1964-12-11 - Project Virgo: Sideways Rescue Mission
Summary: What, exactly, has Matvei been doing? Snarling up traffic.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers bucky wanda 


2205 hours. Weehawken Police Department. Weehawken, NJ.

No one stops in Weehawken on purpose. A commuter town on the west bank of the Hudson River, its only claim to fame as the terminus of the Lincoln Tunnel draws few investors or visitors. Go for the fill-up at Lukoil, stay for the rush-hour views of the staggered skyline of midtown Manhattan. Around noon local time, a massive traffic jam snarled up westbound vehicles in the northernmost tunnel all the way back into Manhattan. And Weehawken's police station suddenly fielded many phone calls, thrust into unwanted prominence.

Chatter among law enforcement dispatchers said some delivery truck took umbrage to idling under the Hudson and ran up the shoulder, followed by a sleek black sedan. Somehow or another, one of Weehawken's finest (of ten) drove his '55 Chrysler police car into the Lincoln Tunnel in the wrong direction to check out a hunch. A hunch that involved ramming into the escaping truck, being run in reverse 300 horrifying meters, and some well-meaning civilians caught up with the truck-drivers. That's when the story gets confusing.

So confusing the FBI lights up. Which means SHIELD lights up. Which means the switchboard in Weehawken has not stopped lighting up. Chief John Linde is slurping coffee as fast as he can and half his finest are currently pointing handguns at the confused young man, brown-haired, tied up thirty ways til Christmas morning, sitting in the middle of the office bullpen. Because a cell isn't safe. He looks as though he'd really like a nap.

"Couldn't've just shown up in Union City or North Bergen, no." He's thinking of his future here.

He's a badged agent of SHIELD, Gods help both him and them. This'll be Buck's first time trying to use it to buffalo actual law enforcement. Bucky's in a decent suit, hair pulled back and knotted low. Cap….well, Cap's along as moral support and literal support, in case this is the one of the Bucklings with the fits of super-strength. They've come in one of SHIELD's pool cars, an ordinary looking black Ford sedan. If not for Bucky and that lack of haircut, they'd pass at a glance for a pair of FBI agents.

The situation they walk in on has Buck's brows arching. "Not in a cell?" he asks, of no one in particular, before peering narrowly at the confused looking….little brother? Replicant? Son?

"How're you doing, son?" Steve asks the Buckling directly, resting his hands on his hips in a way more casual than menacing since he doesn't wear a gun. "In a hurry to get somewhere?"

Weehawken is a disaster zone. Cars can't get within a block of the police station, which means the main thoroughfare through town needs a detour. Orange signs are everywhere. The stadium across the street, though an open football field and baseball diamond, hosts plenty of grumpy looking feds and half of northern New Jersey's emergency personnel. The last time someone committed a robbery in the Lincoln Tunnel, the president took it real personal. Getting through the thicket of a personnel ring — all armed — requires a bit more oomph from Bucky and even Steve. Because a few shattered mugs and mopped floors are not going to make up for reports and psych profiles in coming days.

The poor Chief. Linde has to deal with two histrionic lieutenants: "There are two of them. The guy there… and the guy there… and… they're the same!" He can't brush them off, but he moves to head around the ring of twitchy policemen. Rotating them out every hour hasn't helped. Everyone talks.

Alas, the Buckling seated on the ground has no liberty with those ropes and cords around him. His wrists are handcuffed, twice. Don't ask about the duct tape around his elbows. Nor the gag taped on. His expression is alarmingly mild, all things considered, but clearly confused. A bit of a startled clarity slips in not with Steve (sorry, Cap!) but that other man in black. "Nnnnfh? Nnnnmm rrrrrffff."

Can a muffled bleat be apologetic?

Steve Rogers crouches down to help him off with the gag, since that's not conducive to communication. After all, it's not so much what the Bucks say as what other people say to them, which is a danger.

