The Voice (page 1)
Title: The Voice
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avenger & Iron Man (MCU)
Era: Post Avengers movie
Genre: AU, drama
Rating: T / FRT
Characters: Bruce Banner (the Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), J.A.R.V.I.S., Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor (also: Happy Hogan, Nick Fury, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Obadiah Stane)
Summary: Tony never became Iron Man – or an Avenger – but the Avengers were still put together to save the world from Loki. After the first battle the Avengers begin to receive help from an unknown source, guiding them during missions and in some cases keeping the team together. Fury wants the culprit caught while Steve feels they should thank him instead of putting him behind bars.
Written for: In response to taricalmcacil’s prompt in Cap/Iron Man 2013 Gift Exchange (LJ): “Tony was rescued before he built the suit in IM1 and never became Iron Man. When the Avengers become a team he eventually starts tracking their battles via satellite and hacking their comms to give them direction. Steve finds himself falling for the voice that keeps them out of harms way.”
Warnings: Implied m/m (slash) sex, post-sex affection, mentions of kidnapping and violence. Spoilers and What If!AU regarding Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avengers and The Avengers movies.
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Avengers, their characters and everything else belong to Marvel. The movie versions belong to Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau, Louis Leterrier, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures… in short: everyone but me. This is pure fiction, created to entertain likeminded fans, no profit made.
Beta: Mythra (mythras-fire)
Feedback: Much appreciated, especially due to reasons stated at the end of the fic: tell me what you think – and if you want more.
About The Voice: My first real Gift Exchange ever (I pinch hit for another earlier this year but I don’t really count that).
I must admit the prompt was better and more insightful than my actual fic (see the prompt above at “Written for” section of the info). However, this is the story I managed to put together and hopefully it’s good enough to please the receiver and the collective audience of other readers.
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Afghanistan was Tony Stark’s Fight Club; if someone knew about it, they weren’t supposed to talk about it. If there were any doubts about that, Tony would none-too-gently push them to refer to Rule 1, which was to not talk about Afghanistan.
The captivity that had lasted almost a month marked the hardest period of time in Tony’s life. It brutally threw aside all his childhood disappointments and the death of his parents. It bypassed any prior postulations he had about being kidnapped and tossed any training he had received since he was old enough to understand the concept that there were people who might want to hurt him out the window.
There were times Tony could almost imagine Afghanistan hadn’t happened. He would have surely been successful if not for the hole in his chest, the miniaturized arc reactor stuck inside it to keep him alive and cause him near-constant pain.
Tony’d had a plan to escape, to save himself and Yinsen – a man who had given him another shot at life with an electromagnet hooked into a car battery, digging out all the shrapnel he could from Tony’s chest cavity. Tony had planned out a weapon – not the one the terrorists were asking for – to free them, yet those plans were little more than shapes on paper when they were rescued – when Tony was rescued; Yinsen died in the firefight, bleeding out in Tony’s arms, asking him not to throw away his life, to make it mean something.
Just because Tony Stark’s name decorated the side of the world’s most advanced weapons it didn’t mean he had done anything worthwhile with his life, it seemed.
When Rhodey and the military found and rescued him, Tony didn’t cope well. He wanted time to think, wanted space to sort it all out. He tried shutting down Stark Industries’ weapons manufacturing division, to give himself more time to consider the options, but of course the board – or rather, Obadiah Stane, who had helped run the company since the beginning –wasn’t having any of that.
It had been a constant tug-of-war ever since. The board wanted to push Tony to the side, whether it was for the good of the company or because he was suffering from PTSD. Tony in return doubted everyone’s motives, refusing to understand why they couldn’t embrace a new direction for the company.
This had been going on for months. Tony had mostly returned to his own life, spending more and more time at his home in Malibu. He had improved the arc reactor in his chest and had learned to cope with the pain it brought with it. He struggled with nightmares and reminders for a time, drinking more than he should, pushing away the people who tried to help, mainly Rhodey and Pepper. A part of his life had come to an end in that cave in Afghanistan and no one saw it the way he did. They simply assumed it would get easier, eventually.
- - -
It was almost two years after Afghanistan when Tony watched a feed in his workshop of a portal opening above the White House and aliens called the Chitauri trying to invade Earth.
