Some Assembly Required - Part 1

OOC: Joint Post

Sam quietly said, “I understand,” as the door began to open.

Gwen tried not to snort as she wondered how he planned on getting out of the room with the size of his swollen head.

The sound of John Coulson’s shoes echoed through the compound as he made his way to the war room. Though he wore an ID badge, his biometric info was already in the system and doors he needed to access simply unlocked for the SHIELD operative, as they did for the rest of the team, until he found himself in what was colloquially called The War room. It was true this meeting didn’t need to happen, he could have easily holo-visited the room, but this was his first meet with the entire team, and Coulson, like his father, had a penchant to trust his gut in regards to people. Plus, his skeptic nature led to the belief that Sharon Carter might be a bit biased, which was a normal reaction regarding one’s own child.

Without skipping a beat he headed to the center of the room placing his silver briefcase on the table and made short work of introducing himself. “First, SHIELD thanks you all for being here. I’m Agent John Coulson; Special Interest Division; and from your files, I know who you all are. It was a pleasure to meet with some of your parents when I was younger. I know most of them would wish that you didn’t find yourselves in this situation, but in their absence, I again thank you for coming.”

Sam stood up and walked towards Coulson, his hand extended for a greeting. “I’m glad you made it, Coulson. Before you continue however, there is something I would like to say to you, in front of everyone here, if you’ll permit me.”

“First Amendment rule is in effect, last time I checked,” Coulson said with a chuckle. Government humor.

“I’m glad. Because what I want to say is this; when we first spoke, I made a recommendation of a small strike team consisting of Erik, T’Chantem, Niko and myself. I excluded Gwen from the recommendation because I didn’t want to be responsible for someone so young being in that high level of danger. And I left Theo out because I was worried that she would not understand the gravity of the situation and not handle herself accordingly. But I was wrong on both counts. Gwen has just as much right to be there with us as anyone. And Theo has shown me that she is willing to put the small things aside and help when it counts. So I would like to apologize to both of you.” he turned to look at them, then returned his attention to Coulson. “And it is my new recommendation that this team be deployed as a whole unit or not at all. The only way this works is if we can all watch each other’s backs.”

“Hi there, Agent Coulson,” Theo held out her knuckle for a fist bump. It was red and had large bite marks marring the skin. “I’m Theo Maximoff, the Leader of this team, but we only handle the heavy stuff. We don’t worry about the smaller things. Such as Samuel Rogers agreeing to let you and I speak together first. Those sorts of things aren’t critical so he pays them no mind. But now that we have you here, was there some world saving you need doing?”

Gwen had a hand dragging across her face. Sam just mowed Theo over after saying he would let her get the first word in. As such the attempt of trying to get back into their good graces fell flat.

Coulson wasn’t sure what to make of the tension, or the sudden revelation that the mission SHIELD carefully planned for four was now going to increase to six. He tentatively fist-bumped Theo. “SHIELD isn’t exactly a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants organization. Do you have a proposal for the additional two team members?”

Theo pulled Niko’s AirPods out - again - then sat back down. “When you say proposal - do you mean the kind where we come up with a plan, but have to run it past you before it can be approved? Or do you mean the kind where we just tell you what we’re going to do and SHIELD only steps in to accommodate our needs? Because I much prefer the second way.”

Niko snarled his lip, eyeing his airpods on the table until his cousin dropped them into her pocket, causing the speedster to scowl. He quickly brightened when Theo replaced them with a baggie of almonds, which would make him less fidgety while Coulson spoke.

“Right now, Ms. Maximoff, I’d be willing to do either. We’re dealing with a situation which could use your --” he chose his next words carefully. Kind could be taken offensively. “--team’s skill set. As I mentioned to Mr. Rogers, we’re dealing with a Broken Arrow. This needs to be handled quickly and quietly before it gets out of hand.”

“You say Broken Arrow but there are six classifications of Broken Arrow and only 32 incidents have been officially recognized. Including the last one in which 30 nuclear warheads were put on the wrong plane and left on the tarmac for 36 hours before anyone noticed,” Gwen stated.

“You’ve really done your homework. For my reference, are you always like this?” Agent John Coulson asked the teen, raising his eyebrows. “Asking for potential future projects.” He made a notation in a small notebook he was carrying in the inner breast pocket of his suit coat.

