Month: Jul 2020

S1E20 Agent of Resistance

Lock-downs and Blackouts

New York

[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 03212017 1600hrs]

Loc: Office of Pepper Potts, AVENGERS TOWER, Broadway & W 58th St, New York, NY

<Tony walks into Pepper’s office with an exaggerated limp, grumbling as he flops into a chair, sighing loudly, Pepper, on the phone, ignoring his theatrics>

Pepper: Thank you for acting so swiftly on our behalf, Mr Nelson. I know civil rights law isn’t normally your field, but Everett Ross highly recommended inviting your firm to join the team for our legal defence. <pauses, listening> No, following the terms of the house arrest shouldn’t be a problem. <Tony rests one foot on the edge of her desk, fiddling with something around his ankle. Pepper rises, swatting his foot, mouthing at him> Knock it off!

Tony: I could have these off of us in ten minutes. Just say the word.

Pepper: <ignoring his theatrics> Yes, Mr Stark is FULLY COMMITTED to this. There will be NO ATTEMPTS to circumvent the monitoring devices. <nods> No, aside from having to arrange a number of teleconferences in place of face to face meetings I scheduled for this week, no inconveniences.

Tony: <sits up in the chair> What about date night Saturday? We were finally going to go see Hamilton. <slumps back down, sulking, mumbles> I call that an inconvenience. 

Pepper: Yes, thank you, Mr Nelson. Please keep us up to date before the hearing. <hangs up, steps around the desk, sitting on the edge facing him> Tony, this was our best option for the time being. It took a lot of legal wrangling to keep Ross from just locking us up. If I hadn’t had our lawyers waiting to meet us, he’d have ignored due process completely. 

Tony: <sighs> I know, I know. I half expected him to try and shoot us out of the sky when we flew back. 

Pepper: <looking concerned> So did I. He’s unhinged when it comes to the Avengers. We need to be careful. Which meant these <swings her leg out to show an ankle monitor of her own> stay put. No tampering. Please?

Tony: <frowns, more upset about hers than his own> Not what I had in mind for matching his and her jewellery. You don’t deserve this.

Pepper: I knew there would be consequences. I also knew it was the right thing to do. <leans down to give him a kiss> As for date night, I’m sure we can find some way to make a night at home special. Until then, I have to keep this company running. Why don’t you spend a few hours tinkering around in the workshop? You’ll get some work done, I’ll get some work done, and after that, what if we make dinner together?

Tony: <still miserable> Fine. Maybe I’ll go over the list of potential houseguests from Fury. <limps out, shaking the leg with the ankle monitor, complaining as he exits> I feel off balance! It’s like wearing a leg weight on only one leg!

[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 03212017 1600hrs]

Loc: Office of Agent Carter, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59st

<Peggy paces her office restlessly, preoccupied with her thoughts, as her news feed scrolls, many articles and videos still marked ‘blocked for content restrictions’>

Peg: APRIL, re-open that last message from Grant, will you?

<a corner of one screen enlarges>

‘Sorry, Maggie, I got called away on an emergency. Everything is ok now, but I’m exhausted. I’m going to catch some kip for a while, then there are a few things I have to take care of. I’ll try to check in soon. I hope you’re doing well. I miss our talks.’

Peg: <checks her watch> It’s midnight for him, so I don’t expect I’ll hear from him until morning if he’s worn out. <sighs> I hoped he could shed some light on whatever Fury is trying to hide from me. I must admit, I do miss him when we can’t talk.

APRIL: As I have observed in the past, your stress levels decrease significantly when interacting with him. However, your heart rate does rise slightly upon notification of a new message.

Peg: <blushes> That’s ridiculous and unrelated I’m sure. <notices a news clip, points at the screen> What’s going on here? Unmute please, April.

<outside a courthouse, protestors are waving signs amidst shouts of ‘Justice for Acosa!’ a reporter on scene off camera> 

Reporter: We’re outside the Miami courthouse where the verdict has just been handed down in the Robert Goss murder trial. Despite evidence exposing Goss as a high ranking member of the anti-Inhuman hate group, Watchdogs, the jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Inhuman, Orlando Acosa. The crowd here is peaceful but vocal in decrying what they call a miscarriage of justice. Acosa, an EMT, was shot and killed last summer when flying over Goss’s property on the way home from responding to a multiple car accident. Goss claimed self-defence under Florida’s Stand Your<the screen suddenly goes dark>

Peg: Flipping hell! Another content restriction?

