1964-11-07 - Project Virgo: Volya the Hunter
Summary: The seventh son born under a bad sign meets his maker.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky wanda 

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d7 for: 7

… 2145 hours. Connecticut …

Just over the state line, a forgettable stretch of office blocks in the back streets of a dusty urban conglomeration. They call that sprawl, in future days. Parking lots in concrete host forgettable two and three storey blocks where fly by night companies roost as long as their profits run. The signs never stay in place for long. Security guards don't ask questions about odd hours. They don't question white vans or black sedans coming and going.

One of those facilities stands apart from the rest, ringed in a selection of spots never filled. Through a door is a foyer where magazines never read but always current litter a waiting room table. A receptionist, a heavy-set girl in a yellow polyester dress, mans a phone and a rolodex, typing out letters that never go anywhere but a mailroom for shredding on a fancy electric typewriter. The place feels temporary because it is, the locked filing cabinets empty, the offices with their neat, cookie-cutter particle board furniture rarely if ever visited. The office staff check in, check out, and do things entirely unrelated to their bland, official titles.

Through a door, down past a warren of filing cabinets and vacuum tubes, is a door sealed by some pretty advanced technology. Through there a pair of agents drink hot coffee and peer through a one way mirror as a man does push ups. They've tallied them off. The tally covers a chalkboard. Somewhere past 4,478, and one of the agents uses a hand clicker to mark off the next set. It's a persistent rattle.

The dark-haired young man hasn't stopped. His shirt is off, hurled away. Muscles gleam and sweat under the flushed hue of his skin. In every way he's near physically perfect.

So, there's another one of them, accompanied by a stone-faced, high level agent. He looks eerily similar, of course. Longer hair, more wear, and that metal arm, though the latter's covered, as it always is. No attempt to sneak up on the agents watching - quite the opposite. Buck's got the stun bracelet on his ankle, hidden under the leg of his jeans, which are loose enough to mostly conceal it. But being treated like a bomb waiting to go off is entirely reasonable. There are a lot of stars on the wall at SHIELD's academy because of him….even though he's one of the first ones, himself. He watches the man in the cell and the agents with equal patience.

Treated like a bomb going off would be appropriate in more ways than one, for the signals are mixed at best from the psychological profiles run again and again and again on this particular dark, dour Russian figure. He's the embodiment of the long, harsh Siberian night in mid-December. The wet trails of his hair have not been pulled back from his shoulders or his face, left to cling wherever the sweat captures stray locks. His shoulders flex powerfully in a minimal amount of effort, hoisting him up to the apex of his rise and dropping down again. Another click on the hand-held counter, another. It's regular as clockwork and the two agents forced to witness this are probably bored out of their damned skulls. Hard to remain so terribly vigilant when it comes to someone who is clearly out to break a kind of record on how many pushups someone can do in a single hour. Or a day. A month.

"You're not the relief. Where's Decker?" says the second. He sighs. "Too much to ask?"

The first starts before the poker face slams into place. Stone, his name badge would read if he had name badges.

Buck's minder's of that same mind - about as expressive as a cinderblock. "Barnes gets to visit them. I stay out here, with this." A little remote - they know what it is for, the bracelet that will drop Buck like a poleaxed steer if anything looks to go wrong. "If you object, state your objections." White, his ID says. "I don't know where Decker is. If you want to wait until full chance of shift, we will. No chances taken." Buck's schooled his expression to bored resignation, rather than tail wagging eagerness.

The second sighs and keeps clicking off pushups. That's somewhere approaching 5,000, with no signs from Volya that he intends to stop any time before the collapse of capitalism or the implosion of the red giant Sun. Down, hold, up. He breathes out sharply through his teeth and barely bothers to turn his attention away from the cracked line in the cement in front of him. Maybe this exercise will break the floor from under him. After all, one way glass; he can't see who comes and who goes. His body is clearly unscarred and unmarked, no tattoos present like the other sorts.

"Decker's probably lost getting coffee and shift doesn't end for another two hours." Click. Click. He's having the time of his life. Go into SHIELD, they said. Right, could've had a life in the Air Force.

