Author Topic: Mission Report  (Read 438 times)


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Mission Report
« on: November 30, 2016, 10:33:05 AM »
Despite the success of their raid on the Siberian Hydra base, the job was not yet finished. They still had their volatile cryo-pod inhabitant to deal with, but the decision was made not to thaw him until the next day, when everyone had had a chance to recover from the raid itself. Johnny had been sent straight home, to be looked after by his family after burning himself out so thoroughly, and Lucy had come in from Rhy'Din to check on Alyona. She'd elected to stay for the thawing process as well, though no one was particularly happy about putting her in a room with a seriously unknown quantity. Natasha and Clint had to liaise with the CIA agents; Sam had taken himself home to finish settling his affairs before making the move to New York permanent.

That left Steve and Tony anxiously standing guard as Lucy took blood samples from the unconscious Petrov, as well as establishing what his baseline observations were. As soon as she was done, they hurried her out, securely locking the heavy door behind them. Petrov had been put in the closest thing to a secure cell they had at the mansion, which was actually one of their training rooms. It had been stripped of everything but the bed in which he was lying, and chosen specifically because it had an enclosed viewing platform from which they could observe and communicate with him until they established his motivations and allegiance.

It was close onto five hours after they had thawed him at this point, and Lucy had ventured back into the observation room to share her findings with them, unsurprised to find Steve and Tony still suited. She was surprised to find Alyona there, but then, it could still be difficult to predict what the young Sokovian might choose to do in a given situation. She was standing by the window, looking down at the apparently sleeping man with piqued interest, and looking very young. Tony had taken her measurements shopping with him two days after the girl had arrived in New York, and had managed to resist the urge to dress her in what he liked.

"Well, all I can say for sure is that he's been injected with a serum that is surprisingly close to the one used on you, Steve," Lucy said as she came up beside the men, looking down into the room with them. "It's unstable, so there's no way to tell what effect it's had on him, and there are some strange neural readings. If Nat's right about him being reset in some neural scrambler, he may have triggers we don't know about - what are you doing?"

This was directed at Tony, who was hovering next to her nervously, one hand in mid-air. "Darn, I thought you hadn't noticed," he said with a flicker of his charming, if arrogant, grin. "Cap says there's two in there. Can I?" His hand waved hopefully over her bump.

Lucy rolled her eyes with a sigh. This was, at least, better than the usual verbal sparring they performed around each other. "Have at it," she told her half-brother, ignoring the hand that descended onto her belly as she looked up at her husband. "Any sign of consciousness yet?"

Steve had been uncharacteristically quiet through all this, ever since they'd had a better look at the guy and had started thawing him out, but he had yet to say what was going through his head. "No," Steve replied, not saying much else. Even considering the fact that Tony talked enough for three people, Steve was being strangely quiet.

Though Alyona might have known what was on his mind, she didn't mention it. Lucy, however, knew because of her habit of digging up little pieces of his past whenever she felt the need to know something. She'd seen photographs, and she knew exactly what was bothering her husband about Nicholai Petrov. Shooing Tony away, she stepped closer to Steve, sliding her fingers between his gently. "The DNA is still being analyzed," she told him softly. "It'll be tomorrow, at the earliest, before we know for certain."

Steve nodded silently. He might have said more if they'd been alone, but with Tony and Alyona hovering, he wasn't sure he wanted to admit what was preying on his mind. What he wasn't telling them was that their guest looked a little too much like Bucky Barnes for Steve's liking. Whether he was Bucky was doubtful, but for Steve, it was like seeing a ghost.

"What's this now?" Tony asked, glancing between the couple. "Did I miss something? Did Mega-Mom here say something about DNA? Whose DNA?" He turned stern eyes onto Lucy. "Are you playing with my DNA again?"

Lucy snorted with laughter, rolling her eyes again at her brother. "Your DNA is my DNA, egghead," she reminded him. "Sad to say, you are not unique in this universe."

"He is waking up," Alyona said softly, pointing down at the shape in the bed.

"The world can only handle one Tony Stark," Steve said with a straight face, though he was teasing the man a little. Despite his ego, the man was starting to grow on him a little. It didn't hurt that Tony was the son of one of his closest friends during the war. "I sometimes wonder if anyone is unique," Steve remarked again, as he moved toward the door. It's said that everyone has a double, but Steve knew at least two people who could pass for his twin, and who knew if there were more out there somewhere. "Time to say hello," he said.

"I thought we were doing the meet and greet from here?" Tony pointed out. "Seriously, you're leaving me in a room with your wife. If you get beat up, so will I. Take pity on me, man."

"Oh, grow up, Tony," Lucy grumped, moving toward the window herself. "I'm not pregnant enough to hit you just for being you yet."

"I need a closer look," Steve remarked, still not explaining himself, though it seemed Lucy, at least, understood his motivations. And where was the risk when Tony and Alyona were right there in case he got into trouble?

"Hey, where's Tinkerbell going?" Tony objected, pointing as Alyona moved to follow Steve. He was being abandoned with his own sister - and not the nice one, as he had characterized the twin women in his life as nice and not-so-nice.

Lucy glanced at him, shaking her head. "Drop it for once," she said quietly. "Please? I'm worried enough about what's going to happen down there in the next couple of minutes."

Tony closed his mouth, moving to stand next to her. "Nothing's gonna happen to him," he promised his sister quietly. "Promise."

Even if things went sideways, Steve was confident Tony had enough safeguards in place that he'd be fine. Besides, he was Captain America. If Petrov - or whoever he was - had been injected with a similar serum, then the worst that could happen was that they'd be equally matched. Then again, there was that metal arm to contend with, whatever the hell that was about. As for their guest, Alyona was right - he was waking up, but at present, he didn't seem too lucid, mumbling incoherently as consciousness slowly returned.

Steve pushed his way inside the room, so focused on the man in the bed that he didn't realize Alyona had followed him. Or maybe he had and just hadn't said anything to discourage her. He'd seen what she was capable of. If he needed someone to throw up a barrier between them in a hurry, Alyona was his best bet. "You said he was injected with a similar serum to mine?" Steve asked as he moved closer.
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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 10:33:39 AM »
Lucy's voice came over the intercom from the observation room. "It's pretty close," she told him, concerned about his safety in there. "Like I said, it's unstable, so it may have affected him differently. There's no way to tell." She glanced toward the door, where Alyona had come to a halt as the door closed behind her. The Sokovian seemed to have a better sense of self-preservation than Steve was displaying right now.

It wasn't so much self-preservation as it was morbid curiosity. Steve had to know if he was Bucky or not. He only stood there a few feet away, quietly observing, slowly taking in every detail of the man's face. Blue eyes opened to look up into Steve's face, meeting his gaze, lucid and angry and terrified, all at once. He murmured something in Russian, his words garbled and strained, as if it was taking all his concentration just to form the words. "Who are you? Where am I?"

"What is that, what language is that?" Tony asked, his hand half-raised protectively in front of Lucy, despite the fact that the glass between them and the wider room was certifiably Ironman-proof.

"It's Russian," Lucy told him, frowning as she watched the tableau below. She touched the intercom again. "Steve, maybe you should step back."

"He's not our enemy, Luce. He's no different than Alyona or the kids. Hydra did this to him. He needs our help," Steve argued, though he took her advice and took a single step back.