APRIL: <scans other news outlets> No Boss. Miami just lost power. The entire city has blacked-out.

<the screen suddenly goes live again>

[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 03212017 1630hrs]

Loc: Operations Hub, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59st

Fury: What do we know about this Inhuman Resistance? 

Agent Klein: <looks up, shaking his head> We’ve got no record of it, sir. None of our contacts in the Inhuman community has ever mentioned it. <his monitor blips> Sir, incoming message from Coulson.

Fury: Put it up.

Coulson: We lost contact with her when the power went out. Mace is sending Mack and Fitz with me to investigate.

Fury: <scowls> How much of his concern is for safety and how much is for bad PR?

Coulson: I’d say it’s actually pretty evenly split right now. We’re literally in the dark on this one. There’s no Inhuman we know of who can blackout an entire city. <thinks> Well, there’s one in Hawaii who could possibly, but there’d have been a noticeable lightning storm if Crystal had been involved. So far, the Royals from Atitlan have kept out of all this.

Fury: What about other Enhanced who might be sympathetic to the Inhumans?

Coulson: <shakes his head> Nah. Stark &Miss Potts could possibly overload a power grid if they wanted to, but Ross has them on house arrest. Same for Colonel Rhodes, he’s at the compound so he can continue his physical therapy, but he’s not going anywhere either.

Fury: <sceptical> That’s only going to stop Stark if he lets it. Get to Miami and find out what’s going on. Keep Mace in the loop as much as necessary, but if you need backup, let US know.

Coulson: Will do. <connection ends>

Fury: <to Klein> We’ll keep monitoring the situation here. I want everyone on alert. <Klein’s computer beeps again>

Klein: Sir? They’ve hit DC. The Pentagon& White House are outside the blackout radius, but the Capitol Building is dark.

Fury: Shit.

[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 03212017  1600hrs]

Loc: Workshop, Avengers Tower, Broadway &W 58th St, New York, NY

<Tony leans against his worktable, looking through holographic schematic files of new suit concepts, his leg twitches, he reaches down to itch at his ankle, growling as his hand touches the monitor>

Tony: I need a distraction. Friday, put the news on in the background and <stands up straight, claps his hands together> let’s look at Fury’s misfits.

Friday: <the AI’s lilting Irish brogue coming from everywhere> Sure thing Boss. <holographic dossiers hover in the air before Tony> Just think of it like Enhanced Tinder.

Tony: Fury said he had a couple of talking cats, not the strangest thing we’ve seen, but Pepper’s allergies would go nuts. So, nothing that sheds. <a series of files disappear> Hmm, Diana Prince, Demigoddess. Keep her, I want to see someone besides Hulk beat Thor at arm wrestling. 

Friday: We’ve yet to hear any word on either Thor or Hulk, Boss.

Tony: Yeah, I know. They’ll show up. All the more reason to have a spare god around in the meantime.

Friday: Just so you’re aware, Boss, the Prince woman is part of a package deal. She comes from a world where they have a team similar to The Avengers. They call themselves the ‘Justice League’. One of her teammates crossed over with her.

Tony: <scoffs, picking up a smoothie, taking a drink> ‘Justice League’? Sounds like a DOJ bowling team. Still, let’s look at her partner. <a second file pops to the centre forefront>

Friday: Bruce Wayne- billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Sounds a wee bit familiar, eh Boss? <Tony rolls his eyes> Shrewd investigator, hand to hand combat expert, and inventor. They say his bank accounts, charm and toys are a match for yours, Boss.

Tony: <skeptical> Uh-huh, right. He’s the one running around dressed like a bat?

Friday: Would a shiny gold suit be less conspicuous?

Tony: <face scrunches, eyes narrow, points at nothing> He can stay, but you’re not allowed to hang out with April anymore. You’re picking up the snark she learned from Aunt Peg. Who else we got? <another pair of files pop up>

FRIDAY: Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. They list their occupation as demon hunters. Their world is constantly overrun with demons, angels, monsters and magical creatures. 

