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[Marvel] Infinity Academy Empty

[Marvel] Infinity Academy

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[Marvel] Infinity Academy Empty [Marvel] Infinity Academy

Post by Phirania on 2/13/2019, 2:44 pm

A while ago -- maybe 2 or so years at this point -- Admin Luna and I had had an idea for an Avengers Academy, which would serve a largely self-explanatory role in the fictional playground that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War leading to this year's anticipated Avengers: Endgame, I figured I'd dust off what we'd come up and put it into writing. As a note of importance, it can be assumed that this story takes place in one of the other alternate timelines that Doctor Strange saw during the events of Infinity War, so as to not mess with the official MCU canon. I doubt this'll become an ongoing story but more of a shorter venture. Anyway, I'm rambling -- hope you enjoy!

---*---

Index
Chapter 1: The Decimation
Chapter 2: The Totem
Chapter 3: The Witch


Last edited by Phirania on 4/20/2019, 9:33 pm; edited 3 times in total

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[Marvel] Infinity Academy Empty Chapter 1: The Decimation

Post by Phirania on 2/13/2019, 2:45 pm

[March 29, 2018 ~ Wakanda, Africa ~ Planet Earth]

“What did you do?! WHAT’D YOU DO???”

Hand clutching the injury on his side, Steve Rogers staggered forward toward the sound of his friends voice. Even with his superior physique, his body ached with unimaginable pain that only sheer adrenaline could let him push through. He wearily approached the other man, an armored blond with a crimson cape adorning his attire. Steve cast a brief glance at the bloody axe that the man, Thor, had just drove into Thanos’ chest, now discarded on the greenery of Wakandan forests.

“Where'd he go?” Steve asked, though he knew it was unlikely Thor would know the answer. He paused to gather his thoughts, then warily scoped out his surroundings. Thanos had just been here, with Thor's axe lodged firmly into the villain's chest. There had been a bright light, and now?

Gone.

“Thor, where'd he go?” Steve slowly turned to face Thor, who was now panting in his own fit of exhaustion. There was a certain emotion playing across the face of the God of Thunder that Steve couldn't quite place… regret? No, it almost seemed like… like it was a look of shame. But shame about what?

“Steve?” Hearing his name, the man once called Captain America shifted his footing to see a third man approach the scene. Bucky Barnes. The man that Steve had become a war fugitive over. The man Steve called his best friend. Normally, a welcome sight for sore eyes, Steve could see immediately from his movements that something was wrong. No, it wasn't the slight limp in Bucky's gait - to have been injured at the Battle of Wakanda was to be expected. No, this was something much more unforeseen. The third man seemed to trip forward, and as he fell, his body dissolved into ash and leaves.

Bucky's gun hit the ground with a soft thud.

Words were caught in Steve's throat as he stumbled towards where Bucky had just stood mere seconds before. Was this… was this the work of Thanos? Steve numbly stared at Thor, who remained wordless at the sight. No words or explanations were given - Thor knew only as much as Steve himself. Was… Was this what Thor felt shameful about? Now kneeling, Steve pressed his hand onto the earth where Bucky had once stood just moments before, unsure of how to process what had just happened. Around him, he could faintly hear the sounds of shouts of panic from the others who had fought alongside him.

The man once called Captain America had been shaken to his core. His body seemed to move on it's own as he trudged towards where Vision had last been. The synthezoid had been powered by one of Thanos's items of interest for his campaign -- an Infinity Stone. Steve, Bucky, and the others had been trying to keep Vision protected for long enough for the Stone to be safely removed without killing him, but there hadn't been enough time. Every plan that they had made had broken apart, just like the remains of the synthezoid lying at the base of a nearby tree. Steve was only vaguely aware of the others approaching from behind as he cradled Vision's lifeless head. They sought answers, looking to him for guidance. But he had none to give. Not now.

Thanos had intended to wipe out half of all life from the universe.

And Steve feared for what would come next.

~•~•~

[March 29, 2020 ~ Washington D.C., The United States of America ~ Planet Earth]

“And on this day, we take a moment of silence for the anniversary of those who were lost in the Decimation event two years ago.”