"You speak English," the man observed aloud, with only the barest hint of an accent.

"Yes, we rescued you from Hydra. We're not gonna hurt you. We want to help," Steve reasoned, raising his arms to show he was wearing or carrying no weapons.

The man's eyes moved over Steve's uniform - over the well-known red, white, and blue. He seemed focused on Steve, ignoring Alyona near the door, and Tony and Lucy behind the glass. "This is America, yes?"

"Yes," Steve replied, though he didn't say where they were exactly, for fear the man might freak out. He was being very careful what he said, so far, knowing any word could be a trigger. "Do you remember who you are?" Steve asked, his heart beating hard in his chest. Though he'd already determined the man wasn't Bucky, there was a definite resemblance. Would he be taking such a chance with the man if he looked any differently? It was hard to say. Was the way the man looked the reason Steve had changed his mind about rescuing him, in the first place?

"Who I am," the man repeated quietly. "Who are you?" he asked again.

The back and forth questioning was making Lucy nervous, but she didn't dare interrupt. She knew as well as anyone how dangerous a distraction could be right now. But there was something about the man's quiet tone, the way he was studying Steve so closely, that put her on edge.

There was one simple fact about Steve Rogers that Alyona had sensed from the first time they'd met - he couldn't lie. Oh, he could withhold the truth or even stretch it a little, but it just wasn't in Steve's nature to lie. It was why S.H.I.E.L.D. had never turned him into a spy. Unlike Nat, who could lie through her teeth when she needed to, Steve was inherently honest, and the serum had only enhanced that to the point where he was incapable of lying. Still, he hesitated a moment before answering that question, as if debating just how to answer it. "My name's Steve," he told the man truthfully, without telling the whole truth.

"Steve," the man echoed, carefully looking over the star-spangled man standing a few feet away.

Steve frowned, knowing it might only take one tiny push to put the man over the edge. He could see it in his eyes - the need to know - but there was something else. A hunger of some kind, some desperate desire to understand, but there was danger there, too, hovering just beneath the surface. Maybe Tony was right. Maybe he should have stayed behind the glass, but how could he gain the man's trust that way? He knew he was going to have to tell him the truth sooner or later, and there would be no better time than now, no better place than a controlled environment. He'd weighed the risks and decided they had the advantage.

"Steve Rogers," he told the man finally. "Captain America."

"Uh, no ... No, no, bad idea, very bad idea," Tony rushed to interrupt, missing by a split second. He removed his finger from the intercom just in time save Steve's delicate ears from Lucy's expletive-ridden stream of invective - Petrov's neural readings had spiked, and that was not a good sign.

Well, how was he supposed to answer? Was he supposed to tell the man he was Bruce Banner instead? It was perfectly obvious who he was, and even if the man had been kept on ice for decades, Steve couldn't change who he was or change his role in the history books. Steve watched as the man's eyes dilated and before he could react any further, the man had snapped the restraints holding him to the bed and shot to his feet.

"Get outta here, Alyona!" Steve shouted as he backed up a couple of paces, more to protect her than himself. He hadn't brought his shield with him into the room, but it might not have mattered if he had.

"Steve!" Lucy's panic could not have been more obvious, but Tony knew better than to rush to his brother-in-law's aid. If Petrov got the better of Steve, who would protect Lucy? Odd, how neither of them even considered that Alyona might be able to handle things.

"Why am I getting out of here?" the Sokovian asked Steve mildly, pushing from her lean against the door to march forward and put herself between him and Petrov. When she spoke next, it was in Russian. "If you are able, you should stop now."

Fortunately for Steve and Alyona, the man was in a weakened state and not up to his full potential. Still his gaze never left Steve's, looking murderously at him, as though he was the most hated being on the face of the earth. To see such a look on a face that was a near duplicate for Bucky nearly broke Steve's heart, but he remained where he was, determined to break Hydra's hold on the man.

Petrov - if that truly was his name - lifted that metal arm of his and flexed his metal fingers with an eerie crunch of metal. He looked briefly at Alyona, his gaze quickly sizing her up. "You are little more than a child. Get out of my way," he told her in Russian, taking a step forward, though he was turning to look at Steve again.

"Alyona, back away toward the door," Steve was telling her from just behind her, ever the hero. "I'll cover you."

"Cover this, Captain," the man said in English, springing forward to shove Alyona out of the way and attack Steve, metal fingers reaching for his throat.

Alyona could feel the panic from Lucy, the anger and worry from Tony, the pain from Steve - all of these things were in her mind because she had touched each of their minds. Looking into the eyes of this sleeping soldier, she could feel nothing, see nothing. Only the orders that were a part of him, repeated over and over again. As the arm swept down to push her aside, she ducked it, her hands already moving to wrap tendrils of her crimson power around the metal wrist that reached toward Steve's throat.
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]


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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 10:34:19 AM »
Steve's eyes widened, not in fear but in disbelief as a man who looked like an almost exact duplicate of his best friend looked at him with murder in his eyes, but Steve was no pansy and was at least able to defend himself. While Alyona held that metal wrist at bay, Steve looked directly into the man's eyes, unflinchingly. "Your name is Nicholai Petrov. You are an ex-KGB agent who was about to defect when you were captured and turned over to Hydra. We rescued you from a Hydra research facility, where they were experimenting on you and trying to control you. Think, man! Do you want to be what they made you or choose your own path?"

"Lies!" Petrov hissed through clenched teeth, struggling to free the metal arm that Alyona was just barely holding at bay. Steve might be enhanced, but metal fingers around his throat were just as deadly a threat to him as to anyone else.

"No," Steve said, standing his ground and moving to lower that metal hand with Alyona's help, the other hand pressed against the man's chest, calling on all his strength to keep him at bay. "Everything they've told you are lies. Think! Search your memory. Remember who you really are. You're a free man. You do not belong to Hydra, and we are not your enemy."

Fighting to keep her grip, Alyona glanced between the faces above her, feeling very small now she was all but pressed between two big, strong warriors. "He can't," she tried to tell Steve. "He ..." Struggling, she made a dangerous decision. In a split second, she had released her grasp on Petrov's arms, whipping her hands up to push her mind into his, forcing her way through the repetitive orders he couldn't fight against himself.

Steve staggered a little when Alyona let go of the man's arms, but he had a feeling he knew what she was up to. He'd been inside her head, after all, and she'd been inside of his. If this was the only way to reach the man lost somewhere inside Petrov's head, then so be it. Steve's fingers closed on the metal wrist, the two men struggling against each other, one hoping to kill the other despite Steve's insistence on wanting to help.

"No!" the man shouted as soon as he felt Alyona's presence in his head and he shoved them both away from him, grasping his head and doubling over in pain, not because of anything she'd done but because fighting whatever it was Hydra had put inside his head was causing him physical pain.

As he pushed away, Alyona lost her grip, thrown to the floor in a sprawl of limbs that barked her knees and hands. She pushed herself up, watching wide-eyed as the man doubled over in pain. "Steve, get out," she told her companion, using his first name for the first time. "There's something in him, something telling him to kill you. I can handle this."

"I can't leave you alone," Steve insisted, as he helped her to her feet. Whatever they decided, it was going to have to be decided in the next few seconds before Petrov attacked one or both of them again.