"What, you never heard of twins here in Jersey?" retorts Bucky, Brooklyn accent flashing into being for the moment. "Or brothers that look pretty alike?" Since he looks close in age to the captive, he can hardly pass himself off as the prisoner's father. Steve gets the gag off, and Buck's there with him. «Hey,» he says, in Russian. «It's okay. It's me, Yasha, this is my buddy, Steve. We're gonna get you out of here. Are you hurt? And what happened…..you don't speak English, do you?»

No way around it: duct tape is sticky and it hurts, tearing at a definite five o'clock shadow. Normally a man might go with it, but the twin to the longer-haired, metal-armed shadow has nowhere to go trussed up as he is. Or maybe that is a nicety he permits the police station. The sting earns not even a grunt. He works his jaw side to side and spits out a wad of cloth responsible for silencing him further. Difficult given the tight packing in there. "I am sorry. They are not happy." His English is cultivated with a really quite peculiar accent, roundabout Russian through Upper Canadian French. The Buckling blinks twice.

Around him, the police shift uneasily. No one wants to be the trigger-happy assassin who accidentally shot Captain America again while two of his assassins, or one and a half, are in the room. Linde grumbles, "Someone offer them coffee? Seats? I expect better, gentlemen. Get moving. Three stay."

The man on the floor licks his cracked lips. No helping that. "I try English. Not the best English. Diane says I learn okay."

Steve straightens up and addresses the police officers with a warm, easy smile. "Thanks, gentlemen, your country appreciates going out of your way with this one. We'll take him from here. Anything else we can do for you while we're here?"

He's trying to keep his own expression professional, rather than pitying. That's for later, when they've got him secure in the car. He doesn't ask who Diane is, not yet. "What's your name?" he asks, gently. They have them now, at least. Thank God for Steve to run interference, reassure with that lambent command presence. Buck gives Cap a grateful look, before making sure the prisoner's feet are sufficiently unbound to let him rise. He'll keep the bonds to hands and arms in place for now.

"But he shot you!" Pierce, the badge says, speaks in horrified disbelief. Say the word, no more problem. Maybe not even two problems. "All due respect…"

"Shut up, Pierce," hisses his companion press-ganged into obtaining a chair.

"Then why ain't the feds takin' him off to Leavensworth or something?" Pierce goes without a happy moment, glaring over his shoulder at the thoroughly mummified and entombed creature on the ground. Like he might grow razor spines and roll out at speed.

"Matvei." That sound holds a certain note of hope crumpling in a breeze, the slow-motion demolition of a building that stood for quite some time. Maybe unoccupied, but when the charges go, walls fracture and the breached foundation gives out like a house of cards.

"And here I am, so it's water under the bridge. We all know the risks when we take the job." Cap reassures the offended badge. "Time'll be served in due time. We just bring them to the law, we don't deliver the law ourselves."

"Correction," James's voice is immensely dry, "*I* shot Captain Rogers. This kid had nothin' to do with it." That name has him going pokerfaced again. This one was in SHIELD custody previously. Something *else* has gone wrong. "Don't blame him 'cause he looks like me." Then he's reaching down to lever Matvei up. "Can you walk?" he asks him, quietly, but still in English.

Matvei looks down at himself, the reams of cording and the ropes twisting around his body, the steel at his wrists, the twists of tape that festoon him like a very odd Russian maypole. "I have shoes," he informs Bucky and Steve with an equal degree of guileless inflection, certain about them. Well, he had shoes. Right now, bare feet, no socks, will do. Don't look too close to the collar where old marks lie, twisted burns from rope that doesn't correspond to the ones around him. The wounds look aged, but aged is a lie for they who see near fatal damage evaporate in record time. "Am I to have my shoes back? I am sorry they were lost." This sticks in his craw, but he's trying for politeness.

Steve Rogers pats the Bucklet on the shoulder comfortingly. "

Steve Rogers pats the Bucklet on the shoulder comfortingly. "You'll get new ones."

