1965-02-12 - Project Virgo: Truths and Lies
Summary: The end is nigh, and BUcky Barnes may not be ready.
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bucky rogue 

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Second floor dorms. The Dacha. 1100 hours. Orthodox Christmas.

He holds a certain fame as a goddamned ghost haunted western European capitals and American soil, the unknown, nameless monster who bypasses all security measures. How high is the kill tally? Only used for those special occasions when someone surely must die. A household sagging away from the height of Tsarist Russia presents no real difficulty for the likes of the Winter Soldier, nor those who bear an alarming likeness to him physically.

Behind him comes a tear of sheets, a solid thud and the slump of a body thrown onto a bed, discarded without much of a care. Orel's handiwork takes very little time, for all that Matvei works double-time to manage the bindings. Ahead, Nikita and Volya form the points over the staircase, prepared to shoot anything that moves. Evgeniy lags behind, slower, hurting.

Stairs switchback in a neat bend and turn, leading straight to the ground floor of the dorms. Another room resembles the first in almost every aspect, spotless as an aging chamber can be. Metal beds lined up in double rows, only those thin windows. A water closet to the end probably serving all the residents' personal needs, and a built-in closet for smocks and shirts and pants. There isn't anyone there to be found, the beds all neatly made.

«Down. They have to be down, near the pool and the archives. Leapfrog it.» They have to have been trained to work as a team, one covering, the other moving, rather than a roly poly pell mell Poky Puppy pile of incipient chaos. Though chaos has been doing okay so far. «Volga's the target. Though we need to find Steve and find Fanya and the rest of the kids.» How are they going ot get them all *away*? A look up for his sweetheart, their own little angel opening gates.

Screw stairs, then. The go ahead leaves a buzz of agreement shot quicksilver through James' thoughts: how odd that must feel. As soon as he starts to speak, the action already takes place in fragmented detail. Volya points the muzzle over the side, and Nikita takes a running leap. He springs down the two storey drop, seizing a polished bannister to break his fall, running down the plaster. Matvei to follow, swinging into place, giving coverage for the silent hunter to spring down, followed in time each by their own style. Evgeniy is damn heavy but he, too, can seize the bannister and avoid wrenching it out. They all take up positions staggered around corners, and sweep the corridor leading into the dacha hall itself. Other than a discarded book, a few shreds of paper harbouring dust bunnies, no activity.

Finally that leaves only Bucky and Scarlett floating behind him, six inches off the floor. She gestures. Guardian angels rarely look so unimposing, intimidating only by sunny disposition currently eclipsed by a raincloud. "Go," she mouths. Peter Pan lacked a shadow. Bucky Barnes may not have Steve's shield, but he has something almost as durable.

Stairs lead down from the southeast corner of the hall, as he might remember. No door there, and the vacant, cobweb-free cavern full of silence clearly puts his kin ill at ease. Their disquiet radiates through the bond, even as they're forced out of hiding to converge on a chokepoint. What else can you do? Go down.

The pack-mind, alien and seductive at once. As if there'd always been a vacancy at the back of his neck, a veterbra missing and now installed. He follows them, listening to it, only a hair more sedately.

The emptiness - it whispers of a trap. Their coming is awaited, known of, something will be there for them. Down into that first room, the planters to the right, the pool gleaming beyond them.

Of course, they are known and expected. How not? Lazar's warnings from the long train ride back to friendlier space on the edge of East Germany, flush up against Berlin, assured that. Unless it was in him to lie and guide the wayward son home, back to the ruby breast of the Motherland, the Champion once more put in his proper place.

One ally down, one to go, in that case.

They don't just stomp their way down the stairs. In fact, the wolves uneasily stir, not quite prepared to condemn themselves. Volya always silent, Nikita grim, Matvei looking over his shoulder. A querying lift to their thoughts, pointed. What awaits them down, down in the dark? Tall planters in cement stand free, ferns curling fine. The map of Mother Russia, red stars. Dimly lit, as before, that world must be very much the same.

He'll lead them. For what it's worth. Quietly, but not trying to really conceal himself. They probably have Adam and Kyr….and Steve. Which means it's really all about getting to the dragon at the end of this labyrinth. The question….what is wanted of them? That he's herded the lost pack back to its handler?

He can't project confidence along the link, he has none. But will….that he has in spades. Let him go first and find it. Bucky cuts to the right, towards the pool. Let them clear the kitchen and the rooms.

