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Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Furby- Sometime in the halcyon days of our misspent youth, we who skirt the edge of Gen X and the Millennials fell into a fad - greater than pogs, greater even than Power Rangers and Spongebob, at the pinnacle of the cry of every child who longed for a pet but was deemed too poor; too allergic; too irresponsible, at the top of that mighty plinth we find the rare Furby, a virtual pet who was not made of pixels, (see: Gigapet, Tamagotchi) with a beak and ears and eyes that blinked, Lord Furby of Creepdonia sang and talked and, on the rare occasion of great joy, danced. If you open packet 3Q, you will find a Furby for your own investigation, with the requisite batteries installed. His name is Kah.

Steve's Furby - who he decided needed a name that didn't sound quite so childlike and was also clearly a girl, Darcy - was red, except for her stomach, which was blue with white stars. And she had a plastic crown and torch, like she was a creepy little statue of liberty.

He was used to some of the memos from Darcy now, the ones that tried to educate him on the highlights of pop culture that he had missed. He enjoyed some of them - the science fiction of the Cold War was really quite enlightening as to the mindset of the people, and there were 24 whole new Three Stooges shorts and movies to enjoy, not to mention the things people did with music these days. But this was the first time something had been given to him for investigation.

Libby, for he decided that "Liberty" was a good name for a Furby, looked like she was asleep as Steve picked her up out of Darcy's packaging, but she must have had some kind of sensor in her - like a magnet, maybe, Steve thought those were still in use - that let her know she was being moved. She opened her large, creepy eyes, blinked twice, and yawned before rattling out a string of nonsense syllables. Steve had to admit, she was a little cute.

"Hi," he said, "I'm Steve."

Libby blinked and wiggled her ears. Steve thought he knew how she felt. "I get it," he told her. "I was asleep for a long time, too. Wanna meet my friends?"

Libby sang a little song which, Steve decided, meant yes.


"Guys," Steve stood in the doorway to the area of Stark Tower that he thought of as the family room, "this is Libby."

Clint, who was sharing the room quietly with Bruce, looked up from his book, and peered at Steve over the top of his reading glasses. "Steve. Is that a Furby?"

Steve nodded. "Her name is Libby."

Clint and Bruce shared a long look that was not, in fact, lost on Steve.

"What?"

"Nothing," Clint said, shaking his head. "I just - I haven't see a Furby since- what, Bruce, 2000?"

"1999," Bruce said. "So, uh. Where did you get it?"

"Darcy gave her to me," Steve said, crossing to join them on the couch. He set Libby on the table, where she let out a cheery rooster noise and began singing again. "She's part of my pop culture education."

"Oh course," Clint said, cleaning his glasses on his shirt. "Of course she is."

Steve rubbed the back of his neck. "I know it's kinda childish--"

Bruce laughed. "Don't worry about it. We live with Tony. You want childish? You should see his dolls."

"Action figures," Clint corrected. "They're action figures and there's nothing wrong with them."

Steve laughed, and Libby joined him - or made a noise that might have been joining, he wasn't sure. "Libby is short for Liberty," he offered, reaching out to tickle her beak.

"Of course it is," Clint nodded. "I mean, look at her outfit."

Steve grinned. "I think she could be my new sidekick, you know? Captain America and Lady Liberty."

"You don't need a sidekick," Bruce said, giving Libby a gentle pat on her head. "You have a team."


"It was a rumor."

"I don't care"

"Hill--"

"AGENT Hill, Ms. Lewis, and the order still stands."

Darcy stomped her foot, which she knew was petulant, but she was arguing with the Deputy Director of the world's largest paramilitary and intelligence agency about a child's toy.

"Agent Hill, come on. The thing can't learn that many words."

Hill steepled her fingers behind her desk.

"Ms. Lewis, you gave him the toy, and the order was never rescinded. He cannot bring it into a government building because of security concerns, and since you created the problem, you get to be the one to tell him."

