The abandoned Morlock Tunnels:
Rick Jones is hiding here, calling for help as the Whisperer on his computer system. He stresses this is an emergency. Normally, he wouldn’t think about reaching out to the other party. He can’t wrap his head around the idea that they are now good guys. But if they are getting his message, it means the alien tech tracker he swallowed noticed he is unconscious, which means he is in SHIELD custody. Which means things have gone so totally, utterly, wrong that he has to trust Advanced Ideas Mechanics with his life! No offense.
On Avengers Island, the New Avengers and the AIM senior staff have gathered to listen to the message.
Rick continues it is Kobik-related. Kobik is SHIELD director Maria Hill’s secret project to rewrite the world with Comic Cube fragments. He’ll leave it at that until he knows he can trust them. And if they are still bad guys, remember, this is Rick Jones talking - trained with the best of the best, the meanest of the greenest. And his Christmas card will kick their asses! Whisperer out!
Roberto da Costa explains the message came in ten minutes ago and adds that to SHIELD Rick Jones is what he called a “bad guy.” If they rescue him and in doing so break their promise never to operate on US soil, they are the bad guys. AIM returning to form. SHIELD will hunt them with everything they have.
But, Roberto stresses, a call for help is a call for help. They have their phones and their voting apps. Are they in this or are they out? Many of the AIM staff immediately announce they are in, not exactly being fans of SHIELD.
Power Man decides SHIELD have gone too far with this Kobik stuff and is in. As are Pod and, after some hesitation, Toni Ho. Squirrel Girl would prefer they talk to SHIELD and asks White Tiger for back up. White Tiger though replies that SHIELD doesn’t talk to them, they talk at them. She is in. Wiccan and Hulkling are uncomfortable with this, while Songbird decisively states she is in. Bring it on! Max Brashear announces.
Sunspot turns to Hawkeye: He knows that as a SHELD agent… No, he doesn’t, Clint cuts him off. He’s in. What? Songbird exclaims, whispering. Sunspot asks him if he’s sure. Sure he’s sure, Clint replies. Rick Jones is good people. And SHIELD used to be good people. And then they were ambiguous people. Then they became murky people. And then they became a necessary evil… and then necessary with brackets. Right now, SHIELD needs someone to call them out on their crap. SHIELD needs Rick Jones. And Rick needs them. He’s in!
Roberto has been testing a lie detector app on his phone, which tells him Clint is being honest. Roberto is glad he is with him, then announces according to the App four people of their two hundred people AIM staff want out. One AIM member pipes up that he accidentally pressed both buttons at once. It said “out” but he meant “in.” His colleague points out he is the IT guy. He has fat fingers! he shouts.
So that’s two hundred in, three out, Roberto summarize. Though it wasn’t actually a vote. He calls the champagne bot and gives the order “boat drinks.”
Hulkling, Wiccan and Squirrel Girl awake in the desert. A hologram of Roberto explains that Champagne Bot served them a localized electromagnetic pulse that fried their phones and knocked them out for a few seconds. At which point, AIM supplied water and compasses and pushed them through a portal into the desert. The nearest landline is an hour north. When they get there, call SHIELD and tell them everything they know. Give them no chance to…
Angrily, Wiccan cuts him off. Roberto is kicking them out of the New Avengers for their own good? Kind of the opposite, Roberto replies. They are kicking themselves out. After today, Billy and the others are the New Avengers… Hologram off! he orders and mutters that sucked.
Hawkeye asks how long Champagne Bot has been a weapon. Since forever, is the reply. Do they really think, he has a flying robot just to serve champagne? Does he think that’s who he is? He’s always been more than that and he told Clint the day he joined he hasn’t seen anything… He has no idea what’s waiting. Last chance to get out, by the way. Mildly, Clint suggests he stop trying to be scary. When he gets to Clint’s age, he will know scary. Ad if he says he’s doing this, he’s doing this. So how are they doing this?
Roberto explains that they’ve pinpointed the frequency form Jones’ tracker and it’s coming from the SHIELD battle-carrier. Like the heli-carrier but a little more battle-y. Roberto figures if they declare war on SHIELD, they have to make a statement…
Songbird flies in White Tiger and Power Man and they create a shockwave to scramble SHIELD’s auto-defenses, which means the only thing they have to worry about are the Agents of SHIELD. They are joined by Pod.
They find several agents guarding Rick, among them a Deathlok, plus some scientists, White Tiger figures, and Daisy Johnson. They announce they don’t want trouble and ask them to just open Rick’s cell. The Deathlok is rather angry about the hole in the battle-carrier while one of the scientists, Simmons, suggests Daisy take out their biggest goon with a localized earthquake.
Daisy pinpoints an earthquake inside Pod. Songbird tackles Daisy, announcing she can change her frequencies. Daisy elbows her in the back. While Simmons leaves to get help, Deathlok warns Power Man and White Tiger that he is not an Avenger. He is an agent of SHIELD and authorized to use deadly force.
White Tiger kicks his gun away and Power Man catches up to Simmons and takes her out by disrupting her Chi. He senses something awry with Simmons and tells Deathlok that there is something wrong with her. He should talk with her when they both wake up. He hits Deathlok in the stomach, to no avail. Deathlok is unimpressed. He has data on Power Man and knows he is powered by history, which is cool and all, but the battle-carrier is brand spanking new. He is about to take out both White Tiger and Power Man when he is distracted by a noise coming from behind.
Hawkeye is standing atop the Avengers plane and fires a shot so perfectly it hits Deathlok in the head and scrambles his electronics. Pod still angry at being attacked smashes Rick’s cage.
A little later, Daisy Johnson awakes to be expected by Simmons and Deathlok. Simmons expresses outrage at what happened. Daisy hints it’s more complicated. During their fight, Songbird used the codephrase family values, before taking Daisy out.
Deathlok asks whether that should mean anything besides a reference to the early nineties. Not unless they used to b e a SHIELD director, Daisy replies. This is the phrase deepest cover operatives use to signal they are friends. Songbird is an agent of SHIELD!
Deep under the Pentagon, at a meeting of the president and the joint chiefs of staff:
One of them announces it’s finally happened: the so called AIM Avengers kidnapped a person of interest from SHIELD. That is an act of war. Another advisor suggests they may be on the same side. They have had their own issues with SHIELD lately.
A general scoffs. Roberto da Costa is hiding in international waters with enough mad scientists to blow up the world and he is the good guy? He says it is time to bring out their big gun… to unleash hell. It’s time for the American Kaiju!