“Friends Stark and Little Stark! Come join us in our feast of
Note to self: if the loud, excitable god says you should go join the rest of your team on the couch, you go join the rest of your team on the couch.
“Feast of knowledge, huh? So, what’s new in alien-invasion land?”
Steve just barely bites back a smile as he replies.
“Okay, so we have a name, a who - as Stark so brilliantly put it earlier - and a what to work with. They’re called Zygones,” cue giggles and eye rolls at said giggles “and they are under the command of someone called the Master - connection to Loki possible but in confirmed as of yet."
"Zygones, hm? Anybody have a where? We still can't fight them effectively if we don't know the battlefield."
It's Clint who replies, only after running a hand through his hair and sighing. "Nothing yet. We're going to have to go with the 'hope for the best, prepare for worst, and expect everything else along the way' strategy here."
"I wish I could give you guys more here. I don't like leading men to battle blind." Steve says, and his face shows he looks and feels horrible.
I stand as he does, he paces while I try to calm his nerves.
"Steve, hey, calm down. Have you completely forgotten your starting lineup here? Not one, not two, but three of the absolute smartest people on Earth, two master spies, one demigod, and not to mention you, super soldier extraordinaire, all of which will stop at nothing to keep Earth in the right hands. We've all been doing the impossible for a very long time, and we won't stop now."
Steve stops the pattern he's been on the entirety of my little speech to turn and smile gratefully at me.
"Yeah. I-sorry guys. Thanks Taylor."
Agreement rings out throughout the room as my dad leans over to land a light kiss in my hair and murmur “You give way better pep talks than me. For a girl that doesn’t like mushy situations, you sure are one to instigate them.”
“Well,” I breathe back, barely audible “he needed it, and the rest of you would have made him cry.”
“Alright team, status reports!” Steve calls, breaking the almost-silent conversations my dad and I were engaged in.
“Starks, how are the suits coming?”
“Combat ready.” My dad is instantly in business mode (yes he does have one.) “We’re just adding bells and whistles, but we’d be ready to fly at the moment.”
“Good. Taylor, is Iron Beta 100% ready?”
“120% ready, Captain. Frankly, I’m excited. Not sure if I should be, but…”
“Understood. Alright guys, dismissed. Agents, you might want to report this in.” Steve calls over his shoulder as he retreats from the room.
After he had left, I turn to the others.
“Anyone up for a movie?”
“I’ll get the popcorn.”
We are halfway through Footloose when the alarm sounds.
“Jarvis? What’s going on?”
“There seems to be missile, not of Earth’s origin, heading for the 5th floor, ETA ten minutes.”
My dad’s face pales as he just barely manages to bite back a curse, for the sole reason of being on my feet next to him.
“Stark? Remember how you said the suits would fly right now?”
I can’t hear my dad’s answer, I’m guessing it’s bitten and harsh, but I can hear Steve’s follow up reply.
“Because you need to right now.”
With that, I break off in a dead-out sprint towards my room.
I practically jump into a black t-shirt, black and grey camo pants, and military grade combat boots (Rhodey supplies my gear) and am in a dead sprint once more, this time out to the landing platform where my dad is in his suit and ready for takeoff.
I wait till my suit fully encompasses me and my holoscreen lights up until I start asking questions.
“Six minutes. We’re running interception. Like I did in Manhattan.” my dad replies over the sound of his boosters lifting him off the platform and mine following suit.
“No reminders of Manhattan right now. I’m glad I was benched. There are no portals here, and no need for rash suicide runs. Got it?”
“Okay, Ms. Bossy. Simple locate and divert. No suicide runs.”
The comms are silent for the rest of the flight until somewhere on East seventy-second street, where the real action begins.
“Okay we’re close enough to engage now. I’ll go low and left, you go up and right. When you get close enough, start pushing northeast as fast as you can. We need to get this over water.”
I can only nod, I don’t trust my voice not to shake like a sapling in a hurricane.
I follow my planned flight path as I swing wide and low, rising above the missile, slightly to the right. Adjusting my thrusters ever so slightly, I get closer, closer, closer…
Contact! My dad’s gauntlets land on the missile almost simultaneous to mine, and all power is suddenly concentrated to our feet and we turn the missile away from innocent lives.
“How long till detonation?”
“Jarvis says just under five minutes. We’re close to water, but if we don’t get there in time, I need you to-“
“YOU SAID NO SUICIDE RUNS!” I cut him off with a scream as I put every last bit of power into my thrusters. ”Besides, I can see the water, on your 1 o’clock.”
We speed up even more for the home stretch, just a little farther…one more push….
“We’re good! Fly away, fly away NOW!”
I let go of the missile as I do a backflip, changing direction in mid-air, and rocket the other way.
“Ma’am, sir, you have approximately one minute remaining.”
“Yes, thank you Jarvis. Taylor-”
My dad is cut off by an explosion tearing the sky apart.
The shockwave sends me reeling, even after I stop physically tumbling.
My mind is still lagging, and only two thoughts filter through my brain:
Oh my god, I just watched a missile EXPLODE and so this is what a battlefield looks like, because war just started.