No Second Guesses, No Regrets
Steve fired up the motorcycle and they burst out of the garage. They made it down the driveway before the armed men hit the edge of the property. They sped along the road and one gunman jumped out in their path. Taryn extended her mind and sent a boulder flying at the guy's head, knocking him out and off the road. She looked behind them sensing the chopper getting closer. Suddenly, gunfire burst around them and Taryn pointed to a break in the trees. Steve skidded across the road and then sped into the woods.
"This comes out at the highway," she yelled over the roar of the cycle.
They could still hear the chopper overhead, searching for them. "They must have infrared also. Try to stay away from the main roads though. I don't want any casualties."
"Right. Who the hell are these guys?!"
"No idea. No insignia on the chopper. It's hard to get a reading on anyone at this range. I haven't pissed anyone off lately, have you?"
"Not that I know of! But in this business the bad guys are always pissed off."
Steve could hear the highway up ahead of them and could see the earth mounded up at the side of the road and he shouted, "Hang on tight!"
He gunned the bike and hit the grass like a ramp. He sailed smoothly over the highway and landed on the other side amidst the spray of gunfire from the chopper.
"We have to take that out!" she yelled. "I have an idea!"
Steve stopped the bike at her orders and stashed it in the trees. She wanted him to knock over a small tree if he could. He exerted all his enhanced strength and took one down. She then reached out, lifting the tree with great exertion. Gaining momentum, the tree was aimed in direct line of the chopper blades. Immediately, it seized and the chopper went down in the middle of the highway in a ball of flame, stopping traffic, but injuring no one on the road.
Taryn wobbled and Steve caught her as she fell. "C'mon, we need to get deeper into the woods."
She nodded, stood slowly and got back on the bike. He rode it slowly through the underbrush, making their way farther from civilization.
Tony and Pepper sat on the couch overlooking corporate paperwork and drinking champagne when suddenly FRIDAY piped in.
"Excuse me, boss, but there is an incoming encrypted message for you."
The two looked quizzically at each other. "Can you decrypt?"
"Of course, sir. It is from Agent McKenna. Transmitted twenty minutes ago."
"Why the hell did it take so long to transmit?"
"It seems as though the communication was blocked, but it made it here in pieces."
"Play it, now."
A holographic screen appeared in front of them on the couch. Words started to flow on the screen. "SOS. Gunman approaching. 6 known. SR and I are getting out. Track my laptop."
Tony jumped into action and immediately sent word out to the SHEILD compound. He directly set FRIDAY on scanning for Taryn's laptop signal and glanced at Pepper. She knew he couldn't sit idly by so she simply nodded and kissed him good night. "I'll see you in the morning, Tony. Be careful. I hope they're OK." He simply nodded and made his way to his workshop.
"You think Tony got that message?" Steve asked as they stopped and took a break.
She nodded, trying to be positive. "I'm sure, eventually…" Taryn removed her back pack and fished around in it until she came to a small bundle about the size of a shoe.
Steve looked at her quizzically. "What is that?"
"Shelter for the night."
"Are you nuts? With those guys out there? I won't be surprised if they bring another chopper…"
"This is special." She set the package down and pulled up a phone app. Using the app, the bundle began to unfold and inflate. In a moment's time, it expanded into a sort of tent that would fit the two of them and the bike.
"Well that's great if it rains, but with infrared..."
She cut him off. "It blocks thermals. We have to cover the bike too, otherwise it would pick up the engine heat. But this little baby will make us look like the forest floor. And it's cloaked on the outside also."
"That's pretty impressive…" Steve rolled the bike inside and crawled in next to her. It was cramped, but it would do.
They lay in silence for a bit, Taryn stared at the wall of the tent, listening to the sounds of the woods. Steve held her as he nestled in behind her. He could smell her hair and breathed it in slowly.
"Taryn, if something happens…"
"Steve, please… don't. I can't see that far into the future so I'm not even going to guess what will happen tonight or tomorrow. We've lost them for now. Satellite images are clear except for small forest creatures. No human size blips… We'll just have to be content in knowing that we love each other and we're together in the here and now. That is all that matters."
He closed his eyes and felt emotion welling up in them. He knew she was right. He had been to war, and seen men dying and men living. But they were together now, and he was not going to let go of that.
