Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Puppet Masters

Match Twenty-Two: Puppet Masters:

There are three big parties controlling this game behind the scenes. They all have the same goal: start the apocalypse. They do not like or trust each other. But, they are bonded because of their game. The methods are different, but the end goal is the same. Their respective countries have no say in this game. They have to go along with what their hidden masters have to say. They are just the puppets to the their puppet masters.

They are called Vozrozhdeniye.

Do you remember the Soviet Union. Well, it didn’t really go away. It just went underground. A few surviving members banded together and became Vozrozhdeniye. Many people in Russia do not believe they exist. Or rather, they pretend that they don’t exist. There are rumors that Putin is the secret leader of the group.

Only Ivan knows the truth.

It’s not his choice to be here. His boss insisted that he has to be part of Vozrozhdeniye. It happened about six years ago, maybe even longer. He stopped counting at this point. The big Russian man just went with it to humor his boss. To his credit, he did try to help out members of the group. Speaking of which, they all worshiped science. These weren’t some thugs left over from the fallen Soviet Union either. These eight men and two women had PhD’s in science, math, and psychology. Impressive records if Ivan could say so himself. That still didn’t excuse them from this madness they were trying to pull.

He looked at each one in the closed club house tonight. Alexander, Adrik, and Karp were the first three members the leader recruited. They all came from the same university, in fact. Lomonosov Moscow State University delivered some of the finest minds to come out of Russia. The leader was quick to capitalize on such potential. Ivan laughed to himself on that thought. Heh, capitalize. He digressed.

Except for Katerina and Karp, the rest of the members didn’t interact with each other outside of work. That didn’t stop Ivan from trying to get to know who he was stuck working with.

Alexander Turov specialized in microbiology. The leader recruited him second to join Vozrozhdeniye. At twenty years old, Alexander wanted to take his skills beyond what he was limited to do. Their leader opened the door for that to happen when he showed them the film of the experiments on Midori. When he first laid eyes on the second generation of tadpoles, he had to find out more about them. These could be the perfect evolution of the human race.

“They would even be the perfect soldier in war!” he said. It too upsets him that Tandeki won’t give over the tadpoles for them to do their own experiments on. Alexander still has his plans for the tadpoles. He even started planning out which drugs he wanted to use on Kitano’s beloved pets. Tonight, he reads over his notes to get the formulas just right.

Adrik Wowk specialized in abnormal psychology. He was a grad student at the time. He wanted a better life for himself. Adrik grew up poor and bored. Growing up, the young man had the mental skills and wits to do so. He began working at a series of part-time jobs to save up money to go to college. No standard old university would do it. Adrik wanted to get into Lomonosov Moscow State University. His father belittled him for his ambitious dreams. It all became motive for the young man to prove him wrong. Adrik saved up his money and kept working to stay in school. It was during his grad year was when he met the leader and became the first Vozrozhdeniye recruit.

Karp Zubov specialized in cell biology. He and his wife were part of the same group together. He too attended Lomonosov Moscow State University. Karp came from a rich family. He lived like a prince in St. Petersburg. However, ugly roots hid underneath all that gold and white. His parents were secret communists and well-known in the secret meeting circles. It was rumored that they supported to Stalin. (Karp and Katerina were starch Putin supporters.) When the Soviet Union fell, the family didn’t fall with it. You see, the parents were always looking ahead when it came to their eight kids. They were determined not end up in the streets.

Their teaching lay deep with their son. Karp was smart enough to keep his views to himself. He used his charms to get through his school years. Many girls wanted him, but he kept his focus on school and his secret political views. That’s right, he didn’t betray his communist roots his parents planted within him. It was during a communist meeting at the college that he met the leader.

Kenya Sepols specialized physics and mathematics. He didn’t go to Lomonosov Moscow State University. But, he was still a prodigy from the age of ten. Kenya went through several tutors for different subjects. He finally stuck with music at the age of twelve. At the age of seventeen, the body moved to the city. He worked at a packing plant to help pay his bills. In fact, Kenya was coming home from work when the leader first met him.

Lazar Press specialized in chemistry. He came from eastern Russia. The man worked a pharmacist. Other than that, Ivan couldn’t find much more information about Lazar. The taller Russian man didn’t feel the need to ask anyway. Just leave Lazar be and let his work do all of talking. It’s worked out just fine over the past four years he had worked here.

Boris Oleneva specialized microbiology along with Alexander. In fact, they work together on the same branch. Other than tadpoles, Vozrozhdeniye has other ways of playing the game. The people were unaware of what was really going on. Four gates were already opened. Nothing has changed in Russia so far. Fine time to put a panic into the people about the environment. Their health and diets too. For nine months, Boris and Alexander had worked on something for the meat. Ivan and the others weren’t allowed to see what it was yet. Even the leader couldn’t see what was going to happen next.

Nikita Motova specialized chemical biology. He too has his own branch in the project. This scientist from Moscow wanted to do something with the water. Mainly because he wanted to grab the attention of his colleague, Alisa. Ivan speculated that the two of them had history together, but it wasn’t his to ask. After all, he was just supposed to be the muscle of the group. Besides, it was much easier to watch them work from a distance. In fact, Ivan began to find himself curious about what could happen next.

