Some Assembly Required - Part 2

OOC: Joint Post

“Excellent line of thought. We’ve checked all of the senior Banner’s known locations in the vicinity,” Coulson replied. “David just turned sixteen however, so it was unlikely his father would have had much time before ‘the incident’ to speak with his son. Coupled with the fact that he has no real access to money that we know of, it’s likely that wherever he is, he is traveling by foot or possibly hitchhiking. The point is that he doesn’t want to be found, and if I may be candid, we’re not exactly sure what condition he’d be in if we did find him. This is why we moved forward with contacting you regarding it. If the young Mr. Banner is anything like his father, then we have a potentially catastrophic situation on our hands. We’d like to handle this as delicately as possible, seeing as we’re not sure how populated an area he may be hiding in.”

“So David Banner has been off the grid for one week and that’s after being under SHIELD’s tight watch for sixteen years.” Theo gave Coulson a look to say she did not approve of such close scrutiny. “The timing of our interview with Bailey Bishop and the fact that David has been watching its video many times can only mean two things. He’s suddenly decided to head to New York to confront the Channel 4 NBC Action News Team. The 4:00 PM anchor may be in danger, so we should go to his house and secure the scene. Fortunately his wife is out of town this weekend. Or, we’ve made David angry by bringing attention to the progeny and he’s on his way to New York to clobber my ta-tas and Niko’s grapes. Either way, he’d be coming to us, right?”

"Whether we're assuming he's coming for us or for the reporter, we need to attract his attention before he gets to a populated area. If talking to him doesn't work, we don't want anyone else in the line of fire when we comes at us." Sam added.

"Line of..he's a sixteen year old," Erik interjected, sitting up in his chair. "He's been living under surveillance and clearly still being treated like a nuclear weapon. No wonder he wants out." He began to count himself doubly lucky that his mom had stopped her work with SHIELD. "Can we please just treat him like a regular missing kid and not some 'broken arrow', end of days thing?" As he finished he realized everyone was looking at him and settled back in his chair. To be fair, Theo was often looking at Thorson. "I'm just...I'm just saying if he's as big of a threat as you think he is he's probably scared too."

“Let’s try to keep our emotions in check,” T’Chantem warned, the last thing he wanted was another round of rising tensions amongst super-powered individuals and an agent of SHIELD. “However, it’s not entirely clear to me what you want us to do. We find David, and then what? What exactly are we trying to talk to him about? Convincing him to voluntarily return to his special housing under SHIELD’s watch is highly unlikely to be successful,” T’Chantem chimed in, before picking up and flipping through the file.

“Isn’t it obvious,” Theo asked. “We recruit David Banner to the team.”

“The safest place for David for the time being is with SHIELD. It’s our hope that since all of you are enhanced, you could relate to him and convince him that it’s the right thing to do.”

Yeah, that wasn’t in line with Theo’s thinking at all. Apprehending David Banner and wedging him back in under SHIELD’s thumb was not what she had in mind. But she’d keep that to herself for now. She just smiled, laced her fingers together and nodded like she’d been shown to do during school assemblies.

“I have to agree with Eric; this is a person, not a weapon and I can’t blame him for wanting to leave since he was there on the off chance he might be like his father. What? He didn’t have any other family?” Gwen said critically. “Did you think maybe he’s coming to join us? Or come to us for protection from SHIELD? I know that’s what I would do. I think we should give it to him,” She stated. Gwen was not going to be party to taking away someone's rights because of a ‘might’. Sam's seemingly blind trust of SHIELD was disconcerting! The jump that a 16 year old boy was dangerous just because of who his dad was without evidence of actual transformation was deeply disturbing to the young teen. After all that could have been her … and that WAS her father during HIS teenage years.

“I understand your concerns.” Coulson replied, keeping his tone even and polite. “Please understand that there is no easy answer in this case, and that we’re just as concerned for David as all of you are.” He waved the slide on the holo projector to show the next few pictures of the SHIELD compound, which looked like a sprawling mansion on a huge gated property. It boasted snowboarding slopes, indoor / outdoor swimming pools and a small go-kart track. “David’s mother passed during childbirth,” He further went on to explain. “Her body wasn’t equipped to handle the gamma radiation that the fetus was generating. She died six months into her pregnancy. David luckily survived. His only other known relative,” he swiped the air again, causing the picture to change. “Was his father, Bruce. Once he and the others disappeared, David would have been put into the foster care system because frankly we weren’t sure when, or if any of them were coming back.” Coulson removed a bottle of water from his suitcase.

‘Ooh I should have offered Coulson some water. That’s what a leader should do. I’ll put that in my almanac.’ Theo was making mental notes, but part of her was listening. Part of her was also crazy.

Coulson took a sip before continuing. “That’s when SHIELD stepped in. The compound was designed with David in mind, and he did show higher spikes in gamma rays at certain times of duress, spikes which only increased throughout adolescence. SHIELD has a responsibility not just to David, but to the people it protects. How would you explain to the parents of a third grade class decimated that you were willing to take that risk on the chance that it may not happen? What parent would want to roll those dice? So while I do commend you for wanting what’s best for David, please know that’s what we want as well. I’ve met with him, several times, and I assure you,” he turned his focus to Erik. “He wouldn’t want to risk inflicting that level of uncontrollable violence on others. If someone comes into this country with the possibility that they’ve contracted ebola, they’d be quarantined as a precaution. Regardless if you feel this is right or wrong, this is the only precautionary measure we have.”

“So basically your saying you put him in the nicests cage possibly and his human rights are second to everyone else because of his father and what he ‘might’ do. What is this Minority Report?” Gwen said with an arched eyebrow and crossed arms.

