Captain America: Secret War (ELEVEN)

Colonel James Rhodes and Vision had been summoned to The Conference Room where Secretary Ross and several other officials were seated as holograms across the conference table. Rhodes looked at Vision who returned his glance. They knew trouble was coming simply by the perpetual scowl on Ross’s face.

“Do you know why I called you in here today Colonel Rhodes, Vision?”

Rhodes shook his head. “No idea, sir.”

“I’m not very sure,” Vision replied at the same time.

“Well, unless you haven’t been paying attention to the news, there’s a crazed woman and her five amigos running through Europe like it’s the Tour de France. Everywhere they go death and destruction lie in their wake and the governments of the countries they attack are entirely dismantled, taken over by hooligans who are controlled by the ringleader, this woman they’re starting to call The Golden Witch.”

“Do you want us to bring them in?” Rhodes asked.

Ross’s scowl deepened. “That’s the last thing I want you to do. You see, whenever you idiots face a threat this powerful innocents always die. We created the Sokovia Accords to prevent that from happening.”

“So what did you drag us into this meeting for?” Rhodes asked angrily.

“I’d watch your tone, Colonel,” Ross said.

“You want us to help you discern who these terrorists are,” Vision said calmly.

Ross nodded. “Yes, Vision, yes. Our European friends are freaking out and they need answers fast. You all have fought a lot of bad guys. Tell me, what do you see?”

Ross tapped something and before them, a video sprung into view. Rhodes and Vision watched carefully as someone took video, clearly from their cell phone, of the terrorists fighting a band of policemen and European military enforcers with disturbing ease. The five terrorists clad in black moved through the soldiers, downing them with precise gunshots to the head and punches to the throat, while the woman in white and the Golden Mask stood yards away, levitating metal with her hands and giving the fleeing soldiers no chance of survival.

Ross froze the video, sighing deeply.

“Can you please tell me what the hell we’re dealing with here?” he asked.

Vision spoke first. “The five in black are Winter Soldiers, human experiments created by HYDRA in the mid-20th century to slowly but efficiently take over the world under HYDRA’s direction. When they grew too powerful for HYDRA to control they were placed in cryosleep. It seems this woman, who is known vaguely as Dr. Frost, a top-secret genetics scientist who worked for HYDRA, has brought them out of their cryosleep to fulfill her own ambitions.”

“If she’s a scientist how come she can throw metal around like she has the Force or something?” Ross asked angrily.

Vision’s eyebrows furrowed. “I don’t know, sir. She may have been exposed to a powerful cosmic signature as did myself, Wanda Maximoff, and her deceased brother, Pietro Maximoff, which could explain her unnatural abilities.”

Rhodes cursed. “That doesn’t sound good.”

Vision looked at him. “No. It does not.”

Rhodes turned to Secretary Ross. “Sir, are you sure you don’t want us to handle this? I’m talking about myself, Vision, and Tony Stark. We can end this psycho’s attack now before things get too out of hand.”

Ross slammed his fist on the counter. “You will keep your feet pressed firmly against the ground, Colonel Rhodes. I’m sorry if you can’t get the chance to save the day but I will not let innocent people die because of your reckless actions. Not you, not your robot friend, Vision, and definitely not Tony Stark. This is what the military is for and we will handle this threat accordingly.”

With that, he pressed a button and the hologram disappeared. Rhodes leaned against one of the chairs, his temple bulging as he clenched his jaw angrily. Vision’s expression was calm but Rhodes could sense a wave of simmering anger within him.

“This is what we signed up for,” Vision said.

Rhodes shook his head. “No. I didn’t sign up for this. There are hundreds, thousands! of people who need our help and you saw what those terrorists are doing. The military is no match for people like them. Ross is a fool..”

Vision looked grim. “I agree, but we must have faith that they will be stopped.”

“That faith is fading fast. I agreed on the Sokovia Accords figuring that if a terrible threat would arise we would still be able to act. This, this, this isn’t right.”

“Maybe Ross is right. Maybe it’s best that we stay out of it.”

Rhodes sighed. “Once again I find myself questioning why I ever signed that piece of paper.”

Vision smiled grimly. “Me too.”

“I wonder what Steve Rogers is doing right now.”

“He’s preparing,” Vision said matter-of-factly.

Rhodes looked at him. “Preparing for what?”

Vision smiled, and this time it was genuine. “Preparing to save the world.”

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