A Ford at the VFW

March 26, 2016:

Ford Benett throws a gala for the Vets.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Ford has been supremely busy the past few days. Party after event after fundraiser after… what was the next thing? Ford forgets, but tonight, he knows all too well that it's a benefit for Veteran Affairs. Former war vets, soldiers of the past 40, 50, 60 and more years scheduled to show up, try to convince folks to lend a little to the country's fiercest and finest. Ford intended to bring his best tonight: he was hardly a patriot, but as someone who could not fight the battles he wanted to, he was supremely grateful for those who stood up and did it in his stead. It was ironic and saddened to him: he had been gifted with powers others would have readily put to use for the good of the world, and he kept them shut up and locked away. Not without good reason, but… it was a bit pathetic in his mind.

All the more reason to ensure that sharp tongue of his got others to up the ante.

As Ford navigated the party of the Upper Manhattan high rise, he nodded, smiled, stopped to converse and get others to put up a small fortune for the various VA groups gathered in hopes of earning a bit for their cause. But the real prize, if he was even here tonight, continued to elude Ford. He'd heard the rumors. Captain America, the Flag Man himself, was supposedly here tonight! That, to Ford, was a grand opportunity. Having a man like him in Ford's corner could never be a bad thing. All it required was him getting on his good side… if, of course, he was even here tonight.

Rather than wear his real life Captain America suit of chainmail and other forms of armor, Steve is wearing a far different outfit as he begins to peruse the night. He's glad head to toe in a formal green military outfit from his time during World War II. He hasn't bothered to put any of the extra pins he's been rewarded since he's been thawed out from the iceberg, but he was extremely grateful that the Smithsonian offered that and a bunch of other trinkets that the government kept after they felt that he was dead.

Currently, Steve seems to be neck deep in a humorous conversation about a Vietnam War veteran's story of the first day he arrived in South Vietnam and the tricks that the other boys played on him. There's a lot of guffawing and back slapping, and Steve would look like he fit in if he didn't appear so much younger than the other men.

Ford approaches the group of vets, having taken a moment to double take and realize that WAS the Captain himself. He looked different out of his uniform… well, his famous one. He seemed pretty down to earth for such a big name. Ford could appreciate that. Waiting for the conversation to finish, Ford finally approaches and raises his glass to get his attention. "Captain Rogers. An honor to meet you face to face. I'm glad to see you accepted my invitation and came out to help. I can loosen pocket books on others all I want, but it's much easier to get them contribute when they have the chance to meet America's star spangled hero in the flesh." Ford nods to the other vets present, but his attention is clearly occupied with Cpt. Rogers himself. "I don't suppose you could spare a moment or two of your time for me, could you?"

"I'm honestly glad I could come, Mr. Benett. And thank you for inviting me. To be honest, these sorts of events are the most fun I have out on the town. Talking about old times." Steve reaches out his hand to shake Ford's, should the wealthy man take it.

When Ford asks for some time, he nods. "Guys, if you don't mind, I'll catch up with you later."

"Not a problem, Rogers," says Old Vinson with a hard slap on Cap's back. "But you gotta tell us that story where you hit Hitler in the face." The "boys" erupt in laughter and head towards the bar.

"Thanks again for putting this on, Mr. Benett."

Ford gladly shook Steve's hand, giving it a firm shake and nodding as he took a sip of his champagne, tilting it as the "boys" left for the bar. "Okay, I have seen the old videos and a comic or too, but I have to ask: did you really punch Hitler in the face?" He chuckled a bit before shaking his head. "Just Ford, Captain. Or… Captain Rogers? Mr. Rogers? Steve? Sorry, I can't handle honorifics. Just one more thing to keep track of, and lord knows I have enough of that."

At the gratitude, Ford bowed politely, smiling. "My honest pleasure. I'm not much of a fighter, but I think this is one arena I can hold my own in. Besides, heroes like yourself put a stop to evil doers every day. Least I can do is make sure we see you guys well cared for." Ford stepped in a tad closer, his smile diminishing a bit as he lowered his voice. "Actually, I'll be blatantly honest with you, Captain: I have something of an ulterior motive, and I wanted input from someone like you."

