1964-07-15 - A Little Friendly Ergot Poisoning
Summary: Winter Soldier, Harper, Black Mamba and Red Arrow converge on a bizarre tableau; a Revolutionary War reenactment, gone wrong.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
bucky harper tanya roy 

From one of the local college — or theatres, perhaps? — comes the reenactment of one of the critical turning points of the Battle of New York! No, not 'The Incident'. Part of a series of campaigns just after the United States declared its independence. The actors are antsy in their period-accurate clothing, adjusting buttons here, loosening collar there, and otherwise milling about as the crowd gathers to watch.

Little do they know that there's an actor with a firm stance against this. It's war. It's fighting. It's bloody — some folks carry dye packets beneath their clothing for that realistic slow spread of crimson gore. It's anathema to peace, people! And so…only one person amongst the group is clear-headed. The rest…victims of ergot poisoning. Gotta stick to the time period, after all, for maximum irony.

Tanya, in jeans of a cigarette-pant fit to accent those dancer's legs, pauses in her walk through Washington Square Park. She was using it as a shortcut, but this…is a kick. She join the crowd, adjusting her shoulder purse, and tries not to snicker to herself.

Seriously. Men in tights. Oh my.

"..what the hell is this?" Roy asks Tanya. The tall, dour member of their duo, he's wearing his leather jacket and a duffel bag slung over his shoulder; he leans around her side with a bratwurst from the vendor in hand, offering her a snack before taking a bite of his own meal.

His eyes concealed behind straight-rim sideglasses, he chaws the snack hungrily, shaking his head in bemusement — it's all period correct, sure, from muskets to red coats and blue tri-corner caps.

"This looks ridiculous. Why are they doing this re-enactment?" he asks Tanya in a low gravel, disapproval at some childish behaviour writ all over his lean features.

Harper may try to stay under the radar and out of the public eye, but groceries are a thing that has to happen sometimes. Usually cutting through the park saves some time getting back to her little bolt-hole of an apartment. But at the moment, that doesn't seem to be the case. In black capris, a light blue button-down shirt, and practical sneakers, she just looks like anyone else carrying a bag of groceries home from the store.

"What's the hold-up?" she asks as she pauses by Roy and Tanya, a slight southern drawl to her voice. "Well, hell. And here I thought this was limited to the south."

Tanya shrugs, managing to keep the bubbling laughter in her tone instead of bursting out aloud. Oh my god, the tights are killing her!!!

"Some sort of historical moment, I dunno." She glances over at Harper, unable to keep the sharp smile in check. "It's New York, girlfriend. The limitations here are few, apparently. They could be wearing tutus and it would be normal enough."

Roy's fries are summarily absconded with a deft motion and kept close to her chest. She nibbles on one delicately, savoring the salt and oil. Mmm, junk food.

"Welcome to the Big Apple," she adds to Harper before returning her attention to the actors.

Someone's getting antsy. Or hallucinating? Either way, a feral scream suddenly rips through the milling re-enactors. A man with lanky brown hair is ripping at his white waistcoat beneath the red outer layering, his musket lying forgotten on the grass.

"SHIT SHIT GET IT OFF ME SHIT IT'S EATING ME ALIVE!!!!" It triggers a handful of others into reaction in the process. Some soldiers go pale, others begin to itch violently at themselves, and there's a sudden fistfight in the very back.


Tanya slowly stops chewing her fry. "That isn't normal," she mutters, her mouth still full.

Roy steals back the fry Tanya's munching on and pops it into his mouth.

"It's New York, girlfriend," he tosses back at Tanya. The tall, lanky redhead glances at Harper, giving her an up-and-down; there's a narrow-eyed scrutiny to his gaze that would disabuse anyone of the notion that he's giving her anything other than a professional assessment.

His head swivels around, looking at the confusion among the witnesses in the crowd. "Bad," he concludes, finally. "This is the sort of thing that turns into a riot quickly," he mutters, watching two men whaling on each other with their replica muzzleloaders. He unslings his duffel bag and digs out a compound bow, deploying it in seconds, but pauses with a heavy scowl.

"I don't know if I have enough nonlethals to handle this," he tells Tanya, slinging his quiver to his back for mobility. "Can you do anything to neutralize them?"

