|What: The world of Fallout overtakes the East Village for a few minutes, trapping Bucky Barnes, the Black Widow, and Lunair Weir.|
Things start slowly. A hot waft of wind. A whiff of desert. Peeling paint on the side of a building. But then, between one moment and another, everything changes. Buildings crumble into weathered ruins. Abandoned vehicles of a familiar but slightly strange design apear in a helter-skelter mess along the cracked black top. Trees and vegetation disappear, replaced by stunted brown and yellow grasses. A hot wind howls through the ruins carrying the sound of fire away gunfire.
And the changes are not limited to the environment. Most of the people on the streets have disappeared. Those very few that are left being are clearly disoriented, looking lost and confused.
Lunair was turned loose. She's contemplating Christmas presents for Peggy. Hitting the import store later seems like a good idea. For now, she's riding home bundled up on her purple Vespa. It's a custom paint job, and very distinct. Then, it starts to hit her and she looks puzzled. "Uh. What." This is not NYC in the dying gasps of fall. She hits the brakes, looking around and baffled.
It was a fairly ordinary day.. or at least it seemed to be. Rather like the pair walking down the street seemed fairly ordinary at first glance, chatting as they walk towards the recently re-opened home of a friend, and the student who was supposed to be visiting her. Maybe it's just luck Lunair was taking a similar street on her own errands, since they still have some blocks to go, but whatever the case those sorts of speculations are secondary in the face of the street dissolving into some sort of desert wasteland. The man stops abruptly mid sentence when the environment twists and warps. "Look alive." is all he says at first, but he's already reaching for a weapon and moving towards one of the ruined buildings and the cover it poses. The sounds of gunfire in the distance are hardly a reassuring addition.
The woman stiffens for a moment, reaching for a sidearm at the same time her companion does. "Reality bleed, or an illusion?" she questions, following her friend to cover. She reaches into a pocket and pulls out a pair of odd leather-looking gloves with electronic guff attached. She slips them on comfortably.
As the seconds go buy the changes continue. The people that were left behind start looking dirtier and sickly, their clothing morphing into collections of ragged cloth and slap-dash leather outfits. One of them point up at the sky, for some reason having noticed that even the stars have changed their location, as if super accelerated into the positions they should be in hundreds of year in the future.
Natasha slides on her gloves and suddenly they're not gloves anymore but rather metal gauntlets with piston powered knuckles poking forward when they fists are closed. Weapons also fall victim to the changes, suddenly becoming a conglomeration of pipes, springs, and wooden blocks that although are definitely firearms look like something out of a steampunk universe.
The distant gunfire stutters into silence. Only to be replaced a few seconds later by a loud, incredibly eerie how that is much, much closer than the weapons fire was.
"Oh wow. This looks like one of my video games," Lunair muses. She slings a minigun over her shoulder, and keeps a shotgun at hand. Good ole shotguns. Now her bike seems to fit in better, and she still has on a long coat. She cruises over to Bucky and Natasha on her former-Vespa. "Are... are you guys seeing and hearing all of this, too?" Lunair is starting to consider upping her medication or something.
Bucky Barnes nods to his companion, thinking much the same thing. "I don't feel drugged." he agrees.. it doesn't rule the option out entirely, but both of them have enough past run ins with such things they could generally tell... James is crouching in the cover of the ruined building, seeing the attire of those around them change before his eyes, and Lunair motoring on over with the same chipper tone despite it all. "What the f--" and then their own firearms warp right in their hands...and at least one actual hand right along with it. James startles badly, slamming right back into the wall behind him with his eyes wide. He outright drops the knife he'd drawn in his left hand, which is not something at all normal for him. Though considering how bizarre his arm looks right then, like some sort of framework of gears and pipes with a crackling sound emanating somewhere from the thick covering of the palm, some startlement might not be that surprising.
Natasha Romanov flinches as suddenly her hands feel far heavier than normal, and she stares at the gauntlets with something akin to fear. "Definite reality distortion, there's no way that's a ill- James?!" She's by his side instantly, grasping his right hand and squeezing. His left arm - it was completely changed. Had that hurt Bucky? "James, talk to me. C'mon."
Blink. Things are definitely strange. "Are you guys-" She asks. Lunair is duly startled. Her Vespa is practically nonfunctional now. She hops off of it, putting up the kickstand. She looks worried for them. "I'm glad to see you guys," Even if Lunair is a little uneasy around Bucky for a moment, "But this is - really odd. It reminds me of a video game I played once. That, or Mad Max," Lunair offers. "There's probably gonna be scorpions, bears and random ghouls or whatever. I think." She's wracking her brains.