"Steve is fine. I don't really care much for titles to be honest. I got mine well before I was actually a captain—I guess it just sort of rolled off the tongue for some military higher ups." At the mention of Hitler, Steve can't help but laugh. "I did. I punched Hitler. I can't really talk about how things shook out because it's classified still, but I did get one crack at him before he took his own life. I just regret we weren't able to bring him to justice. I imagine he gets his own reward nowadays, and I imagine it is very hot where he is."

"Sure," Steve says at the suggestion that there's something Ford wants to talk about. He stops to grab a beer from one of the waiters, but is all ears.

Ford smiled. "I knew it! The logical part of me always told myself that that was just publicity, but the little kid in me also loved the idea of you busting in and decking him right in the nose. Sorry, sorry, that's childish of me, I know…"

Ford grimaced a bit, before taking another sip of his drink. "I don't suppose you've been following the news concerning the new Knightwatch program, have you?" Another sip… actually, it was more like a swig. "I know Mr. Stark is a close friend of yours - I mean, being on the same team and all - so I thought you might have, but I wanted to be sure. I confess… it's got me worried. I know Stark Industries and Mr. Stark himself are backing it, but I was curious to see if everyone in the Avengers felt the same about it."

"Well, the truth is I haven't spoken to Tony in quite some time. Despite popular belief, he actually is not part of the Avengers. Back when I served with the Justice League, there was talk about bringing him on, but that never really happened either. " Steve fails to mention that whole part about where he left the Avengers because he was at least partially at fault for the assassination of President Pershing. "The truth is that I am extremely concerned about the Knightfall program, and I am not sure what Wayne, Stark, and the others are up to. I don't believe this move towards government intervention is going to end well for a lot of the people I fight alongside, or for the American people. I don't want to seem overdramatic, but I try to be as honest and up front as possible."

Ford listened intently to the Captain, digesting each word, before finally smiling. He chuckled out a small sigh of relief as he took another sip of his drink. "It's heartening to hear that from you, Cap— Steve." He paused, before shaking his head. "Sorry. I'll be honest, meeting you makes the little kid in me excited. I kind of grew up hearing about your daring adventures… scaled back for kids, of course."
Ford cleared his throat before continuing. "But I'm glad to hear another voice of concern about it. I actually paid Da Costa a visit at his new X-Red office opening, and asked him about what he thought. He said something similar. "

"I suspect he has a more… personal reason for opposing the program, being a mutant. He asked me why I felt the need to fight a battle that didn't much target me."

"I should warn that I don't want to speak on behalf of all of my teammates. You'd have to go to each of them to see how they feel. We don't really do the whole politics thing. I learned and got burned over that during my time with the League. I don't want to misconstrue."

Steve nods, "You know, I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Da Costa, but I am somewhat familiar with his team through the papers. I think if more people had your attitude back when I was a young man, maybe less Jewish people would have died in the Holocaust. If we wait around for people to stand up and do the right thing only when they themselves are specifically targeted, it's not really doing the right thing. It'd be doing the self-interested thing. Now that's not to say that mutants are being selfish. But anyone who waits around for the spotlight to fall on them before acting might be."

"Again, that's just my opinion. It's America, so we all get to have one."

"Oh, you give me far too much credit. I will not pretend to be selfless, Steve - I respect you too much to sver you tree bark and call it well done bacon. I am selfish and I know it all too well. But I cannot stand idle if I have the chance to change things for the better. Robin Hood was a thief… but he was a thief with a good repoire, you know?" Ford grimaced a bit, before shaking his head. "No, I know all too well that you don't pour resources like that into a program and have it do one thing. Once the 'mutant menace' has been dealt with or the 'super villains of tomorrow' thwarted, what do you do with a force like that? You don't just dismantle it. You get mileage out of it. I want to deal with it now, while we can nip it in the bud. Before too much goes into it to make it unstoppable." Ford inhaled, looking about the room as he finished his drink, setting in on a nearby table. "That's why I wanted to guage your thoughts. I figure if Captain America has a similar thought process, I must be going the right direction." Ford offered a hand to shake, smiling. "So, I think it's time to start gathering some support and put a stop to this program. That's one battle I know I can fight."

