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The previous reference to defense initiatives is inspired by the canon 50-State Initiative, but with my own spin on it.
June 5th, 2016.
"Secretary Ross has a Congressional Medal of Honor which is one more than you have." Rhodes argued, though I mostly ignored him. He never said anything important anyway.
"So let's say we agree to this thing. How long is it gonna be before they LoJack us like a bunch of common criminals?" Sam asked.
"Probably instantly." I replied.
"70 countries want to sign this. 70, Sam, and you're just like, 'No, that's cool. We got it.'" Rhodes said, and Sam just rolled his eyes.
"I have an equation." Vision said.
"Oh, this will clear it up." Sam said sarcastically.
"In the eight years since Mr. Stark announced himself as Iron Man, the number of known enhanced persons has grown exponentially. And during the same period, the number of potentially world-ending events has risen at a commensurate rate." Vision said.
"More mutants activate everyday, Vision, and Inhumans recently experienced a population surge. That's simple evolution and has been happening for centuries. Apart from the Chitauri invasion, Ultron, and now these idiotic Accords, there haven't actually been any world-ending events. The recent Dark Elf-Asgardian conflict was planned before Ancient Greece, in time with the convergence, so there is no correlation there. And HYDRA pre-dates Tony by at least a few years..." I said, dismantling his point and also cutting off Rhodes. Nobody caught my jab about Starks age.
"I'm merely saying there may be a causality. Our very strength invites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe. Oversight... Oversight is not an idea that can be dismissed out of hand." Vision rebutted.
"Nor am I dismissing it out of hand. I've suggested less risky alternatives that enable would-be heroes to fight crime so long as they adhere to an easy to follow code and offer voluntary, but not compulsory, registering to individual initiatives run by governments that I've even pledged to help protect their people and teams with improved cyber-security. Strength does sometimes invite challenge, I'll conceed that point, but those who would attack us are generally criminals who need a notch in their belt to be respected and feared. It's better they come right for us before enacting their plans and killing innocents so they can be defeated. I've taken measures to minimalize catastrophe and damage from our conflicts. Conflict also breeds discovery, innovation, and enables civilizations to grow; nuclear weapons and their positive potential being but one example."
"Tony. You're being uncharacteristically non-hyperverbal." Natasha observed.
"It's because he's already made up his mind." Steve replied.
"Boy, you know me so well." Tony said, before getting up and wincing. "Actually, I'm nursing an electromagnetic headache. That's what's going on, Cap. It's just pain. It's discomfort. Who's putting coffee grounds in the disposal? Am I running a bed and breakfast for a biker gang?" Tony touched his phone, the photo of a smiling, young man appeared on a holographic screen. "Oh, that's Charles Spencer by the way. He's a great kid. Computer engineering degree, 3.6 GPA. Had a floor level gig at Intel planned for the fall. But first, he wanted to put a few miles on his soul... before he parked it behind a desk. See the world. Maybe be of service. Charlie didn't want to go to Vegas or Fort Lauderdale, which is what I would do. He didn't go to Paris or Amsterdam, which sounds fun. He decided to spend his summer building sustainable housing for the poor. Guess where, Sokovia." The others looked shocked. "He wanted to make a difference, I suppose. I mean, we won't know because we dropped a building on him while we were kicking ass." He took a pill with some coffee, folded his arms and faced us. "There's no decision-making process here. We need to be put in check! Whatever form that takes, I'm game. If we can't accept limitations, if we're boundary-less, we're no better than the bad guys."
"Tony, someone dies on your watch, you don't give up." Steve said.
"Who said we're giving up?" Tony asked in reply. Meanwhile, I had understood what Steve was saying.
"We are if we're not taking responsibility for our actions. This document just shifts the blames." Steve pointed out.
"I get what you're saying, Steve, and we'll probably end up being the UN's personal assassins and silencing any opposing opinions. We can't let the UN make the decisions that we'll all have to live with. The United Nations, and the politicians running it don't share our opinions and beliefs, and we would just be another team enforcing their will as super-soldiers." I said, angering Tony and Rhodes.
"Exactly, it's run by people with agendas and agendas change." Steve agreed.