That was the day when a group of five heroes called ‘The Avengers’ narrowly defeated the Chitauri and the world was unlikely to be the same afterwards.
- - -
Steve Rogers heard his voice echo on the walls. This place was a maze; an old factory area with thick walls, tunnels beneath the complexes, multiple buildings interlocked and either the area itself or the monster they were chasing was giving off interference and they had lost all communications with S.H.I.E.L.D. almost as soon as they entered. He could only hope his team’s communicators were still working, although the Hulk had never been particularly good with one and Thor had managed to break most models given to him. Director Fury had promised they would get Thor’s to work but for the Hulk there was little hope.
A roar made the floor tremble, meaning the Hulk was somewhere beneath him; a labyrinth of old access tunnels lay beneath the basement level, then layers upon layers of maintenance shafts and hidden laboratories that didn’t appear on any map. Because of the interference any further investigation of the area had been pointless and they were just running around blind.
The monster they were chasing was able to divide itself into multiple smaller parts which was why the five Avengers had lost each other. Steve was desperate to remedy that; they needed to find a way to stop the creature from multiplying – and thus escaping – and contain it. Bruce Banner may have had a few ideas but as soon as one of the mini-creatures bit him in the arm, the Hulk had come out and any plans in the making had quickly disappeared in the wave of rage that followed.
Holding his shield more firmly, Steve stopped at another juncture, trying to decide where to go. Left, right, or ahead? There were also stairs on the right, which meant he could go up or down or stay where he was.
The comm signal rattled faintly in his ear, almost like static. It had been quiet for a long time now and he wondered if he was closing in on something. Perhaps Thor.
“Go left,” a voice suddenly spoke in his ear, the static distorting it slightly, making him jump.
Steve didn’t recognize the voice and looked towards the left suspiciously.
“Go left, then take the second door on the right, cross the room and take the stairs up to the top floor. You will find Hawkeye there.”
“Who is this?” Steve asked, raising his hand to his ear as if that would make him hear better and unveil the identity of the foreign voice. He still looked, with suspicion, towards the hallway leading to the left.
“You’re wasting time, Captain,” the voice suggested. A male who had an accent that was both soft and polite. British, Steve’s brain supplied from memory. Strangely clean as if the emotions behind the words had been taken down a notch, perhaps coming through a filter of some kind to distort the origin.
He decided left was just as good as any and went that way, selecting the second door on the right then found himself in a large space. He looked up, finding catwalks, then took the stairs and climbed them swiftly yet as silently as he could.
It wasn’t silent enough to stop alarming his fellow Avenger, who aimed an arrow at him before recognizing Captain America’s uniform. “Hey, Cap,” Clint Barton greeted. “Seen anyone else?”
“I heard the Hulk,” Steve admitted. “Is your radio working?”
“I just… Never mind, let’s find the others.”
Clint nodded and they walked to another door, searching several more hallways.
“Captain,” the voice startled him a moment later. This time there wasn’t even static. “Go down the stairs you find before you. Three floors down. You’ll find Black Widow – and one sixth of that monster.”
“Let’s take the stairs,” Steve said when they arrived before them. “Three floors down.”
“Why three?” Clint asked, frowning. “You know something I don’t?”
“Call it a hunch.”
They followed the instructions and discovered Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow standing over one of the monsters. It seemed she had subdued this one, although not without a price, carrying a few nasty-looking scratches where claws and teeth had torn her body-hugging catsuit. She didn’t ask how they found her, although Clint was beginning to harbor suspicions about Cap’s direction-giving.
“Thor is in another building. He just punched through the ceiling and is flying around the premises,” the voice told Steve next. Neither Clint nor Natasha seemed to be hearing it, busy securing the monster beside him. “Two of the six creatures have merged into one and has followed him outdoors. The Hulk is hunting down the last three creatures and demolishing various basement levels. He will cause them to cave in soon; I recommend intervention before the area becomes unstable.”
“You recommend?” Steve replied, making the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives look at him in confusion. For now he didn’t care. “How do you know this and how are you talking to me?”
“I am better equipped than S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the voice noted dryly, as if taking offense that his capabilities were being questioned.
“Who’re you talking to?” Clint asked.
“I have no idea but he’s given me pretty good advice up till now,” Steve admitted.