Sharon Carter was all too familiar with loss. It wasn't that long ago that her grandmother, Peggy Carter, had passed on. It had been inevitable, what with the elderly woman's deteriorating health and memory, but even so… Sharon missed her. In fact, since so many had disappeared merely two years ago, the feeling of mourning was intimately familiar for most people. And as she stood on this stage, addressing the United Nations on a podium, her thoughts kept drifting back to her elderly grandmother lying on a snow-white hospital bed. But now wasn't the time for such memories. She cleared her throat to signify the end of the moment of silence.

“But this time for mourning must also become a time for healing, and of pressing forward towards what tomorrow has in store. Friends, we must strive to become our best selves and to make our world it's best self as well. I, Sharon Carter, am unveiling a new initiative to reach this end. The recently rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D., alongside the Avengers, Stark Industries, and everyone who voted here at the United Nations are spearheading a movement to make our world a safer place. We're calling it… Avengers Academy.” At this, Sharon took a step back from the podium to allow another woman to take the stage. Beneath the calm exterior, Sharon knew that the other woman held her own pain that was greater than most. After all, Pepper Potts had been rumored to have been on track to marrying Tony Stark.

“Hello, everyone. My name is Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries.” Pepper forced a smile as she rested her hands on the podium in front of her. “As we all well know, the Sokovia Accords are a set of legal documents meant to regulate the activities of Enhanced individuals throughout the world. This middle ground between the desire to secure world peace and concern over collateral repercussions is being expanded to ensure that future generations are in safe hands.”

At this point, Pepper backed away from the podium a bit, and the curtains behind her peeled away to reveal a holographic collage of various individuals seemingly from all over the globe. Most wore civilian clothing - after all, who could realistically afford and upkeep military-grade equipment? “It hasn't escaped the notice of the public eye that vigilantes and Enhanced Individuals have been active for years around the globe, especially in the wake of the Decimation. There are people out there that want to help, and fill in the shoes of those who we've lost. And instead of opposing these Good Samaritans, we will begin a new chapter. A new Age of Avengers.”

Behind her, the holographic projections changed from the various people into the New Avengers Compound, remodeled slightly from its previous appearance. Pepper took a breath, trying to keep her composure as she continued to speak. She'd never liked the Avenger-business, much less how it had torn apart her future with Tony. And being here, speaking like nothing was wrong? Everything had felt so twisted and gross since Tony had flown into that damned spaceship. More than anything… she wished he was here.

Sharon noticed Pepper pause, and the blond woman stepped forward, trying to ensure that the pause in the presentation's flow had gone unnoticed. “The Avengers Academy will employ Enhanced Individuals interested in taking up the mantle of Avengers and train them to be the next generation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.”

At this point, the projection morphed again, showing an awe-inspiring pose of the first six Avengers during the Battle of New York. And as the various members of the United Nations cheered or pointed out their thoughts, Pepper found it all the more difficult to resist the urge to puke at the sight of the holographic Iron Man. She thought she'd gotten over this, over him. But nobody could simply ‘get over’ a man like Tony Stark.

“Our first class, shall we say, will be a small group of individuals pulled from around the world, with gifts and abilities we can only dare to dream of.” Sharon continued, trying to stare out into the crowd of faces and connect with each of them. Maybe they would understand her sincerity. “My name is Sharon Carter. Thank you for your support.”

~•~•~

[A few days later]

In her life, Sharon Carter had been many things. An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. A CIA agent. Granddaughter of one of the greatest women that ever walked the earth. But now, she was undertaking a new path -- one that'd never been tread before. In the conference room where she stood at the edge of a new Age, she took in the other people present in the room.

To Sharon's right sat Pepper Potts, who had her face glued to the various holographic images that were being projected from the table. Evidently, to cope with her grief, she had largely been focused on busywork to keep her mind off of the turmoil in her personal life. But to be fair… most people had experienced loss on that Day of Decimation, and the world was still struggling to heal and recover. Rogue organizations such as the Watch Dogs and A.I.M. had made moves to take advantage of the chaos, and it had been difficult to handle the growing crisis.