"That's good. That's why I'm here. When I realized what my weapons were capable of in the wrong hands, I shut it down and stopped manufacturing." Tony said.
"Tony, you chose to do that. If we sign this, we surrender our right to choose. What if this panel sends us somewhere we don't think we should go? What if there is somewhere we need to go, and they don't let us? We may not be perfect, but the safest hands are still our own." Steve said, and the anti-Accords faction nodded in agreement.
"If we don't do this now, it's gonna be done to us later. That's the fact. That won't be pretty."
"It's already being forced on us Tony, they're just letting us think it's our choice. If the United Nations could protect the world, the Avengers wouldn't exist. Our existence makes theirs partially unnecessary and makes them look bad. This is them trying to get control and save their collective ego's, but at the potential cost of billions of lives. People are seeing that and most of the world are saying the UN is wrong; fifteen million re-tweets on #ImpeachEllis and gaining, less than fifty percent of the planet support the Accords, and there is a massive outcry in several countries to change leadership to that of a pro-Accords government. The UN is the past and they know that, so they're trying to regain control and make themselves relevant again."
Steve stared at his phone.
"I have to go," Steve got up sharply and went downstairs. My empathic ability sensed profound loss, heart-break, and an unfulfilled love. It must have affected him badly, I usually activated them when I needed them so it must have been intense.
"I don't think any of us are going to abandon our positions. I know that I'm not." I said. I noticed Natasha nod and rise to leave. I followed her without hesitation. "Going to support Steve?" She nodded in reply. "I'll come with, the Avengers are pretty much finished, and he needs all the support he can get."
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June 9th, 2016.
The funeral was nice, I guess. Were funerals suppose to be nice? Anyway, Natasha, Sam, and I were there to support Steve, and I could tell that he appreciated it. His mourning was interrupted by a terrorist attack by the Winter Soldier, which I found suspicious, considering that he was in hiding from the worlds governments. They were currently in Bucharest, having been given a tip by Sharon Carter that he was hiding there. I was at the Avengers facility, and tasked with freeing Wanda and Pietro, to protect them from various governments and Tony, who basically locked them up.
I did make a little detour first, we needed to avert a war if possible, and I think my plee to Zeus went well.
I announced my presence by blasting Vision into a wall and slightly damaging his chest. The next one, however, put him through the wall and in a crator.
"Stop!" Maria said, aiming her gun at me. I telekinetically disarmed her and flung her into a wall.
"Cap needs our help, come on. Five minutes, grab all of your stuff and be ready," I said, before catching Vision's punch and using my full strength to rip his arm off and grab his neck. The twins obeyed. "An illegal A.I fighting to outlaw himself. I thought robots were logical!" I said, before damaging his neck and then taking a cheap shot at his leg. I began using my technopathy to burn him out of the internet, causing his eyes to widen in shock.
He fired a point-blank energy blast at my face, but I shrugged it off, and then brutally ripped the Mind Stone from his forehead. I tore him apart and did a quick scan of the facility and learned that it was mostly empty. I shut down Stark's AI, put Maria to sleep, and began planting bugs and other spying devices in the facility. I also temporarily disabled the Quinjets, so that they couldn't be used against us. I blanked Fridays memory of the last two hours, and began rapidly draining power from the Mind Stone while I waited. I went ahead and wiped Maria's memory of the last two hours too. I couldn't leave loose ends and I almost did. Then I retrieved Natasha's stuff and everyone elses stuff, and then went back to wait.
The twins came back moments later.
"Alright. We need to stash your stuff and theirs, and then recruit Clint and one other." I said, and they both nodded. I teleported the three of us to my palace. When we arrived, I sat down the bags I packed and Wanda and Pietro did the same, and I teleported us away.
Over the next hour, I recruited Clint Barton and Scott Lang, copying Lang's capabilities and enhancing my intellect further. Sadly, I had to get to Germany the old-fashioned way to conserve power for the battle. With my luck, Stark would pull out the Hulk-buster or build a Percy-buster; the latter of which actually sounded kinda cool.
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June 10th, 2016- Leipzig/Halle airport. Parking garage.
