What if Unicorns Attack

August 01, 2016:

Falcon and Iron Guard are received by Nick Fury to talk about the new Avengers

The Triskelion

The Headquarters, Armory and Fortress of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics division is, for the most part, an unassailable tower in the midst of the diplomatic sprawl that is Midtown East. The primary intelligence clearing houses and most of SHIELD's senior leadership are all housed hear, along with a veritable army of agents and staff to keep the place running, the world spinning and the weirdness at bay.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Captain Marvel

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Even with the Black Widow recommendations it has taken a few days to arrange for the interview with Nick Fury. Busy man, although Nathaniel can’t avoid thinking he might have been waiting for the DEO to hit the Justice League.

He might have done the same in his shoes. How many UN countries are outraged by the US actions and yet keep quiet to avoid diplomatic incidents? Wouldn’t it be fun to know? Yes, for Nate it would.

On the other hand Nathaniel expected to be received in an office. But instead the junior agent that was waiting for them at the lobby has taken Sam and him deeper into the labyrinthic halls of Triskelion.


The Director of SHIELD has been under the gun these days especially in regards to the DEO and their work in US territory, which strikes a cord when he considers himself very much a patriot. The times are what they are. He isn't so much as taking Falcon and Nathaniel deeper in to the halls of the Triskelion as far as leading them through a confusing network of inner halls, small offices and the janitors wing on out through a service door where the green grounds overlooking the Hudson River await.

The walk is a quiet one, not a word spoken by the man in black until he gets outside and then a deep inhale overcomes him, "Much better." He remarks before the fresh air is now being filled with cigar scent and smoke.

" Bolivar Belicoso Fino, either of you want one?" How kind. A first. That is likely because Nick imagines they'll decline, folks always do.


Sam, for his part, doesn't seem too perturbed by their journey through the innards of the building. He has worked with SHIELD long enough to see much more sensitive — and much scarier — facilities under their direction. Born to reconnaissance, he's got an excellent sense of direction that doesn't hurt, either.

Once back in the open air, though, he does feel almost as though another sense is coming back online. The lifestyle some seabirds manage to scrape from the Hudson isn't glamorous, but it is something he has studied and can predict. Sam Wilson is a lot harder to sneak up on in the open air than in an underground warren.

He holds up a hand to decline the cigar. "No thanks, sir. Gotta keep my lungs in good shape for all that flapping."


A cigar? Tempting. But today is not a good time to try new vices, “no, thank you director.” Nathaniel came wearing his armor, but now he takes off the helmet so Fury can see his face. “It is an honor to meet you, sir. And I thank you for this interview. Should I assume Black Widow told you all the details of our interview or do you want me to present my proposal to you from scratch?”


Falcon gets a deep surprising chuckle from Fury before the man's demeanor changes just slightly, going a tad darker his attention and stern gazing shifting to Nathaniel.
"I got plenty in writing. I want to hear it from you though I don't know you and my kneejerk reaction says I shouldn't like you. So, by all means, Mr. Richards, enlighten me and make me like you and your proposal." A part of that cigar is spit out, towards the rivers below. "Go ahead."


The flapping jokes are a pretty reliable way to lighten any mood. Sam has a few of them on tap for whenever they're necessary. That said, this is largely Nathaniel's show, and having set a positive tone, Wilson is happy to play wingman while the averred time traveler takes the lead. He crosses his arms and leans back, watching the interplay between the other two. He'll jump in any time he thinks he has something useful to add.


Ouch. Still, Nathaniel keeps a neutral expression. “Well, sir. I was born in the future. A possible future. In the history record of my age there is a… crisis in a few years. A limited world war in which the current political order changes radically and the current, and mostly democratic nation-states, are replaced by authoritarian police states controlled by corporations. Millions and killed, and many more die the next few decades due to infighting between the corporations and the systematic despoiling of natural resources of the planet. This rather bleak scenario was confirmed by other time travelers I have met in the past few months. Time travelers not necessarily coming from the same time line, mind you.” He emphasizes that point because it means the corporate takeover is not just one possibility, but the statistically dominant future.

Nathaniel then adds, “I am made a predictive sociological model. Using a branch of sociology that does not exist yet called psycho-history. The results were pretty depressing, the corporate takeover occurs with an 88% probability and almost all the alternatives are worse. I am living here, and I want something better for Earth. So I am offering my services to SHIELD to make sure you can stop this disaster. I can help you quickly upgrade your technology so no one, no Hydra, no AIM or the worse enemies you will face in the next years can match SHIELD. As part of this plan, I want the Avengers reformed and operational with SHIELD’s backing.”


Fury's hard stare doesn't loosen up any, "You throw this time travel garbage around rather freely don't you?" A puff of smoke escapes the Director, "My concern isn't so much the far flung future of Marty McFly so much as the here and damned now. Emphasis on the damned, you know what we're going through right now? World is a chaotic mess and we're busy shoved nose deep in politics. My hands are largely tied Mister Richards, you're barking up a tree that doesn't have a lot of leafs left on it." A thoughtful noise escapes Fury as he lets out another puff.
"So maybe I am to help you out, why would I trust you? Why should I place anything SHIELD in your hands?" A shift of his eyes towards Falcon, "Bout you, you trust this guy? Widow's reports seem to state he's a possible asset but at times. I just gotta wonder what other people see that I don't."