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d20 for: 11

Therein lies the kitchen, the training rooms, the other chambers never claimed. Pale eggshell skies outside mark the approaching tide of noon, but down here, the hours never much change. What windows would allow moonlight to seep in, or sunlight to chase off the shadows? Only the industrial feel blended to that of a school of sorts, institutional without dipping into the harrowing memories. Bucky cuts for the low sets of stairs leading into the pool room, where that unruffled circle of water glows in a serene state, overlooked by the one-way glass of the observation deck. No telling what lies up there.

Scarlett's boots do not brush the floor, though she makes the occasional effort to appear, at least, as though she walks. It unnerves the others, as everything unnerves them here. Matvei takes cover by the map and the planter, gone low. Volya and Nikita, partners in everything, angle off the doorway to the kitchen, the gap with a straight shot down. Orel's jittery composure barely holds long enough for him to retreat, hunkering on one knee. Teeth grind. Scrimshaw of memory fragment around them, the ghostly whispers of terror seeping through the void. Something else, too, anticipation that comes when a rollercoaster hits that top of a hill, the clacking metal teeth arresting the cars before the plunge. Except it's dark, a tunnel on a curve, something that you can't really see.

Still nothing down here, no sense of sound, no sense of life.

There's his own little injection to the mix, the shadow of the wolf the elves made him, left him. Growing somehow, lighting the pale eyes, a hybrid of kind with Winter himself. The trap is here somewhere. It's not the quiet of abandonment - not with children to be found.

He reaches out for them, down the link, trying to offer an answer. Down around the pool, looking up to the observation deck. Not seeking cover, but trying to see who's there.

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 9

Submarine lights strobing beneath the pool contains not a ripple to speak of, throwing the aqueous glints upon walls otherwise devoid of much colour. Bookshelves and machine cases wrapped in a glass hard to measure reflect that unearthly blue, the very Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore definition of 'tranquil aquamarine.' Tiles on the steps offer nothing concerning, drawing willing parties near if they covet a chance to swim with deep drifts of snow aboveground.

Something feels off against that serene vista, as though everything else is. Orel absolutely recedes into the dark, refusing to advance. Evgeniy vibrates with the adrenaline rush cranked up to eleven, and the rest lurch on the edge of anticipation turned into a cutting force. They're afraid, wreathed in rage, worse.

None on the deck that he can see, up high. Of course, that would be true; privacy for them, discovery for those below. Beyond, doorways for the tech rooms, numbered oh so helpfully.

First to the left it is, Tech 1. The pups won't come with him for this part, he'll take care of it himself….him and her. Buck himself….isn't afraid. Fear's been set aside for now, stowed in some mental fridge to be wrestled with later. They're here, now. A herd of sacrifices, willing or not. Playing into some obscure purpose.

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d6 for: 1

What does Bucky have when it all slips away? Light recedes to the relative safe haven, the five scattered at sharp angles. The trajectory of a gun with a clear shot into the room, Volya holding up against the weight. No sign of the ghost. In the end, the paths of the slaves he walks must be taken by his free boots alone. Shadows embrace the furthest corners of the kitchen, and Evgeniy swivels, putting a hand to a knob marked by so many little hands. It creaks open a little, enough to give impressions.

Nikita hunches, curled double on himself, preparing to spring into a run. Away? Forward? Every step leaves hardly a sound, muffled as their eldest takes his lead into oblivion. Tech 1 lies across the pool and in his wake, the silhouettes mingle at odd angles, Scarlett's elongated into serpentine curves and her hands clenched at her sides. Everything receives almost unbelieving stares, though his memories supply her with an inkling of where to stand, where not. Somewhere is a ventilation shaft to the surface, noted. Another…

Tech 1. The door opens, and does he not remember the metal tubes, ahd wires and cords spreading over the ceiling and all? Units that lie in the corner behind curved chrome and heavy metals, all swerving and smooth. What jarred horror arises from that? Maybe even worse, the metal tools laid out on the counter he had not seen prior are overlooked by four individuals in similar white attire: coats, pants. They can't be past twelve. One reads a book, another counts measures with a pencil, the third weighing something on a scale. The fourth looks up, a boy with long enough blondish hair to make the gender questionable for a moment. «We are working,» he proudly announces. Ten, if a day.

«I see, very good,» says James, gravely. «Where is Fanya? I am looking for her.» If he acts like he belongs, maybe they'll just tell him. Nevermind that the sight of them is enough to chill him to the bone. IT vibrates along the link to the others.

