1965-02-14 - Project Virgo: Woe, Destruction, Ruin, Decay
Summary: The clearing of Voronezh continues.
Related: Project Virgo
Theme Song: None
bucky rogue 

Basement complex. The Dacha. Voronezh Oblast.

Not many women would appreciate being called the one-woman wrecking ball. Bucky's worth it. Not many women would bother going across the ocean into the heart of enemy territory accompanied by the kin of their beloved, either. Family's family. Scarlett dodges another spate of bullets shot from the semi-automatic gun, the kneeling sniper taking his time about strafing her at height. Oh, without fail, she is hit, slicing thin rents in her clothes, ventilating her shirt and not her skin.

Bucky taking his route up to the empty main floor with its equestrian hero painted on the ceiling leaves the five visible warriors left. When he orients on the archway, already Nikita is running after him, Matvei torn by holding at the base of the stairs. "Do we go?" A gesture made to the others earns no answer from Volya. Orel cowers. Evgeniy rips into a door, his voice a chattering threnody of chattering teeth.

At the top of the stairwell, a metal door leads within. "No entry" demands a sign in tight Russian script. The quiet clamour of raining bullets echoes from the magazine expended, the only pause for a reload.

Brain knows she's tougher than anything else in this area, quite likely even the local god/mythical bogatyr/who knows the fuck what they've come to make the end b oss. Gut says that some asshole is *daring* to shoot at his best girl, and that can't stand. So there's rising anger, rocket fuel behind Winter's cold focus, and a thread of giggly disbelief that there is something in here that's kind of fun. So he wrenches the door right open and possibly off its hinges with a blithe disregard for later property values. There's a little whine of servos as he does, then the arm's up before him as an improvised shield.

A screech on the hinges pulls away the metal door, proving that all inheritors of the Captain America mantle start their career using an improvised aegis. Taxi cab door, Soviet dacha door, so it goes. The immediate view beyond is speckled by broken glass, the supposed bulletproofing useless at the impact of a large object — Scarlett — at high speeds and less concern about personal destruction. Littered shards lie on a rather surprising Tajik carpet laid over poured cement. A row of chairs define the deck's use to watch matters below. Steve Rogers might say a thing or two about the alarming similarities to another facility, a world away, where his own transformation began. Speakers, floodlights, and an instrumentation panel controlling some kind of sound system in the corner outfit the place. More importantly, there's a man in grey fatigues firing that gun at speed, supported by another individual in a white shift, hurling one of the chairs with force enough to put it through a wall. Except that goes at Bucky, from someone four feet, four inches tall. The gaunt child bears some similarity to those seen in East Berlin, but the marred black and blue violet veins staining bare feet and hands have more in common with the kid hung in the entryway as the welcoming committee.

Behind, Nikita utters a curse and flattens up against the wall. Firearms brought along from one of those last caches are meant to be used, and he draws, Matvei hissing through his teeth. No clear shot from the bottom, but if someone goes flying, he's got that covered.

The sniper it is, for his ability to harm at range. Buck's face is calm, almost abstracted - the programming is still kicked in, and that's a perverse blessing. Absent his current master, he's got Winter's cold clarity, and James's burning heart. He has a gun of his own, a pistol, and he draws and fires it at the sniper's head, the metal arm batting aside that chair.

Coldness wraps around the link, a lupine fracture through the blips that stand out in the back of the head only as additional facets to clarity. One diversion away from calm is a bubbling, roiling tempest of emotion gone scattered on the backbone of pure fear. They rage, all of them at some level. He's the only one calm. The sniper is too quick to turn, not quick enough to keep his Soviet made gun from jamming. Bullets buck in the muzzle, too late, the pistol well-aimed and striking clear. He falls back, a mess, brain matter on glass not stopping the boy from diving forward under the trajectory of Bucky's arm. There is a wrongness to his gait, knees too loose and the rest stiff, eyes vacant of all but the pain driven focus of a caged hyena. Some bestial drive flings forward, tearing, grabbing. Coordination doesn't matter so much as the child's adolescent strength dialed up, the fingers misshapen and knobbled things out of nightmare.

