6819/Up on the Roof(s).

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Up on the Roof(s).
Date of Scene: 06 July 2021
Location: Hell's Kitchen
Synopsis: Melting Super Soldiers? Really HYDRA. Bucky gets an assist in dealing with them from Clarice and Natasha.
Cast of Characters: James Barnes, Natasha Cranston, Clarice Ferguson

James Barnes has posed:
    It's that hour of the night where it's really so late that it's early. It's been hours since Bucky ditched Sam and went out looking for someone that's been escaping his pursuit for a few weeks. He didn't have a name, just a physical description of a blond haired, blue eyed guy that's been hanging around the apartment building that contains Bucky's little hide-away.

    After a brief check on the video footage from his security feed on the apartment, he found the guy. He had no idea, when he took off after the guy, that the tables would be turned on him before he knew what hit him.

    Now, above the city, blocks from that little apartment, the chase is on. They've hit the rooftops, Barnes and not just one, but four others in pursuit. The cat has become the mouse.

    One particularly long jump between buildings, the target taller than the one he's jumping from, and Bucky *almost* falls. Fingertips barely snag the opposite side and he barely manages to scurry his way up and over. It costs him the lead he had on the first in line of his pursuers.

    "Give it up, Soldier, you can't run from us all night," the blond man offers as he squares up against the Staring Cyborg that just happens to be Steve Roger's childhood best friend.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Rooftop chases are not /entirely/ uncommon in Hell's Kitchen, and most of its denizens prefer to keep their heads down and stay out of other people's business.

    Natasha, on the other hand, has made a habit out of getting involved in other people's business, especially when said business can't bear the light of day. It's pure coincidence that brings the chase to her attention -- she happened to be in the area investigating a different case entirely -- but something about the pattern of the pursuers jogs her memory.

    As someone who's neither hunter or hunted, she has the opportunity to take in the chase as a whole, see the patterns, anticipate where they'll be going... And to get there first.

    The first sign that things are not going as Bucky's pursuers had planned is the sound of a malevolent chuckle echoing across the rooftop, seeming to come from all around them.

"... And what, precisely, gave you the impression that he'll have to?"

    Shadows flicker and shift in the gloom as the chuckle grows more intense. "Do you really think you'd have free reign in this city just because you've sidelined SHIELD?"

    The voice continues to echo, coming from directly behind the first man before drifting away again to echo off the side of a fire escape. "Did you think your little pony show fooled everyone, little hydra? Did you think we wouldn't KNOW!?"

    A peal of laughter rings out, dark and sinister, and in the background the sound of people slamming windows shut and closing blinds can be heard, and still that voice continues. "You've led a merry chase, little Hydra. Now run home and tell your masters they're not welcome here before I decide to see how many heads I'll have to cut off before you get the hint..."

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Sometimes, when you live on an Asteroid, timezones become particularly hard. This seems to be one of those moments, as Clarice wanders the streets at an unGodly hour - a cup of coffee in her hand, which she sips at periodically. She doesn't seem at all worried that given the hour, and her location, that she might come to harm - but something catches her attention, out of the corner of her eyes - she looks up to see Barnes dangling from a roof, before pulling himself up.
    Of course, that all begs one, important questions. The Fuck?
    She scans the skyline, looking for a building a little higher than the one Barnes currently seeks refuge on - and she teleports herself uptowards to the edge of it - appearing in a brief flash of purple energy that, she hopes, will go unnoticed as she tries to figure out the situation unfolding a few stories below.
    What the hell is all that bizarre laughter? This city just keeps getting weirder.

James Barnes has posed:
    Okay, so, that's a little weird. Disembodied voices? Did his Swiss cheese brain finally fall apart completely? Or... were those stories he heard as a kid true? Was that one time he thought was a dream, real? Or... was this aliens? Androids? It certainly was not Wizards, there are no such things as Wizards?

    All really questions Bucky doesn't have time to ponder. The first of the four is over the gap, on his rooftop now, and then the second, a third is firing a shot from over younder, she hasn't made the jump yet.

    He, essentially, knocks the bullet from the air with his left hand.


    It deflects off into the dark.

    The rest of it is just a blur of motion and a lot soft grunts and gasps. These assholes are fast, they're strong and there are more of them than there are of Bucky. ...and they seem, for the moment, to give fuck all about disembodied voices. They have a mission, y'see. ...and it's all that matters.