To Sharon’s left was Colonel James Rhodes, also known as War Machine. Officially, his actions in aiding Captain America and the Secret Avengers in the lead-up to the Battle of Wakanda had left him court-martialed. But in times like these, even though his actions hadn’t been forgotten, he was among the only few left that could help to train the new generation for any threats on the horizon. And although he had declined to share where, Sharon was sure that James was still in contact with Captain America… No, just Steve Rogers.

She needed Avengers Academy to work.

There was a long list of potential candidates from across the globe, which only seemed to grow more and more by the day. Sharon surveyed the different images of Enhanced individuals that they'd been surveying -- Inhumans, Self-Aware A.I., masters of exotic weapons, and more. The images had been compiled from two sources, with the first being from the List that S.H.I.E.L.D. had maintained of Enhanced people, and the second had been Tony Stark's database of People of Interest, provided by Pepper Potts. The three of them -- Sharon, Pepper, and Rhodey -- had decided that the debut class of Avengers Academy would be on the small side. Should the project be successful, then they could consider expanding the undertaking to a larger roster. But for now?

They needed students. And faculty.

Rhodey cleared his throat, drawing attention to himself as he swiped away at several of the projections until two remained. “So far, we've narrowed down that these two would be optimal recruits. Out of everyone we've sampled, our contacts have given their recommendations for them, they've been relatively active in a vigilante capacity already, and they have the drive to do better. As far as the Academy is concerned, they could be our poster kids.”

Pepper hesitantly nodded, but made no attempt to hide her frown. “But… they're both rather young, aren't they? Not sure I'm comfortable with sending ‘kids’ off to go fight HYDRA, or aliens, or whatever could be coming. In that vein, I'm sure the public could share those concerns. And the world may not know it, but they're not much older than Spider-Man was!”

An uncomfortable silence washed over the room for a moment. The scars were still too fresh, evidently.

“Why bring up these reservations now, Pepper? The vote already went through…” Rhodey raised an eyebrow at the perceived grievance, and Sharon could feel the near-palpable thickening of tension in the air. Pepper was silent for a moment as she furrowed her brows in thought before looking at the others.

“I just… want to know we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe. Well… as safe as being an Avenger can be, anyway.” At the end of her sentence, her voice breaks ever so slightly, and the pain hidden under the surface of her face became so much more visible. Sharon strode around the corner of the table to place a hand on Pepper’s shoulder.

“We won’t have a second Decimation. These recruits will prove that, and keep Earth safe. In the meantime, the Avengers who remain will also be overseeing them to make sure they’re trained properly. Can you trust me?” Sharon stared intently into Pepper’s eyes, tightening her grip on the other woman’s shoulder as an assurance of her words. Pepper simply nodded, having little else to say.

“In that case, we’ve about wrapped up here.” Rhodey finally spoke, standing up as he returned his gaze to the two remaining projections of the recruits they’d be finding. “While Sharon is off recruiting these two, I’ll oversee the maintenance of Avengers Academy. Everything will be fine, Pepper. I promise.”

Releasing her hold, Sharon nodded to Rhodey before making her way to the door. She cast one final look at the downcast Pepper Potts before leaving the room. She had recruiting to do.

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[Marvel] Infinity Academy Empty Chapter 2: The Totem

Post by Phirania on 3/2/2019, 5:09 pm

[April 3, 2016 ~ Lagos, Nigeria ~ Planet Earth]

Suffocation.

Charred flesh and crushing weight beared down upon innocent eyes, no remorse for the pain they carry on their person. Screams of fear and horror as the cause of the panic -- an explosion -- sent ripples of cracks through the building, threatening to collapse it entirely. Dust billowing in the air, giving rise to a choir of coughs from onlookers as Wanda Maximoff could only look on in horror. Her hand was clasped firmly over her mouth as the realization of the sheer impact of her actions finally struck her.

She had only wanted to help.

Known by the callsign of Scarlet Witch, she’d been recruited by Captain America and Falcon when they’d gotten a lead on an ex-HYDRA agent in Lagos. They’d believed it was the Winter Soldier, an old ally of the Captain that had been allegedly brainwashed into an elite assassin. Along with fellow Avenger Black Widow, Wanda had left the New Avengers Facility with the rest of the team to fly to Lagos and apprehend the one they believed to be the Winter Soldier -- Bucky Barnes. But when they’d arrived Falcon had received further intel that the ex-HYDRA agent was not Barnes but another dangerous man by the name of Brock Rumlow. Word was, Rumlow had taken to calling himself Crossbones. Certainly not the target the Avengers had intended to take, but still a high priority to handle.

