Mission Abort

BY : Prentice
Category: Marvel Verse Movies > Avengers, The
Dragon prints: 215
Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Title: Mission Abort (Mission Log Series)
Author: Prentice
Fandom: The Avengers (Post-Civil War)
Rating: ADULT++
Warning: Torture, Violence, Brainwashing
Pairing: Very Pre-Slash. Mostly Gen. 
Author's Note: Please be aware that this is written Second Person Point-of-View. If that's not your thing, then back out now. Also, this is the first part of a series; for convenience, I'll continue to post the series here as its written.

Summary: It starts with a phone call. Actually, no. Wait. Backtrack. It starts before the phone call. Just before. Right before. Actually, no again. It starts even before that. It starts – It starts with a mission. 


It starts with a phone call.

Actually, no.

Wait.

Backtrack.

It starts before the phone call. Just before. Right before.

Actually, no again. It starts even before that. It starts –

It starts with a mission – or what they call a mission. Peacekeeping, they say. Just peacekeeping, UN sanctioned. On the outskirts of a border town, one hit hard by a localized militia made up of mostly Eastern Europeans who found it easier to terrorize their own people than step into the hollow boot prints Hydra left behind.

It’s supposed to be a cakewalk. Round-up and retrieval; make a show of picking off and arresting the bad guys who are left. It’s a simple mission with a simple objective: to prove the viability and strength of the Sokovian Accords.

This is their moment is heard but not said – your moment. You have to prove what you stand for. Prove that this is not just another piece of paper that is worth less than a puddle of piss.

“You have your orders,” General Ross says, words all slick, steel, and bureaucracy. He’ll allow no deviation. No hail-mary pass if things go south – things can’t go south. You have one mission, one objective.

Don’t fuck it up.

*

They do, anyway.

Or you do, anyway.

Or maybe they – the others, not the broken pieces of Avengers that are scattered like lost puzzle pieces across the town, but the other ones, the ones they insisted you take with you – do, anyway.

You’re not really clear on the details. Not anymore. There’s a hazy bit of knowing somewhere in there in the lost details because you know somebody somewhere fucked up. Whether it was you or them, you don’t know. What you do know is this: it was a trap.

It is a trap.

They’re not just a local militia. They’re not just a harmless handful of bad guys. Instead, they’re Hydra – and they’re everywhere. An entire town full it seems – it looks like – spilling out of doors and crawling out of the woodwork and you’re all hopelessly – laughably – outgunned and outmanned.

You try, anyway.

You have to try, anyway, because this entire town can't be made of anything but Hydra. Not with the screams leaking out onto the streets like a tipped over cup of terror and this is all – this is all –

Familiar.

It’s familiar. It’s known. It’s – you can do this. You know you can do this.

So you do.

Or, at least, you try to, and maybe they’ll rake you over the coals about this. Maybe they’ll threaten you with prison for this, but what choice do you have? What choice does any of you have?

*

It goes – badly. That’s the only way to describe it. That it goes badly and continues to go badly.

You’re dug-in in the remnants of what had once been a building – rundown tenement living, by the looks of it – but is now so much rubble, forced to walk instead of fly because you can’t risk another anti-aircraft missile bringing down another couple of buildings. The ones left are already unstable and you know it’s just a matter of time before they domino, but you can’t take that risk yet. Not until you know where the others are.

Some are dead – the soldiers that Ross insisted you bring along; good men and women that were only coming because this was a peacekeeping mission and not whatever the hell this is now – but some are alive. You know they are. Comms might be FUBAR but you’ve seen Black Widow at least once, Vision at least twice and that’s enough for you.

For now, anyway.

*

The blast is localized to your building.

That’s what Friday tells you, anyway; voice crackling and fuzzy. Static like snow on a television screen in the background. Her voice chirp-chirp-chirps for a few seconds, phrases garbled, before finally she stabilizes enough to be understandable.

“Unstable ground up ahead, boss,” she whispers in your ear, static clinging like a wet blanket. “Might want to tread-tread-tread – psht – zzzt – ffffkrrrrshhzzz – tread lightly. One wrong move and you could destabilize the lo-lo-lo-entire floor.”