Harper's brows furrow as the tone of the demonstration starts to change, more than just simple confusion in her features. She's searching, looking between the reenactors more sharply than someone who just thinks there are crazy people on the green. Her poor groceries. Something tells her they're not going to make it back to the apartment.

Once she's sure there's nothing they're actually seeing, she sets the groceries down, taking a few steps back from Roy and Tanya. That's suspicious too, but the bigger concern is that people are likely to get hurt in the middle of this. In a blink of an eye, she goes invisible, disappearing.

Already, the crowd is beginning to get nervous — and some very quickly. Anyone standing still is going to get bumped by people stepping backwards or watching the chaos over their shoulders because every train wreck is hard to look away from. Some small group of folks are cheering near the front, but one can nearly smell the liquor on their persons from here. They'll be of no help at all.

"Heeeyyyy…" grumbles the brunette, giving Roy a momentary glare for said stealing of the single fry. Still, in the general scale of things, it's small change compared to a riot. She nods silently in agreement with him. "I can try to whammy the major crazies, but I haven't tried taking multiple targets at once. Not with any of my powers — hey, where did — " She cuts herself off as she comes to the conclusion that Harper summarily ditched the scene along with the members of the crowd who possess more self-preservation than the rest. "Never mind. Dammit," she mumbles, stuffing one more handful of fries into her mouth like a ravenous chipmunk. The rest are placed aside on a concrete wall, sure to be forgotten or prey for those damn seagulls. "Take down as many of them as you can with what you have. I'll watch for runners."

The brawl in the back continues, the meaty sounds of impact very apparent. Another re-enactor is attempting to climb a nearby tree, apparently harried by unseen hounds. The guy having the Alien moment has successfully taken off his undershirt as well and is clawing fitfully at his skin, leaving long red streaks in the wake of his panic. Someone else is on their knees retching.

One guy is smiling and giggling to himself, grabbing at butterflies that simply aren't there. He's the lucky one…?

Roy vanishes, too. Not vanishes — he's climbing a nearby lightpole as effortlessly as he'd scale a ladder, getting some height over the nearby fracas. He's up fifteen feet in a trice, and nocks an arrow to his bow.

The first few he throws down are glue grenades — aiming at the largest confrontations, spattering fast-expanding tacky foam around that grows harder and gummier the more people thrash against it. It's not strong enough to stop a grown man cold; but it's exhausting to slog through it, and few people have the energy to really throw more than a few punches after wrestling their way out of it.

He *thocks* another man in the side of the head with a rubber-tipped arrowshaft, knocking him ass over teakettle into unconsciousness, and little regard for the fact he's perched on the light pole with nothing but his legs braced against it for stability.

"Runner headed north," Roy tells Tanya, calmly, from his fine survey position over the fracas.

Harper may have disappeared from sight, but not from the fray. As Roy goes high, Harper wades through the fleeing crowds and toward the would-be revolutionaries. The man headed for the tree is her first target, lest he get high enough to actually hurt himself. Of course, from the outside, it probably looks very odd when he's pulled up short by his collar, spun around, then swept to the ground. Maybe they're not all really imagining things?

"OH MY GOD NO SPARE ME, PLEASE, SPARE ME!!!" The man pulled to the ground by Harper begins a gut-deep howling sobbing. He's absolutely convinced that he's about to die and curls in on himself like a salted slug, protecting his head as best he can.

Tanya takes a critical moment to appreciate the fact that Roy is, in fact, atop the lightpole. She frowns, her smile communicating her disbelief, and then she shrugs. Stepping up on the concrete wall beside the fries gives her the height she needs to locate the runner.

"Yeah, well, not for long." Indeed, there goes the re-enactor, this one with both hands in the air like he just don't care. He's saved from being a streaker by the wearing of his tight tights and those alone. This must be one of the sympathetic scratchers who avoided the foam blobbing. "I'll be back in a second!" she calls out, audible to both Roy and Harper. Her long legs enable her a quick, arm-churning sprint across the open grassy space towards the guy and both go down in a tangle of limbs. Tackling solves everything! "Goddamn it, stop — hold still — stop squirming!" This is the Butterfly Guy, who keeps giggling like a maniac. He's not speaking any sensical language, more toddler-babbling than anything else, and acting like one to boot — except he's something like 6'2".

