Captain America #3

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Captain America #3

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:42 am

Captain America #3
Lone Gunman Theory, Part 3
By Paul E. Schultz


His grip was like a vice on her wrist as he pulled her to him.

"Who are you?" Rogers demanded, his voice dry and soft, but no less commanding for it.

"P-Priscilla," she stammered, pulling feebly to free herself from his steel-like grip. "Priscilla Lyons."

"Jack's girlfriend?" he asked, still confused. "Vagabond?"

Priscilla nodded. "Yessir!"

Rogers released his grip and quickly climbed from the hospital bed, stumbling. Priscilla caught him as alarms suddenly blared from the hallway.

"Lean on me," she instructed, helping him to sit back down upon the bed. "You've been asleep awhile."

"Story of my life," he muttered, glancing around the room. "Where's my uniform? And what's with the alarm?"

"I--I'm not sure," she replied. "I sorta just got here myself. I thought I heard a gunshot."

Rogers looked at her calculatingly and asked, "Why are you here? What's with the new look?"

"Long story,"

Rogers glanced out the window, taking in the cityscape around them. "I have a safe house not far from here. I have an extra uniform there. Can you get me out of here? I got the feeling I'm a sitting duck in here."

She smiled. "Thought you'd never ask."

***

"Well, that was fun," Priscilla groaned as she and Rogers stepped from the service elevator of the long, narrow studio apartment. "I think I left my stomach about three blocks from here."

"You did fine," said Rogers, this time helping her to sit down on one of the stools of the kitchenette. "Can I get you a drink? Some orange juice, perhaps, assuming it hasn't expired."

She shook her head and said, "No, thanks, but you might want to change out of that hospital gown. I've caught a glimpse of your stars and stripes about a half dozen times now."

"Sorry," Rogers tried not to blush and stepped through a doorway. "I'll just be a minute."

Priscilla, gaining a bit of her bearings back, glanced around at the famed movie posters upon the walls. "Not much for modern cinema, are you?"

"I like what I like," Rogers called back. "So, what exactly was that we just did?"

"Dimensional phase discontinuity ," she said. "At least I think that's what they call it. I never attempted to do it long-distance like that. Frankly, I'm surprised we made it."

"I can't help but notice the costume change," said Rogers.

"My boss's idea," she said, immediately wishing she had not.

Captain America emerged from the doorway, adjusting his mask. "Your boss?"

"Part of the long story."

"I'm going to start a pot of coffee," said Captain America. "And you're going to start on page one."

***

Priscilla looked down thoughtfully at the cup of coffee she held in both hands, noticing through her gloves that it had grown cold.

"So, you're telling me Lyle Dekker's behind all this?"

"Pretty much." Priscilla could not seem to lift her eyes from her coffee cup.

"I thought he was dead," said Captain America.

"Don't forget, Cap," said Priscilla, "for quite awhile, the whole world thought you were dead. Twice."

"Touche. But, if he's alive, he must me nearly a hundred years old."

She finally looked up and nodded.

"Which is probably why he was after the android that Stark had everybody believing was lying in my hospital bed. Dekker has a thing for android bodies. He probably figured it was his way to cheat death again. But, what I don't understand is your involvement in all this. You're a good, kid, Priscilla."

"I didn't know who Dekker was at first when he hired me. Plus this outfit is totally kick-ass. I guess i got...sucked into it all. Plus..."

"There's more?"

"Let's just say I have a...thing for boy scouts. First Jack, then Dennis--"

"Dennis Dumphy? Demolition Man?"

She nodded. "And now...well...You."

***

Like a blazing, metallic comet, Iron Man rocketed across the skies of Manhattan, jet trails sizzling the air in his wake.

"Cap?" said Tony Stark into the helmet's receiver. "That you? Where the hell are you?"

"I'm okay," said Captain America.

"Thank God! I've been tearing up the skies trying to find you."

"I appreciate your concern, Tony. Have you seen my shield?"

"It's safe. Tell me where you are and I'll bring it around."

"Never mind that," said Captain America. "Just meet me at Stark Tower with it."