Those guileless blue eyes flick from the page of neat charts up to this stranger standing in their midst. Three other children in their studies halt, a pencil poised, the weights on the scale dropped with a loud clank. The girl has the lean features at the cusp of leaving childhood, and she pinches her book in hand.

«Who's that?» A furtive question.

«You're not supposed to be here,» announces the child in front of the scale. A drawer is pulled slowly, so slowly.

Whatever was on the scale is loose. The kid with the pencil jerks a hand out, and those grains go flying at Bucky's face. So much for being nice about it.

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 19

Well, points for improvisation. But….no Fanya, no clue. And clearly, no help forthcoming. So he slams the door shut just as whatever it is is flung at him. Dammit. "I won't take what's behind Door #1," he deadpans to Rogue. "Do you see anything up behind the observation deck?"

Protesting shrills rise behind the door slammed, the grit landing on the ground within the largest of the technical chambers. The slip-slap of light feet march up to the barrier, and pull hard enough on that handle, intending to stream out to assault the sprung Winter Soldier. Hasn't anyone told them what the metal arm and the star mean?

"X-ray vision is not among my many talents," Scarlett murmurs, startled into practically reaching out to switch places with Bucky. One good pull and she could put him down the low bank of stairs, but that might also end up with her shot. If that door does open, the cracking retort from Volya's stolen rifle is going to end the first thing to come through. Her gloves are fully intact, at least for now. A glance to the deck. "Is that your way of asking me to redecorate? I never did like the look of shiny glass."

"I think that's an excellent idea, angel," he says, grimly. Looking for a way to keep the pint-sized avengers in - he might just break the lock, for thoroughness's sake. Though that conjures up terrible visions of them stuck there during fire, or attack. "They won't have anticipated you, I hope."

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d100 for: 69

|ROLL| Rogue +rolls 1d20 for: 8

|ROLL| Bucky +rolls 1d20 for: 4

The pull and fight on the other side of the door demands exit from Tech 1. They're strong for their size, the anticipated drag perhaps higher than rightly deserved. Clamped hands pull on the handle, twisting, drawing back to wedge space open. Bucky faces the unenviable task of moving on or barring the way, axeing their escape. Four against a grown man isn't fair, but one piece of metal shoved into the crack applies leverage to haul the door open. Shadows move in the open space, but the planters prove too large to see where Matvei might have gone, Evgeniy after him. Volya alone holds vaguely visible, sighting down the barrel.

"No way to know. Talk about it in bed after." Scarlett moves as requested, airborne fully in a heartbeat. Forget the secrecy of her abilities, at least this one, the cat's out of the bag. Pain waits at the end of every path for her, inescapable outcomes rooted on grandiose gestures. She has so little room to build up speed and maneuver, but hurling herself full force into the bulletproof glass behind a fist slammed straight into the bulletproof glass. She is not very light, very small, or particularly very smooth. The glass barrier has to absorb her momentum, something entirely idfferent, the ballistics of a gun different than full-grown mutant. Acryllic tries to jump back a little, but shattering fragments radiate around her. She doesn't transform into molten lead, at least, hammering her fists into the impact point. Not quiet.

Any more than, say, the kids trying to tear their way out of the technical lab.

Barring the way it is, for the moment. They're a distraction, and one he was foolish to rouse. He yanks the door open, trying to snag the piece of metal in question from them, the better to bar the door.

Then Scarlett's forcing the issue, as it were. A glance over his shoulder at her, momentarily stunned. He knows, intellectually, she's capable of amazing things. But it's different from *seeing* it in the flesh, undeniable.

The fight between soldier and children never really stood much of a chance, did it? Protesting hands seized on the edge fight, their low shrieks of defiance rumbling from childish throats. The two boys, blond and fair and bold, yank back without a hope. The girl throws her body at the door to no avail. It holds, and he's imprisoned them behind a wall dented slightly by their shaking efforts.

What then of the girl hovering midair, savaging a hole in a perfectly nice bit of glass? Gunfire, of course, a raging strafe sawing angular through the chasm smashed into the surface. She throws glass aside that crashes into the pool, sinking out of sight, and rolls off the undamaged pane. "You figure it's occupied?" Who the hell gets shot at and sounds quite so melodious, nigh marry? A semi-automatic up there makes hellish noise. She throws a bullet through the broken window, lazily.

He grins at her, utterly feral and without any hint of conscience at all. "That's my girl, the one-woman wrecking ball," he asserts. So much for chivalry. Then he's heading for the stairs up in long strides. Surprise, surprise, Bucky got a girlfriend in America and he's brought her home to meet the parents.

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