Darcy thought about snorting. "Libby is no more dangerous than an iPod, and I don't see why Steve can't have it."

"He can have it," Hill said. "He can't bring it on the Helicarrier."

Darcy made a face. "Write me a memo I can show him, and I'll do it."

Hill shook her head. "Write a memo and copy me."



MEMORANDUM

From: Darcy Lewis
To: Captain Steven Rogers
CC: AGENT Maria Hill

Re: Libby

Captain Rogers,

It has been brought to my attention by AGENT Hill that you may not bring Libby onto SHIELD property because of a 1999 memo circulated by the NSA, who, like AGENT Hill, didn't seem to understand that the language progression is programmed and they can't learn all our creepy secrets.

Darcy Lewis


Steve read the memo once, twice, three times, and then sighed heavily.

"Well," he said to Libby, who was napping on the coffee table. "I guess that ends our daring partnership."

"Are you talking to that toy?"

Steve spun to face the voice. It was, of course, Tony. It was always Tony skulking in corners, except when it was Natasha, but their voices were readily distinguishable. (And it was never Clint, which was weird, though Steve got the impression that their sniper friend was often across the street with binoculars, but that had very little to do with the shadow-skulking quotient filled by the other Avengers.)

"Her name is Libby," Steve huffed. "We've talked about this. And she's been banned from SHIELD property."

Tony raised an eyebrow. "Is this like, a delayed childhood thing? Cause I get it - you got to grow up in the Great Depression and shit, but you're Captain Fucking America, or just Normal Captain America, I don't know your stance on fucking and it's not my business but - what's with the Furby obsession?"

Steve shrugged. He supposed he could chalk it up to being lonely, or liking having something to take care of, or even just liking that a pretty girl gave him a present, which wasn't something he had a lot of experience at, even counting some of the Capettes and their... appetites. But mostly he liked Libby, and he liked have something with him that made him eccentric like his friends.

And maybe that was it - even seventy years out of time, Steve was just a soldier. He wasn't a spy or an assassin or a God, he wasn't a genius or a monster - he was just Steve. And maybe Libby, for all her annoying tendency to ask for tickles while he was being shot at, made him feel a little more, well, abnormal.

But that wasn't something he could exactly say to Tony, who he figured would give just about anything to be like other people, to be the kind of guy that no one would have kidnapped to ransom, since that was the way his whole mess had started.

"I like her is all," Steve said, reaching out to tweak one of Libby's ears. "She's something, you know, that's mine."

Tony raised an eyebrow. "You don't think taking her on missions is a good way to get her killed?"

"One, she's not alive. Two, she stays in the jet. I'm stupid, but I'm not that stupid."

Tony shook his head. "You're not stupid," he said, his voice softer than Steve expected it to be.

"Whatever," Steve shrugged, scooping Libby up and standing. "I was just sad because she has to stay home."

Tony didn't say anything as Steve brushed past him, but he stood in the doorway for a long while, staring at the wall.

(From across the street, peering through his scope, Clint made a note of it, as standing still counted as "Abnormal Behavior" in Tony's file, and he had been told to keep an eye out for that.)


In retrospect, Steve wasn't sure why he thought Natasha didn't like him. He supposed it was mostly because she didn't seem to like anyone, except maybe Clint. But he had the distinct impression, ever since the first time they met on the deck of the Helicarrier, that Natasha Romanoff thought he was useless, somehow, or patronizing or just a throw-back. Whatever. She didn't like him.

Which was why it was a bit of a surprise to find a second Furby in his room.

This one was black, and someone, probably Clint, had fashioned a belt for it to wear. It even had Natasha's signature red hourglass on it, and a note attached.

Put them together, the note said, they talk.

And talk they did, spurting gibberish at each other fluently. Steve was reminded of the way the others spoke, sometimes, how their pop culture and nowness flew by him like so much Furbish.