Roy blinks. He knows a bit about groundfighting and a little about drugs, and no drug lets someone do a standing frontflip absent a lot of squatting and core muscle control.

"…Huh," he grunts — and he gets back to work.

"Tanya! Whammy!" he shouts at the woman, shaking his head and dumbfounded — she's fairly fit, sure, but why on earth is she -tackling- him…?

Then a gunshot goes off, and Roy almost falls out of the lightpost in surprise. Sure enough, some fool had set flint to his rifle and fired a round off into the air. The bystanders panic and scream, running in all directions. The re-enactor starts to repack his gun with fumbling fingers, sweating heavily; then he drops with a huge grunt of pain as Roy hits him in the kidney with a blunt arrowhead. Crying and whimpering, the 'shooter' goes down, his rifle clattering to the ground.

"Can't lay down gas; too much wind!" he shouts at Tanya.

Stranger things still are coming for anyone watching the progress of the fight. Harper's taken down on man, but he's still struggling, and it's not productive. Time to try another tactic. Stepping back, she weaves the light into an illusion of a stone wall around the man on the ground. If they're going to be seeing things, maybe there are safer things for them to see than whatever they're imagining.

The sobbing man risks a glance up to see if the hellhounds really are slavering over his soon-to-be-corpse and — a wall. "OH MY GOD THANK YOU!!!" More blubbering and he remains where he is. "THANK-HANK-HANK YOU-HOO-HOO-HOO!!!" He has no idea where the wall came from, but he can't see those terrifying creatures anymore. At least one mind is consoled! Success!

"I'm working — on it!" Tanya grunts, attempting to make eye contact with the wriggly man. He keeps grabbing up by her ears and it's making her nervous, dammit! Finally — she finds those glassy dark eyes and the glint in her own olive-green is enough to render him stunned, followed by limp as a noodle on the grass. "And stay down," she commands with a point of a finger, manicure remaining intact.

The sudden crack of a gunshot has her flinching and throwing herself to one side of the re-enactor, belly flat to the grass. Immediately, flecks of inky energy glob together before swirling out and above her. The emergence of the Darkforce has blotted out the whites of her eyes. The black-on-peridot-on-black is an eerie sight, to be sure, as she scrambles to her feet and immediately tries to find anyone else fiddling with their weaponry.

The two assassins are distracted by the rifle-fire. Perfect. The one sane actor, his tricorn tilted at a jaunty angle, looks around from behind a nearby tree and grins in dire appreciation at the results of his actions.

One reenactor safely hidden behind a wall of illusion. Never mind if it just looks weird all around, but Harper is happy to have one taken care of. The question, then, is just how many of those walls can she maintain? Gunfire is a high priority, though, and with one man safely contained, she makes a dash for the nearest man with a rifle, snatching it out of his hands. As soon as she touches it, the rifle disappears as well, light passing directly through it.

If only that was how nuclear disarmament worked.

He was walking home towards Kai's place. There are nights when even after a shift, the restlessness is enough to make Buck's skin crawl. Easier to walk or run it off and crash out on the elf's couch not long before dawn. Not ,like he doesn't work nights anyway.

The sound of gunfire, even flintlock musketry, is enough to raise his antennae….so Buck's crept up on this scene as stealthily as he can, still in dark work clothes. The generalized carnival of insanity's enough to make him pause for a good long while, assessing the situation - one of those few moments where Winter and James are in accord. When it's clear that there might be one guy who's a puppet-master, or at least the instigator….that's his target. Lucky for the guy in question, Bucky has nothing beyond an automatic, some cheap Colt imitation. And even that he's got in a reverse grip, ready to pistolwhip the guy with, if needed. That's not how he begins, though - reaching out with that gloved metal hand to try and scruff him like a badly behaved puppy. "What are you doing to these people?" he demands, in a hoarse whisper.

Indeed, the wind is no friend to Robin Roy, atop his lightpost and with his bow nocked with another rubber-tipped shaft. One re-enactor is sneaking up on his fellow soldier with clawed hands clearly ready to strangle.

This guy takes an arrow to the knee. No more adventuring for him.

