War Room - It's getting hot in here! - Part 2

OOC: Joint Post

Sam quickly typed into the built-in keyboard in front of his space on the desk. The lights dimmed and a hologram was projected from the middle of the table; a nuclear warhead slowly spinning in place. He stood and put his hands on the table.

"Broken Arrow. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means a situation involving the stealing, losing, firing or detonating of a nuclear device. Coulson, my...handler, I suppose, informed me that this is what we are currently dealing with. He has not, as of yet, given me further details regarding specifics. I’m assuming he wants to know we’re interested before he gives up any more. He requested my input on who should be chosen to form a small strike team to move in quickly and handle the problem. I have given him my recommendations; that being Niko, T'Chantem and Erik, as well as myself for local oversight.”

Theo stuffed her knuckles into her mouth and started tapping her feet; it was the same incoherent beat that she’d used as a child waiting for the school bus and earlier today while waiting out front of the Sanctum. She was repeatedly smacking Niko's shoulder for some reason, looking like she was trying not to explode.

Niko snapped to attention out of a daze when he started getting hit.

Erik’s eyes went wide at the mention of his name as he looked over Sam, but then shifted to looking to Niko and T’Chantem for some kind of input. He didn’t say anything, but his face was one of shock, confusion and certainly plenty of concern.

“I understand your hesitation. Believe me, I do. But we are all here because we want to do good, to do right in this world. If they believe that we are the only ones who can handle this, then we owe it to them and ourselves to prove them right. And to save as many as we can. However, should anyone here simply feel that they do not want to be a part of this, know that you are not being forced in any way. I told them I would bring it to all of you as a team and let you decide for yourself. But I also told them that I’m personally in, regardless. So if I'm the only one willing to go, so be it. But I'm willing to bet I'm not." Sam sat back down as he scanned their faces, waiting for a response.

“What the hell, Sam! I’m locked out of the system!” Gwen waved her handheld device around like a broken flag. “I wonder why!? Also, why are you benching me ‘n Theo if we're a ‘Team’,” Gwen asked with air quotes, irritated at Sam being so presumptuous.

With the hand that was not crammed inside her own mouth damming the flow of unladylike retorts, Theo pointed emphatically at Gwen then smacked Niko's shoulder repeatedly.

Gwen continued. “Thanks for asking, by the way, if we even WANTED to work for SHIELD and volun-telling everyone instead! Love that! Not that I speak for ANYONE else but myself, but you just assume everyone is okay with it! That’s not leadership, that's just telling us how it’s going down and expecting us to nod obediently,” the teen pointed out. She didn’t like the idea of anything. She didn’t like being locked out of the system and she didn’t like the idea of being benched if she was part of the team. She wanted to pull her weight and she wanted a say, otherwise why was she even here? Gwen was going to be sidelined because Sam thought she couldn’t hack it! Hell no! “Either we’re a team or not so how about treating us LIKE teammates and not a squad of SHIELD operatives.”

Sam took a moment to respond. He expected an unhappy room, but for some reason, he thought if there was any time, now would be the time Gwen would be mature and handle herself like an adult. He knew where she was coming from, of course, but it didn’t make him feel any less disappointed.

"Gwen, I had absolutely no idea they took your access; that is unacceptable. HELEN, please send a message to my mother and Ms. Potts and tell them to return her access at once.

"Message sent." HELEN stated, though she sounded dubious.

"And I honestly feel like you haven't actually listened to me. I told them and all of you, no one is being forced to do anything. I simply gave a recommendation for a SMALL team, I'm not trying to 'bench' anyone. And most importantly, there's a NUCLEAR WEAPON at large. Can you truly blame me for wanting to help?

When it became clear that Sam was not going to look her in the eye - or even in her direction - and that he was either ignoring her or flat out unaware of her commendable restraint, Theo let go of what little she had left. “The fuck!!!” she blurted out, unable to hold her tongue any longer. For a moment the lights flickered, the table trembled, and a ripple ran the length of the room before going still. With an obvious effort at self-control, Theo smoothed the lapels of her jacket and continued. “Samuel James Rogers! You met with SHIELD behind my back and accepted a mission without consulting us and presented yourself as the leader or spokesperson for this team and had the nerve to sit Bird Shit on the way up here?”

“That’s what I said but she used ‘Fuck’ and I didn’t. That was more eloquent than how I put it though.” Gwen pointed out reaching out to high five Theo. Girl Power bitches.

"Am I really not being understood right now?" Sam looked around, puzzled.

“I heard you Sam. And I’m trying to understand you. SHIELD gave you a mission for a Broken Arrow. We all saw the movie. YOU recommended a small strike team from an already small pool of heroes. Which didn’t include Me ‘n Theo,” Gwen said, using her hands to explain. “Also why the sudden mission on a green, unproven group like us?” Gwen questioned. “15 years the world hasn’t seen a hint of heroic resurgence. Theo brings us together and suddenly SHIELD comes a calling with a mission involving a nuclear bomb?” He wanted to talk about the mission and not drafting them all without asking … fine. The mission reeked. You don’t send a green team led by a green leader for something like this!

