When the Second World War begun and the Nazi science division rose to fame for it’s cruel science experiments, Leviathan took the fine opportunity presented before them and could finally operate more openly and efficiently, as they were overlooked as just another branch of HYDRA. Branded the Russian division of HYDRA for years to come thanks to some sloppy federal agents, Leviathan happily used the cover for their own benefit; however, even though they were never one and the same, the two organisations worked closely together on several occasions both during and after the war.
That’s how Dorothy Underwood — though she didn’t go by that name back then — found herself in the austrian alps in february of 1945, picking up the pieces of Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes, the red room - and by extension, her, new pet.
During the following year, Dottie would be one of the few operatives allowed to regularly visit Barnes - or the asset, as they called him - and supervise his ‘programming’, as the scientists so eloquently put it. Dottie spent hours every day writing down the progress of the experiments, and during the course of time she got to know the american quite well, if she could say so herself. she also got acquainted with several people important to the asset, such as a certain ‘Steve’ (the asset frequently called that name both during water boarding, drug regimens, and direct cortical stimulation, she noted. Dottie was almost moved), his little sister, Rebecca, a lady named Peggy, and a bunch of ragtag soldiers with dumb names who must have been his friends.
The only person that really intrigued her was this ‘Peggy’ — a woman in a mans world, tough as a nail, who was more than capable of taking care of herself, and nonetheless respected by her fellow soldiers — Barnes more than most. Dottie was fascinated by this character - finally a woman her equal - but pushed it away to focus on her job.
When the process of wiping and programming was finally deemed finished towards the end of 1945, Dottie was tasked with training the now obedient ‘Winter Soldier’, as she playfully dubbed him. They worked together day and night, sparring, shooting, learning languages and code breaking - everything a good spy needed; and over just a few intense months, they became quite the duo — or more exactly, a two piece-deadly war machine (this would be the first but certainly not the last time Bucky fought alongside a black widow). They developed a, well, not exactly friendship, but as close as it could get between two brainwashed master assassins.
They were sent out on a mission together just around the one year anniversary of Bucky’s fall, with the goal of assassinating a former officer in the american military living in London, who posed serious threat towards the continued expansion of leviathan. However, the mission failed spectacularly, as the asset’s consciousness slowly began to break through the programming at the familiar sight of the world he’d left behind when forced into the labs and bunkers of Leviathan, and started to resist orders.
Eventually, Dottie had to finish the mission herself, shooting the target between the eyes and knocking Barnes out with sedatives. As a result, the asset was out in cryostasis until sometime later, when HYDRA had managed rebuild itself and bought their weapon.
As a result, The Asset was shipped to the main HYDRA facility for continued programming and modification. ⠀ ⠀
Meanwhile, Dottie was assigned a mission in the United States (finally). She forgot about the american soldier-turned-assassin — until she met Margaret ‘Peggy’ Carter in the hallway of the Griffith Hotel, and saw the small photograph of Steve Rogers in her room — adding just another secret to her growing collection.