The Truth Shall Set You Free - Part I

July 15, 2016:

Operation Picnic proved to not quite be a picnic, though the results were satisfactory. Now with Winter Soldier in her own personal, none-SHIELD safe house, Black Widow is starting to go about fixing his head and showing him who he truly is. To that end, she also enlisted Nate Grey, a telepath. But just who is the Winter Soldier?

//Dark Basement Room //

This is a dark spartan room, little in the way of furniture and decoration. It's actually hard enough to see anything, aside for the dim light in its center, with a chair set underneath the light source. There's a table further into the room, by an outer wall, but it's hard to make anything on it. The basement floor is unfinished, and otherwise doesn't seem like a usual hang up. What is of note is that there's no piece of technology anywhere in sight.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [https://youtu.be/yFAnn2j4iB0 "Where Is My Mind" by The Pixies]


Fade In…

After the sting operation, which didn't quite go according to plan, but ended exactly as Black Widow set it up (so no harm no foul), Black Widow had a knocked out Winter Soldier in the back seat of her getaway car. She was driving, their destination, a small house in a wooded area in up state New York. No immediate neighbors, good cover in the forest, terrible reception. In other words, perfect for her purposes. It was an unlisted safe house the Black Widow has been using outside of SHIELD's own. A spy of her caliber needs uncharted options for special needs, such as the task at hand.

By the time the Winter Soldier will come back to from the affect of the Widow's Kiss, he'll find himself tied to a chair in a dark room, a small light source hanging directly over his head. He isn't blindfolded though, so he can see the Black Widow standing infront of him, using smelling salts if needed to help him to quicker recovery. His arms are cuffed behind the chair's back support, a little gadget connnected to his cybernetic arm to keep it from shredding the cuffs with ease, killing it's power.

The language she speaks, is Russian, just like the last time they met, "<my friend…it has been nearly a month since we last met. How is your head…?>" She looks at Winter Soldier intently, not making any threatening move towards him. One thing he might notice about this room, it doesn't look like a SHIELD interrogation room, or brig, this is nothing like the place he was kept last time he was captured by SHIELD.

The first thing he awoke to was pain. Pain of his body, pain in his head. Physical pain, however, he knew how to set aside although the headache is a little tougher. Add in a dim light, forcing him to squint up at the woman as she speaks to him in one of the many languages he is fluent in. He tests his bonds, scowling as his left arm seems to be pretty much dead and useless. His right, while strong, doesn't have the strength or dexterity to break free from the cuffs. It won't stop him from trying, however.

The Winter Soldier's dark eyes glare up at the redheaded woman, "<It was just recently. Unless I've been unconscious for a month.>" It's not the first time he doesn't remember the passage of time. A month is nothing. "<If you're going to kill me, kill me.>" Because that's what one does in remote settings like this, no?

"<Kill? You think I've gone through all this trouble just to kill you?>" Black Widow shakes her head, frowning somewhat at the comment, "<you really do not remember? Chyornaya Vdova means nothing? Red Room? Natalia…>" Funny, there are almost traces of pain in her words, seeming remorseful of something.

"<So you have no recollecting of attempting to eliminate Bob Graves, Agent of SHIELD?>" She continues to press, looking for some sort of recollecting. If anything, considering his knowledge of such situation, it's rather telling no instrument have torture has been introduced yet.

People have done worse to try and kill him. He usually got away, but they obviously didn't have as much information as she did about him and his abilities. Winter Soldier is still trying to twist an arm out of the cuffs, subtly, but there is still some movement. He may be chafing his wrist and hands for it, but he has to try.

"<I remember shooting Bob Graves.>" He looks up but not directly at her. His gaze is a little distant, "<You got in the way.>" So he does remember some things. "<If you're not going to kill me, just get on with it.>" So, torture for information it is. He should be used to this by now.