The adult opponent is dead. The child….there's a conflict of instinct and training there. The one dictating that he put any threat down hard, the other that a child earns forbearance. So he doesn't put the smoking muzzle to that skull. No, he flips the pistol to use the butt as a bludgeon, to see if he can knock him out that way. «Stop,» he says. «I don't want to hurt you. You don't have to fight me.»

The kid doesn't respond to Russian orders to stop. He lunges forward to grab at an arm, to block that strike aimed squarely to take him down. Bucky is a full-grown man and the superior in strength but sometimes strength doesn't matter. Sometimes tearing through a shirt and jacket, pulling at a limb unmarked by scars will do. His gaunt face turns, mouth snarling, effort to twist and tear rather than be struck down given full attention.

Scrambling up the stairs, Nikita takes a shot with the pistol and no, that does not go well, the weapon all but smoking in his hands. A curse; he hurls that away full-force at the cement floor, in hopes it might actually do something. Scarlett ghosts through the perimeter beyond, that open gash rendering her and the pool floor visible. "The water's starting to foam," she calls out in warning.


It's a dance, of a kind, a deadly pavane through the wreckage of the observatory. A toss of the pistol to Nikita - Bucky's permanently armed, as it were, nevermind the knives. He can use the pommel of a tac knife if he must. "Shit. I guess someone wants a bubble bath," he comments to her, still focussed in on the kid. How to put him down without killing? Hands empty, he's trying to grapple the angry adolescent with the metal arm.

Nikita hisses. No one likes to see simple mechanical work fail, especially on a clear shot. He'll kick himself through the broken shards of his nightmares, but now calls for reflexive snatching, pointing at the body of the child. No one said no murder and Matvei is tearing up the stairs three at a time.

"Moving below," perfunctory and to the point, his report is made thus.

The kid tries to tear into Bucky's skin but that's not working, his clawed fingers deflecting off the arm and his feet trying to give a double-kick to the side of the knee. Knife is a choice, but Nikita discharges two rounds at chest and skull in short order. "Tainted."


The first shot caroms off the metal arm in a glint of sparks. The second….he can feel it thud into the body he's holding. That's a terrible sensation, but not in the least alien, sadly. «What the fuck does that mean?» He looks down at the kid he's holding, blue eyes ablaze. That wound….they'd have to stop and treat it, do real work to keep the child from just dying a slow, agonizing death. «Why did you do that?» Anger lashes down the link, but measured. He hasn't yet succumbed to that potent brew of fear and fury, though his own wolfish self is rising to meet it. This can't end with him tearing the throats of his enemies out with hands and teeth. Can it?

The child jerks in place, blood spreading out through a perforated wound deep in his sunken stomach. The eyes well up with tears and still, after that jarring motion, the boy struggles. He stares up at Bucky with a singular focus of creature finding food, tearing into trouble offered for him. Rather than clutch at himself, he still tries to grab. Those blackened hands grab for Bucky's torso, seeing the metal arm is getting nowhere. Blood splatters the floor.

Scarlett hovers in the broken gap, back to the glass, doing what she's ever done in danger: make a nice, unmistakably tempting target. Or a shield, from those within the observation deck. The smell of ozone and chlorine on the air rise.

They might know, however, measured anger colliding with the Io-level of disturbed rage spitting tacks in the distance. Matvei stumbles in, doubling over and gagging, arm out. Nikita shows teeth. «Listen! Not a child, that is a… a… failed thing. Just a weapon now, armed to kill you slow. Throw it aside so we don't all end up dead.»

Orel's corresponding yell down from the kitchen isn't exactly stealthy. Maybe they're fighting. Maybe he's mad.

