Are We Assembling Yet? - Part 1

OOC: Joint Post between all of the confirmed Heroes

Sam arrived at 177A Bleecker Street and stepped out of the cab. He handed the driver two $20 bills and told him to keep the change. He double checked his bag to make sure all files were accounted for and then walked up to the door and reached out his hand to knock. Before his knuckles could connect with the wood a third time, he found himself instantly inside the residence. It was as if he moved a hundred paces and yet, stood completely still. He had felt a similar sensation after Niko helped him quickly get back to the Sanctum after the armored car incident. He took a few deep breaths from his nose and then made his way further inside.

He just finished walking through the 2nd floor when he found Theo and Niko standing there, near an open magical portal. He took a few steps forward and opened his mouth to speak before Gwen Parker came walking through the other side of the portal, rocking her full hero gear. Sam couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride and admittedly, jealousy.

“Any luck, Ghost Spider-Girl?” Niko asked, peering around her. “Since you are alone, I am going to assume that’s a no-- but points for not stealing her blanket. Sam! Hey.”

Theo collapsed the portal and wiped her brow. This portal business had been easy when she was rested, but by this point in the day constructing and deconstructing the magical shapes felt like she was dragging cinder blocks up a river.

“You assume correctly. She isn’t very nice … she yelled at me a lot.” Gwen admitted scratching her head. “We may be dodging a bullet with that one.” She nodded. “Hi! Sam … Are we not using superhero costumes? Should I not be Scarlet Spider?” Noticing so far she was the only one dressed up. She was starting to feel self-conscious and silly now.

Sam stepped forward, “Hey everyone, good to see you.” He walked up to Gwen and shook her hand. “I’m really glad you decided to join us, Gwen. And please don’t misunderstand, you’re much more prepared than I,” he chuckled. “The rest of us need to catch up to you in terms of a public persona.” He started rustled through his bag and pulled out a small stack of files.

Gwen giggled stupidly. “He shook my hand and said was I prepared … “ She squeaked looking at Niko and Theo giddily. Seriously out of all of them Sam might as well be hero royalty or a hero rockstar.

“Are we hiding our faces?” Theo asked. “I thought we wanted the people to know they could trust us. Besides, it’s too late for the Maximoffs.” Niko disappeared and in a blink came back with two pairs of sunglasses, offering the white ones to Theo. “Oh, these are cute. Too cool for homeschool. Let’s go sit down and look those files over. I’m pooped.”

Theo led them all to the sitting room, which she insisted she’d be renaming, and they all grabbed a spot. “Show us what you’ve got there Sam.”

“Well,” he spread out the folders on a low coffee table, “Ended up getting a few hits on the radar for some others we may be interested in checking in with. However, that is far from the most concerning matter right now.” He opened the folder containing the information on the upstate facility and spread its contents over the entirety of the table. “Tell me what you all make of THIS.”

Niko gasped. “I don’t know what that is - but it definitely seemed like there should be a gasp.”

“Should I gasp? I heard gasping?” Gwen asked looking around. “What is it?” She said trying to politely peek at the pictures.

“Niko, I thought we weren’t in any rush on the Upstate Facility. Why are we looking at this now, Sam?”

“You weren’t in any rush, Miskja, the Sanctum is not so much a dick to you.”

“It’s not a dick to anyone. Birdy!” she yelled across the house, “has the Sanctum been a dick to anyone while we were out?”

“I dunno … I kind of like this place. It’s crazy cool. The portrait in the hall snows … like … some serious Harry Potter welcome to Hogwarts stuff.” Gwen said clearly siding with Theo on this. “I mean why not stay here? We’re right in the city … close to everything.” She started listing out the merits of the house. “Oh! And the door opens by itself!”

“Hardwood floors…” Theo mumbled. “Capable of warping space and reality….” Theo mumbled, looking sullen already at the thought of leaving the Sanctum for the upstate facility.

“... right near the subway … Oh, and I know this great shawarma place not too far from here!” The teen continued.

“A library full of powerful artifacts and books on magic and…”

Niko curled his lip. “So where is this and how soon can we get there?” He spun one of the files around to look at it.

“Magic books and powerful artifacts?” Gwen echoed Theo eyes big with wonder. “So cool!” Not even an hour after joining and the girl was star struck by it all!

“Sooo circling back,” Sam began, “We weren’t in a rush until I left my mom’s office. As you can see, the facility has 2 sets of security. One Stark and Banner built when they first set up the facility and one S.H.I.E.L.D. put on over the original when they wanted to lock down everything they stored inside. The security is reset every 72 hours and we have about” he glanced at his watch, “68 hours and 47 minutes before” he reached in his pocket and pulled out a flash drive and handed it to Gwen, “THIS decryption key no longer works.”