Crossbones had planned to steal a bio-weapon from the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Lagos, and his mercenaries had managed to successfully infiltrate the building to steal the bio-weapon. The Avengers had maintained a strong pursuit, taking out several of Crossbones’ hired help but not before the quarry had split. Captain America had gone to pursue Crossbones, while Falcon, Black Widow and herself had set out to secure the bioweapon Crossbones had entrusted to one of his men. But even so… Wanda had felt a nagging concern that something was off, and rushed back to help the Captain. But the result of that effort clearly hadn’t been favorable.

From what she’d seen, Crossbones had activated a suicide bomb to take out both himself and Captain America -- surely the Captain’s shield could protect him, but it couldn’t protect all of the civilians in the area. Wanda had tried to do the right thing by using her telekinetic powers to contain the explosion from Crossbones’ bomb and move it away from civilians, but… she’d moved it too close to a nearby building and had accidentally letting it go and destroying part of the aforementioned structure. She was all but certain that people inside had died. Words escaped her, and all she could do was try to find relief in Captain America resting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

It did nothing to ease her anguish.

~.~.~

[March 31, 2020 ~ Birnin Zana, Wakanda ~ Planet Earth]

To say that N’Jaza was nervous would be an understatement. He could feel his heart running a mile a second as he stood before the heart of Wakanda’s Golden City -- the Citadel. Normally, it would be a place for the tribal leaders of the nation to meet and plan the course of the country’s future. But that was before the Decimation, and before everything had fallen to shit.

“How are you feeling, N’Jaza?”

The young man slowly turned to his left, allowing his gaze to fall upon the woman next to him and the fields behind them. A short two years ago, countless alien bodies and xenotechnology had littered the plains, and even now N’Jaza could hardly believe everything that had just happened. One moment, the Avengers had been battling alongside the forces of Wakanda to repel alien invaders, and then the next second… Just ashes. Details had been hard to come by evidently, but the outcome of the battle had been a decisive loss.

N’Jaza. The name still felt strange on his tongue. For 15 years, the only name he’d known was Gabriel Gaines, just another African-American youth from America’s east coast. But that had changed only four years ago, when he’d lost his mother -- the only family he knew that he’d had. And even now, he couldn’t help but feel bitter towards those responsible -- the Avengers, and to be more specific, Wanda Maximoff.

“It’s… I don’t know.” He finally addressed the woman who had spoken to him, a woman by the name of Nakia. She placed a warm hand on his shoulder, giving him a soft smile as they stood before the Citadel’s doors. Nakia was a Wakandan spy, and had once been King T’Challa’s lover. He frowned, knowing all too well that the king had been among those who had been turned into ash. Even now, years later, confusion was stronger than the grief that they had felt. And despite the smiling faces of Wakandan children in the streets below, N’Jaza doubted any of their families had been spared.

“Thinking about the Decimation?” Nakia asked, having spent the past few seconds studying his face. The young man nodded, acknowledging that the event had, in part, influenced his current mood. Nakia spoke again, giving the young man a slight squeeze in solidarity. “Wakanda is a strong nation -- whatever happened here affected the whole world. Reports from countries came in from everywhere that nearly half of their populations had simply vanished. The surviving world leaders scrambled for solutions to the crisis, but…” Nakia trailed off, and N’Jaza could only numbly nod in response. His gaze wandered back to the Wakandan fields of grass behind him, and videos of Wakandan livestreams of the battle echoed in his mind.

“...What I wanted to say is that since he became king, T’Challa and several others had been working on ways to handle the growing global concerns about Enhanced individuals.” Nakia continued, but stopped speaking when N’Jaza returned his gaze to her.

“You mean the Avengers Academy?” He glanced down when Nakia’s soft gaze met his own. Perhaps a month or two after his mother’s death, King T’Challa had announced more transparency of Wakanda with the rest of the world, and a string of Wakandan outreach centers popped up throughout the globe. Apparently, the small African nation had planted members of their people everywhere, and N’Jaza’s mother had been one of these agents. When the outreach center reached out, he had come to learn that he himself was Wakandan by heritage. “I’ve already seen the announcement by Sharon Carter. I mean, everyone has. So I think I already know why you’ve brought me here. It’s just… How do I qualify for being an Avenger?”