Steve nods and shakes Ford's hand, "Well, I agree. I'm not much of a politician, but I get the feeling there are others who feel the same way you do on this issue." He takes a swig from his beer and tilts his head, "What sort of plan do you have to stop this idea?"

Ford stretched his face into an exaggerted frown, shaking his head as he clearly had no clue. "God knows what I plan to do. At the moment, I know that both you and Da Costa share my opinion… it's a question of gathering support at this point. Hard to make a check mate without pieces, you know. I suppose… erm…" Ford folded his arms, clearly considering how in blazes he was going to tackle this. "…I suppose the first thing to do would be to get some more intel concerning the project. I know Perseus Hazard leads it… god knows, he's a hardass to deal with. Met him one time, pretty sure he could deflect even your shield with that arse of his. Directly opposing it would be hard… though we'd need to keep their attentions focused elsewhere. At that point, if they aren't paying attention, we can siphon out the resources and funds being poured into the project. That's its own fight, but…"
Ford inhaled a little bit, before turning to Steve and biting his lower lip a little. "Captain, I hate to ask, but I'm wondering if you'd do me a favor. I wonder if you wouldn't mind asking the other heroes you happen to have in your phonebook if they'd be willing to sit down and speak with me? I won't involve you or any of them in the push against Knightwatch, that would simply make it look like metahumans are opposing it predictably… but you can't deny that having Uncle Sam's golden boy at your side would sway folks without powers to say no to a program like this."

"Since the death of President Pershing I have made politics take a back seat to everything else I value. I cannot go out and give stump speeches. In fact, the blowback I'll likely get will probably do you more harm than good, to be honest. At the same time, I'd be willing to call in my friends to speak with you and would leave their opinions up to them." Steve sighs, "The stain of what happened with Congresswoman Traverstein stripped a lot of the gold off my image, Mr. Bennet. There are a lot of people who were pretty happy when I left the League. Powerful people. Removing myself from that situation allowed a lot of healing to take place, but I'm not sure people would be willing to follow a politicized Captain America."

"Then I won't involve you. We'll keep your stance between ourselves and anyone you deem worthy of knowing it. At the absolute worst, perhaps I could convince your friends to steer clear of the battle I'm about to start. It'll make it easier to brawl without worrying about collateral. Make more of a battle about what us non-powered folks feel is best for us." Ford smiled, putting a hand on Steve's shoulder. "Perhaps you are right… or not. Maybe I'm being naive, but… well, you may not be a politician, but I'm neither superhero, nor a soldier. All I know is this: I'm grateful guys like you step in to fight the fights I can't. So, now, I'd like to return the favor, and fight a battle you might feel unable to fight."

Ford smiled before his face lit up a bit, as if he'd just recalled something. "Speaking of paybacks, this is a fundraiser for veterans… and you're about as veteran as it gets. So… if there is anything I can get you, or perhaps an old war buddy of yours, lemme know. Money's no good if you don't put it to good use, you know?"

"I appreciate your help," Steve says with a nod. "And I'll let my friends know to contact you and at least hear you out. Their decisions will be theirs, of course, but I imagine many of them will be on your side of this."

Steve chuckles, "Well, any donations made to the Vets programs here in the city, or to the Avengers group, would be gladly appreciated I'm sure." Funding has been a very tough issue for the team.

Ford smirked, before pulling out a check book and pen, opening it and jotting down in it. "Here, I have a more practical idea. Why don't I fill this out…" Ford slid his pen in the style that indicates his signature, before tearing it out and handing it to Steve… and the amount is blank. "…and you decide how much you think you'll need. If you can, try to keep it below 3 million… I hate to limit you like that, but if I'm going to be facing off with Knightwatch and Hazard, I'll need as much as I can spare." Offering the Captain one more handshake, he nods, before letting the hero get back to his stories and navigating the rest of the party… even though, mentally, he was miles away, planning and preparing.

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