He smiled at it. "You're gonna be Charlotte," he told the new toy. "For the book, with the pig. It was in Darcy's last packet."

The Furby seemed unimpressed, but Steve was pretty sure that was just their way. He decided to let Charlotte and Libby talk, and he picked up a pencil. As long as his toys were entertaining themselves, he could get some drawing done.



EMAIL

To: Darcy Lewis
From: Steve Rogers
Sub: Furbys

Ma'am,

I was wondering - can I get a few more of these toys? I need a purple one, a green one, a red one (with yellow, if they have it), and one that looks like Thor. I'll pay you back, I'm just not sure I trust internet shopping yet.

Thank you,
Cpt. Steven G. Rogers



EMAIL

To: Steve
From: Darcy
Sub: Re: Furbys

OMG ARE YOU MAKING FURBVENGERS? I want to help!



Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Mall Madness - The most sadistic of the "new" brand of board games, Mall Madness is the harrowing experience of having an electronic voice order you to buy things with paper money and cardboard credit cards. They wanted me to give you one, but Steve, please, stay away from anything that talks. Mall Madness, Girl Talk, Dream Phone. If you can't see where it keeps its brain, DON'T FUCKING PLAY IT.
Mall Madness was released in 1989, and we've been trying to escape it ever since. Generations of girls were drawn in because they thought the mall was cool, only to find out that this game is the devil. Much like Risk, there are no known records of completed games.
STICK TO BOGGLE.

Sometimes, it was best to just smile and nod.



Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Nerf - A company that has made roughly forty blillion dollars selling air-powered rifles that shoot foam darts to children. They have since branched out into discs and other projectiles. See also: Super Soaker, Frisbee.
Opening package 9P will yield you one 6-cylinder Nerf rifle and the appropriate darts. Please use responsibly, and remember to hide it from Clint.

Okay, some of these newfangled toys were just plain fun.

Steve remembered playing at being soldiers with Bucky, playing Great War or Allies vs. Central Powers in the streets. He remembered so vividly how they scavenged sticks to point at each other, shooting and laughing, and bang you're dead, i got you bucky, no fair you hafta die! But Nerf - they took the old games to a new level, they made fighting fun again, in a way it hadn't been for Steve since the 1930s, since he used to punch Hitler twice a day.

Darcy had even taken Steve to Target to assess the foam-rubber armory they kept between the Barbies and the Lego. (Both of which, he'd been promised, were in upcoming lessons, but after seeing the line of Avengettes™ that Mattel had put out, with their long legs and disturbingly sexy outfits, he wasn't sure how he felt about Barbies. Seemed like a lot of pink, and not much substance.) He bought a few things to add to his arsenal at home, as well as a gift or two - no archer's life was complete without a vividly red bow that was advertised to shoot however many feet.

And of course, Steve got everyone else gifts because that was only polite, but he really only intended to get into wars with Clint. He figured the others were a mite too serious to be lurking around in air ducts and on roofs, waiting for the perfect moment to pelt each other with toy arrows.

Which is why he was slightly surprised when, a few days after he gave everyone their presents, Steve walked in on an all-out Nerf Brawl in the family room.

Natasha and Clint were back-to-back behind the sofa, taking turns popping up to aim frighteningly accurate darts at Tony and Bruce, who were crouched behind the kitchen wall, making noises that sounded suspiciously like they were disassembling their disc launchers to make something potentially deadly. Thor, bless his giant heart, was lounging in one of their overstuffed armchairs, idly tossing his Nerf Axe in the air and catching it.

"What on---" Steve laughed, shocked to see his teammates actually playing together.

"Hi Steve!" Clint called, taking his turn to tag the edge of Bruce's foot that was sticking out. "We're under siege, wanna help?"

Thor's face broke into a grin, and he stood suddenly. "At last!" he cried, scooping the rest of his weapons - the shield and the axe and the mace that matched his sword - up from the ottoman and starting towards Steve. "Ranged combat," Thor scoffed. "Is a game of cowards. Join me, we will rule the tower!"