“My radio’s been dead for as long as we’ve been in here,” Natasha contemplated. “How are you talking to someone – especially on a secure, encrypted channel? No one should be able to connect to our comm signals other than us and S.H.I.E.L.D.”
“Why don’t you ask him that if you get the chance; right now we need to get the Hulk out of the basement before he turns this entire area into one giant sinkhole.” Steve wasn’t happy about it but the advice had been good so far and he might dare to trust it a bit longer. It wasn’t as if he had any better information to go on; they’d been running blind until this mystery person had contacted him.
It took them an hour to corral the Hulk out into the open and round up all the monsters, which merged back into the giant one for the last, desperate battle. Thor, who was quite upset by then, almost fried the thing with lightning so strong it dug a massive crater into the yard.
S.H.I.E.L.D. choppers and vehicles arrived soon after to help with the clean-up and containment and the comm stayed silent in Steve’s ear.
- - -
It happened several more times in the next few months and not only in situations where S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t reach them but whenever the Avengers, knowingly or unknowingly, needed guidance, whether it was for directions or information. Part of Steve came to expect it and he felt grateful whenever their victory was ensured by the assistance of the pleasant voice in his ear; people were saved and that was the most important thing.
When the person behind the unidentified voice hacked S.H.I.E.L.D. for the first time in order to get his hands on some information Fury had been withholding from the Avengers, the cat was now out of the bag. The Director was furious that Steve hadn’t reported it after the first time – nor had any of the other Avengers mentioned it, strangely enough.
“He has broken into our secret files and compromised our secure channels of communication,” Fury growled out. “Can you understand the danger?”
“I understand that whoever this guy is, he’s gotten us out of a lot of tight spots,” Steve argued. “He might not be doing it in the usual way, but he’s helped us save lives. Just last week Natasha would have died if it hadn’t been for the information he gave us about the antidote to counteract the poison she was infected with.”
Natasha didn’t vocally add to Steve’s theory but the twitch of her lips meant she agreed.
“So he’s been helping,” Fury admitted through a clenched jaw, “but he’s hacking us and if someone manages to hack him, then we’re all in trouble. I cannot stress that enough, I realize. We have to find him, and we’ll bring him in. You’re dismissed.”
The Avengers rose and headed out towards their rooms on the lower deck.
“That was entertaining,” Clint mused.
“Cap,” Bruce called out and Steve slowed down, falling slightly behind the others with the scientist. “You don’t want him caught?” Bruce went on in a low voice.
“I can only imagine what S.H.I.E.L.D. will do to him when he’s found,” Steve explained his concern. “We might not know him, or his motivations, but he’s only helped us so far. How he’s doing it doesn’t matter to me, only what he chooses to do with that knowledge and power.”
“Sometimes people with power go over to the dark side,” Natasha mused ahead of them, listening to their conversation.
“The Voice has been very helpful,” Thor reminded them needlessly. They called him ‘the Voice’ because they didn’t have his name. “He should come out of hiding and greet us in person, like the worthy ally he is.”
“Fury would throw him into a prison cell if he did,” Clint reminded their Asgardian friend. “Breaking into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s systems is the same as hacking into any government database – probably worse. He would disappear and no one would ever hear of him again. Or they would hire him, although I think Fury’s too pissed to throw that card on the table.”
“He did say a few unsavory things about the Director the last time we spoke,” Thor grinned.
“It seems Fury does bring out another side of the Voice,” Bruce said thoughtfully. “There’s a lot more to him than friendly advice. He’s highly intelligent and capable – not to mention his unconventional ways of managing problems.”
“What do you mean?” Steve asked.
“We’ve talked a few times. He’s the reason I haven’t left yet,” Bruce shrugged. “He convinced me to stay, in his own way. If we ever find him, I might have to thank him for that – or not, depending on how things end.”
That explained a lot; Steve had expected Bruce to leave after the Chitauri had been defeated, yet the man had hung around, looking nervously over his shoulder every five seconds yet there had seemed to be something pulling him towards the Avengers every time he started to get anxious. Steve had hoped Bruce would stay because he could do a lot of good here, both as Bruce Banner and the Hulk, but now that the Voice’s interference had been brought to his attention, be wondered what the two of them had talked about.