Tony: <scoffs> No. I’m not dealing with any freaky magical woo-woo stuff. Scratch the demon hunters off our roster. We’ll send them and the vampire Slayers to the West Coast location. I hear Santa Carla might be their type of late-night party scene. <looks over the next file> That wizard too. I don’t need Dresden shorting out the entire Tower. How many more?

Friday: Shall I remove all files of magic users in general from the queue? <Tony nods, a handful of files are marked WCA before blinking off the screen> Just one last portal visitor and one who’s more local. <Tony nods, takes a sip from his drink as another file pops up>

Tony: <intrigued, pulls the file forward> What’s a Mutant?

Friday: On James Howlett’s world, a portion of the population exhibit powers similar to Inhumans. However, these powers are a result of a naturally occurring mutated X-gene in their biology as opposed to the Kree/Human DNA experiments that created this world’s Inhumans.

Tony: <studying the photo in the file, intrigued> And these claws, they’re a part of him?

FRIDAY: The underlying retractable bone claw structure beneath the adamantium is a natural part of his physiology, yes.

Tony: I’d love to get a sample of this adamantium he’s bonded with. <looks off into space, pondering> I wonder if it could be combined with vibranium to make a new alloy.

Friday: It’s doubtful you’ll be able to convince him to part with a sample, Tony. I don’t recommend you try it. He’s got a temper.

Tony: <not concerned> I’ve gone toe to toe with a pissed off Banner. I think I can handle a <looks at the full name on file> Wolverine.

Friday: Lastly, from our Earth, but new to the surface world, Lady Zartra of Atlantis. 

Tony: <chokes on his smoothie> ATLANTIS?! Shit! Fury wasn’t kidding. He found me a GODDAMN MERMAID! <comes to a realization> Friday, <sighs, hanging his head> Cancel Sushi Saturdays.

Friday: Done, Boss. Are there any other accommodations you would like me to make for these visitors?

Tony: Not that I can think of at the moment. How many floors of office space are we converting to quarters?

Friday: You originally said just the one, shall I have the work crews expand the project?

Tony: No, that should be enough for now. It gives us room for a few more. We’ll probably include Dr Cho and Eric Selvig. Let’s see the files we have left.

Friday: The rest either do not fit your criteria, or are already on file as current, former, or potential Avengers candidates. 

Tony: Hmm, what about the potential Avengers? Do we have room for them too?

Friday: If we converted another floor of office space or reassigned rooms currently unused by inactive Avengers, then yes.

Tony: Fine, add them to the mix, we can sort it out later. <pauses> On second thought then, add two more floors to the project, just to be sure. That will give us extra room incase Fury comes across any more of these portal visitors. We’re not touching anybody’s rooms.

Friday: Including Captain Rogers?

Tony: His room goes on priority lockdown. Nobody opens it but me. <pauses, exhaling> Or him.

Friday: Understood, Boss.

Tony: Good. How soon will we be ready for moving day?

Friday: With the additional floors added to the project, estimates are approximately four weeks.

Tony: If we need more workers, hire them. I want that time cut in half. Make sure Aunt Peg’s room is one of the first done, put her on the first floor of residences with the Avengers. I want her close enough to make sure she’s not working herself to death.

Friday: On it Boss.

Tony: Good! I can’t wait to get her out of that damn office.

<in the background a newscast plays, with an address by the Queen of England>

Queen Elizabeth:  Our heart is heavy with sadness, and Our prayers go out to the families of the twelve lost in the Oakenfell Towers fire. May they rest in peace. We will see due diligence in ascertaining the cause of the fire, that a tragedy like this may be prevented in the future.

We wish to extend our gratitude to the Avengers for answering Our call for aid. America has been Our ally for generations, and We hope that shall not change anytime soon. We also encourage Parliament to review the current laws in place regarding Inhumans and other Enhanced individuals. They have proven time and again that they are a boon to our society, not a danger. We <feed cuts out>

<voice continues>

The Accords will be nullified- immediately. All Inhumans incarcerated for violations of the Accords will be released. The murderer Robert Goss will be handed over to face justice for his crime. We have darkened seven of your cities. You have twelve hours to comply, or we will take seven more.

[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 03212017 1630hrs]

Loc: Operations Hub, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59st

<Peg standing beside Fury, antsy, shifting her weight from one foot to the other> 

Peg: So, we don’t know of any Inhuman or Enhanced who could be responsible? <Klein shakes his head, Peg ponders, hand on her chin, finger tapping> Could someone have built an actual Blitzkrieg Button? 