Stone grunts. "Fine."

Fight inhuman enemies. Get pulped by aliens. Air Force, indeed. "Let him in," says White. He's got the little clicker tucked away in his pocket, hand on it, as if Bucky might decide now is the time to be a Bad Dog…..the other on his sidearm. Lest the clone come bursting out in a hurry.

The Soldier's square in the door, first target if Volya does object tovisitors.

The door isn't easy to spot, flush into the wall. Stone disengages the electric lock with an ominous thump and it swings aside, freeing up another magnetic seal that buzzes out of being. Bucky can turn the handle himself, presumably. Doing so leaves a fairly narrow aperture for him to enter the chamber that smells rather heavily of clean sweat, disinfectant, and some kind of dustier background harder to identify. Volya is up the moment that door opens, recoiling.

He snaps back onto his heels in a crouch, rapidly withdrawing. Space opens up as he adopts that savagely defensive pose, his knuckles clearly battered from either punching the wall too much or spontaneously splitting. Muscles ripple as he scents the air and turns those pale, cold eyes on anyone who enters.

"He ain't friendly," sighs Number Two.

"Yeah, I see that," says Bucky, drily. He's only in t-shirt and jeans, hair tied behind him with a rubber band. No arms, no uniform or insignia. In Russian he says, gently, «You can stand down, I'm not here to hurt you.» Both hands are lifted in a gesture of placation.

«Huh.» Volya's tone is rather defiant and disbelieving, gone totally flat. He's got all the expression of a stump and roughly the animation endowed upon a bag of Portland concrete. The watchfulness comes out of a bone-deep reflex somewhat sickening to perceive. The body isn't meant to remain at that high state of alertness all the time. He is a bit dirty given the floor is hardly pristine. Explosion promise in every movement follows as his wariness shoots up, edging sideways. «What do you want?»

With a telegraphed deliberation, Bucky folds himself down to sit cross-legged on the floor, hands on his knees. Now it is sharing time at kindergarten. «To talk to you,» he says, simply. «I'm James.» He skews the pronunciation Russian, slurring the J into the Dzh that's as close as it comes.

Kindergarten by Hydra: everyone hold your arms up and shout 'Heil!'

Volya simply stares without any animating expression worthy of description. His naturally deep-set eyes hold even harder edges than Bucky's own. He hasn't had the benefit of recent hope or reasonable treatment from SHIELD to erase those shadows, if they can ever be bleached out. «Talk about what?» Those clipped sentences raise the hackles, hostility a mantle around him. No, he's not one of the nice ones. Last seen strapped to a chair unconscious, the progress there is telling. «Yasha.»

It's the diminutive. That's something, right? «Yasha,» he agrees, with a faint note of approval. «You. To see how you were. How you are now.» Keeping himself small, low-key. Not a threat, and not treating Volya like one. Wolfiekins there can take him, if he really tries.

It's the more common form for something. Volya twitches his shoulders, the effort of stopping in the thousands of push ups causing a building up lactic acid. He has to roll them, clench his hands into fists, something to alleviate the severe discomfort creeping up. His gaze is a hardened lance thrust into Bucky's gut, and not much higher. «Not dead. They're stupid.»

A jerk of his head indicates the observers beyond the mirrored glass. «Yeah?» he asks, without an ounce of skepticism. Anything to keep him talking, and not fighting. The bump of the stunband is printed against the denim of his jeans.

Volya just glares, stooped on himself. He is slightly taller, slightly broader. His back against the wall is comforting only because of the muscle tears making their protests known, acid in an open wound of a certain. The observers don't get a look from him. It's possible he doesn't even realize the nature of the glass. «Wouldn't you be?»

He shrugs, the light in the cell rippling along the metal arm. «Sure. They're not us, after all. They get slack.» Buck's looking him over, thoughtfully. The variation on a theme, like a master carver's reiteration of a particular sculpture, rather than something stamped out by a press.

Volya goes back to flat silence, still working out the kinks in his shoulders, his arms. There's nothing quite like trying to figure out how to stay quiet and deal with the fact he's pushing himself to total muscle fatigue. This one might be younger, but the look in his eyes is the dead stare of a statue.

