Uncanny Love

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015.


  1. Chapter 1 ...New Avengers on the Block




    Sonar
    I'm going to have to re-calibrate the thrusters in the left boot and replace the sonar emitters by this week-

    "Perrault!!" A gravely voice suddenly shouted, startling the brunette out of her thoughts. Green eyes turned to the obese, bald man standing behind the diner's counter. Before she could say anything, he shoved a tray full of artery-clogging foods into her small hands.

    "Table twelve, now!" He bellowed, spit flying onto her face. In as much as she wanted to throw the food back at his greasy mug, Amelia just spun on her heel and stomped away. She couldn't lose this job, no matter how crappy it was. Raising the heavy tray high above her head, the thin woman twist and turned through the narrow walkways of Ralph's Diner until she got to her assigned table. The young couple were both on their smartphones, completely ignoring the crying child sitting next to the mother. "Here's your food." Amelia announced, putting on the best fake smile she could possibly muster.

    "Took you long enough." The man muttered, not once looking up from his phone. Amelia tightened her fist to hold herself back while keeping the smile plastered on her face."Sorry about that." She apologized, placing the rest of the food on the table in record time so she wouldn't have to deal with the ungrateful bastards any longer. She was incredibly thankful that they didn't seem to notice her leave and she hoped that was the last she'd have to hear from that particular table until they got the bill.

    With all her tables already eating or empty, Amelia looked around at the diner. It was definitely not one of the best places around but it was the only place near her home that was hiring. That and they only needed her in the mornings and afternoons, leaving her evenings free to do-

    "Perrault!! Table sixteen!!" Her manager screeched again, causing her to flinch. She threw a quick glare at the man once more before heading toward the newly seated table. The brown-haired woman soon recognized the silhouette of her new customer and a smile suddenly graced her tired face. "Hey there, welcome back!" She greeted the familiar woman, "Haven't seen you in a while, how ya been? You want the usual?"

    Captain America
    Something was different about Stark Tower, but Steve Rogers could not figure out exactly what. Was it new lights? Or was it something with the decor? No... everything was still like he remembered it a few months back, give or take a new piece of artwork. "Mr. Rogers? Your ID sir." A man in a dark suit and sunglasses handed the blond a thin card with his picture and name on it, "We will be escorting you momentarily. Let us just do a quick body scan."

    Ah.

    That's what was new.

    All the security.

    Tony Stark was a lot of things (mostly negative), but he was never cautious. To see this many men in suits wandering his building put up a definite red flag in Steve's mind. Maybe there would be more to this visit then Tony's recent spiral into his old ways.

    Steve rode up the elevator by himself until it stopped at the top floor. Ever since his battle with Aldrich Killian that lead to the destruction of his old home and the break-up with Pepper, Tony had moved into the penthouse suite of Stark Tower and avoiding any contact with him and the rest of the Avengers. Even Bruce couldn't get a hold of Tony but rumors were circling that he was partying and sleeping around again. Any other time, Steve would have been content with leaving Tony alone, even if he didn't condone his activities. But now that SHIELD was disbanded and Fury was going into hiding to recuperate, Steve needed to reunite the old team. Or at least keep tabs on who was where. Finding out that HYDRA had sleeper agents all over SHIELD had put the Captain on edge. He knew he could trust the rest of the Avengers but did they know who they could trust outside the team?

    Thankfully everyone else was welcoming to Steve's visits and had answered his message in a timely fashion. All except one. Tony's silence was expected after all that he'd been through, but Steve gave him enough time to 'mourn' all his losses. He needed Iron Man back.

    The elevator finally came to a stop and the doors opened to reveal a thrashed room. It wasn't as bad as it was when Loki attacked a few months ago, but it was a close second. Various clothes were both strewn on different furniture and piled up on the floor. The mirror behind the bar was cracked and many of the liquor bottles were missing. Half of them were probably the broken glass pieces covering the floor of the piano. From where Steve stood, he could see that the couch was stained and covered in what looked like to be glitter confetti. All this trash, but no sign of the owner.

    "Tony?" Steve called out as he stepped into the room. He immediately felt something slimy underneath his boot. Glancing down, he saw a pool of... something and swallowed back a gag. He stepped over the rest of the stain and began to wipe his shoe across the marble floor.

    "Tony, are you here?"

    { ~~~x~~~ }
    The Valkyrie
    “Exit light! Entuh niiiight! Taaaake my hand! We're off to Never Neverland!”


    People walking down the sidewalks, scurrying to and from work, couldn't help but to point and stare as a young woman danced in a wildly and quite ungraceful manner past them. Some laughed and pointed while a few took pictures and videos as she paused and made merry with a most excellent head bang, her long curls of blue flying about. There were some, as usual, who thought she was a few McNuggets short of a full Happy Meal and quickly scurried away as though they feared her attention would be drawn to bring them into her performance. She didn't mind. She focused solely on producing the guitar solo from her mouth as she heard it pounding in her ears from pokèball shaped headphones and fueling her daily adrenaline. Although, her friends might argue that the hyperactive thing didn't need anything to fuel her more than simply being alive did.


    She eventually moved on swinging about with her air guitar. There was an obvious and infectious air of whimsy about her that she hoped would brighten up at least one person's day. At the drop of a hat, she began belting out a new tune with an operatic voice, her gestures filled with all the bravado of her beloved icon, George Takei. “Getting to know you! Getting to know all about yoooou! Getting to like you! Getting to hope you like meee!” She paused here and there to serenade a glum passerby, tickling children who clapped and waved as the fae-like woman went on her way in a far more graceful manner.


    Up ahead was a diner on the corner with the word "Ralph" in ostentatious lime green neon. She twirled blithely towards the less-than-elegant eatery as she sustained one last note before ending up at the door, kneeling down on one knee and holding her arms out, basking in the applause and cheer from behind her. She was up in an instant, turning around with a grin as she put one hand to her waist and gave a mighty bow. “You love me! You really love me!” Her eyes glazed over with forced tears for dramatic effect before she issued a lighthearted laugh and waved. She was content to stand and bask a little longer, accepting gracious tips, but the irate and rather tiny old woman in front of her would prefer that she move.



    After being assaulted with an umbrella, she dodged one more blow and let the woman pass, holding the door open for her while pushing her headphones and hood down. Crystal blue eyes rolled as she chuckled at the angry ramblings of the elderly lady went on about the weird and disrespectful generation of today. Still, Astrid shoved the bills and change into the pockets of her jacket and proceeded to enter, finding her way to a secluded table in the back. Said table was her table. It didn't have her name on it or anything, but she liked to believe that the cushy seat had morphed to fit her well curved ass quite perfectly and rejected all other asses that were not hers. It was only her personal theory, though the seat really did curve in some spots to accommodate her perfectly.


    She was quiet as she sat facing the rest of the diner. The seat had none others behind it preventing people from peeking over her shoulder to see her fiddling with a small phone-like device, sliding around files labeled with a slew of letters and hyphens and numbers. She was anxious for her latest partner, Captain Steve Rogers, to arrive so that they could quickly receive their new assignment, one that had been delivered to her directly by Director Fury. Agent Coulson was Director now, yes. Still, she knew Fury better than most, if not all, and she knew that he'd be back and he'd always have his hand in SHIELD. She would have opened the file sooner and simply debriefed the Captain en route to whatever mysterious destination their file held, but it required voice activation from both parties.

    Iron Man
    Tony Stark had been in nothing but a foul mood to his very core for the past few months.

    He believed his life to be on track for a while now, improving with his people skills and personal issues while maintaining his superhero gig. He had been ready to settle down and pop the big question to Virginia "Pepper" Potts after he helped remove the Extremis from her body and the shrapnel from his chest. They had been through so much and she was always there. But there was a tape leaked of an after hours encounter of the sexual kind that she had with Aldritch Killian, a man that later turned out to be evil, psychotic, and tried to kill them both. He knew they were in a rut because of his anxiety attacks and nightmares from their battle with Loki... But he didn't think the rut was that deep.

    Matters were only made worse when he found out that some of the SHIELD agents he employed before and after the fall of the secret organisation were actually sleeper agents for a Nazi terrorist group older than Captain America. He had managed to be sober and use the head on his shoulders long enough to have them sniffed out and arrested before buckling down on security. His new security wasn't just any security. He had hired the muscle of underground fighters and the minds of teenage and young adult hackers and engineers to bolster his numbers. Many saw it as a dumb move but he was okay with that before slipping back into the arms of the waiting centerfolds.

    “Tony will be with you momentarily, Captain.”

    Steve was addressed by the English accented Artificial Intelligence program that was JARVIS, its tone polite and informal, as though speaking with an old friend. Tony could hear them both but didn't want to get up from beneath the pile of sheets thrown over him and a woman whose name he couldn't remember. The only thing that made him get up was knowing that Steve wasn't going to go. The Boy Scout was extremely persistent and sometimes it was just plain annoying. He had no time or tolerance for any more lectures on moral codes and whatnot. Steve could take it all and shove it up his ass as far as Tony was concerned.

    “You. Leave.”

    His voice was groggy and raspy from too many drinks along with some yelling for various reasons. The dazed and sleepy blonde pouted as she woke up before being pushed rudely away from Tony. She stood with a haughty huff and stalked out. She would have grabbed clothes had she not been so drunk and burned them the previous night. She was confident that not too many people were in the garage, making it less of an embarrassment as she entered the elevator, pausing to offer Steve an enticing smile.

    “What? What could you possibly want?” The bearded genius looked at Steve with blurry vision, trying to figure out which of the two moving figures was the real Steve. His head pounded as he adjusted his boxers and gave his jewels a scratch while sitting on the couch covered with clothes and paper. He normally exuded an aura of arrogance to match his words, but everything about him now made him seem more like a child fresh out of a tantrum. A hand ran through messy sex-hair brown in color as he awaited the answer, trying to stay awake long enough to listen.
     
    #1 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  2. Sonar
    Ah, she was British today.

    Astrid's talent for flawlessly interchanging accents consistently fascinated Amelia. Rather, everything about the eccentric woman fascinated her. From her rotating hair colors to the lack of shame whenever she sang loudly outside the diner. Even after hours after she had left the restaurant, Amelia would still be theorizing just what exactly Astrid did for a living. She has yet to settle on one concrete theory.

    “Alright, two steaks it is.” Amelia replied with a smile as she jotted down the order, “Let me go punch this in and I’ll be back to chat with you until I’m on the verge of being fired.” With that, she hurried off to the nearest computer station while almost mowing down a small child. The brunette’s excitement to interact with another human being was usually uncharacteristic of her but it wasn’t often that someone intrigued her this much. It also helped that Astrid was such a joy to speak to. Her sunny personality was rather infectious and the dingy diner always seemed to brighten up a bit whenever she came around.

    If Amelia thought about it, it had been quite a while since Astrid visited. She usually stopped by once a week, maybe twice. Amelia decided she’ll add that to the list of questions she would ask the blue-haired woman. Once she typed the order into the smudged computer screen, she walked back to Astrid while keeping an eye out on her other tables with her peripheral vision. That was probably the only thing she gained out of working in this dumb. That and friendship.

    “So Astrid, who’s the other steak for?” Amelia started off, a small smirk gracing her pale face, “Lunch date?”

    Captain America
    Steve’s blue eyes widened in a mixture of horror and embarrassment when a naked woman emerged under all the sheets lying in the middle of the floor. It got even worse when she walked out of the room without trying the least bit to cover up. He averted his eyes away when she passed him by to get to the elevators but could see her smile from the corner of his eye. He coughed to avert attention away from his blushing cheeks and waited till he heard the ding behind him.

    “Stark, you haven’t been answering any of our messages. Not mine’s, not Natasha’s, not even Bruce’s.” Steve began, “We needed to check up on you after what’s happened with SHIELD but I’m assuming you already know since you're on high alert.” He made a gesture downstairs.

    “We also wanted to make sure if you were… okay.” The captain never tried to hide his distaste in Tony’s comings and goings but after New York, he knew that he could trust the man when things got tough. However, the man sitting before him in nothing but boxers was a shell of his former self. Convincing him to do just about anything was going to take a lot longer than he originally planned. And he had a meeting in half an hour.

    { ~~~x~~~ }
    The Valkyrie
    The young woman gave her waitress a dazzling smile, the outer edges of her eyes giving a light crinkle, before she returned to her device. She made faces to herself as she sat in perfect silence, ignoring the world around her while small portraits with short amounts of data popped on the private screen. HYDRA agents, every last one. Aside from the mission she was to complete with Captain Rogers, she had been given a hit list. She had to find the HYDRA agents and capture who she could and kill who she pleased. She had a very specific kill list and she was eager to begin. Her first lead was in Syria. Unfortunately for the world, HYDRA wasn't just in the United States. They were everywhere. And they'd been passing out government secrets from all over the world to the highest bidders. The world was on the brink of disaster.

    “Roadhouse?!”

    She had gotten so caught up that she hadn't noticed Amelia taking a seat until the other young woman had spoken -- though young might be a stretch when talking Astrid's age. She looked up with a startled expression before giving a soft laugh and a grin. “Actually, I do have a date. His name happens to be Steve Rogers. My dad set me up with him and I don't think we have a single thing in common other than our obviously amazing physical gifts.” She did a few cheesy Vogue poses from her seat before laughing gently. “Honestly, I'll probably never see him again after this date.” Not a complete lie. They'd have their mission and soon after they'd part ways. Astrid had her own agenda and she didn't have time to be making eyes at lifesize Fourth of July Ken dolls.

    Iron Man
    Tony looked at Steve through blurry eyes, squinting some. There were three Captains and it took some pretty hard staring to sort them all into one. “You're a century-old virgin so, you wouldn't understand. I don't want to have people around right now unless they've got tits and are getting naked.” His voice rose some as he stood, a bit wobbly as he jabbed a finger towards the older man. It took a few moments for it to sink in, what he had said. He was wrong and he knew he was. They were misfits with fucked up pasts, all of the Avengers. He knew the story of Steve and Peggy and because he'd been keeping tabs on the old man he also knew that the soldier had been visiting the woman who stole his heart but was now fading fast.

    “Look -- I'm sorry. I'm just... It's taking some time to process all of this. Two years ago I had privatized world peace. Now I'm having panic attacks, people trying to kill me, and the woman I wanted to be the mother of my children is gone. This... It's not the life I'm used to.” Tony Stark wasn't a very emotional man. He didn't like talking about feelings very much, especially his own. However, things were generally different with Steve and Bruce. He could talk to them both and knew they'd carry that conversation to their graves without judgement. “Yeah. HYDRA's been stealing a lot of my tech. We've gotten rid of all the sleeper agents, mostly. My supplies in my warehouse at the docks keep coming up short. Don't worry. I'll step up to the plate when it's time to bat.”

    A wave of his hand signaled that he was finished with the conversation. Steve might be Steve but Tony still didn't like talking. He trudged towards the shower whilst scratching his head. He couldn't really remember the last time he had showered. He remembered having a brunette in the shower a few days ago... But they didn't really bathe that much. His shaggy beard suggested that it had been some time since he had exercised the use of proper hygiene. “I'll catch up with you tomorrow. And... I'm sorry about Nick.” He paused to turn around, biting the inside of his cheek. Unlike Steve, he had no clue Nick survived. “He was a dick. And really cryptic. But he meant well...” With that, he turned down a corridor and the sound of rushing water followed.
     
  3. Sonar
    "Steve Rogers?" Amelia repeated, placing a calloused hand on her chin, "Why does that sound so familiar?" After a quick mental rundown of her known contacts, the brunette concluded that that name must have been famous for one reason or another. She had never been one to keep up with celebrity gossip or trends, even before she lost everything she owned. She only ever focused on studying and reading up whatever interested her academically. Maybe that's why she did so well when moving into a more isolated living space.

    "Well whatever, I'm sure he's quite lovely if your dad set you guys up." If her dad had so much pull to get a supposed celebrity as his daughter's blind date, then Astrid must be wealthy. Or at least have amazing connections. Either way, that little tidbit of information did not do anything to help narrow down Amelia's list of theories. it might have even lengthened it if she were some rich girl doing whatever she wanted thanks to a trust fund. It was certainly a possibility.

    The gravelly shout of her boss made Amelia quickly jump out of the booth. "I'll be right back." She muttered to the bluenette before rushing over to the counter where the obese man was waiting angrily. For a place that served organic food, the owner certainly didn't take a page out of that book.

    Captain America
    Steve tightened his lips into a thin line as Tony unnecessarily went off on him. As much as he wanted to give a retort, he knew he had to hold back his remarks. The Tony before him now was a walking land mine. One false step and he would blow up, never allowing anyone back in ever again. The blond definitely had to be patient with dealing with the genius before him.