Bruce seemed to guess what he was thinking about and smiled. “It wasn’t anything special. He just… challenged me to give the other guy a shot at this and it has been going well so far. I don’t want to prove him wrong, although I fear I eventually will. Plus he promised to warn me if S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Army were trying to lure me into a trap,” he added with a shrug which betrayed a little of the tension that admission caused in him.
Steve wasn’t sure what to say to that. Maybe this guy didn’t like the authorities much. Could be he was a rebel of some kind, yet he had been helping them and Steve would thank him for that, no matter what.
- - -
“Where is it we’re going, sir?” Steve asked. They had flown to the West Coast and were now driving up a winding road. The sea was on the left, vast and blue, yet dropping beneath them as the road began to rise higher.
“Stark’s Malibu estate,” Director Fury announced, engrossed in some file in his hands.
“And why am I here?” Steve inquired; of course he had an interest in finally meeting Tony Stark, the only son of Howard Stark whom Steve had known before he disappeared in the ice for seventy years. He had looked Tony up before, having been sent files of the people he had known prior to the first mission with the Avengers, yet he hadn’t taken the step to actually meet the guy. He wasn’t sure how much Howard had told his son about Captain America and he didn’t want to intrude.
“You never know how these things will go with Mr. Stark. You might score a few points,” Fury raised his eyes to look at him. “His father knew you. He adored you as a kid. Now, as an adult, Tony doesn’t adore anyone but himself, but I might just get lucky and drag his attention toward my problems long enough to get something useful out of him.”
“He’s a weapons designer,” Steve recalled. His memory was excellent, actually, but he wished to hear Fury’s side of the story.
“Among other things. Weapons haven’t been his favorite topic since he got kidnapped while doing a demonstration in Afghanistan. Try to avoid talking about that; it’s a sore spot. His company still makes weapons but there has been criticism that Tony has no real interest in it anymore and the innovation has gone back a few steps. He’s been focusing on other things since he got back a couple years ago and I have a few applications I want him to take a look at – and perhaps he’ll help us track down the hacker as well.”
Steve sighed. He had hoped Fury would give up on the witch-hunt he had started to track down the Voice. Steve had only agreed to be of help so that he would know if they were getting close; he still wanted to show his gratitude to the person who had helped them out, no matter his means of getting there. As long as the Voice wasn’t hurting anyone…
“We’re here,” Fury noted and put his file away. They had pulled up beside a house that looked like a work of art with round edges and innovative design. Steve was still looking at it when Fury strode to the door and rang the bell. Steve followed the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., wondering if he should have come dressed as Captain America and not his civilian clothes, yet Fury hadn’t insisted on it which meant it either didn’t matter or it was better this way.
The door opened and a somewhat burly man faced them in the doorway; Steve could tell he had muscle under his clothes, perhaps some training, but with his shorter stature and stance, he didn’t look like most agents Steve had been around recently. The man looked them over then gestured for them to come in. “Ms. Potts will be with you in a moment.”
“We’re here to see Mr. Stark,” Fury noted.
“He… isn’t available right now, but Ms. Potts will let you know if that changes.”
“Right,” Fury said sharply and strode inside. Steve followed him and soon found himself in a living room, the space wide around him and the view over the sea incredible. If he didn’t know better, he’d have thought that this entire house was built into the side of the cliff, defying gravity.
As they waited, Fury’s phone rang and he answered, pacing back and forth as he argued with whomever was at the other end.
Steve guessed he could look around a bit, to see more of this eccentric building. There was art on the walls and he followed the pieces along the hallway, admiring them, able to tell none of them were copies and that many were fairly valuable from known artists. He kept looking for more until he could no longer hear Fury’s voice, which snapped him out of it and he guessed he should head back before he got into trouble for snooping around in Stark’s home.
He was just about to turn back when he heard a voice to his right, coming from somewhere down the hall. Steve couldn’t make out the words perfectly but he recognized the tone instantly.
He moved towards it, checking out each room, not finding anyone.
“Ms. Potts is talking to him right now,” the Voice’s muffled tone spoke up behind one door.
Steve didn’t hesitate and entered the room on his left, fully expecting to find the owner of the voice which he had heard in his ear for months now – but there was no-one there; just some gym equipment, a treadmill in front of a large screen and other stuff for someone who wasn’t obsessed but wanted to keep fit. “Hello?” he called out, looking around. He was certain his ears hadn’t deceived him and it had been the voice he had heard many times – which he expected and looked forward to hearing during every mission these days.