«You're what they wanted me to be,» he says, lightly. «It's kind of neat to see it, honestly.» There's no slack in Bucky, he keeps in training. That body never gains any spare flesh, though he's a little more heavily muscled than he was when they unleashed him last. Blame sparring with Steve. «They didn't teach you English, though, did they?»

The statement goes in one ear. Rattles around in the tin can of the mind. Goes out the other. Difficult to say whether any of it strikes home since he comes from that school of facial expressions in negative. Volya keeps staring at his better original, the first photocopy, the one that happens to be absent elsewhere. «No.»

He knows better, and no doubt there is serious pucker factor in the Agents watching this….but none of them stop him as Bucky edges forward, a little, reaching a hand out with deliberate slowness. Reaching for Volya's hairline, to brush away some of that sweat-stringy hair. No doubt he'll be seized for the trying, but…

Oh yeah, they've got to love it. Stone, White, and Second — Carolton, as it happens — all watch from the other side of the glass. They take notes while things are recorded, words quietly jotted down by mechanical objects spinning film and tape on slow reels.

"Shit, shit, abort!" snaps Stone, composure broken for a moment. He smacks his hand on the table. It won't be heard. Maybe White has better reaction.

Volya's training is what it is. That hand is fixed by pale eyes. The fingers slip closer, closer, and then he lashes out with explosive force. His palm cracks out while the other arm deflects up, meaning to jam fingers, strain the wrist, put immense pressure away from his face.

White could stop Bucky's half of this in two heartbeats, drop him like a sack of sand on the floor….helpless in Volya's reach. But he doesn't. Is he one of the ones who lost a friend to the first Soldier, knew the terror of unseen crosshairs crawling up his spine? OR just willing to let it run for a little, to see how these things take each other on? Or is it mere shock. Not likely the latter, in someone who's reached the august heights of Level 7.

Bucky does not fight back. He yields with the joint lock - they both surge up from those low stances, and once he has room enough, he simply unwinds the torque by flipping around the wrist as axis. There's Winter's grace.

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 8

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 8

Behold the sheen of violence in action. For Bucky, it must be immediately familiar and a fallback to dark, dungeon-like sepulchres where blood poured across the dirt floor and oil mingled with copper. Some of those men warped into creatures of war owed it to the concoctions pumped into their veins, hyperaggressive drives kindled out of chemical compounds. Hydra has enough talented chemists to make something. But this…

This killer instinct of Volya's shows all the signs of bred into the bone and practiced until perfect. Like his elder, he is heavier, ponderous, a bear next to the Wakandan panther or almost serpentine grace. Nonetheless, his weight isn't thrown off by a metal arm, and he compensates in other ways. Like that speed, throwing him isn't easy when he seems to hang in the air a split second shorter than he should. Already he wrenches his arm back and jabs three times in a flurry of successive movements to pressure points and nerves in Bucky's chest, smacking his head back if that should be necessary to open up space. Winter can be graceful, and also deadly in its onset, turning with an uncommon savagery devoid of rage. There is no anger in there, not the way most would see it. This is the finessed face of pitiless murder.

Behind the glass, Stone and Carolton are on their feet, one of them running for the already lit-up phone. "Yes, I am getting this. No. Do not authorize, do you hear me? Unless you get a Rank 8 overruling me, I do not permit it. He's in there. What the hell do you think we're going to do, nuke them?"

The arm is the only advantage, because he's determined to keep his word. Volya won't be hurt, not by him, anyhow. The arm takes punishment mere human flesh couldn't handle, and he uses it accordingly, blocking the jabs, and trying to eel out of the way of that headshot. They're almost perfectly matched in those first few moments, like watching a man shadowbox in a flawed mirror. It looks choreographed.

«I'm not trying to hurt you,» Bucky insists. «Volya, don't do this. I'm not your enemy.»