"I can handle this," she promised him once again, letting him help her up. "You're making it worse. You have to go, now."

From above, Tony interjected. "Get out, Cap, Jarvis is on standby if things get nuts down there."

"Jarvis?" Steve queried, needing to hear the A.I.'s voice for himself and know that Alyona would be safe if he left her there alone. He looked between Alyona and Petrov, hearing Tony's voice and knowing Lucy was probably sick with worry. "We're right here if you need us, okay?" he asked. "Jarvis, do not let him hurt her, no matter what." In a way, if worse came to worst, he was giving Jarvis permission to do whatever he needed to do to protect Alyona, even if it came down to killing Petrov to do it.

"The ventilation system is primed with a sedative gas should it become necessary, Captain Rogers."

With Jarvis essentially backing her up - and the knowledge that a sedative would not kill her - Alyona pushed against Steve's chest, trying to force him to the door. She could force him, they both knew it, but she would rather conserve her energy for dealing with Petrov. "Go!"

It wasn't a matter of pride so much as a need to protect, but Steve knew she was right. So long as he was in the room, Petrov would not be able to overcome his programmed agenda to kill the man Hydra viewed as their primary enemy. It might have been better if Tony had greeted him instead, but it was too late for that now. "All right. I'm going," Steve replied, looking to Alyona, his hands on her shoulders, his gaze meeting hers. "Be careful."

She nodded to him, her eyes sliding back toward Petrov. "No one could have done this for me," she said quietly. "Let me do it for him. Go, lock the door. I will be fine."

Steve nodded, not bothering to argue further, but doing as she asked and moving for the door. Once outside, he locked it and joined Tony and Lucy to watch her progress, hoping with all his heart he'd made the right decision in rescuing Petrov at all and in leaving him alone with Alyona. "It's not him," he told Lucy as he joined her, not bothering to explain to Tony what he meant by that statement.

Tony barely glanced up, his attention fixed on the console in front of him, through which he and Jarvis was arranging a few other back up systems in case the gas was required and didn't work.

"You're not dead, that's the most important thing here," Lucy pointed out, turning back to the window to watch what was happening below.

Alyona was proving to have a surprisingly cautious sense when it came to approaching the wounded animal that was Petrov. She barely seemed to be moving, but was slowly gaining ground, her hands held out in front of her, as non-threatening as she could be. She spoke softly, in Russian, trying to keep him calm so that she could finish what she had started.

Steve touched a kiss to Lucy's cheek, no other words said as he turned to watch the scene unfolding before them. He didn't bother to apologize, though he was sorry if he'd frightened or worried her. There would be time to talk about that later, but he knew she'd understand why he'd done what he had.

With Steve gone, Petrov had turned quiet, crouched on the floor with his head in his hands and struggling to sort the lies from the truth. It was something he would be unlikely to do on his own.

Very slowly, Alyona sank down into a crouch in front of Petrov, fighting to contain the very real fear that he might hurt her without even intending to. "I am not here to hurt you," she told him, the Russian slipping from her tongue more easily than the English did. "I can help. Will you let me help you?" Her fingers skimmed over his tentatively, not daring to do more than touch him until he gave her some indication that he was aware of her presence.

He didn't reply for a long moment, only crouching there silently, rocking back and forth on his heels as he tried to control the pain in his head. "No one can help," he said at last in his native Russian, his voice barely audible.

Watching safely behind the glass, Steve translated what he could hear so that Tony and Lucy understood what was being said.
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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 10:34:57 AM »
"No one has tried," Alyona said softly, gently stroking her fingers through his hair. "Let me try, and do not be afraid. No one here wants to hurt you." She drew a deep breath, and this time, she was gentle as she pushed her mind close to his, searching for the painful triggers and unfinished orders that were scratching through him.

The dark-haired man lifted his head at last to meet Alyona's gaze, ice-blue eyes that were filled with pain and remorse and fear looking into hers. As her mind touched his, she'd sense that pain, confusion, loneliness, terror, hatred. But what was he afraid of? Not Steve, not Alyona, no one present. In some ways, he was afraid of himself, of what he'd become, terrified of what Hydra had done to him, of what they might still do to him, of what they had made him. He was their creation now, and he didn't know how to change that.

Her eyes filled with tears as he allowed her to see his pain, his confusion, all the loneliness and terror that consumed him, inching physically closer as she concentrated on his mind. Carefully, she unwound the conditioning that was hurting him so badly, unable to escape the pain that rocked him each time her grasp slipped or she missed something.

From above, the observers could not guess what was happening. All they could see was the girl holding the man's head, the pair's eyes locked to one another in absolute silence. "Is it me, or is that creepy?" Tony asked warily.

"Not quite what I'd call it," Steve said, but then he'd been inside Alyona's head, as she'd been inside his. He knew some of what that felt like, some of what they were experiencing in there, and there was nothing creepy about it.

Petrov's mind was a mess - a tangle of thoughts both his and not his, experiences and memories both real and not real. What Alyona was trying to do wouldn't be accomplished in a day or even a week, but perhaps there was hope in knowing she had reached him. The most important thing right now was making him understand that he was not what Hydra had made him and that they were there to help.

There was so much. Alyona was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of conditioning littered through this poor man's mind, forcing herself to focus on just the urge to kill Steve Rogers for now. Tears dripped down her cheeks to soak into her skirt as she fought to clear this man's mind just a little, finally deciding that she had done as much as she could for now. Her final act was to reach deep, seeking out a happy memory, buried beneath decades of pain and neglect, to remind him just a little of the man he had once been and could be again.

That memory was that of a woman, long since dead, but her memory lived on in his heard and buried deeply in his mind. Her name had been Liliya, and she had been his wife, the love of his life. The flower of his heart, he had often called her. His Liliya.

She had intended to retreat from his mind before the memory began to replay, but something about it held her there. As the trio watched from above, Alyona touched her forehead to Petrov's, closing her eyes with a soft sigh as that indescribable sense of peace and belonging spread through him. "You are safe here," she told him softly, hoping against hope that he would believe her.

He wasn't sure what to believe, but he sensed something in her that assured him she didn't want to cause him any harm. "Liliya," he murmured, his voice breaking, as she returned to him that most cherished memory buried deep in his mind. Whatever happened from here on out, it seemed the initial threat of danger was passed, thanks to Alyona.

"She's reached him," Steve said, watching from his vantage point with Tony and Lucy. Even so, he knew he needed to stay away until they could be certain nothing would trigger the man's programming again.

"Okay, so ... now are you gonna tell us what the hell's going on down there?" Tony demanded pointedly. "All I'm seeing is a love fest, which is totally cool, but I'm not standing up here watching if he decides to get freaky with our Tinkerbell. That arm is metal, those love bruises will take months to heal."

"She's inside his head," Steve explained, without going into detail. "I can't say what exactly she's found there, but my guess is she's looking to undo Hydra's programming." Of course, it would take more than a few minutes to undo possibly decades worth of torture and brainwashing, but it was a start. "We need to keep him secure, until we're sure he's no longer dangerous," he added. If he was ever no longer dangerous. Steve didn't want to consider the alternative.