We were waiting for Cap and his team to arrive. Wasn't meeting in a parking garage kinda cliche, though? Eh, I didn't care. I was just glad that Natasha was okay and that I was going to see her again. Her getting hurt because of these idiotic accords would not be good... for the United Nations. I'll admit, I would cause major damage to them in revenge and feel justified for it. I did love Natasha, so hurting her would be a bad idea for my enemies.
Steve finally drove into the parking lot in a battered, old car. He parked by a grey van and got out, followed by the others.
"Cap." Clint said in greeting. I pulled Natasha into a hug.
"You know I wouldn't have called If I had any other choice." Steve said remorsefully.
"Hey man, you're doing me a favour. Besides, I owe a debt." Clint replied.
"Thanks for having my back." Steve said, to Wanda.
"It was time to get off my ass." Wanda replied.
"How about our other recruit?" Steve asked.
"He's rarin' to go. Had to put a little coffee in him, but... he should be good." Clint replied, referring to Scott Lang.
"You know, I'm right here," Scott said from behind us.
"Right! Cap, meet Scott Lang; also known as Ant-Man." I said, introducing them to each other.
Scott shook Steve's hand with an amazed look on his face. "Captain America."
"Mr. Lang." Steve replied.
"It's an honour. I'm shaking your hand too long. Wow! This is awesome! Captain America." Steve looked at Wanda. "I know you, too. You're great!" He turned back and felt Steve's shoulders. "Jeez. Ah, look, I wanna say, I know you know a lot of super people, so... Thanks for thanking of me." Scott said, before turning to me. "Hey, man!"
"What's up, little man? You two done with your border-line chick-flic moment?" I asked, amusing the Avengers. Were we still Avengers?
"Yeah, sorry. I got lost in his beautiful blue eyes... Was there a love song playing in the background?" Scott asked, making all of us laugh.
"They tell you what we're up against?" Steve asked.
"Something about some... psycho-assassins?" Scott replied in slight confusion.
"We're outside the law on this one. So, if you come with us, you're a wanted man." Steve said, warning him and giving him a chance to back out.
"Yeah, well, what else is new?" Scott said, apparently not worried about it.
"We should get moving." Bucky said.
"I've got my jet. Top speed of Mach-6 and armed enough fire-power to wipe out a few air force squadrons, well with me piloting it anyway." I replied, saying the last part with a smirk.
"Dies ist eine Notsituation. Alle Passagiere müssen den Flughafen sofort evakuieren. (This is an emergency. All passengers must evacuate the airport immediately.)" A man said over the PA.
"They're evacuating the airport." Bucky said, though I spoke fluent German and was a second to slow.
"Looks like Stark is here. Shall we go say hello? Maybe break his jaw or something too?" I asked.
"Everyone suit up." Steve ordered.
Minutes later, and we were face-to-face with the pro-Accords faction.
"Wow, it's so weird how you run into people at the airport. Don't you think that's weird?" Stark asked.
"Definitely weird." Rhodes added, playing along.
"Hear me out, Tony. That doctor, the psychiatrist, he's behind all of this." Steve said, trying to reason with Tony.
The Black Panther lept over a truck. "Captain," he said. Okay, so that Wakandan dude wasn't an urban legend, after all.
"Your highness." Steve replied.
"Anyways. Ross gave me 36 hours to bring you and Percy in. That was 24 hours ago. Can you help a brother out?" Stark said.
"You're after the wrong guy." Steve argued.
"Your judgment is askew. Your old war buddy killed innocent people yesterday, and Percy wrecked the Avengers facility and destroyed Vision." Stark said in reply.
"I destroyed multiple illegal AI's and rescued two innocents from unlawful detainment." I said with a smirk. "If you wanna sign the Accords, then you can obey them or be punished for breaking that worthless law. Yes, I reported you to the UN, and leaked it to the press." Stark looked infuriated! Served the prick right!
"And there are five more super soldiers just like him. I can't let the doctor find them first, Tony. I can't." Steve interjected, cutting off what was sure to be an argument.
"All right, I've run out of patience. Underoos!" Stark called out. Peter appeared, shooting a web at Steve's shield and hands. I deflected the web onto Rhodes helmet, blinding him.