"I think it's more a concern of leadership than one of the group existing," Sam puts in, keeping his arms folded. "As it stands, the Avengers are an emergency task force for when the JLA and SHIELD are too caught up in red tape to respond. Assemble for the crisis, go our separate ways when we're not needed. The minuteman model." He indicates Iron Guard with a flick of his chin. "He's saying we're better off as a standing force."

Fury's question elicits a thoughtful pause from the medic. Giving Nathaniel a slightly apologetic look — slightly — Sam offers his honest opinion: "I don't know that I buy into the whole 'scattered showers with an 88 percent chance of fascism' thing. I'm definitely not convinced he's a time traveler, although I've seen weird enough shit not to dismiss it immediately." He shrugs and continues, "In terms of what he's asking, though? Organizationally, it's at least an option worth considering. I don't know how we finagle it without losing the Avengers' independent, outsider status, though."


Yes, I am aware of the current political upheaval,” states Nathaniel. “At least in as much as I can data mining open sources.” Trust him? Fury shouldn’t blindly trust him. “Trust, well, trust might come in time. There are still two or three years before the situation becomes irreversible. But I should point out the Justice League has been crippled, and that the political pressure to take absurd measures against super-humans is going to increase unless something changes the public perception. You should know better than me from where all the political pressure and hostile newsreports are coming, director. Large, organized super-teams supporting the status quo are a threat for certain people. The same people that would prefer SHIELD disgraced and disbanded.”


"Your best chances are to remain independent. Years ago I wanted the Avengers Initiative to happen, I helped work things out with the Justice League to combine forces, we came under heavy fire. Not just the League but SHIELD as well. You're asking me to repeat that." Both arms fold over Fury's chest and he munches the end of his cigar, "Not doing it. Not fully. You got Widow and Falcon assisting you, I trust them. Not you."

But, call me a sucker, I'm curious and I'll play a long a little with this team you're trying to assemble. You will by no means be an official SHIELD team, we are out of the business on that nonsense. But… contract work, we can do that, independent contractors, I'll even sign off on some of your overseas adventures if it's feasible but full time duty and sponsorship, nope."

A finger lifts and points at Falcon, "This will be on you and Widow's collective asses if anything goes sideways. I got enough white collared grub nosed political dipshits breathing down my neck right now I can't afford to play Nana Fury right now. I won't be wiping no ones backsides, especially people I don't know or like the looks of. You catch me?"
"Shit goes south, you're on your own."

A noise comes out of the tall man and he turns around looking at the river and the bay beyond. "Widow says you need transports, maybe gear. We have some prototypes that never went anywhere and a buncha stuff that was declared obsolete we can lend you, think it was some Hammer Industries Stark knock offs. I'll write it off. You do what you can with it nobody gonna miss it, its just collecting dust. I want it scrubbed of SHIELD involvement, you only call us if you need backup and its LEGAL in whatever country or you got no other choice and shit is real."


Sam raises his eyebrows slightly. All things considered, that's a lot more than he expected from Fury with so little contention. Seems the Director has retained his soft spot for the Avengers Initiative, even after all that has transpired since it was just a glimmer in his good eye.
"We can work with that," he says, unfolding his arms and placing his hands at his waist. "I'll absolutely sign off for most of the existing team members. With the right equipment and an organizational structure, I think we can sustain the group the next time it assembles." Yeah, he's leaning into the catchphrase. Sue him.

He glances over at Nathaniel. "If that's sufficient for your computers…?"


Nathaniel keeps his poker face, mostly. He is somewhat surprised by the offer, which is very generous but not what he wanted. “I did not expect you to want us totally independent, Director,” he admits. “But… yes, it is a good start. We can build on it. Although I do believe is critical during the next years SHIELD becomes much stronger than it is now.” Or maybe he might be able to find alternatives if Fury is dead set to keep his organization distant from super-human groups.

He turns to Falcon, “are you willing to take the position of field leader? We should make it elective once the Avengers are up and running, but right now, and for a few months I believe you are more than qualified.”


Now Wilson's eyebrows climb to their full possible height. "You want me as field leader?" he asks incredulously. He knew that Richards wanted to put his connections and his experience with the team to use, but the possibility that the Iron Guard had something like this in mind hadn't even occurred to him. He'd never sought out a leadership position, on any of the superhero teams he joined.
Steve would probably say that made him more qualified for leadership, of course, but Steve is nothing if not a cheeseball.

"I — uh — I mean, I guess," the flier answers, stammering out his acceptance in the exact opposite of leaderly fashion and turning a questioning look on Fury. "I mean, if that's alright."


"SHIELD isn't your concern, it's mine. Your concern right now is impressing me, fighting your future of -what if Unicorns- attack, keeping your noses clean and learning to handle a team like the one you're about to form. You'll have your work cut out for you." There is a look towards Falcon, both brows rise up, "Is that alright? You tell me, son. You're an Avenger again." The cigar is put out, tucked in a small case and his hands are thrust in to his long coats pockets.
"Good luck and see yourselves off my lawn." That is mainly for Nathaniel's benefit. Falcon has a right to be here. No more words and the Director is exit stage left.


“It is you or Captain Marvel, man,” comments Nathaniel. “Well, I suppose the Widow could do it too, but I strongly suspect she will not want to.” They should also talk about his choices for recruits. A list Nathaniel was going to pass by Fury, but apparently won’t be necessary. Bonus. “Lets see that junkyard, shall we?” Engineer curiosity.

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