While the Black Widow hasn't moved an inch since he came to, she still mutters rather sharply, "<I would stay put until I let you free,>" apparently she just revealed one of her cards, she's not only not going to kill him, she's actually having the thought to let him free in mind. Perhaps offered as incentive to get him to stop trying to free himself, before she takes action. A rather subtle approach at that, she's no amateur. Or she's terrible at this. As always with Black Widow, she lets others have their own interpretations of her actions, offering enough cues to support what they may think.

"<Yes. Yes I did. When I stopped you…for a moment…you spoke my name. The name. The one that no one knows me by…remember? What's my name? Who am I? Winter Soldier…>" for one thing, she most certainly is aware of his handle. Gesturing with her arms left and right, at the distinct lack of any tool of torture, she quips, "<we are going on with it at this very moment…normally I would expect when you're caught, others do not care about you. They care about your handler. They care about your mission details. They care about upcoming missions. Not me…I care about you, Winter Soldier. Do you know why?>"

The fact that she says she's going to let him go has him pausing in his attempt to wriggle out of the cuffs. Dark eyes actually focus on her for a moment through strands of equally dark hair. Maybe he hears what she's saying, maybe he's trying to place her. All of his thoughts and memories are just so slippery. Phantoms in his mind. Sometimes they're ghosts of dreams and sometimes they're living nightmares.

"Natalia."

That much slips through. His right hand clenches and unclenches…his left would if it had power. Now it just feels numb. It's disconcerting. "<Are you working with the other? Bird-Man?>" He's still trying to find an answer to her question, possibly by asking his own.

"<Yes…Natalia…>" the Black Widow repeats the name, before offering the rest of it in one shot, "<Natlia Alianovna Romanova…what does the name tells you? Why you remember? Who am I?>" She offers the questions in quick succession, hoping to get the first thing that comes to his mind. If she hears spy, assassin, lover, ballerina, widow of Alexei Shostakov, anything of the sort, she'd know that she struck a nerve. That's there's something to be salvaged, that he's not beyond help. She just wants a hint, and this would be a prime one. The fact he knew her first name was a start. Nobody in SHIELD knows her first name isn't really Natasha, with the exception of perhaps Colonel Fury.

"<Bird-Man's codename is Falcon, he answers to me, yes…I understand you had some kind of agreement with him. I'm sorry, but my direct order trumps it. I needed you alive and well. Because…I will set you free. Truly free. Winter Soldier.>"

Winter Soldier closes his eyes and tilts his head some as the headaches aren't helping with the slippery thoughts. The first thing that comes to mind, however, is "<Red.>" It may not be one of the answers she's looking for.

It's almost easier when she changes the subject to Falcon and their agreement. "<Why should I trust you? He lied to me…how do I know you're not lying right now? About freeing me…with all these questions.>" He goes back to just sort of glaring at a spot just past her shoulder.

Red is nevertheless a hopeful reply, it is after all not only a nod to her hair color, but it is the very place they met for the very first time. The place they most trained together, the Red Room, before her graduation. She has no doubt the inkling is for the Red Room.

"<Why should you not? I could have killed you on two occasions already, and did not. I could have tortured you, but did not. I could have interrogated you about your handler, your mission, but did not.>" She gives the most obvious of reasons. "<Repeat the promise that the Falcon gave you. What was it?>" She asks rather firmly, as if angling somewhere very specific.

No doubt he's been disarmed of anything that he could have used as a weapon. He was too valuable for HYDRA to give him a suicide tablet, but even then, he might not even use it. Winter Soldier turns his glare back to Natasha even as she gives him reasons to trust her. They aren't good enough.

The question, however, is acceptable to answer. "If he stopped chasing me and attacking, I wouldn't take any more missions against SHIELD." Until he was reprogrammed, that is. But a promise was a promise.

"<So he kept his promise,>" Black Widow answers sharply as soon as Winter Soldier gives the detail of the promise, "<he did not chase you. He was assigned protection of the SHIELD picnic. He did not attack you, he retrieved you, for me…>" she then starts approaching Winter Soldier, her gait a bit sensual for an interrogator. With Winter Soldier restrained to the chair, he doesn't have too many options as she lets herself slip into his lap, straddling him and leaning right into his personal space, her lips inches apart from his, "<does this seem familiar…?>" She whispers to him, her fingers reach to caress his chin.