“My team, Sam.” Theo seemed hung up on that. “Instead of shutting them down and insisting they speak to all of us, you accepted a mission from SHIELD. That’s sneaky, Sam. And now you graciously remind us that we aren’t being forced to participate? What about forbidden? What about excluded? What about usurper?!”

“Obviously if I knew why they needed us specifically, I would be able to tell you. But the fact remains that they need us and they asked for our help. And let’s not forget that not all of us are green. T’Chantem and myself have our experience in this kind of work. Gwen, I only left you out of the recommendation because I didn’t want you in this dangerous of a situation.” Sam looked over to the Prince. “Back me up here?”

"Whoa whoa, not so fast. SHIELD didn’t ask for our help. They asked for your help. Those… then they authorized you to assemble your own sub team from members of my team? Where do they get off? Where do you get off? There’s only six of us, Sam. Was that too many to fit on their team plane or something? You had to recommend that two of us remain behind?!” She waved her finger back and forth between her and her cousin. “I have been training with Niko since I was a little girl - more or less. Am I green, too, Sam?"

Erik certainly FELT green, though everyone else was already shouting and bringing up another point of conflict seemed like a crappy thing to do right now. Instead he kept a low profile under the shouting, sliding back into his chair and wishing he had some spare pym particles to get out of here. With luck they’d realize their mistake and pick someone else like Theo and Gwen and just leave him here so he wouldn’t hurt anyone.

“Theo, just look at your response. Why on earth would they come to you and ask you with your attitude like that? I truly want to know. Why, when finally being faced with an opportunity to save people and do some good, you are being so against helping? And YOU!” Sam turned his sharp gaze toward Gwen. “For all your talk about how MJ treats you like a child, you’re truly behaving like one! You need to take even 2 minutes and actually consider what I’ve just said. I already told all of you, no one is being made to do anything, they are ASKING for our help. I gave a RECOMMENDATION. And I told them, regardless of how the rest of you feel, I’M at least willing to help.”

Sam stood up and looked at everyone, with the exception of T’Chantem. “If you all can’t grow up and understand that cooperation and trust are the only way that we can do this, then there is no point in my being here. I don’t need to be apart of this to help people.” He quickly typed on his keyboard, shut off the hologram and brought the lights back up, “HELEN, message Coulson. Tell him I’m grabbing my gear and be ready for pick up in 20. Meeting adjourned.”

HELEN’s voice filled the room once more, “Message sent. Doors unlocked. Archive recording ceased.”

Sam stood up from the table. He looked like he was ready to walk away from it.

“Sam wait,” Theo jumped up too. “If the safety of the world is at stake, of course, we will help. That’s why I put this team together. Tell your friend at SHIELD we’re in; all of us. We’re not breaking up the band on our first mission. Before, when I was confused and unwell, you were offered leadership of the team. It’s okay, Niko. I know. Perhaps that was the right call, perhaps not. And I know you turned it down. Let’s not put that decision between us right now. When this is over, can we agree to have a conversation among ourselves, then with SHIELD, detailing the way this team operates?”

Sam stood in place for a moment to think, running through everything in his head. He slowly sat back down. “I believe in you. Every single one of you. I believe you have the heart and drive to really make a difference. Which is more than I can say for anyone else out there. Like it or not, we are all that each other has now. I’m not asking you all to trust SHIELD. I’m asking each of you to find trust in me. Something bad is going to happen and we have the chance to stop it. That’s all that should matter.”

Gwen watched the exchange between the two but for no shut her trap. At the moment she trusted Theo far more the Sam. At least Theo had ears and offered a level of mutual respect. Fact was Gwen wasn’t invited to be benched and marginalized.

“Lovely speech, Sam. I trust in us to see this done. And that means we’ll have to trust in SHIELD to some extent. HELEN, are you still in communication with ….” Theo looked at Sam, unable to remember the handler’s name.

“Coulson. HELEN, could you get him on the line please? We ALL need to speak with him.” Sam replied.

HELEN came back straight away. “That is unnecessary. Agent Coulson is approaching the main entry. Agent Coulson is approaching the War Room.”

“What? SHIELD has access to the building? Niko, when did this happen?” Theo reached down and yanked his AirPods out. “Dammit Niko, this is a Warm Meeting. When did SHIELD gain access to the facility?”

Niko scrambled to think up an answer, but not being able to, shrugged several times in response.

“I’m assuming whenever it was S.I. called them, which I’m assuming is when Happy showed up. Will you allow me to address him first briefly?” Sam looked across the table to Theo.

“Why would I do that, Sam? Coulson will either want to see that we’re unified, or he won’t care. And either way, I want to speak with him.”

“Trust, Theo. You asked me to give it to you as our leader and I’m asking you to give it to me now. Exactly because he has to know we are all unified.”

“I’m extending an allotment of trust to you, Sam. I’m capitulating. I’m doing the heroic thing here. Now it’s your turn to return the favor.”

To Be Continued

< Prev : War Room - It's getting hot in here! Next > : Some Assembly Required - Part 1