1964. Half test, half torture. They forced him out of an Antonov An-10 transport plane in mid-December, about a hundred miles west of the Ural Mountains. He had nothing but his prison-issue jumpsuit, the muzzle HYDRA had kept him in for years, and the tracking device built in to his prosthesis. No gloves or boots or even tools to speak of. He crashed into the snow which thankfully dampened his fall. The serum pumping through his veins would help stave off hypothermia as it had in Austria all those years ago. Still, the Asset knew he would have to do something about his situation fast, or he would be dead and frostbitten sooner than he would have liked. There was however, a quite literal silver lining: his enhanced metal arm. With it he broke heavy logs apart. He carried natural provisions he found to a place he decided would be his campsite. He stripped pines of their boughs. He used the wood fibers from the surrounding forest to fashion crude rope. Though the Sun soon set, a shelter rose and fire shone.

The days went on and turned into weeks. The Asset wandered through the bush, surviving. He was alone. As time went on, even his augmented physiology began to crave sustenance; real food. The Asser had managed to craft a bow and a couple arrows, with which he downed deer and other game. Being a trained tacker had its perks. Wearing hide and eating meat gave him warmth and renewed strength.

In mid-February he had tracked down a remote Soviet police station. The deaths of the officers inside were quick and clean; efficient. He traded his handmade coat, boots, gloves, and bow for proper outdoor clothing, a knife, a pistol, and the holy grail: an SVD Dragunov sniper rifle, with spare ammunition. A couple hours’ hike later, and he stumbled across an abandoned dacha in the woods. He found heaven in the crumbling structure: Canned food, dried meat, medical supplies, a few bags of coal, a fireplace, and even some candles. Plus a couple of bear traps in the somehow-even-more-dilapidated shed.

He remembered his hunts before coming across the police station, and thought of the food he had earned. His mouth watered as he pried one of the traps open. He set it outside on the top of the thin ice layer covering the deep snow. Taking his knife, he cut and put the tiniest of pieces of the dried meat by the trap. Winter was cruel to the forest.

The Asset trudged back to the dacha, and watched snow begin to gently fall from the overcast sky. It never stopped as afternoon turned into night, night into morning, and morning into midday. It finally relented as the first half of the day gave way to the second. The Asset swung between numb and melancholy; melancholy and mechanical; mechanical and tragic.