2016-01-09 Winter Soldier's Failure
This scene is rated PG-13
Warning: Mention of medical torture
2016-01-09 format
Players: Bucky Barnes
GMed by Peggy Carter
Title: Winter Soldier's Failure

Rating: If you have an R or higher rating, set the rating box and rating tag to R, if it is below that, keep it at everybody

HYDRA Bases in the United States were different than Germany. Most of them were smaller, more efficient, behind tighter doors than they ever had back in Germany, and disgused as the most innocent things. A local community credit union, a blood lab. A medical clinic. This 'clinic' was out in the pine barrens of central New Jersey, several miles from any real civilization so it barely ever caught notice. It also meant they could do louder things here without worries about padding the walls. The front desk was manned with a smiling blonde secretary at all hours of the night. She carried as many weapons as there were whiteneing crowns on her teeth.

The Winter Soldier is distantly aware of the armaments of the woman by the door, of most of the 'mundane employees' in this place. Despite knowing what they are, he also knows better than to enter through the front door. It's against protocol. So it's from a back alley entrance the sniper makes his way into the hidden underbelly of the efficient American base, his expression neutral even under the mask, his sniper rifle over his shoulder. Protocol requires reporting to the dispatching officer. The same protocol that says nothing at all about radioing in for confirmation on a target kill, though that is also something the assassin did at an earlier time that day.

The mission was a failure.

Despite the fact that all of HYDRA was in a bit of a mess right now, the largest, new experimentation facility in the middle of Pennsylvania having been raided by SHIELD, the dark haired man called Paris who most often operated as his handler was standing, waiting serenely, in the normal room where the Winter Soldier reports. He looks as if nothing was wrong in the world, his suit pressed, tie straight, dark hair carefully gelled back off of his face. He waits calmly, hands folded behind his back. Pale eyes track Bucky as he comes across the room. There are a few other agents around, standing back, and one of the normal medical personnel. The most unnerving thing is just how quiet *everyone* is. For the chaos of the night, it's not showing here. It's like the worst things get, the more quiet they are. The man's voice echoes through the too-quiet room. "Soldier. Report."

HYDRA is off-balance, the room is grimly silent, but the Winter Soldier shows not the slightest reaction to the tense mood. He arrives right on schedule, unhurried. He approaches Paris and stops in front of him, his hands at his sides. The Winter Soldier is predictable, effective, utterly reliable. At least he always had been.

There were warnings in the old legacy files of course, warnings to make sure to keep close watch of any instabilities, questions, dreams that might crop up. But since techniques had advanced and maintenance was easier to manage on a regular basis even for extended deployments, it's never actually interfered with a mission before to Paris' experience.

It doesn't interfere with the report, it seems. The Soldier obediently starts disgorging the relevant details of the mission. He relates in sterile detail the predicted attack on the latest HYDRA base occuring, outlines any variations in SHIELD tactics from what they had predicted. He relates tactical details about the SHIELD agents he observes, enumerates the shots he took, weather he was able to wound or kill. And then he gets to the strange part. "I saw the woman from my briefing. My primary target. She was shouting to her subordinates, giving orders. Her.." and he hesitates. "Her voice wasn't right." he finally says. "I radioed for confirmation, but she was out of range before I could verify the shot."

Paris listens calmly, probably at least two separate recording devices in the room getting everything down and patching it back to HYDRA's upper command, so there was no need for him to take notes. His expression is neutral, all business, mouth in a cool line that is neither approving or disappointed. The only thing that changes that is a slight twitch that comes when the man says the woman's voice was wrong. "You weren't given information on your target's voice, Soldier. You had her identity and you had your orders. Why didn't you take the shot?" The tension behind his voice betrays that calm exterior.

There's no immediate response. Again, the delay itself is abnormal. "..I don't know." the Soldier says. He has no other explanation to give. "It just wasn't right. So I made sure. But by then the shot was no good. The evac order came through before I was able to get another one."

The hesitation is a poor sign in and of itself. Paris' expression falters, head shaking a moment, "That's not good enough, Soldier. You've been trained." And then he looks to the side, one of those other figures coming out of the shadows at the back of the room. It wasn't a medic, or one of the soldiers, but the man who had given him orders for years. One of the directors of HYDRA. Sandy brown hair still looked youngish, but age weighed heavy on his features as his smooth, wing tipped shoes clicked against the ground. He steps in front of Bucky, hands in his pockets, expression neutrally… Friendly. Like he was almost smiling. "You have done so much for the world, Soldier. You know that, right? You have changed it. For the better."

The Soldier's gaze turns to focus directly on the friendly man where it generally tends to drift only in the general vicinity of Paris and most others. It's usually a bad sign if he looks right at any of the techs, since that sort of focus is generally what he reserves for being in the field, but for those who have been around long enough there are apparently exceptions. But he doesn't answer. Nothing was asked of him, at least not in a way that he's sure of the proper response, so the Soldier says nothing.

The man looks him straight in the eyes, no fear in his gaze. After all, they were *clearly friends*. He smiles serenely, shoulders straightening, "So, Soldier, after all this time. All these missions. How important you know the work is. I need you to tell me why you hesitated on your most important target to date? Don't you understand, that's the woman who is oppressing half the world. She's the director of SHIELD, now. Puppeting these people. Lying to the public. Don't you want to help the world, soldier? So why did you hesitate?"

