Icons of Liberty

February 04, 2017:

Captain America and Wonder Woman meet at the feet of Lady Liberty to reach a personal detente.

Liberty Island

From Wikipedia:

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City, in the United States. The copper statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel and dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Captain Marvel

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's night in New York City. The skyline is different, far different than it was when Steve Rogers first looked on it from the tallest building in New York… Which is no longer the tallest building in New York. But things change and Captain America must change with them.

It is for that reason, among many, that he has called this meeting.

When Rogers joined the Avengers, he had heard that the Justice League was once combined with them. Now, they are separate and that things between them were… complicated. Of course, Steve had heard a lot about various members of the Justice League and having respect for them and their work, decided to reach out. His hopes? To see what was true, what wasn't, and what he could do personally to help with the Justice League and life in general. With the time and location set, Cap is dressed in his usual uniform, though he has removed his helm/cowl to expose his face, perhaps to ensure full transparency and encourage honest communication. His shield rests on his back, more of a symbol than a readiness for battle. As the cool winds of winter whip his blond hair to and from, he waits for the Woman of the Hour to make her appearance.

***

Wonder Woman arrives from the north, through the city and across the water to the engaged meeting place. As always, she is in her own version of stars, stripes, and eagle's wings, her own shield on her back — though it goes with the sword at her hip and the always present lasso.

She lands lightly, descending along side Lady Liberty to touch down almost silently before the waiting, time-displaced soldier.

"Captain." She greets him with a formal nod, but a warm and open expression on her face. "Lovely evening, for this time of year." To her, really, it is. Fairly clear, after all, and she doesn't really feel the cold.

***

The head nod is returned after a moment's thought, his SHIELD training really not telling him how the Amazonian women do greetings… Bows, handshakes, the thing where you handshake but you clasp forearm. But the nod is what Cap does. "It's an honor to speak with you, Wonder Woman," he begins with a warm smile. "I understand that you must be a busy woman."

Calmly, Steve clasps his hands behind his back as he widens the distance between his feet, his 'at ease' when in a business meeting that of the standard military stance. "I was just hoping to talk to you about a few things here and there. Just wanted to get to know you a little better, see if there was anything I could do to help you and the Justice League out, as well as hopefully figure out a way that we can have the Avengers and Justice League have a synergy despite being different groups… But all that could wait if you had stuff you wished to discuss first."

Seems like Captain America doesn't plan on wasting much time on small talk.

***

Wonder Woman shakes her head simply and gestures lightly that he is welcome to continue. "No, by all means. That sounds like an interesting topic of conversation in and of itself." Too, given the recent history of the League with the DEO and, to a far lesser extent, SHIELD, she's more than willing to hear him out before she decides how much involvement the Justice League and Avengers may suit. "I have learned to make time for such things. Saving the world is of limited utility, when you cease to be connected to it."

"Thank you," Steve replies, a bastion of respect and manners. He decides to move about, perhaps to properly channel the slightly nervous energy he feels. With tender foot falls, he walks upon ground almost as sacred to a church to him, that of an important American landmark.

"I had heard from Captain Marvel that things were not as well as they could be between the Justice League and the Avengers. I might have misheard or misconstrued what she said, so I figured I'd reach out to you and hear your thoughts on how things are with the Justice League, the Avengers, and how they've interacted in the past." The Star-Spangled Man with a Plan walks on the edge of the head, looking out at the city, which seems to be a flood with lights. "After all, considering how little I know, I'm counting on the insight of others to figure out a solution that's best for everyone." A glance is given toward Diana, his blue eyes sparkling with concern. "I might not be leading the Avengers, but I felt like I needed to know for myself and if there was something I could do… Do it."

***

Diana can respect that, can respect him. She knows of his reputation. Indeed, her mother spent time in Man's World during World War II, too. So, she's heard stories, even if the pair never interacted. "I helped found the Justice League years ago, along with Superman and Batman. We worked closely with the Avengers at one time, but our… mandates, for lack of a better term, diverged. The Avengers' association with SHIELD in several instances made them tools of the government in ways that were not transparent or always in complete service to Truth and Justice." Her tone is neutral as she says that, more like she's simply relaying the happenings in a story rather than passing any sort of judgment. "Having said that, the Justice League also fell away from its original purpose. So, please don't think I'm passing blame or judgment. I am not. We've all made mistakes, myself included. I recently chose to revive and reform the League, separating us entirely from government influence and control in order to avoid undue pressure from outside agendas. The challenge for us moving forward is going to upholding the public trust, fulfilling our goal of standing for Truth, Justice, and the Defense of All Peoples on Earth without compromising ourselves in the process. I don't pretend it is going to be easy. We struggle daily with maintaining integrity when with would be so much easier to use many of the tactics the enemies we often face use."