Fury: <tilts his head quizzically, giving her a sly-eye> That’s not in any of our old SSR files. 

Peg: Well, it wouldn’t be. Howard came up with the concept, but never actually built one. <pauses> At least, not as far as I know. A way to turn off all the lights at once in a city. The problem was, he couldn’t figure out how to turn them back on again. 

Fury: <eyebrow raises, nods> Right now, we don’t have enough information to rule anything out. We know Stark used to keep hidden bunkers of notes, concepts, prototypes, but we thought they were all accounted for. Either destroyed or secured. 

Peg: <rolling her eyes> And you simply took Howard Stark at his word? 

Fury: <glaring back> No. You did. <Peg scowls, pursing her lips tight, exhaling through her nose, about to retort when Klein interrupts>

Klein: Sir? We’re receiving a high priority message. From Wakanda.

Fury: <warily looks at Peg out of the corner of his eye> From our assets there?

Klein: No, Sir. Directly from King T’Challa himself. He’s demanding to know what we’re doing about the blackout in Los Angeles. Apparently, Princess Shuri is there and they lost communication with her when the city went dark. 

Fury: Just what we need. <looks back at Peg again> I’ll take it in my office. 

Wakanda

[Palace Security Footage 03212017]

Loc: Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda

One Hour Ago

<an amused T’Challa, sitting on his throne, hand extended, a beam of light emanating from his Kimoyo beads in the form of a holographic Shuri rambling excitedly>

Shuri: It was wise of our ancestors to isolate us in the past, but we missed SO much of world history! If Wakanda is going to become a part of the global tribe, cultural exchanges are vital! 

T’Challa: I don’t disagree with you, sister. While I welcome the idea, do you really think our people would be receptive to an American production company coming to Wakanda to perform a musical about an American? 

Shuri: But it is so much more! Warriors, diplomats, strategists! The history of a fledgeling nation! Oh and the music! 

T’Challa: <still entertained by her enthusiasm, teasing> Sister, shouldn’t you be enjoying the show, rather than calling me to talk about it?

Shuri: <waves a hand dismissively> It is an intermission, I have plenty of time. Besides, in addition to talking to you about bringing the show to Wakanda, Mr Miranda approached Fundiswa and me before the start of the show. He’s very intrigued by the history of Wakanda and asked if I thought the story Bashenga and the Five Tribes would translate well to a stage show!

T’Challa: <taken aback, surprised and impressed> He knows the story of Bashenga? 

Shuri: He knows what little we have shared with the outside world, but is curious to know more. He was hoping to study more of our culture and history when the production visits.

T’Challa: <hand on chin, considering> A cultural exchange of that nature would be educational to both our people. <nods> I will take it into consideration. 

Shuri: <exclaiming> I cannot wait to tell Mr Miranda! I am not sure which of us will be mo-  <the transmission cuts out mid-sentence>

Los Angeles

Loc: Pantages Hollywood Theatre

<theatre plunges into complete darkness, the audience mumbles and whispers in confusion, in the lobby, Shuri taps at her bracelet, a faint blue glow flickers from it every few seconds as it attempts to power up but is interrupted>

Shuri: <smacks the bracelet harder, whispers> What is wrong with this thing? Even an EMP burst should only knock it out for a few seconds! Reboot damn you!

Fundiswa: <checks her own bracelet, behaving similarly, scans the theatre as her eyes adjust> My Princess, I do not think this is a normal power outage. <the whispers of the audience grow louder as people realize none of their electronic devices is working> Even the emergency exit signs are dark. This place is not secure. The rest of the audience may soon begin to panic. We must get you out of here. <grabs her wrist, pulling her toward a doorway> I memorized all possible escape routes when preparing for this outing. Come. Now. 

Wakanda

T’Challa: Sister?! <shakes his wrist, tapping the kimoyo beads> Shuri! <the beads stay dark, T’challa rises from his throne, calling for aid> Okoye! Ael!

<Okoye and two other Dora rush in>

Okoye: My King! What is wrong?

T’Challa: Shuri’s communication was cut off. We need to find out what is going on. Where is the White Owl? She can take me to the Princess.