    And just like that, Tony calmed down once he let out all his frustrations. Maybe an emotional punching bag was all he really needed. Either way, Steve's eyes softened as the dark-haired man basically laid out all his troubles to him. Tony was obviously at such a low point in his life if he was willingly expressing his emotions to him like that, but Steve made sure to keep that to himself. Instead, he made a note of what HYDRA had been taking from Stark Industries and decided to check up on that later. "Thanks, glad to know you're on board. And if you need any help finding any other sleeper agents in the company, you know who to call." Steve stated. He was about to start a long monologue about how Tony would eventually rise up from all the recent downfalls but the shorter man began to shoo him away in his normal, Tony-like way. At least he was showing some sign of improvement. Steve was going to chuckle but stopped himself when he heard Tony's sudden remark about Director Fury.

    Only Natasha, Sam, Clint, and he knew the truth behind Nicholas Fury's death, or rather 'fake' death. Hell was going to break loose when Tony and the others found out they had been keeping such a big secret but he knew it was for the best. Still, Steve couldn't help but feel sick to his stomach whenever he had to lie to his comrades.

    "Yeah... He did." He finally mumbled out. But it fell to deaf ears as Tony already left to take a much needed shower. Letting out a sigh, Steve readjusted his New York Yankees cap and placed his aviators back on before heading to the elevators. It only took a couple of minutes for him to get down to the first floor and out of Stark Tower to his waiting chopper. He glanced at his watch while climbing on, deciding which route would be the fastest. Either way, he was already late.

    Twenty minutes later, Steve arrived at a small, somewhat dingy diner and parked his motorcycle close to the entrance. Taking a quick second to make sure he was well-disguised, he finally stepped inside. It took another moment for him to scan the entire restaurant but he soon saw a flash of blue on his left. He strode over to the corner booth where a light skinned, blue-haired woman sitting with a bunch of empty plates in front of her. Well, most where empty except one untouched steak that was meant for the missing patron.

    "Astrid?" He guessed, catching the strange woman's attention. He still couldn't grasp the diverse fashion trends of this era but he made sure to not look as surprised as he actually was.

    "Hi, sorry I'm late. I'm Steve." He introduced himself, sticking out a hand. He didn't think it was right to sit down yet until she acknowledged him, especially after he arrived way after the designated appointment time.

    { ~~~x~~~ }
    The Valkyrie
    Astrid simply smiled at Amelia, feeling some sort of pity for the young woman as the greasy man she called a boss warbled for her presence. She shook her head and waited for both her meal and partner, eventually pulling her legs up and crossing them in her seat. With a few peering eyes directed her way she decided not to pull out anymore of her devices except her phone. She engaged in a few rather intense games of QuizUp, Candy Crush, and the newly released Captain America game. She only paused when her meal was brought to her, checking the time. He was running late. She gave him ten minutes before scarfing down her food and ordering seconds, a lone steak resting on the other side of the table.

    There were a few passing glances of pity as the other patrons as they assumed she had been stood up. She was starting to wonder the same. Perhaps he had been distracted with a more important task or maybe he had even forgotten. The latter certainly wasn't good for a woman's ego. Still, she would wait and entertain herself with games and texting as though the world as they knew it wasn't crumbling all around. She was eventually interrupted again, though it was a man this time. She looked up to see Steve Rogers hiding beneath a baseball cap, lifting a brow in response to his appearance and words. She had been hiding under her hood and headphones. Still, she picked up his voice with ease over the soothing melodies of a budding Welsh pianist.

    “Astrid...”

    She stood and pushed back her hood along with the red and white pokèballs that were pumping sounds through her ears, perking up with a chipper smile. She never divulged her surname to any person and she doubted that Steve, despite his good four years with S.H.I.E.L.D., knew her name. She was more or less just a myth among the ranks. A mercenary some few swear they saw handing and taking files from Fury. No, he wouldn't know her. Still, she offered a twinkling gaze before letting her fingers curl around his hand, tugging him into the seat directly next to her, making him turn towards her slightly. She removed the aviators from his face and quickly replaced them with dark black sunglasses.

    Moving closer, she ducked her head close to his, giving the illusion that they were locking lips. One hand resting out of sight against his leg held a device, her fingers manipulating the images on the screen. “Word of the day, Poughkeepsie.” Her gaze flickered up towards him as the device in her hand gave a light ping. She reached out with her free hand, brushing the side of his face gently. To those looking, it would appear an affectionate gesture. In truth, she slipped a device into his ear. Waiting for the safeword, she put on her own shades to match his. Once they'd activated the device given to her by Fury, their directive would show across the shades. Astrid wasn't one to exchange pleasantries in such dire situations. She preferred to get her objectives first and have fun along the way. Still, she had to admit the handsome man before her smelled nice. Almost as nice as the sweet pea perfume she wore.

    Iron Man
    By the time Tony exited the shower Steve was gone. The genius finally sported a mostly clean face, still retaining his trademark mustache and beard. He wasn't feeling one hundred percent yet but he was slowly getting there. He looked into the mirror and stared into the reflection of his heterochromatic eyes that were brown around the iris, bright hazel with tints of blue and flecks of gold making up the rest as it went further outward. He could see the hurt behind them and it displeased him. This wasn't him. This was not Tony Stark. This was a shell of the man he once was but he knew that he couldn't stay this way forever. He had to recover.

    He refused to let the company his father founded fall apart while he whined like a child. Shit happened. He needed to deal with it because the world needed him now more than ever. He had people depending on him. Lives were at stake and he could not afford to stand by and indulge in selfish desires because things weren't going his way. Anthony Stark was not a quitter. He gave himself a pep talk, smacking his face a few times before leaving the bathroom. He headed down the stairs, calling out to his computerized companion. “Clothes. Something snappy. Daddy's back.” He clapped his hands together as an outfit fit for... Well, Tony Stark, was presented to him. He dressed quickly, making stops around the lavish room to grab gadgets and put them into his pockets.

    Tony had destroyed every last one of his suits to please Pepper, having agreed to stop being a superhero for a while so that he could be a better boyfriend and perhaps husband one day. He obviously salvaged what he could and had all the scrap remains in his personal lab within the tower, figuring that he'd need them again one day. Tony knew that once he announced that he was Iron Man there was no going back. He couldn't just retire. He ran his fingers through his recently styled hair before straightening his tie, moving towards a larger table. The table, like many he had, was transparent. Long, calloused fingers danced across it intricately to bring up floating screens of files.

    Focused intently, he brought up videos. He watched as a mysterious figure darted in and out of his warehouse at various times, always leaving with some of his supplies. “The raids occur every two days around ten... The next hit should be tonight. I can get a suit up by then.” Tony clapped his hands together, the lit up screens shrinking and disappearing between his hands as he made his way out and to the elevator. Already his mind was racing as he wondered what suit to work on first. Perhaps the original... Or Igor. It was ugly but it was big and it packed one hell of a punch. He decided Tin Man would take up his attention, giving waves to the employees he saw wandering about. There were mixed expressions of surprise, relief and joy to see their boss up and about and ready to get down to business.

    Their view of him was short, the man disappearing into a room that none but he and Banner had access to. The security was all biometric and any single attempt to bypass it without their finger prints, hand scans, and retinal identification would result in the potential intruder being stunned and taped to the wall. Tony was feeling a bit immature and humorous when he was designing the security measures. The metal door slid to a close behind him as he removed his jacket and set to work, clapping his hands to activate the lights while J.A.R.V.I.S. booted up the devices within the room. “Welcome home, sir.”
     
    #3 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  4. Sonar
    Amelia was riddled with disgust as she wiped away whatever that little disease-carrying brat threw at her while she took away that last table’s dishes. She didn't even want to hypothesize what could have been that substance. Drying her hands on her apron, the brunette looked over to Astrid’s table to see how she was doing. The poor girl had to order another round of food while waiting for her blind date. Any man who would just stand up a woman should rot in hel-

    Oh.

    Seems like Astrid wasn't alone anymore. She had gotten real cozy with what looked like a broad-shouldered blond man in a baseball cap. She obviously didn't waste any time…

    As much as she wanted to talk to Astrid a bit more, her shift had ended and Amelia needed to prepare for tonight’s activities. She quickly punched out and ran out of the cramped diner to avoid her boss yelling at her to stay much longer than she was paid to do.

    It took one subway, two bus rides and five blocks until Amelia finally reached her destination. Completely ignoring the ‘No Trespassing’ sign, the brunette opened the rusty, metal chain-link fence as quickly as possible without causing an unbearable screech. After making sure the gate looked exactly as it did when she first arrived, Amelia walked along the side of large building a few moments before reaching a certain wall behind the building. She looked over both her shoulders then slid open the panel and made her way inside, hurriedly shutting the panel behind her.

    The warehouse was dark and dreary with only a few rays of pale sunlight streaming through the dirt-streaked windows. Yet the minimum light was more than enough to illuminate the small space Amelia begrudgingly called her home. Everything she owned or made was covered in a thin layer of dust. There was a tiny futon and a ragged old dark green blanket resting in one corner of her living space. Surrounding her bed were dozens upon dozens of books. Most were from local libraries around the city since she could never go back to the same library thanks to her huge library fines. How she wasn't banned yet was still a mystery. There was also a bunch of plastic bags a few feet away from her bed, one holding her clothes while the other held her trash. She hated to admit that she had mixed up both bags on several different occasions.

    On the opposite side of the space was her work area. Smack dab in the middle of the much messier half of her home was her make shift work station made from a couple of cinder blocks and two plywood boards. Piles of scrap metal and other materials stood on both sides and within arm's reach. Underneath the table was what looked like a cardboard box covered with a blanket similar to her sleeping blanket but with less holes.

    Amelia first made her way to the plastic bags, stripping off her gaudy waitress uniform along the way and pushing it to a pile of dirty clothes sitting way off on the side of her living space. She pulled out a white tank top, some tight green cargo pants, and an over-sized black hoodie. She slipped on the new clothes while walking over to her work desk. On it was several different devices but Amelia’s focus was on the box under her desk. Pulling off the blanket revealed the empty top of the large cardboard box where a set of black boots with it’s feet covered in bulky metal wiring and black finger less gloves lined with the same metal wires. She gingerly took one glove and turned it over where a thin, circular device was stitched onto the palm. Amelia grabbed the other glove as well and placed them onto the table before pulling on the boots. Even though her left boot’s calibration was a bit tricky thanks to her last escapade, they would last the night if she got all the stuff she needed. The gloves, however, would need to be worked on before she left.



     
  5. Captain America
    If he thought he had been surprised before, Steve was in for a treat when Astrid pulled off her hood to reveal voluminous blue locks framing her tanned face. He had little time to react when the seemingly petite woman pulled him down into the booth with astonishing strength. Without missing a beat, she pulled his sunglasses off only to replace it with another pair before holding him uncomfortably close. It took everything in his power to stop his cheeks from lighting up like a Christmas tree but her sweet, warm perfume made it hard to concentrate.

    “Word of the day, Poughkeepsie.”

    Steve was shaken out of his trance when Astrid muttered those words and snuck an earpiece into his ear in the form of a loving touch. Yeah, he felt chills go down his spine as her fingers brushed up against his cheek but he mentally shook them away for the sake of the mission. This was all an act after all; who knows what HYDRA agent had been tracking his movements. It was better to be seen as a ladies’ man than him actually doing his job. So to calm his now erratic heart rate thanks to the eccentric woman’s suave touches, he took in a deep breath. Finally, he let out a small smile and brought his arm behind Astrid, allowing it to rest on top of the booth seat.

    “What do you think about visiting Poughkeepsie next month? I heard the weather's lovely around this time of the year.” Steve asked in a low, rumbling voice. He knew he sounded stupid but he had to keep up the charade.

    The Valkyrie
    As the word “Poughkeepsie” left the Captain's lips, their sunglasses lit up on the inside for their eyes only. Director Fury's voice entered their ears through the earpieces. “Captain Rogers. Special Agent Angel. Recently, S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen to HYDRA's infiltration. Many agents true to S.H.I.E.L.D. have died already and those who haven't are hiding, working for Stark, or helping to rebuild our organization from the shadows. It's dangerous to be an agent now because our faces are known. I hope that, whether with the other agents or not, you will still fight for our cause. That being said, I've got one last mission for you. By the time you get this I'll be off the grid. Now. HYDRA's got roots deep down throughout SH.I.E.L.D. all across the globe. They've captured six of our Marine agents along with personnel from the Sandbox and are holding them hostage in a facility near the Sandbox. I've arranged transport to take the two of you out of New York. The jet is fueled and the coordinates are already pre-programmed. Go get those agents and bring them home... And destroy the Sandbox. Deliver them to Tony Stark.”

    Images of the six agents and twenty-nine others began scrolling down their screen along with the coordinates to their jet. Alright, so it was a simple rescue and destroy mission. The woman sighed as she removed her glasses and earpiece. She kept her close distance to Steve so that her mouth could not be seen moving. “Alright, let's go ahead and get out of here. The faster we move the faster we get to those agents. It's possible that some of them might be dead already – But let's keep it optimistic. I'll meet you on the bus in twenty minutes.” She finally pulled back with a smile, giggling like a schoolgirl with a crush. “I had a really great time. I'll see you later tonight then?” She gently urged him out of the booth until they both stood. She leaned up and brushed her lips against his cheek. “Star, two-six-four-three-five if you run into any trouble.” Her lips moved against his cheek as she spoke before slowly pulling away, offering a wink. She quickly pulled out the tips from her earlier performance, leaving the crumpled dollar bills on the table amidst the food and drink before happily skipping out the door.

    Unlike her companion, she hadn't brought a vehicle with her. She'd never meet new people and make proper observations of her surroundings if she was zooming around the city in a car. Still, vehicles were convenient – and pretty. She settled for walking again, disliking New York City's taxi cabs. Many of the drivers had no idea what personal boundaries were. Granted, she could be a bit invasive herself, but she was never wont to asking random strangers about their sex life. She wouldn't ask a complete stranger to babysit either. Of course, she did babysit those few instances when it was requested. That didn't mean that she didn't think the parents horribly irresponsible to be seeking babysitters from the back of taxi cabs. For all they knew, she could have been a serial killer. Well – She was. Many moons ago. But nobody would ever know about that. No, she would simply take a nice long stroll down the sidewalks and across the crosswalks until she found herself at a rundown apartment building. There was no friendly doorman to greet her, just thugs on the front steps. She waved them off as she ran inside, heading to the very top floor, last door on the left.

    Her apartment was... It was exactly what you'd expect of a woman like her. It was a very open space and nothing like the dingy rest of the building. The wooden floors were well polished and various art pieces were on display against the walls and on top of pedestals. Violons, guitars, flutes and more had their shelves, book shelves stuffed full of various... Well, books. There was a giant piano in the middle of the studio, right between the kitchen and the living room area. However, that's not what she was after. She darted quickly through her apartment, packing a duffel bag along with a backpack with a few supplies and weapons before properly arming herself, concealing her weapons. She was in and out in a snap with her keys in hand and a smile on her face.

    Sliding into her red Bugatti, she cranked up the sounds of Enrique Iglesias and tore off down the road. She darted through traffic with little care for other cars, maneuvering her way around them with ease as she made straight for the outskirts of the city, hitting well over 120mph as soon as she crossed the line, taking off down a dirt road.

    The ride lead down more dirt and gravel roads, passing by numerous trees. It didn't take much longer for her to reach her destination – It was a massive house set upon expansive land. Passing through the gate with proper identification was hardly time-consuming. She pulled her phone out and texted the coordinates to Steve, parking her car near the massive water fountain before boarding the large black jet that awaited them. She could have picked him up. She probably should have taken him home with her and let him use some of her gear for the mission. However, she wasn't really the type to bring home people from work these days. It wasn't that she didn't trust him – He was Captain freakin' America. She just didn't like having strangers inside her home.

    She loaded herself up into the jet and immediately set to turn on the speakers, blaring a medley of 80s metal and rock while singing loudly along with the lyrics as she headbanged. A trip to the cockpit and she set the take-off timer for an hour, assuming that Steve would be there by then. The autopilot would activate and take them to the pre-entered coordinates so she had the chance to do something useful with her time. Like change clothes and draw. Standing up, she held her arms out and closed her eyes. She could feel an energy surge through her body, the glow present so bright that she could still see it through her eyelids. Opening her eyes, she checked her reflection. Her body now adorned a catsuit as white as virgin snow. It flattered her figure, an near exact replica of the one her former mentor (Natasha Romanoff) wore. With the exception of the color – except the black belts that she wore around her waist, arms, and thighs – her belt buckle was a golden feather.