Now it's Bucky's turn to look at the cops. "Did he have 'em when you took him in?" he asks them, keeping his tone light, rather than accusing. His expression's prompting. Someone better cough up Junior's shoes and socks.

One of the officers on former don't shoot it duty defers that question hastily to Chief Linde, the fellow with the look of a gunnery sergeant dying to crawl away and bury his head on Iwo Jima for a bit. "I'll inquire of evidence." That means peon #3 will inquire of the evidence room and come back with a baggy filled with white athletic socks and a pair of really quite ugly, beaten to hell sneakers. Wrong size by half, but Matvei sure as heck lights up to see them. It's the little things in life.

«Thank you. They are not mine. I won't get in trouble ofr coming back empty-handed.» Russian. Regretful he has to use it, but them's the breaks.

"Well, that brings us to our next question," Cap asks, gesturing to the car. "Where are you supposed to be going back to, exactly?" He pops the back door open and waits beside it.

He sees Matvei shod again. "SHIELD, for now," Buck says, answering for him, hastily. A look at Cap, warning. Some of these answers aren't for the local LEOs' ears, after all. He apparently intends to sit in the back with Matvei - in the interest of friendliness, and not being popped in the back of the head if the pupper works loose and decides to get violent.

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 6

Nope, that's not an answer he is giving up. A bit of a troubled look darkens those polar sea eyes, an alien world of choice and freedom completely unknown to me. In a realm of eternal gloom, his path is laid out rather than something he can tread on his own two feet. Literally, they've been knotted together in places for him not to go running into the street. "I do what I am told to do. Questions are bad."

Steve Rogers isn't that great at infosec. Thanks to his apparently innate honesty he's never really been the spy type; people do that for him. But he does at least take a hint when it's Buck who's sending it. "All in good time, I suppose." He crosses around the front of the car and gets into the driver's seat to start it up, leaving it to Buck to handle his.. counterpart.

It's all he can do not to barrage the kid with questions once he has him away from the local yokels. But Buck restrains himself, even as he works on unrestraining Matvei. He still carries a pocket knife, and with its smallest blade, he quickly cuts through those bonds. If he and Steve together can't take the most docile pup, things are in bad shape indeed. "Matvei," he says, gently. "I thought you were with SHIELD. How did you end up here?" A beat, and he says, «If you need to tell me in Russian, that's fine. Steve speaks it,too.»

Ripping tape, slicing into the bonds, produces the harder reality of the metal links wrapped around his wrist biting tight. He does groan when his elbows are released. Matvei might want to be polite but he cannot possibly resist that. Hurts, circulation rolling through constricted, pinched veins. He is the least demanding of the pups, aiming to hold still though the bloody instincts tip to kick out. «They said I must go and I did.» Argumentative he is not. If a bit stubborn, possibly overlooked. «I could not see what and where.»

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 6

Steve Rogers adjusts his mirrors.

There's the metallic sound of Buck finally getting the cuffs to pop. His lips are thinned out in a grim line. «Which they, Matvei?» he asks, quietly. «Tell me the story - last time I saw you, you were in SHIELD hands and they were treating you well. What's happened between then and now?» He looks up. "Triskellion, Steve. Chinatown isn't gonna cut it, this time."

How odd, to see the more contemplative life not taken. What Bucky might have been, etched out in the flesh, a tangible reminder. Whole, complete, albeit the stain of blood on his grey t-shirt and the mark burnt into it tells a different story of a kind. Not so different. But here's a haunt of bookshops and theatres, cinema and museums as only New York can offer. His arms ripple and muscles ache as his shoulder finally slouches free, but he keeps his hands flat and low where they can be seen. English, Russian. He goes between them. "They came today and said go. Four. Men. I do not know their voices." Truth, that. "No food for morning. It was dark. I wore the thing on my head. They drove me somewhere and after the shoot… shot… came the police. They took me here. It was very loud."