"You're on the wrong side, Spidey, and obviously dumb enough to use my own technology against me." I said, before deactivating his suit and locking him inside. "This law is a threat to your family and friends, but it's not all bad. Stark was arrogant enough to recruit a child soldier, so that should get him locked up." I took this time to copy T'Challa's capabilities.
"You've been busy." Steve said, observing Tony's new team. Ours was still much better, though.
"And you've been a complete idiot. Dragging in Clint. 'Rescuing' Wanda and Pietro from a place they didn't even want to leave, a safe place. I'm trying to keep... I'm trying to keep you from tearing the Avengers apart." Stark said, and I snorted in derision. The Avengers split a month ago and he didn't even realize it!
"You did that when you signed." Steve pointed out.
"Alright, We're done. You're gonna turn Barnes over, you're gonna come with us. NOW! Because it's us! Or a squad of J-SOC guys... with no compunction about being impolite." Steve looked aside. "Come on."
"Back down, Stark. Whether you'll admit it or not, this is a war for the safety of the planet and I'll fight it accordingly." I said, to everyone's shock. "As far as I'm concerned, you and these idiots are just threats to be dealt with." I sensed Peter was beginning to agree with me, and confirmed it with my telepathy. "Even Spidey is seeing reason," I said, before reactivating his suit.
"He's right, Mr. Stark. This is a danger to the world! You should all be standing together and fighting off the threats as a team! I'm fighting for the side that can protect billions of lives." Peter said, getting up off the ground.
"I'm not liking the odds... How about three-on-three?" Stark asked, with an undertone of nervousness.
"How about you, Rhodes, and Hello Kitty surrender, exit your suits, and submit to being restrained?" I quipped in reply, causing Peter and several others to laugh at the mocking nickname for the Black Panther.
My pet name for him was apparently enough to provoke him into attemping to attack me. I punched him into Rhodes in return and then blasted them both with a wave of telekinetic force for good measure. The force from the blast knocked T'Challa into a plane and almost tore apart Rhodes suit. I was glad that I at least crippled his missile launchers and machine gun and inflicted severe armor damage. Rhodes was still able to get up after that, but his armor was almost scrap metal.
"Surrender," I said in a bored tone. "You never stood a chance, Stark. Just surrender and live to fight another day, and maybe even join the right side next time." Rhodes fired repulsor blasts at me, which I calmly absorbed. "Have it your way, Rhodes, but you chose this..." I said, before blasting him in his armors chest with a bolt magic, cutting through his armor and likely piercing his spine. Good riddance!
Stark and T'Challa attacked, but both were quickly defeated. Stark, by a combined barrage that crippled his suit, and T'Challa, by Natasha's Widow Bites. I nodded to Wanda and we ripped Starks and Rhodes armor off and then threw it on a pile that I quickly blasted into scrap and even created a massive, hundred foot wide crator, in the process. They restrained T'Challa and Stark, and called for medics. I removed knowledge of Peter's identity from their minds and from their AI's memory banks, I just wished that I could protect everyone's identities, sadly they were all public knowledge.
We returned to my jet and quickly escaped under stealth.
"What's the plan, Steve?" I asked from the pilots seat.
"Drop us off in Siberia and then get everyone else home." He replied.
"And how will you and Bucky get back home? And where is home now that the Avengers are disbanded? Also, I retrieved your stuff for you all, and Natasha and I prepared safe-houses for all of you and false identities. You can all also move into my palace." I said, pretty much rambling.
"We'll use the other guys transport to leave and thanks Percy, I'll try picking up my stuff soon." Steve said. "So, you and Natasha thought this might happen?"
"Yeah, we both agreed that it could escalate to this point and wanted to take precautions, but we also didn't want to end up making the situation worse by letting everyone know our theory and end up making our theory a reality." Natasha replied. The others seemed surprisingly understanding of our reasons.
"You know we will go into battle with you, right?" I asked, looking at Steve.
"I know, but Bucky and I need to do this together."
"Alright. We'll be there soon, but we can hang around the area in case you two need back-up."
"We'll be fine," Bucky replied for Steve.
"Alright. Suit yourself," I said, before noticing an incoming communication. "Incoming communication, marked urgent. I've gotta take this." I said, before accepting the message.
