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Chapter 6

"I was wrong, Director. The world hasn't changed a bit." Lex heard Steve say as she walked into the lab that was holding everyone; Tony, Bruce, Natasha, Steve, Thor and Fury.
"You know about this?" Bruce aimed his question towards Natasha and Lex, but mainly Lex. The sad part was that Lex did know about the weapons unfortunately.
"You want to think about removing yourself from this environment, Doctor?" Natasha asked, taking a step forward. Lex made her way around Thor and closer to Steve. Tony was a mere 5 feet away, she forced herself not to look at him.
"I was in Calcutta. I was pretty well removed." Everyone could see that the scientist was getting more and more agitated by the second.
"Loki is manipulating you."
"And you've been doing what, exactly?" Bruce continued to argue with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, demanding answers. Fury put the blame on Thor and then they started going back and forth.
"We are hopelessly, hilariously out gunned." Fury stated.
"My people want nothing, but peace with your planet." Thor defended his people with endless honor.
"But you're not the only people out there, are you?" Lex made herself known in the conversation as she voiced her thoughts. She didn't agree with Phase 2 100%, but she knew it was for the right reason they were constructing these weapons. "And you're not the only threat."
"This world's filling up with people who can't be matched, that can't be controlled." Fury looked at Tony, hoping he would understand. He figured out of all people in this room, he would understand S.H.I.E.L.D.'s logic.
"Like you controlled the cube?" Steve took a jab at Fury.
"Your work with the tesseract is what drew Loki to it, and his allies. It is a signal to all realms that Earth is ready for a higher form of war." Thor said.
"You forced our hand. We had to come up with something." This time it was Lex's turn to take the defense.
"A nuclear deterrent." Tony chirped in bluntly. "Because that always calms everything down." Lex faced Tony, his face and tone cold. She locked eyes with him.
"Remind me again how you made your fortune, Stark." Lex shot back, glaring at the genius.
"I'm sure if he still made weapons Stark would be neck-deep…" Steve came up behind Lex, backing her up.
"Hold on. How is this now about me?" Tony broke eye contact with Lex and looked briefly over at Steve.
"I'm sorry, isn't everything?" Lex sarcastically input. Tony eyes shifted back to Lex. He had butted heads with the assassin on many occasions and had been the victim of her sharp tongue before, but this was different.
"I thought humans were more evolved than this." Thor said.
"Excuse me, did we come to your planet and blow stuff up?" Lex looked away from Tony and over at Thor. Fury smirked at the comment. He missed having Lex around. She was always so fast to jump on the defense. She refused to take the backseat and just sit there and be criticized.
"You treat your champions with such mistrust." He had a point. No one on this team trusted anyone.
"Are you boys really that naive. S.H.I.E.L.D. monitors potential threats." Natasha practically rolled her eyes.
"Captian America's on a threat watch?" Bruce crossed his arms.
"We all are." She countered
"Wait you're on that list?"
"Stark, I swear to god if you make one more wise crack…" Rogers glared at the billionaire.
"Threat! Verbal threat. I feel threatened." Tony patronized the solider.
"Show some respect." Lex snarled. She was hurt and she was going to let that show.
"Respect what?" He was really getting on her nerves. After that everything was lost in the mob of words and arguing that continued crowding the room.
"You speak of control, yet you court chaos." Thor boomed above them all.
"That's his M.O., isn't it?" Bruce agreed. "I mean, what are we, a team?" Bruce looked around the room at all the members of this 'team'. "No, we're a chemical mixture that makes chaos. We're a time bomb."
"You need to step away." Fury pushed away all other thoughts at that moment. His focus now was to keep Bruce calm, to keep Loki form getting what he wanted.
"Why shouldn't the guy let off a little steam?" Tony defended the scientist.
"You know damn well why. Back off!" Lex growled. Yes, she trusted Bruce's ability to control himself to a certain degree, but she did not trust the situation.
"I'm starting to want you to make me." Tony tilled his head to the side cockily.
"Yeah, big man in a suit of armor. Take that off and what are you?"
"Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
"I know men with none of that worth ten of you." Steve commented.
"Your over inflated ego tunes everything out but your own voice and accusations. You're a man in a metal suit playing the hero, when in turn you only serve yourself. Take that off and you're a man that refuses to except anything that he doesn't want to hear. You aren't worth the time, Stark. I don't need a suit to take you out." Lex stood tall as she called him out. If he hated her, then she wouldn't hold back. She had nothing to lose. "You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you."
"I think I would just cut the wire."
Lex smirked and shook her head. "Always a way out. You know, you may not be a threat, but you better stop pretending to be a hero." Tony kept a straight face, but on the inside his chest was tightening at her hurtful words. Coming from anyone else they would have meant nothing, but they came from her.