Okoye: <bows her head> I’m sorry, my King. There are mysterious blackouts happening all over the world. When we began checking satellite images, she noticed that even hospitals and emergency services were dark, despite having backup generators. The White Owl portaled to London. She’s organizing the mystics to bring light and aid.

T’Challa: <fuming with concern> She is needed HERE! 

Okoye: My King, she is a healer and a mystic. She goes where she can do the most good.

T’Challa: <scowling, but knowing that his general speaks the truth> Fine. Ready my plane. I will find my sister myself. 

Okoye: <firm> Sire, in this time of a global emergency, you are needed here. Your concern must be for ALL your people. If these blackouts can shut down even our technology, I dare not recommend taking a jet to Los Angeles. Fundiswa is with her. Do you not trust a member of the Dora to protect her?

 T’Challa: <still fuming> Then let us go the diplomatic route. SHIELD has people everywhere. Get me, Director Fury. <Okoye nods, giving orders into her kimoyo beads> And have all our people on high alert in case whomever or whatever is causing these blackouts attacks us. Wakanda will not go dark on our watch. <Okoye salutes>

New York

[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 03212017 1630hrs]

Loc: Operations Hub, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59st

<Peg and Agent Klein watch the doors close behind Fury>

Peg: <turning to Klein> Looks like it’s up to us to monitor the situation for the time being. 

Klein: <nodding as two alerts cross his consol> Ma’am, the President just tweeted. He’s threatening to call in the National Guard to deal with the situation. 

Peg: <rubbing her temples> Crikey, that’s the last thing we need. How long would it take him to call them into each affected city? 

Klein: If he calls them up, it will take longer to organize and deploy than if each state’s governor does. <looks back to his screen, typing> Looks like LA and DC are concerned with getting emergency services and communications up and running in the affected cities. Florida is the only one talking about mobilizing the Guard as a backup for law enforcement. <looks up at her, concerned> Unfortunately, not only is Miami dealing with protests over the Acosa verdict, but it’s also where our team is operating. <nervously> This is a powderkeg in the making. 

Peg: <arms folded, pacing, notices an alert blinking in a corner of Klein’s screen, points, inhaling> And what fresh bad news do we have here?

Klein: <jumps in his chair, opening the forgotten alert> Mr Stark is on the line, wanting to speak to Director Fury.

Peg: <groans> What does Anthony want? <purses her lips in a frown> I suppose he’ll just keep at it until someone answers him. <crosses her arms tighter> Pull up the video screen.

<Klein taps a few buttons and Tony appears on the monitor, he and Peg both begin talking simultaneously>

Peg: Anthony, we’ve got a situation right now, and we’ve no time for,

Tony: Goddamn it Nick, about time! I think I’ve pinpointed the blackout source in,

<both stops speaking in surprise>

Peg: My apologies, Anthony, please continue.

Tony: Oh, hi Aunt Peg, I thought I had reached Fury.

Peg: He’s otherwise engaged in another complication with this situation. What were you saying about a source? 

Tony: <speaking rapidly with excitement> I can’t determine what’s causing these blackouts, at least not from my workshop, but I can give you an epicentre for each occurrence. They look like random coverage at first, but when I eliminated areas that are dark but still have working generators, cell service and cars, I realized that their substations got knocked out, but they weren’t actually part of the full blackout zone. Each city has exactly the same five-mile radius zone. Which leads me to believe it’s mechanical, rather than any Inhuman power. 

Peg: <smiling for the first time in hours> Brilliant, my boy! So even if we don’t know what’s causing it, we at least know where it’s coming from. <places a hand on Klein’s shoulder> This is a start. <looks back to Tony> How tight can you narrow down the source? 

Tony: I can give you within a block of the epicentre in each city. Looks like mostly abandoned buildings in residential or business districts. 

Peg: Send us coordinates. <to Klein> We need to scramble teams to each city. But we have to be careful. We don’t know what we’re sending them into. They’ll be going in dark, with no coms or backup. They need to be prepared for anything. <thinking> Do we know, how high up each zone reaches?

Tony: Media has been directed to stay out of the areas, after a couple of news choppers crashed. 

Klein: Police choppers won’t risk it. They’re attempting to surveil from planes, keeping at max altitude. That’s about seven to eight miles up.

Tony: <nods on screen> Makes sense. It’s probably a bubble zone.

Peg: <frowns> Too high to skydive in.

