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Prologue, Part 1: All Business

Feb. 2009, Costa Blanca, South America

The band was playing some song that he did not recognize and a flock of dancers in folk costumes were sashaying through the audience.  To anyone else, it would have appeared the picture of a grand ball.

To Shane Donovan, it was all business.

With the sardonic smile of a man who controlled an empire, he adjusted his tie, scanned the room, and began to grease the wheels.

His first stop was to chat with a rotund, balding Russian.  As he approached the man broke into a broad grin, stepped forward and wrapped his fat arms around Shane.

"I cannot believe it!" he exclaimed through his heavy accent.  "My old friend Comrade Donovan!"

Shane laughed as he was released from the bear hug.  "And here I was thinking that we no longer used such terminology.  You did get the memo, Evgeny, didn't you?  The Soviet Union is no more."

"Yes, but some of us do miss the old days," Platov said.  He glanced at Shane.  "Do not tell me  that you do not look back on that time with fondness.  Racing all over the world.  Playing cat-and-mouse with each another."  He chuckled.  "Do you remember that time in East Berlin, when you--"

"--You mean when I had to stop half the 20th Motor Rifle Division from opening fire by convincing them I was a lost Australian tourist?  As if I could forget.  I had 'Waltzing Matilda' running through my head for days after."

Platov laughed heartily.  "Well there was that."

"Times have changed," Shane said, as he grabbed two flutes of champagne from a passing server.  He passed one to Platov.  "Once we were the front lines, doing our service to our country.  Now. . . ."

"Now we are 'captains of industry,'" Platov said. 

Captain of industry for Platov was a loose term.  After the fall of the Soviet Union, he had secured vast drilling rights in the Black Sea.  An effort assisted in no small part, Shane believed, by the fact that Platov had extensive dirt on every major Russian politician and rival bidder.  And oil, of course, was not Platov's only business.

"Still . . ."  Platove looked thoughtful.  "I never thought that you, of all people --"

"The world changed, Evgeny.  And if you have ever looked at the cost of American colleges, you would know I had little choice.  I think my ISA salary might have covered one semester of Jeannie's books."

Platov laughed.  "So what brings you here?  This?  I hardly consider this to be your crowd."

Shane grinned.  "Ah, but Evgeny, my crowd is now anyone who needs security -- provided they can pay for the best, of course."  He paused and lowered his voice so only Platov could hear.  "Like your little 'troubles' in Kudepsta."


"It is my business to know, my friend," Shane said.  "Drilling rights near a disputed border and a breakaway Georgian republic?"  He shook his head.  "So tell me, how long did it take for the Russian army to mobilize after the separatists raided your plant?  If you had a Nightwing rapid response unit in the area, we could have been on site ten minutes after the first alarm -- before a single piece of equipment was out the door -- and that's assuming the separatists could have even made it through the gates in the first place."

Platov looked thoughtful.  "But the cost?  The cost of a private army is so . . . how do you say . . . prohibitive."

"So's losing a month of drilling while you wait for new pipe to be machined in Poland," Shane said, pointedly.  "Besides, I'm sure Nightwing could work out a discount.  For an old friend of its CEO."

Platov grinned again.  "Your skills were wasted in the ISA, Comrade Donovoan.  You, my friend, are a true businessman."

Shane reached into his pocket and withdrew a business card, emblazoned with "Nightwing Worldwide Security."  He handed it to Platov.  "My direct number is on there.  Call me when you want to discuss."

Platov raised his champagne glass.  "We should be doing this with a proper Russian vodka, but the bar only has American swill.  Nonetheless, za vas, Shane Donovan!"

Shane tipped his glass as well.  "To you, as well, my friend.  As for the vodka, we'll just have to wait, and have a toast while overlooking the Black Sea.  I'm sure the vodka will go down much smoother there." 

As Shane took a small sip, Platov drank deeply from his glass.  That told Shane all he needed to know.  This part of his mission had been accomplished. 

Casually, he glanced around the room.  "And, now, I must take care of some other business."