"Secure and comfortable," Lucy added, glancing up at him. "There is more than mental damage to deal with here, Steve. I need to be able to get to him, and to be sure that he isn't hurting himself because his environment isn't suitable for him."

"You want him in a bedroom," Tony said in a dull voice. He sighed. "Fine, just give me some time. Jarvis, we've got some of this glass left over, right?" He knocked on the glass separating them from the main room, unintentionally startling the pair below.

Steve nodded to Lucy, thought that sort of went without saying, he thought. Avengers Mansion, as it had come to be called, belonged to Tony, and in the end, it was up to Tony to decide where to keep Petrov.

In the room below, the Russia looked startled as he jerked a gaze at the glass to find three strangers watching him, like an animal in a cage. He recognized one as Steve Rogers, but this knowledge brought no flare of rage or hatred this time. The other two were strangers, just as the girl in front of him. "I suppose I am to be kept here until it is deemed I am not a threat." He spoke in English this time, so that anyone who wished could reply.

"Until we can help you regain yourself, yes," Lucy answered him. "I'm a doctor, my name is Lucy. The woman with you is Alyona. You recognize Steven Rogers, beside me, and this gentleman is Tony Stark. Hydra can't reach you here. We'd like to help you, so that you can make an informed decision about what to do with your life once your mind and your body are healed."

"Mmm," the man murmured, looking between the trio, his gaze lingering on Steve a moment longer than the others before looking back to Alyona. "It would have been safer, wiser to kill me," he replied, moving to his feet and reaching to help Alyona to hers, but only so that he could take a seat on the bed, looking suddenly weary and strained.

Lingering beside him as he sank onto the bed, Alyona glanced up at the trio watching them. "They could have killed me," she told him, speaking in English for the benefit of those who didn't understand the Balkan languages she and Petrov were most comfortable with. "It never occurred to them to try. And now I can help you, if you will let me. We can all help you."

He couldn't really argue with that, as the alternative was not one he wished to contemplate. Hydra had taken enough from him. If he truly wanted his life back, this seemed the only way. "How long?" he asked instead, his question directed at Alyona, though it didn't matter much who answered.
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]


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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 10:36:12 AM »
Steve exchanged glances with Lucy, wondering which of them should answer. He knew the most about Petrov's past, having studied his file backwards and forwards, but he wasn't so sure the man was ready to hear his voice again. "Fifty years," he replied. "More or less."

"It is the end of November, in the year 2016," Alyona added gently. She was only just coming to terms with the overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness she had encountered in his mind, only just aware that she had not read him at all. She had gone in with a single goal, and once it was achieved, she had left without reading more than she had to. It was a new experience for her.

"Fifty years," the man echoed, his heart sinking. His Liliya would be very old by now, if she still lived at all. It seemed he had no knowledge of what had become of his wife, and it would not be easy for him to hear the truth.

Steve didn't want to use that knowledge to turn him into a killing machine for the Avengers; that made them no better than Hydra, but at the same time, the man deserved to know the truth. "A lot has changed in fifty years," he said.

"I suppose you would know," Petrov countered. Whether he knew much about Steve's history or not, he didn't say.

"He knows better than you want to think," Alyona said very softly, capturing Petrov's right hand between her own. "Seventy years passed for him before he came back to the world. If he can do it, then so can you. But you do not have to run to the world and embrace it." She crouched down to look into his eyes. "We do not expect anything of you, but that you do not hurt us as we try to help you. That is all. We are not Hydra, and we are not S.H.I.E.L.D. We stand alone."

Petrov turned his attention away from the figures behind the glass and back to Alyona - a flesh and blood woman who had somehow touched his mind. A beautiful one at that, but that thought only made him feel like he was betraying the memory of his own Liliya. "You stand alone together," he corrected. "Very well. It is not like I have much choice, do I?"

"For now, no," she admitted softly. "While you are still vulnerable to Hydra, it will be safest for you to stay and let us help you. When that vulnerability is gone ... then you will have a choice, as I did. We will not force you to stay, if you do not wish it." She was repeating the same promise Steve had made to her, albeit unconsciously. All she truly wanted was for his man to trust them enough to accept their help, and to be able to help him, if she could.

"As you did," the man echoed, his weary brain trying to grasp what she was telling him, trying to make sense of it. The last thing he remembered ... What was the last thing he remembered? Pain. Endless pain that seemed to go on and on forever. And voices. Men's voices mostly, telling him the same thing over and over. Trying to make him believe all their lies, until he could no longer tell the difference between reality and their lies. He rubbed at his temple where it was starting to ache. "It's too much," he murmured, reverting to Russian again.

"Shhh ..." She reached up to brush her fingertips through his hair once again, gently smoothing that unseen touch of hers through his mind, sweeping those memories aside for now. "We will make your mind quiet again," she promised him, dropping back into Russian with him. "Together, you and I. We will take their touch from your mind." She glanced up at the window worriedly.

Seeing that glance, Lucy touched the intercom button again. "May I come down there?" she asked politely. "I might be able to give you something for the pain, something to help you sleep."

Steve couldn't hear what was being said down there, but he was smart enough and knew Alyona well enough to make a pretty good guess. He turned to look at Lucy as she volunteered to join them, but he made no effort to stop her or argue with her about going in there. She was a doctor, and this was in good part why she was here.

"You are a doctor?" Petrov asked, his attention distracted from Alyona to Lucy for a moment. He'd been poked and prodded enough, he thought, but he somehow sensed that she wished to help him; that they all wished to help him, even the man in the star-spangled suit. He looked back at Alyona, drawing comfort from her touch and her gentle demeanor. "I will allow this if you stay."

"I am a doctor, yes," Lucy confirmed for him, her brow rising as he turned to Alyona. No one in the observation room missed that caveat. "All right, I'll be down in a few minutes." Stepping away from the window, she met Tony's gawking gaze.

"Is it me," he said slowly, pointing at the window, "or did Tinkerbell just tame the Gruffalo in there?"

"Beauty and the Beast," Steve interjected, though he wasn't too sure that was exactly accurate. There was just a hint of a smile on his face though, knowing Alyona as he did and as Tony did not. "You're sure Jarvis can handle it if he goes rogue again?" Steve inquired further, needing to be sure before he put Lucy's life in danger.

"Uh, yeah. Jarvis, you got this, right?"

"I am prepared in the event of any further hostility, Mr. Stark."

"He's got this," Tony confirmed, nodding to Steve. "And Tinkerbell's got it in hand, anyway."

Satisfied, Lucy squeezed Steve's hand. "I won't be in there long," she promised him, turning to head for the door.

Somehow, Steve didn't find that very comforting, but didn't have much choice but to agree. Besides, he couldn't have talked Lucy out of it if he'd wanted to. He wondered if Petrov would notice she was with child and figure out whose child she was carrying. "He better have this," Steve murmured more to himself than anyone else. If anything happened to Lucy or Alyona, he'd only have himself to blame. They could have easily left Petrov there to get blown up with the rest of the Hydra facility, but Steve's conscience had argued against it.

Alyona knew neither Steve nor Tony would be exactly comfortable to have Lucy in the same room as Petrov, but she didn't blame them for their concerns. They were entitled to those concerns. She smiled shyly at Petrov as Lucy knocked on the heavy door before unlocking it. "She is a good woman," she assured him quietly. "And she is very loved here." It was as much a warning as a heads up, reinforcing the fact that if he harmed Lucy in any way, he would lose the goodwill of the people who had saved his life. And as Lucy entered, it was obvious that harming her would mean harming at least one innocent life, as well.