<Fury slips quietly back into Operations, observing without interruption>

Klein: If the blackout area really is a five-mile bubble, then a HALO drop would be just high enough. Thirty-thousand feet is the max for a HALO. We’re gonna need our best pilots to hit the sweet spot.

Peg: <considers> How fast can we scramble our teams?

Klein: Faster than the National Guard. We can have teams at each epicentre within the hour.

Peg: Including the cities outside of the US? 

Klein: We can get teams to London, Athens and Buenos Aires almost as quickly as LA, Miami and DC. Moscow may be a bit trickier to get to, and they may not appreciate the help.

Peg: It will have to do. Coulson already has Miami covered, I don’t want to interfere with his team there. Send them out. <a cough sounds from off to one side, Peg and Klein turn to find Fury eyeing them>

Fury: Last I checked, I was still in charge around here.

<Klein winces, trying to shrink in his chair, Peg doesn’t even blink, shrugging with a half-apology on her face>

Peg: You were dealing with important matters when new intel was received. I apologize for jumping rank, but we all know time is of the essence. How much of the plan did you overhear?

Nick: Enough to know it’s solid and the same call I’d make. <turns to Klein> You heard Carter, send them out. <Klein adjusts his headset, assembling teams, his fingers flying over the keyboard> 

Tony: <still on screen> I wish I could help more, but I’m stuck on house arrest. <looks up at Fury> Anything you could do about that one? 

Fury: <grins> Sorry Stark, out of my jurisdiction. <Tony’s moustache droops in a pout> You’ve been a big help already, though. My sources say the blackout is even knocking out Wakandan tech, so your arc reactor wouldn’t work. You’d hit that five-mile mark and drop like a lead balloon.

Tony: <trying to argue> I could install a parachute in the suit! I think I’d do ok!

Fury: Stay. Put. Stark. <points a finger at the screen> Don’t make me tell Potts you’re thinking about sneaking out. <leans in, hitting a switch, disconnecting the conversation before Tony can respond, turns back to Peg> Nice work, Carter. 

Peg: Thank you, sir, <looks down at Klein rapidly coordinating teams to the affected cities> but it was a team effort. 

Klein: Speaking of teams, sir, we’ve just gotten word from Director Coulson. Power is coming back up in Miami. They discovered an emp pulse generator guarded by what seems to be heavily armed members of the Watchdogs.

Fury: Pass that intel to our teams in the air. Patch Coulson through. 

Phil: The Watchdogs just got bigger teeth. Advanced tech, military level weapons and armour, passports.

Fury: So they’ve got a person or group backing them. 

Phil: It’s worse than that. They had names and locations of targets. Some crossed off. Inhumans from the Registry. <Peg gasps>

Peg: How many names? 

Phil: We won’t know the extent until we take back the other cities and make contact with everyone on the Registry. Even one lost is a tragedy. We told them that registering would be for their safety as much as everyone else. If we can’t keep them safe, 

Fury: <finishing his thought> Then the next Inhuman Uprising will be actual Inhumans.

Peg: <softly> I wouldn’t blame them. They just want to live their lives like anyone else. 

Fury: SHIELD isn’t the only ones with access to the Registry. The leak could be from any number of sources.

Peg: We need to find it fast before they attack again. <to Klein> Compile a list of all persons and organizations who have access to the Registry. <turning back to Fury, giving him a side-eyed glare> Unless that’s information I’m not cleared for? <Fury glares back, arms folded, saying nothing, after a long pause, he relents, nodding to Klein>

Another Corner of the Multiverse

ATLANTA

[Loc: back alley of a run down auto body shop, 3/22/2026 0900hrs]

<Electricity crackles as a pearlescent violet rip in the fabric of space tears open, depositing two bodies roughly upon the ground before shrinking back into nothing, the first rises, a tall muscular man, brushing dark hair from his eyes as he looks around in confusion>

Thunderbird: Where are the others? <begins shouting> Clarice? Clarice!

<noticing his companion crumpled on the ground, a petite woman with hair so blond it’s almost white, she’s curled up in a tight ball, gripping her head, sobbing, he kneels beside her, gently touching her shoulder>

Thunderbird: Esme, what’s going on?

Esme: <lifting her head, her eyes fountains, stammering in panic> I, I, can’t feel my sisters! <gripping his t-shirt in balled-up fists> Why can’t I sense them?

