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2012

New York City

S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters

Four Weeks Later

New Year's Eve

 

(Brock POV)

Standing in the hallway of the headquarters building, I admire the decorations that are scattered throughout the hallways. Everyone in the organization seemed to be getting into the spirit of things tonight as I pass by various corridors of the building and make my way toward the upper levels, where the festivities would be taking place.

It's easy to spot the areas where the partygoers congregate, as the halls become packed with chatter and laughter. I walk past one group of people, who are standing around a makeshift bar set up inside an office suite. A bartender dressed in black pants and a white shirt is pouring drinks for the merrymakers, who seem to be having a good time.

As I continue walking, I notice a few security guards patrolling the halls. They're wearing their typical gray uniforms, but instead of carrying guns, they each carry a stun baton, which I assume is for crowd control. Moving through the crowd, I pass by a few women who send me sultry looks.

One of them catches my attention as I stop and stare at her for a moment, admiring the curves of her body beneath the tight material of her dress. Her hair is pulled back tightly into a ponytail that hangs down her back, and her full lips are pursed together as she observes the people around her.

"Natasha." I greet her as I approach her.

"Hello, Brock," She replies with a warm smile.

"Enjoying yourself? " I ask, curious to see how she's doing since she returned to work.

"I am now," She laughs. "Didn't expect you to show up to these kinds of things."

"I didn't either," I admit, "but I figured it would be nice to make an appearance before ducking out early."

"Same here," Natasha nods. "Stark invited the team to his party, so I thought I'd go and check it out."

"You're looking lovely tonight," I tell her as I take in her outfit.

"Thank you," She says as she smiles at me. "You're not too shabby yourself."

"You think so?" I ask as I glance down at my own attire, a plain black fitted button-down, and jeans. "I'm afraid I'm not as well-dressed as you are though."

"You're fine," She tells me as she reaches forward to fix my already straight collar, "and besides, it's New Year's Eve. You should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable."

"True enough," I nod. "Well, I'll let you get back to enjoying yourself. I'll see you later."

"Wait," Natasha calls out to me. "Would you like to dance?"

"...Sure, why not?" I answer with a grin.

She turns to face the DJ booth and motions for me to follow her. I grab onto her hand as we walk to the stage where the music is playing. As we reach the edge of the platform, she pulls me close to her and places her arms around my neck, as we start to sway gently to the beat of the song.

For a brief moment, we're alone on the crowded dance floor. We stay like that for a while, moving to the rhythm of the music as we gaze into each other's eyes.

"I heard you're going on leave. " She asks softly.

"Yeah, I have some personal business to take care of," I tell her.

"That's understandable," She assures me. "How long will you be gone?"

"Few weeks," I reply.

Natasha nods then press her body closer to mine. "If you need anything, I'm here for you."

"Thanks." I reply, "I appreciate it."

"Anytime." Natasha smiles at me as she leans forward and kisses me softly on the cheek.

"Happy New Year," She whispers as she releases me and walks away.

I watch her go, admiring the way she moves across the room. She seems to glide effortlessly through the crowd, and she's obviously aware of my gaze as she glances over her shoulder at me. Giving me a small smile, before mingling with the large party crowd.

"She seemed nice." Zeru's energetic voice echoed from the small device in my ear, pulling me from the thoughts swirling through my head. "For a human."

I quickly look around me to make sure no one was listening, before responding to the young boy through the comm channel. "You're supposed to be monitoring Ghost, not me."

"Oh, she's already done. All the upgraded hacking tools have been planted and are ready for data retrieval." He assures me. "Just wanted to know how you were holding up. Sounds like you were having fun."

"Any problems?" I ask ignoring the last comment.

"None," He says confidently. "All the devices are operating smoothly, and there haven't been any interruptions or errors. The S.H.E.I.L.D mainframe has been completely compromised and I've got access to their internal network, although, there isn't much there to find yet. Their security measures are pretty tight, so my nodes need a bit more time to fully decrypt the data. But everything is running perfectly according to plan."

"I hope so," I respond quietly as I continue scanning the room. "Good work, just keep plugging away at it."

"Will do," Zeru responds cheerfully. "See you back at base."

I disconnect the comm channel and begin to move through the crowd again, heading towards the elevators to take me down to the lower levels of the building to leave.

**********

Hell's Kitchen, New York

Warehouse District

One hour later

The streets are lit only by dim streetlights and neon signs that line the sidewalks. It's dark out, and the area is quiet, except for the occasional sound of a car speeding down the road. After reaching the warehouse district, I bypass the security gate and enter the empty parking lot, where several cars are parked.

I park my vehicle near the rear of the building and exit through the driver's side door. Walking through the parking lot, I make my way toward the front entrance, where I can hear voices coming from inside.

Making my way through the doors, I step inside the building to see Zeru sitting at the console of a large computer monitor. He looks up at me as I enter, and gives me a small wave before turning back to his work.