"You might want to use the back door," said Stark. "The whole world still thinks you're down for the count. This kinda thing needs to be handled carefully."

"Understood," said Captain America.

"And word around the campfire is Spymaster had it in for you," said Stark. "Any idea why?"

"Lots," replied Captain America. "In our line of work, if you don't have a handful of 'lone gunmen' like him gunning for you, you're not doing it right."

"True," said Stark. "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s going out of their minds trying to find out who paid him off with a bullet. He was found dead and nobody knows why. It looks like he had terminal cancer, so--"

"So, maybe he was looking for one big score before he checked out?"

"That's the popular theory."

"Any word from Bu--I mean Winter Soldier?" asked Captain America.

"Uh, Cap, I think there's something you should know."

***

Priscilla watched the color drain from Captain America's face, at least from the skin she could see.

"What is it?" she asked, confused as he dropped the cell phone to the counter top.

"He's...dead."

"Who?"

"My oldest friend in the world."

***

"Cap!" called a voice across the darkened apartment, stirring him from his sleep.

"Bucky?" Steve Rogers called out.

"In here, Cap!"

The voice was coming from the room just beyond the bedroom. He quickly pulled himself from bed and sprang through the doorway.

"Say, Cap, look what I just found tucked away in one of the closets," said the figure standing amongst the furniture of the living room.

"R-Rick?"

"Isn't this the outfit your ex-partner Bucky used to wear?" asked Rick Jones, smiling proudly. "Look how it fits me! Anyone would think I'm your partner! Cap? What's wrong? Why are you looking at me that way?"

"Take it off!" Rogers' eyes went from wide to hard. "I never told you to wear it!"

"But, Cap? What's buggin' you? I didn't do anything. I didn't know you were gonna get so angry. All I did was--"

"I said take it off!" Rogers reached out and ripped the mask from the young man's face. "Don't ever call yourself my partner again! I lost my partner! I'll never forgive myself for letting it happen! And I'll never let it happen again! I--"

"What's wrong, Cap?"

"You're not Rick!" gasped Rogers.

"Who's Rick, Cap?" asked Bucky Barnes, his youthful face a mask of confusion. Cap? You okay, Cap?"

***

"Cap? You okay, Cap?"

Steve Rogers opened his eyes to find Priscilla looking down at him from her side of the hide-a-bed. He glanced around the room, out the windows at the glow of the city under the shroud of darkness.

"You were talking in your sleep," she said. "Shouting really."

"What time is it?"

"Late," she said. "Or early. Depending on your point of view. That must've been some dream."

"I don't even remember falling asleep."

"You were pretty out of it after we got back from picking up your shield," she said. "The look on Stark's face was priceless when I walked in with you. Look, I'm sorry about putting you on the spot like I did. That's my problem, it seems. I look before I leap. Been that way my whole life. And thanks for not kicking me out. Once Dekker finds out I'm not working for him anymore, there's no telling what he'll do."

"You're safe here," said Rogers, glancing back out the windows. "We'll deal with Dekker after I find out who killed Barnes."

"Haven't you figured it out yet?" came a voice other than Priscilla's, sending a shiver down Rogers' spine. "It was you."

Steve Rogers turned to see Winter Soldier standing beside the hide-a-bed. The knife he held glistened with blood from the city lights outside the windows. Priscilla's body lay lifeless upon the sheets, her throat slit from ear to ear. Her eyes stared wide and dead at the raftered ceiling.

"You killed me...Cap!"

Paul Effin' Schultz

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Re: Captain America #3

Post  Mechajared on Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:18 am

That was awesome, I especially love that twist at the end. I can't wait to see how this all pans out.

Mechajared

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Re: Captain America #3

Post  Paul Effin' Schultz on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:00 pm

I'm a big fan of when Stan Lee tormented Captain America upon his return to the "modern" age. It's something I'm toying around with. In my mind, when I'm writing this, I see all those great wide-eyed shots of Steve Rogers all aghast at some terrifying illusion or dream. It's much more entertaining to me than seeing him standing around looking pissed and pointing at stuff, which is all I see anymore.

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