    Satisfied with the transformation, she fluffed her blue locks and made her way to the Captain's cabin where she pulled out a sketchbook and pencil, placing the lead against the paper. She began with soft lines, unsure of exactly what she was drawing until she began etching a strong jaw and a soft smile. She returned that smile as she continued to draw the handsome face of her Star Spangled partner. She had gotten a clear and close look at his face, committing every detail to memory. The bright cerulean eyes, his lips that were neither too full nor too thin but probably undoubtedly as soft as his gaze, and the smooth shaven face that announced that he made time for keeping up physical appearance even when work got rough. She dazed off as she drew, her eyes glazing over as her vision went blurry from staring, her hand seeming to move of its own accord.

    Captain America
    Images flickered in front of the Cap's eyes from behind the sunglasses as Director Fury's voice spoke through the ear piece Astrid had given him. He informed them of their new assignment; a rescue operation involving a large group of people that included six S.H.I.E.L.D agents. They also had to destroy the Sandbox which what Steve remembered was some sort of classified government facility. It all sounded simple enough, but he knew never to underestimate any operation. The message ended as quickly as it started and he could again see Astrid sitting incredibly close to him, her bright blue eyes staring directly into his own. Heat rose up in his cheeks once more but it disappeared in an instant when she urged him out of the booth. Her continuous giggling meant she was still keeping up the charade as she leaned over and kissed him on his reddened cheek. He almost couldn't hear the emergency code she was whispering over the sound of his rising heart beat. Thankfully Steve heard enough and stayed silent as he watched her throw some money on the table and leave out the front door.

    It took Steve a few minutes to make his next decision but he finally chose to sit down and eat the cold meal Astrid had ordered for him hours ago. It was the polite thing to do after all. He finished the meal in record time then headed out to get himself ready for the upcoming mission. When HYDRA first rose back to power in S.H.I.E.L.D, Steve had to do a complete overhaul on his living quarters, having lived in a government-funded building ever since he was awaken from his frozen sleep. Luckily, Natasha found him an apartment in no time flat. It was located in a pretty safe neighborhood and had more than enough breathing room but Steve never found the time to really decorate. Even now as he entered his home later that afternoon, the few pieces of furniture he owned looked spick and span, not from cleaning but from lack of use. Steve dropped his helmet and jacket on the couch as he headed for the only room he actually used.

    His bedroom was a lot messier than the rest of his apartment, only because his sheets weren't made and there were a few pieces of clothes draped over a chair. Steve made a mental note to put those away as he pushed over his large dresser with ease where a large, metal door was hidden. His fingers flew over the keypad beside the door and it soon opened to reveal his Captain America uniform and shield. He had the safe installed just a few days after he moved into the apartment and although it wasn’t the best place to keep his uniform, it was all he could muster up in such a short amount of time. And it’s not like he had a secret identity anyway.

    It took him several minutes to change and pack extra clothes in a separate bag. He then strapped his signature shield onto his back and slung his bag over his shoulder before leaving his apartment a different way then he came in before and was once more driving down the streets of New York on his Harley Davidson.

    The sun had begun to set by the time Steve reached an expansive estate located in the middle of nowhere. It had all the works and more; large mansion, elaborate metal gates, huge water fountain, expensive sports car, and a giant jet. Actually, the jet looked more government-funded than trust-funded. He parked his bike next to the red Bugatti and headed into the open back of the jet only to be greeted by the blaring sounds of rock music. Stepping further inside, the Cap followed the source of the music inside the cockpit where, sure enough, Astrid was residing. From the reflection on the windshield, he could see that she had changed from jeans and a jacket to a white catsuit reminiscent of Natasha’s. She didn’t seem to notice him just yet; much too engrossed with her drawings.

    Steve gently set the bag down at the entryway of the cockpit before quietly walking inside. He glanced over Astrid’s shoulder once he was close enough and was surprised to see her sketching a picture of him. And a rather good one in fact.

    “My chin’s a little more angular than that.” He decided to point out, a small smirk gracing his face.

    The Valkyrie
    The young woman's head jerked up immediately as soon as the Captain had spoke. Most people couldn't sneak up on her. Startled that he had and could sneak up on her, Astrid's hand gave an involuntary jerk and she gave a light squeal as her pencil went flying along with her notebook. Papers fluttered in the air, gently wafting to the floor in a flurry as she stood up. “Woah! You can't just sneak up on people like that!” There was a show of genuine fright that flickered across her visage before quickly being replaced by a smile. Giving a soft chuckle, she shook her head before clapping her hands. A hologram was brought up between her hands, her fingers moving quickly to a dial, making as if to hold it, turning it. As the music turned down, she made a swiping motion to move the hologram out of her way. “I usually stab people that surprise me – You're lucky that I'm one-hundred percent certain this area is secure.” She offered him a grin before getting on her knees to pick up the hundreds of papers on the floor.

    The white papers held numerous images that suggested that she had way too much time on her hands. There were sketches of children on playgrounds, random people in the diner, and even some portraits of the other Avengers. “You look pretty young for an old guy.” She looked up at him with a smile, lifting a brow as she attempted to engage in polite conversation as the jet began to take off on its own, the woman on the floor maintaining her balance with ease.

    Captain America
    Steve was delighted to see all the training he did with Clint and Sam come into fruition. Sure, he was never able to surprise Natasha but Astrid was a great close second. Before he met her, all he knew about the secret master spy were only about her skills and 100% mission completion rate. Who would have thought that an eccentric blue-haired artist would be the one behind all the rumors? The Cap stifled his laughter as he bent over to pick up one of Astrid’s fallen sketches, taking the chance to inspect a portrait of one of the waitresses at the diner they were at earlier. She really was quite good. Before he could comment on her talent, Astrid jokingly pointed out his young features, causing him to smile. Years ago, he would have flinched at such a statement, no matter how light-hearted it was. Thankfully, he didn’t feel like such an outsider anymore. Sure, he still had tons of things he had to catch up on but there were some pop culture references he was okay with not knowing.

    “And you’re pretty friendly for a super spy.” He replied back in the same light-hearted tone as he maintained his balance while the jet took off into the air, “I’m surprised at how little I know about you. Is there anything I’m allowed to know?” Back when he wasn’t always partnered up with the same people on missions, Steve made sure he knew the basics about whoever he was working with. Names, operation statistics, even birthdays; Steve found all these important. Yet when SHIELD fell, Steve stuck working with Natasha, Clint, Sam or a combination of the three. Of course he didn’t mind but when he was given a mission with someone new, he found it a little disconcerting that he couldn’t get any information about his partner. So far, he was incredibly surprised with what he’d discovered. Hopefully she’ll allow him to learn more about her. He was definitely eager to find out.

    The Valkyrie
    As the jet steadied itself, bumping only a bit from turbulence, Astrid finished gathering up her drawings and plucking playfully the ones that Steve had picked up. Standing tall and proud, she gave a coy and mysterious smile. “You're pretty unequivocal. I like that. But... A woman's gotta have her mystery, right?” Wiggling her eyebrows in a comedic way so that her well groomed arches appeared to be doing the worm. Giggling softly, she moved past him and slid down the rail of the spiral stairs that lead to something of a “chill” area, taking to the bar where she grabbed a bottle of black spice rum, leaving her sketches on the counter.

    “Though, considering how much I know about you... I suppose it's only fair.” She sat down and twisted the cap off of the bottle, bringing the rim to her lips and downing almost half of it in a little under three seconds. There was a visible, almost violent shudder of her body as the dark liquid slipped down her throat, leaving a trail of fire in its wake until it came to settle in her stomach, leaving a warmth in her chest and a slightly goofy smile on her face. “If you've got any questions... Ask away. I'm not really used to working as part of a team but I figure that I can trust you with a secret or two.” She gave him a nod and motioned for him to join her.

    Captain America
    Once all of Astrid's papers were picked up from off the ground, Steve followed her down a narrow spiral staircase leading to what looked like a lounge area complete with a fully-stocked bar. He stayed by the counter as Astrid grabbed a dark bottle and made herself at home on one of the couches, interested to look through a few more of her sketches. She obviously didn't mind and would have stopped him a lot sooner if she did. He was examining her shading techniques in one particular sketch when he heard Astrid giving him permission to ask anything he would like. He glanced over to her relaxed form, impressed to see half of her large bottle already empty while he thought of his first question. Steve didn't want to ask too many questions and come off as a nosy but he wanted to get some information about her. The more he knew, at least about her tactics and personality, would aid them in the upcoming operation.

    Finally, Steve crossed the small room and took a seat next to Astrid. "Then I'll start off with an easy question," he began. "Where are you from?" Learning where someone was born and raised opened up doors to all kinds of information. Whether they were born abroad or not told Steve that she could be fluent in other languages. If she were born up north or in the south told him what kind of morals and values she would have probably grown up in. If she was raised in a city or suburb gave way to other kind of variables as to what made up the eccentricity known as Astrid.

    The Valkyrie
    Astrid easily finished off the bottle with minimal shuddering this time around, smiling as she leaned back with a relaxed posture. “That's actually rather difficult.” She crinkled her nose gently. She wasn't about to lie to him but she could certainly omit some of the truth. “Hell's Kitchen, initially. My father is quite an exploring man. I'd been to every country at least once by the time I was eighteen. I frequent the UK, Colombia, and New York most often. And Brazil! Oh, I love Brazil.” She smiled and set down the empty bottle before tilting her head up and eyeing the Captain, assessing him and attempting to determine what questions he would ask.

    He was clearly not the prying type so she knew not to expect anything personal. The fact that he hadn't expressed any trepidation, discomfort, or doubt in her abilities let her know that he trusted Nick to set him up with a skilled agent. Still, it was a good idea to know at least a little something about your partner's field tactics and abilities. It helped a great deal with planning and working together. “I'm also really flexible on the field. My enemies call me 'Bullseye' sometimes. Because I never miss a shot. I'm a ninth degree black belt in six different forms of martial arts and I'm a former Women's Golden Glove champion. And I'm pretty handy with computers. Just tell me what you need me to do.”

    She was more comfortable heavily playing down her skills when she worked with other people, especially her strength. She didn't like people knowing too much about her and letting them live. No enemy ever lived after witnessing her abilities. She couldn't trust other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents or the organisation's mercs because they tended to gossip. She was infamous for being more mysterious than their beloved one-eyed Director and she intended to keep herself shrouded in that curtain of enigmas. The rumors about her that floated around combined with the very few agents who actually saw her suggested that she was merely a legend, some urban myth conjured up by senior agents to jostle those fresh behind the badge. She had learned from the best, Fury and Romanova, transcending them both and become a ghost; Or an angel, as the most popular story of her suggested.

    She wondered if the Captain had heard those stories yet. She remembered hearing one of those tales for the first time, lurking about in the shadows of the rafters of one of their facilities while many agents lounged about on break.

    High above the polished black floors of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s base in Baton Rouge, Lousiana – The Warren – was a young woman hanging upside down, using her legs to hold onto the beam. She went unnoticed, invisible as she enjoyed a rousing game of online Scrabble through her phone. She craned her head as the sound of laughter reached her ears. Bright green eyes peered down at a group of seven agents sitting on and around a desk with lunches and coffee in hand. “I'm dead serious. A fucking angel saved us. Roman, you were there! Tell 'em!” A male rookie agent that looked no older than twenty-five, fresh out of their Communications Academy, spoke in an insisting tone and gestured to an older, seasoned agent. Agent Roman gave a nod, her brown hair peppered with silver strands giving a light sway. “I'd be laughing too if I wasn't there. We were supposed to be retrieving stolen files from some pissant terrorist cell in Bangladesh. But our informant double crossed us at the last minute. Fuckers got their hands on a lot of weapons real fast. They trashed our jet and it wasn't like we could speed out of there. Too many villages nearby with a lot of innocents. We called for an extraction but it would have taken two hours and we didn't have that long. We were stuck between a rock and a hard place.” The woman above was listening intently now, a smile flickering across her face as the other agents listened with serious expressions.

    “Tacum and I were cornered in the northwest quadrant of the compound and they were about to kill me and take him prisoner. I hear the rookie praying for the Valkyrie of S.H.I.E.L.D. to save us and I had to laugh a little. I mean, up until moments later I thought that was just something Fury made up and circulated around the academies and that anyone who said they'd seen her were just hallucinating. But there was this... This really bright flash of light and gunfire. When we could see again there was a girl standing there. Didn't look much older than fifteen or sixteen. Gorgeous girl with gold curls so long that it'd probably make Rapunzel want to chop her locks. She had this really huge, magnificent wings that were spread out. Bullets were just crumpling against 'em like in that Superman movie where the bullet hit his eye and got crushed. She had this shield and sword and she just started slashing. There was like this bubble that formed around me and Tacum, bullets just bouncing off it. Roots were shooting up out of the ground and strangling the guys and she was tossing them like they were just pebbles, sent a few guys a hundred yards a way and took out some walls. And before we knew it, it was over. She turned around and she was covered in blood.”

    Everyone was on the edge of their seats now, some with wide eyes and dropped jaws. Agent Roman paused, shaking her head as if she didn't believe it herself still, debating whether or not it was just a dream. “Covered in blood and she had... She had this glow that came from inside her. Her eyes, her hair, her skin. Like she had just ate a rainbow; I wondered if she shit glitter too. And, this girl. Her sword and shield disappeared and she just smiled, the most wonderful smile. After it all, after destroying a small and heavily armed army in less than five minutes, this little girl, she still looked so innocent. Not even in a creepy way. She told us to go ahead and get out of there while she cleaned up the scene. The bubble just faded and we took off. I looked back and watched her shoot... Beams of light from her hands, disintegrating bodies into ash.” She finished with a whisper that was followed by a tense silence. The agents weren't sure whether or not to believe her but they doubted that Roman, of all people, would make up such a tale. She was a no-nonsense woman and didn't even have a sense of humor. Above, the young woman gave a soft giggle that reached their ears. They jumped and looked around for the sound that seemed to come from nowhere, leaving with an ethereal echo before they departed quickly.

    There were many tales about her but nobody knew it was her per se. Those whom she had saved never saw her face again as she simply became a faceless, nameless mercenary working strangely close to the Director. She enjoyed the fun and complexity of it all. For a woman so in love with acting it was a dream come true that she could be anyone she wanted to be whenever she wanted to be.

    Captain America
    Steve couldn’t hide his surprise when Astrid listed all the places she had been and all the things she had accomplished. It definitely explained a lot about her, like her eccentricities, her nature, the way she seemed to be inviting him closer but pushing him away at the same time. A child raised abroad is often times highly intelligent but had a hard time connecting with others while growing up. Her mysterious, yet mischievous demeanor as well as her way of talking people around circles was clear evidence of that. And the way she maintained a high level of secrecy in an already classified organization was impressive.

    He remembered the first time he heard about this ‘angel’. One particularly excited operative who wanted to make conversation with him told him a fantastical story about a woman appearing in a golden light and killing off an entire, heavily armed terrorist cell. Of course Steve didn’t believe a word of it until he heard another story about her. And another. And then another. Honestly, it seemed like a S.H.I.E.L.D. urban legend since each story always depicted the woman differently. One story described her with golden blond hair, wings, a sword and magical powers. In another story, she was a pink-haired woman who fought a battalion with only her bare fists. The inconsistency made her unbelievable but seeing the mysterious figure behind all these stories made Steve rethink everything he had heard. Astrid seemed like the kind of woman who could do all that stuff. But that only brought about a new question; how?

    “That’s impressive.” He finally responded as he pushed that thought to the back of his mind. “Glad to know you’re on our side.” He then racked his brain for another question, something as easygoing as his first.

    “What did your parents do that made you move around so much? I’m assuming military…?”

    The Valkyrie
    She could see a click of recognition in his eyes that lasted for about a nanosecond. Most people would have missed it. But, most people didn't have eyes like hers and most people weren't trained by super spies. She gave a chuckle and lifted a brow. As his next question came she couldn't help but to hold some trepidation. She hadn't hesitated on her previous answer, replying to him immediately. Now, however, she wasn't sure what to say. She knew that, of all the people in the worlds, she could trust him. He was Captain America. However, she couldn't really tell him the whole truth. But, she decided that a half-truth was fine. “My father was a Colonel in the United States Army and he was even part of the Howling Commandos for a while... About seventy years ago. He's been running S.H.I.E.L.D. for the past couple of decades or so. My mother was a bit of an Eco-Warrior – She was more about saving the environment than the people that destroyed it.”

    She gave a small smile as she let it sink in, standing up and crossing her arms over her chest. She looked more like her mother but anyone who knew Nick Fury could see that she had a few features in common with him... Or at least just his ears. She honestly looked almost nothing like her stern-faced, one-eyed father. Her features were beautiful, delicate, and gentle. Perhaps when she was angry one might see the flare of Nicholas Fury in her eyes but nobody setting them side by side could make such a connection between them initially. She moved towards the Captain and gave an impish smile. “I really am the world's best kept secret, love.”