A door was ajar on the other side of the room and he pondered what lay beyond it. A man suddenly stepped through it with a bottle of some sports drink in his hand. He froze, brown eyes finding Steve instantly as if he didn’t belong there – which he didn’t. “Are you lost?” he asked Steve without preamble.
“Is there someone else here?” Steve asked him in return.
“No one but me,” the man replied. That was when Steve’s distracted brain actually decided to focus on something other than the Voice and supplied him with the fact that he was currently talking to Tony Stark himself.
“I heard someone. Someone who wasn’t you,” Steve insisted. He didn’t need to hear but a word from Tony to know it wasn’t him he was looking for.
The man shrugged and opened his drink, taking a sip. “Living room’s that way,” he pointed. “Or I can have Happy show you the way,” he added.
Steve guessed Happy was the man who had let them into the house in the first place. He felt like asking about the Voice again, to make sure, but if Tony had already told him he was alone then he was unlikely to change his mind suddenly. Steve turned to return to the living room, trying to think of a way to pinpoint the location of the voice, then heard it again:
“Sir, Obadiah Stane is calling,” the familiar voice announced from the side.
“I don’t care. I’m still mad at him, remember?” Tony responded.
Steve was back in the gym so fast Tony almost dropped the bottle in his hand, bringing his free palm up to his chest.
“What?” Tony snapped, breathing hard a few times.
“I heard him. You just talked to him,” Steve pressed closer, further into the room, searching the space, then the door which led to the kitchen.
“Well, that’s Jarvis,” Tony shrugged.
“Who’s Jarvis?” Steve frowned.
“He’s my AI,” the other man explained, a hint of annoyance in his voice. When Steve showed no sign of comprehension he went on, even more annoyed: “An artificial intelligence. If you really want to insult him, you might call him a really advanced computer program.”
“An AI,” Steve tested the word.
“Good day, Mr. Rogers,” the voice greeted him, familiar as ever, yet instead of being in the comm in his ear it came from the room at large.
Steve looked up, trying to pinpoint something to look at. “We –”
“What are you doing?” a woman’s voice interrupted him sharply. A lady with red hair stood in the doorway from which Steve had entered, looking far more annoyed than Tony who was still sucking down his drink.
“I –” Steve started.
“He got lost,” Tony supplied.
“This way, please,” she said primly and Steve knew he had to follow her out, no matter how many questions he had for the Voice – this… Jarvis. “And Tony?” the woman stopped, almost making Steve run into her. “I thought you said you weren’t feeling well. Go to bed. Not the one in the workshop, either. I need you operational tomorrow and Obadiah needs to talk –”
“I’m fine, and tell Obie not to bother because like I told Jarvis, I don’t want to see him, or hear him,” Tony replied.
“There was a board meeting this morning, he needs to talk to you,” the woman insisted.
“He’s the one who’s been trying to push me out! Did you know he was doing that?”
“Of course not!”
“Then stop trying to play the devil’s advocate and block his calls,” Tony snapped and threw his bottle to the side, turning around. “I’ll be in the shop.”
She sighed then resumed walking back to the living room. Fury was waiting for them, raising an eyebrow at Steve. “If you bring people over, you can’t let them just wander around,” the woman snapped at the Director.
“Of course, Ms. Potts,” Fury replied civilly. “Is Mr. Stark available?”
“No,” Ms. Potts responded. “I can leave him a message.”
Fury tossed the file on the table which he had been reading earlier. “Tell him to be in touch, or I’ll come by again.”
“Of course, Director Fury,” she said pleasantly but Steve knew where they weren’t welcome. Clearly Ms. Potts was acting as a shield between them and Tony, which meant she probably worked with him or for him. Sure, she had sounded like she was used to bossing Tony around, but he hadn’t really told her to stop which meant it was their usual way of communicating.
Not that it was important; all Steve cared about was Jarvis and finding out how Tony’s AI had been helping them with their missions.
As he and Fury got back into the car, the Director looked at him for a long time.
“Sir?” Steve finally asked.
“Did you find anything?” Fury questioned, clearly suggesting Steve had gone snooping.