"A hero? Like you? You're definitely hero material. You're an agent in a secret organization and you kill for a living. Everything special about you involves killing, lying and scheming." Everyone in the room could feel the tension between the two.
"Put on the suit. Lets go a few round." Lex knew that suit inside and out, she could take it out in a matter of seconds. Both Tony and Lex's attention was drawn to Thor as the heard him chuckle.
"You people are so petty, and tiny."
"Yeah, this is a team." You could almost hear Bruce's eyes roll.
"Agent Barton, could you escort Dr. Banner back to his…" Fury needed to get Tony and Lex out of the same room.
"Where? You rented my room."
"The cell was just in case…"
"In case you needed to kill me. But you can't. I know, I tried." The anger built up in Lex started to fade and was replaced by despair.
"Bruce…" she looked dolefully at the scientist.
"I got low. I didn't see an end. So, I put a bullet in my mouth, and the other guy spit it out," He paused. "So, I moved on. I focused on helping other people. I was good. Until you dragged me back into this freak show, and put everyone here at risk." He glared at Fury. He then turned his attention to Natasha. "You want to know my secret, Agent Romanoff? You want to know how I stay calm?" His voice became more agitated and he unknowing reached back and grabbed Loki's scepter. Fury, Natasha and Lex all tensed, reaching for their guns.
"Bruce, put down the scepter." Lex demanded calmly. Bruce looked down at his hand in disbelief. He hadn't even realized he had picked it up. All attention then shifted off of Bruce and over to a computer that was beeping vigorously.
Bruce put down the scepter and walked over to the computer that had caught everyone's attention. "Sorry, kids, you don't get to see my party trick after all."
"You located the Tesseract?"
"I could get there fastest." Tony blatantly volunteered.
"The Tesseract belongs on Asgard." Thor claimed. "No human is a match for it."
Tony, completely ignoring what Thor said, heading for the door to put his suit on. "You're not going alone." Lex grabbed his arm to stop him, but he just pushed it away.
"You're gonna stop me?" Here they go again.
"Put on the suit, lets find out."
"I'm not afraid to take you out."
"Put on the suit." Lex growled.
"Oh my god." They all heard Bruce gasp. A blast shook the aircraft and an explosion threw them all to the ground. Natasha and Bruce dropped through the floor and Lex, Tony and Steve were thrown against the wall. Lex's vision started to blur with red. She wiped her face to find blood dripping from her forehead. She looked over to see Steve already recovering.
Lex faced Tony as he tried to get to his feet. "Put on the suit." She huffed.
"Yeah." He gasped and they both got to their feet and headed out of the now destroyed lab. Tony lost his balance and went into a wall. Lex grabbed him and pulled him back down the hall. Lex looked over her shoulder to see Steve behind them. "You okay, Cap?"
"Yeah, i'm good."
"Someone has got to get out there and patch up that engine." Hill said frantically over the communication line.
"Stark, you copy that?"
"Im on it."
"Barton, grab your gear and head to the bridge."
"Got it, boss."
"We're okay."
The three reached a split in the halls. Tony looked over at Steve. "Engine Three. I'll meet you there." He then looked over at Lex. "Be careful." She nodded and he continued his path to his suit while Steve headed for the engine and Lex headed for the bridge.
"Bring the carrier about to a 180, heading south! Take us to the water." Fury instructed as Lex ran into the bridge, bow in hand.
"We're flying blind. Navigation's recalibrating after the engine failure."
"Is the sun coming up?" Lex asked as she trotted to Fury's side.
"Yes, ma'am."
"Then put it on the left, you idiot. Get us over water. One more turbine goes down and we drop." Lex turned to the man next to her. "What do you need me to do?"
"Be look out. Make sure the bridge isn't breached."
"Yes, sir." She gladly took the security detail. As the crew scrambled around, Lex heard Tony's voice over the communication line. "Barton, I could use your help with this engine. Rogers isn't a big handy man."
"Boss?" Lex asked Fury for permission. As much as he would rather have her here on guard, he knew getting that engine up and running was the priority.
"I'm on my way, Stark." Lex bolted through the chaos and headed for engine three. Once she got there, she saw Steve on a high platform. She slung her bow over her shoulder and took a leap of faith, reaching for the nearest thing to grab. She grabbed onto a poll and swung herself up. The wind was challenging her balance, but she refused to let it get the better of her. "What do you need me to do?" Lex greeted the solider as she crouched down in front of the engine control panel.
"I need you to tell me which relays are in overload position."
Lex looked over them, they all seemed to be good. "The relays are intact." Steve stood behind her, looking over her shoulder.
"What's our next move?" He asked.
