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Run the World

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Cover art by: DizzyRedhead

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Natasha’s voice: “Hi, you’ve reached Nora Ryan. Sorry I missed your call, but leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

<beep>

“‘Nora’, this is Pepper. I heard about what happened in Berlin, and I’ve already read Tony the riot act. I’d apologize for him, but if I started, I’d never stop, so...

“Please call me. I’m sure you’re doing just fine, you always are, but I’d like to know for sure. If there’s anything I can do... call me, okay? Even if it’s just to talk, or maybe we can get together sometime if it works for you. I miss you.”


“This is Pepper; leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

<beep>

“Pepper, it’s Helen. Betty and I were just wondering if you knew what was going on? The news is making  it seem like World War Three, and no one will tell us anything; we’re confined to the compound. I don’t want to seem overly dramatic, but we’re about two days away from creating a small non-lethal explosion and breaking out of here. I suppose Betty could call in the Hulk, but I think the explosion would be a lot more controllable and cause significantly less property damage--

<indistinct conversation in the background>

--okay, fine, Betty, but you have to admit it would be faster. Anyway, Pepper, call us, please? We’re going crazy here. Or better yet, call someone who can lift this lockdown and let us out.”


Darcy’s voice: “You’ve reached the voicemail of Dr. Jane Foster, astrophysicist extraordinaire! Jane can’t answer the phone, or even remember her phone half the time, because she’s too busy doing Science or sucking face with her boyfriend the extraterrestrial demigod prince, but if you leave a message, there’s a decent chance I can nag her into returning it once she comes up for air. Do your thing at the beep!”

<beep>

“Jane, I realize that you don’t like remembering your phone or even having a phone--do phones even work on Asgard? Nevermind. Hopefully you’re not on Asgard. Or maybe hopefully you are, because then you’d be safe from all this. I bet Thor’s off-world, though, because I can’t imagine he’d see the shit that’s going down and not dive right in to bust some heads. Anyway, what the fuck? I take one little week off to hang out on a beach, drink some drinks, maybe pick up a pretty surfer or three, and the Avengers start trying to kill each other? Please tell me you’re okay and not in the middle of this stupid dick-measuring contest; I still can’t believe Natasha and Wanda got sucked in. Call me when you get this, okay, Jane? I’m really worried about you and that big brain.”


“This is Pepper; leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

<beep>

“Pepper, it’s Maria. Has Tony lost what few brain cells he hasn’t killed with alcohol? <sigh> I’m sorry, that’s not fair. I know this has been hard on both of you, and none of this is your fault. I’m going to head to the compound and break Helen and Betty out of their labs; probably better for both of us if I don’t say on here where I’m taking them, but you know how to contact me if you need me. Let me know if I can do anything, or call if you need to talk. You don’t have to do this by yourself.”


Maria Hill’s voice: “Leave a message.”

<beep>

Sharon’s voice: “Agent 13 reporting. Captain Rogers is in the wind with the Winter Soldier; they’ve broken Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man out of The Raft. I’ve burned my bridges with the CIA. Commander, would you ask the Director--<long pause, deep, shaky breath> I’d like to come in now.”


“This is Pepper; leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

<beep>

“Ms. Potts, this is Laura Barton. Thank you so much for your call, and your offer, I appreciate it. But we’re not entirely on our own, even though Clint’s gone. We have other friends who’ve been very helpful. I hope you don’t mind that I consider you a friend, and I will ask you to let us know if you hear anything further about Clint’s situation. I’ll swallow my pride enough to accept your offer for the children, though. It makes me feel better knowing that they’ll be taken care of if anything happens to me.

“Thank you again. I hope we can meet in person someday, so I can tell you that face to face.”


Natasha’s voice, extra perky: “Hi, it’s Naomi! Sorry I didn’t answer, but you know me! Once I find my phone, I’ll totally call you back, so leave a message! Byeeeeee!!!

<beep>

Wanda’s voice: “I got your message. You know I don’t blame you for what Tony did. I like to think you would’ve stopped him from putting me in that place if you’d still been there. I guess we’ll never know, though.

<pause>

“I’m doing better, now that the drugs have worn off. Steve found me someone to talk to, about what happened. I think it helps. Sometimes. I usually only have one nightmare a night now, so that’s an improvement.

“Sorry, this isn’t why I called. I hope you’re still safe. Be well, veľká sestra . See you soon.”


“This is Pepper; leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”

<beep>

“Pepper, it’s Betty. I’m sorry it took so long, but I got the information you asked for. I’m not going to ask what you’re going to do with it--I’m pretty sure I already know. All I ask is that you give Bruce and I a couple of days to disappear before you get started. He can’t contribute anything to this, and I don’t think it’ll do any good for him to be where he can beat himself up about it.”


<news show intro music>

Female news anchor: “Our top story this morning, Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries, has issued a shocking statement.”