The next actor to be caught jamming the thin rod down the barrel takes an arrow to the side of the head — THUNK — unconscious. Harper's man blinks at the disappearing rifle and shrieks in a surprisingly high pitch before spinning around and promptly running into the nearest lightpole. Not Roy's, another one, and this lays him flat. Ding, another one bites the dust!

Tanya's running back towards the group at this point, Darkforce ghosting along with her like demented dancer's veils, and these immediately rush out to wrap around the two men still brawling, bloody-nosed, on the edges of the madness. With air and sight cut off, they disengage from each other real fast. Now comes the challenge of gauging when to call off the power…because it's so very easy to slip back into very bad habits. Her blackened eyes narrow at the two of them flopping on the ground, her own hands slightly curled before her stomach.

Scruffed via the back of his red coat like the bad, bad puppy that he is, the ecoterrorist in disguise loses his jaunty tricorn cap and utters an undignified squeak. "I ain't done nothing!!!" He tries to slap back at Bucky. The wriggling guy is all brain and no brawn.

Right. If the guns are gone, then no one is going to be shooting them. And if they can't see you coming…Marking some success with one gun claimed, Harper slings the musket over her shoulder and starts to move unseen among the reenactors still standing. When she reaches one, there's a quick snap of a wrist or a blow to the throat before she claims the gun and, once in her grip, it simply disappears from view.

It's a good thing it's noisy out here, though. Carrying a quiver's worth of flintlock rifles is noisy business.

This poor guy. For some definitions of 'poor guy'. Buck drops him and shifts his grip to not quite pulling a Vader - but the steelly fingers permit the would-be ecoterrorist just enough air to speak. "Bullshit," Bucky returns, almost conversationally. "You're watching this, and you're smiling…..but you're not doing anything. Bystander'd've fled or called the cops or tried to help. So start talking." The grin is Winter's, as is the particular glint in the pale eyes, only a hair or two away from a very different kind of madness. "Because if you don't make yourself useful, I'll just kill you."

"Tanya!" From a far distance comes her name, in a voice she's beginning to know well. Still, it's hard to pull back on the intensity of the Darkforce's application. It's very quickly slipping from simple apprehension to something else entirely. The two men are grabbing madly at their faces now, dragging her nails uselessly at the inky blackness hooding them. The assassin watches, frighteningly blank behind her eerie eyes, the Darkforce's seductive song overwhelming her morality in this moment.

The rest of the crazed re-enactors are methodically removed of their weapons. Some notice, some don't, and those that do make sounds of dismay, various curses in various languages. One guy, in a ponytail, even attempts to grab after the missing weapon, very much into Harper's personal space!!!

"Okay!" A choked gulp and the man's knuckles go white trying to pry at Winter's metal gauntlet about his throat. "Okay! Stop! I'll talk — please, stop!"

When the man reaches out for her, Harper uses the current rifle in her hand to rap across his wrist, aiming a heel at his gut to push him back and out of her way. It sends the growing collection of rifles slung across her shoulders to clattering - a very odd sound for anyone close enough to hear it and realize they can't see the source - but it should be enough to buy her a little bit of space. Still, even one of those rifles is heavy. Carrying half a regiment's worth is seriously hindering Harper's ability to duck and weave through the crowd, creating an odd ripple effect to a distant observer.


A blunted arrow whistles past Tanya's ear — close enough to flick at her lobe, and snap a single, trailing tendril of her hair from her scalp.

Roy stares at her over the string of his compound bow, and even behind his glasses, there's a grim reprimand in his voice as he watches her flirt with the bleeding edge of doing something that cannot be undone.

He drops off the lightpost smoothly, his cache of non-lethal arrows expended, and walks towards the fray with a quick, toe-heel step. Things are getting out of hand; Roy's fine with some casual bloodshed among criminals, but these guys are clearly insane out of their gourds. He gets near Tanya to cover her person, producing a short baton and preparing to use it to defend her against anyone who gets too close with a threat in their eye.

