Don't flap your cap, Barnes, I'm sure the thing ain't-- [ The sound of a door being rattled in its frame carries even if the device doesn't pick up the visual. ] --stuck.
[ This is Howard trying to brush off the fact he's clearly wrong. ]
Ah, must be a fault in the electrics, but it's never done that before.
[ He comes into view, now, a charming smile spread across the screen, Bucky visible a little further back and to his side. ]
If there's anyone in the area who can come help a couple'a fellas out, we'd appreciate it. [ And forgetting the device again, bending down to assess the situation. ] Can't get to the controls from in here, gonna have to wait it out, buddy.
Unless someone wants to notify me when it's over.
[ OOC: Fourth wall! Anyone and everyone is welcome to run into him wherever. ]
He's out walking around the Square, watching the odd behaviour of the citizens, which takes him a while to actually realise. He switches on the device and grins into it. ]
Never realised people took this holiday so seriously 'round these parts, starting to think I should'a dressed down a little.
Ow! Howard, my ear, watch it please!
It's harder than it looks to operate this beautiful piece of technology with just the one hand, doll.
[ The shuffling continues a moment as he tries to hold onto and poke at the device with one hand, the other unable to stretch out without pulling Pepper over and himself with her. ]
There, that...should do it.
[ Pepper swears under her breath ] Ugh this is mortifying. Okay. I’d help but I’m right handed.
Got it. Right. What was the point again? Oh! We got ourselves a situation here - it's quite fascinating, don't you think? - okay, maybe not that fascinating, but - the point, right. No one should go out alone. Scratch that, everyone should stay in. And keep a weapon handy. That cover everything?
In other words, the circus is abducting more than just its audience members; they’re taking people indiscriminately off of the streets. Please everyone, be careful. Also, someone send help? I should think that message is high on my list of priorities right now.
[ ooc: Pepper’s head is sewn onto Howard’s shoulder. From a distance it looks like they’re sharing a sentimental moment, but really they’re in agony. In some cases more than just the physical kind. ]
He wanders, the sound of celebrations carrying, and he follows it, removing his device from his pocket at some point and switching it to video. He knows he's not been as sociable as he used to be, the people he annoys - annoyed - on a regular basis coming and going far too frequently, mostly going, and even he's not that good at pretending to be okay. Hiding never fails, especially when there's so few to seek him out. ]
Someone decide to throw a party and forget to invite me? 'Cause I know how to party, and, I gotta say, it's your loss if I ain't there.
Not bad, huh? Can't seem to part with 'em, which ain't the worst thing to ever happen 'round here, and I always thought I'd make for a great dame.
[ He wanders around, partly on camera and partly not so much, but it's obvious that he can walk around in them far better than he ought to be able to. ]
Think we get to keep 'em once this thing's over with?
Looks as if Tony ain't here no more.
[ A door slams behind him, the image shaky as he works his way through the building, and for once he doesn't look into the machine, even worryingly shying away from it, because Howard is Howard and showing emotions healthily isn't what he does. ]
But life goes on, don't it? Got full access to everything in the lab as a parting gift. Gonna be at the club if anyone wants to join me for a good time in celebrating.
[ And as he enters the cool evening air, the feed cuts off and he heads towards his destination if anyone happens to come across him along the way. ]
The last one'a these things the city experienced was the day I arrived and everyone thought I was one of 'em. Gotta admit, it ain't much better from this side. But, hey, means I've been here for a whole six months and I'm still breathing.
[ OOC: Fourth wall post. Feel free to bump into him anywhere. ]
These exams are too easy, ain't they? Someone entertain me while this thing drags on.
Oh, and I got free reign of the mansion tonight. Party?
[ Feel free to claim to know him however you like, Howard is easy, and replies will come from geniusness. ]
What's with the photographs? Not that they ain't fascinating, but I don't get it.
[ He spreads the photos out, none of the pictures at the right angle to be shown on the screen. ]
Got quite a collection going on here, might make one of them album things - ain't that what people do? Wonder if I could get the pages to turn themselves.
Cap, Barney, Lena, Rhodey, Eleven, Tony, Pepper, Thor - there's ones here from all'a you, if you're seeing this. Interesting, too, I've gotta say.