Bucky Barnes grits out, "I'm okay. It screwed up my arm, surprised me. It's just..it feels all.." he stops. He's had phantom sensation now and then in the past, so at first the full implication doesn't entirely click, not until he spots his own skin there through the encasing plates and gears. "Holy shit!"
It seems about the best summary of their current state of affairs he can come up with on short notice. He turns his hand over to show Natasha the more visible flesh fingers nested in the gauntlet bands of the strange mechanical sleeve. "What...just happened." he realizes Lunair was talking and stares up at her, a little pale. "What?"
Natasha Romanov doesn't even notice Lunair at first so worried is she for Bucky. "Oh... bozhe moi your arm..." She's amazed. "Our physicality has been altered to fit whatever world this is..." she reasons, but she can;t help but trace along the skin for a moment. "Wow." She jerks when she hears Lunair. "Oh, you. So, you think this is, some sort of virtual realm?" The howls get louder as around the corner two huge animals come into sight. They look like hairless mastiffs with elongated jaws and green skin. The muscles under their skin bulge to the point of making them look grotesquely deformed as the two huge hounds scrabble on the asphalt, trying to free themselves from the chains held in the hand of a larger than life figure that is keeping them in check. The hounds owner looks like a 8-foot robot at first but closer inspection makes it apparent that it is probably a human in some sort of armor.
As the sight of the hounds sends the few people left on the streets running for places to hide high in the ruins of the buildings around them ragged figures with start popping up with weapons of various descriptions trained on the clearly armed people. The armored figure holds up the arm in which it is holding an oversized combat shotgun, obviously keeping the figures scattered among the ruins from opening fire, and says, "You're on Hound Masters territory stranger. And of course there's a toll to pay."
"I think so. It really reminds me of this post apocalyptic game. I kept dying to this radscorpion and-" She gets cut off, looking worried for poor Bucky. And then the Hound Master turns up. "Hi! What kind of toll?" Her eyebrows lift, looking around at the people. Lunair is holding back for the sake of the others.
Bucky Barnes 's still flabbergasted, but even something like that's not enough to stop him from pulling himself together as threats start to materialize around them. He glances to Natasha for a moment, catching her eye to nod. He gets his feet more properly under him, but doesn't add anything for now, leaving it to Natasha. He just lowers his arm and it's strange mechanical sleeve, a crackling pulse of electricity briefly surging from his palm. That still works, anyways. Interesting..
Natasha Romanov helps James to his feet, dusting him off a little in an oddly affectionate matter. "Easy does it Buck." she says loud enough for the armored man to hear. She gives Bucky a wink. She steps forward, whispering to Lunair as she passes, "Just follow my lead, and play along with whatever I say." She stops a safe distance from the man, appraising him as well as she can, considering he looks like a scifi robot. "What's the toll? We don;t got much. I'm will'n t' barter." She's affecting a rough accent, a bit of a Southwest tone. "Name's Willow. That's my man Buck, my girl Luna."
The armored form laughs, its voice strangely distorted by the speakers in his helmet. It hollers to the men among the ruins, "Hey boys! What's the toll?" to which they respond in a ragged chorus, "Everything and everyone!" Considering the looks the two women are getting from the men in the ruins its pretty clear what 'everyone' is going to mean for them...
The Hound Master drops his chains and lets his combat shotgun slap into his now empty palm. And surprisingly, given the amount of struggling they just doing against their chains, the hounds stay by his side. That doesn't mean that the ready tension in their muscles or their menacing growls subside in any way. A long string of spittle falls from the jaws of the hound on the Master's right, sizzling ever so slightly when it hits the ground.
Lunair blinks, and looks around. "..." She frowns. She looks to Natasha and Bucky. Do they have a plan before she starts going C4 and shotgun?
Bucky Barnes catches Lunair's eye,and very slightly shakes his head, lowering his own gun. If Natasha has a plan, that's good enough for him right now... though it doesn't stop him from shifting a few steps to maximize his own cover from the building and open some easy to reach angles on some of the enemy gunmen.