“Get it together,” you mutter, pain like a knife between your ribs as you pull yourself up and out of the rubble that’s piled up and around your suit. On top of it, even, but that’s nothing new. Somewhere something makes a creaking noise, bits of dust and debris dripping down onto your helmet in little pings that make your head feel split open and raw.

One wrong move is right; you realize as you muscle your way onto semi-even ground. It’s really just two walls collapsed against one another at an odd but stable angle. Hydra has brought the building down around you, the domino effect you’d been fearing happening downward instead of outward and it’s the only small blessing you can see in this because –

Because they’re coming. You can hear them. They’re coming.

Somehow they know you’re not dead. They know you’re not dead. They know –

“Boss, the ceiling, look out–!”

Darkness.

*
You wake up some time later.

You’re not sure how much later – minutes? Hours? Days? – and gasp as soon as you move because something is on top of you. Something heavy and sharp and – it’s a building, you realize. The one you’d been in before. It’s collapsed on top of you – again – and there’s a taste in your mouth that is all too familiar.

Blood.

It’s blood and it’s dribbling out of your mouth, slick like oil, and tasting like copper and pennies and water in rusty metal bowls and you choke on it for a moment, hoarse breaths spraying it out in a red mist that decorates the dark inside of your helmet. It burns too, all the coughing. Like you’ve ripped or shredded something inside of you and one of your sides feels – strangely warm. Maybe a little wet and darkness is prickling the edges of your vision. It’s pushing you back, until everything you see and hear is at the end of a very long tunnel.

“Friday?” You gurgle but get no response, long spidery fingers of darkness zigzagging across your vision. “Fri–?”

Darkness.

*

You wake – for the first time? – in darkness.

So much darkness.

Everywhere.

And a weight.

It’s on top of you.

But you don’t feel – it’s cold – and strangely hot.

Cold and hot, all at once.

But that can’t be – it isn’t –

Darkness.

*

You wake.

It’s cold. It’s dark. It smells like – petrichor.

Good word, that. It’s like aluminum, and alloy, and iron.

It’s like –

“You must sound it out, young sir,” a voice says, all British and proper, and a hand runs its way through your hair, soft and encouraging because you’re small but not stupid. “Just like Ms. Sylvie, your tutor showed you. It’s easy, just listen. An-tuh-nee. Or, perhaps I should say, An-thuh-nee. Both are right, you see. Neither are wrong.”

It’s like –

“Aunt Peggy!” You cry, arms coming up and around a woman’s waist you’ve known your whole life. You rarely see her now, but she comes when she can, and always brings you things like sweets and little metal toolkits that you use until they break. Lock picks, she calls them and shows you how to use them, even though your fingers are clumsy and stubby and aren’t quite as coordinated as your mind. She shows you anyway, though, and smiles at you sweetly, proudly, longingly when the lock finally clicks and the toy closet in your room finally spills all its secrets.

It’s like –

“Tony, Tony, wait, please,” a woman’s voice calls, the soft click of heels on marble tapping behind you. They stop somewhere outside your door, hovering. “Tony, please. You know he’d be here if he could. Your father – he’s a busy man, sweetheart, but I promise you he’ll make it up to you. I’ll make sure he will. Just – until then, why don’t you and I go for some ice cream, hm? Just you and me – and maybe we can invite, Mr. Jarvis? Won’t that be nice? Me, you, and Mr. Jarvis going out for some  early birthday ice cream?”

It’s like –  

Stars and stripes. A shield made of Vibranium. Laughter made out of gold and sunlight and friendship and love and pain and betrayal and –

Darkness.

*

You wake – again – cold.

There're voices. Gruff voices. Speaking – Latvian? Russian?

They’re loud and gruff and drip down on you from somewhere up above. They say things you can’t really understand – “probably dead,” you think someone says, “good riddance,” another says, ‘American pig’ still another says, louder this time than the other two– but it’s coming from a distance. A great inaccessible distance that grows wider the closer those voices get.