So far, so good. It was only when something triggered the programming Hydra had put in his head that he lost control of his senses. The only problem was that he was not aware what those triggers were, which made him a danger to himself and to those around him. "A woman who is a doctor. Times have changed," he murmured as Lucy stepped through the door to join them. It wasn't that there weren't women doctors in the 1960s, but they were not as prevalent as they were in modern times.
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]


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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 10:36:45 AM »
Lucy smiled as she came over to them, offering him her hand to shake. "Mr. Petrov, it's a pleasure," she said, warm and friendly, and much calmer now she was facing him, rather than Steve. "Can you describe where and how it hurts to me?"

"I sincerely doubt that, madam," Petrov replied, finding Lucy almost too polite, too formal, though he gave her credit for making an effort. "Where does it hurt?" he echoed. "Here," he said, tapping his temple with the arm that was not made of metal. He had other minor aches and pains and stiffness, but mostly the pain was in his head.

"Lucy," she told him, her face creasing in a warm smile. "What's the pain like? On a scale of one to ten, with one being negligible and ten being unbearable, where would you rank it?"

Alyona perched herself onto the edge of the bed beside him, sensing the potential for confusion. "There are many medications that help with taking pain away now," she explained gently. "Lucy is trying to decide which one would be best to help you right now, that is all."

He seemed to consider that a moment. The pain was nowhere near what it was when they were torturing him, more annoying than anything else. "Hmm, a three, perhaps?" he asked, his English much more formal than his Russian.

"Three, that's helpful, thank you."

As Lucy turned to open up the bag she had taken in with her, Tony tore his fascinated gaze away from the trio in the room below to look over at Steve. "Dude, those girls are scary brave," he pointed out with a raised brow. "What's the deal with you and him, huh? You could've put him down, no problem. Why didn't you?"

"I don't know," Steve replied, though that wasn't quite true. He paused a moment as if searching for the right words to explain his reasoning. "He looks just like an old buddy of mine. I know it's not him, but ... What would you do in my place? What would you do if he looked like someone you once cared about but had lost forever?"

"Throw a party?" The grin was on Tony's face for a split second before he shook his head, waving a hand to avoid annoying Steve while the man was worried about his wife. "I get it. Makes sense. Guy shows up like a face from the past, is a face from the past, you wanna be sure it's not the guy you knew who had that face before. Sure, anyone would. That why she's running his DNA?"

Steve might have cracked a smile, if the discussion wasn't of such a serious nature. "Yeah, but ... I'm not so sure anything will come of it. I mean, Bucky's been ... He's been missing for over seventy years." Not dead, missing. To the best of Steve's knowledge, the body had never been recovered. "I don't really understand the science behind it, not like you and Lucy do, but how do you know if someone shares the same DNA as someone else if you have nothing to compare it to?"

"We do have his DNA," Tony pointed out with a mild shrug. "Army records. They're supposed to destroy the stuff, but there's always someone somewhere holding onto someone's spit or blood they should have tossed decades ago. Anything connected to you got saved, anyway. Hell, she might even have dug it up from dad's stuff."

Steve arched a brow. It seemed there were still things he didn't know, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that. "But it's not him, Tony," he pointed out. "Even if they're related or something, it's not him. There's this guy ... Doyle ... He's a CIA agent. You'll meet him at some point," Steve said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "He could be my brother. So could Johnny. Why? Is there a connection somewhere that we don't know about? It's like that with Petrov and Bucky, I think." Of course, there were other possibilities. The two men could be distantly related, or Hydra could have found Bucky and reproduced him in some way, but Steve didn't think so. "You know, I don't really believe in chance, but sometimes I gotta wonder why things happen the way they do."

"Best to be sure," Tony pointed out. "Look, I'm not saying that he's this guy you know, but there might be a connection there, and if there is, that's gonna help him even if it doesn't help you, right? Besides, it's not like we can kick him out now. Tinkerbell's attached - it's like you gave her a new teddybear to cuddle up to at night." He nodded to the window, where Lucy was talking quietly with Petrov while Alyona sat close beside him, doing everything but hugging the man. "Chance, fate, luck, it's all a kick in the teeth. And you have perfect teeth, you know."

Steve listened to all this silently while he watched the trio in front of them, especially Lucy. If the guy so much as lifted a finger to hurt her, all bets were off, whether he looked like Bucky or not. Listening to Tony was sometimes like listening to a hyperactive child with a wandering mind and a vocal stream of consciousness, but Steve had mostly gotten used to it. "Wait, what? My teeth?" he asked, glancing to Tony a moment with a confused look on his face.

"Look at them. You're like a Colgate commercial. All you're missing is that diamond spangle." Tony came over to the window, looking down at the group curiously. "Seriously twins?" he asked, his train of thought jumping the tracks yet again. "Boys, girls, what? You gonna use them as dumbbells until they're eighteen?"

Steve furrowed his brows, still a little confused by Tony's line of thinking. "My teeth weren't affected by the serum, Tony. At least, I don't think they were," Steve replied. The serum had just improved on the design that had already been in place, had he been healthier and stronger. "Girls, and no ..." Steve actually chuckled at the thought of bench-pressing his own children. He'd never really had any reason to bench-press anything. "Believe me, I'm as surprised as anyone."

"Girls. Wow." Tony actually seemed to have run out of things to say, in awe of the knowledge that the family he'd been so reluctant to admit existed was getting bigger again. And, if he was honest, a little jealous. He was pretty sure Pepper would love to follow through and actually get married, start a family, but some part of him was antsy about the whole thing. "Maybe I should have taken on Martin and Lianne when I had the chance."

Steve smiled, unsure if Tony was really ready to handle children. He wasn't much more than a child himself, in a lot of ways, but there was still hope. "Maybe you should just worry about being an uncle for now," Steve said, giving Tony's shoulder a squeeze. "It'll happen eventually. You know, your dad was quite the ladies' man. I didn't think he'd ever get married and have kids, and look at you." Steve frowned as soon as he got that out, realizing his mistake. "Sorry, I didn't mean ... I meant ... I guess I stuck my foot in my mouth with that one."

"Yeah, my dad was a model father," Tony ground out, but he managed not to lose his temper. He knew Steve didn't mean to bring up bad memories. "The uncle thing, that I can do. Should probably do more of, really. The nice one keeps saying I should go over there and visit, not sure that'd be wise with her flaming darling ruling the roost."

"Yeah, well, if it's any comfort, mine wasn't much better," Steve remarked. He rarely, if ever, talked about his father, and few knew the truth about that part of his life. Steve couldn't help but chuckle at the allusion to Johnny. "I'm pretty sure it's Liv that rules that roost. Johnny will come around. Just give him time. It wouldn't hurt if you were nice to him, you know."

"He always rises to the bait, how is that not fun?" was Tony's predictable attempt at defending his behavior, but it was clear from the look on his face that he knew he hadn't been the friendliest. "Look, he married my sister. Before I even knew she was my sister! And he married the nice one, so he's got a lot to live up to. You just have to survive yours, he has to earn his."
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]


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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 10:37:20 AM »
"You know he saved her life once, right?" Steve pointed out, unsure how much of Liv and Johnny's history Lucy might have shared, if any. If it hadn't been for Johnny, it was possible Liv might had died in a fire years ago.