    Captain America
    Steve listened intently to Astrid's words, as he did with anyone he spoke with. It was just the polite thing to do after all. But it took him several moments to fully comprehend what she had just dropped on him. He even stared at Astrid's cute little smile without giving it another thought before it all dawned to him. "Wait," he began as scrambled out of the couch, "you mean to tell me that you're Nick Fury's daughter?!" With the truth now out in the open instead of just being vague hints, Steve began to study the woman's face for any semblance to his boss. He could connect a few personality traits the two had in common, like their terribly secretive natures. However, he could not find any physical similarities between Astrid and Nick Fury that it was hard to take her seriously. But from what he had learned about this eccentric bluenette so far was that she never lied but simply hide the truth extremely well. He would have never found out unless she told him, which she did.

    Before he could utter a follow-up question, a robotic voice resounded through the PA of the jet, announcing the estimated time of arrival to their destination was less than 20 minutes. Inwardly cursing the bad timing, Steve turned his attention back to Astrid. He wasn’t sure if he was angry about the additional secrecy or just plain baffled by this new information but he knew he wanted more details specifically about why she decided to tell him. “We’ll talk about this later. We need get ready.” He finally stated before rushing up the stairs. Awaiting them outside the jet’s windows was a research facility a good few clicks away and getting closer with each second. Steve went over to his equipment he discarded earlier in the flight and locked his shield behind his back, all the while pushing thoughts of the previous conversation out of his mind. It would only distract him.

    The Valkyrie
    “Ready for a second date already? That's a first,” she teased happily with a grin. She somewhat reveled in the confusion in his face before moving towards her bags to get ready. Whistling happily to herself, she unzipped the Hello Kitty duffel bag and pulled out two garters sheathing six throwing knives a piece, strapping the leather garter to her thighs. “Alright, we've got our reflectors on so we can definitely sneak in. We won't even show up on the radar. We can hover about five clicks away and make it there on foot. There are some ATVs in the freight hold. I'll program the jet to land twenty minutes after our drop and have the ATVs programmed to come to us. By then, we'll either have killed everyone in there or, at the very least, alerted them to our presence. I'm assuming that there will be some injuries and We'll fare better on wheels than trying to carry a marine.”

    She ran over a game plan while she strapped up her weapons that included eight spike darts, eight throwing stars, and a pair of octagon sai. As if she wasn't already enough of a mystery, she had seemed to transform into a ninja. She pulled a white mask up over her mouth and nose, partially to avoid inhaling sand and partially for the aesthetic appeal. She hummed softly and pulled out two extra spike darts, using them to quickly bring her blue locks into a series of complicated, intricate, braids so that they no longer dragged on the floor. She refused to cut them even as a child so her father always made her wear her hair up before entering any sort of mission situation. Especially after he had to save her when she missed an extraction point because her hair had gotten caught in an elevator.

    She moved quickly back up to the cockpit and began fiddling with the dials and screens until the jet began to slow to a halt. She leaped back down to the Captain and patted him on his back, her hand grazing his shield. “After the ATVs come for the extraction, you go ahead and get the marines on the jet. I'll take down the Sandbox and catch up to you guys. If fire gets too heavy, go. Don't even worry about me.” She offered a kind smile. Though her lips could not be seen, the twinkle and crinkle of her eyes could be. She moved past him and traveled to the freight hold where she programmed the ATVs. Waiting on him, she could feel the blast of air as the bottom of the quinjet slowly opened. She estimated the jump to be about seventy feet, nodding to herself. No big deal.

    Captain America
    Steve simply nodded at Astrid's commands and headed for the back of the jet where they would be making their drop. He didn't need much besides his shield. However, as he waited for Astrid to join him, his mind would not cease the torrent of questions regarding her heritage. Honestly, the fact that Nick Fury had a daughter shouldn't have bothered her. Or the fact that that same daughter is a S.H.I.E.L.D. urban legend come to life. It was curiousity that nagged at his brain, curious about why she was kept a secret and why she chose to let him know. From what he's heard about her, her skills were on par with him and the rest of the Avengers. Wouldn't Fury want her to be part of the team? Or was he really that much of a father figure that he wouldn't allow his baby girl in the line of fire? Then why did she still go on dangerous operations? This was just too confusing to think about without asking the blue-haired woman in question what he thought. He'd have to deal with it after this operation was finished.
     
    #5 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  6. Sonar
    Once nighttime fell over the New York City skyline, Amelia was more than ready to suit up and start her self-appointed mission. The gloves were repaired to its maximum efficiency levels and her boots had enough juice to reach her destination if she timed them right. Once those pieces of clothing were put into place, Amelia pulled out a pair of goggles and set of metallic earbuds from a worn out leather knapsack. She slipped them on as she walked out of the warehouse, her sight replaced with night vision. Through her goggles, she could see a few workers finally calling it a day just a few blocks over in the next warehouse as she tucked her tied up brown hair into her black hood. She waited until there were no more red bodies in her line of vision before switching to normal view. With a quick heel kick, the wires on her boots lit up and a blaze ignited underneath her soles. She shot up into the air in a large arch only to have the flames die out in a matter of seconds. Yet Amelia showed no signs of panic as she landed gracefully on a nearby roof. She kicked her heels again and the flames reignited to give her another extra boost. She repeated the process numerous times as she travelled across the rooftops of the city. When she first created her rocket boots, Amelia loved the feeling of flying through the air for a few short moments before crashing into whatever was the softest landing she could find. Her limited supplies and money made it hard to keep a steady supply of power. So she had to resort to leaping from building to building which wasn’t so bad except it took a lot longer to get to places.

    It was around 10 o’clock when Amelia finally reached her destination. The brunette landed on the rooftop of the neighboring building while switching over to night vision. As expected, the lab she was scanning was filled with a lot more guards than usual. It didn’t come to much of a surprise since she had been hitting up the place several times the past few months. However, she didn’t think Tony Stark would care so much. It was just one lab out of many he owned. And he had more than enough money to spare in replacing the few parts she took. In fact, he should be grateful someone was using them to help the citizens he had neglected over his long absence. Thinking of the famous billionaire genius made her teeth grit. People given everything on a silver platter were the scum of the earth in Amelia’s eyes. But she swallowed her anger down and decided to focus on the mission at hand.

    Looking over Stark Industry and it’s outlying perimeter once more, she took a few minutes to map out the best possible route before jumping off the roof. Her boots cushioned her fall inside the gated area with a short burst of flames, she sprinted down to the edge of the building while keeping a lookout for guards. The moment she was close enough, she pressed herself against the walls and stayed in the shadows while sneaking down the wall to the closet door. She stopped short of the ray of light that illuminated the first door she saw, noticing the newly installed security camera right next to the lamp. Not a problem.

    Amelia lightly tapped her right knuckle covered in glove, activating the sonic emitter on wired to her glove. The circular device in her palm softly vibrated, giving off a high-pitched sound. She then aimed her palm at the lamp and simply waited. At first, nothing seemed to be happening but soon the glass of the light bulb began to vibrate with the sound. In a matter of seconds, the light shattered, washing the small area in darkness. Amelia quickly made her way to the door and pulled out a key she had stolen when she first broke into the laboratory. The key slid in with ease and she unlocked the door without much trouble.

    Amelia stepped into the room while turning off her sonic emitters, not wanting to catch the attention of any guards. Luckily this door opened to the locker room where no guard dared to be in while on their rounds. She slipped out of that room and started for the main laboratory with ease, having memorized the layout of the building weeks ago. There were no guards in this hall or the next until she reached the end of the second corridor. Peeking around the next corner, she saw three guards standing in front of a set of double doors leading to the main labs. Again, nothing the brunette couldn’t handle.

    Pressing her back against the wall again, she took in a deep breath before tapping the top of her glove once more. The sonic emitter vibrated more intensely than before, tickling her palm. However, she ignored the sensation and jumped out of her hiding spot with her palm facing the guards. Even with her specially made earbuds, she could still hear some of the high pitched scream coming from her hand. Thankfully it had no effect on her but she couldn’t say the same for the guards. It took only a second for the three large men to drop their weapons to cover their ears. After a few minutes, the guards dropped to their knees in agony, allowing Amelia to get closer. She walked over to the first guard and gave a swift kick to his abdomen, easily knocking him out. She did the same thing to the other two and made sure they were completely unconscious before turning off her emitter. Rummaging through the pockets of the first guard, Amelia found a key card then turned to the two doors. She swiped the front of the card on the motion-sensor on her left and the red lights above the doorway turned green.

    Excitement and anticipation always bubbled up inside of her whenever she got this far; not from the thrill of breaking in, but what was about to come. Amelia opened the double doors wide open and gazed in awe at the state-of-the-art lab that lay before her. Although it was nighttime, the emergency lights were still on, allowing her to see the shiny equipment without switching to night vision. This was her candy store and she could hardly wait to see what new things Mr. Stark had recently installed. It would make stealing them that much more rewarding.


    Iron Man
    Tony had spent the majority of his day working on his new suit. His lab had been closed off to everyone as he dove deeper and deeper into his work. People seemed to think that he just snapped his fingers and somehow brought his ideas to life. They had no idea the amount of hard work and time that he invested into his projects. He put his heart and soul into everything that he did. With every new thing that he created, it only tacked onto his ego. How could he not be proud of himself? Nobody in this lifetime compared to his genius. Except his friend, Bruce Banner, of course. But Tony had the one-up on him when it came to technological genius.

    He grew more and more excited as his suit neared completion into the wee hours of the evening, the moon soon hanging high in the sky as he finally finished building and semi-testing his equipment. He felt now that it was sturdy enough to go for a test drive. By the time he had left the lab with his suit walking behind him most everyone had retired to their apartments within the building. It was mostly security now roaming the halls. He stopped to take selfies with a few of them who had asked back when he was in a foul mood – He hadn't been so nice to them before so he even bothered to follow them on Twitter too just to bump their social status.

    On his roof, he looked down at the city with a somewhat grim expression. After a few moments had passed he leaped down towards the ground. He closed his eyes as the wind blew against him, the ground coming at him fast. Seconds later he could feel the familiar sensation of metal encasing his body, the clink of everything sliding into place a soothing sound to his ears. The thrusters in his boots and gloves fired up and shot him into the air. His body did a spiral as he opened his eyes to the screen before him. “Alright – Let's go catch a thief.” Talking to himself, he shot through the sky, keeping above the clouds until he came near the warehouse in question.

    He lighted down on the ground nearby, not even a sound coming from his new armor, black in color and built for stealth. Standing up straight, he looked around to assess the area. His scanner picked up pieces of shattered glass near one of his security cameras and he frowned behind his face mask. The door was open as well. His suit gave a shimmer before it seemed to disappear altogether as he moved forward and worked his ways through the rooms to the one place he knew the thief would go – His main lab for this area. After tonight he'd be keeping his projects closer to home and upping security. Maybe even building some Iron Man suits to stand guard instead of the humans he had. Happy always thought it'd be a cool idea after Tony had showed him that he had suits programmed to move on their own with preloaded direction from him. He couldn't guarantee that the suits wouldn't kill intruders, though he didn't really care so much about that.

    He moved silently until he came across three unconscious guards. A quick scan showed that they were still breathing. Confirming this, his anger rose a bit more and he continued forward until he was staring at the back of the head of the person who'd broken in. With absolutely no hesitation, he rose his right hand and aimed for the person's back. His glove began to glow bright blue before emitting a relatively mild powered pulsar beam. Unlike his previous suits, this one was built for stealth and espionage. In its current state, it could bend and reflect light to render itself to seem invisible. It possessed holographic technology that allowed it to seem capable of shapeshifting as well. The weapons it had were not meant to take down Chitauri or people like Ivan Vanko. The weapons were meant to subdue, all nonlethal.

    “Didn't your parents ever teach you not to take things that weren't yours? Though, I think that's just common sense.” Tony's armor shimmered back into view, his face mask lifting to reveal his naturally arrogant visage.


    Sonar
    Amelia’s excitement was short lived when she felt a sudden jolt of energy hit her backside, sending her straight to the ground. Although her spine was burning, her teeth ground together not from pain, but from irritation when she heard the arrogant voice behind her. A voice she heard dozens of thousands of times on the radio, television, freaking everywhere.

    “I don’t see why you’re getting your iron panties all up in a bunch over a few missing items.” She replied hoarsely as her fingers flew over her right glove, “I’m sure you can easily replace them, or are you really that much of a selfish prick?” The moment those words left her mouth, her glove was ready and she quickly jumped up to face Tony Stark. She was glad her goggles were still in place because the green-tinted glass covered the mixture of awe and jealousy in her eyes when she saw his new suit. Amelia was well aware of his MIA status the past couple of months as well as the destruction of a number of his suits. When did he make this? Why was it so cool-looking? She bit her lip, angry at herself for being so envious, and pointed her sonic emitter at him. A wave of high-pitched screeches erupted from the disc, instantly shattering the few glass vials on a nearby table. Amelia hoped his suit didn’t have a built-in high-tech ear plugs because this was her only ace in the hole. If this didn’t work… she’d have to think of something else.


    Iron Man
    “So, you were raised by thieves?” Tony kept his cocky demeanor as he braced himself for her attack. He didn't have any true fear of her. He was a bit impressed with her stopgap suit but he'd not reveal that. Even if he wanted to, he wouldn't much have the chance. He found his ears ringing from a sonic emitter. It was his turn to grind his teeth now as his head began to hurt. He quickly thrust out his arm, blasting the irritating disk with the same pulsar beam that he had hit her with. As soon as the screeching ended, he moved towards her with surprising speed, his hand coming down on her head. It wasn't hard enough to crack her skull, but hard enough to knock her out.

    He caught her unconscious form as she crumpled immediately, hoisting her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He carried her over to a nearby chair, tying her up. Tony removed her rudimentary suit components and set them on a table nearby, inspecting them as he sat down and waited for her to wake up. The technology was impressive for a woman who seemed so young, though he wasn't that impressed. She'd been stealing from him and this was all she could come up with? He gave a soft snort and glanced over at her, admittedly curious about her story. Still, he was pissed that she was stealing from him. Apparently, asking people for things was something lost on young folk.


    Sonar
    Amelia felt a flash of confidence when she saw the pain she was inflicting the great Tony Stark only to be snuffed out a second later with a powerful blow to her head. She lost consciousness immediately, not even realizing that she had been hit so easily. What felt like hours later (although it was probably only minutes), the brunette awoke to a massive headache and a tight, uncomfortable feeling around her shoulders. It took her a few seconds to realize that her hands were tied behind her back and she was strapped down in a chair. Her hazy eyes quickly became panicked as she frantically looked around until she saw the black Iron Man suit standing a few feet away. Amelia moved her fingers across her palms and paled when she felt the fabric of her gloves instead of the smooth metal of the sonic emitter she had created.

    "Hey! Untie me!" She shouted as pulled at her restraints, "And stop looking at my stuff!" Dammit, she felt like a fool. She shouldn't have let her conscience get in the way of her plans. If only she had stolen more of Stark's stuff instead of taking the bare minimum. Maybe she could have fashioned an armored suit better than his if she didn't initially feel guilty about the whole thing. She never should have felt guilty in the first place; this guy allowed his emotions to dictate the fate of the city and just because his chick cheated on him didn't mean he could just clock out from his heroic duty. When he made that announcement about his superhero identity all those years ago, he had become more than just a mascot for his company. He was a freaking superhero and superheroes aren't allowed to take time off. There were too many people to think about. And it was because of his selfish whims that she lost everything she had left. After a few more fruitless attempts in escaping, Amelia accepted her fate with an angry huff before turning her attention back to Tony who was still ignoring her.

    "Hey! I said stop looking at my stuff!"


    Iron Man
    When she finally came to and began shouting, Tony essentially ignored her. He continued inspecting her items before giving a soft laugh. “Oh, that's how you think this works? You can steal my stuff but I can't look at yours? Wow – That's a real nice fantasy world you live in.” He put her stuff down nevertheless and turned towards her and approached her. “But let me tell you how the real world works. You steal shit and you go to jail. You steal millions of dollars worth of military grade weaponry and equipment and materials from a lab specializing in making stuff to kill people and you go to prison. For the rest of your life.” He pulled up a chair and sat across from her, crossing one leg over the other, the helmet of his suit making no sound as it began to collapse and tuck itself into the neck area of his suit, revealing his face.