    "Seriously?!" Bucky calls out. "You just gonna play Jiminy Cricket?"

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    The /second/ indication that things have gone off-script is when the last of the pursuers attempts to leap to this particular rooftop, he's intercepted just short of his landing with a kick that seems to blur out of nowhere, knocking him backward far enough that he misses the roof entirely. Of course, that's only the start of his problems as it's a nontrivial way down to the ground and he's out of range of any handholds.

    "Hardly," the voice replies, as another assailant suddenly finds his feet swept out from under him. "If you want to wish upon a star I'm afraid you're on your own."

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Well. This hardly seems sporting. The first shot goes off before Clarice is ready - but as the shooter lines up and fires a second shot - a portal appears in front of Bucky, the bullet passing through - and exiting a second portal aimed at the torso of one of the shooter's allys. Perhaps that would help even up the odds a little more?
    She then creates two thin, silvery javelins in her hands - preparing them for whatever trouble may come before the fae-like figure reappears in the middle of the action. "Which of you boys would like an all expenses paid trip to the middle of the Atlantic ocean?" she asks.

James Barnes has posed:
    AAAHhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh... THUD. But damned if that one doesn't just push himself back up off the ground, shake off the fall, and start climbing a fire escape.

    One gets winged by the woman's bullet, a graze to the side - he's fast and was turning the second he saw weirdness happening. He keeps on coming. Feet swept, a fall... up in a blink, he keeps coming. They just... keep coming.

    But with only three to contend with and the knowledge that back-up is there, even if the elements are unknown, Bucky is sort of holding his own. These people are RELENTLESS though, absolutely uncaring about anything but giving Bucky a beat down that it just isn't natural. Disembodied voices, portal-ed bullets, threats of vacations swimming with the fishes, none of it seems to matter a rat's ass to any of them.

    A misstep, a wrong turn, a spin away from one attack that might have left him with a shattered face - yes the whole face, that's how strong these people are - and Bucky takes a boot to the chest that sends *him* flying toward the roof's edge. ... and over it.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Unlike her grandfather, Natasha tries to maintain a very strict policy of nonlethal violence -- these are different times, and law enforcement is much less forgiving of vigilantes who leave a body count than they are of vigilantes that just leave piles of unconscious criminals lying in a pile of evidence.

    But as a wise man once said, things are a lot less specific on the subject of kneecaps.

    Shots start ringing out, muzzle flashes briefly illuminating a dark-clad figure in a greatcoat that looks like he's stepped off the set of a film noir, vanishing back into mist and shadow as the flashes die and kneecaps shatter, and the laughter never quite stops...

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    "Shit, shit!" Bucky is sailing over the edge of the rooftop before Clarice can hurl a javelin - but the other side of the roof is a mere //blink// away for her, and she quickly reappears looking down at the falling man.
    She hurls one of her javelins at him immediately - calling down to the man, "It's an assist, I swear!" Whether he'll trust it - and whether the physics of his fall would allow him to do anything about it if he doesn't - are separate matters. But should the javelin strike true, it'll pop him back up onto the rooftop - conveniently behind one of his assailants.

James Barnes has posed:
    In the seconds before he was kicked, Bucky had one hand in his pocket. Odd that, but ... well, speed dial is convenient even if these new fangled gadgets still confounded him from time to time.

    Two kneecapped and down, but even then? Well, they're CRAWLING, pulling themselves toward the roof's edge like they're still trying to pursue their target.

    The one climbing the fire escape sees an opportunity and opens fire on a falling Bucky. It's only because he's instinctively trying to twist out of the way of whatever Clarice is hurling at him that both of those shots become grazing wounds rather than the potentially lethal ones they could have been. Super Soldiers, after all, are not bullet proof. Buck just thinks he is sometimes, or doesn't care if he's not? That debate is ongoing. Clarice still hits, mid-air dodging is hard!

    After a split second of disorientation. Bucky realizes where he's at and just *reacts*. He? Has not a single qualm about deadly force.


    It's the sounds of the that last one standing on the roof's neck breaking.

    There's still the one coming up the fire escape and the two turning to crawl toward Bucky now.

    ...and then things take a turn for the weird. All three of the ones left alive start to scream. They writhe and convulse on the ground, their skin bubbles like it's boiling and begins to melt away to reveal bone. The whole process takes but a minute or two, in the end there's nothing but piles of melted goop, bone and some bits of clothing and hair.

