Who Rescues the Rescuers?
<Steve rises from a bench, walked over to Peter, clamped a hand on his shoulder>
Steve: You did good today Queens. I’m surprised to see you here though. Don’t you usually stick close to home?
Peter: <shrugs> When bad things happen, and people like us can help, we HAVE to step up. If we turn our backs and just let them happen, then that’s on us. Even, <looks past Steve in the distance to see Ross storming past the safety barriers and sighs> even if it means missing out on lasagna night. <nods his head in Ross’s direction, Steve turns> What’s that really old saying? Out of the frying pan and into the fire?
<Nat joins them, as Tony lands nearby, Ross weaves his way through responders, each step he takes, his face grows redder with rage>
Nat: I wondered how you got clearance fast enough to beat us here. What happened to ‘we need to be kept in check?’ You were pretty quick to let Ross put you on a leash.
Tony: <glances sheepishly at Steve, then back to Nat> Someone told me while we may not be perfect, the safest hands are our own. <Steve smiles, saying nothing> We kinda slipped the leash. But it looks like the dogcatcher’s in town. What’s the plan? <Pepper, Rhodey, Sam and Wanda land one at a time, joining the conversation>
Nat:<looks around at the crowds of responders, onlookers and media> This isn’t the time or place to fight. Looks like we allow ourselves to be taken into custody, or go back to running. <scanning the area for escape routes> Personally, I’m not in the mood to go to prison.
<before any of them can decide, a group of responders, lead by the Chief Fire Officer gathers around them, shaking hands, and expressing their thanks, as Ross gets closer, the crowds tighten in, becoming more densely populated, slowing his progress, he pushes past them, almost reaching the group as a gentleman in a well-tailored suit and glasses, with an umbrella in one hand steps between him and the Avengers>
Gentleman: Secretary Ross, in’t it?
Ross: <trying to brush past the man> Whatever it is, I don’t have time for it!
Gentleman: <standing firm, hand on Ross’s chest, eyebrows raised> Manners, good man. No time to stop an international incident which would be an embarrassment to you Yanks and an insult to the Crown? Come on now, bruv, I think you can make time for that.
Ross: <blustering, points at the team> I’ve got criminals to apprehend.
Gentleman: <firm> They’re guests of the Crown. I’m here to ensure they’re treated as such.
Ross: <looks down, reaching to remove the man’s hand, notices a symbol on his cufflinks, lowers his hand, looks back up at the man> And what do you think the world governments will think of Great Britain harbouring international fugitives?
Gentleman: <looks over at the group> From where I’m standing, they’re not fugitives, they’re heroes. So, unless you want to overstep your jurisdiction as an American on British soil, I suggest you stand down. <leans over, whispering> And, not that I’m a chinwagger around the watercooler, but word is, Her Royal Majesty quite fancied Rogers back in the war. She’d be ‘specially unamused to see him clapped in chains and drug off.
Ross: <moustache twitches, he coughs, harumphing> You expect me to let them run amuck? How is that going to look? They’re a menace!
Gentleman: <lowers his hand> Right now, your optics are better than you realize, bruv. Go home. Claim the rescue was sanctioned by the US. ‘In response to a call for aid from our longstanding allies across the pond.’ Or whatever spin you politicians put on things. If you can get that manky git you call a President to go along with it, all the better.
Ross: <groans, knowing the Gent is right, miserable at the thought of letting go of his prey when they’re so close> I can guarantee you THAT won’t happen. <glares at Tony through the crowd> Stark’s going to be even more insufferable when he gets home. But I’ll be waiting. <turns, making his way back through the throng of people>
<the Gentleman manoeuvres his way toward the team, all of them astounded and confused to see Ross leaving without confrontation>
Tony: So, who do we have to thank for sending Ross packing?
Gentleman: Galahad. Kingsmen. <extends a hand> I’m here as a representative of the Crown. <looks over his shoulder where Ross had been> Bit of a prick that one, in’t he?
Sam: Dude, you have no idea.
Steve: So, he just backed down? That’s not like Ross at all.
Galahad: I’m pretty sure he’s going to have a crew waiting to toss you lot in the clink when you get back Stateside.
Nat: Well, it’s not like we were heading there after this anyway. <turns to Pepper> What are you guys going to do though?
Pepper: I’ve got a team of my own assembled. Lawyers studying the unconstitutionality of the Accords and working cases where the government attempted to use them as an excuse to violate the civil liberties of Enhanced individuals.
Tony: When did you start working on all this?