"Perseus," The voice of my uncle Zeus said. "I, along with several other God-heads, met with the leaders of the United Nations and we convinced them to reconsider their positions on deities and demi-gods. They seemed to have been given information by other deities who disliked the Asgardians and Olympians..." He trailed off, causing me to correctly guess which deities.
"Thank you, Lord Zeus," I said respectfully. "Hopefully they'll repeal the entire thing."
"Highly unlikely. They really hate you for pointing out their failings and making them look bad."
"Well, at least I'm doing something right." I replied, and heard a chuckle from uncle Zeus.
"Well, try not to destroy the United Nations when they eventually cross you. I have other business to attend too. So goodbye, Perseus." Zeus said, before signing off.
"Sadly, it appears we are in for a long fight to repeal the Accords." I said sadly. "I have a couple ideas involving exposing the crimes and secrets of politicians and their allies, but I'll have to research it further and see if it's practical. If it is, I might be able to remove opposition to the Accords and make the world a better place."
"Sounds good," Steve replied.
"We'll be arriving soon. I have some back up gear and other goodies in the compartments, just help yourselves." I said, and they both went to see what I had in them. "I could also just bomb the hell out of the site too. The jet has the firepower to do it."
"No. We need to try salvaging any information we can to heal Bucky and reverse everything they did to him." Steve said in disagreement.
"Alright. I'm willing to help with that too, by the way. My healing abilities might fix it in a day, but he might go into a coma as he reintegrates memories. Granted, that's a best case scenario, and I might have to contact my cousin Apollo instead."
"I'll give it a try," Bucky replied distractedly.
"About time that you or Steve accepted one of my offers. I was starting to develop a fear of rejection," I said, making everyone; including the normally stoic Bucky laugh. "ETA one minute."
We landed a minute later and quickly said our goodbyes.
"So..." I said, looking at Natasha. "Should we stay close or actually go home?"
"Stay close and keep an eye on the air space." Natasha replied, relieved that we weren't actually going home. I always intended to give her the final say, she considered the Avengers her family, and I considered them my friends. The Avengers may have been a team, but I intended for Natasha to be my wife, my partner, and my equal in all things.
"As my lady commands," I replied with a smile and promptly took the jet back into the air.
"We aren't going back to New York?" Peter asked.
"Nah. Gonna watch Caps back, but on the plus side, you get to stay up past your bed time." I said, causing a few people to laugh. "Sadly, I don't have junk food for you to eat... but you atleast get to hang out with the Avengers." Peter just took it all in silence and good humor.
"What am I gonna tell my aunt if I'm late getting back?" Peter asked in concern and more than a little fear.
"Tell her you lied to be with a seventeen year old girl who throught you were cute and wanted to take your V-card, and you didn't wanna disappoint her, so you kept having sex with her as much as possible and ended up spending the entire weekend with her." I suggested unhelpfully, causing the others to smirk.
"That would make it worse!" Peter said angrily, making the others laugh.
"You won't be late. The jet can move at Mach-6." I said, before noticing something on the sensors. "I've got two fast moving targets on the sensors. One is man-sized, so most likely Stark. Another jet following him under advanced stealth. Can I open fire?" I finally asked Natasha.
"No, no killing them," Natasha replied, sternly.
"Well, at least Steve and Bucky can kick their asses without help."
I was proven right an hour later when they both exited the base, Steve without his signature shield, and Bucky with his prosthetic arm destroyed. I revealed our presence and let them onto the jet, receiving a grateful nod from Steve in return.
"Stark throw a tantrum and demand your shield?" I asked, already suspecting the answer.
"Yeah, cut off Bucky's arm too."
"I'll create you both new ones." They both nodded in acceptance and began getting their injuries tended too.
I was dreading the fight to ensure the future of this planet... And I was going to need more power and resources... Most of all, I would need to determine what were acceptable losses, and it damn sure wasn't any of my family, friends, or anyone on this jet. I knew that I wasn't strong enough to lose those that I cared about and that I would eventually snap when I did, but I had plans to prevent that for as long as possible. Starting with proposing to Natasha and transferring the power I had been saving for her into her.