Operation: Dead Letter Office
|Operation: Dead Letter Office|
|Dates run:||July 28-31, 2009|
|Read the logs:||Dead Letter Office|
"If I were you, I would take a vacation to Sun City."
Part I: The Swiss Connection
The caper began with a chance report from one of X-Force's informants in Switzerland, containing a photograph of Arkady Russovich, apparently alive and well after his presumed death, meeting with a man assumed to be an Infonet courier. Moving quickly, a team was dispatched to Geneva to gather more information.
While North and Jake met with the heads of Infonet - Jake's mother and sister - they were stonewalled in their attempts to gather information. Devi and Ariel both cited Infonet's policy of absolute discretion and refused to even acknowledge any meeting with Russovich.
Meanwhile, Doug and Amanda used an unorthodox tactic to gather intelligence. Doug posed as an ATM repairman to retrieve a security tape with footage of Arkady's meeting, while Amanda masqueraded as a pregnant woman having a fainting spell inside the bank as a distraction. With the retrieved footage, the team was able to conclusively identify Arkady, as well as his contact - Hans Mittlesteadt, the courier responsible for delivering Jake's fingers to the mansion months before.
Calling in an old favor, North met with Hans at a café, surprising the courier. Twenty years prior, North (then known as Cristophe Nord, agent of the East German Stasi) had covered up Mittlesteadt's smuggling charges to avoid having the other man sent to a Soviet experimental prison for mutants. In return, Hans relayed to North the information he'd given Arkady - the existence of an auction in South Africa, run by an ex-courier who had acquired certain "lost" items that Infonet had been unable to deliver.
One of the items in question was the carbonadium synthesizer, a device integral to Soviet super-soldier research in the 1980s, and stolen years ago by Maverick and the Weapon X team. However, the synthesizer had been lost when the Infonet courier entrusted with it was thought to be killed. With the team of four unable to leave Geneva due to Infonet surveillance, the rest of X-Force was contacted and scrambled to South Africa.
Part II: We Won't Play Sun City
Arriving in South Africa, the rest of the team set to work infiltrating the auction. Using Mark and Illyana as a recon team, information was found on the location of the stolen items as well as the identity of the auctioneer - one Gareb Bashur, former Infonet courier with the mutant ability to absorb, store, and transfer digital data using his own brain as a storage device.
On the day of the auction, Emma coordinated three separate teams to bring down the auction. While Remy, Marie-Ange, and Bishop tried to intercept the shipment, Sofia, Morgan, Jubilee, and Wanda went undercover as buyers and bodyguards in the auction itself, encountering Bashur as well as Arkady Russovich himself, who was accompanied by his handler, Dr. Abraham Cornelius.
The attempted interception of the shipment met with serious resistance, as Bashur had hired the psychotic Mengo Brothers, Stan and Greg. The two Symkarian mercenaries managed to hold off the attempted hijacking, but were unable to stop the convoy from literally crashing into the ballroom where the auction was being held.
A chaotic melee and gunfight ensued, during which Russovich and Cornelius escaped, and Bashur attempted a quick getaway only to be cut off by Devi Gavin and a small platoon of Infonet-hired mercenaries. Devi and Bashur managed to come to a deal where Infonet would ignore Bashur's theft and treachery in exchange for the return of their items. Not among them, however, was the carbonadium synthesizer, assumed to have been destroyed in the fracas.
Before leaving, however, Devi received a call from Gambit, informing her that should she attempt to interfere any further in Jake's life, that her own would be forfeit. When the X-Force personnel returned to New York, Remy did not accompany them.
The mission was not a complete loss, however. Upon returning to New York, North found Jubilee waiting for him in his apartment. During the firefight, she had managed to secure the carbonadium synthesizer, sneak it out of the auction, and smuggle it back into New York with no one else the wiser. With the synthesizer in their possession, X-Force now holds a bit of leverage that they lacked before.
Trivia and Meta
This plot was the first time since his Weapon X days that Maverick used his original Cristophe Nord identity.
It was revealed in a conversation between North and Jake that the epithet of "monkey" that Maverick continually applies to Doug is actually a reference to North's own early days as an agent, and is a subtle show of respect couched in mockery from the older operative to his younger counterpart.