Pepper: I started talking to our legal department last spring when you decided to sign your rights away. We may have been on a break, but someone still needed to watch your ass. <Tony groans>
Peter: Sorry to interrupt, but if we’re not getting arrested, would you guys mind if I headed back?
Tony: Go on. But be careful. Have Happy land at the private airstrip in Greenwich and drive back into the city. Ross will expect the rest of us to fly home in our suits, but he may watch local airports for you.
Peter: I can change on the plane. No one will recognize me!
Tony: But he WILL recognize one of my planes flying into NYC.
Peter: <hangs his head with a sigh> Fine. Better safe than sorry, I guess. <takes off on a web>
Galahad: <watches Peter swing away> Here I thought I was young when Harry recruited me.
Sam: So did anyone see anything weird out there while we flew around?
Rhodey: <rolls his eyes> Weird is part of our every day, Sam. You’re gonna have to be a bit more specific.
Sam: When I was flying around evacuating apartments, I had another jumper. I nearly grabbed them when this orange glowy mandala appeared underneath them. Kinda like those old circus nets. It caught the guy and then lowered to the ground.
Wanda: There was another magic-user here. In the midst of everything, I didn’t have time to mention it. I thought I saw her a few times. Mostly working with the medics, but she helped with the evacuation too.
Rhodey: <points to Galahad> All your heroes are tied up with that flood and the Roxxon explosion, right? <Galahad nods> I’m taking it she’s not a local then.
Galahad: There may be other British Enhanced who’ve kept a low profile since the Accords, but it’s unlikely.
Nat: <eyeing the sea of people around them> Wanda, do you see her anywhere? She doesn’t sound like anyone we’ve come across before. If she was helping, then it would seem like she’s not a threat.
Wanda: <looks about, shakes her head> No, the last I saw, she was helping the medics. She had dark hair, about my height. She had a backpack and looked like she came prepared for an emergency.
Steve: <looks over the top of the crowd> Sam, you said orange glow. Like the one coming from that corner?
<the group, hurriedly try to make their way through the sea of people, many trying to stop them to express thanks, they turn a corner down an alley, just in time to see the dark-haired woman stepping through an orange ring, she turns, winking at the group before stepping though, in the background of the portal, a sight familiar to Steve and his team- the farm fields of Wakanda, the circle closes in on itself after the woman steps through>
Nat: Did she just go where I think she went?
Steve: <eyes narrow in thought> I think she did. I also think we need to have a talk with someone later. She looks familiar.
Tony: <completely lost> You know her? Just what have you guys been up to while you’ve been in hiding? Was she one of Fury’s ‘out of town visitors’? That didn’t look like the other portals I keep hearing about.
Galahad: Sounds like you lot have more work to do. I can tell you that’s the second portal we’ve had reports of here. UNIT and your mates from SHIELD were scouring London a few months back. They were hunting for an old scientist bloke and his grandson wandering near Shoreditch. Word is they popped back into a crazy green portal after asking passersby where they could find ‘Blips and Chitz’. <shakes his head> I figured the witnesses were just a bunch of tourists a few too many pints in on a pub crawl. After seeing this all this, maybe they weren’t a bunch of drunken nutters after all. <apologetically> I’d love to stick around and give you folks the twopence tour, but I have to get back to my people. <he ducks back out of the alley, vanishing into the pedestrian traffic>
Nat: <concerned> We need to get back.
Tony: We’re coming with you.
Steve: <firm> No. This is something we’ll handle.
Tony: <hurt and pissy> Keeping secrets again, Rogers? You know what’s going on, or at the very least, you have an idea.
Steve: This is something that needs a delicate, diplomatic touch, Tony.
Tony: I’m not diplomatic?!
Pepper: <bites her lip, caresses his arm> Hon, we’ve got our own problems to take care of back at home.
Tony: <scowls, pouting> Fine. Whatever. <points at Steve angrily> You just go get yourself into whatever new trouble is waiting wherever that portal goes. Keep screwing around and then running to hide. We’ll go home and try to keep Ross and the government from taking it out on the rest of the Enhanced community. <flies off in a huff>
Pepper: <sadly watches him disappear into the sky, turns back to the others> He may be acting like a stubborn ass, but he misses all of you. <looks at Rhodey> We all do. We’ll keep working on things on our end to get the rest of you cleared. Take care of yourselves. <hugs each one before following Tony>
Wanda: <hugs Rhodey> It’s good to see you, Rhodey.
