To most, it seemed like a normal day in New York City but to Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter, they knew better. They walked down the city’s busy streets, their eyes locked on the skyscrapers around them as if they were simple tourists, but they were really looking for three HYDRA agents whose next step in a diabolical plan was going to get thousands killed.
They stopped at a crosswalk. “We’re never going to find them,” Sharon said, flicking her dyed black hair over her shoulder agitatedly.
Steve’s narrowed eyes surveyed the windows in the skyscrapers surrounding them. “They’re here. Any moment now they’ll show themselves. They always do.”
She looked at him and smiled. “You know I’m still getting used to the beard?” she said.
His lips quirked in a slight smile. “Me too.”
They locked eyes for a moment.
“Can you please stop flirting while I’m on comms? It’s kind of distracting,” Sam Wilson spoke.
“It’s not flirting, Sam,” Sharon replied. “We’re just having small talk.”
“Sam, do you see anything?” Steve asked.
“Nah, the streets are quiet. A little too quiet if you ask me.”
Before Steve could reply the air above them exploded with shrapnel.
“Get down!” Steve yelled as he threw an unsuspecting pedestrian to the sidewalk. Glass rained from above.
Sharon ducked behind a nearby parked car, unholstering a gun from a hidden holster and pointing it at the building’s higher windows. Taxis and cars crashed into each other amidst a cacophony of horn blowing as the explosion distracted the drivers. Steve’s head whipped to the sky and sure enough, he spotted one of the agents moving away from one of the windows.
“There they are,” Sam said.
“I saw one of them!” Steve said. “Sam, northeast building, seventh floor.”
Sam was a flash of metal wings as he flew by. “On it!”
A second later he could hear the faint pops of gunfire.
“You’re Captain America, aren’t you?” the pedestrian he had rescued–a teenage boy with dark hair and glasses–said in awe.
“Take care of the civilians,” he told Sharon.
She smiled. “Already one step ahead of you.”
He took a deep breath as he looked toward the window where the agent was. “I’m going after them.”
“Be careful,” Sharon said.
He nodded before running forward, using the roof of a car to propel himself onto the second floor of the damaged building. Smoke filled the building from the explosion’s blast but he didn’t mind. He ran through the acrid air, finding the emergency staircase and hurriedly ascending it.
“Sam, what’s happening?” he asked as he heard more gunfire.
“I’m trying to get them but they’re too fast and strong,” Sam replied. “I think these agents have been enhanced.”
“Baron Strucker,” he mumbled under his breath.
“Maybe so. All I know is…ah!”
The comms crackled. Steve’s eyes widened. “Sam!”
There was no reply.
Still no reply. Steve growled. He pushed himself to move faster, busting through the door that was the entrance to the seventh floor.
“Steve!” Sharon said over the comms. “Steve, what’s happening?”
“I’ve lost contact with Sam,” he replied.
“You sure have,” an accented voice said from behind.
Before Steve could react he was plowed into by the strongest person he had ever felt and shoved across the room straight through the open window that had been destroyed just a minute ago. His hands grasped for the ledge but all they caught was air as he plummeted to the sidewalk seven floors below. He could only watch as the tall, burly individual who had shoved him laughed heartily as he fell.
Steve turned in mid-air so that he wouldn’t land on his back but the impact was still going to hurt. Two floors away from hitting the cement he was snatched out of the air by none other than Sam.
He grinned. “Sam, you’re okay.”
Sam looked at him, a splotch of blood marring his left eyebrow. “I’ve been through worse.”
Steve nodded. “Thanks, Sam.”
They flew up to the unsuspecting foe who had shoved Steve out of the window and they both kicked him in the midriff, sending him flying across the room. Sam let Steve go as they both dropped into the building.
Two other agents ran forward, one female and the other one male. They were both muscular, accentuating the fact that they had clearly been enhanced. They were also very similar looking with their white-blond hair and strong jaws. It was easy to recognize the three agents as siblings.
“Surrender now and we won’t have to hurt you,” Steve said.
The woman laughed, stepping forth. “Who do you think we are, Captain America? Oh wait, you don’t go by that title anymore do ya?”
The other agent guffawed. “Yeah, that’s right. You don’t even have your shield. Just your puny looking hands.”
Steve’s jaw clenched. “I can still take you two in a fight any day.”
The woman smiled wickedly. “It doesn’t matter. We’ve got a hydrogen bomb already set to blow in exactly one minute and guess what, there’s nothing you can do about it. Hundreds of thousands will die in an instant and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
Steve’s eyes widened. He looked at Sam. Sam nodded. “On it,” he replied.
Sam flew out of the window to go find the bomb. The man grinned.
“He’ll never find it in time.”
The largest agent began to stir. Steve assessed the situation. Here he was, alone and with three enhanced agents ready to pulverize him. And he didn’t have his shield to protect him, a fact that he kept remembering the hard way. He wasn’t liking the odds.
That is until the door across the floor flew open and Sharon burst into the room with her gun aimed at the agents. Her expression was intense.
“I’m guessing you’re not immune to bullets,” she stated matter-of-factly.
Before they could react she shot all three of them, choosing to incapacitate them rather than kill them. Steve looked at her with surprise.
“I thought you were helping the civilians?” he asked.
She smiled. “I was, but after I saw you get knocked out the window I knew you needed help.”
“How’d you get up here so fast?”
She grinned. “Elevator.”
He laughed, shaking his head. “You’re definitely a Carter. Such practical thinking.”
“No flirting,” Sam reminded them.
“Of course,” Steve said, grinning at Sharon. Adopting a serious expression again he asked, “Did you find the bomb?”
“No. I can’t seem to sense a reading anywhere,” he replied.
Steve’s eyebrows furrowed. And then he noticed movement. It was the female agent. She was gazing at him with a mischievous smile, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth.
“Of course he wouldn’t find the bomb,” she said.
“Found it!” Sam said.
Steve noticed something glint in the woman’s hand. Steve’s eyes widened as he realized she was holding the bomb’s detonator. The next few moments seemed to happen in slow motion.
The woman’s finger began to press down on the detonator, Sharon shot the woman’s hand, the detonator flew through the air and Steve leaped forward, grabbing the detonator before it could hit the ground. The woman screamed “No!” in both pain and anguish before loosing consciousness.
Steve released a long breath of relief.
“Sam, did you deactivate the bomb?”
Steve looked at Sharon who ran forward and hugged him.
“Oh, that was close,” she said.
He nodded as he held her. “A little too close.”
The two were locked in the embrace when Sam interjected on the tender moment.
“Got some bad news. Looks like it’s time to go. I’m spotting Deputy Task Force on their way right now.”
Steve’s jaw knotted as he ended the embrace, turning and running to the window where he saw Deputy Task Force officers hurrying to the building. “Copy that,” he replied.
Sharon shook her head. “To think I used to work for those bozos.”
He smiled at her. “To think.”
They locked eyes one last time before exiting the building.