Chapter 28 - Rachel Stark
"We will finish this conversation later." Steve says. I get out of the car and slam the door. Steve follows me. "How is this possible?" he asks.
"The file came from these coordinates." I say curtly.
"So did I." Steve says. I look over at him and I see his eyes glaze over.
"Change much?" I ask, scanning for the energy source.
"A little." he says. I keep on scanning and I don't find anything. "This is a dead end. Zero heat signatures, zero waves, not even radio. Whoever wrote the file must have used a router to throw people off." I pause and I keep looking around. "What is it?" I ask.
"Army regulations forbid storing munitions within 500 yards of the barracks." I jog to catch up to him. He doesn't even look at me as I come up behind him. "This building is in the wrong place." He uses his shield to break the lock. Damn, that is so hot. What am I thinking? He is mad at me, and my feelings for him are starting to come back. The door breaks open and we walk down into the building.
"This is S.H.I.E.L.D." I say in awe.
"Maybe where it all started." he says. We start to walk around. We go into this back room and there are three pictures of two men and one women.
"There's my dad." I say. I walk towards the picture.
"Howard." Steve says, smiling fondly towards the picture.
"Miss Peggy!" I say, running towards the picture like a little kid. Steve stays away from the picture, and keeps looking around the room.
"If you're already working in a secret office," Steve says, catching my attention. "why do you need to hide the elevator?" he says, as he pulls back a book case, revealing an elevator. We walk up to the elevator and see a keypad.
"What year were you born?" I ask Steve.
"1918." I type it in. The elevator door opens and we are taken down to the floor basement. As the doors open, all of the ancient computers are revealed.
"This can't be the data point. This technology is ancient." I say, looking back to Steve. When I look back to the main computers, I see a port for the flash drive. I look back worriedly. Steve's eyes met mine, just as worried. Maybe he isn't as mad as I thought he was. Maybe he does have feelings for me. I plug in the hard drive. Initiate System?
"Y-E-S spells yes. Shall we play a game?"I ask and turn around. "Remember that..."
"I remember." he says, cutting me off. I hear the computer starting to boot up.
"Rogers, Steven born 1918. Stark, Rachel Ellie born 1990." the computer animated voice says.
"It's some kind of recording." I say.
"I am not a recording Frulein. I may not be the man I was when the Captain took me prisoner in 1945. But I am." it says.
"Arnim Zola was a German scientist who worked for the Red Skull. He's been dead for years." Steve says, walking around the database.
"First correction, I am Swiss. Second, look around you. I have never been more alive. In 1972, I received a terminal diagnosis. Science could not save my body. My mind, however, that was worth saving, on 200,000 feet of databanks. You are standing in my brain." Arnim Zola says.
"How did you get here?" Steve asks.
"Invited." he says simply. Steve whips his head around and looks at me like I have the answers. Which, I don't know if I do.
"It was Operation Paperclip. After World War II. S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited German scientists with strategic value." I say, shrugging my shoulders.
"They thought I could help their cause. I also helped my own. HYDRA died with the Red Skull. Cut off one head, two more shall take its place." Zola says.
"Prove it." Steve says.
"Accessing archive. HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom. What we did not realise was that if you try to take that freedom, they resist. The war taught us much. Humanity needed to surrender its freedom willingly. After the war, S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded, and I was recruited. The new HYDRA grew. A beautiful parasite inside S.H.I.E.L.D. For 70 years, HYDRA has been secretly feeding crisis, reaping war, and when history did not cooperate, history was changed."
"That's impossible. S.H.I.E.L.D. would have stopped you." I say horrified. I back up, away fro the computer. My back runs into Steve's chest. He puts one of his arms around my waist.
"Accidents will happen. HYDRA created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security. Once a purification process is complete, HYDRA'S new world order will arise. We won, Captain. Your death amounts to the same as your life. A zero sum." Steve runs up and punches the screen. "As I was saying..."
"What's on this drive?" Steve demands.
"Project Insight requires insight. So, I wrote an algorithm."
"What kind of algorithm?" I ask.
"What does it do?" Steve asks.
"The answer to your question is fascinating. Unfortunately, you shall be too dead to hear it." the doors of the basement start to close. Steve tries to throw his shield at them but it this too late.
"Steve, we've got a bogey. Short range ballistic. 30 seconds tops." I say, looking down at the censer.
"Who fired it?" Steve says.
"I'm afraid I've been stalling Captain." Steve looks at me.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." I say.
"Admit it. It's better this way. We are, both of us," Steve runs and pulls away a grate from the ground. I start to run over to him. "out of time."He grabs me by the waist, and pulls me into the hole that the gate was on top of.
And then the building explodes.
And I black out.
As the building starts to fall, I make sure that my shield covers Rachel's body. And them we sit. Until all of the dust settles. When I stop hearing things crumbling, I put Rachel's body behind me and I start to push. I push until I loosen a big rock in front of us. I turn around to see Rachel's limp body. I really hope she isn't dead. But there is no time to think about that right now. I pick her up and start to shuffle out of the tiny hole I created. When I get out I look up. I hear jets, then I see them. I run.
I wake up to footsteps hitting the ground and a heartbeat. I look up and see Steve's sweaty face, covered in dirt. There is panic in his eyes.
"Steve..." I say horsely. He stops, looks at me. He smiles and chuckles. He sets me down and studies me.
"You're alive." he says. I cough and nod. He bends down to look at me.
"We need to get somewhere safe. Right now." I say. He nods and starts to pick me up. "No, I'm running. You don't sleep, I don't sleep. Its our deal." I start to run off, but Steve grabs my arm. He hesitates for a second, then pulls me into a hug.
"I'm so sorry," he says into my shoulder. "I should have never gotten mad at you for not telling me. It was stupid of me." he says.
"It was very stupid of you, but I forgive you." I say and hug him back. And then, we run.
A/N: I am sooooooooo sorry that I left this story forever. But I have had marching band for the past few months and I couldn't get time to write. Thanks for all of the continued support!!!
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