He says nothing. The way Volya turns has a quality of clockwork, rotating in precise forms that never really leaves his side or back open for long. He guards with his arms and attacks low, striking a series of plowing kicks meant to sweep Bucky's feet out from under him. Definitive taekwondo flavourings to the attacks, but then there isn't any particular style he adopts. No one's left him a chair to deal with or much to kick with, only the towel and that should not be much of a weapon. Yet, anyways, until used for a garrotte conveniently. He spares nothing and he doesn't make a sound, not when struck, not when striking back. It's rather like watching a film with no sound, except where Bucky's arm or hip collide with flesh, then the percussive beat rolls.

Stone stares through the glass, and frowns that faraway sound. "You realize," he tells his counterpart who walked in with Bucky, "no one figured out how to turn that one off?"

White's no more expressive than either of them. He's watching with the air of a scientist observing an experiment, leaning back a little. Finally, he says, laconic, "Yep."

Bucky's conserving his energy. Nor is he trying the codewords. There's no fear in him, not yet. Matching Volya, as if he intends to let the newer Soldier wear himself out. Which will, if it happens at all, no doubt be a while. His tone is still patient, unstrained, «Volya. Listen to me. I'm one of you. I'm not here to hurt you. You can stand down.»

There is, truth be told, a kind of bleak pleasure in White's face. Did he permit this out of some niggling curiosity to see the Soldier himself in action against something that might give him an actual fight?

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 20

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 15

The conversation over the phone ends with an emphatic note: the handpiece returned to the cradle, cutting off an active stream of protest from some mandarin in the Triskelion a million miles away from Connecticut. The staff inside the building is surely already activated on evacuation notice, running out the door with the secretary and their favourite sidearms. Being a wetworks squad has its privileges, when called upon as such.

Volya has all the blanket quality of a sheet of ice, bergs in a misty polar sea. He executes on principle, stepping back and swinging around in a circle, tracking an opening as surely it must manage. A snatch at the towel and ah, there it goes, wrapped around his hand as he lashes out with a singular punch right at the glass wall that seems solid enough. Until a crack forms, spiderwebbing up.

Another punishing strike rams right into the weak point unleashed by the first.

Okay. Playtime is over, the stakes are raised. He may be content to let himself be a punching bag all day long, but he is not letting Volya get out. "Fuck," Bucky says, under his breath. Volya's turned his attention to the glass, and proved yet another SHIELD holding facility half-assedly inadequate to holding a Soldier. They're going to have to start keeping them in missile silos and sub pens. With the other's back to him, Buck's aiming for a disabling strike rightto the back of the neck. Not spine-breaking, but hopefully enough to put this one into reboot.

Playtime never was there. What the hell do the Soldiers know of playtime? Playtime equals another round on an adrenaline surge, kicking over a hornet's nest. Rapid jabbing thrusts that make those five thousand pushups — seriously, so manny — seem like a warm-up. Bits of broken glass start cracking out of true and the powdered dust running to the ground accompanies the spiderwebs forming there. Their only advantage, Volya isn't the most powerful of the lot in Bucky's camp.

Stone doesn't bother with a sidearm. What's the point? He steps back and looks to the door, then to White. A silent recognition lies in place. This is why they wear the suit and swear the oaths. Also possibly why there are buttons to flood chambers with gas or lightning or whatever else the techs come up with. In their case, probably molasses and green flour slime.

That approach from behind is altogether too wrong. Bucky might remember the pale eyes frosty and so ephemeral in their cold. The sweat running down his face. Skin flushed, darker than his own complexion by a shade or two, only really visible when he's panting efficiently like a bellows. That snapping fist heads for the vertebrae, pain registers.

The sound of glass shattering might be like a bone breaking. A terrible mistake? He throws his arms up to deflect the shower from the exploded pane. The force punches Volya to his knees, thrown sideways. The stream of viscous memories comes in an assault as strong as the gut-punch: screams, darkness, oily battles dressed in fatigues as men with hoods on their heads and foreign attire are snapped like matchsticks in training. Begging. Russian, German, Polish.