Taryn woke around 3 am. She reached out with her mind, sensing the animals around them, but there was something else. Damn it, she thought. Do I wake Steve and we try to move? Or do we stay put and hope they don't trip over us. She tried to discern how they could have found them, thinking it could have only been some signature from the motorcycle. They've got some pretty damn good trackers to be able to do that in the middle of the night.
"Steve," she whispered.
His eyes shot open and he was awake. "Where?"
She pointed in a direction behind them. "Not close… at least not yet."
"Then we'd better move. You have any idea where we are?"
She brought up a satellite image of the area and pointed. "Somewhere around here… If we head north, we'll hit another highway. There shouldn't be much traffic at this time of night."
He nodded, they packed up and moved on. They traveled in silence and every so often,
Taryn reached out to scan the area. Her range had increased and she sensed them out about half a mile. It was about 4 am when they reached another highway. Pulling up a map, she nodded. "We'll head east from here. That will get us going in the right direction and maybe soon Tony will have tracked the lap top."
He nodded and rolled the bike up onto the side of the road. "We'll have to find a gas station soon. The tank doesn't have too much left in it."
"If we can get another 2 miles, there should be something we can stop at quick."
He nodded and took her hands in his. "How are you feeling? You OK? You look tired…"
She stepped closer to him and smiled softly. "I am tired. It's almost like I'm starting over learning how to use my abilities. Moving that tree really took a lot out of me." She hung her head and sighed.
He raised her chin with his hand. "We'll get home. I promise."
She looked into his blue eyes, seeing concern, love and his belief in his promises. "Don't make promises you can't keep. I don't have a good feeling about this, Steve. I can't see that far, but I know it won't be good. One of us may not make it through this. I feel… death… But I don't know who. It could be us, it could be them… I just don't know…" She began to tear up.
The last thing she wanted to do was lose him after they had truly found each other. She would do everything in her power to protect him. And she knew that he would do anything in his being to keep her safe. She just prayed that they would both be allowed to get out alive and in one piece.
Steve brushed a tear from her cheek and kissed her tenderly. He said nothing but held her to him for a moment before the urgency to leave returned. "C'mon. Let's get moving before first light."
She sniffled and dried her eyes. "Alright…"
They got the bike back on the road and headed east, running into a few semi-trucks and some cars, but nothing else. That is until they pulled off the highway and found a gas station. Steve pulled the bike in and Taryn went to use the bathroom. He went in after she returned and she went in to pay the cashier. She stopped dead in her tracks on the way out. She could sense them coming. She dashed out to the bike just as Steve was coming back out. He could tell by the alarm in her eyes that they had been found.
Steve grabbed her hand and they ran to the motorcycle. They took off down the road, speeding through the country road, and remaining off the highway. Flying down the asphalt, Taryn hung on tight, sobbing as she knew something dreadful was going to happen. She felt another chopper coming in their direction. She couldn't tell from which direction. Her emotions were getting the better of her. This was not going to end well, and she had a feeling it was going to be her end…
Iron Man had taken flight, followed by War Machine and Vision as they tried to pinpoint the location of the Cap and Taryn. The damn signal scrambling was making finding them difficult. They kept getting ghost signals sending them in all directions. Tony was getting exceedingly frustrated. Who the hell was after his friends that would hold such technology to screw up his systems? Natasha and Wanda were following in a SHIELD van trying to triangulate their position. "I'm not getting anything down here, Tony," said Romanoff. "This tech is way off the charts. The last time I saw anything like this was…"
Tony cut her off. "A.I.M."
"Do you think so?"
"Think about it, Tasha. When was the last run in with someone affiliated with them?"
"Paris. Two years ago. Dr. Priscilla Parks nearly nuked the city with her nano toxin."
Tony landed next to the van and flipped the face plate up. He knocked on the door and Tasha slid it open. "And Cap took her out."
"But who would want to go after both Taryn and Steve?" asked Wanda.
Tasha typed on a keyboard in the surveillance van. "Listen to this. Jackson Parks was just released from prison two weeks ago."
Wanda asked who that was, and Tony spoke up. "He was the crazy husband of the doctor. He witnessed her death. The death caused by the Captain."
"And you think he's out for revenge?"
Tony and Natasha looked grimly at each other.