Steve had his own opinions about ranged combat, and he had done quite well with a gun or two in his day, but he accepted the proffered mace. "For whose honor are we fighting?" he asked, as Natasha aimed one of her deadly darts at the back of Thor's head.

Thor made a spectacular show of "dying," full of coughing and choking and heartfelt pleas to convey his love to the Lady Jane, and Steve wondered if maybe they should limit his TV time from now on, but he made the oath Thor asked of him, and, next thing he knew, Steve was charging into the kitchen to join Tony and Bruce and avenge his shield-brother.



Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Land Before Time, The- Every generation has a Moment. For our parents, it was JFK. For you, it was probably Pearl Harbor. For me, and the people who grew up in the late eighties, it was Littlefoot's mother. (Yes, I know, we have our own terrorism worries, but every single one of us cut our teeth on that scene, where Littlefoot's mother jumps to save him from the Sharptooth.) There are actually about 32 movies in this series, but purists and true believers know that the first one is the only REAL Land Before Time - the great valley, tree stars, Ducky and Petrie; these are the oracles of our youth, and to them we say yup, yup, yup. This will pave the way for Jurassic Park in about 5 years. Package T34 contains an original VHS of the movie, complete with Pizza Hut ad, a set of vinyl hand puppets, and a DVD copy that you'll be able to find a player for in the tower. (Package T35 contains tissues, for any tears you might encounter.)

Steve wasn't crying.

He was just allergic to this movie.

He was allergic to plucky bands of friends who had to band together to get things done, allergic to dead mother dinosaurs, allergic to how fucking cute the whole thing was. He reached out to scoop Libby off the end table and hold her close.

"I promise to never die fighting a dinosaur," he muttered.

Which was really not promising, seeing as he was only thirty minutes into this damn depression fest.

"What's this?"

Steve craned his head back to find Bruce in the doorway, his arms crossed and a small, nervous smile on his face.

"Homework," Steve said. "Agent Hill has Miss Lewis educating me on pop culture, she says it'll help me acclimate."

Bruce nodded and crossed to sit next to Steve. "And so she's making you watch The Land Before Time."

"Yeah, she says we're working up to something called Apocalypse Now."

Bruce raised an eyebrow. "That should be fun for both of you," he sighed.

Steve shrugged, and on the screen their plucky band of dinoheroes continued their adventure.

"You know," Steve grinned, casting Bruce a look. "I figure I'm the Littlefoot of the Avengers."

"How's that?"

"I'm the leader. Tony is annoying, so he's Ducky, Clint is Petrie because come on, birds, Natasha is Cera, And you and Thor can share Spike."

Bruce laughed. "You know," he leaned back into the couch. "I was fifteen when this movie came out. There was this girl I wanted to take, Tracy, but she said I was a geek."

Steve nodded. "I was skinny and short and too obsessed with enlisting," he said. "I never got to take any girls to the movies either."

On screen, the Sharptooth opened his eye, and Cera ran.

"Does it get happier," Steve asked, gesturing to the screen. "Do they get to the great valley?"

Bruce nodded. "Yeah. But you might want a beer."

Steve narrowed his eyes. "What for?"

"For drinking," Bruce said, lifting himself off the couch. "We can drink every time they so something cute."

"You know I can't get drunk?"

Bruce shrugged, stepping into the kitchen. "Doesn't mean it won't help."

On the screen, the dinosaurs were arguing. Steve nodded. "Yeah, can't hurt."



Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Carmen Sandiego - A traveler of time, space, the world, and math, Carmen Sandiego is a fictional thief who began life as a video game character intent on teaching the children of the world where the Mississippi River was by stealing it and then hiding, waiting for her childish pursuers to find her. She has also starred in a cartoon, books, and a game show. Most often, mention of her name will bring up the Rockapella theme song from the 1991 game show. There is no package this week, go steal the Golden Gate Bridge.