"<He chased me after I left the site. After saving -your- ass from the assassin they sent in my place,>" Winter Soldier all but spits out. If it wasn't for his breaking of the promise, he'd be free and clear.

While he's unable to move away, he does lean back as Widow approaches and slides into his lap. He looks to her hand at the caress before saying, in unaccented English, "Is this why you have had me captured? Do you have such a hard time getting a date that you have to kidnap one?"

"<That was never our language…>" Black Widow maintains the fluent Russian, seductive tones quite apparent in her voice, as she brushes her lips along Winter Soldier's, "<I'm afraid I don't understand, but if you're saying I'm beautiful…thank you>" she steals a kiss, and caresses Winter Soldier's hair, "<tell me, Winter Soldier, are you so used to look down crosshairs, you forget how to be close and personal?>"

Winter Soldier still keeps to English. He knows she can understand. "This is how SHIELD works now? By sexual assault?" It's information to bring back…or not…if she ever sets him free. "<Is that the deal then? I sleep with you and you let me go?>" is asked in Russian to be sure that she understands. "<That's a lot of work just to get time in the sack. I'm sure your friend Falcon will be thrilled to know that's why he broke his promise. So you could have some fun.>"

Intimacy is not on his mind at the moment. He's captured, tied up, betrayed, and nearly helpless. He's not feeling the 'mood'.

"<You're a clever man, are you not?>" Black Widow remains with the Russian, all of their years together, that was the language they spoke. She figures her chance to rekindle anything, is by sticking to that, he already managed to recall her name and the connotation with the Red Room, no doubt. "<Where do you see SHIELD? You were captured by SHIELD before, did they keep you like this? I think not. SHIELD, Hydra, KGB, FSB, all too proud to not show who they are…>" she leans to whisper the words into Winter Soldier's ears, before finally slipping off his lap. He's certainly not susceptible for any seductive games, she knew as much, but had to check if Hydra didn't break anything in the process of stealing him. As she slips off his lap, she lands a ringing slap across his cheek, "<I already told you, Falcon broke no promise, you were not chased…you came to him. You were not attacked. Not by him. It was I who crushed a motorcycle into you…>" as she starts to walk away with her back to him, she looks back over her shoulder, "<Red Room,>" she whispers the word, "<there was never any fun there.>" She then heads towards the darkness, where there's a closed door.

Nathaniel Richards is aware the Heroic Age will end in fire and blood. The Sentinel Uprising will lead to mutant and metahuman genocide, then the megacorps will rise and take over, obliterating democracy from most of the world. The current status quo will be replaced by a predatory, destructive corporate tyranny that only ends around 2099, with the return of the Super-heroes and Dr. Doom pretty much annihilating the mega-corps.
But by 2100 the Earth has been despoiled and most humankind is dead, and mutants are only now getting the numbers they had 100 years before. It is near a century of a Dark Age. He wants to prevent it.
In the log http://cmbeta.wikidot.com/log:4358 Nathaniel presented Rachel Summers his psycho-historical analysis of the current age. Now he is tracing a plan to prevent the Dark Age. One important step of this plan is making sure a strong Avengers team exists and support a strong SHIELD. SHIELD is the super-national organization that can have a prayer at stopping the corporate takeover, they already have plenty of experience fighting other super-national organizations (Hydra, AIM, etc)."

"<If I was clever, I wouldn't be here, in cuffs.>" is offered with almost a smirk. Winter Soldier's head turns at the slap and he stays turned for a moment before he slowly turns his head back. "<I ran. He chased me. That is the very definition of 'chase'. Instead of letting me go, he entangled me and flew me back. Your definitions are original, but wrong. He then crashed me into the ground before you all but threw the motorcycle at me.>" He blames them both, really.

