“Hey, Steve it’s me. Hydra is coming after me and I don’t have anyone else to call. ” Carol explained, doing her best to keep her voice down as she crouched by the window of the abandoned apartment with one of her pistols clutched in her other hand.
“On my way.” Steve replied, as the sounds of the city streets filled in the background.
Carol glanced at the door and then quickly hung up the phone and tucked it in the inner pocket of her leather jacket.
Readying herself for the coming fight, Carol slowly stood up and crept toward the door. Just as she reached her hand for the door handle, the sound of booted feet pounding down the hallway came to her ears. Carol hesitated a moment, mentally estimating the size of attack force now searching the hallway. Moving to a position that would put her behind the door when it opened, Carol waited.
A few seconds later, two men in full Hydra gear burst into the room. After a quick scan of the room, the one in front turned to the other and said in a german accent: “All clear. Let’s keep moving. Baron Zemo is going to have our heads if she escaped.” After they left the room, Carol permitted herself to smile. Perched in the corner near the ceiling behind the door, Carol knew that the danger was not over. However, she knew that the Hydra Agent had made his final mistake. Never give your enemy an escape route when they have the advantage of surprise.
Steve moved along the alleyway with the stealth that came with a life of being the super soldier. The gloomy atmosphere did little to improve the feeling of apprehension that was rising inside of him. As he came upon a place where another alley intersected the one he was traveling on there was a loud crash like that of a glass bottle shattering. This followed by the sounds of an intense hand-to-hand fight, and accordingly Steve picked up his pace. He arrived as Carol’s opponent fell to the ground bleeding in several places from shattered glass.
Carol’s appearance had change quite a bit since he had seen her earlier that morning. Her braid had come loose, and strands of hair hung in front of her eyes. Her jacket had a mix of dust, spider webs, and blood on it from a cut on her shoulder. The rest of her outfit was in even worse condition than her jacket. Nevertheless, her eyes sparkled with the same fire they had that morning and the sight of them cheered Steve.
“You ok?” He asked, even though he already knew the answer.
“I’ll be fine. It’s just a few scratches. Nothing serious.” Carol replied, tucking her some of her loose hair behind her ear.
“In that case, let’s get you to somewhere safe.” Steve said scanning the surrounding alleyway as he indicated the direction he had come.
They walked for a while, following the alleyways and back streets to avoid the Hydra Agents sweeping the city. Eventually they arrived at what looked like an abandoned house that had seen better days. Carol could tell by the faded blue paint on the house and the equally faded white fence that it had once been a very pretty house. However, the years of neglect and weather had taken its toll on the outside.
“This is a safe house. You should be safe here while we figure this out.” Steve explained, unlocking the gate and opening it for her.
Nodding her thanks, Carol walked up the overgrown walkway to the door. Behind her could hear Steve re-locking the gate, but as she opened the door all of that faded away. Carol was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of the place. Unlike the outside, the inside was in perfect condition and reminded her of the home she had lived in when her parents had been alive. Wandering into the kitchen, Carol sat down at the small kitchen table and pulled a small medical kit from her jacket. Opening it up, she started attending to her wounds.
After having done a quick perimeter scan, Steve entered the house by the back door. It only took a moment of listening to figure out where Carol had gone. Sitting in the chair opposite Carol, Steve watched her for a moment before he spoke.
“Those men where Hydra.” Carol said, looking up from piece of paper she had been studying. It was a statement, not a question. Her right hand was holding a white cloth to the wound on her left arm and the expression on her face told Steve that it was hurting more than she had been willing to let on.
“I know. I tangled with a few before I found you.” Steve responded standing up to retrieve an ice pack from the fridge. Handing it to Carol, he sat back down his mind trying to solve the mystery. “Why are they after you? It doesn’t make sense.” Steve added, resting his elbow on the table and putting his hand to his chin.
“I’m not sure. I never really had a chance to ask. I overheard one of them mention Zemo though. He made it sound like the assignment came from him. But I thought Zemo was dead.” Carol informed him, wincing as she removed the cloth from her shoulder and tried to take off her jacket.
“Here, let me do that.” Steve told her, standing up and helping her take off the jacket. He knelt next to her to apply the prepared bandage to the wound, Carol sucked in her breath as the antiseptic came into to contact with the opened wound.
“He was probably talking about Zemo’s son. He used a form of the super soldier serum so he could beat me and take over the world.” Steve explained as he tied the bandage snuggly.
“I got this off of one of them. What do you think it is?” Carol asked pushing the piece of paper she had been studying across the table as he sat back down.
“It looks like the final piece of a map I’ve been trying to assemble for 6 or 7 months now.” Steve said after studying it for a moment. “Who are you Carol?” He added, locking eyes with her.
“A former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who is trying to start a life after being forced to cut all ties and run.” Carol answered in a matter-of-fact way, though Steve could hear the mix of anger and pain in her voice.
Steve considered his next words carefully. They had only been dating for a several months, but he felt as if he known her for years. And yet he also knew that there were things he didn’t know, including whether any of it was real. However, he decided to that it was a risk worth taking.
“If you ever want to get back into it, I have a mission I could use some help with.” Steve told her moving to stand up.
“Do the Avengers know about it?” Carol asked as he passed over the kitchen threshold.
Turning back halfway, Captain America stood still for a moment before he answered. “Not yet.”
“Then I’m in. What do I need to do?” Carol inquired standing up and putting her hands on her hips.
To be continued
Want to read more about Carol’s adventures? Check out the Beyond S.H.I.E.L.D chronological page!