The inside of the warehouse no longer looked like a dusty old storage unit. Instead, the space had been transformed into a hospitable and modern workspace. There are several computers set up in the center of the room, each connected to a multi-flat-screen display. All of the monitors are currently displaying different views of various parts of the city. Each image is accompanied by a series of numbers and letters that I assume are code.

A small kitchen area was located off to the left side of the main workstation and at the far end of the building, there is a staircase leading up to the second floor, where all the bedrooms and bathrooms are located.

Zeru turns around to face me as I walk across the room. "Welcome home, boss," He greets me with a wide smile.

"Thanks, kid." I acknowledge him with a nod then move my gaze over to the monitors where lines of code appear to be scrolling by. "What's the status?"

"Things are still running smoothly," He tells me proudly, "Most of the data has been retrieved and decrypted, and I've also infiltrated their internal network."

"Excellent work," I say as I lean against the wall beside the staircase, "How long before you finish?"

"Not too long," He answers, "Once I finish reviewing the data, I'll be able to give you a complete report. Right now, all I have is a list of addresses and private records that belong to various S.H.I.E.L.D. employees and other organizations within the United States government and military. So far, none of this information has been useful in locating our target."

"Anything new on the street level?" I ask.

"No," Zeru tells me shaking his head, "All the surveillance equipment around the warehouse is working perfectly and nothing suspicious has been detected. Though we do have a few shady dealings going on outside, mostly drug deals but sometimes I spot the rare prosti-"

Zeru is cut off as beeping sounds emanate from one of the monitors. He turns back and Looks over at the screen.

"Yes!!" Zeru exclaims. "I found him. I mean...I think I did!"

He brings his hands together excitedly as he turns to face me.

I move over to the monitors and look over at what's showing on the screen. On the display, a picture of an old man with white hair with horn-rimmed glasses appears.

"Doctor Henry Jonathan Pym," Zeru reads aloud, "A professor at Princeton University and a renowned expert in quantum mechanics. He's considered one of the founding fathers of Quantum Mechanics. He's also known for developing a theory that suggests subatomic particles have memory and can interact with each other even if they're separated by great distances."

"Any current address?" I ask.

"Says here he owns a manor in San Francisco," Zeru answers, "It's not listed under his name though. The property belongs to a corporation called Quantum Industries."

"Interesting," I nod. "So, he's probably hiding out there somewhere."

"Or maybe he's dead." Zeru speculates.

"Either way," I tell him as I turn away from the monitors to look at Zeru, "we will find him eventually. It may take some time, but we'll get him."

"You sure this guy has what we need to fix Ava? " Zeru asks.

"Don't know for sure," I admit, "but if not, he'll at least lead us somewhere else that does. Either way, we've still got a good lead on him and a possible location to search. So, we'll see where it takes us."

"Do I get to come along?" Zeru asks hopefully. "I could help with the search."

"Of course, you can," I nod. "But you have to stay behind the scenes. Okay?"

Zeru grins widely at me and nods enthusiastically.

"This is going to be so awesome!" He squeals excitedly. "We'll make him pay for what he did to Ava's dad!"

"That's the spirit," I grin back at him. "Let's get started then, shall we?"

I smirk at the kid's bloodthirsty enthusiasm. "First, start reviewing that data. I want to know every piece of information you can find on Dr. Pym."

"You got it, boss," Zeru says before returning to his work with renewed eagerness.

Leaving the kid to his work I step outside into the cold night air. I look up at the starry sky above me and feel a sense of calm settle over me as I lose myself in thought about what lies ahead for all of us.

I've come so far from the little boy who first came to this world. When I was a child, I was lost and confused, unable to do anything but what others told me. But now, I've become a person who makes his own choices. I've grown stronger, smarter, and bolder than ever before.

But despite my accomplishments, there's still a part of me that feels weak.

Weak because I'm afraid of the future, afraid of where this road leads. Afraid that one day I won't be strong enough to survive.

Because deep down, I know that the only way to keep moving forward is to never stop fighting.

As the wind blows across my skin, I close my eyes and let the cold night air wash over me.

*Bang!*

*Bang!*

Fireworks explode in the sky above me. The loud bangs echo throughout the city as the bright bursts of light illuminate the darkening sky. I stand motionless, staring up at the brilliant fireworks, watching them burst into beautiful colors that reflect against the stars twinkling brightly overhead.

I feel a warmth settle in my chest as I breathe in deeply, filling my lungs with the cool night air.

Something stirs inside me, something primal and powerful. A longing for freedom, adventure, and most importantly, revenge.

I open my eyes and look around me, taking in the sights and smells of Hell's Kitchen. Everything feels alive tonight and the entire city pulses with energy and life.

"Now the question isn't who is going to let me.... it's who is going to stop me." I whisper to myself as I stare out at the glowing lights illuminating the skyline above.

**********

A/n: Hey guys, sorry for the late update but this New year has been kicking my ass. Won't bum you out with my sob story so I'll just say hope you're enjoying the story so far and as always thanks for reading!

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About the author

Swarthy

Bio: I like evil MCs way too much. If you like my work and want to support it, check out my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Swarthy or Paypal: https://paypal.me/xSwarthyx anything is appropriated.

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