Darcy's Guide to the 80s, 90s, and today.

An illustrated guide, compiled by Darcy Lewis, for use in educating Rogers, Captain Steven (alias Captain America) in the ways and customs of the greatest generation.

Security level 2.

Babysitters Club, The - Say hello to your friends! Kristy Thomas, Claudia Kishi, MaryAnne Somethingorother, and Stacy Who Has Diabetes really like conforming to traditional gender roles and being maternal on the side. So they decide to form a club for babysitters, and babysit kids for money.
But Everything Changed When The Fire Nation Attacked!
(Not really, and we'll get to the Fire Nation in the 2000s.)
By the end of its run, BSC had spawned 213 books, of which about 3 are readable when you're over the age of 13. In package L6, you'll find a copy of "Kristy's Big Idea" which, if you can make it through that, you've got psychological torture down.

Darcy looked up at the knock on her door.

"Hey," she said, smiling, "Steve Rogers, in the flesh. What can I do for you?"

He smiled back, all farm boy charm (and where the fuck did he get that, he was from Brooklyn) and blue eyes and holding what looked to be a present of moderate size, a messenger bag hanging from his shoulder. "Am I interrupting, ma'am?"

She shook her head. "No, I was just - well, you'll see. Memo for next week, you'll be suffering through the dawn of the Great Boy Band Renaissance of ‘95. What can I do for you?"

Steve slid into one of the molded plastic chairs her office had been assigned, which looked only fractionally less comfortable that the torturous rolling monstrosity she sat in, and let his bag fall to the floor.

"Well, I just, you know, I wanted to come by and say thanks. For teaching me things."

Darcy grinned. "You're welcome, Steve."

He placed the package on her desk. "I wanted to get you something, you know. To express my gratitude."

Darcy grinned. "Do you want me to open it now?"

"Yeah?"

She was impressed at his wrapping job, but in a move that she found charmingly 1930s, he had used what looked to be the comic pages of a Sunday newspaper - waste not want not - which was doubly adorable because who actually bought a newspaper anymore?

Darcy wasn't sure what she expected to find underneath the paper, but it certainly wasn't a stack of DVDs.

"What is this?" she asked, a smile on her face.

"You're sharing your childhood with me," Steve shrugged. "I thought maybe I could share with you. That's It Happened One Night there on top, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert - really fantastic. Bucky and I saw it three times. And then Welcome Danger - that was hard to find, it's Harold Lloyd's first talkie, and-- you know, some things I thought you'd like."

"You got me movies," Darcy grinned.

"Yes ma'am."

She laughed gently. "You can call me Darcy, you know. Ma'am was my mother's name."

"Ma'am Lewis?"

"Sure, why not."

Steve joined her laughter. "I just, you know, raised to respect women and all. I don't mean anything by it."

"It's fine," Darcy said, with a wave of her hand. "But, we're friends now. Friends in braving leg warmers and Clarissa Explains it All."

"Clarissa?"

Darcy shrugged. "You'll see. Maybe in October. There's an alligator named Elvis."

Steve stared. "I have so many questions."

"You and me both," she smiled. "But I think we should watch a movie."

"I would like that," Steve said, and he stood to pick up his bag.

The bag moved slightly, gave a mechanical whirr and jabbered at them, which made Darcy giggle slightly.

"Steve, do you have your Furby in the bag?"

"Maybe."

"I won't tell Hill if you don't," she said as she stood, scooping up the DVDs. "Come on, lets go steal a conference room."

Steve patted his bag gently. "Yeah. And I'll take her batteries out."

"All that for little old me?" Darcy asked.

"Yeah," he grinned, holding the door for her, "I prioritize you over things that, you know, aren't alive."

She laughed and linked their arms together, and they went in search of a television, laughing and gently ignoring the mechanical horror in Steve's bag as it jabbered away.