1965-01-22 - Project Virgo: Snakes in the Garden
Summary: Nothing would be easy in Russia. If it is easy, why would you ever bother? Scarlett fights among the wolves. Bucky and Steve try to survive.
Related: Project Virgo
Theme Song: None
steve-rogers rogue bucky 

Steve's got his leash, so to speak - better to have Rogers activate that programming than to have some HYDRA goon pull that out on him. IF they're going back out, they're heading back out, following the pack who've rushed through the front door. Some of them nearly fall prey to the trapped grounds, and that has Buck sucking his breath in through his teeth. The calm unconcern of the Soldier programming isn't quite enough to have him apathetic where his brethren are concerned. «What do you see?» he calls to them, but doesn't attach any one name to the query. In step with Steve, letting the shield cover them both, for now, his rifie aimed over its edge.

Steve Rogers pauses and looks back for a moment, clearly torn. He gestures Bucky to his other side, slides his shield down into his hand and spins one full rotation like a discus thrower. It caromes off the far wall, down the hall, slices the rope and banks back to him in four bell-like gongs. Catching it, Steve drops into a crouch, holding the shield before him in case of an explosion.

Inside the dacha
Maybe that premium weapon, the only chunk of vibranium outside the keeping of Wakanda, has dipped into worse things. Maybe. The rope sliced apart releases a foul streak of something down the wall as the body drops. Those legs that should support the corpse don't, forcing the robed child to flop forward as though standing on wet linguini. Long into the night will the memory of the sound persist, the squishy squelch an exclamation point along with crunching bone.

Outside the dacha
Gone: Orel ahead of the elder wolves, Matvei triangulating the middle. Even at dead terror they maintain defensive positioning that most retreating soldiers drilled every day would have a hard time holding. Off the steps, they swing invariably northwest beyond the dacha's furthest western flank. At speed, weaving through trees and diverting violently away from boulders, stealth is lost.

Nikita makes even Steve look damn slow, almost leisurely, despite springing up into the trees and diving off the branches to break ahead of the others into the backyard. More gunfire rattles as he springs out of sight, and someone shouts, «Not him, the bitch! The one just sitting there!»

«Where'd he g—-»

The….clones, replicas, pups, whatever they are, are leading the way. «Sounds like the party's in the backyard,» Buck observes to Steve, drily. Still in step - it's like the old days, reflexes remember the friend's rhythms. «I'm glad I remember enogh to remember this is kinna like that time in Provence. Remember the chateau with the grand piano and the booby trapped dining room?» One of the strange HYDRA field HQs they encountered. «'ware traps,» he yells after the pups. The tight formation has him noting, «They did train these kids well, the poor bastards.»

Steve Rogers turns back to Buck grimly, but as satisfied as he's going to be with that. No proper burial possible this time, and it's not as if he hasn't had to leave bodies on the field, but… it being a child's body, it sticks in his craw more. He accompanies Bucky, leading the way to danger. "Where would the others have gone?"

Inside the dacha
Abandoned to no cares, the child goes unmourned. Nothing but shadows and slithering ropes falling upon them in streaks marks their passing. What, seven years? Eight? And gone like that.

Outside the dacha
Risks run through the woods abound. The unkempt landscaping conceals danger of mundane and mechanical nature. Hard to measure where the wolves fled and where they go. Bucky's foot comes down on a tripwire, enough to send him staggering for the echoing click. Too late for Steve as a lighter-footed approach flings fletched metal barbs in multiple directions down out of the trees at them. The clattering rainfall shoots from tubes that don't go at mere straight lines, but up, down, oblique and obtuse angles.

Woods encroach on the side of the dacha between its hall and the two-storey back wing Fanya reported to hold the dormitories. Brief glimpses of violent upheaval are barely visible around the plaster and brick-faced form, though when a helmet goes flying backwards and impales itself on a tree branch, it's a good bet where the fighting might be.

That click is all too familiar, and enough to trigger other old reflexes. Buck curls and rolls, trying to use the metal arm as as much of a shield against the shrapnel as he can. There's no way even for supersoldiers to dodge those blasts. "Steve, they're using S-mines," he says, desperately. No battle plan survives contact with the enemy….but this is reminiscent of the old chaos they used to cause with the Commandos

Steve Rogers lunges for Bucky and rolls over him into a ball on the ground, covering their upper bodies with his shield. Darts and explosive-propelled ball bearings thwack into the ground around the pair and ping off the shield's surface. A few smack into Steve's legs, drawing only a little blood. Hopefully the darts weren't poisoned, but he'll deal with that if it happens.

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d20 for: 11

Poison is pointless here where the blood alone feeds the very soil. A warning shout rippling through the trees has a timbre and shrill side altogether too close to a certain James Barnes — even in this, nothing is purely sacred. Mind, if they're kin, why would they be? Howling fire ignites the trees and the world rattles tinder-blossom orange under the second of the horror of plagues — first, pestilence; now fire.

The air vibrates, shrapnel pinging off the shield, tearing into exposed flesh or cloth or bark in equal measure. The ground beneath them is none too stable, either, as the tunnel-riddled presence reacts to the drafting pressures by buckling under in places.

Fire by itself might spook regular soldiers, even seasoned veterans. Not the silent brigade fighting for something other than life. Windows crack in the burst, spiderwebs under the shadowy overhang. One unfortunate man in a dark uniform goes hurtling up to the pitched roofline, clearly flung up there. He doesn't have a parachute, and his landing punches him through the rotting tiles, the yell cutting off.

Once the danger from the mine is past, Buck's up again in a heartbeat, doing that football-player run designed to keep his boots off the triggers of the rest of that mine's kin. Hearing that version of his own voice - it's another moment of surreality. As if they really were looking through a window back onto their own more innocent past. "Someone's cleaning up back there," he asides to Steve in English, with something like approval, even as he rounds the corner.

"Let's not let them keep all the glory," Steve replies, hurrying around the back side of the dacha to join the fray.

Round a corner, and there goes Bucky Barnes out of sight. Earth rips apart, the yawning sepia tears heavy with the loess of the steppes and not-so-long ago glaciers. Ragged crenellations assemble out of bedrock and stratefied layers to ring the Winter Soldier away from Captain America, splintering their path into two two halves. Whilst Bucky's heaved up and shoved back, the other man travels in the opposite direction.

Erupting strands of rugged root cord around boots and ankles in loose, filamentous snares to pull down, down, down into a collapsing chasm. The narrow divide punches on crooked angle where no such thing existed before.

Further along, grasses and spreading carpets of weeds wrap haphazard around one of the wolves, who lashes out. Violent attempts to rip and tear matter less when one is steadily buried under nature. Whatever passes for a fight is only really heard, not so much seen in that maddening division. Martial voices braid together in their malicious intent: crack of muzzle fire, the strike of the bullet, the collision of fist on staved in ribs, such as Bellona and beloved Mars walking the fields of war have ever cultivated.

Except for the one silent figment breaking things, breaking hearts, holding the line the only way he can against soul-shriven horrors that do not stop.

"Steve, no!" It's like an awful mirror-image of his own fall from that train, years ago. Seeing this thing try to drag his frienddown into the earth. He's got a knife in hand with that magician's swiftness, even as he tries to ride the upheaval of earth like some kind of surfer. A glimpse of Volya, but Buck's still focussed on Cap.

The wall of earth keeps rising, a castle's uneven barrier capped by irregular rough tiers at the top. Pushed back, the brunet ends up behind the most literal of Iron Curtains — albeit a greyish brown one — whilst clashing fissures seek to devour Steve in a stony maw.

Or confine him to the basement, either way.

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