Natasha Romanov hides a grimace as she holds her ground. Heavy right in front, with two very nasty looking warbeasts. Seven ranged combatants, scattered. This wasn't good odds. But, this world seemed a scavenger world - maybe there was something she could say to get them to calm down? She takes a breath. "Buck, get Luna and yourself behind cover." she says, just barely loud enough for Bucky to hear. She flexes her fingers slightly, comforted by the faint hum of electricity. *That* hadn;t been changed, at least too badly.
"Surely we can work somethin' out, yeah? We're more useful alive than dead - we can make a deal." She lets a sultry smile grace her lips. "I ain't some shy flower after all. I know what men like." The hand behind her back flicks slightly - a code only Bucky would recognize.
One can almost hear the leer in Hound Master's voice as he says, "Well, ain't you a smart cookie. That's exactly what we have planned for you and your girl." He looks up and to the left for a moment at one of the gunmen and chuckles evilly before he adds, "And your man there. Billy Boy'll have a use for him. At least for a while. Now just take off those fancy little punchers of yours." He motions with his gun and two of the gun men stationed at some of the lower perches jump down to ground level and start heading for the trio, apparently expecting no resistance at this point.
"..." Lunair doesn't like the look or sound of this. She will trust Natasha's judgment here. She will only move if she sees Bucky starting to move. The girl seems unwilling to totally foil Natasha's plan, but she's really, really not liking what they have planned for them. It's taking everything she has not to pull a gun and go to town.
Bucky Barnes murmurs to Lunair, "Stick with me." slowly beckoning her under cover of the ruined building, a place he first approached because it the best cover at hand for a ranged fight. He's standing straight, not betraying any attempt to attack, and the knife he dropped at the shock of the change to his arm is left abandoned on the floor. "Willow knows what she's doing." even as he talks to Lunair though, his eyes are shifting from Natasha to the men approaching the remaining pair of them. Any moment now...
Natasha Romanov raises an eyebrow. "Oh silly boy, didn;t anyone tell you not to under estimate a lady?" She smirks, fiddling with her gauntlets as if having trouble getting them off. The scraps she was wearing now really didn;t offer much protection of either body or modesty. Not that she ever cared about being modest. "Come here boys - I only bite if you want me to." she practically purrs, making a come hither gesture and everything. SHe taks a step diagnoally back, looking like she's just shifting off an uncomfortable place to stand. Once the Raiders get close enough, though, that went she acts.
She'll grab the first one in a hot kiss - before yanking his weapon and throwing him to the ground. Using the momentum, she pulls a knife and throws it at the second goon, while rolling into cover. "Down the power armor!" she calls, now taking aim at the remaining raiders. VATS time.
Lunair waits until their eyes are on Natasha. Wait. Luna remembers this part. She will toss Bucky a shotgun, before drawing her minigun. "HE'S A BOSS MOB!" Lunair catches on slowly! But she does eventually! She is going to take potshots at the hound nearest and the two raiders nearby. "Get to strategically placed cover!" It IS like a video game. VATS time! "Um, I don't bite but I'm not a femme fatale because I don't have the boobs or dialogue options, sorry." Hey, sometimes honesty pays.
It is indeed VATS time! As Natasha takes down the two raiders that were foolish enough to fall for her wiles time slows down drastically for Bucky, Natasha, and Lunair. Up in the ruins guns start to rise a millimeter at a time. On the street the raiders Natasha just attacked start falling in ultra-slo-mo. The hounds' muscles bulge as they slowly, slowly crouch inpreparation for a pounce. Fire blooms from the Master's shotgun leaving the muzzle so slowly its easy to see the slug creeping its way out through the flames...
Lunair is going to take as many pot shots as she can. But she is moving to pull Natasha to cover. There's no time to get fancy. Shoot and scoot!
As Lunair provides Natasha with help finding cover her minigun fills the air with a high pitched whine. Bullets starts spitting out of the multiple muzzles literally making one of the green mutant hounds in half as it finally starts to stretch out into its pounce. As her arc continues the bullets catch one of the raiders in the ruins, spinning him around. As one arm is torn clean off, the rest of the body tumbles down the side of the building ending up in a grisly puddle of blood and meat down on the ground.
There never was any move made to reclaim that dropped knife, it's true.. but the man once known as the Winter Soldier has more. In a motion that at first seems to be simply raising his hands in surrender he flips a throwing knife left handed towards the dominant elbow joint of the ringleader in the armored suit. From personal experience he knows just how annoying it can be to have something jam up a joint like that, and with any luck it should foul his aim and buy Natasha some time. Assuming the mechanical sleeve over his left arm doesn't throw off his reflexes too badly... and then time seems to slow.
