Call to Action

No Going Back, No Bow to Take, Can't Even Hesitate: We've Nothing Left to Lose

“It’s about time,” Roberto drawls as the comm unit crackles to life in my ear. He and Illyana had gone straight to the warehouse after our party broke up -- neither one wanted to get on SHIELD’s radar, not that I could blame them, and agreed to play point unless it got ugly. “Barton and her girl are at the side entrance, they lost their agent buddy along the way.”

“It’s only Austen and Kate?” Barney snarls some distance away, “I’m going down.”

“Hold, Trick.” I snap, lacing authority though my tone. “We discussed this earlier and I’m not going to play this game with you. You wanted to come and I let you. Keep your head on your shoulders or leave, I can’t keep everyone safe if you decide to go running off half cocked. Decide,” I jerk open one of the security panels and hesitate before I start digging in, “now, Trickshot. Once I kill the security, they’re going to know we’re here.”

He’s quiet; too quiet.


“Do what you need to do,” he says softly, “I’m on your six.”

My next breath comes out heavy and in relief. “Costa, are they on the truck side?”

“On the ramp.”

I hum in acknowledgement, flipping my knife open. The wires cross; clipped from someone altering the system to their own needs. My security is still there, but fed through another loop. “Costa?”

“Looks like they’re going in with a bang.” He replies and Illyana makes a snorting sound,

“Literally,” she adds, “cut the system M, they’re about to blow it up and let everyone know they’re here.”

“I guess that’s one way to do it,” I run my fingers along the wires, looking for the niche they made and cut it. The light at the top of the panel flashes red as I cut the next, then twist the original two together. It’s a hack job, but it’ll hold for the time being. The light turns green as I silence the other alarms, “we’re in,” just as the side entrance lights up. It’s dim and to the un-observing eye looks like one of the street lamps fighting for life.

“And so are they,” Roberto chuckles, “if you need us, we’re here.”

“Thanks Costa, Magik.” I snap my knife closed, clipping it to the pocket on my thigh and stand, pulling the glove of my left hand off. Yeah, they had no idea what they were doing: the system reads my palm, welcoming me with another green light and the door unlocking. “Trick?”

“In,” he says, softer than before, and I catch the faint click of a door closing.

“M? Lady M? Viscontessa?”

“Over our baby agents,” Martinique says in an even softer tone, “going silent.”

“Southside lower level entrance, making our way in.” Regan adds in her own position, “I’ll escort the Viscontessa to the security room and then switch with Trickshot.”

While they sneak through the building, as Austen and Kate keep to the shadows, I walk right through the door. Since I’m not hiding, I have no problem releasing it and letting it slam closed; instead, it catches on a red gloved hand and Wade comes bounding through.

“Sorry I’m late, bossman. Recon got boring and I got hungry,” he waves his other hand around, grasping a wrinkled bag of …

“You got churros? Sei serio, DP?”

He shrugs and rolls up his mask to reveal his mouth, “they’re fresh, want one?”

“Yeah, gimme.” Ignoring the fact that it’s nearly impossible to eat with my mask.

Ignoring the fact that we’re on an op and it’s completely inappropriate.

There’s a thud from someone’s comm, a twang of a bow string and someone gasping for breath. “If you two are done taking care of your munchies, I’m in the camera room.” My sister announces with an exaggerated huff, “Barton and Bishop are sticking to the shadows...what’s that?”

“They’re being followed,” Barney hisses.

“Reign it in, Trick.” While the words are at the tip of my tongue, it’s Mariah that speaks them before her attention comes to the sudden matter at hand, “Masque, make the call.”

“Hold your position.” I decide, “if they get grabbed, Lady M will stop anything lethal. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll bring them to the others.”

“The basement and sub cameras are offline, more than likely that’s where they are.”

“Or this is all a trap,” Wade said through a mouthful; pieces of dough and cinnamon sugar flying out of his mouth.

“We’ve been--” the comm units went out as the hall plunged into darkness. The generator came to life within seconds, small panels high on the wall lite up in the dull orange. In another hall, there was yelling; the sound of heavy footsteps and Wade pulled one of his katanas free, spinning it around in his hand as his attention went from hungry and bored to attentive and ready. In the same swift movement that had pulled one his weapons free, I had my gun in hand.

The metal was cool against my fingertips and I held a finger to my lips before beckoning Wade forwhe was using it as a staff, swinging it around and caught one guy right in the face.

“She’s drugged,” I swung my hand around; the easy release of the safety, the warning click that followed and the familiar pull as I shot. The man yelled in surprise as he went down and Kate hit the wall, her eyes wide as she looked at us.

Kate’s back hit the wall as she raised her arm, pulling an arrow free, “what are you doing here? This doesn’t concern you.”

Her words were slurred; rolled my eyes and shoved my mask up. The metal pulled at my hair at the rough treatment, but it was probably less painful than whatever would come if Kate managed to shoot. “It’s me.”

Even in the dim light, her name was worthy of Hawkeye.

If possible, her eyes got wider as she struggld over what she was seeing. But Clint Barton she was not and even with the extra moment, she starts to put two and two together. “’re Stark, but…”

“Yeah, long story. Where’s Austen?”

Wade and I both lunge forward as she stumbles again, but she rocks back into the wall and away from us. “They took her, they’re coming!” She raises her bow again and turns the way she came. The notched arrow is met by Regan’s fingertip and she frowns,

“Why can I see your face?”

“There’s a jammer,” I pull my mask back down and offer Kate a hand. She takes it after a moment of hesitation, “take her out to Costa and Magik.”

She nods and I direct Kate toward Regan, who jerks at my hand, “I can help.”

“You can’t stand.”

She straightens her shoulders, gaze darkening, “Frankie’s with them.”

“You can kick his ass later, now go.”

Before she can say another word, Regan wraps her arms around Kate’s waist and pushes her toward the way Wade and I had come.

I glance over my shoulder at the merc, “give us a grand entrance.”

“You got it.” He drops his snack in favor for his other sword and drags them against the walls before running forward.

I, on the other hand, follow at a leisurely place.

Because Masque? He’s in charge.

♦ ♠ ♦

Wade kicks the door open and rolls in, springing to his feet, “Captain America!” And sure enough, there’s Austen sitting in the center of the room and tied to a chair. Against the back wall, is the missing Avengers.

Cade spins from his position, Francis jerks forward and I stroll in.

“Good, we’re all here.”

“No!” My dad shouts, struggling against his binds but it’s weak and I ignore him, focused on the man in front of me.

“Daymond Cade,” I drawl, “I heard you were looking for me.”

He sneers, “not any more, Masque. There’s a new buyer and the prize is greater.” He runs his hand through Austen’s hair, tugging at the end of the strands and I fire a warning shot.

“You’re in my building,” and with one swift movement, the mask comes off once more. This time it hits the floor, “with my father.”

His eyes widen in shock; I see the confusion on Austen’s, the dawn of realization on Francis’, I hear the muttered responses from the Avengers. “You …” he throws back his head and laughs.

“We’re back on,” my sister’s voice comes through as the lights come back on.

Around us, unseen before, are countless goons. Some of them, stand straight with self-righteousness: HYDRA agents, waiting to see if Cade can deliver.

The odds are great and rather than stepping forward, I step back.

“At your six,” Barney’s voice comes through and Wade takes a seat on the floor.

He tilts his head back, “what’s the gameplan bossman?”