He shifts some on the chair as she moves away, figuring she's leaving, possibly to let him stew and then come back later to try again. He'll go back to trying to free his real hand from the restraints even as he watches her back away.

"<Please…you should know me better, feeding me lines best kept for police officers and rookies,>" Black Widow shakes her head, sounding quite disappointed, "<I've been cuffed in chairs before, and I had the upper hand all along. I'm not a child, Winter Soldier, I don't have an ego for you to feed.>" She stands a moment in the darkness, just out of Winter Soldier's clear sight, "<he did not attack you, he detained you for having interfered with SHIELD personnel. You're with me, not with him. Play scrabble all you like, but you won't be putting noodles in my ear.>"

Black Widow delays a moment later, and tsks, "<looks like you hit your head harder than I imagined…to be talking such nonsense. I'm sorry, if it's any comfort, you put quite a dent in the motorcycle.>" She then finally opens the door, Nate Grey waiting, "I think the patient is ready for you now, doctor," she speaks clearly and loudly, no doubt offering some normallacy to confuse the Winter Soldier. A doctor would no doubt be the code for the torture master. Gesturing with her hands towards Winter Soldier, restrained to the chair, she turns to walk Nate towards him, "now, Winter Soldier, this fellow here is very good at helping you remember. I figure since you hit your head so hard, maybe he can help. Like I said, I mean to set you free." Yes, she finally switched to English, if only for Nate's sake.

Nate has been unusually patient, quiet and waiting in the dark room, but he is a telepath and can keep busy talking to people hundreds of miles away. Which is mostly what he did, although he has been listening to the couple conversation. Clearly the Widow didn't tell him everything about this 'mission', but he is not sure if he cares too much. She had Fury's codes.

"< Not much of a doctor, >" notes the young man. Too young to be a doctor, really, as the Soldier can see when he steps into the light. Yes, he speaks in Russian, by latching on Tasha's language centers (he cheats). And although he has some accent, he speaks it well. "You know something I noticed, Red? Your buddy here speaks perfect Russian, but it is not his native language. English is his first language."

And there it is. Winter Soldier was waiting for the Torture part of this interrogation and here it is. No answer is given to Natasha's words even as he focuses on trying to free a hand or a foot from the restraints, but Black Widow is good. So is he, however. But even with all the training and experience, he's not entirely sure how to get out of this one.

For now, he waits. Silent. Watching the 'doctor's' approach and listening to his revelation to the other.

"Don't be silly," Black Widow seems rather sure of herself when Nate suggests that the Winter Soldier's first language isn't Russian, she goes as far as to walk up to Winter Soldier, and press one hand firmly down on his cybernatic shoulder, "did you see this Red Star? Whose sigil do you think it is? Hydra? CIA? SHIELD? Don't make me laugh," Black Widow seems a bit nervous for once, because if Nate is correct, then one of the most personal aspects of her training and early missions was also a lie. She thought those were all behind her, that she's overcome, unveiled, and moved on, and yet she finds she might still be in the spider web.

Squeezing the arm she just set on Winter Soldier's cybernatic arm, she smirks, "<don't make me laugh, friend, a real expert taught me how to restrain a captive, you wouldn't be able to break out…we already found out.>" Of course if Nate feels invasive at that point and would venture a peek into Natasha's head, he'd find it was actually the Winter Soldier who taught her how to restrain a captive, and it took a few tries before she was able to master the art and keep him subdued. Then again, Natasha' mind doesn't have lots of pretty memories and thoughts to wade through, so perhaps it is best not to risk a peek.

"<Sorry to disappoint,>" Black Widow quips as Nate looks nothing like an intelligence organization's torturer, "<he is actually here to help…no more than that. I said I will let you go, I will not have you harmed.>"

"<This guy thinks I am going to torture him,>" Nate looks vaguely offended. Offender enough to talk about the Soldier as if he wasn't there. "<I am a telepath, Red here asked me to unlock your memories>," he frowns faintly, crouching at the bound man side. "<But it isn't going to be easy. Someone went with a sledgehammer through your memory, or electroshocks, I guess… crap. It is messy. Short term memories have been systematically destroyed to prevent moving into long term, and there are huge holes there I don't underst… wait, you slept for long periods of time.>" He glances at Natasha. "This guy should be a drooling wreck. Is he metahuman?"