Then, the weight on top of you shifts – lifts – and –

A tidal wave of pain shrieks through you, bone crushing and hungry with sharp teeth that show you little mercy and it’s almost a gift – a blessing – when darkness returns and swallows you whole.

*

You wake.

Or, perhaps you don’t.

You’re not really sure.

Not anymore.

You’re in pain, though, so you must be awake. You can’t open your eyes, though. You don’t know where you are. You think maybe – but no. No. That isn’t right. You know that isn’t right. You can’t be on a helicarrier.

They’ve been decommissioned – or recommissioned. You can’t really remember. Either way, you know you’re not on one. It’s too bumpy of a ride and there’s something almost vicious in the way they’re treating you. Not necessarily cruelly but ruthlessly efficient.

Tossing you around like a hollow tin can. Like cargo. Like –

You don’t think you’re awake.

Not anymore.

*

You don’t remember how you got here.

You’re – running.

Running like your life depends on it. Because it does depend on it. You know it does because you can hear them following. Hear the angry shouts, the firing of their guns, and the barks of the dogs they’re using to track you.

It’s through the snow this time. Long, endless, forests of snow, whose trees give you cover and that you stumble through, side burning and aching and blazing with pain. Head throbbing like something has tried to reach in and crush it from the inside and your suit less now, you’re barefoot now.

You’ve lost all feeling in your toes and your blood-soaked Henley is doing nothing to keep out the cold but you’re running – you’re running. Legs pumping as fast as they can through snow and ice and snarling tree roots that try to reach up and trip you.

And you don’t have a clear thought in your head. Not really. You just know you need to get away and that there’s something – something –

The bruised fingers of your left hand close around the battered cell phone in your pocket. It’s – you always carry it with you now. Can’t not carry it with you because it means something. It has to.

So, you use it.

You call.

Even as you’re running, you call.

“Steve,” you gasp as soon as it picks up, hoarse and shaking and your heart is pounding painfully in your chest.

 “Steve”, you say again as gunfire splinters a tree above your head, jagged shards of wood raining down on you as you slip and slide over snow and ice, and you think you maybe choke out something that might be the vague shape of coordinates but you’re out of breath and you can’t think and everything is starting to close in around you and –

“Tony, what’s–?!” You think you might’ve heard as a bullet catches you in your thigh, ripping through muscle and flesh and downing you before you can take another step, and you go down hard, phone flying off somewhere in the shifting snow.

Your lungs burn as you breathe into the powdery cold, dogs barking and men shouting, and you wait for them to find you.

*

You wake in a room.

It’s plain, simple. Grey concrete walls and floors. Nothing else. Nothing more.

You’re in a bed – a gurney. They’ve strapped you in, strapped you down. There’s an IV in your arm and a bag of blue liquid strung up to a stand and for some reason, you hear screaming. Lots and lots of screaming.

You don’t blame them, though, whoever’s screaming.  Can’t blame them. Not if they’re feeling what you’re feeling. Burning beneath your skin, in your veins. Terrible agonizing burning.

It spreads and it grows and it grows worse with every second and the screaming doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t–

*

You wake in a chair.

The screaming doesn’t stop.

*

You wake in a chair.

The screaming doesn’t stop.

*

You wake in a chair.

The screaming doesn’t stop.

*

You wake in a chair.

The screaming doesn’t stop.

*

You wake in a chair.

The screaming stops.

*

A man in a uniform walks around you. Inspects you. Tells you slowly, purposefully: “Longing. Rusted. Sixteen. Engine. Daybreak. Furnace. Nine. Homecoming. Seven. Build.”

You look up at him as he closes a book. It’s fresh and new, the pages’ crisp, and the cover clean with a large perfect black star on the front. He looks at you, says: “Good morning, Mechanic.”

You blink, open your mouth, and say in perfect gravelly submission: “Ready to comply.”

The man in uniform smiles, not at you, but at something about you. The submission, maybe. Or the readiness. He says, “We have something we wish for you to build.”

He holds out a folder with a small stack of papers inside. Blueprints, you think. Half-finished, but blueprints nonetheless.

You take them. You stand. You wait.

The man in uniform’s smile widens.

He says, “get to work.”

So you do.



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