Why is he involved? Winter, in whatever particular thoughtform he's taken for the moment, is only mildly curious. He should've walked on home. But…..Sergeant Barnes spent how many years trailing after the Star Spangled Man? You can't just leave innocents to suffer. His grip loosens a notch. "What's wrong with them?" he asks, in that conversational tone, still far too close for comfort. Sooner or later the other vigilantes are gonna notice him….and there will be inevitable problems. Someone's still way up on the FBI's list, and his face is still in post offices all over the Five Boroughs.

The sudden whift of displaced air and the hum of the arrow is enough to jolt her from whatever siren's hold the Darkforce has upon her. A gasp and Tanya loosens the grip on the inky pseudo-energy. It breaks apart the hoods on the men like torn cheesecloth and they inhale loudly, set to coughing for the dramatic need to properly breathe again. She swallows as Roy joins her on the ground. The Darkforce is pulled back into her person and she simply tucks herself into the Archer's shadow, hollowed for what nearly happened. Hey, at least the two aren't brawling anymore!

She jumps at the sudden sound of collapsing rifles — where the hell did that come from?! Wait…no one has their weapons. Where did the weapons go?!

"Roy…where are the rifles?" she asks of the Archer, a little tremble to her voice. She's spotting the weird rippling in the air nearby. This assassin does NOT do ghosts.

"Ergot!" The man manages to choke out, still attempting to pry Winter's cold hand from his person. "Ergot powder!"

Nothing to see here! Well, aside from the way anyone who seems to be crossing a line gets pushed out of the way by some invisible force, twisted and knocked to the ground long enough to move over and disappear one more gun. When one gets particularly insistent, Harper manages to grab the nape of his jacket, pulling it down and around his elbows to get his arms caught and stuck behind his back. "Y'all really need a new hobby," the invisible assailant mutters.

Roy hugs Tanya to him and the grim set of his jaw alone is enough to deter one man who comes at him, hurdling the others and screaming lunacy — there's something in Roy's face that stops him cold, triggering a survival instinct and sending him skittering away. Roy's arm slips around Tanya's lean shoulders, hugging her against his pectoral as she cringes away from the melee. The baton stays out as a warding perimeter for anyone else who comes too near, and Roy backs the two of them out of the danger zone.

"It's okay," he mutters, his voice carrying only to her. "There's someone invisible doing the work. We're done. You're okay," he says, soothing her with his rasping baritone as he pulls her to safety.

"What the fuck were you thinking?" It's an aggrieved sigh. "What's your goal with this?" Assuming this jackass has one. He's going to have to find a payphone and call this in….to whatever local precinct he can find. That's what the world needs - the Winter Soldier thumbing through an ancient set of YellowPages.

"Invisible?!" Tanya will deny squeaking later. Tucked against Roy, she moves with him as they move out of the immediate area of the melee. People are getting tired now, caught up in that blue tacky foam put down earlier or simply burning themselves out from attempting to deal with the hallucinations. Most are sprawled on the turf.

Harper has one last snatcher still grabbing at her, making random pulls at the air in front of him. "Give it back!" he growls, baring teeth.

The guy in the Vader-like grip keeps fighting, blotches of red showing at his cheeks. Anyone who looks over can see him fighting with a rather silvery arm, those fingers still about his neck. "The war is wrong, brother! Can't you see that?! This is — " he coughs, trying to kick at Bucky's shins. "This is wrong! It ain't right! It's mockery!"

That one crazed actor, the one who leapt over another vomiting cohort, makes a sudden beeline at the Winter Soldier and the progenitor of this whole madness. He screams like an incoming missile, eyes showing white and constricted and he's probably ready to bite someone at this point.

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, you people were crazy in the first place, I doubt you really needed bad grain to take another step," Harper exclaims when the last man reaches for her, using the butt of the rifle square on his chin to put him down hard. At least that's what it looks like from her perspective. From the outside, the disembodied voice and the suddenly falling man are probably a lot more unsettling.

Fun fact: Red Arrow isn't just handy with bows. Or guns. Really, he's got that knack for trajectory and timing that makes a person an effective ranged combatant.

But all he has handy is his baton. So he takes two quick steps away from Tanya, priming his right hand behind him and holding the left out — gauge his distance, lead the target —

His right arm whips forward, flinging the heavy police baton end over end with a whipping helicopter sound, almost a blur.

It smacks the last madman right in the side of the head and drops him like a sack of hammers, skidding to a halt right next to Bucky's boots.