    ...even the dead dude is dissolving.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "That... Was unexpected, the Shadow comments, seeming to materialize out of mist and darkness like a bad practical effect. Piercing blue eyes glance from Bucky to Clarice and back, as if verifying that neither of them had caused this. "I take it HYDRA prefers not to let others have access to their 'toys'?"

     The question is directed at Bucky - as the one originally being pursued he's the most likely to know more, after all.

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    "What the hell, even?" Clarice says in surprise - staring at the bubbling corpses. She's seen some shit, but this is a surprise even to her. She moves a few steps closer - her other javelin still held in her hand as she studies the disolving body. Of course, this reveals very little to her.
    Instead, she looks to Barnes, putting her hands onto her hips. "I //told// you it was an //assist//," she chastizes with an amused smile on her features. She's not surprised he'd disregarded her words, however. They were strangers, after all, and she'd hurled a projectile at him.

James Barnes has posed:
    Walk it off Buck. That's what he's doing when the Shadow starts talking. He's pacing in a little circle, holding his left side, limping on his left leg. Both injures will likely be nothing tomorrow, but they hurt a little now!

    But that's not even what the dude is 'walking off'. No, it's the situation, the absurdness of it, the crazy that's been none stop for the past two and a half months and now HYDRA is sending... what? Self-destructing Super Soldiers after him? ...and maybe everyone else?

    He stops and looks up at the sky before... screaming, "FUCK YOU HYDRA!" at the top of his lungs. He spins on Clarice and it looks like he might just lose his ever loving mind, those pale blue eyes of his are a little wild, kinda deranged. "I was too BUSY FALLING to really LISTEN," he snaps out.

    ...he's completely forgotten about the open line to Sam on the phone in his pocket.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    If the Shadow is perturbed by Bucky's rant, or at being ignored, he doesn't show it; instead the figure just remains standing, calmly reholstering their guns and turning towards Clarice. "Your assistance is appreciated," they say, with a slight nod of acknowledgement.

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Clarice's eyes narrow as the man rounds on her - but she doesn't move. After all, it'd only take her a moment to blink away to safety. Still - who likes being yelled at by deranged lunatics? "Hey asshole," she remarks. "Save the ire for your enemies, huh?" She keeps her gaze fixed on Bucky now out of an abundance of caution - ready to move at the slightest sign of further aggression. "Enemies that happen to be dead. Can I just 'What the hell, even?' one more time at that?"

James Barnes has posed:
    "What the fuck, man? You're *real*?" He asks as he spins on The Shadow. Because once Bucky's head gets a little less 'ready to explode', he puts two and two and turns into four. He snorts, it's a little strained, almost laugh of a sound. "So, guess I'm not the oldest son of a bitch in the room anymore."

    He really wants to kick something, be nice if he could kick one of those dead bodies, but they're MELTED.

    "I dunno, I... this... it's new levels of... I've never..." He just stops talking. His left hand flexes into a fist and relaxes before he starts tapping each finger, one at at time, against his thumb. Each tap makes a soft, faint 'click' sound of metal against metal. He lets out a hiccup of a sound that might have been the start of an hysterical laugh. "They fucking *melted*!" Ahahahaha, what the fuck?!

    He's looking a little trapped animal here, kinda fight or flighty when the fight's already over. ...and he doesn't even have all that long hair hiding the CrazyFace anymore.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Between the crimson scarf obscuring the lower half of the face, and the wide-brimmed slouch hat obscuring almost everything else, expressions are hard to read, but the way those eyes crinkle at Bucky's disbelieving comment manages to convey amusement quite well.

    But then the moment passes, and as Bucky starts to lose it, those eyes fixate on him with an inhuman focus, pulling him back to himself by pure will. "Breathe. Be. Focus. You are here. You are safe."

    When it looks like Bucky has calmed down a bit more, the question is repeated. "From your reaction, I take it that came as a surprise to you as well. HYDRA must want you back very badly indeed."

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    "Yup," Clarice confirms. "They fucking melted. That's pretty high on my weird-shit-o-meter." She clearly has a different approach to this situation than the 'Shadow' over there does.
    She continues to keep her gaze on Bucky - though she risks the occasional quick glance around their surroundings at this point. "Look... Buddy. It seems like you're having a tough night. If there's somewhere you'd rather be..." She holds out her hand towards him, the javelin in her hand extended towards him, "Tell me where you want to be, and I can blink you there. Cross-streets'll do." You know. If he trusts her to not send him to the middle of the Atlantic.
    Or possibly even outer space, if she was feeling particularly saucy.