Rhodey: It’s good to see you too, Wanda. The place hasn’t been the same without you guys. <releases her, turning to shake hands with Steve, then Sam, points at Sam with his other hand> You know what a pain in the ass it is trying to pug Crucible without you and Clint?
Sam: <laughs> Oh! So now you NEED my squishy warlock to save your ass? Big bad titan can’t handle a little pvp on his own? I see how it is. <pulls the handshake into a hug, clapping Rhodey on the back, breaks the hug, growing serious> Seems like you’re having second thoughts about the Accords too.
Rhodey: In theory, it was a solid idea. But the implementation? The way the government is treating Enhanced? <sighs> Look, I stand by my decision last year. <looks down at his legs> And I paid the price for that stand. But it’s not just a black and white issue. We NEED something to keep us in check, but the Accords as they’re written right now, isn’t it. I joined the Air Force long before I became an Avenger. I did it to uphold the liberties and freedoms that generations fought to establish. The Accords take us backwards.
Sam: <looks at Rhodey’s legs, absorbing the weight of his words, lifting his eyes to meet his friend> I just wish things hadn’t gone down the way they did. That blast that was meant for me.
Rhodey: <trying to be nonchalant> It is what it is, and it can’t be changed. <clangs a fist on his helmet, grins> At least I had the suit. If it had hit you, you wouldn’t be around for me to mess with. <turns to Nat, giving her the biggest hug> Hopefully it won’t take a disaster to get us all together next time. <releases the hug, saluting Steve and Sam before rocketing into the air>
Nat: <watching him go> We should get back before Ross changes his mind.
Steve: Yeah, I need to talk to T’Challa about that woman in the portal.
<the team slips through alleyways and crowds back to the cloaked quinjet, heading back home>
T’Challa: You have been busy, Udadewomoya.
Ael: My skills serve more than just the Panther Clan, <stiff and cold> Your Highness. I go where choose. I had been in London helping with the rebuilding of the Sanctum. When the fire erupted nearby, I felt the screams and terror even through my shields.
T’Challa: <looks at her hands, scowling> Yes, I see you wear the gloves of your <nearly spits the word out> Umakhulu. Why do you rely on such a tainted talisman to suppress your gifts?
Ael: <haughtily> Could YOU handle <looks down at her hands, stripping the gloves off slowly, the skin beneath them ice cold, her fingertips stiff and blue> the fear and pain of hundreds of people saturating your entire being and be able to function? My shields only buffer so much, so I use what tools I have, cursed or not. <as the gloves release their hold on her, her entire demeanor changes, she winces, flexing her chilled hands, knowing it will be hours before she feels truly herself again> I was needed, Ubhuti, and I do what I must.
T’challa: <saddened> You always put the needs of others above your own. When will you realize that you need not sacrifice yourself to pay for the things <growls> that woman made you do as a child?
Ael: <turns, walking away> When I decide that the scales are in balance.
T’Challa: <watches her leave, his heart heavy, whispers> Bast, watch over her and guide her.
<his phone buzzes in his pocket, pulling it out, surprised to see the name ‘Stark’ on the ID, closing his eyes in exasperation, taking a deep breath then exhaling before hitting ignore>
T’Challa: Whatever his nonsense, I have no time for it.
Peggy: <still irate and frustrated> Can we access ANYTHING?!
APRIL: <begins scanning feeds> Coverage of the London fire is still dominating the news cycle, making it difficult to find other noteworthy incidents. Feeds are locking out at any mention of London, the fire, or the Avengers.
Peggy: Flipping hell! Fine! What else is going on?
APRIL: The first Roxxon pipe explosion a few days ago in New Orleans is still being investigated. The Mardi Gras riots that followed dissipated almost as quickly as they started. Roxxon officials are trying to blame the explosion on the riots, but the timeline seems suspect.
Peggy: <huffs> Two explosions in less than a week? Roxxon has always been more than a bit shady. Nothing we can get involved in, but something to keep an eye on, nevertheless. Pin that for any updates. Next?
APRIL: Senate Judiciary has begun confirmation hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court.
Peggy: <groans> Oh. Him. Yes, are the proceedings live?
APRIL: Sorry, Boss, closed hearing.
Peggy: Very well. Send reminders out to our people to keep contacting their Senators and push to vote against confirmation. What else?
APRIL: FBI Director Comey confirmed an investigation into coordination between the Kremlin and the President’s 2016 election campaign.
Peggy: We already suspected that was in the works. Coulson’s team is working with Comey’s people to uncover what they can. We’ll leave that to them. Anything of note going on in the House?
