110 seconds ago.
"I'm taking her to Dairy Queen. Anyone here know what kind of Blizzard to get a gal?"
Six guns started to fire. Five missed.
Aleks, recognizing the necessity of dropping the iPhone to free up his hands, took a knee behind the door and slid it back down the hallway he had taken to get here, a movement which saved his life - above him, the shrieking sound of slugs halting inside metal peppered the door and his eardrums without mercy or pause. On the other side of the flimsy shield, he could hear the Hydra mook he'd shot dying noisily; apparently, the gunshots he'd managed to eke out wounded on the ground were the last movements he'd been able to manage. To the best of the mercenary's knowledge, nothing was taking his place. That left four, all but one of whom wore powered exoskeletons. These odds were still miserable, and fighting on the open rooftop of an apartment building would only leave him torn to shreds.
He could always just hunt them.
Aleks turned tail and ran, deeper into the hallways. Only the operative without armor followed him on foot; the rest took to flight, clearly angling to glimpse him through any windows, and none was wearing a helmet. Excellent. As good as he'd hoped, in fact - it still left him precious little time to prepare, but at least he didn't have to worry about trying to place an additional three lucky shots under heavy Iron Man fire. In a narrow apartment building's hallway, there would have been no room for him to dodge if he was flanked, and the fact that three were drifting to catch him from the other side meant that Aleks could simply play a little game of...what had Matt called it? Pickle. Yes. A little game of pickle. Or...
When the Hydra soldier passed by the stairwell, Aleks used the tried-and-true method of dropping a handful of change from his wallet down the stairwell, creating a telltale clinkclinkclink that was sure to draw attention in the thick quiet of the hallway. He almost thought he would have to do it again - and lose another dollar twenty worth of quarters - when the commando doubled back and poked the gun's barrel tentatively through the stairwell. Five feet up, crouched on his heels, Aleks Belikov had to suppress a laugh. Oh, isn't this just precious? An M4! In a tight corner with nowhere to turn! Red Skull was truly the most Hogan's Heroes-###### Nazi that had ever graced the real world. Truly.
After a quick prayer to the First Date Gods (since he'd long given up on any of the major ones) he leaped the thick metal rail and landed behind his quarry, three stairs and a world of competence separating Russian and German. The first thing to do was to allow him the time necessary to turn around and investigate the muffled landing behind him, which gave Aleks an in to grab the rifle's forend, duck under it, and pin it against the wall. Right arm splayed open and left arm flailing at the side of his head, the Russian got in close for three short, sharp knees to the solar plexus.
The commando, perhaps hoping for some backup from someone else in the building, began to fire his gun uselessly and wildly; the vibrations sent Aleks' ears ringing and made his arm jitter, so he focused himself on a rare use of his power and allowed the colorless concrete wall to coil itself in a makeshift semi-circular bar around the gun's barrel and stock, removing it from the equation and forcing the Hydra goon to relinquish his hold. Aleks hadn't anticipated that he would regain his breath or poise so quickly, though, and the left to the side of his head came unawares. The railing behind him felt perilously close to his back. Time to improvise a li--
Aleks let the punch take him backwards over the railing and used his power again to create little fingerholds, not unlike the rock wall in the Westchester gym. They were tiny, and only gave him purchase with four fingertips on each hand, but he only needed the distraction for the good ten seconds it would take the man to round the stairwell and look for his body. Round, and round, creeping closer, until--
--Aleks threw all his weight and the last bit of wiggle room he had in his fingertips into sticking a landing on the stairwell; his legs had started up crouched, to avoid landing on the stairwell, but as he narrowed in on his target he stretched his legs out languidly for a sweeping kick to the chest. The angle was nearly just right; it wasn't enough to shatter anything, but the commando had been rounding the stairs at a 45 degree angle, allowing Aleks a good shot at the ribs and right pectoral. The German landed against the wall for support while Aleks caught himself against the railing (risking spinal injury from a bad landing post-kick would have taken all the wind out of his momentum) and crouched.
When he turned, ready to aim a blow at someone his height, he found Aleks in that same crouch, arms outstretched.
When the commando tilted his hip and put one foot forward at the same 45 degree angle for a cross, Aleks was ready for the grab.
When the prey realized he was in the middle of an impromptu, makeshift suplex over the rail, he screamed.
Belikov turned and put both hands on the rail, ready to spring over, but saw his work being done for him; the commando had hit his head on the rail, jerked, landed on the next flight down, and rolled onto the pile of rubble that was once the fourth floor stairwell. He didn't move after that.
My jaw hurts. That left had smoked him hard. He had to get out of here before anyone with power armor completed their sweep of the building and figured out he'd never left. The Russian mercenary paused only once - to free the M4 - before heading back out onto the roof and sending out a dispatch:
Hotel roof is clear for now. Red Skull dead. SHIELD's job from here, kids. Get the plane airborne and up here. Aleks. He plucked the comm unit out of his ear and went to drop it on top of the phone in his pocket when he realized there was no phone in his pocket. That led to about a minute of wildly chasing around the rooftop for a white iPhone 5.
How can I kill a man so efficiently in under two minutes but have a hard time finding a searing white iPhone with a searing bright touchscreen on an unlit rooftop? Heh. I've spent too long around high schoolers.
When he finally found it behind the roof, it took him another couple seconds to discern that the screen wasn't cracked, and, mortified, he caught himself making a quiet "whoo-hoo!" sound when he confirmed it wasn't.
DEFINITELY too long around high schoolers.
He ducked back inside, facing the bullet-riddled door, and called up his most recent contact. Called, this time. Whether she was awake or not...he doubted it. Maybe she'd wake up to him. He understood that appealed to a lot of people.
"Tera Laurent!" he exclaimed, playing up his natural, seldom-used Russian accent in that way he knew she liked/hated. "I have yet again survived insurmountable enemy odds on behalf of the X-Men. This year's crippling injury is the loss of both my hands, but fear not! In honor of our date, I have watched many and more of your country's Evil Dead movies, and through great trials and errors I have grafted ice cream scoops to both my ruined wrists! I believe this is great preparation for our date, yes? I call you, yes? G R E A T! I call you! Happy New Year!"
Maybe it would be happy after all.