Steve Rogers puts it in gear and swings out from the curb, to deliver the Bucklet to the Triskelion. "So, what're you doing out here? I thought we were getting along. Were you recalled?"

"…..SHIELD agents took you out?" Buck asks, softly. This is perturbing indeed - there was supposed to be relative safety, at least, for the ones in SHIELD's hands. "Wore what thing….." His voice trails off, and there that expression of utter nausea. "Not like the chair?" he asks, sounding sickened. "With the shocks?"

The political and social ramifications are entirely lost on the young man, but not the cops listening in. Their eyes widen. Linde, the chief, will discipline anyone after.

Matvei goes along where required, and certainly the cordon around the station will be happy to see the end of that inexplicable mystery. Put him in a car and he looks around a bit uncertainly, not even buckling up. Shocking, no? «I don't know. I never saw them. They insisted on the bag thing. It was too dark to see anything. I don't go out except as they tell me go out.»

A sigh, too, adds to the quiet air to him. He hurts, but he hides it well. "I was tied sitting down. No music, though."

Steve Rogers glances between the two of them in the mirror, light shifting across his face as he passes a truck. "Didn't recognize their voices by any chance, did you?"

Buck reaches over and buckles him in. «Safety restraints.» he says, as he does the same to himself. «And they took you out with the bag on as a blindfold….what did they tell you to do?» A doubtful look up at Steve. Is the Triskellion the best place for this one? Peggy will have his ears if he tries to stash Matvei somewhere, but….

Matvei shakes his head a little. His hair's longer, that unkempt beard a shadow of what it could be. Stiff movements minimize the range of motion necessary but he goes largely where required, even if that means sitting. «No. I have not seen Diane for a long time. The watchmen at the door do not change so much.» He looks blankly at the buckle and might be inclined to toy with it, but see how much you want to do that with a slug slammed in your side. Probably not much. «They said sit. Be good. Wait. I did try until one said that men were coming. It was hard to go anywhere. I heard the Luger. They kept piercing the walls. Bad shots, waste of bullets.»

"Do you have any safehouses you could stash him in? Not sure he's safe until we figure out who those operatives were," Steve asks Buck in a low voice.

There's real chagrin on his face. "Can we use your place?" he asks, quietly. What a humdrum way to describe the Avengers' mansion. "Every place I've got, either the Reds or SHIELD knows about," he notes. "But this sounds bad. If there's a SHIELD faction willing to use him like that…..something is really wrong." Then there's a beat, and he asks, "….did you hear any voices you knew? Volya? Ghost?"

Matvei moves slightly and then stills. No, he cannot reach over his shoulder or around his side to scratch at the puckered welt rimmed in blood and torn skin. Maybe he can hear, but he knows not to talk over his betters. Call it a habit of trying to behave, the refined version. His gaze goes to the window until called back. The slow, rusty blink follows. "The Hunter? He does not talk." Well, isn't that a half-truth but realized for him. A loneliness, a hunger, burns in his pale icewater eyes. "Have you seen him? Who is Ghost? Do you mean Lazar?"

"My apartment?" asks Steve, taking an exit. "Of course. but I don't know that anyone's not watching it. Do you really think SHIELD is responsible for this?"

"Avengers' place, Steve. He can use my room there," Buck says, as if he were proposing a high school buddy sleep over. "No one's dumb enough to go messing where you guys hang out. You can keep an eye on him, when I'm not, until we figure this out. If we leave him alone, someone'll come after him. Better a place with that security." He pats Matvei,gently. "Not recently. If you mean the one who walks invisible, that's Lazar? I've run into him more recently."

The Russian won't complain much. On the contrary, he goes quiet to endure the pain, such as he has to deal with the discomfort in every judder of the vehicle. Not his choice, but the drowsy ache will keep him blunted for now as his body rips apart and mends what it can. "Ah." Hard not to mumble into sleepy tension. "«He watches over? Good. Only Nika ever sees him.»"

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