It was a slow day at Muppet Central, the complex that used to be the New Avengers Facility in upstate New York before it was granted ownership to Kermit and the rest of the Muppets gang. Most of everyone was out on gigs, running errands, or simply unwinding. Some stayed around Central, doing their own unique thing around the complex.
Gonzo, ironically, was bored out of his mind.
He could’ve come up with another inane stunt. With all that the Avengers left behind in the facility, he was like a kid in a candy store. Trying on one of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits and seeing how far he could shoot himself into space? It was worth the possible chance of exploding before he even reached the troposphere.
The more he thought about, the more he wanted to actually do it.
But, in searching for the room where Stark housed all of the suits, Gonzo happened on quite the eye-catcher: a display of Captain America’s gear, including his iconic star-spangled shield.
“Whoa!” the weirdo gasped.
“Step away from the display!” a familiar voice with an air of gruff strictness demanded him. Gonzo turned to see Sam the Eagle approach with that stern glare he always had in his eyes, framed by his bushy unibrow.
“I wasn’t touching anything,” Gonzo defended himself. “I was just looking at it!”
“Well, look from a 12-foot distance!” Sam ordered. “Captain Rogers himself explicitly left me in charge of everything in this display – the shield being the most important of them all!”
Gonzo stood amazed. “Wow, Sam. Cap really had a lot of trust in you. Makes sense, I suppose, being his personal friend and all. You’re like the second guy he’s friends with who goes by ‘Sam’.”
“Correction: I am the first guy he’s friends with who goes by ‘Sam’.”
Gonzo’s eyelids rose to the back of his head. “You mean to tell me you were friends with Cap even before he was frozen in ice?! Well, now you’ve gotta tell me everything!” He pulled up the nearest stool he could find and sat down.
“I cannot divulge in much of our history – much of those missions we were assigned by the SSR are still classified to this day.” Sam caught himself reminiscing those old days and suddenly remembered, “There was one mission I can share. The one that not only put me in a close friendship with Captain Rogers but also made me an icon of S.H.I.E.L.D. And I’m not being poetic. That eagle you see on the insignia – that’s me.”
Gonzo couldn’t believe what he was hearing with his own ears (if he had them). He sat there on the stool, clinging to every detail of Sam’s story.
The year was 1944. We were fighting towards an allied victory against the Germans in World War II, and much of it we had to thank to Captain Rogers. I, of course, didn’t see much combat on the battlefield. I was assigned the role of “Senior Investigator” for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, looking into the slipperiest of HYDRA operatives – ones not even Captain Rogers and the Howling Commandos could find.
My greatest target was Professor Krassman, a HYDRA scientist and the world’s leading authority in the rapidly growing field of mind control in frogs. Peggy Carter – you know her best as “Agent Carter” – was nearly Krassman’s first human test subject.
I pinpointed Krassman’s location to a barn out in the German countryside.
It was only Agent Carter and I out in the field. We split up to find Krassman, but he found Peggy first. I only caught up to them after I heard her scream. By then, Professor Krassman already had her tied to a chair connected to his machine.
My gun was on Krassman, ready to pull the trigger. But I hesitated.
“Surrender, birdie!” Krassman ordered me. “Or else I flip de switch and fry her brain like eggs on de pan!”
Peggy remained more vigilant than ever. “He’ll do it regardless! Shoot him, Sam!”
Although you wouldn’t have noticed, bundled beneath layers and layers of feathers, my gun hand trembled. Never once had I shot another being, evil or not. More to the point, I had to consider Agent Carter’s life – it was in my feathered hands in that moment.
And then, a brilliant idea came to me!
“Krassman,” I said. “Your shoes are untied.”
That was your “brilliant” idea?!
It was brilliant in the sense of what happened next.
While Krassman had a laugh at my expense, amused by my attempt at distracting him, Peggy said, “Well, he forgot to tie my shoes.”
“Vhat shoes?” Krassman asked, looking down at her feet.
And that’s when she let him have it – a swift kick right to Krassman’s face.
I see now. He forgot to tie her legs down.
Correct! And it was this mistake that allowed me to free Agent Carter and, with her help, put Krassman into the machine. We flipped the switch and, in seconds, Krassman’s mind was rendered to an infant state.
We radioed to Howard Stark afterwards. Needless to say, when word got to Colonel Phillips about our excursion, he was not at all pleased. But, nevertheless, he was impressed with my work on the case and Captain Rogers was grateful for saving Agent Carter. They rewarded me for my heroism and, by the 1950s, I was honored as the face of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Those years in S.H.I.E.L.D. were the happiest times of my life…
…until the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell. here…