“Heh, perhaps we should ask how *don’t* you qualify! But this is a matter that is best discussed for your meeting. Just know that this is a choice that’s been carefully made. Trust in the process, N’Jaza.” Nakia smiled, now walking forward to open the Citadel’s doors for him. She smiled at the boy before walking inside, and he hesitantly followed.

The Citadel’s inner chamber was a sight to behold, with the floor having a layer of thick glass adorned upon it so that the floors below the main chamber could be seen. While gold-plated pillars were spread along the chamber’s walls, the center of the room held a small gathering of seats -- normally for the discussions of Wakandan tribe leaders. Today, it was to help shape the course of the future. As Nakia and N’Jaza walked towards the center of the room, the only other visible person present was a blonde woman that was carefully examining the tall glass wall to the room’s rear -- a fascinating overlook of Wakanda on most days. N’Jaza recognized her immediately, having already seen the video of her recent announcement.

Sharon Carter.

She turned to face the two Wakandans, having heard their footsteps echoing against the glass floor. Her gaze swept over Nakia, focusing nearly immediately on N'Jaza, who tried to shrink away from her sight. The blonde nodded, perhaps to herself, then began to stride towards the pair, meeting them halfway in the large chamber. She extends a hand in greeting.

“You're the Wakandan initiate, I take it? My name is Sharon Carter, and I have a proposal for you.”

“I... know about it already.” N'Jaza said, glancing at Nakia briefly. She smiled warmly in response, then he shook Sharon's hand. When he had come to learn of his hidden Wakandan heritage, Nakia had been a pillar of support. In actuality, she had been so for all of the global Wakandans learning of their heritage. Knowing that someone would be watching over him had been… perhaps the kindest comfort he had felt in years. “The Avengers Academy needs people… like me, apparently. But I don't re-”

“Ah, ah, ah!” Nakia wags a finger playfully. “You are far too humble, my child. N'Jaza is Wakandan, yes, but he was born in America. He has a gifted mind that dwarfs Wakanda's best, and has a certain skillset that should help qualify him.”

Nakia nods to the boy, who hesitates briefly before walking towards one of the walls. Sharon looks on with muted interest as he approaches it, unsure of what to expect. From the briefing she'd gotten, N'Jaza had certain abilities that had been a bit of an unsolvable anomaly. And it was when the boy began literally walking along the walls that Sharon could begin to see why.

“He walks along walls like an insect, and is as strong, fast, and agile as perhaps the late Black Panther himself. There exists a hidden factor in him that we cannot explain, though there seemed to be surface-level similarities to the so-called Spider-Man of New York City.” Nakia speaks as the two women watched N'Jaza continue his trek from the wall to the ceiling.

“Can he do that web-thing, too?” Sharon asked, her curiosity now piqued. Nakia shook her head as the boy finally began his descent from the ceiling to the wall opposite from where he had started.

“No, but as I said. He has a gifted mind.” Nakia beckons N'Jaza to rejoin the two, a cheeky grin now spreading across her face. “Come, N'Jaza, show her your suit.”

The boy sheepishly blushed before rolling up one of his sleeves to reveal a gold-colored bracelet. He gave the accessory a light tap with a finger, sending a cascade of black, blue, and gold shards rippling across his form. The bits and pieces joined together to form a sleek metallic suit on N'Jaza, largely black and blue, with golden trimmings forming a stylized spider across his chest.

“Omni-harmonic mesh that can bend light waves, Backscatter lenses to see through solid objects, kinetic vibration emission, chameleonic visual cloaking, and sound dampening capabilities.” N'Jaza said proudly. And although Sharon couldn't see his face through the plated headpiece of the suit, she could've sworn she could hear a smile playing across the boy's voice. “Can't take all the credit for this. Shuri had a great framework for me to work with.”

“Well then, N'Jaza. The Academy would love to have you. If, of course, you would have us…?” Sharon cleared her throat. Regardless of whether he went into the field, he could definitely be an asset to the Avengers. The headpiece section of the suit folded away, revealing only N'Jaza's head.