APRIL: Right now Republicans are still making changes to their latest attempt at a healthcare bill. They don’t have the votes -even among their own people. But with every modification, they gain a few more.
Peggy: Are any of these changes an improvement on the Affordable Care Act?
APRIL: Preliminary analysis says no. Premiums will skyrocket. Many will lose coverage due to pre-existing conditions and restrictions on the federal Medicaid program.
Peggy: No Democrats will vote for it, I’m certain. How many Republicans would have to vote against it for it to fail?
Peggy: Give me a list of the Republicans in the House. Order it from least likely, to most likely to vote for the bill. <a list scrolls along one screen> Excellent! We’ll start at the top. Open the regional rooms and alert the appropriate districts. The more of these representatives that hear from their constituents, the better.
APRIL: <seconds later> Done. Unless you want entertainment or sports updates that about covers what news we can check, Boss.
Peggy: <noticing an unblinking DM box in the corner of her message screen, her brow furrows> Still no word from Grant?
APRIL: It has now been 27 hours and 32 minutes since his account was last active.
Peggy: <concerned> It’s not like him to be offline for this long. Even when he has a busy day, he’ll usually pop in to say good morning. I hope nothing is wrong. <slumps in her chair> No word from Grant, Anthony and Pepper are still in London as far as I know, and I’m stuck here in the dark. <thinks> April, where is the nearest cafe with a telly or wifi?
APRIL: The Starbucks one block away on East 58th has both.
Peggy: Excellent! I think I deserve some fresh air and fresh coffee, don’t you?
APRIL: You do need to take more breaks for self-care, Boss. However, sneaking out to circumvent your content restrictions doesn’t exactly qualify as a break.
Peggy: Oh pish and tosh. <putting on a jacket> You’re such a spoilsport sometimes! You’re not going to tattle on me, are you?
APRIL: No. My assessment of your plan shows your actions will not put you in unnecessary danger.
Peggy: It’s settled then.
<exits her office, strolling casually down the hall, ducks into a stairwell making her way to the ground floor, entering the lobby, she’s stopped by a young woman at the desk>
Woman: I’m sorry Agent Carter, the building is on lock-down.
Peggy: Lock-down? Whatever for?
Woman: I’m sorry, that information is above your clearance. Director Fury has ordered that for the time being, you and a handful of others are to remain on site. You are free to access any non-secure locations such as the workout rooms or cafeteria.
Peggy: <inching toward the door> I simply wished to to get a bit of fresh air. Perhaps grab a coffee and a stroll in the park.
Woman: There is coffee in the cafeteria, and treadmills available in the workout rooms.
Peggy: <eyes the woman reaching for her radio> I’m not getting out that door, am I?
Woman: I’m sorry Agent. Director’s orders. Please don’t make me call you an escort.
Peggy: <quietly fuming as she waits for the elevator> Bollox! If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that man is doing this on purpose, simply to vex me! Next time Anthony brings up moving into his Avenger Tower, I may very well take him up on it!
Notes From Peg’s Desk
Things have been hectic on the work front, leaving me mentally exhausted as of late, but we’re back to the regular T/F posting schedule. So let’s break down tonight’s ep!
Kingsmen. It’s always fun to include ‘guests’ from other movies/shows when they fit. Eggsy/Galahad was especially fun to write, although I wasn’t able to give him any action. (who knows, he may pop back in another time) No, we are not going to mention that one of Kingsmen’s previous villains bears a striking resemblance to a certain one-eyed thorn in my side. Bonus points though if you recognized the reference to the crazy scientist and his grandson from the first portal that hit London back in E3.
Ael. Another guest I love to write& I’m always grateful to fellow author CynnaAel for allowing her to visit with her magic (and mischief) As she said, she was in London helping to restore the Sanctum there. The events of Doctor Strange would have ended about a month prior storywise, and Kaecilius and his cult did their best to destroy the place.
Peg’s certainly not happy right now, as she continues to be stonewalled and left in the dark. She did manage to get some work done in regard to some major issues that were happening at that time. Also because #ItsAllConnected -sometimes events in the wider MCU will be referenced even if we don’t check in with the characters. The Mardi Gras pipeline explosion in New Orleans was well handled by Tandy &Tyrone(Cloak& Daggar S1) even if no one in SHIELD knew what was going on.
Friday will be a very Tony heavy episode. He has to deal with Ross, put together a new team still for Fury, and if he’s lucky, T’Challa might stop ghosting him. See you then! Peggy