Pepper: “An anonymous source has recently brought us evidence regarding the unlawful imprisonment of former members of the Avengers by Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross, including drugging Wanda Maximoff to an extent that is likely to cause her many future health problems. Since Stark Industries, despite its previous association with the Avengers, is not a law enforcement agency, we have turned this information over to the appropriate authorities. In line with our policies of cooperation with the press, you have all received copies of the information as well.”

Reporter: “Ms. Potts! Does this information come from Tony Stark? Is that why it came to you?”

Pepper: “The evidence was provided to us via electronic means, and none of our departments has been able to trace the source, so I can honestly say I don’t know if it came from Tony or not.”

Reporter: “Ms Potts! Ms. Potts! Will there be any steps taken to secure the release of the former Avengers?”

Pepper: “Again, Stark Industries is not a law enforcement agency, but we will be happy to provide legal representation to any former members of the Avengers who wish to sue Secretary Ross and the United Nations for their unlawful arrest and confinement without representation.

“No further questions, thank you.”


“--Secretary of State Ross appears before a United Nations subcommittee today to answer for his role in the unlawful imprisonment of Avengers Wanda Maximoff, Samuel Wilson, Clinton Barton, and Scott Lang--” (played by duendeverde4)

“--Wanda Maximoff’s personal physician and psychiatrist to testify to the health issues and PTSD caused by her imprisonment. Bill, they took a nineteen-year-old girl, put her in a straitjacket, and kept her drugged 24/7. She couldn’t even walk! Someone has to answer--” (played by Shmaylor)

“--the enhanced pose a danger to humanity. We restrict and regulate nuclear warheads, biological and chemical weapons, don’t we? How is this different?” (played by cantarina)

“--CIA Deputy Director Everett Ross is under scrutiny for denying representation to detainees and for security lapses which allowed rogue operatives to gain access to the Winter Soldier--” (played by the_dragongirl)

“--breaking news, we have received evidence that the Winter Soldier, who was involved in the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. two years ago and was also implicated in the Vienna bombings, is actually none other than James Buchanan Barnes, Captain America’s WWII era companion--” (played by idella)

“--just because this man was a war hero, it doesn’t absolve him of his crimes, Jim. This ‘Winter Soldier’ is responsible for at least 50 assassinations that we know of. How many others went undiscovered? He has to answer--” (played by rickypulsifer)

“--King T’Challa of Wakanda says he has incontrovertible proof that Barnes is not only innocent of the Vienna bombings, but has also spent more than 75 years being brainwashed and tortured by HYDRA. The king has stated that Barnes has asked for and received asylum in Wakanda and is being treated by medical professionals--” (played by knight_tracer)

“--seventy-five years? That kind of conditioning can’t be erased overnight, if it can be erased at all. This man is a danger to everyone around him--” (played by reena_jenkins)

“--calling for the Winter Soldier to be put on trial. What do they think is going to happen here? We’ve all seen the files; Barnes was nothing but a puppet. But if they put him on trial, then no one looks for the people pulling the strings--” (played by Ailis_Fictive)

“--left with more questions than answers here, but one thing is for sure; someone has to answer for all of this death and destruction. Clearly the Accords were flawed, possibly an attempt by Secretary Ross to control enhanced individuals, something he’s come under scrutiny for in the past, I might add, but let’s not be so hasty to dismiss the concept as a whole--” (played by RsCreighton)

“--the fact of the matter is, threats exist that cannot be handled by conventional means. Let’s not forget that the World Security Council fired a nuclear bomb at New York City in an attempt to contain the Chitauri invasion, and only Tony Stark’s quick thinking prevented even more massive loss of life--” (played by frecklebomb)

“--can we trust these...people to act in the best interests of humanity? How can we know that? Are we just supposed to believe that they’re above reproach? Nobody's infallible, not even Captain America--” (played by argentumlupine)

“--despite hundreds of thousands of reported sightings, the hunt for Captain America has been unsuccessful--” (played by RevolutionaryJo)

“--Captain America’s is directly responsible for death and destruction across the globe, and he needs to answer for that--” (played by SomethingIncorporeal)

“--completely disappeared from the public eye, including Captain America--” (played by miss_marina95)

“--the one question no one has an answer to: where is Captain America?” (played by tipsy_kitty)


Computerized voice: “Please leave a message.”

<beep>

“Captain Rogers, this is Dr. Khawuta. His Highness asked me to let you know that we are confident we have removed all of Sergeant Barnes’ subliminal triggers. I should caution you that there is still a great deal of work ahead of him before he will be fully healed, but he has made great strides. He’s asked for you to be present for the final tests.”


Computerized voice: “Please leave a message.”

<beep>

Natasha’s voice: “It’s me. <pause> I’m sorry. I wanted to believe we could have some control over what was happening. I’ve been on the wrong side of things so many times, with the Red Room, and with S.H.I.E.L.D. turning out to be Hydra…<sigh> I should’ve known better. I didn’t. That’s on me.

“I miss you. I hope, wherever you are, you and Bucky are safe and happy. I’ll see you again. Someday.”