“...If you think I have what it takes.”

“We do!” Sharon and Nakia spoke in unison, surprising each other and N'Jaza, who couldn't help but laugh after a brief moment.

“Alright, alright. Let's try being an Avenger.” The boy nodded. “I'll go pack and meet you at the airship landing platform?”

Sharon nodded with a smile as the boy ran off, the Spider-themed suit dematerializing as he left the chamber. Giving Nakia a silent thanks, she also set off. Hopefully, the second recruit would be as eager.

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[Marvel] Infinity Academy Empty Chapter 3: The Witch

Post by Phirania on 4/20/2019, 9:32 pm

[March 31, 2018 ~ The Field of Broken Remains ~ Planet Titan]

“I’ve prevented countless terrible futures, and after each one? There’s always another.”

It wasn't the first time that Stephen Strange had pondered those words. First spoken by his late mentor, The Ancient One, it wasn't until her death that he himself had begun to understand the depths of that statement. With her passing on to the next life, it had fallen upon his shoulders to protect his very planet from all-too real threats and dangers from beyond. And despite the confident air that he put on, it had been the events of the past day that had shaken him to his core.

It wasn't everyday that aliens kidnapped Stephen and sent him to the homeworld of an interplanetary genocidal maniac. But ever since the Avenger known as the Incredible Hulk -- Bruce Banner -- had literally crashed through his roof, nothing had quite been the same. The six all-powerful Infinity Stones had been hunted down by the being known as Thanos, and he was now on a collision course with the people of Earth. And as one of the planets defenders, Stephen couldn't allow that.

But as they often did, things had gone awry. Having other Avengers like Iron Man and Spider-Man helped ease his mind, as did the alliance with the self-proclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy that they had encountered. But as the groups strategized their plan, Stephen had opted to keep to himself -- his concern was outweighing all else. The endgame was here, he could feel it. Every action that they'd take would be critical from here on.

He glanced down at the pendant around his neck. Inside it was the green Infinity Stone that governed time, and he had familiarized himself somewhat with it's capabilities. His mentor, the Ancient One, had used it to gaze into the future and prevent cataclysms, and he would do no less.

His resolve hardened, he crossed his legs in a sitting position, and peered into the futures that the stone foretold...

[April 1, 2020 ~ New York, The United States of America ~ Planet Earth]

Perhaps today hadn’t been the best day to get ice cream.

The food had barely settled before Elisabeth Albara had been thrust into the heat of battle in the middle of Brooklyn. Magical mischief was afoot, and it was her duty to restore order. After all, who else could? Not many, since the Decimation. And with Doctor Strange missing, like so many other people… Earth didn’t have many lines of defense left. Ready or not, she had to step up to the plate.

The Dark Elf before her scowled and hissed, lifting its hands to gather arcane energy around it's fingertips. It began to chant in a tongue unfamiliar to Elisabeth; although, it's magical properties were as clear as glass. She reacted quickly, thrusting her hand forward -- the one that didn't hold her staff -- and began to move her arm in a circular pattern. The Dark Elf let out a squeal as a circle of sparks began to expand under the pavement where it stood, letting the creature fall into the portal she had formed. In a fluid motion, she lowered her hand, and the portal of sparks shrank until they had disappeared entirely.

Simple.

A small group of Dark Elves -- beings from a place called Svartalfheim -- had landed on Earth a few years ago due to some event that the Avenger known as Thor had been tied up in. Elisabeth didn't entirely follow the specifics at the time, and wasn't too bothered by it now. That Dark Elf would be free-falling through portals for a while, along with the others that she had rounded up so far.

“Now then…” Elisabeth glanced around, not paying much attention to the nearby pedestrians staring at her in surprise and shock. AIt was almost as if they hadn't seen a mage before! Or maybe it was the space-themed print of her cloak and boots that had caught their eye. But with her job done, only one thing remained on her mind. “About that ice cream…!”