She does, after all, have access to one of the most skilled hackers on the planet, in the person of Oracle, as well as the strength and resources of men like Superman, Batman, Ozymandias and others. It would be too easy to go all black ops on things. But that goes against all she stands for.

"I, for one, believe we should work together with other champions and heroes — The Avengers, The Titans, whomever — providing we can work together and neither of us are compromised in the process."

She gives a wry smile, now. "I don't know about you, but I know one of the things we must be ever vigilant about is that we are not seen as lawless or 'above the law' in our actions, but rather acting with purpose and the best interests of all at heart."

***

As Wonder Woman speaks, Captain America listens, watching her with rapt attention. His gaze rarely leaves her own, as if lingering there with enough attention to show he is listening. He seems to have almost a sixth sense when to look away or the like, but in the end, it's only Cap's empathy, what he would claim is one of the more important traits a superhero can show. And it seems from this conversation, he is not alone in that. The only change in his caring expression is a slight wince in the mention of 'Tool of the government', the wording clearly a little troubling, but nothing that puts him on the defensive.

Oddly, Steve is silent for awhile. It's clear what he's doing though, thinking and considering his words carefully in the light of Diana's explanation. "As expected from what I heard about Amazonians: a lot of wisdom and thought shines in your words," Rogers begins when he finally speaks. "And it's true, there are a lot of concerns that I have in working for the governments of the world, such as the UN. There can be corruption in any government, ours included. It would make sense that those like yourself, used to a form of leadership outside of the UN, would prefer to be removed from it."

A half beat of silence goes before Steve continues. "It makes sense for the split to occur. There are a lot of heroes that might not be able to easily be under world governments or have their concerns about being under their authority. As long as they aren't working against governments themselves, I don't have an issue with such. It seems you understand and respect this as well, so I'm glad that we're rather aligned with that regard. I'm almost certain that Captain Marvel and Iron Lad are of the same mind as well."

A glance is given toward the water, Rogers eyes looking toward a ship which passes with slight interest. Once he's sure it's just a normal ship and not some escaping criminal, he looks back toward Diana, his smile small but warm. "I think for all of us to be at our best, delectating, trust, and open communication are going to be vital. There are going to be a lot of people who would love for us to be at each other's throats, so it's critical we talk things out, be checks and balances for ourselves, and knowing which team is the best for certain matters… When we are afforded the luxuries to plan things out like that."

***

"Indeed," Diana agrees, with a light chuckle at the word 'luxury'. There's a lot of truth in that. She nods, then. "I don't know Iron Lad well, though he was instrumental in helping us defeat the NuHuman calling himself Atomico some weeks back. I appreciated that aid." Her own gaze goes to the ship, and then further to the lights beyond. Superman may hold Metropolis, and Batman hunts Gotham. But, New York is where she spends her time when she's not abroad with League, UN, or Amazon business.

"Captain Marvel may be a vital link between our two teams. However, I would urge you to feel free to reach out to me directly anytime you wish or believe it's especially warranted. You're right. Communication will be vital, if we are avoid misunderstandings."

And she's no fool. She knows there are forces out there that'd love to pit the various meta teams against each other.

"Actually, Captain, it occurs to me you and the Avengers may be of some aid to us, right now. I assume, since SHIELD is active in patrolling the perimeter of several Terrigen Mist fields around the world, that you're aware of that threat — if only peripherally?"

***

A nod of agreement is given when discussing mutual acquaintances. "Captain Marvel is indeed a vital link." There is something that causes him to be rather thoughtful for a second, but for the time being, he doesn't really say anything of it. There is a lot of ground to cover and for whatever reason; Steve keeps a thought to himself.

As the topic of the Terrigen Mists are discussed, Rogers nods. "I'm aware that these mists have caused a high level of metahumans to come about. Seems somewhat similar to the Mutant situation, albeit a bit more? dramatic," he recalls, rubbing his cheek to suggest he's not entirely sure he's on the right track.