"So? I saved your life once, do you see us married with kids?" Trite, perhaps, but it said a lot about the way Tony saw the world. "Look, he's good, all right? She likes him, he makes her happy, their kids are ... nuts, but he's still got that rep, you know? And believe me, I know the rep. I was the rep, I know it takes something special to walk away from enjoying it."

Steve smiled, understanding at last what Tony was trying to get at. "I think maybe you should spend more time with them. He might flirt with Nat, on occasion, but he's devoted to Liv. You know, your father used to flirt with Peggy, but there was nothing going on between them but friendship. It's like that. Johnny's a good egg. In some ways, he's a lot like you, really. That's probably why you get on each other's nerves so much."

"Uh-huh. So, get this ... how come I'm jealous of him?" Tony asked, and there was a glimpse of the man he didn't show to very many people. "Don't get me wrong, I'm jealous of you, too. Nothing to do with playing happy families or love, no, I'm pissed off that you got to have my sisters before I even knew they existed. I should have known them; they should've grown up here, with me. Might not have turned out like me if I'd had little sisters to take care of when Mom and Dad abandoned me for death."

"I can't answer that, Tony. I didn't know they were your sisters either. They didn't even know. Why does Petrov look like Bucky? Why does Johnny look like me? How did I wind up in Rhy'Din? How'd I end up with you for a brother-in-law? I'm not sure any of us can answer those questions. Maybe it's better we don't. All we can do is accept what's happened and move on. Be grateful for what we have and not become bitter about what we don't. I suppose that sounds ridiculously idealistic."

Tony turned away, tapping his fingers against the edge of the console in front of him. "Shoulda, woulda, coulda," he said quietly, for once giving himself a moment to cool off before responding. "You trust everyone. You see the good in everyone. I forgot how to do that when my mom died. Hold onto it, Cap. Makes you a better man than I'll ever be."

"Not everyone, Tony. There are people who are evil. People who don't have much good left. People who've chosen to hate and they let it consume them. I've always tried hard not to be one of those people, but I have my moments. There was a lot of evil during the war. We like to think that was a good war, that we defeated evil when we won the war, but all we really did was slow it down a little. Hydra doesn't think it's evil. They think what they're doing is saving the world, but they're wrong. Are we any better for destroying that base and killing all those people? Are we the good guys, or is it all just a matter of perspective?" Steve asked, though he'd gone beyond Tony's questions into matters of philosophy and morality.

"It's all perspective, Cap." Tony turned back to look at him. "Ask anyone. Everyone is the hero in their own story. Difference is that good heroes want to change the story for everyone else's benefit; bad heroes wanna do it for their own gain. I'm willing to bet we're the good heroes here."

"Bottom line, we're trying to save people, and they're trying to kill people. Destroy society, civilization, so they can rebuild it the way they want. We've got our problems, but that's not a solution," Steve agreed, but he had deviated from the original topic of discussion. "I'm sorry about your parents, about your mom. I'm sorry you never knew you had sisters. But you've got family now, Tony. I never had a brother, you know, but I've got one now."

"Two," he was corrected in a familiarly flippant tone, but the hand that touched his shoulder and squeezed for a brief moment was acknowledgement enough that Tony had heard and understood what he was being told. "Don't get mad, Steve. It doesn't go away after a while." He paused, pressing the button for the intercom. "Hey, no spooning down there." The gesture he got back from Lucy made him snort with laughter, stepping back before she could see him smile.

"Sometimes you gotta get mad, Tony," Steve replied, turning silent as he seemed to want to change the subject. He watched silently as Lucy asserted herself with a vulgar gesture, but he didn't share Tony's smile or laughter. "Lucy doesn't think I'd be happy without having some kind of purpose. I'm just a soldier, Tony. That's all I know how to do. I don't know if I'm ever gonna be able to wipe out Hydra, and even if I do, there will always be someone else there to take their place. It never seems to end, but nobody lives forever, you know?"

"Beg to differ," his brother-in-law pointed out. "Not just a soldier. Husband. Father. Protector of cute cats - yeah, I've seen the pictures. If you were just a soldier, you wouldn't have twin buns in the oven with the most stubborn woman I've ever met. Just a soldier doesn't organize a mission to save one life over nuking a base from orbit. There's nothing just about what you are. Sure, the fight goes on, but so long as we're winning more battles than they are, we're winning the war, right?"

"Yeah, but we gotta think about the future, too. We're not gonna be around forever. Who takes over when we're gone? I'm not talking about tomorrow or the next day. I'm talking years from now. We put a pretty good team together here, and we can handle things without S.H.I.E.L.D. for now, but what about five or ten or fifty years from now? I think maybe we should consider the big picture here, Tony. We're the unofficial leaders of the Avengers - you and me. It's up to us to decide where we want this to go, what we wanna do about S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra and the World Security Council." He sighed suddenly as he realized he'd just gone off on a tangent. "Sorry, I'm tired and rambling, and I've got a lot on my mind." Not to mention his shoulders.

"The big picture is removing Hydra from positions of power, and keeping our eyes open for the next generation," Tony shrugged. It was as simple as that in his eyes. "Nothing happens overnight. We deal with what's right in front of us, or there won't be tomorrow to save."

"Right, but Hydra has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. It's like a cancer that's growing. If we don't do something to stop it, it's only gonna get worse," Steve pointed out, curious what Tony thought was the solution to that little problem.

"Out 'em." It was a simple solution, almost breathtakingly so. Tony held his gaze for a moment. "Seriously. S.H.I.E.L.D., and therefore Hydra, function through secrecy. Pull down the wall, cut down the forest, do whatever you have to do to tell the world what they are and what they've allowed to happen on their watch. The world gets a look at how corrupt their protectors have become, and we get some good PR which, let's face it, we kinda need."

Steve arched a brow at his brother-in-law's solution to the problem, knowing it wouldn't be quite as simple as all that. First, they'd need to get inside S.H.I.E.L.D. and gather evidence. Second, they'd have to find some way to make that evidence public. And third, they'd have to deal with the fallout. "You realize we'd make a lot of enemies that way," Steve pointed out, not to mention that there were still some good people working inside S.H.I.E.L.D. that might go hurt in the fallout.

"Cap, we have enemies just by existing," Tony pointed out. "Right now, they're all in the shadows. We could do with some clear and present right about now."

"So, what are you suggesting?" Steve asked, once again curious if Tony had anything specific in mind. He had a few ideas of his own, but he wanted to see what Tony thought.

"Hack them and drop everything on the 'net," Tony suggested. "Or get news coverage. Either way, it'll get eyes looking at S.H.I.E.L.D., and finding Hydra looking back at them. Be willing to bet there'll be a lot of governments having a clean out pretty soon after that, too. The Security Council look like idiots, so they get fired, too."
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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 10:38:08 AM »
"Hack them," Steve echoed, familiar with the term but not quite how to accomplish it. "You realize that will cause S.H.I.E.L.D. to implode," Steve pointed out, though that was one way of cleaning house. Sometimes you had to tear something down from the inside before you could rebuild it again.

