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[Open broadcast] Here's to you, Man With The Gravelly Voice...

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Harsh, biting static is cut to a silence as muffled breathing begins to fill the frequency. The breaths were haggard, heavy and like the static; they would cease as a voice would take it's place. It was low, perhaps even hoarse; and even then it barely crept forth.

"I've sat here for a day and a half now and I've thought... Thought about YOU. Thought about the woman with the gas mask and the silent one . But YOUR visage haunts me most of all, or lack thereof. It is a constant assault on my senses, every window I peer into I see that damned helmet. And that VOICE. That damned gravelly voice won't stop it's incessant assault on my ear."

His hand went up to his bandaged ear, fingers slipping past that freshly etched W on his right cheek. Even now it seared and reminded him of the humiliation he had endured in their hands, broken and beaten. His ear drum had been blown out with the firing of that pistol at such a cross proximity; yet even then he, Grigori Popovich, could swear he heard it. That voice. It. Would. Not. Cease. Teeth grit as a shaky hand reached for a clinking glass, liquid sloshing about it as he raised it up.

"I hope that we meet again. You and I. All of us. What a reunion it'd be, just the thought of it has me giddy... We are going to meet again. I'm sure you want to see your handy work properly healed, no? That lone, single W... Here's to you, Man With The Gravelly Voice."

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*Ivan hears the transmission and begins to speak. His voice deep and raspy, but is also warm, warmer that it had been that day.*

"Remember that W, freind. Remember what it stands for. Remember the lessons it teaches. Learn from it.

So many people run after them, with guns in their hands, screaming the words "vengence", "Justice". These men ain't listening. These men ain't learning.

The mark on your face means something, friend. There to remind you what you are. There to remind you.... to change.

Consider those men my brothers, even if I don't bear their mark of brotherhood. Man with the gravelly voice, more of a brother than the rest. But every single one of them, has been judged in turn. Every  single one of them, bears a mark of their own. Some, W like you. But most.... most have a different letter, with a different meaning.

Hope you learn from your mark. Hope it changes you. Hope that you too, someday bear the mark of Strength.

Stay safe friend. And hold on to that mask of yours."

*Ivan stops transmitting, hoping the man would heed his advice.*

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Static gave way once more to muffled breathing as if from behind a mask, then it ceased as it was replaced with words. Nothing significant, nothing out of ordinary, simply:

"Novy Sobor..."

The breathing returned momentarily before a slow exhale was pushed forth, followed by rustling and the sound of sloshing liquid. 

"Novy Sobor. I never thought much of it. Just another town, just another stop on the way back down Elektrozavodsk. Never gave it a second thought, but now... I can't quite forget it, can I? I've memories tied here now. Fresh in my mind no less."

The audible sound of drinking can be heard, the labors of the mans throat behind that mic being quite audible before being replaced with a refreshed sigh.

"I went back to the tree today. I saw the holes those bullets rent in the bark and I can't help but wonder how it'd have looked if that shot just went an inch lower."

Another deep drought was taken from that bottle before it landed on the table with a 'thunk'.

"Hope to see you three soon."

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