    “You use those millions of dollars worth of military grade weaponry and equipment and materials to build a knock off Iron Man suit with no license or registration for possession or operation of the stolen equipment or weapons... Well, you get put down as a terrorist and will likely be killed after a lengthy process of interrogation and torture that ignores the Geneva Convention codes. Our government doesn't play nice with terrorists. For all we know, you could be HYDRA. See, I could turn you in and that could happen. You'll probably get lucky and get to live. HYDRA's all up in the government and they might like your nifty little talent of yours, offer you a job and a chance to live. Then you'll live every day with a target painted on the back of your head because I never forget a face. But you could be a good person – which I doubt at this point – and turn them down. And then they'll kill you. Or brainwash you and force you to work for them. I heard they do that. Then you'll live every day after that working for them with cyanide capsule embedded in your cheek bone, forced to kill yourself if ever in a compromising situation.”

    He let it all sink in, tinkering with the forearm part of his suit, his left arm lifting a bit. A holographic scene was projected from it that presented her face along with a slew of information. “You don't seem to have any terrorist ties. You seem more like a Plain Jane. But HYDRA's good at blending in. The only reason I know you're not HYDRA is because of that shitty suit. Honestly, I don't give a damn who you are. What I do know is that some random person has been stealing my shit, attacking my employees, ripping off my tech, and thinks they can get away with it. You heard of Justin Hammer of Hammer Industries? Ivan Vanko, maybe? They tried to do what you're doing. Vanko's dead and Hammer will never see the light of day again.”

    He lowered his arm and leaned towards her, tilting his head. He squinted his eyes some before giving a nod. “Maybe I've got you pegged wrong though. Maybe you're not a terrorist. Maybe you're just a smart girl looking to be a hero. Saw me down in a time of weakness and decided to strike and upstage me. You're not doing a good job at hiding the hate in your eyes or your tone. So, let me take a shot.” He stood up and paced around her in a circle, maintaining his casual tone. “You don't like rich people. Particularly me. The fact that you're stealing from me rather than working with scrap shows that much. Taking a shot at the fat cat, hm? I didn't have all this when I built my first suit. I literally built it from semi rusted steel and iron with leftover parts from random guns using a toolkit you can get from any auto store for ten bucks and a blowtorch. You seem smart enough that you could do the same.” He paused to lift a leg and put it on the seat of his chair in a semi Captain Morgan pose, elbow on knee and chin resting against his fist. “Because you seem to hate me so much – which shows very poor character since you don't even know me – you revel in the fact that I'm beaten down and rendered incapable of performing my Iron Man duties.”

    He moved again, now standing in front of her with a straight face, looking directly into her eyes. “Your seething hatred for me allows you to believe that I'm just being lazy. That I'm somehow less of a hero because I have flaws like everyone else. You decide that you think you can do a better job and start attacking my guards and stealing my stuff, ripping off my Iron Man. You've probably stopped a few muggers, rapists, burglars, and thugs. Think you're the shit and doing a better job, right? When's the last time you had to defend the Earth against an army of over two million aliens with technology years, maybe centuries, ahead of what we're capable of lead by a two thousand year old god with magic and tech that managed to kill nearly a hundred people in three days and almost sank New York City into the sea with only five people fighting at your side? When's the last time you watched someone you love sit in a coma because he was trying to help you fight the bad guys? When's the last time you stopped a nuclear missile from destroying a city and killing millions? Have you stared death in the face?”

    His tone was more grave now as he gripped the arms of the chair, his face close to hers with a fire in his eyes. “I have saved countless lives, brought medicine and security to hundreds of small villages terrorized by local military terrorists, dropped billions of dollars into damn near every charity I could possibly find, and put terrorists behind bars. I'm a superhero. It's what the fuck I do. But I'm a human, too. In case you might have thought otherwise. I don't have inexhaustible energy to spend every hour of my life wide awake stopping every terrorist and getting every cat out of a tree for girl scouts and little old ladies. I have watched my lifelong best friend sit in a coma for nearly a month after being nearly blown up by a man who had beef with me. I've watched my fiance nearly die on several occasions before she fucked me over and left me. I've watched people die because I'm not perfect and invincible and I couldn't save them. I have fucking nightmares and panic attacks when I'm not drunk off my ass and buried balls deep in some faceless broad. I see all the people that died because I wasn't fast enough to save them, because I got there too late. I see aliens bumrushing men, women, and children and slaughtering them like sheep. I still see an entire armada of Chitauri waiting to conquer earth, I still feel the breath leaving my body after going through a wormhole.”

    He stepped back and his voice began to raise as anger seeped in and he began to lose control. “Excuse the fuck out of me for not being prepared to find out that gods exist! That magic exists! Forgive me, little thief, for not being prepared, for fearing what else is out there and wondering whether or not we can match it! Asgard exists and there's an entire planet of Chitauri out there! I don't know what else is out there! This world doesn't have the means to know what's out there and who's coming next! We don't know if we can handle the next threat that comes this way!” He was absolutely seething now as he glared at Amelia. “You think you're better than me? You think I'm a shitty hero because I have some issues? Where the fuck were you when Loki and the Chitauri attacked? I don't remember seeing you out there with us, shedding blood and taking hits to protect the world. Where were you when The Mandarin was blowing people up? I don't remember hearing about you trying to track him down to take him down. Do you actually give a shit about people or are you just doing this to spite me because of groundless hatred? Why wait until I was down?”

    He was smirking now, a wry look of smugness in his expression. “There are... police officers, fire fighters, the Army, the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, S.H.I.E.L.D., and five other Avengers out there busting their asses to take down HYDRA any every other enemy of peace. So why target me? Why wait until I was knocked down to swoop in and try to be a hero? You want the limelight? You want the chance to make me look bad, make me look inferior?” He gave a dark chuckle as he shook his head. “Nice try, sister. But that ain't gonna happen. Because you're generally what's called a vigilante. But you're not just a vigilante. You're running around with weapons and technology stolen from me doling out justice where you see fit. You're a wild card and a nameless face that nobody knows. The difference between you and me when I first put on my suit? I had the proper requirements. I didn't steal my shit. I didn't hide who I was or what I was about. Being so secretive is doing you no favors. And, unlike me, you don't have money or lawyers to save you when the law comes down because they can't trust some waitress from the Bronx with stolen military weapons thinking that she knows what's best instead of leaving it to the professionals. You really think the public's going to accept you as this new Iron Woman superhero you're trying to pull off? To them you'll just be a wannabe and a fraud with no original ideas. And the press will have a field day when they find out you've been stealing from me. You'll be lumped in with the likes of Ivan and Justin. You'll need to upgrade to keep up if you're trying to be a hero. And you can't afford it. You think anyone's going to support you, sponsor you, want anything to do with you? You'd just be the bitch trying to rip off Tony Stark. I could sue you for intellectual theft like I've done to every other person stealing from me. You cannot win this.”

    He took a step back now and crossed his arms over his chest with a frown on his face. “So, all that remains is to decide what to do with you... I could sue and press charges and let the government or HYDRA or even S.H.I.E.L.D. deal with you. Ninety-nine percent chance of that leaving you dead. Or I could just let you go and publicly announce that I caught the dubious thief but not sue or press charges. You would be a pariah and would probably lose your job. Nobody would hire you. And HYDRA would find you... Or you could work off your debt working for me since you're so greedy to fuck with my shit.”


    Sonar
    Amelia decided that the smart move right now was to hold her tongue as Stark prattled on a long-ass monologue and write them off as the ravings of a mad billionaire playboy superhero (especially when he began talking about Greek mythological creatures and government conspiracies). Yet when his speech became an analysis of her own psychology and philosophical views on society and heroism , she couldn’t help but feel the painful jabs of his words as they hit almost every mark dead on. Amelia detested the fact that he could see most of her motives so clearly, like her hatred for the selfish 1% of society or that she could only scratch the surface of stopping crime and villainy in the city. But it wasn’t until he began listing off the consequences of her actions that fear began to creep through her arrogant facade. She could barely hide the panic in her eyes when he threatened to ship her off to jail and sue for intellectual theft.

    Once he backed away, Amelia got her thoughts together and readied a counterargument. He had been right about everything, except one thing; her motive in doing all this. Sure, hatred played a key role in her stepping into the role of a vigilante and going out of her way to steal Tony Stark’s materials and equipment, but there was something else that drove her. Something he didn't figure out since he only glanced at her files and piece together whatever he saw on the outside. Anxious to take him down a peg, Amelia was completely thrown off guard when he suddenly offered a job.

    “Wh-what?” She stuttered out in response. “After all I've done, you want to offer me a job at your company?” She could barely believe it. This was definitely the furthest thing she expected from Stark after getting caught stealing. He even took the time to insult everything wrong with her second-rate copy of his mechanics. What the hell was he planning?


    Iron Man
    “Look, I'm going to be straight with you,” Tony sighed as he sat down across with her. “It hasn't hit the news yet, but the world is a lot more fucked than you think it is. History lesson: Back in the days of my father, the Nazis had a secret organization called HYDRA hellbent on taking over the world. They knew about alien technology long before S.H.I.E.L.D. was even formed and they specialize in hunting it down. A couple months ago? When those giant hellicarriers crashed out of the sky in DC... That was them. It's recently come to attention to a select few that HYDRA was not completely obliterated back when Captain America was frozen. They've got sleeper agents everywhere and they've torn apart S.H.I.E.L.D. and I'm just now finishing up weeding them out of my company.”

    He paused to let it sink in, pulling up holographic images, files, and videos and pushing it towards her for her to see the information on HYDRA. “You want to be a hero for real? Then step up to the plate. The world's going to need as much help as it can get. Even if that help is a little thief.” He gave a light smirk, leaning back some. “Besides – As much of a dick as you think I am, I'm not about to send some girl to her death for trying to help people.”


    Sonar
    The idea that a secret organization with roots with the Nazi party tried to take over the world and put sleeper agents in every branch of the United States government and all its affiliates seemed like a load of conspiracy bullshit to Amelia. Yet, Stark made no move to laugh it off as a jerk. He actually looked completely serious. She wanted to think the man had finally lost his marbles due to all this stress about aliens and gods but a part of her nagged that maybe this was true. It definitely explained all that crazy shit that happened a few months ago regarding Captain Amer-

    Wait a second. Wasn’t Captain America’s civilian name Steve Rogers? Was that who Astrid was seeing earlier this afternoon? What the hell?! What did she do for a living?!

    Stark reiterating his offer to give her a job bought Amelia back to the issue at hand. She’d deal with the mysterious Astrid later. If she ever saw her again. Amelia probably could if she agreed to the job. It was either that or being sent off to jail where she’d probably be killed by these snake guys. She looked over Tony Stark one more time, twitching in annoyance when she saw him smirk. Maybe going to jail wouldn’t be so bad…

    No, it would be bad. Incredibly bad. She’d just have to swallow her pride and deal with this prick. No matter how much Stark reminded Amelia of him.

    “Well I can definitely say this is the weirdest job interview I’ve ever had. Or do you tie up all your potential employees?” She asked, readjusting her arms to alleviate the strain on her shoulders. “But yeah, sure. I’ll work for you. Now will you let me go?”


    Iron Man
    “Only the cute ones.” Tony shrugged lightly as he grabbed a small blowtorch from a nearby table and used it to break her bonds. “Now, because I don't trust you, I'll have an apartment ready for you in Avengers Tower in about six minutes. You'll have an intern's access pass to the labs but full access to the training facilities that I had installed for the Avengers.” He paused to turn around and face her, giving a serious expression. “Just try to stay focused on work and not Thor's abs... Or Natasha's tits – Whatever you're into. They'll be moving in by the end of the week and I don't need a fangirl swooning all over them.” He gave a nod as if finished, turning around again.

    The head of his suit came back up as he began walking away, not bothering to look over his shoulder as he spoke some more. “And you're going to need to work on your suit – You're not apprenticing under me with that shit on. We're heading to Cilangkap, Indonesia tomorrow. We'll need our rest for the night. We need to build a bridge, dig a well, sanitize their water, and deal with the military thugs and gangs extorting them.” He had earlier requested J.A.R.V.I.S. begin preparing files for places most in need and send them to his suit. He was determined to get back into action and Amelia was going to help him whether she liked it or not. She wanted to be a hero, so he would make her a hero.
     
    #6 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  7. The Battles of Body and Mind



    The Valkyrie and Captain America
    “See ya at the bottom!” Astrid flashed a grin after he finally made his way to her side just before she jumped. She closed her eyes to avoid sand destroying her retinas, arms held out at her side. It seemed to take only seconds before she finished the seventy foot drop, pressure radiating through her body with a slight bit of pain as she landed in what many called "classic hero pose". She had learned her lesson many moons ago that doing straight drops didn't dare well for her beloved heels. She had lost one too many pairs of beautiful pumps from being pigheaded about her appearance on missions. She'd switched to somewhat equally cute flatfooted boots instead.

    With an excess of energy pent up from the anticipation of the operation, she was gone in a flash. Long legs carried her across the sands as she took even breaths to calm herself. She couldn't deny that she was extremely excited to be on a mission alongside Captain America. She couldn't let that excitement show, though. She had to remind herself to not act like a total dweeb either. She had seniority over him as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and was far more experienced in the way of missions despite him holding some years over her. Him being frozen for seventy years allowed her to catch up and surpass him in that area. She finally managed to bring herself into "the zone", her sole focus being on the mission.

    "Wait, what?" Steve took a double take as a blue blur shot past him and jumped out the now open hatch. It took him a second later to follow her lead, The rush of wind woke him up to the severity of the mission and he pushed back all thoughts of Astrid, again. He really needed to focus.

    He landed on the ground seconds later, unscathed as usual and in the darkness, he caught sight of Astrid's lean figure sprinting towards the facility just a few yards ahead of him. He quickly ran after her, keeping a close eye on his surroundings to ensure their ambush wasn't... well, ambushed. He was next to here in mere minutes and he slowed down his pace to keep in step with hers. "Honestly, a warning would have been nice." He stated in a light-hearted tone but his sights and focus was on the incoming doorways where two guards were posted. Steve unclipped his shield behind him and in one swift movement threw it in a wide arch, hitting not one, but both guards in a single hit.

    The Cap grabbed his shield as it flew back at him and noticed the cameras hidden underneath the lamps posted just above the doors. "Take those out." He motioned at Astrid to the direction of the lights.

    Astrid smirked to herself as the Captain caught up to her and commented on her not waiting. She watched as he took out the guards with his shield, uttering a soft “Wow” under her breath. She had to force herself not to squeal as the two bulky men dropped like a sack of potatoes. Her eyes darted to the cameras that he pointed out and she gave a nod before moving silently in fluid motions, sneaking around corners. Climbing up the pole of the first lamp was no problem. She made sure that she stayed out of the camera's sight while she reached down between her breasts and pulled out a small device. With deft fingers, she manipulated the wiring of the camera and connected the two devices before sliding down the pole and repeating the process with the second camera.

    A stern expression across her visage, she now took the time to bring her wrist up, fiddling with her watch's screen and motioning for Steve to join her while a hologram popped up. “The camera's feed is now on a static loop. They won't even know we're here. Not yet, anyways.” The hologram in front of her now projected seven different screens. “Seven cameras online. We've got four guards here, seven over here, and twelve of wandering around various points within the facility. There's five of them in there with the agents.” She gestured as she spoke, pointing out the patrolling guards.

    It appeared as though HYDRA had simply taken what and who they wanted and left behind some stooges to keep the place occupied. She wondered how many of them were former actual S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, gritting her teeth. “Right -- We need to go in through here and there's two guards guarding the elevator that leads down to the Sandbox. While we're in there, I need to grab some files and see if I can find out any of HYDRA's future plans.” She glanced at the Captain with a lifted brow, pulling down the face mask. “What's the plan?”

    "We save the hostage agents first; they're our top priority." Steve stated, his brain working on overdrive to come up with a plan that would result with the least amount of casualties (or rather, no casualties at all). "That means we'll head for where they're being held, together. Once all the guards in that room and the closest surrounding area are taken care of, you can slip away and find that information. I'll lead the boys back up and fight through the remaining guards to get to the designated meeting area. By that time, the ATVs should be at our position and we'll drive back to the jet." Steve learned through the years of working with S.H.I.E.L.D, specifically with Natasha, that information was as dangerous as any weapon if it fell into the wrong hands. Yet he couldn't fight his morals and put human lives before a handful of files. From what he's seen by far, Astrid was the perfect person to grab them. Her movements and stance were reminiscent of Natasha's but seemed to flow with a different kind of grace. While Natasha was deadly and precise with every calculated movement, Astrid's movements had less of an edge to them. Like... she was dancing.

    Steve took another moment memorize the layout of the cameras so as to turn his attention away from Astrid (the third time this evening) before moving to one of the knocked out guards to steal his key card. "Also, I know you said to not wait for you when the jet arrives but that is not an option. I will be waiting for you, whether you like it or not." There were too many instances where he had to choose between leaving a soldier behind or take a risk to save them. Yet such a hard decision always came easy to the Cap. Never would he leave a soldier behind, whether they had just met that day or was a dear friend. His thoughts immediately crossed over to Bucky which he quickly shut out as he turned back to Astrid.