James Barnes has posed:
    Yeah, yeah... Breathe. He can do that. He does do that, he probably would have anyway, but the process is quicker with the Shadow's help. Bucky is just about to reply when his phone trills out ... Freebird.

    "Shit..." because he forgot about SAM! He manages to get the phone out by the second ring and answer it. He holds up a finger to the room in general... sec!

    "No, Sam, I'm not..." Well, Sam's all about the honestly, maybe he's sorry he's getting it from Bucky in spades lately though. "I am standing on a fucking rooftop in Hell's Kitchen. My place's been made, I just got chased by what seemed to be four... super soldiers... Got an assist from... something that I *think* is The Shadow, as in THE FUCKING SHADOW knows and shit. And... they *melted* Sam, the Super Soldiers, they just, all of them... at the same time... they.. fucking *melted*." Hiccup laugh, snort.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    That sounds like a debriefing going on. The Shadow wisely holds their council while Bucky engages in the time-honored stress relief method of shouting at someone, instead choosing to focus on their surroundings in case HYDRA hasn't quite given up for now.

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Clarice lowers her hand, putting both of them back on her hips as she continues to watch the crazed man with his phone. Her eyes shift towards the other figure on the roof as she repeats something the crazy man just said. "'The Fucking Shadow knows?'" Look, if she doesn't know more recent pop-culture, she definitely doesn't know that. "What is that supposed to mean?"

James Barnes has posed:
    Typically, Bucky is way more on top of things like that than he is right now. Normally he can keep the crazy under control until the shit's over. But in the past week alone, he's been nearly gutted by X-23, he's ended up in 1943 the day before the day that would be the beginning of his life going to complete shit and that trip included a run in with Zola, had a run in with alien fish people, there might have been some zombies that really weren't... that's not in any particular order.

    ...and SHIELD is still fucked, Peggy is still a Ghost in the Damned Machine... he might have killed someone in New Orleans last night, early this morning, what day is it?

    "I dunno, there's some girl here that claims she can ... portal me somewhere?" A beat. "Melted, man, MELTED. What the fuck do I do with these... piles of goo?" That's all to Sam. Along with, "I'll call you back..." and he ends the call abruptly.

    He reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger. "Fuck my life," he murmurs before looking up again and adding, "Either of you know a good cleaning crew?"

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    The Shadow shakes their head. "Generally, I prefer to leave the evidence lying around and give our brave and dedicated servants of the Law something useful to do." Just a bit of sarcasm there, possibly.

    They look over at Clarice. "You've some skill with teleporting. Can you teleport remains as easily as you do living people?"

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Clarice offers a shrug of her shoulders before remarking, "I'm with the Brotherhood. We have our own cleaners, to deal with our messes. ...this isn't my mess, though, so I'm not feeling particularly inclined to call them in." She frowns down at the seemingly inert pile of goo. "...I could blink most of this away, yeah," she confirms. "But unless I take part of the roof along with it, there'll likely be traces left. I could drop it in the ocean, in a volcano, in the earth's core, up in outspace..." Options!
    Of course, that means that that teleport she just offered Bucky? She could send him to any of those places, as well.

James Barnes has posed:
    "I have people," Bucky begins, his attention focused on Clarice. But that's not about the cleaning, that's... because... "5th and West 127th." That's where he wants to go and he has PEOPLE that will find her if she misses!

    As far of the rest of it? Well, "I can't leave *super soldier* goo laying around." What if someone gets it and figures out whatever it is that made them... But, no. Fuck it. He's exhausted, he doesn't give a shit. He's shot AGAIN. Not bad, but still shot. He just wants... his friends. "Just send me there."

Clarice Ferguson has posed:
    Clarice nods in response. She takes care of the goo first - blinking it out of existance, along with a chunk of the roof's material to get a clean sweep. She drops it in a volcano - nothing left for anyone to retrieve that way. Once that's taken care of - she holds out her hand towards James - the javelin between them. "5th and West 127th," she confirms. "Touch the thing, and it'll pop you there," she offers simply.
    Along with a quiet, "Goodluck."

James Barnes has posed:
    After a moment or two of ... well, uncertainty and a little fear, Bucky touches the thing and POOF, he's gone.