“Why am I being handed this? Are we making an assumption here I don’t know about?” Gwen blinked digging in her backpack for a USB to USB-type C. “I mean really …” She mumbled plugging the thumb drive to her phone.

“I don’t do technology. It doesn’t agree with me,” Theo offered as she began looking through one of the other files.

“Because you’re the only one among us who can understand the code that will be used in the algorithm. I’ve read up on you, your gear is homemade and still competes with standard tech; I’m sure this will be no challenge to you.”

“Wait I’m the only one who can read code?” Gwen said looking around to each of them. “No pressure Gwen …” She mumbled booting up the executable. This was such a meme moment because it was just hitting her that she was installing S.H.I.E.L.D software … on her phone. You know you're an Avenger when ...

“Relax, you’ll do fine, Gwen. I’m the only one who can do magic and I don’t let it bother me. It just makes us all the more invaluable.” Theo mouthed the word ‘invaluable’ again thinking it hadn’t sounded right. She shrugged and showed the folder to Niko. “Look, it’s that vigilante from the news. S.H.I.E.L.D’s calling her Moon Knight. So it’s another female for the ranks, maybe?” Theo held up a high five to Gwen. “Women, am I right?!”

Gwen high fived Theo not even looking up from her phone. “Girl power.”

Niko scanned the file quickly, nodding and adding it to the pile of others. “So far we are at about 50% on recruiting. Maybe you and Gwen should Girl Power the vigilante.”

“Maybe. First I’d like to see how effective my approach was today with Thorson. I don’t think it would be fair to expect everyone to let me violate them in quite that way, but if it convinced a demigod we’ve got to consider it in the future. If Gwen loses her fifteen-year-old cheerios over Sam Rogers, wait until she gets a look at Foster Thorson. Oh. My. God!” Theo looked at the confused expression on Sam’s face and covered her mouth quickly. “I’m so sorry Sam Rogers. You’re dreamy too.”

“Wait … Foster Thorson? Who’s that?” That got Gwen to perk up. “Sam’s going to be a high bar to beat.” She shrugged convinced her Captain Freedom Pants was the shit now and forever.

“Oh, just the most handsome man I ever laid eyes on. You might have heard of his father; What was his name, Niko?” Theo was fanning herself with the Moon Knight’s file. Was it getting hot in here?

“Thor?” Niko said, rolling his eyes.

“SERIOUSLY?!” She squeaked her 15-year-old cheerios spilling.

“Alright, gonna just swing this back around again here for a moment,” Sam interjected. “Look, maybe we give Erik a call since we’ve already spoken to him once. But I really think getting to the facility asap is our priority. Reaching out to the others can wait, especially if we have no idea what their intentions may be. I trust the assembled party enough to move on this thing. But it has to be fast. The longer we wait, the longer we remain unprepared. We’ll need all hands on deck so we’ll need to reach out to the Prince as well.”

“Who’s Erik?” Gwen asked. Apparently, they wasted no time in the recruitment department. “What Prince? Is Erik the prince?”

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to excuse Theo’s tendency to rename people. Erik is Foster. Erik Foster is his full name. But there’s also the moniker of ‘Thorson’. And the Prince, is T’Chantem, the Prince of Wakanda. He’s assisting us as well. But currently in a more hands-off approach, if I hear it right.”

“He made it snow in the street the other day,” Niko offered as he crunched on an apple from the kitchen. “It was awesome. He might be more hands-on than you think.”

“But you, little lady, are to keep your hands off them all. You’re only fifteen and sort of on loaner to us from your Mom.” Theo stifled a yawn and pulled off her snazzy white sunglasses to rub her eyes. “Alright Captain, you want to move up the timeline on the secure facility, let’s do that. Sixty-eight hours and counting, we’ll lose at least ten hours if we leave first thing in the morning, but there’s no way I can portal us all upstate tonight. I’m just about magicked out. So where does that leave us?”

“Aw man. What happened to girl power … Seriously how did I draw the short straw and end up the only one here without a license to drive? Are there no teen superheroes out there? All this hot coffee and I’m too young to drink any of 'em!” The young spiderling lamented.

Sam rapidly switched his eyes back and forth from Gwen and Theo, waiting for them to finish. “. . . We should leave at 6 am, day after next, that’s in 30 hours. Gives everyone time to properly rest and get travel arrangements set up, as well as to make contact with the Prince and Erik.”

“Six in the morning?” Niko repeated, letting his head drop back.

“Thirty hours? No that won’t do. Niko is impatient, he can’t wait that long. We’ll go at 6AM tomorrow morning. That gives us twelve hours to rest and prepare. Niko, where’s our phone. Let’s call up Prince right now. It’s probably 5 o’clock his time right?” Theo had no idea what time it was anywhere else, much less Wakanda, Africa. She mimed a beer chugging with her left hand then shook her head at Gwen.

tbc

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