"Even if I clear the rotors, this thing won't re-engage without a jump. I'm going to have to get in there and push."
"If that thing gets up to speed it'll shred you." Lex tried to hide the worry in her voice.
"That stator control unit can reverse the polarity long enough to disengage maglev and that could…"
"Speak English!" Steve complained. Lex chuckled. She understood everything Tony was saying.
"You see that red lever? It will slow the rotors down long enough for me to get out." Steve and Lex both looked over at the lever he was talking about. "Stand by it and wait for my word."
Steve took Lex's hand and they both leaped to the next platform. They stood on the platform, waiting for Tony, when Steve noticed something. Were those S.H.I.E.L.D. agents? He got his answer when a grandee was thrown in Tony direction. They definitely weren't. Steve jumped platforms once again and knocked the explosive away. Steve engaged in close quarter combat with the men. Lex readied and arrow and shot it within a matter of seconds. It hit one hostile square in the chest. Steve picked up an AK-47 and headed back up to her. He then engaged in a fire fight with another one of Loki's men. Lex went to take another shot, but she couldn't see the man shooting at them.
Just then, Steve and Lex felt the aircraft shift sideways; another engine was down. "Its Barton, he took out our system. He's headed to the detention level. Does anyone copy?" As much as Lex wanted to , she couldn't. There was no way getting around this guy. She was relieved when Natasha picked up the request.
"Stark, we're losing altitude."
"Yeah, I noticed." He was almost there. He needed a little more time. He activated the thrusters in his suit as he pushed against the metal.
Another wave of bullets headed towards Steve and Lex. Steve was unprepared for the wave and cowered back. He lost his footing and fell over the side. "Steve!" Lex rushed to the edge only to find him dangling at the end of a loose wire.
"I'm fine. Just watch out." He warned as he slowly made his way up the wire. A realization hit Lex. She did one thing what you should never ever do; she took her eyes off the enemy. Once she turned around she felt a sharp pain in her lower left abdomen and then another and another. Her body locked up at the impact of the bullets. She lost her balance and fell back.
Her focus now was not on her slim chance at surviving, but at making sure Steve made it. So, as she begun to fall, she readied an arrow and took out the man who shot her, who was now out in the open. A direct hit to the throat. She now felt nothing around her except air. She was free falling to her death.
"Alexis!" Steve screamed. He reached out to her in a hopeless attempt. In one last strive, she shot an arrow with a grappling hook at the end of it, but she was too far down. It came up short.
Steve watched as the figure of his only friend fell to the Earth. There was nothing he could do. "Cap hit the lever." Steve snapped out go his trance and tried to focus on the current task at hand.
"I need a minute here!" He yelled as he climbed up the wire.
"Lever, now!" The engine was starting to speed up and soon Tony wouldn't be able to escape.
Steve finally managed to pull himself back up on to the platform. He crawled over to the lever as he heard Tony clanking and grinding in the engine. He reached up and pulled it down. Seconds later Tony shot into the open area near Steve. Steve felt relief flow through he body. At least he could save someone. Tony landed not far from Steve and pulled his helmet off. As Tony caught his breath he looked up at Steve. "Where's Barton?"
Steve couldn't face telling Tony that Lex was dead, he just couldn't. So, instead he opened the communication line so all could hear him. "Agent Alexis Barton is down. She was shot and fell overboard…"
Natasha forced herself up. She had to get him back and now was her chance. She made her way to the detention level and spotted Clint right away. She soundlessly dropped down to his level and followed right behind him. Even though she made no noise he could feel her presents. He swung around and aimed to shoot her with an arrow, but she blocked it, expecting noting less from him. He turned and elbowed her in the side of the face, swaying her balance. She quickly regained it and kicked him in the chest, sending him stumbling backwards. She ducked up under the metal path they were on. She swung up from the other side, kicking him in the torso. He once again tried to shoot her but she swung out of the line of fire. Clint took a shot at her with his bow, but she easily avoided it. She grabbed onto his bow's string, then punched him in the face. He released the bow and she threw it to the side. He pulled a knife out and went back on the offense. The two went back and forth neither managing to get the upper hand.
She wiggle out of one of his submission maneuvers and sent him head first into the metal rail. He didn't bounce right back, he just stayed there. As she waited for his counter she heard Captain America's voice over the communication line. "Agent Alexis Barton is down. She was shot and fell overboard..."
A flood of pain washed through Natasha's body. Out of all people to fall in battle Lex was the last she expected. She looked over at Clint who was now on his knees. "Natasha?" His eyes were still blue so he was still under Loki's control. She delivered a knockout blow to her friend. As she watched him fall back she slid to the ground. She looked over at the older Barton sibling who was now unconscious. How was she supposed to tell Clint that his little sister was dead?



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