The Soldier's gaze is steady, his expression neutral, his stance still. If it wasn't for his breathing picking up at the questioning, there'd be no sign whatsoever that there was any unease in him. "I thought it was someone else." he finally says. "The wrong target."

And slowly, the man begins to pace. His polished shoes carry him in a calm, measured circle directly around the soldier he's commanded for years. "The wrong target. Tell me, did she match the target's description?" His head tilts to the side, tone still quite friendly. Almost sweet. Like that teacher trying to understand how you could just be so damn stupid.

The soldier remains facing forward, still not moving as he's circled. But it's not good. He gave his report. There's no more information to give, but he's still being questioned. "Yes." he answers, because she did. He got a very up close look through his scope.

"Then why didn't you shoot the moment you confirmed your target?" That sweetness spills over the edge of his voice, making it just a hint higher in tone, perhaps betraying just a touch of the true frustration behind his words as well. His shoes continue their slow metronome of a click as he wraps around the other side of Bucky, almost meeting his eyes again.

The Soldier's breathing is still hastened, betraying his own awareness that something is wrong with him. "I don't know." he repeats, a bit of it starting to show through when he speaks. "Her voice was wrong. It…it seemed incorrect." not the sort of imprecise language he's trained to use, but.

The pressure from the man grows, his pacing stopping now so he can stand directly in front of Bucky, just slightly violating his personal space, staring too close, eye to eye. "How was it *wrong*, Soldier?! When was voice recognition a part of your assignment?!" Those words are just on the edge of being a shout.

As the man rounds to stare him down, the Soldier stays right where he is, where he's supposed to be, but he swallows. "..It's not." he answers, because he was asked. But he knows as well as anyone that if he's functioning correctly he shouldn't make such errors.

"Then clearly something has gone wrong here, hasn't it? Maybe it's time for a refresher course…" The man's voice is quieter again, a bit more calm. He doesn't want to have to fight Bucky back in that chair. He never fights Bucky back there. He wants him to agree to go, and clearly he's shown the path of logic to that agreement. His smile is sweet and strained, further highlighting the lines around his eyes.

The Soldier nods, because it's true. What he did was not what he should have, something is wrong. But he also knows that there's some variance at times in the people who give him his orders. So he says, "Next time I'll know. It won't happen again." It was wrong. There is an error. But if it's just one, perhaps knowing the right answer now is all that's required.

A slight grimace comes from the older man, seeming sadness in his eyes as he shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Soldier. But next time isn't good enough. We need to know it won't happen again. You want to save the world, right? You want to make everything better?" He asks, softer, staring down into those eye as if he was appealing to Bucky's better nobility.

He doesn't. He doesn't, really.

But it's something he never says. Because there are people who do. People who need him in order to see it done. He knows that. And so slowly he nods. Maybe it's not any sort of nobility that was being appealed to, but the official gets the answer he was looking for, just the same.

Then the man's palm raises and he motions back to the chair. It was more than a chair, it was an entire medical set up. But at least there was some padding, for how miserable the thing is to use. "You know what to do, Soldier. A little while and this will all be over. Everything will be fine again. We're very proud of your work, Soldier." His voice was now calm. Soothing. Waiting for the unspoken order to be followed.

It's not something many can do. To get the Soldier to do anything reliably without a clear order, let alone this. Most of the techs are just as happy to let this man deal with it. The Soldier crosses the debriefing room and into the one adjoining, turning and sitting. It would be over before long, if not exactly soon. He believes that, he's sure it's true, even though he doesn't remember why he knows it, or even what exactly is going to happen. But he knows, in the same way he knows how to fight, the same way he knows to come in the back door, the same way he wrongly knows that woman's voice wasn't a voice he should be shooting at.. he knows it's something to want to be over quickly.

The man follows him back into that room, a serene, proud smile crossing his lips as he watches the Winter Soldier fold down into the machine. Immediately, Bucky's vitals come up on the monitors next to him, tracing pulse, respiration, blood oxygenation — they couldn't afford to lose such a valueable weapon. The man leans over, taking the mouth piece from the med tech next to the machine. "Open wide. It will all be over soon." And he'll place the guard into Bucky's mouth, waiting for him to bite down before his hand pulls back and he makes a little circle in the air with his index finger, as if to say spin up the machine. Two techs lean over, pieces of metal, computer, electrodes and shock devices smoothly pressing across Bucky's face as the chair leans back. Then the pain begins.
There was no move to leave, even before there was no longer any option to do so. No hesitation in biting down on the mouth guard, because this is the proper progression after such an error. …and as everything else in the world flares to searing white, there is at least the thought that the twisted feeling of wrongness in his stomach would soon be something he wouldn't have to have anymore. This would be over soon— maybe it was for the best. Right?

The director turns on the ball of his foot as the pained, loud noises start behind him. He's heard those noises a hundred times, it seems, but they never got more pleasant. Still, there is no hesitation as he moves back to the front room, trusting the process to go as cleanly as ever. A new set of orders will come again tomorrow and they try again.

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