1963-08-26 - Assassin vs. Assassin
Summary: The Winter Soldier encounters X-23.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
laura bucky 

"He's coming!"

"Get to the lobby!"
"Can't! Lobby's blocked— claymore mines!"
"Damnit! Rooftop?"
"Some kind of gas grenade in the stairwell!"
"Sonvua—" A chattering of machine gun fire, men screaming, the sound of a body being thrown.
More screams.

These are the external stimuli that cross into Laura's dream sleep, the state where she rests betweeen missions— trapped between wake and sleep.

There's a frantic pounding on her holding tank's window, and the face of one of the handlers, distorted by glass, warbles back and forth as he screams at her, mashing the buttons to flood her system with adrenaline and endorphins to wake her from slumber.

"He's— help! He's in the building! Silver arm! Kill him!" her handler whimpers, jabbing a finger at the double-doors leading out of the old room. Once a small hospital, the clinic had been abandoned for so long that mold had started to claim the walls and leaks were bulging the wood with rot and warp. Few of the lights work, save for the portables brought in.

From the other halls, more gunfire, more shouts, the sound of a grenade. /Someone/ is up to all kinds of hell out there.


If she were honest… X-23 does not like these so-called "loan-out" missions. The agencies that require her services always have strange ideas about her. The tank and the sleep are one of those. But Weapons do not have an opinion and Weapons do not complain. Weapons do as the Hand directs. Weapons also belong in an Armory, which this place… is not. But that is not uncommon.

Bare feet touch floor as X-23 is released, and she glances with diinterest at the handler shouting panicked, sometimes conflicting orders at her. This too, is not uncommon. She reaches a hand out, pressed a finger to the man's lips lightly. "Shhhhh." Then she passes by, a slender ghost in a white, knee-length smock and peach-fuzz hair, tilting her head as she enters the hall. Listening. Gun fire. An explosion. Hurried bootfalls. Not what she's looking for.

Somewhere… there is deliberation. Somewhere is the sounds of a well-executed plan bringing forth chaos. This is the direction her bare feet tread, ignoring all else.


Reaper's come to town, and he's taking a terrible harvest. Winter Soldier prefers sabotage and assassination— the deliberate application of even a cut brake line to a single bullet. But there's a time and a place for Maximum Effort, to wipe out all combatants, destroy all footage, burn the building down and leave the enemy wondering what kind of monster went through their ranks and left not even a single soul alive to bear testimony.

A heavy M-60 machine gun in his left arm, fired single-handed despite the size and heft of that weapon, from a long linkage that feed over his shoulder from a duffel bag. In the other hand, a strange, insect-like snug-nosed SMG that's shockingly futuristic— a CZ Skorpion, firing with a sharp *bratta-tat-tat* next to the booming cough of the heavy M60.

He pauses at a hallway junction to reload and sweeps one hall, putting six rounds into the back of two fleeing scientists, and pauses— seeing a fuzzy-headed waif of a girl in a hospital gown staring at him with unreadable intent in her eyes.

Five eight, with scraggly hair and wearing a full metal facemask, he's just as unreadable— but the heavy metal covering his left arm certainly makes him quite distinctive.

There's a beat as the two of them peer at one another across that surreal, poorly illuminated gap— seeing who makes the first move.


Direct confrontation is not exactly X-23 normal operating mode, either, but she isn't the type to complain when things aren't perfect. No, she's a little too well-designed for that. Her eyes sweep the hallway and the man at the far end, noting salient features and points of opportunity… improvisable weapons, exits, potential flanking routes (including carving her way through walls). Parameters are identified, responses fall into place. X-23 discards Seeking, Pursuit, Stalking Phases as inappropriate. This calls for immediate Action.

The pause is not lengthy, and despite the high-level threat at the end of the hall, she launches into a full-out sprint down the hallway, feet squeaking breifly against the flooring. Head canted slightly downwards, eyes locked onto the Winter Soldier, arms and legs pumping in a determined fashion, she doesn't seems to care much about the firearms.


Bucky blinks once, but— well, some people have a deathwish. He levels that M60 at thesmall woman and pulls the trigger, belt-fed death spewing 600 rounds per minute down at her. At that range, missing is almost impossible, and the belt-fed weapon fires good American steel-core ammo. It could stop a light armored vehicle fairly easily, so what's one petite little Asian girl?


Missing is indeed basically impossible. And his aim is not suddenly terrible, but the girl doesn't even seem to be interesting in dodging the hail of fire. A bullet rips through her shoulder, another blows through her left kidney, five, ten, twenty rounds rip through her body. She staggers briefly when one rips a hole in her right quadriceps, but she's moving again in seconds. As she gets closer, it becomes more obvious what's happening— another round rips through he side of her face, leaving a gory furrow, and the flesh knits itself back together visibly.

Of course, by then, she's reached a range where she can launch herself off an overturned old clinic chair. There's a distinctive SNKT noise as glittering blades sprout from her fist, and she aims for the gun, intending to run the adamantine claw the length of the barrel. She cares about the effects of firing while she does so as she did about as much as she did the bullets. Big surprise there.