"S.H.I.E.L.D.'s a lost cause, Cap," Tony shook his head. "Even if Fury's with us, he can't be trusted by us. He keeps too many secrets from you, for a start, and when we need him to take control of his agency, where is he? Not a sign. If things are bad enough that Fury's gone underground, then S.H.I.E.L.D. does not exist anymore. It's just good people being used as a mask to hide Hydra right here in the States."

"He keeps too many secrets from everyone," Steve replied. Tony was right in that Steve wanted to trust people, but he'd learned over the last few years that not everyone could be trusted and that included Nick Fury. "There's also the matter of the scepter. I assume it's still in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s possession."

"Fury wouldn't let me even look at it," Tony grumped, still a little resentful of that. "When I think of all the ways it could have pushed our technology forward, and it's just stuffed away in some storage room in the Triskellion ... You know he said I was too irresponsible to be trusted with it? Days after I carried a nuke into a wormhole! You'd think he'd have remembered that."

"Are you sure it's just stuffed away?" Steve asked, unsure what exactly had happened to the scepter, other than the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. was presumably in possession of it. "It's too dangerous, Tony. Too powerful. We don't even know what it does."

"Like they'd tell me anything about it," Tony pointed out, finishing tapping into the computer to turn and look at him. "They made weapons out of the Tesseract, who knows what they're on to with the scepter. Mind control springs to mind - remember what they did to Barton?"

"Suite 6 has been outfitted with the modifications you requested, Mr. Stark. It is prepared for your guest's comfort."

"Jarvis, did you say suite 6?"

"Yes, sir."

Tony looked at Steve. "I think my computer is matchmaking."

"Yeah, but my guess is it does more than just that, if you know how to use it," Steve pointed out, though he got Tony's point and was in agreement. "We can't take S.H.I.E.L.D. down until we know where they're keeping the scepter," he pointed out, not to mention whatever else S.H.I.E.L.D. was hiding. Steve chuckled as he looked back at Alyona and Petrov and Lucy. "You're the one who programmed him."

"Mostly he programs himself these days," Tony admitted, joining him at the window. He watched the trio below them for a long moment, long enough to see Lucy take her leave of Petrov and Alyona. "You're okay with that down there?" he asked Steve curiously. "Been kinda protective over Tinkerbell, and then today, bam! She's right in there with the possible assassin programmed to destroy Western civilization."

"Programmed to destroy me, anyway," Steve corrected. He wasn't so sure what else Petrov was programmed to do, but he was pretty sure about that one. "Honestly? I think she's probably his best bet," Steve admitted, with a thoughtful frown, though he didn't go into the reasons why he thought that.

"And you're sure she's on our team, right?" Tony wasn't asking just to be obtuse. He liked Alyona, but she had been trained by Hydra as a child. Despite the numerous tests and the evidence that she was somehow resistant to mental conditioning, there was always a worry in the back of his mind that there was some trigger somewhere inside her.

"Tony, she wants nothing to do with Hydra. She's terrified of them. She begged me not to go back to them. Unless she's a very good liar, I believe her. She's a victim of Hydra. So is Petrov. What kind of people would we be if we didn't protect them and try to help them? We wouldn't be any better than Hydra," Steve reasoned. "It's a risk, but a calculated one. It would be hard for them to betray us without Jarvis knowing about it."

"Hey, easy there, soldier." Tony held up his hands. "Just a question, that's all. I like the kid, she's got potential. Sooner we get her sleeping all through the night, the better. Jarvis reckons she's averaging about three hours, broken. Those nightmares aren't going away anytime soon."

"The longer she's with us, the more she'll trust us, and the better she'll sleep. And she'll be meeting her father soon. We're giving her life back to her, Tony. She'll be okay, in time," Steve said, ever hopeful, the eternal optimist of the group. "You should get to know her better. She doesn't bite, you know," Steve teased.

"I bet she would for the right guy. No, that guy is not me," Tony said hurriedly, knowing exactly what Steve would have to say about the idea of their young guest being taken advantage of by any of them. "The kid stepped up and took out a platoon by herself. There's something fierce in there, behind all the sweetness. Should be fun to find."

"I have a feeling Nat was like her once," Steve mused aloud, frowning again in thought. There was part of him that didn't want Alyona to become like Nat, didn't want her to lose whatever sweetness and innocence was left her. "It's up to her, you know, Tony. She doesn't owe us anything."

"I know. But hey, who gives up life in a mansion?" Tony flashed him a grin. "C'mon, she's a big girl. She can make this decision without us hovering over her all the time." He nodded toward the room below. "She made that decision for us." He touched the intercom. "Hey, Tinkerbell. Suite 6 is good to go, take your roomie up there when you're ready."

Alyona smiled up at the window, nodding in agreement, her eyes quickly returning to the man at her side as she spoke softly to him.

"You might have to explain the Tinkerbell reference," Steve remarked quietly, with a faint smile. After all, Alyona had spent most of her life under Hydra's thumb. He doubted she'd had much knowledge with fairytales, at least not after her father had been sent away. "Lucy asked if I wanted to adopt her, but she has a father of her own." There was something in Steve's tone of voice that hinted at some inner conflict, but then there was no reason they couldn't become friends.

"She answers to it, that's all you need for a nickname to stick." Tony grinned, turning away from the window once again. "Huh. So Mega-Mom thinks like me. I'm impressed."

"I wish you wouldn't call me that," Lucy commented as she came back into the observation room, a new file in her hand. "Nicholai Petrov is running a fever, unless the serum has kicked up his natural core temperature. I'd like someone to keep an eye on his temperature for the next couple of days, just to be sure."

"Why? Alyona didn't run a temperature, did she?" Steve asked curiously, as Lucy rejoined them. She was the expert where the medical stuff was concerned, and Tony was the science expert. Steve was out of his element when it came to that sort of thing.
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]


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Re: Mission Report
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 10:39:54 AM »
"No, she doesn't, but you do," Lucy pointed out. "You run about a degree hotter than most of the rest of us do, and after you've exerted yourself, that rises to between two and five degrees for about twenty-four hours. If the serum they used on him is closely matched to Erskine's serum, I'd expect him to have to same sort of reaction."

Steve wasn't sure how he felt about that. "How close were they to replicating Dr. Erskine's serum?" Steve asked, knowing they'd done their best to find and destroy all evidence of the serum that existed outside himself.

"Close," she said soberly. "I need to run through a more detailed analysis, but on the face of it, they seemed to have matched it to a degree of about 87%."

"87%?" Tony repeated. "That's impressive. Scary, but impressive. Want me to get Jarvis to run those details? You already input the data from Tinkerbell, right? So he knows what he's looking at."

Lucy blinked, surprised to be asked at all. "That ... that would be incredibly helpful, actually. Thank you, Tony."

"See, I can be nice." Tony smirked, turning away to address the computer.

Lucy looked at Steve in disbelief. "Who is he, and what has he done with Tony Stark?"

Steve was a little lost in thought, and it took him a moment to realize Lucy was talking to him and blink out of his thoughts, that worried Steve expression on his face. "What? I wasn't paying attention, sorry." It wasn't like Steve to miss something like that. There was definitely something on his mind.

"I didn't think you were," Lucy smiled gently. "The questions you need answers to, I can't answer. Not yet. The DNA results will come through sometime tomorrow, and I daresay Jarvis will be done around about the same time with the detailed analysis of his blood. As for the back ups Hydra possibly has, Nat was passing on Tony's virus to Alyona's father through your spy friends. He'll source and wipe what little they still have to work from."

"It seems endless," Steve said with a sigh. "What can I do to help?' he quickly added, knowing there was a lot of work ahead of them, though he'd likely be more help trying to find out what was going on with S.H.I.E.L.D. than helping with her research. He wasn't sure he liked the idea of them researching the serum at all, but if there was anyone he trusted, it was Lucy.

She considered him for a moment. "You can try to relax a little," she told her husband softly. "Talk to Nat, talk to Clint, find out what's going on with Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. if you can. If you need something more physical to do, why not come home for a little while? Right now, all we can do is wait and see what comes up, and you wouldn't be abandoning anything here. They can contact us at any time."

There was no better way to relax than going home. It was a tempting thought, if only for a couple of days. "You hear that, Tony?" Steve asked, knowing his brother-in-law was listening, even if he was pretending not to. "Can you handle things here if we go home for a few days?"

"Hey, if I scream loud enough, you'll hear me on the other side of the universe, right?" Tony replied, turning back to face them. "Sure, I got this. Sam's back in a coupla days, and Romanoff never lets me do anything without slapping me around a bit first. We'll hold the fort. Go, have family time. They need you more than we do right now."

"I'm not sure if I should be insulted or relieved," Steve replied, chuckling a little, though he knew what Tony meant. Lucy was right - there wasn't much more they could do here, until Jarvis was finished with his analysis and Petrov was coherent enough to carry on a meaningful conversation.

"Well, I could sit on your knee and ask for a bedtime story, but I think your kids might beat me to a pulp if I tried," Tony offered, his smirk turning ever so slightly triumphant as Lucy actually laughed at that charming mental image. "Seriously, go. We got this. Luce, take him home, he's making me look bad."

"Oh, I see ... You want to win points with Alyona while I'm not around," Steve said, a teasing smirk on his face. "It's not a competition to see who she likes better, you know," he pointed out, though it amused him that Tony might think so.

"C'mon, you got five of your own," Tony chuckled. "I want this one."

Lucy rolled her eyes at the pair of them. "I think you've both lost, to be honest," she informed them with a smile. "Tony, if she's pregnant by the time I come back here, I will be holding you personally responsible."

"Hold on, what?" Tony goggled at his sister, apparently not having expected to be put in charge of that.

"Pregnant?" Steve echoed, looking over at Alyona and Petrov again. "Luce, they just met. They hardly know each other. And he's ... he's old enough to be ..." He trailed off, flushing a little as he realized he was practically describing himself and his relationship with Lucy. "Maybe you should give her the talk."

Lucy held Steve's gaze with an amused smile until he trailed off, her smile deepening warmly. "You were saying?" she asked innocently, hugging one arm about his waist. "I already did. And neither one of you needs to panic, she and I already sorted her out in that department. It's just funny watching Tony squirm."

Tony's eyes narrowed. "You're so lucky I like your sister," he informed Lucy. "Just for that, I'm going to build fully functioning, newborn Ironman suits for when those two are born."

"Irongirl," Steve corrected, mirroring Lucy's amused smile, though he was still contemplating the possibility of Alyona and Petrov. "Which of us is matchmaking now?" he mused aloud, echoing Tony's earlier remark about Jarvis.

"She's made a connection with him," Lucy shrugged. "And she needs someone to hold onto as much as he does. They have shared life experience. Just ... don't be surprised if it develops beyond friendship. And don't tease them," she added, looking sharply at Tony.

He held up his hands defensively. "Me? Tease a little witch who can turn my brain inside out just by looking at me?"

"It looks like your sister is playing matchmaker now, too," Steve teased, smirking a little in Tony's direction. First Jarvis, now Lucy. But it wasn't long before Steve was turning serious again, that worried expression back in place. "You might hear from Fury while we're gone," he told Tony.

The other man nodded, his own smirk fading. "Figures we might," he agreed. "Barton or Romanoff are still the best bet to pin him down into a truthful answer to any question. If we hear anything, we'll let you know."

"Are you sure you're gonna be okay with us?" Steve asked, feeling a little guilty about abandoning the team to go spend time with his family, but they needed him, too.

The look Tony gave him suggested he was missing a few of his marbles. "Do I look seventeen to you?" he countered smartly, at which point Lucy decided to intervene.

"Okay, boys, before we get into who is responsible and who isn't, I'm going to call the shots here," she declared, squeezing her husband's hand. "You'll call with the data analysis, right?"

Tony nodded to his sister, spotting an uncomfortable peacemaker at work. "And anything else you might be interested in," he added. "The color of my panties, how much candy I eat in a given hour, that sort of thing."

"I thought only women wore panties," Steve pointed out with a straight face. "I gotta check in with Nat before we go. Give me an hour or so?" he asked, the question directed to his wife. It wasn't that he didn't trust Tony, but between the two, Nat was the responsible one, and he needed her to know what was going on. He also wanted to ask her to keep an eye on Petrov and debrief him as soon as he was able to handle it.

Lucy nodded to him. "I need to finish up and go over the analysis with Jarvis myself," she assured him. "Come find me in the lab when you're done."

"Need a hand with that?" Tony offered. It seemed as though seeing his "not-so-nice" sister in her professional element had reminded him that she couldn't give a toss about their father's money and given him a reason to be pleasant. After all, one day, it might be him she was doing her med-tests on.

So far, money hadn't been much of a problem, though that might change. One didn't exactly get paid for being a superhero and now that they'd left S.H.I.E.L.D., they were without paychecks, but even so, they weren't interested in Tony's money. They were living rent-free at Maple Grove, after all, and had never asked Tony for a penny. Steve touched a kiss to Lucy's cheek, not wanting to get too affectionate with her in front of her brother. "I won't be long," he promised. "Be nice!" he warned Tony with a smirk.

"I'm always nice," Tony protested, and yelped as Lucy thumped his shoulder.

"No, you're not," she told him laughingly. "Come on, Ironman, you need to translate me for your computer."

"But what about ... oh." The oh was quite obvious when she followed his gesture to the window. Petrov and Alyona were no longer there, no doubt already headed to more comfortable surroundings to continue those tentative adventures in trust that happened around a telepath.

Lucy smirked at her brother. "You are such a prude," she teased him, ignoring his protests against such a label as she headed out of the observation room.

Well, at least they weren't actively trying to annoy each other any longer. It was a start, at least, and if Tony and Lucy could set aside their differences and get along, it boded well for the team as a whole. And with the way things were going ... they were going to need that team more than ever.

[size=9]((Another day, another bit of fun to post! Apologies to all - any and all deficiencies in Tony's character are entirely my fault. He's hard to play! But huge thanks to my partner in crime!))[/size]
[size=9:3f66ad2e5e][b:3f66ad2e5e][i:3f66ad2e5e][color=darkred:3f66ad2e5e]I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail ...[/color:3f66ad2e5e][/i:3f66ad2e5e][/b:3f66ad2e5e][/size:3f66ad2e5e]