“I see your point, and while I agree that it would have been far kinder to let him grow up in the juvenile foster-care system shuffled from home to home, young Mr. Banner has the same rights as any other underage minor. In two years, when he reaches legal age, he’s free to make his own decisions regarding his comings and goings, as well as his own living arrangements.”

“Nice.” Smirked Gwen. “So, you got a Cowardly Lion and a Tinman to accompany your Strawman Argument to OZ?”

“I don’t quite remember the movie.” Coulson replied. “Which one represented empathy?”

“Glenda the Good - a Witch I might add - she was the voice of empathy. So I will follow the instructions laid out for us in the Book of Oz. We’ll intercept David Banner, offer him a churro and cold beverage, find out why he’s come all this way and make sure he is returned to the safe, yet artificial facility constructed to contain his explosive temper.” Under the table Theo’s fingers were crossed and she was trying to remember the alarm code to Mandingo Montoya’s house.

“I’m not sure which character represents empathy, but right now, Coulson, you feel like the damn house.” Gwen pointed out flatly.

“I … don’t understand your references.” Coulson told her, turning his attention to the more mature members in the room.

“Oh … my GOD read a BOOK. Watch a movie!” Gwen said exasperated. “The point is don't be a DICK! Don’t be the house! Your SO being the house right now!”

“I’m being the person trying to prevent the military from going in after Mr. Banner, thinking that the six of you would be less heavy handed if possible, but I’m confused, has everyone seen this movie?”

“Everyone has seen the movie, Coulson. It’s fucking amazing. When this is over you should come back and watch it with us. But for now, let’s focus. You too, Gwen. You too, Niko. Dammit I put those in my pocket for a reason.” Theo held her hand out to Niko and snapped her fingers. “Music pods, please.”

Niko grumbled like a petulant child, rolling his eyes and handing over his air pods.

“Thank you, Niko. So I was saying, we need a way to track a kid who puts off Gamma rays. But he’s not currently exuding, so Sam, what do you suggest?”

Sam rubbed his eyes, trying to make sense of the banter he was having to put up with. “Well, like you said; either he’s looking for us, or the small chance he’s after that lady for whatever reason. My money would be on the former, but either way, we need to get his attention and bring him here so no civilians are put at risk of danger. Then we can talk to him and get everything under control. Personally, if it weren’t for the radioactive bit, it would be nice to keep him with us. But that’s still a major issue, regardless of how nice he may be.”

"I mean how much Germanium do you guys have lying around?" Erik offered off hand, "That'll pickup gamma rays even accounting for the Compton scatter…I can't remember but I'm pretty sure someone was working on a proper radar scanner a while ago. Could map out an area and see where it's been going…"

“Unfortunately, SHIELD isn’t what it once was, Mr. Thorson. We don’t have all the tools at our disposal that we once did when your parents were aliv-- around.”

“Then it’s agreed,” Theo clapped her hands. “We will hire the Germans and bring David Banner to this Compound. HELEN made sure we were aware of the containment unit buried beneath us; it was capable of holding The Hulk, so if things go south, this is the best place for it to happen. Smart thinking, Sam. So how do we lure him here? Assuming that’s not already his plan.”

Sam paced back and forth for a moment, considering all their options. He had an idea. It was an odd one, but if all straightforward ideas had failed, why not be unconventional? Besides, they had to act soon. David’s paranoia and desperation in this moment could cause him to act out of panic. “Here’s my recommendation, Theo; You locate him the same way you found me. I know it won’t be pinpoint, but it will give us a great idea of where he is and we can move on foot from there. But once we do find him, I think Erik would be the best person to go and speak with him.” Sam looked over to Erik, “Out of all of us, you would be the best resistant to short term radiation exposure, given your genes. But if you would rather not, T’Chantem’s suit should be able to hold its own for a few minutes. We can’t send any more than one of us, he’ll panic otherwise. It’ll show him we’re trusting him and that we mean well.” He looked back over to Theo and Coulson, “Regardless of who goes to him and brings him back to the compound, the bigger of the issues is this; we need him to agree to willingly go into the chamber below us. We obviously can’t all speak to him if he’s radiating the halls. If he’s willing to put himself in the chamber for even 10 minutes, we can talk to him face to face and calm him down.”

“I was thinking we could just give him a walkie talkie and maybe get to know him out on the front lawn, but from a safe distance. At least try it before we lure him into a cell. But if he Hulks out or goes Flying Monkey on us, then we get him into the chamber. Now poke holes in me, Thorson. What’s wrong with the plan?” Theo pulled the AirPods out of Niko’s ears again. It was impossible to keep him focused while they were talking.

“I don’t think Gamma Rays can penetrate the human skin,” Gwen noted. It wasn’t that she had an issue with Erik running point just out to correct the information.

"They shouldn't…." Erik quietly said aside, doing his best to not ruffle feathers, but still making sure the sciences were represented.

“And magic shouldn’t mess with your mind, but we all know how that sometimes can turn out. So let’s not lose our minds on this one; we need to be careful or SHIELD won’t trust us to…” Theo waved her hand vaguely, not clear what it is they were needing from SHIELD in the first place. “So what else is there? Are we ready?” It was about to happen! They were about to suit up in the white leather uniforms. She bit her bottom lip and looked around the table eagerly. Was no one else going to say it? She looked at them all. Oh they were going to let her do it. Awesome.

“Just let me know the outcome, Miskja.”

Theo jumped up and dragged Niko to his feet beside her. “Avengers Assemble!” She was entirely too excited about that. It sounded like she had a secret she was just dying to tell and at last could blurt it out. But at least it kept her from noticing that no one else was entirely too excited about that.

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