Chapter 6

Danielle couldn't remember the last time she'd been moving this fast - if ever. Out the window, it seemed clouds weren't even in focus. Birds were blurs. It wasn't like a passenger 747, this thing could haul.

It took them just half an hour to gain on Tony and the small silver aircraft Danielle could just catch glimpses of darting in and out of the clouds. She saw Iron Man, a streak of red, below them slightly, firing repeatedly, but the silver bullets dodged them easily.

"We need to ground them." Clint sighed.

"Is it civilian population below?" Steve asked.

"There's an upcoming field in about 10 klicks." Natasha said. "We'll drop them over that, alright Tony?"

"Yeah, fine. Copy." a voice said over the intercom.

Natasha pushed the aircraft further, bypassing the silvers below. They dropped, turning the opposite direction. In about ten seconds, the four aircraft shot towards them. With a few gracefully timed shots, the aircraft fell from the air and into the field. Three of the four pilots deployed their parachutes. They wore all black, and had heavy looking helmets and glasses on.

"Your time to shine, Cap." Natasha said, opening the back of the plane. Attaching his shield to his back, he dove out.

"Hey, Tasha..." Clint began, looking out of the windshield. "That's Canada, right?"

"Yeah, we're right on the border."

"Somethings coming." he said. "Put us down."

As he said this, the other two SHIELD aircraft went ballistic, their motors exploding. They spun to the ground, and Danielle heard explosions.

"Roger that." Natasha said, lowering the plane quickly towards the ground.

Danielle sunk into one of the seats, watching them with wide eyes. Why the hell had she agreed to come? She was way out of her league.

"Hang tight, Danielle." Natasha said.

From the treeline, four immense mutated creatures emerged. Danielle blinked stupidly at them, trying to figure out what they were. They looked like enormous skinless dogs, with an iridescent blue skin. Behind them were a pair of larger ships, the same silver color as the smaller ones.

"Who let the dogs out?" she heard Tony say over the intercom.

"Shit." Clint said. Danielle creeped to the exit, watching the action unfold before her. She felt useless, but was blown away at the fluidity of everyone. It was like an intricately performed dance. The pilots of the ships seemed to be highly skilled in hand to hand combat, and Steve was doing everything he could to shield any of the bullets spraying from the two new ships. Tony, it seemed, was trying to distract the dogs, but one was rounding on Natasha.

"These things won't die!" she shouted in frustration, as she emptied another magazine into the flesh of the mutated beast.

Danielle watched in distress as a bullet went through Clint's shoulder.

"I'm down." she heard him groan a moment later. Without second thought, she ran towards him, dodging the onslaught of bullets as she went. She fell beside him in the grass, placing her palm on his chest. She shut her eyes, trying to recall the sensation when she healed Steve's cut. She heard Clint cry out, and then gasp for breath. She looked down, seeing the bullet resting in the grass, and his shoulder as good as new.

"That fuckin' hurt." he said, sitting up, wincing. "Thanks."

"Feel alright?" she asked, and he nodded, standing, and pulling her up behind him.

With a movement so fast she could have sworn it didn't happen, he'd rearmed his bow and was pointing it straight at her.

"Duck." he said, and she crouched as he sent an arrow through one of the dogs eyes.

Someone dropped from the sky, out of one of the ships, and landed beside her. They pulled her up to their chest, effectively using her as a human shield, holding the gun to her neck.

Without delay, Natasha pointed the gun directly at them both.

"Don't!" Danielle heard Steve shout, but it was too late. The bullet ripped through her chest and then the man's behind her. She felt the man drop away, but she stayed standing, in shock. She looked down at her shirt as the sticky blood seeped from her heart. She gasped for air as the unusual pain from her tendons, skin and bone reforming ripped across her entire chest.

Steve was there, pulling her towards him and putting his shield up against the high powered ammunition ricocheted off it, protecting them both.

"I'm okay!" she said into his chest as the healing finished. She pushed away from him slightly, and felt blood on her hand as she did. She carefully brushed her fingers over the graze in his uniform, and felt the warm skin reappear, unharmed. He sighed slightly.

"Get to cover, there's more SHIELD ships on their way. This shouldn't take long." he said. "Run, I'll cover you."

She darted away from him and back into the ship. In no time at all, three more SHIELD craft had overpowered the smaller, enemy ships. She thought it was over, until she heard Tony's voice over the intercom.

"One got away. There was one more that left New York. I must have lost-" she heard him pause, and then launch into a torrent of swear words. Four of the six pilots were dead, but two remained, cuffed now by SHIELD agents.

"Who's hurt?" she asked, looking at the small team. Natasha stepped forward, wincing as she stepped.

"Ribs feels broken, one of those dogs got a bite at me."

She gently touched the woman's side, sensing the injuries. Natasha shut her eyes, trying to mask her pain as Danielle reset the bones.

"The vials are gone." a SHIELD agent said, running up to Steve. He nodded.

"Time to regroup." Clint sighed. "These two should help with getting some information." he nodded towards the two pilots. "We'll need to get one of those dogs too, Bruce will want to run all sorts of tests on them."

Tony walked up to them, his helmet open, his suit making hydroponic whirring and clicking noises everytime he moved.

"That went poorly." he said. "Care to patch me up, sweetheart? It appears something got through."

The metal on his leg folded in on itself, and a nasty gash ran up his calf. She ran her finger along the edge of it, zipping up the wound like a jacket.

"That's cool stuff." he said. "And I think have an idea about how you can help with these two."

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