“Dummy! Get back here with that, you rust bucket!”
I was currently chasing said ‘rust bucket’ around the lab. Normally I would have better things to do, but Dummy had just single-handedly halted all work on my current project by stealing my bag of screws.
I finally cornered the robot and gently grabbed his main arm – the clawed one – and twisted it behind him, not unlike I would to a human, all the while being careful not to severely hurt him.
While he was occupied fighting me off, my other hand reached beneath his chasse and snatched the screws, and I immediately rolled out the way before he could notice.
He just looked at me, startled, before putting off – presumably to go bug my dad using a fire extinguisher.
I rolled my eyes as I stood and brushed the dust off my shirt. “Who knew hand-to-hand combat lessons could work against robots?” I mumble, mainly to myself, seeing as my dad probably couldn’t hear me over the blasting, pounding music flooding from the speakers.
I make my way back over to the project I was working on before that whole fiasco. I was improving my gloves, so that they not only shielded my fingers from bowstrings, they also protected the rest of my hands as well.
I had applied a layer of Kevlar to the palm and back of the hand, as well as making the cuff elasticized so I could slip them on in a hurry. Given how much I loved being up in the rafters and vents but was hindered by my height, I was also attaching net cannons to the wrists.
If I pressed a button on the cuffs, the net shooters would eject a nylon, Kevlar infused net that would stick to any material in the world – thanks to custom suction cups placed strategically around the edges.
If I were to fire this between two rafters, I would have an instant hammock – I can sleep almost anywhere with two stable points to anchor the net.
I can now enter the vents myself, too – just fire the net at the vent cover, pull it down, then fire at the top of the vent and pull myself in.
I also inserted the chips from my suit bracelets – if I flick my wrist a certain way twice, my suit will come to my location in under 3 seconds.
I was just adding my final drop of superglue – my own recipe, it’ll never come off – to the cannon and pressing it to the left glove when a familiar, smooth, British voice overtook the music.
“Attention all Avengers: Director Fury has an extremely important message regarding the Zygone attacks and will be here to collect all Avengers to the Hellicarrier. I repeat, Director Fury will be collecting all Avengers in fifteen minutes. Thank you.”
I’m left staring at the speakers puzzled. I just shrug and go about cleaning my work table, and from the sounds of things, my dad is doing the same.
“What do you think he wants?”
“I know as much as you. He had better not be bringing us all the way up to who-knows-where for a meeting.”
I nod in agreement. “If he is, I’ll fly myself right back down. After I fry his foot.”
My dad chuckles as we grab our suits, I slip on my gloves, fish out my bow case from under my table, and we head out the door.
We meet everyone else in the main room, and nobody looks to know anything more than we do. Everyone seems to have been interrupted while in the middle of something else; Steve’s hands are multicolored and graphite stained – he must have been sketching. Bruce’s hair is unruly and his face is slightly soot stained – a look I know well as the immediate reaction to a particularly violent chemical reaction. Thor has poptart crumbs littering his face and hands; he must have been in the middle of a poptart binge fest. Natasha’s uniform is slightly rumpled and her nails are hurriedly painted; she was probably relaxing in sweat pants, painting her nails in her room.
We really need to have a girls night, ‘cause that is just sad.
Clint is covered in a thin sheen of sweat; he looks like he was just down in the gym or range, beating either a punching bag or target in submission. And may I just say his biceps currently look –
No, Taylor. Bad Taylor. Focus!
We’re all starting dazed at each other, but nobody has any time to inquire anything because soon we hear the familiar, slightly muffled, roar of jet engines outside.
My dad and I stand to let our suits unfold as the rest of the team hurries either to the elevator or stairs.
Once fully confined within our suits, my dad and I walk out to the balcony and follow the Quinjet into the sky.
As soon as our boots touch down on deck, our suits quickly fold and compact themselves into their portable containers as I pick up my bow case and jog towards where the rest of the team is filing out of the jet.
“Hey guys. Please tell me someone knows why on earth we are here.”
Steve shrugs. “What he told you is what he told us. Let’s head inside and hope it wasn’t just a meeting. Or paperwork.” He calls over his shoulder as he heads towards the center of the ship.
“He had better hope it’s not paperwork.” I grumble as I fall in step beside Natasha. “I already told my dad if it’s a meeting I’m frying his foot. Paperwork means both feet and his other eye.”
Natasha chuckles darkly and replies under her breath, “Right there with you. You fry, I shoot?”
“Deal. Oh, and before I forget – were you painting your nails when we left?”
“Uh, yeah, why?”
“Oh, ah, I-I uh, was wondering if you would, um, want to g-go on a girls night, you know after this is all over. You don’t have to, I would-“
“I’d love to.”
“Complete-wait, what? Really?”
“Yes! We must escape the testosterone!”
We stare at each other for about five seconds before completely losing all composure and collapsing into giggling fits.
And then we realize: people are staring.
We are giggling like schoolgirls in the MIDDLE OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Director Fury is living up to his last name right now.
“Ah, um, sorry Director.” Natasha clears her throat as she straightens her suit and pieces together her composure.
“Won’t happen again, Fury.”
“It had better not. You are heroes, not toddlers. Now if you’re done, as I was saying: Government bases with important and top secret technology are being attacked all over the world. The first attack was at midnight last night in Berlin, the last known attack was at a United Nations base in Siberia half an hour ago.”
“How many attacks total?”
Bruce clears his throat. “Any patterns?”
“Ah, Doctor Banner, that is where you and the Starks come in. No patterns I can see as of yet, but you three on the other hand…”
“Might be able to succeed where you have failed.” I finish. “We’re going to need three separate copies of maps with each and every attacked location mapped out, either printed or sent to us electronically.”
“We’ll get right on that. Lab 7 is open. We need to find this pattern ASAP.”
“Director,” my dad intrudes, “If you wanted our brains, you would have called three of us up, not seven. What else is going on?”
Director Fury sighs heavily and rubs his face with a hand.
“All of the bases that were targeted held technology developed by wealthy, private, completely non-contracted companies. Like Stark Industries.”
“So our tech is in danger?”
“Yes. As are you. Until this whole Zygone crisis is over, you seven will be staying on the Hellicarrier.”
Say what now?!
This is met with disbelieving stares and various cries of outrage all around.
“I will have you know-“
“ENOUGH!” Fury shouts – like I said, really living up to the name – before fixing us all with a stony-eyed glare.
“You will ALL be staying in rooms here. End of discussion. Someone show them to their rooms.” Fury calls as he thunders out.
An agent from the back of the room – obviously thrown under the bus – skitters up to us and squeaks almost inaudibly for us to follow him.
I do so – but not before hesitantly glancing at the rest of my team and seeing my frustration reflected on all of their faces. Even Natasha and Clint don’t look pleased.
I almost wish the Zygones will hurry up and attack.
Otherwise, this’ll be a very long few weeks.