    "That is nonnegotiable."

    “Bu-” She began to work up the words to protest his insistence but figured that it would be in futility. Shaking her head, she gave a light smile and resolved to let the issue slide for the moment. Still, she knew that she would make him go without her if it would save his life and the lives of those they came to rescue. She held no fear of HYDRA... Not anymore. Giving him a nod, she moved past him and took the lead in their two-man formation. She assumed that he'd want to go straight through the buildings leading to the back of the village; It was dark and they'd not be able to spot any night vision cameras set up. It'd be better to simply take out the guards in the security booth before anything. She moved to the door and took to the left side, her back pressed against the wall while she drew out a blade and gave Steve a "go-ahead" nod. “There might be more when we get inside - Only seven of the twenty-nine cameras were online. But if we can take out all the cameras then we can surprise them.”

    Steve followed Astrid's leave and pressed against the right side of the door, listening intently to her plan. He quickly nodded and gripped the stolen key card tightly. Although bursting through the door with provide a better surprise attack, they needed to make sure no one knew they were in the vicinity for as long as possible. He brought up his free hand and did a quiet countdown from 3 then swiped the card through the reader above him. He heard the door click a second later then burst into the room, knocking down the first guard closest to him with a swift punch to the face then grabbed the second guard sitting by the console by the back of his shirt collar. He brought that guard down to the ground and also punched him in the face, instantly knocking him out.

    "Go." He whispered out to Astrid, closing the door behind her and remaining in a crouch position while keeping a lookout for any more guards.

    Astrid held back as the Captain took out the first two guards while they entered the building. On the outside, it looked like a desolate village. However, once they entered the door it became clear that there was more than met the eye. Before heading to the elevator, she moved to the security booth and slid into one of the chairs there. Taking a deep breath, she began to manipulate the various dials and buttons with an intense look about her while she concentrated. It didn't take long before she beamed a smile of satisfaction. While it might have looked as though nothing had changed, that's exactly what she intended. As the cameras outside, all functioning cameras inside were now on a static loop. They could walk by any one of them and they'd be virtually invisible.

    She picked up the throwing knife that she had set down and moved past the Captain, heading for the elevator. “We're headed twelve floors down. Down the hall, hang two rights, a left, and it's the first room on the right.” She quickly informed him of the layout needed before gently pressing the button labeled "12". Humming, she pulled her face mask back up and turned to her left, giving the metal a double punch. A hidden panel slid up and revealed a glowing pad. Squatting down a bit, she stared into the pad as her retina was scanned. “Director Fury -- Welcome,” the feminine voice of the machine sounded. Smirking, she stepped back as it was revealed that the elevator was a bit thicker than most, hiding a secret compartment.

    She resumed her humming as she reached in and grabbed the black backpack within, strapping it to her back. She gave no explanation as the panel closed once more, the elevator giving a ding. They had reached their destination. She already knew that there were twelve guards on the other side of that door. And she was ready for them. She kept a calm air about her as she stepped in front of the door, sheathing her knife for the time being. “I got this,” she told the Captain in a cheery tone as the doors slid open. The first man yelled at them and ran to her, grabbing her by the shoulders. In the instant that his hands made contact with her... It had been brought.

    Using her left hand, she brought it across her body, slamming her fist into his wrist while bringing back her right hand, her fingers curled a bit. The heel of her hand was slammed into his nose, knocking him back. Her onslaught of attack did not end there, her body now turned a bit sideways as she drove her elbow into his chest rapidly, three times over. She could see that the wind was knocked out of him but she took no time for a victory smirk. She had been holding back her true strength. She brought up her right leg and kicked out at his chest, sending him flying back many feet, more than one might think possible for a woman appearing to be so young and so petite.

    If the Captain had any speculation before if she might be the young, bloody child of S.H.I.E.L.D. myth, he would know now for sure. Bullets flew at her, some zipping right by. Others smashed against her only to drop to the floor. When the bullets were all gone, they too resorted to hand-to-hand to take her down. One approached her and swiped his leg out in an attempt to trip her but it was half-assed, slow, and easily dodged. She side stepped and took a step back as he tried once more before she used his own body position to her advantage. She stepped onto his thigh and lifted her body up, bringing her right knee into his face. She could hear his skull cracking and it was pure music to her ears as he flew into a wall. If his skull hadn't been cracked by her knee - which it was - it was certainly cracked from the impact with the wall, evident by the blood now seeping through his nose, mouth, and some wound somewhere on his head.

    The commotion had caused one of the guards to emerge from the room just behind her and to her left, his immediate reaction being to punch. She turned quickly and caught his arm, twisting it some before she began to kick rapidly. One. Two. Three times to his abdomen. She released his arm as he began to falter in step before delivering a graceful, yet oh so deadly, butterfly kick. Her body spun in the deliver of the hit before her calf landed powerfully against his chest, sending him back into his room. She secretly delighted in the carnage but she withheld the gleam that strove to show in her eyes as her victim's neck made contact with a table and killed him.

    The next target was obviously a rookie, going in for a weak punch. She quite literally slapped him across his face before placing her hands on either side of his neck, holding him in place while she alternated between her left and right knee, shoving them into his abdomen. On the second kick, she could see a HYDRA agent approaching from behind. She struck out backwards with her right leg, her foot catching him in his stomach and sending him back with his hands pressed against his chest while he fought to catch his breath. Her attention turned back to the rookie, whom she recognized as a new S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit. It angered her that this little prick would switch sides so quickly, so easily.

    She drove her knee into his chest one more time, this time rupturing his aorta and causing blood to spew from his mouth as she slammed his body down to the ground. She moved on to the one that she had kicked earlier, as it seemed that he had begun to regain himself. He tried to punch it but she easily blocked and deflected the blow, expertly using this position to push and twist his arm while she simultaneously moved to his right side and just a bit behind him. As she did this, she then brought her right leg up and kicked his arm, breaking it. She pushed him to the ground as another guard ran up to her. She jumped over the downed guard, bringing both of her feet up and kicking the incoming in her chest, sending her backwards. As she fell, she turned her body some while drawing out a knife, driving it into his back.

    She had downed five and now seven remained. She took into account that they still needed to rescue the hostages, get the files, destroy the base, and make it back to the jet. Grunting, she decided that she was going to get it all over with now. It was hardly the side of her that she wanted to show Steve, but she had no choice. She let out a feral growl and let her anger consume her. The sound that came from her, identical to that of a cougar's roar, startled the remaining guards and caused them to hesitate. With blinding speed, she moved about and began drawing and throwing knives, slitting a few throats until they were all dead. She closed her eyes and resumed humming, letting her anger bubble down to her usual calm as she retrieved her blades, wiping the blood off on her already bloodstained outfit. She turned to Steve, giving a light smirk - not paying attention to the HYDRA agent she could hear stumbling behind her - and nodded towards the hallway ahead of them. “You ready?”

    Steve watched in awe as he watched the woman take down eleven guards with terrifying ease. Those stories did not do justice in describing her skills and talent at all. She flew threw each opponent with incredible speed and deadly accuracy and even from his position in the elevator, he could hear the sound of HYDRA bones breaking. Astrid took out half the guards in a matter of seconds before unleashing a beastly roar. Then, she went all out with killing the rest with such speed that the Capt almost couldn't keep up. By the time she finished moments later, a majority of the guards were dead while the last was running off. Steve quickly grabbed his shield and threw it at the last HYDRA guard but his eyes were still locked on Astrid's form as she wiped off the blood from her knives.

    "Um... wow." Was all he could say as he caught his shield once it flew back to him. "Impressive." That was definitely an understatement but Steve couldn't dawdle in figuring out the perfect adjective to describe the scene he just witnessed. He stepped out of the elevator, careful not to step on any dead bodies, and walked over to Astrid's side. "Where are the SHIELD agents being held?" He asked, keeping his wits about him just in case there were any more guards in the area.

    “I might be small but I pack a hell of a punch, Cap.” Astrid offered a grin as she finished cleaning her knife before sheathing it once more. “Down the hall, two rights, a left, and then they're right there on the right.” She took off ahead of him with little regard for whether or not there were more guards. She was pumped up now and there was no getting her down from her high until her mission was complete. Her footsteps were silent as she made the next two rights. As she hung the left, she ran into one more guard. This guard, however, had something off about him. She made to punch the guy but her arm was caught. Surprise crossed her features as he lifted her and threw her down the hall like she was a doll. Grunting, she punched the floor and got back up before charging back towards him, engaging in an intense hand-to-hand combat match with the shaggy haired fellow. It was a bit strange for her; She had never been in combat with someone who could match her strength. She let out a yelp as she was thrown against the wall. “Cap! Get the agents! That room! I've got this!” She yelled out to her partner before yelling out in pain as her fist connected with the guard's.

    Steve took a moment to watch Astrid bound down the hall ahead of him, a smile forming on his face in spite of himself. She was acting like this was just a walk in the park rather than a dangerous operation. Well, the way she handled those guards probably felt like a walk in the park for her. He soon followed after her once she turned that first corner, not wanting to lose sight of her. Luckily, he remembered her directions and made two rights then a left just in time to hear a crash. The Cap ran to the next hall and saw Astrid fighting another guard. This guard, however, looked a lot bulkier than the previous guards and from how he matched Astrid punch-for-punch, he was much tougher. That's when the large guard threw her against the wall. Steve could hear Astrid yell something at him a second later but didn't comprehend her words as he rushed forward, his fist colliding with the guard's shaggy head, sending him flying towards the opposite wall. Then before he could stop himself, he protectively stepped in front of the blue-haired woman. Instead of figuring out what this action meant and why he did it, Steve just slipped his shield's bands over his right forearm. "You had the first bunch. It's my turn." He said in a slightly joking tone, not wanting to point out her moment of weakness at such a dire time. If she got mad for butting in, then he'd let her be mad. He wasn't going to leave her to deal with this mad man herself.

    “Don't worry about me!” She shouted at Steve but it was too late. Before she knew it he was using himself and his shield as... Well, a shield. She gave a grateful nod as she rose, rather wobbly, to her feet. It took her a few moments to get her baring but by the time she did, she was ready. The guard made a run at Steve as if he intended to drive them both through the wall but Astrid was way ahead of him. There was just enough room for her to run as well. As she came closer to Steve, she dropped her body down and slid between the legs of both the men. In a swift motion she had pulled out one of her spike darts, rolled onto her back, and threw the dart. The man stopped mid run and fell to the floor as the metal weapon went through his skull. Astrid gave a sigh of relief and was on her feet, kicking in the door of the holding room soon enough. “We've got all the guards! Get them out of here and I'm right behind you!”

    She was quick to deal deadly punches to the ribs and throats of the three guards that hadn't exited the room, relieved to find that the agents were all still in once piece. Two of them were pretty busted up but the rest looked fine. “Up and at 'em, boys and girls! We gotta get you out of here!” She unbound them before snatching up the laptop that was sitting on one of the tables. She didn't need the main computer room. “Go ahead, I'll be right there!” She called over her shoulder as the agents thanked her and the Captain while she leaned over the table and pecked away at the laptop, plugging in a flashdrive. She watched as files upon files indicated that they were downloading, a serious expression on her face.

    This is exactly what Steve didn't want to happen as the agents rushed past him and out the open door while Astrid stayed behind to download and delete any SHIELD files from HYDRA's computers. He wanted to stay with her and ensure that she followed but he could already hear shouts from the other guards. "Don't be late." He called out through gritted teeth as he ran out of the room. Just as he expected, there were three guards guarding the stairs heading back to the upper floor with guns trained at the SHIELD agents. The Cap pulled his shield off his arm and threw it at the first two guards, sprinting forward in time to grab it and shield some of the agents from the last guard's gunfire. He then rushed forward, shield first and rammed the guard to the wall, sufficiently knocking him out. "Hurry, follow me!" He ordered. "And anyone able, grab the guns!" He kicked open the door and stepped out of the way to watch the agents run up the stairs, making sure every single one of them was heading up before following after them.

    Once he got upstairs, Steve quickly recognized the room from his short study of the building's layouts through the hacked security cameras and lead the team of agents down one hall. As they turned right at the second corner, there was another group guards waiting for them. Before Steve could say anything, the guns behind him fired, taking out a majority of the guards. The Cap took care of the remaining three by rushing forward, shielding himself from the enemy gunfire and ramming into the closest guard. He then punched the second guard with his shield arm and gave the last guard a quick jab to the throat with his left fist. The agents behind him who weren't carrying weapons and not carrying their injured comrades grabbed the guns of the fallen guards just as Steve opened the double doors to the outside. And just as expected, he could see a couple of ATVs waiting for their arrival. "Head for the ATVs!" He shouted. However, as the agents ran past him, Steve spun around and looked over at the open double doors. Where the hell was she?

    Astrid grinned as the information finally finished downloading, stashing the flashdrive between her breasts before taking off. As demanded by her father, she set the place to be blown to Hell. She headed into the elevator and jumped out on the first floor as soon as the doors opened. The place began to rumble and shake. The C4 was going off. As she followed the trail of dead bodies she saw that the Captain and the others had taken out the other guards that had likely heard the ruckus or had noticed some guards not taking their shift. She heard the Captain call out for her and quickly came to the exit, giving a wave. “I'm here!” She leaped over the fallen guards and watched as the rescuees were loaded onto the ATVs. She moved to the Captain's side and gave him a wink. “Thought I was ditching our date? Relax, you're not that bad.” She gave a laugh and moved towards the ATVs some before catching movement from her peripheral vision. “Steve, look out!” She jumped back and pushed him out of the way as a guard had rounded the corner with a weapon that she recognized as part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Phase 2. “Ah, shi-” She didn't finish her sentence as she caught the blast. Her body was thrown back into his and she was knocked out cold. Her outfit suffered from tears and burns along with her flesh and her... Oh, no. Her hair.

    The agents drove over on the ATVs, motioning for Steve to come with them. “She's gone! We have to get out now!” They gunned down the man that had meant to shoot Steve, still yelling for their Star Spangled Savior.

    Steve was relieved when he saw the blue-haired woman run through the double doors seconds after he made the call. However, it was short-lived when he saw a guard appear out of nowhere and point a large weapon at them. The Cap immediately recognized it from the S.H.I.E.L.D's Phase 2 plan that he 'hacked' years ago. He didn't have much time to think more on the subject when he was pushed out of the way by Astrid and watched as she took the brunt of the attack. The blast knocked her into his chest and he quickly caught her, his blue eyes wide in shock as he inspected her wounds. She mostly had burns along several parts of her bodies and her white catsuit was now ripped and burned black in other places, but probably the most painful damage of all was her hair. A majority of the long, blue locks were burnt to a crisp. He cringed at the damage and rage soon followed after as he glanced up at the attacker who went down thanks to the quick thinking of the guards around him. One of them yelled something about Astrid being gone, but Steve ignored his words as he hooked his free arm under Astrid's knees while tightening his grip on her shoulders.

    "We never leave a soldier behind." Steve commented as he headed for the last empty ATV and climbed on, placing the unconscious woman in front of him and ensuring that she was secure before turning to the guards. "Alright, let's go!" He shouted, taking command once more and leading the team to the escape jet just a few yards away. He could hear the shouts of a few HYDRA agents following after them but it was too late. Steve and the guards drove up to the awaiting loading dock, braking in time to not hit the wall. Once everyone was in the jet, Steve slammed his fist on the close button, not only bringing up the ramp but also initiating take off, sending the jet into the air and away from the facility.

    It took a moment for everyone inside to realize that they were completely free from HYDRA's hands for now and the tension around them soon eased into relief. Many of the guards were ready to thank the Cap but Steve had no time to accept them as he picked up Astrid and carried her out of the loading bay. She needed to be stabilized...

    Sonar and Iron Man

    Amelia rolled her eyes at Stark's comment as he released her from her binds but froze when he suddenly said she'd basically be moving in. "What?" She asked a little too loudly as she shot up from her chair. "Y-You're gonna let me stay here?" She couldn't believe it. She was getting a new job, a job she'd rather have (even if she had to work for an ass like Stark) and a place to live?! Amelia couldn't help it, she felt her chest swell with gratitude. She even decided to let his other comment slide about not fangirling over the other Avengers staying at the tower as she fumbled to pull on her equipment.

    "Should I get my stuff then...?" Amelia began as she got slung her goggles over her neck but stopped short when she heard his list of plans he had in store for them. "Wait, we're working now?! I have some demands first!" Sure, she wasn't in the position to make demands but what she had to say was worth putting her dream job on the line for.