Thunderbird: <looking around at the alley, so similar to the one they just left, with some subtle differences> I don’t know Es, but this doesn’t look like wherever Clarice’s portal was supposed to take us. For one thing, it’s daytime. <looks up at the sky> I’d say mid-morning. <lifting her gently to her feet> C’mon. Wherever we are, we need to find a place to lay low and figure things out.

Notes From Peg’s Desk

Welcome back, readers! Sorry, it took so long! Life got in the way with all the chaos out there, but this story is nowhere near done& wouldn’t let me walk away even if I wanted to. So, shall we begin unpacking?

The bulk of this episode ties directly into Agents Of Shield s4 ep3: Uprising. With everything going on storywise, &the fact that I still try to follow the idea that #ItsAllConnected these threads wove together perfectly.

Pepper was smart to have the legal team waiting. There are a lot of problems with the Accords& their enforcement, which we discussed briefly in the Notes from the last episode. Astute eyes will recognize that the attorney Pepper is talking to is one Foggy Nelson, of Nelson& Murdock. Fun fact, CIA agent Everett Ross actually has a law degree from Oxford despite choosing a completely different career.

Most of this episode was at least loosely sketched out back in February, the fact that Hamilton just released on Disney+ has nothing to do with it being heavily featured, just a happy little coincidence. We’ll call it a ‘Bob Ross Moment’.

Peg’s still dealing with content restrictions as news about the fire in London is slowly pushed out of the news feed by the trial results and then the blackout. However, with these new events, her thoughts on trying to crack her security access have been put forgotten for the moment. But just for the moment.

Tony’s finally going over the candidates from Fury. Quite a few interesting names dropped, don’t you think? We may or may not at a future time go visit the other teams who will be tentatively stationed in LA, Chicago, Dallas, and Colorado I believe.

I really wanted to expand Shuri’s adventure, but that was one of the big writer’s blocks. No matter what angle I approached it from, it never felt like I was doing her or Fundiswa justice. So, for now, we’ll leave it at ‘there was an incident or two on the way back to Oakland, and maybe Shuri will mention it at a later date’.

One of the possible angles for the Shuri adventure would have involved Ael being sent to portal in and bring her safely home. While the Panther Clan is her adopted family, Ael would see the hospitals as a greater need for aid. With the blackout taking out emergency generators, surgery rooms would plunge into darkness, incubators in NICUs would grow cold, ventilators would stop breathing. She was quietly organizing mystics to open portals, sending others to provide heat, light, and even just extra hands to work bag valve masks(those breathing bags you see EMTs use in medical dramas)

I tried to include a second clip from the orig AoS episode of Director Mace on the phone with the President, ready to send troops into Miami. Unfortunately, my VSDC Video Screen Recorder is being a pos& I couldn’t even find a gifable clip of that scene on YT. I think the tweet worked well as a substitute.

Got to do a little google learning in regards to max altitudes on helicopters, planes, skydiving& HALO drops which was neat. We’ll hear a smidge more about that from a pair of Agent May’s STRIKE team members later.

Yes, the Watchdogs are in the big leagues now, with financial &information backing. (those that know AoS S4 will recognize elements, but as this is both a branching& woven timeline, some details and further events will be altered)

And finally the ending! I’ve been wanting to bring a few characters from The Gifted in for some time now. While I don’t have an actual timeline for the events of the Gifted(due to it being a Fox property unaffiliated with MCU), they ended the series on a perfect cliffhanger to bring members into our story. Not everyone made it here, and while I was going to originally end with the gif, I didn’t want readers to think we were bringing their whole team. (And no, we’re not going to end up with a TB/Esme ship. What would you even call that? ThunderCuckoo? Jhesme? ProudFrost? Ugh. Again, no.) Plus it gives more weight& complications to those who made it. I chose the three I find most interesting& feel will bring the most to the story. Wait, you say! ‘But you only showed us TWO characters. Who is the third and where are they?’ *evil grin*

Next episode we’ll follow the newcomers, see the aftermath of the blackouts, re-introduce an ‘old friend back in town’, and after a well-deserved nap, Steve and his team are going to track down the mysterious portaling woman from London. Oh! I almost forgot! We may just hear from some critics of our story so far…..

Until then, keep reading, keep resisting!

Peg