This is a mercy killing. That's the excuse he'll have later. Buck breaks the child's neck, and tosses the body aside, over what remains of the sniper. Perhaps Winter's framework reactivated isn't an unmixed blessing…..Thank God Steve isn't here to see this. He doesn't argue with Nikita, not further. "Sweetheart, what do you see? Something *in* the pool?" To Niki, he asks, «Do you know why that pool is there?» A survey of the room - other ways out? Avenues to pursue? IF not, then it's back down to help those fighting in the kitchen.

They can make excuses about the earth, the sun, the motives and the deaths. Try and deceit sometimes unravels. Nikita doesn't bat an eyelash and Matvei struggles up, aided in part by his elder likeness, arm slipped under him. They're all clinging to the edge by their nails and little more, prayers useless and wings weighed down on the burden of the Motherland. Is there not a palpable weight registering by being back on Soviet territory, facing down a spectre?

«Kyr. Orel. They were here,» Nikita shakes his head, waiting to push on. The observation deck is a lonely place above it all, the banks of the great computer, the pool, the classes. They've found one child, and in the wreckage of the sniper, an uncanny likeness to another face in the milieu of history locked in Bucky's head.

Scarlett hovers there, traces of shadow still in her blood and her psyche, but death is something shoved aside. She walked in knowing what she faced. "Water started moving and bubbling. That's the problem, darling, I never saw a bottom. I flew past it fairly quick, so maybe I'm wrong, but I saw no tiles. The doors are all sealed up, too. No one's come out. They should have heard us?"

A burden for the pups. A honing of anger to the point of insanity for the original. He's got control of himself for this little while, but he's shaking. Breaths to try and calm himself. «All right,» he says, softly. To Scarlett, he looks up. «It might be bottomless. He's a child of the river, that might connect to it. They've heard us. They know we're here. No train - either they've already fled with the kids they don't want to use against us, or we just haven't found what we're after, yet.»

The redhead's bullet-scarred clothing is still mostly intact, and she has few hangups about that sort of problem. But she lands upon her toes, breaching the space through the broken glass. Shaking her braids, she snags one of the chairs and nods. "Suppose one way to find that out." The stress drawn in Bucky's expression finds a lesser mirror in her face, and she flits closer to lay her hand upon his arm for only a moment. "Let's go. Whatever else happens, we're in it together. Staying up here will not change what comes."

Never mind that ominous quiet after the shout, though that's not saying much. Volya is down there, and all of them are as soft-footed as their forefather.

Back down to gather up any stray pups. They'll clear this building piecemeal, if they must. He leaves the bodies without a backward glance. Sickness, rue, and regret will come later. They'll have to pass the pool - gods only know what will come out of it.

Steps lead back down to that still empty dacha hall, once a gathering place, the very heart of the home. The hub for all the families and servants who served here, whomever they were. Descending further finds proof of trouble, a world away. In the pool room, the serene turquoise waters are indeed covered in bubbles and brackish foam, as one might expect from a large jacuzzi or hot tub. Some water is slopped on the floor, headed for a floor grate where it sinks out of sight, but the puddle at least is visible.

Nearer at hand, no sign of Volya or Evgeniy in the main area. The dim interior makes seeing a distance hard, and Nikita and Matvei fan ahead until Bucky decides a direction. What they lack in initiative, they make up in paranoid experience, stalking around and leaping at shadows like the flickering paper on the wall peeling down to land at their feet. Never mind how far Nikita jumps at that, proving he's inhumanly nimble yet again.

Orel down the hall has his hands over his head, a lump on the ground.

«Bird, you all right?» Buck asks Orel, ihnts of rough affection in his tone. He stalks over to inspect. A question for Nikita, Matvei, «What is this taint they're infected with? Is it the drinks? IS that what it does, long term.» To Scarlett, "Still nothing from the pool?"