Winter…..Winter the first is at the bars of his internal cage in an instant, roaring in fury, commiseration, a plea for succor. Like calls to like, and it leaves Bucky unbalanced, dizzy, for a moment. But that moment comes and goes, and he's doing his best to pounce on Volya and grapple him. "Get out and shut the room down," he yells at the agents. "Knock us out." He can stand a gassing, if that's what it takes. Those memories….are they his? Volya's? What kind of weird communion is this? Winter's still jumping at the cage bars, trying to reach down that link, if that's what it is.

The link goes much more one way in an assault with near tangible presence; the impact of emotion delivered in a distance strike. Nothing in that response remotely speaks to finesse. It's brute force delivery, pulsing off Volya in waves. He sags forward, hands on his thighs, feeling for the pain and compensating through the numbing rush that runs up and down his neck. But not for long. Is Winter timing it from that cage, seeing the light? The same response times in the boy as the man, or vice versa, it's close enough to count. The gasp for breath is the only sound out of him as Bucky closes to grab him. They go in a tumble together, flung into a curbed roll, something to make snagging a limb or punching in a clinch that much harder. Cement and blood ripple through a stew, thick as borscht, nearly as reddened by flares of pain that electrocute the synapses at a faulty touch.

A bloodied face looks up. Someone screams through the faded, hazy portrait of a bad memory. Who remembers? The Pole babbles. Not Belorussian, it sounds different. The lens of memory is a snag, and the rattling thoughts are around inside Winter's caged brain as the chantdown begins, blared over speakers.

«Good enough for you, father?»

«Don't compare yourself to the virgin.»

«Volya. Volya,» He says the other soldier's name like a prayer. Twining himself around in a grapple that'll tighten to a pin, if need be. «It's Yasha. Hear me. Shut it down.» No questions for those odd phrases - they strike no chord in him, for now. But the pain - that makes him spasm, tightening his grip against the weakness it all wants to bring. «Listen to me.»

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 2

A string of words, one by one, echo across the loudspeaker. They prance and diverge away from the first incantations that rip apart Bucky's psyche. Volition bends and Volya shudders in silence, twisting and elbowing Bucky in the gut. Anything for free himself. Anything to get free. Put down an enemy that looks the same as him, he's apparently got no qualms about that.

«Fresco» rolls over the loudspeaker, at the end of a stream of words. He shakes furiously and snarls, wordless, in the elder soldier's face. Rictus grin, murder impassioned.

«No, Father.»

On the other side of the broken window where the two agents wait, the horror is percolating through. "No," mutters Carolton. "That has to be it. That's the command phrase. Repeat it!"

Repeat it will. And Volya the Hunter does not fall.

Father. Wait, this one's calling him 'Father'? That's weird. This one he hasn't spoken to before. «I don't want to hurt you. Don't make me. Fight the words. You're your own man.» The blows hurt, of course they do. This one has mass on him, and the faint advantage of a whole body, all of it in working order….though the arm's better for some of it. Especially when he tries to lever it around his "son's" throat, the better to send him off to dreamland.


SHIELD makes blunders. Every agency does. Size matters in ameloriating the worst effects when they arise. Bureaucratic size hardly gives any sort of warm, fuzzy feeling when it comes to the two men in suits staring at a room where the two soldiers tangle. Their third is already positioned by the door, as much to keep anyone waiting from getting in as the men from getting out.

Volya doesn't speak again. The only sound that might come from him are the impacts of his booted feet or fist against bone, flesh, cartilege. Even those that ought to betray him for being beaten to a pulp — and they're not unequally matched — come out as lesser wheezes. If he can fling Bucky off or reverse and slam him against one of the glass studded walls, he will. Though the threats that would put him down have that nasty, instinctive wave behind, the timebomb of psychokinetic force prepared to detonate again. If. If. If.

Buck might be able to get him down first. Or he's going to have a killer migraine.


|ROLL| Lucian +rolls 1d20 for: 3


|ROLL| Michael +rolls 1d20 for: 19


Close work is his expertise, for all he's a fearsome sniper. Bucky's all over the younger Soldier like ants on a gummibear, refusing to be dislodged or knocked out. The muscle-contoured plates rasp with pressure, as he squeezes air out of Volya's lungs, his own vision going red with the effort. There is, deep within, a spark of pardonable pride that he can take down one of the newer models barehanded…..and a fear that he'll misjudge the choke and kill him.