As he walked away, Shane felt the familiar rush of adrenalin that he always got when he felt victorious.  The contact had been a major success.  'Three months,' he thought.  That was all he anticipated it would take before he had a "Nightwing force" on the ground in Russia.  Platov was too secure in his newfound wealth and power.  The man would get sloppy, opening the doors for the ISA to get everything it needed on Platov's human trafficking operation.

Shane actually felt doubly pleased.  The job would have a second major purpose.  Having a unit on the ground also would give the ISA valuable information about the Russia/Georgia border and the nearby breakaway republic of Abkhazia.  With the Winter Olympics scheduled in the region in 2014, the ISA needed to start gathering intel.

But that was for later.  Now, Shane had some more pressing matters to address.

He moved easily through the crowd.  He raised his glass to a Nightwing client, a Saudi sheikh, then turned around so his face would give nothing away.  In a few days, the sheikh's current houseguest, a major Al Qaeda operative, would suffer a "tragic" accident in the sheikh's pool.  And in a few weeks, the Saudi royal family would receive documents linking the sheikh to a plot to destabilize the country.

It would be a great success for the ISA, or should he say, "Nightwing." 

Shane chuckled silently.  At the beginning of the decade, the closest he would have come to a gathering of the rich and degenerate like this would have been through a listening device.  If he had known how many criminals and terrorists would leap at the chance to hire private mercenary forces, he would have set up Nightwing years earlier.

A man near the door caught his eye.  Short and thin, he had a pointed face that looked like a rat.  He gave Shane a furtive glance and slipped out of the ballroom.  Casually, Shane followed.

The rat-faced man was down the end of the main corridor.  As Shane followed, the man entered a room on the right.  Shane carefully checked for the guards.  There was one on the far end who looked half-asleep and was paying him no mind.  The guard at the opposite end was flirting with one of the dancers.

Shane slipped through the same door as the man.  He entered a small library.  The rat-faced man was in a corner.

"Are you Ortega?" Shane asked.

The man nodded.

"Do you have the files?"

Ortega shook his head.  "Los documentos are in El Presidente's officina.  I could not . . ."  He hesitated, trying to find the word.  ". . . pass the guardias."

"Bloody hell," Shane muttered.  The whole point of this security sweep ruse was to meet Ortega and get those files. 

Ortega gave up the effort of speaking English.  "Señor, los guardias cambio de turno a las dos en la mañana."

Shane nodded.  That would have to be it.  He would wait until the guard's shift-change at 2 a.m., and get into the office himself.  Thinking of a good story, he decided he could fit in into his cover.  He just hoped that the past few years of desk duty had not left his lock-picking skills too rusty. 

"Es toto?" Ortega asked.  At Shane's curt nod, he whispered, "Adios, señor, buena suerte," and slipped out of the room.

Yes, Shane thought, suddenly this job might need a great deal of luck.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
Just started
HI there. I caught a link to your story from the sony boards' Kim and Shane thread.
Haven't watched the show very much since John and Marlena left, so I'm not current, but I'll chime in to help when I can.
I missed Kim and Shane's reunion when it aired this summer also, but caught it on youtube.
Anyway, I can see from what I've read so far that you have fantastic writing skills, and have already piqued my interest.
I haven't read any other Kim and Shane fan-fic, but I look forward to reading how you will craft their reunion.
Obviously, DAYS did a rather sloppy and rushed version, but considering their current focus on newer characters, I wasn't surprised. John and Marlena got the bum's rush on their exit as well.
Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I look forward to your story.

Sep. 9th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Just started
Thanks so much for commenting. You have no idea how much I appreciate feedback.

As a John/Marlena fan, I think you might enjoy some upcoming scenes in the story. I always liked the relationship between Shane and John, and agree with Kim's assessment the first time she saw them together that they are a lot alike. (Shane's lack of involvement during the two Romans storyline is a particular pet peeve of mine. The ISA was all over that s/l, but I think Shane only appeared in that s/l when the two Romans returned to Salem for the first time. I've done a little bit of a retcon on that s/l, because I don't buy for a second that JoRoman never turned to his best friend.) Anyway, that's all a long-winded way of saying that John and Marlena, particularly John, will be playing a significant role in this story. I'm finding him a lot of fun to write.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )