5523/Broken Mirrors: A Silken Thread

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Broken Mirrors: A Silken Thread
Date of Scene: 10 March 2021
Location: Somewhere in Moscow
Synopsis: Natasha faced with a dead end, receives a lead from an unexpected source.
Cast of Characters: Nadia Pym-van Dyne, Natasha Romanoff

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Life has certainly been interesting for Natasha Romanoff of late. Interesting in the sense of traditional Chinese curses. First she was somehow lured away from her friends, then it was revealed the new generation Widow cadets she had fought so hard to free had been taken back. If that wasn't enough a deal to try and free them in exchange for herself seemingly went awry after they stole her blood and tried to kill her, going to far as to dispatch a new Black Widow to finish the job in the aftermath. But why? What are they really after then?

A week has passed with Natasha managing to lay low in Moscow and regain her footing without attracting the attention of any agents, but she is also no closer to the answers she needs. That is until she feels a strange yet familiar presence tug at the edges of her mind, <<Natalia.>> A voice distinct from her own mental thoughts can be heard in her mind.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha Romanoff, as a general rule, doesn't tend to get 'depressed' in traditional terms. But a week in hostile territory, chasing a ghost faction that will swarm her as soon as she sticks her neck out, and having no one she can rely on (whom she's actually been able to get in contact with, at least) has left her feeling a little... less like a superspy than usual.

    Figuratively Sleeping with one eye open has been the least unusual part of all this; she's made a habit of it since she was nine, and it's not shutting down for anybody. So she's already prepared to pounce when the voice startles her out of the silence, raising her pistol and aiming it at... nobody. "... What is this?"

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
There is no one there, not physically anyway. Silence reigns in the space of the room and yet that presence can still be felt. <<I expected you be dead by now, if I am honest. But I see this must be reason they wanted you.>> The voice speaking is sounds both Russian and male with a heavy accent. <<But now I am thinking, maybe we can help each other.>>

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's eyes widen, then narrow slowly as she grabs her coat with one arm and starts putting it on with one hand, switching her pistol to the other hand to pull the rest on. <<That's usually how I like it.>> She says, of being presumed dead, speaking her native tongue distractedly even as she pulls up a small portion of the closed blinds to peer out the window in paranoid fashion.

    <<Well. You have a captive audience.>> She notes blandly before letting go of the blinds. <<Who are you? How did you find me?>>

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
There is dry chuckle, before the unseen speaker continues. <<Find you? You were never hidden from me. Not since Siberia. Name is Epsilon Red, I was one who drew you away from Avengers Mansion that night, who let Mother talk to you. Is simple, I have decided I want out, like you, but they never let me go, need my power. So instead I tell you where I am.>> There is a pause before he adds, <<Where Mother is.>>

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's pacing in her hideout and her cautious scanning gaze halt very suddenly when that name is uttered. Right now Mother's head is near the top of the list of things she wants right now, very slightly below the safety of the Candidates, and a comfortable margine above a warm bed to sleep in. God she's gone soft.

    Not soft enough to leap at lucky breaks, though. <<You'd give me Mother. For nothing but freedom. Just like that.>> Her tone is a little too incredulous for those to count as questions. Sketchy motives aside, this guy has already manipulated her mind once, a blank that she thought would be more satisfying to fill.

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
<<Give? Give is very strong word>> Epsilon Red's voice comes again.

<<I just tell you where, rest is up to you. Mother very cunning and take many precautions. There is no give, and if you are as good as seems maybe you succeed, maybe you are caught, maybe I manage to slip away in chaos either way.>> It at least seems honest in that there's really no attempt at friendship or comraderie, just the offer of a completely mercenary exchange.

<<But I see what you are thinking, what if I tell you where girls are also. Not same place, but maybe then you believe me. Or you don't come, they find you eventually and you die. My situation gets no worse. Eventually without alternative I will have to tell them where you are hiding.>>

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    There's a long moment of silence; at least in so far as anyone can be 'silent' to a telepath. <<... Complicated.>> She says quietly, before pulling up a chair and sitting onn it backwards, gripping the backrest with one hand, keeping the pistol ready in the other. <<If I get the girls, that tips Mother off. Even if I had a place to take them, that's a lot of tracks to follow, and I'm sure they'd at least *think* of you.>>

    <<If I come for you and Mother first, the Red Room scrambles at best, and panics at worst. Either way the girls get moved or liquidated. Unacceptable.>>

    Natasha's eyes narrow grimly as she thinks. <<I have one idea, but I don't think you're going to like it. You have anything you want to pitch first?>>

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Another dry chuckle. <<Chaos from grabbing girls is good chaos, too. I give you information. You act or not. If chance arises I take it, if it doesn't... well that outcome probably not good for you.>> Epsilon Red is clearly playing his own chess game here and doesn't really seem up for negotiation.

When he is done speaking, as was perhaps his plan all along, Natasha just somehow knows about two installations that she definitely did not before. One an old decommisioned Soviet era military research and development facility near Novgorod, and the other deep under the ice and permafrost of northern Greenland.

And then, as suddenly as it arrived, the mental presence is gone.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha straightens up when struck with the peculiar feeling of just suddenly... finding knowledge in your own head, distracting her sufficiently that she's a moment late when she starts to say <<Wait just a->> but she can tell he's gone. Natasha sighs slowly and lowers her chin onto the top of the chair's back. <<Four years later, and Russian men still don't listen. Why would it be any different than the sixty years before it?>>

    Still alone as she ever was, but she was more to work with now. Wheels turning in her head. It might be too big to handle on her own, but... since she left Russia she happened to learn that there are painfully sincere lunkheads out there who will do the right thing just because they have the opportunity.

    Is it really using them if they're happy to do it?

    She'll make it work. She'll get them back. She'll neuter Mother's operations if she can't kill her, and then... and then...

    Well. Then she gets to figure out what 'home' is, now.