Roy turns back to Tanya, reaching his hand out to her again. "Breathe. You're okay," he says, his cold command tempered with genuine worry for the leggy dancer.

Steve and I gave our normal lives so these assholes…. Bucky can't even finish the thought. "If you mean the Revolution, it's won," he points out, quietly. "If you mean re-enactors….this is not the way to stop that hobby." There's enough mercy in him that he doesn't just hurl the guy at the incoming maniac, but flings him aside with contempt. If the guy should happen to be knocked out on a convenient tree, well…. the new attacker he just sidesteps and holds that arm out in an attempt to clothesline him.

Then Roy makes it unnecessary, and he and Tanya are treated to the spectacle of Bucky pausing to try and straighten his sleeve and rebutton his cuff, where his first victim clawed it down, exposing the metal. "Thanks," he says to Roy, casually. It's mostly dark - maaaaaaybe they won't recognize him?

"I'm fine!" Says the brunette who is clearly not one-hundred percent fine. All she wanted was to finish her fries and go shopping and maybe even pester Roy enough to buy her a slice of pie, but now there's an invisible thing dropping Revolutionary actors like sacks of bricks and Tanya just stands there, struck mute, hugging herself. Not useful right now, this one.

The one to start it all definitely bounces off a nearby tree with a grunt of impact and splays out on his side, still breathing.

Crisis averted! Ding, level up. The spread of incapacitated bodies is a job well done — except for now, someone definitely should call the medics. Some of the men are still retching. Ew.

But oh — mark her well, the Mamba recognizes the flash of that silvery arm quickly hidden away beneath the sleeve of Bucky's shirt. Her eyes widen at him, drawing attention to the man with her pointed line of sight.

Harper is not a thing! Although, to be fair, being invisible does leave everything to the imagination. Unfortunately, with the worst of the fight over, that means there's less noise to cover the clattering of almost two dozen rifles slung over her shoulders. Which means she needs to dump the guns somewhere, quickly. Too bad for Bucky he's already claimed the most secluded place. Clatter clatter clatter.

Roy doesn't know Bucky from Adam. But Tanya's reaction — the sharp intake of breath, the widening of her eyes — triggers his instincts more than anything else. He blades away from Bucky a little, his body gaining that stillness that true martial experts express before movement; not telegraphing his thoughts or his actions.

But his right hand slips behind him, looking for the butt of a revolver tucked into his belt. Because Bucky is, at the very least, a serious badass.

All right. This is bad. Bucky lifts his hands, slowly, in a peaceable gesture. We're all gonna be cool, like little- and then there's Harper, making all that damn noise. It would be hilarious, watching the Winter Soldier go scuttering sideways like a startled kitten….except that in the process he's got that crappy would-be Colt in hand again. This one he must've bought off the black market or stolen, rather than taken out of the Red Room's caches. He does manage not to shoot anyone. Yet.

Okay, there's more knocking of invisible things against things and she can't see them, but she can very much see the gun now in Bucky's hand and this is very not good.

"Roy, don't!" Tanya hisses, digging her own nails into her sides and trying desperately to ignore the cold puddling in her extremities. "That's him!" The amount of adrenaline in her system and general lack of sangfroid means that she knows precisely which him this is. Whether or not it's properly communicated is up to chance.

Was him. They just dealt with that whole pile of crazies, and fan-girling on Tanya's part or no, that's not something he'll stay to deal with unless he has to. The Mexican stand-off is over almost before it begins….a step back, two, and then he's just gone.

Only to show up a few blocks away at the nearest sub-precinct, walk in and report the incident to an extremely startled desk sergeant…..and then vanish himself again before the NYPD can grab him.

Roy holds his fire; he waits until Bucky's gone, surprised at how well the fellow just …. fades into the background.

Almost as well as the invisible chick.

He looks down at Tanya, then around, then shakes his head. "Sure," he mutters, unwilling to contend the point. "C'mon. Cops won't be far away; let's get back to the bike and head to your place." He touches Tanya's forehead, then her cheek. "You're still a little shocked. Let's get you a drink and laid down for a bit," he tells her, before gathering his gear and shepherding her back from the altercation— no matter how loudly she clamours about seeing her antihero hero!

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