Calm detachment turns to genuine shock as she endures a massive spray of point-blank gunfire. Winter keeps firing until the last possible second, those heavy bullets ripping into bone and sinew with incredible force. He leaps back a half-second too late and she slashes through the barrel and gas assembly, ruining the weapon. He flings the machine gun at her and brings up that little SMG, nearly burying it in her chest and putting twenty rounds into her center mass in the space of mere moments.

Then she's /on/ him and Winter Soldier is abruptly pressed hard on his heels, but despite that— he's holding his own. That massive metal arm isn't adamantium but it's some unspeakably light and remarkably strong metal, so her slashing claws leave long gouges instead of tearing through it like tissue paper. He drops that SMG, leaving it to dangle by a strap, and snatches up a wickedly recurved knife in his other hand.

She's a ball of murder and fury, but Winter Soldier— he's a living legend. Honed by years on the battlefield, and functioning at a physical peak beyond the wildest dreams of the most evolved of humanity. So he parries and counterstrikes with expert speed, even getting in a few good hits as he slowly recovers the initiative after surviving her first, brutal assault.


Murder yes. Fury… is arguable. But she is not X-1, not the Wolverine, not given over to berserker rages and unthinking attack. She is an oiled machine, genetically superior to a mere human and honed into a razor's edge. She strikes, fast and with precision, and she cares nothing for wounds that would disable or kill a lesser opponent.

Of course, the arm is a problem. And pain tolerance or not, taking a full clip in the chest does make it harder to strike out at him effectively. But apparently that isn't near enough damage to do more than slow her down momentarily. Her clothes are in tatters, she's covered in blood, but still she comes on, trying to get around that accursedly resistant arm and get a clean shot on his far more vulnerable fleshy bits. The knife, too, is an issue— it won't withstand a good hit from her claws, but getting more than a glancing hit with the cutting edge just isn't going. If she were a person, and not a Weapon, this would be highly frustrating. She would prefer not to make use of all of her capabilities this quickly, but it's rapidly becoming evident she may have to very soon.


They're well matched. Too well matched. He's fantastically strong and despite his lack of natural weapons, that fist is no joke. He is as unpained by the sting of her knives as she is by his bullets, and it even creates a small advantage when he grips her wrist in that iron hand to try and restrain her arm, while his knife slashes against her knuckles to try and lever her hands away— keeping those dangerous hand-claws from slashing him to ribbons more than the long, ugly gashes on his ribs and belly have already given evidence.


X-23 tries first to pull herself free— and it's a good attempt, since she can strain her musculature in a fashion that would be ruinous for a human— but it's clear he's simply too strong for that option to be viable. A fallback is selected, and her bare little feet swing. She uses his grip as a pivot, and it's probably his ridiculously fast reflexes and the crisp SNKT noise from her toeclaw that saves him from being split from crotch to sternum by a nasty, glittering upwards backflip-kick.


"GAAAH!" Winter screams in pain, muffled by his mask— he'd bent back at the last moment but that toeclaw snapped under his floating rib, scraped upwards, and nearly perforated a lung. It was a grievous wound, though not fatal. He bulls forward, though, and pins that leg in place between her ribs and his, and keeping her hands spread wide, slams his steel-plated face into her forehead three times, in quick succession.

That buys him just enough time to grab her, whirl, and use her like a flail— smashing into ceiling, wall, wall, and floor, and doing more than enough damage to dislocate even a sturdy shoulder.

Then he flings her away four steps, draws a snub-nosed .357 from his waistband, and takes all the time required to line the sights up and put a bullet smack through the front of her nasal cavity.


X-23 is coming up when the gun comes out, just slow enough as her face and other various broken parts are knitting back together. Her eyes are a little unfocused, and regain their proper alignment just in time to see the nose of the gun flash. She hits the floor with a slightly more vacant stare than she's been giving him the entire time, motionless.

For approximately ten seconds. Then her finger twitches. An eyelid flutters, a leg kicks, the still-extended adamantine blade scraping against the tile like nails on a chalkboard. What's it take to keep this girl down? Apparently more than that.


Winter doesn't stand around to admire his handiwork. He grabs his gear and ditches, flinging detcord-wrapped C4 left and right. It's not a professional demolition job, but… well, hey, sometimes a little study in architectural engineering pays off. He just falls back on putting as many explosives as possible in one spot.

He lurches in an alley, slamming into a stack of garbage bins, and reaches for a remote detonator. With an ugly, angry glance over his shoulder, he sets off the explosives behind him to level the building— and hopefully bury the murder-weapon who'd nearly gutted him.

"Need…a bigger gun," he curses to himself, before limping down the street towards his getaway car.


Several minutes later, in the remainder of the building he left behind him, a pile of rubble shifts, dirt and dust cascading off of slim shoulders as a small dirty figure rises out of the ashes.

X-23 scans the area, removes a piece of steel rebar from her shoulder, and begins picking her way to the street to the nearest permanent extraction point. Tonight was an error. One that she will have to correct in the future.

Defects are… are… not acceptable. Yes.


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