“Like what? It’s all public information.” Gwen blinked, peeking over her phone.

Coulson wrote something else in his notebook.

“Fantastic, we’ll do the second one. Gwen, can you find me a picture of a nuclear arrow - intact preferably.” Theo waved in the general area of the table’s center where the holographic display had appeared earlier. “Agent Coulson, where was the arrow last seen and was it known to be in motion at the time?”

“I’m sorry,” Coulson apologized. “This isn’t your typical Broken Arrow; you won’t find a reference on Wiki. We’re talking about this.” He laid open a file on the table, displaying a teenaged boy with dark, shaggy brown hair and vibrant light blue eyes. “This is David Bruce Banner, Jr. He’s our broken arrow.”

Theo stood up to get a better look at the image of Jr. Arrow. “I’m not familiar with Wiki, but it sounds like Wiccan and that is in a Witch’s wheelhouse so… What’s broken with this kid? Did he steal some nuclear material?”

“He is the nuclear material, so to speak. Up until a week ago, David was living in a special housing complex outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming.”

Sitting up in his seat, Erik looked over the files with a growing scowl as he saw the photos and info, "He's just a kid…"

"From Jackson Hole, Wyoming?" Niko looked up. "Poor kid."

“He’s radioactive, I knew it! I called it, Niko. You can tell by the hair. Just look at it; dank and gloomy curls. Not healthy and flowing like Siggr’s.” And Theo took a moment to share a muffled snicker with her cousin. “Sorry Thorson, I really do adore you.” Her eyes lingered just a tad too long. Erik gave a sideways glance to Theo but it was one of wariness rather than acknowledgment. Niko kicked her under the table. “Okay, serious face. Agent Coulson - may we call you Coulson or do you prefer Johnny?”

"Either is fine, Ms. Maximoff." Yep, he was a Coulson; so smooth and polite.

Theo put her hands on her hips in an authoritative pose. “Sam, please look through the file and tell us what we’re missing here. Coulson, has this kid been missing for an entire week? He could be anywhere by now. Gwen, do your on the net abracadabra; see if this kid has a mobile phone or something you can stalk. Oh, check those chat servers where creeps go to find little kids.”

Behind her, Niko signaled emphatically NOT to do that last part. The thought that all this was first level stuff any SHIELD agent would have already done, well that didn’t occur to Theo.

Sam took the file, while looking at Theo with slight disdain. He skimmed it over at a glance and looked up at Coulson, “Please continue. What do we know?”

“We know that he disappeared a week ago. We’ve tagged all of his online and video game friends and haven’t found a single clue; gamma scans all come back negative. The only other unusual activity - he’s been watching one particular video frequently in the week leading up to his disappearance.” Coulson cued up a video on a holoscreen in the center of the room.

“You’ve had fifteen years without mutants, superheroes or the villains. And now the children of those done and gone heroes are grown up or growing up. We’re here to stake a flag of peace and set a banner for those progeny. I am the daughter of the most powerful wielders of magic this planet has ever witnessed. I can do things you can’t even imagine and I know things you will never know. The threat is coming. My father traveled through space and time to warn me of the troubles to come. He warned the Avengers against Thanos and their inevitable defeat. I see things the rest of the world will never see. I see things right now. You think I am naive because I wish to save your life. Perhaps I should save everyone else and spare you the indignity of being shielded by a naive girl from Sokovia. Fuck your parade, Bailey Bishop. I’m not crazy!”

"My hair looks amazing!" Theo admired her image in the recording. "That's the day we rescued Birdy from Bailey Bishop. That basic bitch."

Niko was happy he wore a shirt that showcased his abs that day, and Birdy really had done amazing work with his hair. The speedster let a cocky smile cross his face.

“Me-ow!” Gwen said with a snicker, indicating Theo's hostility to Bailey Bishop.

"Oops, sorry Gwen. I only meant that she and I have fundamental disagreements regarding - everything. But that's no excuse to call her a bitch. Please don't tell your mother."

Sam sat back in his seat and put the file on the table in front of him. He thought a moment while Theo and Gwen were going back and forth, then finally cut through their dialogue. "Just eliminating possibilities, but have we scanned his dad's old hiding spots? Dr. Banner spent a lot of his free time trying to avoid SHIELD’s radar. It wouldn't surprise me if he gave David some hiding tips in case he ever had to do the same."

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