For the one preferring not to shoot things, vandalism and property damage rate lower on the ethical scale. Scarlett hugs the wall until flush against a cement pillar. She flips the chair around and throws it at the pool, an accurate arc foretelling a future as a killer softball player in a League of Their Own: Still Segregated. The chair soars into the middle of the foaming water, feet first, splashing down. By rights it ought to sink to the bottom, seated there in glory for any fool afraid of a pleasant dip. Instead, it sinks and a wave of pliable strands flail around midair, gushing out as the fountain effect flattens. That wave splashes over the lip and comes pouring out past the drain, along tiles, up to the steps leading into the recessed state. "Fair to say it interpreted my act of friendship by offering a gift as a hostile intention to drain it," she reports without too much irony, perching upon the planter. The kitchen level is only seven or eight steps up from the pool, after all. "We may be flooding."

Orel has his hands over his head, knees tucked to his stomach. How many a night did Bucky himself end up in such a position, twitching muscles in memory of an electric charge that never ended, or bits of memory awakened from the scrambled mire of his mind? «B-bad, bad, bad, bad, bad…»

Matvei registers a certain discordant pain. Nika clutches his pistol and hits the grip against his thigh repetitively, though the safety is on, so none get shot. «Dead. They are the scraps, the failures. They die.»

«So I see,» he says, drily. The link is abuzz at the back of his brain, but he's trying for it. Offering what calm he can, directing it down to Orel, Matvei. «Get up, little eagle. We're not done yet. We need Volga. We need Steve. We need Fanya. The water is rising.» He'll carry Orel, if need be. A sigh for Scarlett, "We're missing something. I should know what it is."

A river in flood, a nest of rooms waiting. Scarlett remains as she is, the guardian against the water, against which she can do little but kick over ferns. Her eyes narrow slightly. "In this situation, past experience implies we walk around until we crash into the trouble, or we rip open a hole to find it." Not much assistance, alas, though her retreat brings her back swiftly his way. The faint percussive thrum to the air joins the gurgling of water in a drain, soon more than the pipe can possibly manage.

Orel might be coaxed to his feet, forced up, but his expression holds a definite wildness in conflict with reason. Wide eyes show the whites, and he pushes away any contact. No for that. «They're dead. Dead. Good as dead. Get out and live.»

Another piece of metal squeals. The door slams. A disturbing bounce of percussion from the other side of the hallway, further down.

Towards the noise, then. «No. We get Steve, at athe very least. We don't leave without him.» He's got an arm around Orel. «I'm here. I won't have you all go back just to go mad and die. I've fought gods before, I've been one. I'll destroy this one.» Lucifer's arrogance *is* infectious, isn't it?

«It all falls apart. It always falls apart,» Nika mutters. With three of the Bucklings around the alpha wolf, they make a rather messy procession. Volya ghosts out from the entrance to the kitchen, pointing a gun at them until certain of their identity. He bares his teeth, a curl of lips. Wherever has Evgeniy gotten off to, that leaves the west side of the building to be managed. Explosive violence wrapped up inside a small room, how not to be reminiscent of fun times in Siberia a decade ago?

And still no sign of Steve.

Evi gets found, too. Towards the training rooms, since that's what sounds most likely. The strength of the wolf is the pack, after all. «There has to be more, under the earth. This dacha is only one nexus, isn't it?» Buck's left his pistol, but he's got his rifle, still. An assault rifle for closer-in work.

Russian is not known to Scarlett natively, though sheltered memories allow a pretext of certain familiarity. The rough cadence rolls off her ears charms after a fashion, for all they are spirited through the gloomy shadows. Orel shakes off the contact of support, advancing on his own shaky feet, clutching himself. He is still armed, like the rest. Brass knuckles are hardly a solution for mysteries where white-hot lead works.

Down the hall, barred entrances lead into training rooms, dark and grim. Rough walls and bare floors, swept clean, have no presence of charm they did the last time he glanced at them. There fly fists and kicks, knives hurled, sweaty musk thick on the confining air. Brutal three on one combat, a bloody froth breaks the silence. Three — and if one of them is a child of Steven's own face? The physical disfigurement and the stained, twisted limbs is a bewildering compared to the spear-straight American hero.

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