As the world misbehaves yet again, some part of him loudly protests this continued insanity. But most of him, especially the icy part that still settles over him when shots are fired and blows are thrown only processes: ADVANTAGE. SEIZE IT.
His expression becomes flat and cool as he picks out the gunmen who have it together enough to be aiming at them instead of freaking out. BAM BAM BAM, three shots, and three gunmen slumped to the side or toppling from their perches with precise and gory holes blown through each of their heads. ..These slap dash weapons aren't half bad after all. He can work with this.
Natasha Romanov thanks Lunair for the assist, crouching as time decides to screw convention and slow down around her. The though of bullet time enters her head. She takes a deep breath, lets it out.Measures the threat levels. Two humans, one mutant warbeast. She had cover from the weaponry for now - but no so from the mutant hound. She grimaces, and shoots the beast, aiming for the chest. Bullets rip through the creature, tearing it apart and ending its life quickly and brutally.
And as suddenly as timed slowed down it returns to its normal pace. Bodies finish falling to the ground, blood spurting from torn arteries. The fire from the Master's shotgun finishes flaring and a split second later Bucky is spinning as the shotgun shell rips through his armored shoulder. Gears whine and complain as the Hound Master tries to readjust his aim and finds a knife stuck in his armor's joint. Without another words the armored man turns around and starts running back in the same direction he appeared from.
Bucky Barnes hits the ground with a pained gasp from the force of the shot, and this is WRONG disorienting and wrong, but he can deal with that later. His right hand still holds a gun, and he props himself up against the wall to fire after the fleeing leader, leaving the last gunman to Lunair.
Natasha Romanov's heart skips a beat when James takes a shot to the arm. She swears in Russian, leveling her gun at the fleeing armored assailant. She didn't want him getting reinforcements, or a better weapon, she tried to logic it away. She fires at his back.
Like a dream fading things go dark and fuzzy for a moment then the East Village is back. People are walking up and down the street, talking to their companions or on their cellphones. The strains of a guitar are barely audible coming from one of the apartments high up in God only knows which of the buildins and a horn blares momentarily a few blocks over. Natasha, Bucky, and Lunair find themselves out in the open courtyard in front of a coffee shop with everything on them completely back to normal.
Lunair quickly shakes the events of the last few minutes up, gives her two friends a cheery smile and hops on her Vespa. "Sorry guys. People are waiting for me and I'm already late!" And off she zooms into traffic. At least in as much as a Vespa can zoom.
Natasha Romanov blinks. What the - She felt a bit sick to her stomach. "James! She sounds a bit panicked, before reality catches up to her. "What the?" She turns and hugs Bucky, just to ground herself. "Are... you okay?"
Bucky Barnes shakes his head, catching himself on his metal arm now that there's no longer a wall at his back. For a moment he wonders if he somehow passed out in the middle of a park with how it felt like waking up, but then Natasha is there too, and he sits up enough to hug her back. His eyes are darting around their surroundings even then, though, looking for..anything. A remnant of wherever they were, anyone suspicious, anything.. but it's just New York. "I'm fine." he answers, and after quickly taking stock he adds, "I mean it.. not even a scratch. What the hell?"
Natasha Romanov runs her hand over his shoulder, as if making sure that he wasn't hurt., "It wasn't real? But everything said it was real - every sense was grounded there. Something happened." She shakes her head. "I'm not sure what happened, or even how to describe it."
People walking by are giving the pair strange looks but, typical New Yorkers, no one stops to see if they are OK. Although one person can be heard muttering "Get a room."
Bucky's shoulder is back to unyielding metal under his jacket, no sign of damage tangible from the shot that knocked him down. He stands up, flexing and testing his synthetic limb-- everything's in order. He meets Natasha's eyes with a frown, oblivious to the endemic New York heckler, though the intent looks passing between them probably don't help with the naysayer's mistake. "We need to get off the street." he says. "Compare notes, make sure we saw the same things. But there's no way we just got yanked somewhere else, not with.." he flexes his metal fingers again. "Magic, maybe." It's a realistic concern, in this city.
Natasha Romanov nods, taking Bucky's hand in hers. "My place? It's not too far, actually." she says. "I'll even make you mac and cheese." SHe forces a cheerful smile, hiding everything behind her mask. "Come on."