Red Equinox

   I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

   - Winston Churchill
   October 1, 1939

   The companions arrive in a new gateway to find that it's smaller than normal, and that the door is jammed shut. Krysty is forced to use her Gaia power to wrench the door open, but she badly damages the locking mechanism, rendering the gate inoperable.
   After she recovers, they go exploring. They find that the gateway is located at the bottom of a very long stairway, which opens onto the top floor of a large house. JB takes his readings and discovers that they're in Russia, not far from Moscow. The gateway was placed below a dacha given to the Americans in the 1990s.
   Rick opens the front door and is nearly shot by someone outside. After waiting a few minutes with no further shooting, Ryan takes JB and Jak to track down the shooter. They quickly find him - or rather, her. It's an old woman with a musket. She pretends to surrender, only to get close enough to Ryan to draw a straight razor, but Jak kills her with a knife.
   They follow her tracks back to a small cottage, where they load up on food, but they're interrupted by the return of her son, an eight-foot-tall giant. Ryan has to shoot him five times to kill him. As they're leaving, they run into three horsemen. Rather than take the chance of being reported, they kill the men and leave their horses, then flee back to the dacha.
   Meanwhile, in Moscow, Gregori Zimyanin, now a Major-Commissar with a desk job, has received a report of three men gone missing near Peredelkino, where the dacha is located. He dismisses it as unimportant.
   The next day, Ryan, JB, and Krysty head out to see if they can find a way to Moscow - Rick needs tools to repair the gateway. They find a road, but a jeep with sec men in it appears, forcing them to flee back into the woods. They get away before anyone can react. Unfortunately, a pack of wolves gets their scent. They're chased back to the dacha, only losing the wolves after they wade through a stream.
   The next day, Ryan and Krysty take Rick along to translate for them. They travel for most of the day before seeing anyone, a lone man leading a cart. Rick exchanges pleasantries, and they move on.
   In Moscow, Zimyanin is receiving more reports about a one-eyed man, a woman with very red hair, and a thin man with glasses. They sound a lot like the people he met in Alaska, but the thought of Americans in Russia is ludicrous.
   The trio makes it to the outskirts of Moscow. As they're walking down the street, a man comes running by and they hear a wailing noise. Everyone promptly flees for cover, so the companions follow suit. The man is run down and murdered by a band of children - a wolfpack working for the government.
   After spending the night in an abandoned building, they wander deeper into the city, finding a market of sorts. With Rick stumbling through a translation, they find a dentist to yank Ryan's rotten tooth. They don't have money to pay the man, though, so they flee and steal a truck.
   This report, of course, joins the growing pile on Zimyanin's desk. He sends a report to his superior, but the man denies his request for additional manpower, so Zimyanin decides to take a ride into the country himself.
   Back at the dacha, Jak has been making raids on the nearby ville, stealing food. Doc goes with him on one raid and returns with a puppy, which he names Zorro.
   Ryan, Krysty, and Rick continue to wander deeper into Moscow. Rick eventually finds out where they can find tools - in a market. On the way, they're rounded up for a work party to clear a clogged culvert. A young woman removes the blockage, getting a reward from the soldiers, and everyone is released. The trio follows her into an alley, and Ryan knocks her out and takes her money.
   The next morning, they pass by a museum of sorts, one devoted to the struggle against the US. Ryan wants to see what's inside, so they follow the crowd going in. A lot of it is typical propaganda, but they find something interesting - a set of tools that Rick says are exactly what they need (and were taken from the dacha). At the end of the tour, they come to a case with a tattered American flag in it. The Russians spit on the case to show their contempt, so the Americans are forced to as well. Rick, sickened, makes Ryan promise to rescue the flag when they come back for the tools.
   Zimyanin, who's still out driving around the city, plays a hunch. If there really are Americans around, they'd be most likely to head to the museum. He has the guards set up a security net, but they miss the trio by a few bare seconds.
   That night, Ryan and Krysty slip back into the museum. They get the tools with no problem, but when they lift the flag, it sets off an alarm. They make it out, but not before having to kill several guards. Rick's ALS is getting worse - so much so that he can't move on his own - so Krysty goes on to the dacha to get help while Ryan remains behind.
   Ryan goes out the next day to get food, and he's approached by the leader of a wolfpack. He knows the gig is up, so he shoots his way free and flees back to the workshop where Rick is holed up. Jak and JB have arrived by this time; Jak steals a wag, and they take the road out of the ville.
   They come to a checkpoint not far from the city. Since there's no way they can blow through it without someone getting killed, Ryan and JB get out and circle around to distract the men while Jak drives the truck. They pull the guards' attention away long enough for Jak to blow through and keep driving, while they make their way on foot.
   They make it a few more miles before they're rounded up for yet another work party - this one to dig the road free from a landslide. Zimyanin, who is now hot on their trail, is forced to stop and wait for the road to clear. Ryan and JB nearly avoid his notice - they get the road clear enough for the truck to pass, and he's almost gone when he realizes something is wrong. He stops and goes back, then calls them up. Ryan pulls his pistol and sticks it in Zimyanin's gut. He takes the Russian along as a hostage as they hijack the truck. When they're far enough down the road, Ryan lets Zimyanin go without killing him, and he and JB head back to the dacha.
   With the tools, Rick is able to get the gateway working, but Zimyanin knows where they are and has brought a large force of men. A desperate battle ensues while Rick and Doc race to fix the gate; when they do, the companions retreat down the hidden stairs just ahead of Zimyanin, who finds the door and follows.
   At the bottom, Rick is dying. He wraps himself in the flag and sets himself up with a pyrotab and a couple cans of gas, but dies before the companions jump, so Ryan sets off the gas and slams the door shut. Zimyanin gets in while the chamber is cycling and starts to strangle Ryan, and they jump to a new redoubt.