***

Diana's head cants briefly to one side, as she considers that assessment. "That's one way of putting it," she says with a smile. "I'm going to tell you, because I don't actually think it's a secret from SHIELD," Or probably even her enemies, "that the League is actively investigating both the DEO and Cadmus Labs regarding their recent collections of several cocoons encasing victims of the mists. We have reason to suspect they're engaged in more than just their publicly acknowledged government mandate to seek a cure for the mutagenic effects of the mists. I can respect the DEO's purpose — to ensure the security of the nation against extranormal threats. Gods know there are too many to count out there." And it's not lost on her that both the League and the Avengers could be considered among those threats in some circles. "But, I can't condone the possibility that they are conducting human experiments, even if those experiments are conducted on clones." Clones still have no legal rights, she knows. It's a problematic area of legislation. She's sat in on enough UN discussions to know that.

***

A brow is arched as Diana offers the explanation on current events. It's clear that he's appreciative, listening closely and clearly reserving judgment on Diana's take on both the DEO and the experimentation on clones.

"I've interacted somewhat with the DEO, but not much. As for the clone experimentation, I haven't had too much time to research the issue, so not sure my exact stance. But it will be something I read up on for sure." As Captain America sees that there are matters he needs to be aware of, the process is clear. Be informed, get information, and come to a conclusion based on the information presented based on personal values. It's supposed to be how America does things, so Rogers does everything he can to show that.

As he considers, Cap does observe one thing. "While I'm thankful for what you're telling me, we haven't gotten to what you'd like the Avengers to do for you. I take it you wish us to do something involving the investigation of the DEO?"

***

"Not directly," Diana says. "I don't want to put you into a conflict of interest, given the Avenger's association with SHIELD." And the fact that SHIELD and the DEO tend to duke it out over jurisdictional priorities in America. "But, if we do find concrete evidence to support our concerns and feel that we need to move to rectify the situation, I'd appreciate it if you'd at least examine that evidence and consider coming to our aid if we require it — and if it doesn't compromise your own mandate."

***

There is a long pause as the request is considered. As before, it's thought over, the unspoken mulling going over all Wonder Woman's wishes would entail. "While it's something that will likely require conversation with Captain Marvel, I can say that personally, if they are breaking laws, as long as you are willing to come to us with the information, I can see what I can do to pull strings on SHIELD's part," Steve states as his eyes meet Diana's. "It'll have to be evidence that can stand up in a court of law. If not, it could easily look like you are trying to supersede the national and international courts and could easily what some in SHIELD would call a kerfuffle that the Avengers might be called into look into."

A kerfuffle is serious business in SHIELD apparently.

***

Diana nods to that, giving a small smile that conveys her understanding of both what's said and what's left unsaid. She knows fully well the politics at play here and appreciates the integrity in his caution. Indeed, she shares it, in her own way. "That is fair," she agrees. "The only way, I believe at this moment, that we would move in without upholdable evidence is if we had clear evidence of imminent threat to life and limb that will not brook any delay. In such a case, however, I would expect that we'd be on our own for such a unilateral decision." And she can absolutely live with that.

***

As Diana speaks with grace and tact on the matter, Rogers smiles. "Well, all that said, hopefully, it won't come to that. If it does, you have an understanding of what you'll need to do." While the honored war hero is a forthright and honest man, he does understand the need to do the right thing. For now, this is the best he can do considering the sitaution.

As a frigid blast of air moves across, Steve lets it howl into silence before he goes on once more.

"Well, I think we've touched on what we need to for my needs," Cap admits. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

***

The wind whips up Diana's hair. Aside from tucking a couple of strands behind an ear, however, she ignores the gust, well familiar with strong winds from her island childhood. "Not at this moment, Captain," the princess replies. "It is enough to know that we can be friends and not intentionally work at cross purposes. I know what you stand for, and I respect it greatly. We are not so different in that regard." Both paladins, after a fashion.

"I should look forward to our paths crossing again in the future."

***

"I agree. In these day and age, always nice to meet someone who has the same beliefs you do. If you ever need to contact me personally, here's my card, though I'm sure you just have Captain Marvel to speak with should you need the Avengers," he points out. Leave it to Cap to actually have a business card with contact information.

Once the card is pulled out from the belt of many pouches and given toward the powerful woman, Rogers continues. "As expected, it was a please and an honor to speak with you, Wonder Woman. Hopefully we'll have the chance to work together in future." That said, Steve takes a step back with a final smile and a nod, understanding that Diana won't be leaving down the stairs like he will.

***

No. Diana greatly appreciates the gift of flight she has been given. Particularly at speed. It allows her to get more done, really. As it is, however, she inclines her head to him and slips the card into her own belt. (Because… pockets. Maybe she should invest in pockets.) Then, she offers her hand in friendship before she prepares to leave. "You can always reach me through the embassy or the Hall of Justice, Captain. Please do, should you ever wish." With that, she takes to the sky and returns to her duties.

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