorry it couldn’t be a happy ending for you too. Truly.

Dmitri: This… this is plenty enough for me.

[Drift fires his gun]