Alisa Sazhin specialized neuroscience and abnormal psychology. The leader made her his right-hand woman about six years ago. Or maybe it was longer. Ivan didn’t keep track anymore. Anyway, Alisa seemed to know the leader best. Everyone is trying to pick her brain about who or what he’s really like. She’s really tight-lipped about the details and pushes everyone back to work. Ivan began to think that Alisa and the leader were one in the same. The Russian could prove it, but chosen not to. Let the events play out. He couldn’t wait to see their faces when they learned the truth.

They still have one more member to introduce.

Katerina Zubov didn’t have a specialty branch, but her money went into Vozrozhdeniye’s activities. Just like her husband, she came from communist roots. So many rumors surrounded this dark beauty. She looked like an angel on the outside, but a pure devil on this inside. Many said that she was a sexual sadist. Some even said that she bought rent boys and abused them to the point that they died of exhaustion. Why did Katerina hang around with her husband’s group?

The tadpoles. She looking for something to match her sadist taste. These super beings look like they could outlast her previous partners. How long would those tadpoles last under her games?

And then there is their leader.

They have never seen the leader’s face. The group don’t even know his real name. He only goes by the name “Fyodor”. Only Alisa claims to see his real face. There was a man that went with on their Ikebukuro trips. But, Ivan didn’t buy that was the real leader. Why did they feel like they had to hide behind doubles? Ivan started feel that Vozrozhdeniye were being used as puppets for a greater scheme in this game.

Ivan did not like that. But, his boss insists that he work with them anyway. It’s too late to back out of the game now. The fifth gate has been found.


They are called Mam.

Allison Mayfair. She is their mother. Her real age was unknown. Rumor had it that she was as old as the Roman times. Allison has adjusted to the modern world just fine, actually. With her long life, she brought her knowledge and skills of magic with when she moved to England during the reign of Henry VIII. Allison used her charm, skills, and influence to gain wealth and status in England. She had many lovers, but they never produced any children.

The powerful and all-knowing witch took care of that herself.

She made the nightcomers. All of them. Their numbers have dwindled over the years. Today, there are thirteen of them. And they are all in Arthur’s flat.

He sits near the front door in a huddled ball. The Englishman can’t reach out to Flying Miny Bunny anymore. None of his invisible friends would even come near him. Hecate and her sisters were always at his flat and they didn’t want to leave. Whenever he would leave, two of them would nearby following him. He wouldn’t be going out tonight. Hecate forbade him to go anywhere. Speaking of which, she put her hands on his shoulders.

“Mother’s going to be here any moment now,” she purred in his ear. Arthur looked like he would throw up. Hecate and her sisters nightmarish enough. What would their mother be like?

They lived their heads when there was a knock on the door.

“Ah, it’s mother!” Lucy said. “I’ll get it.” She sailed past Arthur and Hecate. The Englishman gulped. They wouldn’t let him leave. Once Hecate stuck her claws into him, she was determined to drag him deeper into Mam. This flat became their second headquarters. How bad would their mother be?

Lucy opened the door. Arthur’s eyes widened. A woman in a black cloak stood in the doorway.

“Welcome home, mother,” Lucy said. The woman walked by her. The other eleven daughters all bowed down. Hecate pushed Arthur’s head down. The cloaked woman shook her head.

“Get up,” she said. The nightcomers all stood up. Hecate pulled Arthur to his feet. The mother looked around at people in the flat. Her eyes locked onto the Englishman.

“Is this him?” she asked.

“Yes,” Hecate said. She shoved Arthur forward. The English man shivered as he was inches away from his abuser’s mother. He clenched his teeth. Mam’s leader took off her hood. Her wavy brown hair came down to her shoulders. She looked youthful for her age. When he looked into her deep greenish-brown eyes, it was own. The woman stuck out her hand.

“My name is Allison Mayfair,” she said. “Nice to meet you.” Arthur reluctantly shook her hand.


They are called Tandeki.

They don’t need any introduction. They run everything. Right now, they have the advantage on their side. They have both the tadpoles and the Dis Program. They are smart enough to keep their distance from Vozrozhdeniye and Mam. Grated, Tandeki still needs them both in a way.

Vozrozhdeniye give them money. They need that money to keep Project Tadpole running. In return, every six months, Tandeki have to show the Russians the fruits of their profit. But, Kitano will never sell his beloved pets to them. “Fyodor” offers him money, but the therapist won’t budge.

Mam has the nightcomers to open the Gates to the Apocalypse. They have a steady trade relationship going on. Kitano gives Allison useful information to deal with the modern world in England in return. But, do not be fooled by the formalities. Mam also wants the tadpoles for their own agenda. Kitano won’t let them have them either.

Tandeki may work well with Vozrozhdeniye and Mam for now. But when the right time comes, they will cut all ties and finish the game themselves.

There are three big parties controlling this game behind the scenes. They all have the same goal: start the apocalypse. They do not like or trust each other. But, they are bonded because of their game.

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