He escapes, though, finds fresh air on the top deck where he starts his exploration of the ship, going down one level at a time, slipping passed watchful eyes unnoticed or charming his way on when spotted, entering room after room, many of which he knows he's not supposed to venture into. But he's curious, impressed by the ship, the biggest and best of its time, unsinkable, or so they say. Of course he wants to see as much of it as possible, see how it ticks, and he may be many things, but Howard Stark isn't afraid to drop down to second class or even lower to the unthinkable class amongst his own, so if he crosses your path then feel free to stop and chat.
Later in the evening he comes to find himself helping women and children to safety, not doing a great job of it, but his heart is in the right place, which surprises even himself, as many claim him to be as cold as the machines he creates. He eventually gives up his seat on a lifeboat and puts two small children in his place. He's injured as the boat tries to pull him under with it, freezes to death before he's given the chance to drown. ]
[ OOC: Backdating due to having the flu over the weekend. Anyone who wants to bump into him, wherever they may be, is more than welcome to do so. ]
Y'really want me to leave this thing in pieces? 'Cause we all know how that ends. [ Oh, and the television itself is lying on its front above the sheet, the back off and wires sticking out, pieces laid out on the fabric, and that's as well as several other projects littering the place half-finished. ] It ain't gonna take long, can't this wait?
No. [ Bucky’s voice sounds like it’s coming from near him. ] Look, dude, I don’t know what your basis for marriage is, but people freaking talk. [ Apparently none of this bothers either of them, Bucky sprawled back on the couch watching Howard pick apart the tv. ] You didn’t tell me I’d be battling every bit of technology when we got hitched. It’s kind of an unfair deal, buddy.
[ Slinging an arm over his face. ] I want a divorce.
[ Howard heaves an over-dramatic sigh, as if carefully putting the circuit board back into place pains him, and he shuffles around where he sits on the floor, the feed shaking for a few seconds as he accidentally nudges it further so that both of them are in shot. ]
It weren't a secret, sweetheart. [ He holds his hands up in surrender, fighting the urge to turn back to the open television and discovering more about how it ticks. ] Okay, fine, y'got my full attention. No more talk'a divorces, huh? It's not like I don't love you.
[ From beneath his arm, Bucky sounds like he’s smiling. ] Oh, now you’re scared, huh? I’m gonna take you for everything, see if I don’t. [ A pause. ] Fine, play with your stuff, see if I care.
Hey, c'mon, don't be that way. [ He rolls over, crawls the distance over to the couch, and clambers up like a clumsy puppy, dropping himself into the gap between Bucky's side and the back of the thing. ] If I promise not to touch anything electrical for the rest'a the day, you gonna forgive me, huh? [ He drapes a leg over him, nudges him with his nose. ] Want me to remind you why we got hitched in the first place?
[ Bucky’s voice rings clear through the network post, a little out of breath. There are two sets of feet hitting the concrete, the background sound of carnage filling up the quiet. ] How is it I’m always running into you, anyhow?
[ Howard waggles the device pointedly, which makes the audio distorted for a second, the air filtering through the microphone. ] It ain't like I intentionally threw the damn thing, it just kinda slipped. Y'know how I feel about this baby. Good thing she ain’t scratched.
[ But the truth is he's distracted, fascinated at the things that keep popping up around corners and threatening to exterminate them, the wonder there in his voice. ] Now I remember why these things seem familiar, that Amy broad told me about the big pepper potts. And it’s ‘cause you like me, Bucky Boy, we both know it. Ain’t no use pretending. Y’just can’t keep away, can you?
Oh, bite me, Steve’d be pissed if I left you to die, you know that. [ He sounds - genuinely worried - his footsteps slowing slightly. ] Didn’t you see what her Doc said about ‘em this morning? They’re a bad idea and we need to get out of here, so just stick close and keep quiet, okay? No crazy science face until we find a safe place.
[ There’s nothing but the sound of breathing for a moment, the audio not really giving a clear clue of what’s going on bar the fact that they’re both still there. It goes on for a moment, for two, then. ] I think we’ve got the all-clear, let’s just -- holy shit. Howard, get --
[ There’s a thump, like someone being thrown to the ground, gunshots ricocheting off metal, then the high, scratching sound of the creature’s voice, Exterminate. The scream, if it can be called that, clearly comes from Bucky. Someone falls. ]
B--? [ As clear as the feed was moments ago, now everything sounds muffled, and urgent footfalls carry for a moment until they abruptly stop, the sound of something solid hitting what is distinctly a wheelie bin and then sliding down the plastic picks up. There’s sheer panic in Howard’s breathless voice, quiet, and the clear tone of concern. ] Jesus, Barney, Steve’s gonna kill me if I don’t get you back in one piece.