Death isn't likely the danger. The explosive pulse that blows them apart it is. It hurts as the red waves slamming a person into the rocks would normally be. No amount of conditioning can halt a mental sledgehammer from erupting through the skull. Blood runs out from one of Volya's nostrils, bright red and fresh copper. He goes through the stages of a ragdoll to wherever he lands, rolling aside or flung with bone-crunching force upon the cement walls. More of the pulverized rock trickles down after them. Akimbo limbs and ashen face make for a hardly dangerous approach.

Not that Stone buys it. He wheels on White. "Extract, now. We've got next to no efficient data on his recovery rate."


That's enough to ring even Bucky's chimes. He all but leaves a fullbody imprint on the wall, like something out of the more violent sort of cartoon….and comes down off it in a slow roll, like something peeling off. Blood on his lips, from where he's bitten them, and blurred vision. "Jesus Fucking Christ, I can't do that," he says, as he pitches forward on to hands and knees.


Volya isn't getting up from that stupor immediately. He lies there in a fugue of bloodied unconsciousness, deprived of the animating force needed to consciously run out of the hole in the one-way glass he literally punched open. The fissure has two men in their suits staring down, waiting to see what happens. The incident proved a number of things disliked, not the least of which may be they have a short leash and reliance on another faulty asset to obtain control. Not a good sight.

White may walk down there or stay put. The latter may have Stone prepared to hurl him in. Carolton doesn't bother with the gun, or a first aid kit. He physically dials six numbers. Evacuations leave little option for him and cellular phones are far, far in the future. Radio links are not, hit through the central office in Connecticut's SHIELD presence.

Soon enough a few employees in the parking lot will be coming in, cuffs and all.


He's going to see Volya bound and sedated before he yields to any of SHIELD's blandishments. Bucky's a stubborn bastard, and while he looks like twenty miles of bad road himself, he's conscious, able to talk and even to resist. Assuming White doesn't just hit the button on the stun bracelet and knock him right out. It could happen. Barring that, Bucky's already moving to tend Volya, as best he can.


No chance that White does that at the moment. Get bossy or mouthy on the other hand, and all bets are off. He waits for Bucky to bother bringing himself back, ringed by the incoming folks out for blood or at least the prospect of saying they put down the other soldier. Volya the Hunter is a mess and no one is quick to be dabbing those wounds up when they have their own work cut out for them.

Volya's not waking up. The ascent from unconsciousness is bound to be particularly fast, though.


Time enough, one hopes, for Buck to submit gracefully, after doing what he can for Volya. There are enough grudgeholders in SHIELD, Peggy's influence aside, that someone's bound to take a potshot sooner or later, where he's concerned. White motions him out, peremptorily, gone from pale with fear to red with stifled fury, post-reaction. "Barnes," he says, in a venomous hiss, "What did you do?"


Stone is not likely to speak much. Volya gets bundled up, bound, carted out. Straitjackets are a loss when electrified cuffs are so much better. Carolton has his work cut out for him, already headachy at the thought of reports to be filed. Someone may take that shot but not while he has to clean up the mess. This is why none of the buildings in the periphery belt of New York have signs other than the cheap plastic kind or paper ones.

"Get me coffee," he tells one of the functionaries.


Now the consciousness of guilt, even as a few of the remaining medical folk come to examine his range of contusions and bruises. "I just touched him," he says, flatly, conscious of just how much like a gradeschooler he sounds. With adrenaline on the ebb…now comes the consciousness of just how much he's fucked up.


"Get him back to New York. Both of them," Carolton orders them. He gestures at Bucky and jerks one of the ugly folders free from a salvaged drawer. His expression is vaguely thunderous. "The facility is compromised. Full sweep removal. This is going to look positively great on my annual performance report."


One of them is even approaching tentatively with cuffs. Buck sighs and submits, without protest, hands behind him. No one darted him like an angry rhino, at least. That's something.


Next time on Lifestyles of the Winter Soldier: the slick dungeon-pad for Soldier #4!

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