“I met Mr. Stark. He seemed…” He frowned, thinking back to it. “He seemed agitated, almost. Not very forthcoming.”
Fury snorted, looking out the window. “That’s Tony Stark for you. One of the biggest brains on the planet and he’s an insufferable asshole. It’s fortunate we’ve gotten a few favors from him, though.”
Steve couldn’t say anything to that so he looked out the other window and considered his options.
- - -
In the next few weeks Steve had to restrain himself from doing anything out of the ordinary.
After meeting Tony Stark – and Jarvis – he wanted to see whether anything was going to change. The search for the hacker was still going on and Steve committed himself to that while there were no missions; he looked broodingly at screens, tossed around ideas with people much smarter than himself while constantly thinking of the incorporeal voice and its origin.
S.H.I.E.L.D. actually had a little information about Jarvis – or J.A.R.V.I.S., the AI’s official designation; they had labeled it as a program that ran Tony’s household in Malibu, with little else known about the AI. Steve wondered if that was all, or if S.H.I.E.L.D. had any idea what J.A.R.V.I.S. was capable of.
The manhunt for the hacker wasn’t really moving forward. There hadn’t been any further break-ins to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s files or systems which made Steve hopeful that perhaps Fury would drop the matter. At the same time he noticed the silence in the comm, even with the chatter of everyone else’s voices; something was missing. Someone Steve had begun to expect and look forward to talking to, almost.
- - -
Steve had a solo mission three weeks after visiting Tony Stark’s home. It was something he could handle without assembling the entire team, just a bit of recon and taking down a criminal exchange of money and weapons in the docks. S.H.I.E.L.D. units were standing by and would intervene if need be. Otherwise they would just maintain perimeter and keep people from wandering into the potentially dangerous situation.
He had just gotten a good spot to follow the proceedings when his comm device let out a ping, as if he were receiving a message.
“You are being watched,” the familiar voice reached his ears.
Steve instinctively looked around but couldn’t see anything. He was on top of a building which meant it was unlikely anyone would spot him. “By you?” he guessed.
“Myself and a person in that tower in front of you.”
Steve re-directed his gaze, looking up a mast that held powerful lights on top of it. The lights were turned off, leaving the area below in darkness. He couldn’t see anyone. “How do you know?” he asked.
“Thermal cameras. Don’t look so shocked.”
Steve frowned. “Okay, so what do you think I should do?” He was already calculating the odds of hitting the man in hiding with his shield, but without seeing where he was Steve should just wait until the other guy made his move, then counter attack.
“Why would S.H.I.E.L.D. send you out there alone anyway?” the voice questioned.
“They have a chemical weapon they might set off when attacked. My body should be able to handle it.” Steve spoke quietly, still watching the events on the ground and keeping an eye on the light mast.
“That’s a lot of faith on ‘should’.”
“Do you care?”
“I’m just trying to be friendly, Captain.”
Steve smiled. “Your concern is noted.”
“Try not to set off the weapon; it might not disintegrate as fast as S.H.I.E.L.D. calculated and could carry out to the nearest buildings.”
Steve frowned. He was told that without a proper launcher the weapon was going to be weak and not pose a threat to anyone who wasn’t in its immediate vicinity. “You think S.H.I.E.L.D. miscalculated something?”
“Would you be surprised?”
“You should have faith.”
There was silence and Steve decided things had gone far enough; he climbed down, advancing, ready to make his move. A shot was fired from above when he stepped out into the open and he threw up his shield to block the attack. On the ground the men were already pulling out their guns, which was bound to make things nasty; healing or no, Steve didn’t like being shot, and there was only so much his Captain America suit could take.
He threw himself to the side behind some crates, rolling to the far edge, calculated the distance then threw his shield. It hit the light mast first then bounced back, taking out two of the men on the ground. Steve ran out after it, as quickly as he could, jumping into the midst of the criminals, taking them out one after another, then picked up his shield and knocked out the last three before grabbing a gun and shooting over his head just before another shot was fired at him.
The guy in the light mast missed.
Panting, he looked around then picked up the suitcases, making sure the one with the chemical weapon was untouched. Next he reached up to his ear to call S.H.I.E.L.D. in. None of them appeared to know he had talked to J.A.R.V.I.S. or that he’d had outside contact.
Steve wasn’t going to tell them.
- - -