[ Nothing but heavy breathing can be heard for a minute or two, and then the sound of a Dalek sliding up somewhere close makes it stop altogether, the zeet-zeet as it turns its metal head before continuing on its way. Desperate gasps for air sound out, and the footsteps return, more freely this time, and the sound of something being dragged across the ground. ] Damn it, what the hell were you doing saving me? Y’better start breathing, jackass, or I’m gonna kill you myself. [ The dragging noises stop, and then there’s urgent shuffling sounds, but the device drops from a pocket with a clatter and cuts off. ]
[ He doesn't exactly have people who stick close to him, but that doesn't mean the bubble around him isn't frustrating and restricting. ]
It comes to something when I'm trying to grab a cup'a the good stuff from an assistant and get it all over the equipment. But it ain't too bad if there's an angry broad trying to punch you down in the cafeteria.
Anyone else having fun with this stuff?
But he doesn’t consider the danger, not when there’s a thing of beauty to capture in the name of science. He’s using his professional showmanship voice, like he’s doing nothing more than showing off a piece of technology that’s passed all safety checks and needs an audience.. ]
Would you look at that, ladies and gentleman, it ain’t something you see every day. What I wouldn’t give to get it to a lab and have someone take a look at it.
[ It disappears for a moment, burrowing deep into the ground, sand sifting through the gap it had originally appeared from. There’s nothing on the landscape for a long minute, when suddenly it bursts free from the sand. It’s too close this time, opening its great maw as though it’s seconds away from launching itself down and swallowing him whole.
Which is when the burst of gunfire sounds through the air, the worm giving an inhuman sort of noise, flinging itself back and into the sand again. The reprieve is short lived, it’s simply moving away to resurface, launch an attack from another vantage point. ]
Get the fuck out of the way... [ Bucky scrambles across the top of a dune, slides down on his feet like he can’t find purchase but moves anyway. He’s beckoning Howard towards him then. ] Stark!
[ Howard looks stunned, as if this is the last thing he thought would possibly occur, but he shakes himself out of it in time to scramble across the heated grains of sand and towards Bucky. Everything is going too fast, and even his genius mind is struggling to keep up. Action’s never been his strong front. ] What the hell’d you do to that thing?
[ He’s feeling oddly sympathetic towards it, the inhuman noises it makes as it cries out in pain making his insides squirm unnaturally, but it doesn’t last long, not when the thing takes another lunge in their direction, mouth open so wide it makes itself vulnerable in order to expose its unnervingly dangerous teeth.
Shouting out over the racket, the sand falling away beneath their feet and taking them down with it, lower and lower, and he doesn’t know how much longer it’s going to hold them with the creature unsettling it. ] You’re a soldier. Can’t you do something?
[ Bucky’s tone is dry. ] Oh hell yeah, I’ll do something.
[ Fishing something out of his pocket, he uses his teeth to pull the pin on a grenade, taking aim and lobbing it over and in to the creature’s mouth. He then has enough time to grab Howard by the shirt collar, haul him up and over the dune and shove him down. The boom from beneath (the sand worm having buried itself back in) is enough to unsettle the hill, sand falling down on them both. Howard’s device ends up a few feet away from them. There’s silence, until the surface moves, Bucky’s arm wrapped around Howard’s back as he pulls him up. He’s coughing as he wipes the sand from his eyes. ]
Fuckin’ ugh. [ Shoving the other man a little bit. ] Next time, don’t stop to take pictures of the goddamn thing trying to eat you, okay?
[ Howard scoops up the device, stands and smirks at him, the camera getting a good shot of the both of them, as if for proof. ] Y’just saved my life.
This the sort'a stuff everyone was warning me 'bout, huh? Been here two weeks and I got sand coming outta everywhere, candy falling outta the sky, and I gotta say there's something ain't right 'bout them either.
[ He stops long enough to chomp down another one. ]
Think I might'a got something'a Lena's and that Tony fella's. [ His expression doesn't give much away, but he does wash the candy down with a swallow of scotch straight from the bottle. ] Anybody know what the hell's going on? Insightful things.
There goes the search for Cap. [ He sounds defeated, which rarely happens, but he says it with a sarcastic tone, masking the weight he carries with him for so far failing to find Steve in the wreckage.
He fiddles around with the device as he looks directly at it, now, rather than at the surroundings around him. ] So, anyone out there gonna fill me in on what the hell's goin' on 'round here or do I gotta figure it out for myself?