    “No. We're working tomorrow. Sleeping now. Didn't you hear me?” Tony scoffed as he walked past the recovering guards, holding up a hand. “Don't worry, she's with me. She was your test.” The guards looked confused, throwing accusatory glares at Amelia. “The world's changing, boys and girls. I've got bigger and stronger people trying to take me down and I need you guys to be prepared for it. I want you guys to double up on your training. Show some improvement and I'll give you a raise. Single parents? Childcare's about to be added to the package.” He gave a light smile from behind his mask as his employees thanked him. It was honestly the least he could do. People were always taking shots at him, his company, his loved ones, and his technology. People who were close to him or working for him were risking their lives to do so.

    “What demands? Hurry up, slow poke.” Tony increased his pace as he headed outside, bending over and adjusting his boots a bit. He'd have to get them home and make them smaller; They were slipping a bit. “You wanna get your stuff now, sure. I've got some company trucks to spare.” He stood and turned around to face her as his boots fired up and he began to hover.

    "First, I won't be needing a truck. All I ask is you don't follow me. I promise I'll come back since your place is a much nicer than mine." Amelia started as she bent down to turn on her own boots, a little jealous that he can just use thought commands to activate his. She could hardly wait till she could customize her boots to do the same. And maybe she wouldn't have to jump everywhere like an idiot. She also tried to block out the sincere generosity Stark was showing to the employees she had knocked out earlier. It was giving her second thoughts about the arrogant, narcissistic prick image she had of him.

    "Also, I don't mind your dickish feedback on most of the things I'm going to build but any blueprints I create during the time I'm employed under you belongs solely to me. That means I want a separate account on the company computers to hold all my data as well as a work room that doesn't have cameras for you to record my every move. Got it?" Her tone grew much more serious when she told Stark her second demand. Amelia didn't care if that made her sound like some paranoid freak; she was not going to make the same mistake twice in her life. "And lastly, I want a new wardrobe."

    Tony thought carefully about her demands before nodding. “First, sure. I don't really trust you. But hunting you down is too easy. So, sure. I prefer helpful feedback. But, yes. Whatever you create is yours.” He refrained from being a complete asshole. Being in a good - or some semblance of it - mood, he didn't point out that he had no need or want to steal any of her designs. Besides she was the one stealing from him. “I cannot guarantee the lack of cameras. As I mentioned earlier, we're working on some security issues. Your personal room won't have any cameras though. But J.A.R.V.I.S. sees everything, so...” He gave a shrug but still smiled behind his mask at her last demand. “Done. After we finish working tomorrow then I'll give you credit card and you can go shopping. Is that all?”

    "Yeah." Amelia replied, pleasantly surprised that worked out better than she had expected. Then again, everything she expected about tonight was completely wrong, almost right up to how Tony Stark was. Keyword; almost. "I'll meet you back at the Tower in an hour. And I promise to go through the front." Without another word, Amelia ran through the open door and jumped into the air. The boots didn't seem to damage and she was able to leap onto the rooftop of a nearby building, continuing her journey from roof top to roof top until she landed back at the shipping docks. She had to cut her trip a bit short since she couldn't refuel her boots with any stolen fuel cells so she hoped that she had enough money to catch a cab to Stark Tower.

    Walking the rest of the way to the abandoned warehouse she would never have to call home anymore, Amelia took the time to process all the events that had just occured. In a span of a few hours, she was captured by a world-renowned superhero, informed about a secret organization with ties to the Nazi party, given a dream job and a fancy new place to live. It was overwhelming, to say the least, and definitely much better than the alternative to how she thought this night was supposed to end.

    Amelia cut her thoughts short when she finally made it to the outskirts of the warehouse and shimmed through a hole in the fence before heading over to the hidden panel. Honestly, she would have gone straight to Stark Tower if she didn't have a few personal items left hidden under her 'bed'.

    Tony watched in silence as Amelia took off, leaping across rooftops, shaking his head. That was just sad. He felt that he was doing her a great service by letting her work for him. Still, he was a bit curious to see where she lived. He shot into the air and triggered his reflector panels, rendering himself essentially invisible as he flew no closer than one hundred yards behind her. The flare of the jets within his boots and gloves were still visible but nobody would notice and if anyone did bother to look up and see them, they'd just post it on YouTube as yet another UFO conspiracy theory.

    He watched as it seemed that her boots ran out of fuel - or she had gotten tired of playing Frogger: Rooftop Edition - and began to walk through the shipping docks. She had a houseboat?! He didn't even have a houseboat! Now he wanted one. He landed on the roof of one of the warehouses, frowning. He continued to follow her a short time later, his worry and disapproval increasing as she made her way through a hole in a fence and disappeared through a panel. Curious, and feeling a bit of dread, he made his way to the roof where he was greeted by a number of windows that were either too dirty to see through or blacked out.

    Switching to his night vision mode, he peered through the cleaner of the windows and felt his stomach twist into knots and his heart fall to the pit of his knotted up stomach. This was no way for anyone to live. He watched her move around and grab some things, stiffening up some as he flashed back to his time in a cave. He found her living situation somewhat similar to that and he began to grow angry that she was, in fact, living this way. He quickly began to open the window, which was mostly just him practically ripping out the bolts and throwing the panes off to the side. Jumping down into the space, he landed near Amelia and turned around to get a better look. He spotted a plastic bag that... What was in there?

    He walked over to it and kicked it a bit, shuddering as he recognized it to be clothes within. “I don't know what this is. But you're never coming back here again. And we're going shopping right now. Fuck sleep.”

    Amelia jumped at the sound of metal being ripped apart and glass breaking behind her, almost dropping the stack of photos in her hands. She spun around to see the jet black Iron Man drop down nearby and scan the place. "What the hell?! I told you not to follow me!" She yelled, quickly stuffing the contents in her hands into her hoodie pocket. However, her shouts were completely ignored when Stark walked away from her and kicked one of her plastic bags. "Hey! Qu-!" Her words were silenced when Stark stated in an eerily calm tone that she was never coming back here. Her breath hitched at her throat and she gripped her arms tightly, trying to push back another wave of emotions. She was still royally pissed off that he was her and equally embarrassed that anyone had to see this but it was... nice knowing that someone was getting mad for her in regards to her old living situation. Even if it was the egocentric Tony Stark.

    "Yeah, that's fine." She mumbled back in response to both his orders. "Let's just go already Stark, I don't need anything else from here." Without even waiting for a response, Amelia walked past him and out the open panel, not once looking back.

    Tony could see that she wasn't happy that he had followed her and seen that she was living like a hobo. In truth, he couldn't really blame her. He followed her quietly, though he opted to take the way that he had made for himself. He landed on the ground next to her and reached out to put a hand on her shoulder before withdrawing, realizing that he was probably the last person in the world that she wanted to be touched by. Especially right now. “C'mon. Let's go find you some clothes. Any style you prefer?” He attempted at being friendly, putting out a more gentle version of his charismatic charm.

    "I don't need your pity." Amelia hissed a little too loudly than she expected but took a deep breath a second after. She could tell Stark meant well and she shouldn't be that bitchy towards her new employer."But I... appreciate the concern. As you saw, I'm not the pickiest of women so I'm good with anything comfortable and practical. Some pants, a couple of T-shirts and maybe a few hoodies are all I need." She was about to activate her boots but remembered she was out of fuel. Amelia groaned and dug through her hoodie pocket to grab her wallet. Only... she couldn't find it.

    Great.

    Amelia let out a deep sigh before glancing over at Stark, doing her best to not look so embarrassed. "Um, can I borrow some cash for a cab? My boots are out of fuel."

    Tony let her take her frustration out on him, lifting a brow behind his mask. He'd probably be a little bitter too if he lived like this and someone found out. “Yeah, we're gonna need to get you more than just "around the house" clothes. You know you're going to be working in a professional setting, right? And you may be required to present ideas to the panel. Which you cannot do in a vintage tee and some jeans. You're not quite as cool as I am.” He tried to joke, before moving and, whether she wanted it or not, slipped an arm around her waist. In an instant his boots fired up and they were soaring across the sky. He landed, much to the surprise of pedestrians, just outside of a Forever 21 store. “Let's go crazy.” He held the door open for her, motioning her to go ahead and enter.

    "Yeah, you didn't specify what my new job was going to entail. How was I supposed to know th-AAAAAAAAAAH!" Amelia didn't have a chance to finish her statement when Stark suddenly wrapped his arm around her waist and blasted the two of them into the air. She immediately grabbed onto his armor-clad form, shutting her eyes and mouth tightly to avoid any debris. She knew she should have put on her goggles on. After what seemed far too long, Amelia finally felt the wind around her die down and the ground on her feet. Stark let go of her and she quickly jumped out of his grasp, ignoring her desire to keep a hand on him so she could steady her shaky legs. Instead, she leaned against a glass window. Wait, window?

    Amelia eyes bugged out when she saw where Stark had taken them. What the hell were they doing here of all places?! Stark opened the door for her, indicating that this is where they were going to shop but she quickly put up a hand. "Honestly Stark, how old do you think I am?" She asked, not trying to hide her irritation. "You saw my file, or whatever there is on me right? I'm a grown-ass woman, not some teeny-bopper trying to find the perfect balance of childish and slutty." Amelia turned away from the strange sight of Iron Man holding the door open to a Forever 21 and glanced around at the other nearby stores.

    "If we have to go crazy, let's at least pick a place that's more age-appropriate." She muttered before finally pointing to a Black House/White Market boutique a couple of stores down. "There. That's more like it." Without even waiting for him, Amelia began her trek past curious pedestrians and towards her chosen destination.

    “You have seriously got to be the most unhappy, brooding, and tactless person that I've ever met.” Behind his mask, he wore a deadpan expression while he watched Amelia head off for another store. Black and white all the time? That wouldn't do. She needed to look like she didn't have a stick up her ass. He walked behind her, running measurements and storing them before he had J.A.R.V.I.S. pull up a number of online boutiques. It was probably overstepping a boundary or two to decide her wardrobe for her but he kind of figured that it would make them even at least. She was a pretty young thing, sure. Very easy on the eyes. But fashion was everything. There was no way that he was going to publicly announce her as his apprentice and have her dressing like Pixies from The Fairly Oddparents.

    "Well excuse me for not being a bubbling spring of happiness." Amelia retorted back as she pulled open the door to the boutique. She had never shopped in this place before thanks to her impoverished lifestyle but she had always yearned to. It felt unreal to be stepping inside the prim boutique with the mannequins, tables, and racks lined with an assortment of tasteful clothing predominantly in black and white. A smile creeped up on her face as she was drawn to a classy black suit at one corner of the store. But the white pencil skirt next to it looked tempting as well. She soon became indecisive of what she should try on first and thought it would be goo to ask Stark's opinion when she suddenly stopped herself. Why should she? And... why hadn't he ever verbally shot back? She looked over her shoulder and could barely comprehend the Iron Man suit standing in the middle of the fragile-looking boutique. It didn't help that he had his mask on, preventing her from reading his facial expressions.

    "What? No witty comeback about my fashion choices?" She questioned as she crossed her arms over her chest. Something did not feel right in Stark's silence.

    “Nope. Too busy.,” he replied. He canted his head to the side out of habit as he shopped for more casual clothes for Amelia. “Go ahead and grab what you need. I'll have them charge it to me. I didn't bri - .” He cut the sentence short to give a delighted “ooh!” as he placed a leather jacket into his shopping cart before moving on to jeans. It was possible – okay, he was – that he was looking for jeans that he thought would better bring out her figure. He knew that she'd be pissed about it so he made sure that the sweatpants and oversized tee shirts outnumbered the tight jeans and tank tops. “Just... Let me know. When you're ready. To go.” He finally finished his shopping and had gotten enough to fill two closets, even bothering to get some jewelry and shoes. “I'm good.” His mask lifted and he gave her a charming smile before moving to take a seat in one of the small chairs that was... Well, it was surprisingly sturdy. But, then again, his suit was much lighter than the others.

    Amelia circled the store one more time, finding some pants and shirts she saw were comfy and not too overpriced before walking back to the front of the boutique where Iron Man was sitting, on a tiny chair. It was a sight to behold and Amelia had to stifle a laughter as she brought all the her new clothes to the cashier. It seemed that the cashier was also in a loss for words at the strange sight and silently scanned everything, putting each buy under Stark's credit card. Now with arms full of bags, Amelia walked back to Stark and held up the purchases.

    "Alright, done. Now can we go? I've been up all night and just want to sleep."
    [/hr]
     
    #7 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  8. Chapter 2 ...Operation: Getting to Know You

    The Valkyrie
    “She healed so fast!”

    “Did you see that? It was like she's drawing in light to her body. Like a light magnet!”

    “Vitals?”

    “She seems to be doing well since we took her off the IV and meds.”

    “Jesus. It's like she's allergic to everything.”

    “Think she might be an alien?”

    “Judging by all these scars, I think she's just a lab experiment. Maybe someone was trying out a Super Soldier Serum.”

    “At least she didn't end up like Banner... No offense, Doctor Banner. The glow isn't radioactive though – It's just light.”

    Two doctors in white surgical masks stood over the body of Astrid in a brightly lit room. Her eyes were closed, her hair pulled into a neat bun to keep it out of the way of the doctors while they worked on her. Or at least they attempted to work on her. The harder they tried to shove needles into her flesh, the more bent they became. Her body reacted violently to every medicine they attempted to give her, causing her to seize up and thrash about wildly in pain while they tried to flush out her system. They didn't know what to do. Steve had arrived at Stark Tower with the six agents and Marines, finding that Tony was gone and not even Happy knew where. Though, he eventually found out from J.A.R.V.I.S. that the debonair Avenger had left moments before he had arrived that morning to head to Indonesia to save a village and train his new apprentice.

    It was a bit of a shock to Natasha and the others to see Steve arriving, especially with a battered and glowing woman in his arms. However, Natasha recognized her immediately and attempted to get in contact with Bruce for his medical expertise. She was rushed to the ninety-second floor where a medical facility was located. Unfortunately, the doctors had no luck with her all morning after hours of wrestling with what to do.

    As the evening drew near, they eventually gave up and went to find the other Avengers to report their failure, making sure to indicate that they were doing nothing wrong and her body was simply not responding to normal treatment. They now all had gathered to see her glowing body drawing in light from the room. One of the doctors had to duck out of the way when the ponyholder they'd used for her hair snapped as blonde hair began to grow rapidly, tumbling onto the floor in thick curls. They recorded on a small professional camera as the light seemed to make her wounds heal over. They had pulled back the thin sheet that they'd use to cover her body to view the healing process completely. They didn't pay attention to those who turned their heads, focused only on trying to process the workings of her recovery. “The burns seem to be completely diminishing as the body repairs itself at hyper speed. As strange as it seems, prolonged exposure to brighter lights directly focused upon the body triggers a light-magnetic reaction that causes photons of light to be absorbed into the flesh and somehow repairing it.” They watched a bit closer before speaking again. “It is possible that there were more scars along her torso but have been essentially erased by the healing process.” They moved closer as it seemed that the process was finished.

    They took this chance to observe the glow emanating from her body. “Fascinating.” The female doctor, Julia Marin, pressed her fingers gently on Astrid's chest, tracing the scar that jaggedly spelled out a faded word, whispering under her breath. “Mörder... That's German. For "murderer".” Worry flickered across her face but her younger companion approached with squinted eyes. “Holy Shit... We're looking at The Valkyrie...” This seemed to elicit a response of “What?” from both Thor and Julia. Max, the young brunet, looked at them both before looking to Clint and Natasha who attempted to seem stone faced but were a bit unable, confirming his suspicions. “Y'know, The Valkyrie? S.H.I.E.L.D.'s guardian angel?” This didn't seem to ring a bell with him and he sighed softly. He hadn't been at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology for too long before HYDRA turned everything upside, but he had been around long enough to be told of the urban legend of The Valkyrie. He was convinced now that the semicomatose woman before him was, in fact, the woman of the legend. Julia, however, was not a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and had no idea what he was babbling on about, seeming disinterested in his fairy tales, covering her back up out of respect. However, Thor seemed genuinely interested. Before Max could explain, Astrid's eyes snapped open. Natasha was the first to react to the new development. Familiar with the young woman's dislike of hospitals and medical areas in general, especially when she was on the patient, she knew that it could go badly. “Move!” She pushed the doctors out of the way as Astrid began to twitch. “Thor! Steve! One of you grab her and get her out of here! Take her upstairs and calm her down before she gets hysterical! Clint, you get her something to eat and some clothes!”

    Iron Man
    Tony had taken Amelia back to Avengers Tower when they'd finished shopping, showing her to her own apartment within the ninty-second floor of the tower. He told her that if she did well enough, he would talk to the other Avengers about officially making her one of them. If they all agreed, he would arrange for her to move into the top floor with them. If she wanted to, of course. For now, she was set up with an apartment that had a rather amazing view of Queens, a full kitchen that was already stocked, a bedroom, and a full bathroom with a shower and tub in one. He assured her that he would have furniture for the living room and bedroom moved in while they were away and if she wanted any art or décor, she could use her paycheck to do that herself. Since she didn't have a bed, he helped her put away her new outfits. While she was showering he had made a Stark Industries identification card for her, giving her clearance to take the elevator to the top floor. When she joined him, he treated her to a dinner and allowed her to sleep in his room, retiring to his workshop for the night.