He turns back to the Soldier. "I am not sure where to begin. I would need hours to stitch back to his mind all these disjoined and insulated memories he can't conscious access right now. Do you have something important you want him to remember? It might trigger a recovery process."
Winter Soldier bares his teeth at Natasha when she comes close, but his attention turns back to the 'doctor' when he's told the man is a Telepath. "<Get out of my head,>" is growled in Russian. "<Want me to repeat that in English?>" Even as the other kneels down beside him, he tries to pull away. "Stop. Now." He already has a headache and he doesn't want any more people messing with his head. He redoubles his attempts to free himself from his restraints, no doubt rubbing his real wrist pretty raw. The blood might help slip out of the fastener, though.

"He doesn't know better, I called you a doctor," Natasha says helpfully to Nate, prehaps helping him realize after the fact she may have had a hand in Winter Soldier's reaction. Well, nobody ever called her nice. Not really. But she does look shocked when he mentions long period of sleep. "<My god! That's how! Petrovich!!! Gargarin! Ivanovich!>" And after uttering a few names, Natasha goes into a lightning speed string of Russian swearing, that gets creative in part and extremely lewd and descriptive in other parts. Yes, this is not for Winter Soldier's sake, and certainly not for Nate's sake. For the first time, she had discovered what actually happened when she was told Winter Soldier has disappeared without a trace. She goes as far as far as to smash an empty chair at the other corner of the room with a kick.

"<Stop fucking struggle, he's going to help you, Winter Soldier. You are not right…dirty Hydra played with your head…>" she reaches into a golden circle along her belt and takes out a syringe with a sedative which she reaches to inject Winter Soldier with, wanting him to calm down a bit, rather than force her to knock him out again. When she reaches to inject his neck, if he has the wherewithall, he might manage to headbutt the syringe off her hand, but she's pretty pissed at the moment so has a firm grasp. "Yes, Nate…see what he knows of the name Natalia, what he knows of the color Red. What is blocking these…memories…if you can free at least that much, maybe then he listen to me more."

"That is pretty vague," states Nate, standing up. "How about you show me what you remember of him and I link him with you and we seek his memory about it? Wait… don't sedate him, a drugged mind is a bitch to navigate. He better be lucid and…" he glances at the Soldier. "Honestly, far better if you want to remember, if you resist we all will end up with headaches. Do you want to remember?"

He really doesn't wait for an answer. Nate is used to headaches. He touches the bound man temple with a hand and his left eye glows with golden light. A second later, he pulls Natasha into the Soldier's mindscape.

The syringe causes his eyes to widen and Winter Soldier does try to prevent her from sticking him with the sedative, whether it's a headbutt or a bite or the scooting of his chair so that he can try and shoulder-shove her away. "I can understand you perfectly when you speak in English…" he points out, as if the talking around him in that language is somehow secretive. I'm not going to listen to you if all you brought me here was to sleep with me."

He then looks to Nate as if to ask if he's really going to help with that M.O.?

When asked if he wants to remember, he actually answers, "No. I already remember." Not what Natasha seems to want him to remember, but he remembers more than he wants. Even as his answer isn't respected, he tries to shake his head away from the touch but being so bound, it's futile.

Nate was able to see enough about his language and the fact that his mind was scrambled more than eggs at breakfast but once he starts digging, it's as if he touched a tripwire. Maybe it was HYDRA that put this there, maybe it was another, but before the telepath can dig too deeply, there's a blast of mental energy that reaches to the minds connected to his.

Not only is it meant to cause some amount of pain and shock, but it also knocks Winter Soldier out cold.

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