“Andromeda.” The girl sighed as she turned around, seeing an older Asian man step out of a portal of sparks nearby. That name, Andromeda, was a nickname for the appearance of her attire, and only known by two people -- Doctor Stephen Strange, and the man who had just addressed her, Wong. And if this man was here, then she was sure that something else was up; typically, he'd just let her handle clean-up of these messes by herself. Without Stephen around, the two had had their hands full dealing with various magical and supernatural threats to Earth, so there were too many issues going on for him to keep a close eye on her as he once had.

“Heeeeey.~” Elisabeth tried to keep on an innocent face as she shot a pair of finger-guns towards an unamused Wong. “So, I promise I'll remember to take them out of free-fall this time! You don't need to come here to remind me abo-”

“I'm not here for that. There's been a…” Wong strokes his beard for a moment in thought. “A development. Come, we must return to the Sanctum.”

She groaned, bemoaning the delay of her rendezvous with her beloved cold food before she grumpily approached the portal that Wong had manifested. The large hat that she wore drooped a bit as she walked through, an acknowledgement that her craving would have to wait until a later time.

The portal's exit was a massive library with many doorways, housing shelves of books reaching up to a ceiling that Elisabeth couldn't even see. Magical artifacts -- mostly harmless ones -- were scattered on tables with stacks of tomes of research. She was sure she'd have to clean that up later. But what caught her eye had been the visitor to the Sanctum: an older blonde woman that was sitting at one of the cleaner wooden tables. Her body language held a slight air of hesitation, and Elisabeth could guess why -- the affairs of magic were complex and confusing to outsiders.

"This is Agent Sharon Carter. In light of recent developments, she's come here with a request of us." Wong said, clearing his throat as he spoke. As always, he'd been straight to the point. At her introduction, the woman stood up from her seat, patted down her suit, and nodded her head in greeting towards the two mages.

"It's a pleasure. Much as I'd like to exchange pleasantries…" She pauses, choosing her words carefully before continuing. "I think it'd be best to get to the point. Elisabeth Albara, the world needs defenders, and I'm aware you've been playing some role in doing that already. But times are changing -- Others may dispute this, but we haven't reached our endgame yet. I'm recruiting certain specialists to become Earth's next line of defense."

"Ooh, a flair for dramatics." Elisabeth gave the other woman a slight grin before turning to Wong. "I like her already. But… what do you mean by next line of defense? Like, the next Avengers? Because I kinda like the sound of that!"

"Essentially." Sharon nods. "Most of the individuals we knew to be Avengers either went missing in the Decimation, retired from the life of heroics, or died confronting Thanos. Things've been relatively quiet for the past few years, but history shows that that can change in an instant."

"Well…" Elisabeth crosses her arms. "I appreciate the offer, but I've been at this ‘saving the world’ shtick since Doctor Strange was still around. Why would I need your help?"

"Because even Stephen fell." Wong whispered softly before speaking up. "...Maybe if we'd been more coordinated, we could've stopped the Decimation from happening. We should learn from the past, so that we don't repeat history's mistakes. Nobody can save the world alone -- even the strongest need help sometimes."

Elisabeth considered his words carefully, letting the cosmic fabric of her cloak billow a bit in the light breeze of the Sanctum. "... Alright. How many others are there?"

"Right now, only 1. We're being very… selective about the team; choosing people that are functional in the field, but also have the potential for positive public relations for the world. You've been seen doing good in the eyes of the public, so there's already momentum in your favor." Sharon pauses, staring intensely at the younger girl. "Now, more than ever, we need heroes. To defend, protect, to inspire, lead. We need hope."

"And I get to be the golden goose. Heh, what the hell -- I'm in." Elisabeth let out a chuckle before nodding. Her grip on her staff tightened in excitement, and she could feel Wong place a hand on her shoulder. Looking over, she could see the pride on his face as she accepted the offer. Sure, Wong had become like a father to her during her training, but she knew she'd miss his constant nagging and micromanaging of her activities.

“Then, we need to go.” Sharon spoke as she glanced down at her watch. “Time to get back to the Avengers Compound; I have a Quinjet nearby that we'll ride back on. You’ll meet the other recruit on the way over -- feel free to chat a bit with him. The two of you will be teammates for a while, after all.”

Elisabeth smiled, giving Wong a wide grin. The chance to finally spread her own wings was just in sight, and she fully intended to grasp it!

It’s Avenger time!

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