    Displeased with her particular “Iron Woman” setup, he dedicated his time to creating a suit for her to use until she managed to build her own. Lack of trust in her lead him to equipping it with nonlethal attack systems and limited access to J.A.R.V.I.S. simply for the sake of emergencies. It was much like the suit that he had made earlier, though instead of being all black and trimmed in platinum, he had painted the suit a deep shade of royal purple and trimmed it in gold. He thought that it was rather fashionable and it complimented his suit greatly. “Hmph. Never thought I'd be making matching His-and-Hers suits,” he joked to himself. He really never had, though Pepper had asked him once or twice to make her a suit for precautionary purposes to protect herself from any crazed enemies that might pop out of the woodwork. He declined and had instead worked on linking J.A.R.V.I.S. to his suits as well as installing AI systems to give them all kickass personalities. They couldn't talk back, he hadn't gotten that far before he blew them all up. Just thinking about having destroyed his work for the sake of a woman who stabbed him in the back... He could feel his hands clenching into fists before slamming them against the work table. “Sir...” His beloved AI spoke up after observing his creator, sympathy in his tone. “I'm fine, J. I'm going to bed.”

    He had managed, somehow, to sleep peacefully without having a woman at his side and lacking copious amounts of alcohol in his system. He suffered no nightmares, though he didn't have any dreams at all that night. He didn't find it to be so strange when he woke the next morning, taking it as a blessing instead. He asked Thor to thank his father for him that morning when he saw his friend, an inside joke among them. Natasha and Clint were there as well, likely informed by Happy that Tony had gotten off his ass and kicked himself into gear. He didn't have time to talk to them after a quick breakfast, which was well and good since they had their own things they needed to and attend to. He let Amelia sleep in and had instead spent his time preparing one of his jets for their trip. By the time he had finished, Amelia was still sleeping. He smiled at her a bit and figured that she was just extremely tired. He wondered if him hitting her the night before to knock her out had anything to do with it. He wasn't going to apologize though.

    He ended up packing an overnight bag for her and carried her out to his car, driving them both to his airstrip where he met up with two dozen workers that he was taking with them. Still, she didn't wake. In fact, she hadn't woken up even during the entire trip. It was only a four hour flight, thanks to his upgrades on the jet's thrusters and endurance. He got into his black suit when the jet landed, heading to find Amelia in the sleeping quarters. The sun was just rising now, peeking in through the window. He had one of his employees bring him a stick, using it to poke Amelia's cheek. “Hey. Wake up. Hey. Wake up.” He continued to poke her, letting his face mask slide down. “If you don't wake up then you won't get your surprise. Get up. Get up.”
     
    #8 Small Foxx, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  9. Captain America
    Steve had remained quiet and stoic ever since he arrived at Stark Tower hours before with the battered Astrid. Even when sitting with the rest of the Avengers (minus Stark) in the ‘waiting room’, he couldn’t tear his eyes from the door as he waited patiently for any news about the blue-haired woman. It wasn’t that he doubted she’d make it; he knew she would after he saw her wounds slowly cauterize themselves during their flight back to New York City. No, it was guilt that weighed on The Cap’s shoulders rather than dread. He continuously replayed the events of the mission in his head, thinking of things he could have (and should have) changed. He shouldn’t have let Astrid get ahead of him in the first place. That way she wouldn’t have taken the lead when they traversed the complex and been the first one to handle the guards, especially that difficult one. He definitely shouldn’t have left her by herself to get that stupid information back or allowed her to take that hit.

    Steve softly groaned and rubbed his tired face, a movement that did not go unnoticed by half the team. But they allowed the Captain his privacy as he continued to stare at the door. When he allowed himself to step away from his regret-filled thoughts, Steve went over the hectic moments before Astrid was shipped to surgery. He found it interesting, but not surprising, that Natasha was the one who commanded the room and called Bruce for his aid. He made a mental note to talk to the Russian woman about Astrid when this whole affair was over.

    Right at that moment, the doors swung open and Steve brought his focus back to the two doctors entering the room. Dr. Julia Marin, the older and more experienced of the two, was a trusted doctor from New York Presbyterian while Dr. Max Everett, the younger, brown-haired male doctor, was a member of the last graduating class from S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology before S.H.I.E.L.D. fell at the hands of HYDRA. Fear struck Steve’s heart when he saw the solemn looks on their faces. Did she not make it? Was he just seeing things when he watched Astrid’s smallest cuts seal up by themselves? The doctors’ eased Steve’s anxiety when the announced that the treatment they were doing only did more harm than good and that the team should come inside to have a look at the phenomenon that was Astrid.

    Steve and the rest of the Avengers headed inside to see the said woman lying on the operating table, surrounding by a glowing, almost unearthly light. Upon closer inspection, it looked like the light was actually healing her. Steve could only stare in awe as he half-listened to the conversation going on around him. Even when the thin sheet covering her body was pulled down to reveal a dozen more scars along her torso, Steve could not tear his gaze away from her face. Seeing her alive and practically healing herself should have made him feel better, but standing before her now only doubled the guilt he was carrying. She shouldn’t have been the one being poked and prodded.

    The Cap was caught completely off guard when Astrid’s eyes suddenly snapped open. Again, it was Natasha who stepped up and took commanding, ordering several of them to different duties to ensure Astrid wouldn’t do anything rash. If Steve hadn’t seen first-hand how dangerous the petite woman was, he might have questioned such a response. Yet he did and he was the first one to rush over to her side, grabbed her sheets and all, and rushed her out the door. He gripped her as tightly as he could without crushing her as he kicked open another door leading to the emergency stairwell. Steve ran up another eight flights of stairs without breaking a sweat, making it to the top floor in record time. He hurried down the hallway, not worried about running into anyone since this was the floor designated only for the Avengers and had finally been open up to the team when Tony came out of his slump. Many of his teammates had already settled while Steve still had to move his stuff into his room. It was a project he would save sometime later this week as he walked into the large, empty space. Thankfully there was at least a couch resting on one side of the room and he gently placed Astrid on it. He glanced at her for the first time since he took her out of the operating room and felt a blush creep on his cheeks when he fully realized she was naked. Steve quickly took his hands off her once he knew she was comfortable and took a few steps back, crossing his arms over his chest as he looked to one side.

    “Glad to see you okay.” He coughed out.


    Sonar
    It wasn't the expansive room or the expensive dinner that Amelia looked forward to as she arrived at Stark Tower, arms full of new clothes. What got her blood pumping and put a smile on her face in spite of herself was the bathroom. Honestly, it didn’t have to be as fancy as this. She would have been more than happy as long as there was a working toilet and no lingering odor but it was certainly nice to have a tub and shower all in one. It was a secret childhood dream of Amelia’s to someday take bubble baths but then again, she yearned for a lot of stuff growing up in that tiny apartment right above her family’s laundromat. However, she would have to put off her plans for a bubble bath for another night. Exhaustion weighed down on the dark-haired woman and she was afraid she would fall asleep and drown in the tub if she used the tub. She also had company and a nice hot meal waiting for her outside. So instead, she opted out for a quick shower before joining Stark for dinner.

    It still seemed so surreal to Amelia and she felt that at any moment she would wake up back in her makeshift home at that dark warehouse but the delicious taste of alfredo pasta and the surprisingly calming sound of Stark’s nonsensical prattling proved that she was still awake, however not for long. As soon as the dishes were set aside and questions about where she would be resting for the night were answered, Amelia flopped down on Stark’s couch and went straight to sleep.

    Amelia couldn’t remember the last time she had a good rest but it was probably some time before her mom’s death. After the funeral, her nights had been filled with guilt-ridden tears and taunting nightmares that soon, Amelia traded sleep for vigilante work. When she wasn’t trying to clean up the streets with her homemade weaponry, she was stealing or adding whatever upgrades she could muster. And when she did sleep on that lumpy old mat, her nightmares reared their ugly heads. But not tonight. Tonight, she was too exhausted to regret the past and her future had suddenly become all the much brighter, thanks to a man she had loved to hate.

    Her sleep was a dreamless sleep but there were times where Amelia felt like she was floating on air, or being held by strong, warm arms. She wasn’t sure how long she slept but she welcomed the rest openly. She sure as hell needed it after the night she had gone through. However, all good things came to an end as Amelia felt something prod her back into reality. Opening her eyes, Amelia looked around groggily as she tried to remember where she was. The thing poking her cheek honestly didn’t help and she turned to see who the hell was doing that. She shouldn’t have been surprised to see Stark at the end of a wooden stick, already dressed in his Iron Man suit. That’s when she realized she wasn’t in the room she had originally fallen asleep in. “Where the hell am I Stark?” She asked hoarsely, feeling the horrid after effects of too much sleep. Her joints creaked as she sat up and stretched while her mind tried to completely free itself of sleep’s weary shackles. Didn’t he say something about going to their first mission together…?

    “Holy crap, are we in Indonesia?!” Amelia yelled, all the events and conversations from last night coming back to her as she jumped up to try and look out the window. She could see what looked like an airport outside her window, letting her come to the conclusion that she was on some kind of jet. Shit, they were seriously doing this.
     
    #9 Coca-Korra, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  10. The Valkyrie
    Astrid managed to calm down before they'd made it to the top floor, having clung to Steve and found comfort in his arms. However, she found herself being set on a couch soon enough and Steve glanced away from her. She looked down to see that the sheet had dislodged while he took the stairs and exposed her bare body to him. “Always such a Boy Scout,” she chuckled weakly before taking a few moments to examine herself. “I hadn't planned my next scar removal session until next week. No time like the present, I guess.” She smiled brightly, seeming unfazed by the whole situation. However, she was still reeling a bit from being poked and prodded and having medicine pumped into her system. She would have to have a chat with Natasha about that later. For now, she pulled the sheet around her body so that it wouldn't embarrass him any longer. Before she could say anything else, Clint arrived with a smile, holding bags in his hand. “Hey, V. Grabbed your stuff off the jet for ya.” He approached her and handed her the bag with a smile. “Good to see you again. Been, what... About four years?” He, like Steve, turned his head as she fished out an outfit. “Seven, actually.”

    She slipped into a simple outfit, stretching out some. As her joints cracked, she gave a sigh. “That's so much better.” She donned a green sports bra now, along with a fashionable black leather jacket and tight black sweatpants. “I guess Stark's been starving himself or eating takeout, because there's no food. You feeling up to going out?” Clint turned and gave a smile to her before moving to hug her. “I see you got some tats – Not bad.” As she pulled from the hug, she gave him a bright smile. “Yeah, I couldn't help it. Kinda had to find some way to immortalize my art.” The two shared a laugh, interrupted by the voice of Natasha. “Great. You seem to be doing just fine.” Astrid peeked around both Steve and Clint to give a wave. “Yeah. No thanks to the doctors that you handed me over to.” She rolled her eyes before pulling her phone out of her bag and checking it quickly. “I'd love to stay for a bite to eat, really. But I've got a new lead on HYDRA.” Giving a shrug before shouldering her bag and slipping on a pair of boots, she was soon heading out and towards the balcony. “See you guys later!” With that, she took to the edge of the balcony and took a step into the air, light gathering beneath her feet. The light formed into a surfboard that was soon carrying her higher into the sky until the clouds hid her, leaving a trail of rainbow light as the only evidence of her presence.

    “Alright, so. What do you guys want to know?” Natasha watched as she took off. Thor and Bruce weren't too far behind the redhead, taking a seat on the couch. Bruce seemed a bit hesitant, the shy man rubbing his hands together as he spoke. “While I will admit that she is certainly medically fascinating from a doctor's point of view and a gold mine for geneticists... I don't want to pry without her knowledge and approval.” Thor seemed to consider this before looking to Natasha with a bit of a confused expression. “In Asgard we have Valkyries. My father brought together the six greatest female warriors of all the realms and they have been charged since the dawn of time to carry the souls of fallen warriors to Valhalla. This, Astrid. She does this for S.H.I.E.L.D... I don't understand.” Natasha looked to Steve before giving him a nudge. “You got questions?”

    Iron Man
    Tony beamed a smile as Amelia woke up but continued poking her anyways. He stopped after a few minutes before nodding. “Yeah. I distinctly remember telling you that we were going to Cilangkap to help the village.” He gave a nod, turning his head as if deep in thought. “Yeah. I said that.” He gave a chuckle before leaving her dormitory area to enter the jet's engineer shop. He grabbed what looked like a dark purple backpack, though it had a metallic shine. Carrying the metal backpack, he moved back to Amelia's room. He hadn't decided to give her the chance to stand up just yet, pulling her up on his own. As though she had no control over the actions, he put the backpack on her and adjusted the straps to fit her shoulders before taking a step back. In an instant, it came to life. Her new suit began to slide out, unfold, and move to fit around her body, the helmet finding its way over her head very last. “Damn, I'm good.” He took a step back to observe, giving a nod. “JARVIS is linked to the suit so he can help you figure everything out. It's on loan. You're in the big leagues now and no offense, but your suit... Gloves and stuff, they aren't going to cut it.” He waited for a response, hopefully a thank you, standing with his arms crossed over his chest.
     
  11. Captain America
    Steve stood there, unsure how to add onto the conversation between Astrid and Clint as they went about it like old friends seeing each other again. From how they were talking, that was probably what they were. But soon, his silent uncertainty became awestruck surprise when he Astrid stood up and walked out the balcony onto a disc made of light and flew off into the night sky, a rainbow trailing behind her. He stood there in silence for a few moments as the rest of the Avengers walked inside, discussing whether or not to talk about the woman who just left. He heard Natasha ask him if he had any questions but all he said was "I'm good" before stalking out of the room.

    "Hey, don't you want dinner?!" Clint called out to him.

    "I'll eat later!" Steve replied back before walking into the emergency staircase he had climbed minutes before. As much as he did want to have dinner with his friends and discuss the matter of Astrid, he would rather hear everything from her himself. Plus, there was no way he could enjoy a meal if he knew she was out there fighting another battle just hours after recovering from the wounds of her last mission. Sure, she had some magical healing abilities and could probably survive almost anything thrown at her, but that didn't mean he couldn't worry. Or let her go without back up. So that's what he planned to do as he scaled the staircase, sometimes jumping down whole flights of stairs to get downstairs faster. He needed to hurry or else he'll lose the rainbow trail that she so conveniently left up in the air.

    He made it downstairs in record time, ignoring the surprised looks from staff and security when they saw the Captain America walk through the hallway and out the doors of Stark Tower. Waiting for him outside was his Harley-Davidson. Thankfully the jet had landed back at the estate he had left his bike at right before the mission and it was the only thing he trusted to ride when bringing Astrid down to the city for medical treatment. He climbed onto his ride and looked up at the sky, searching for some sign of color. And there it was, a rainbow streak against the night sky, leading straight to downtown. Keeping one eye on the road and one eye on the quickly fading colors, Steve drove down the busy streets, mentally readying himself for wherever Astrid was leading him.


    Sonar
    Amelia ignored most of what Stark told her as she kept looking out the jet window, searching for anymore sign that proved that they were in Indonesia. She wondered if she'd get to see an elephant while they were down here...

    Her thoughts were cut short when the dark-haired woman was pulled right out of bed. "Hey!" She yelped as Stark pulled her to a standing position and strapped a purple backpack over her shoulders. Amelia could feel the cool touch of metal through the back of her T-shirt but before she could ask what it was, she heard the sound of gears moving and that cool feeling spread across her entire body, enveloping her in what she guessed was her own Iron Man suit. Darkness covered her vision as the mask fell over her face but it soon returned with the added additions of the JARVIS computer system, including heat-tracking vision and logistics of her new suit. Amelia was definitely speechless as she felt another swell of overwhelming gratitude grow in her chest. She was thankful the mask was on or her new boss would see her eyes tearing up and there was no way in hell she was giving him that much gratitude. Especially when he was given her crap about her gloves again. She really loved those gloves dammit.

    "Th-thanks." Amelia choked out in spite of herself, but she quickly covered up her emotional response by adding, "But I would have loved some warning before you put this on me. I haven't gone to the bathroom yet and I don't feel comfortable discussing those mechanics of my suit with you." She took a few hesitant steps, surprised at how lightweight the material was and how easily it conformed to her movements. She was definitely going to enjoy taking this for a spin just as much as she was going to rework it to fit her needs after their mission in Cilangkap.

    "So where to first boss?" Amelia asked once she knew her throat was clear of any emotion.