‘You betrayed us…? YOU!?’ an aghast Clint “Hawkeye” Barton shouts at his estranged wife and former teammate Barbara “Mockingbird” Morse-Barton. Inside the communications room of the West Coast Avengers Palos Verdes Compound, Clint tries to get to his wife, but his teammates hold him back, with the winsome Wasp a.k.a. Janet van Dyne telling him to calm down. Simon “Wonder Man” Williams agrees as he holds his friend back, remarking that the Wasp is right, he suggests that Hawkeye take some deep breaths, as there has to be more to this than there seems.
‘Blow it out your ear, Wonder Man!’ Clint replies while Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra readies herself for battle perhaps, Clint asks why this shouldn’t be just what it seems. ‘Just accept the fact that we’ve been sold out…by my wife!’ Arms folded across her front, Bobbi remarks that is what she has always liked best about Hawkeye - that he always looks for the logical answer in every situation. Dr. Hank Pym tells Mockingbird that they are willing to listen to whatever she has to say, and asks what her connection is to the computer virus that has affected the Avengers system, ‘And what do you know about the disappearance of my husband?’ Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch asks.
Mockingbird glances to the side, and pauses before revealing that she is the one who let in the computer hackers who planted the virus, and that she also choreographed the kidnapping of the Vision. ‘And…I’m sorry I did…’ Bobbi adds. Clint slaps his face - ‘Sorry? Sorry? I’m not hearing this!’ he exclaims, until Wanda tells him to stop it, before turning to Mockingbird and remarking that she owes them some sort of explanation. Bobbi replies that she knows, ‘You most of all’ she tells Wanda, before announcing that the only thing she can say is ‘I’ve been had!’ ‘”HAD”?’ Hawkeye shouts, ‘Yes, “had”, darling husband’ Bobby replies sarcastically, before beginning her story….
(Shown with flashback illustrations, takes place between West Coast Avengers (1st series) #41 and #42)
Bobby reminds Hawkeye that following their big split, she went off and mostly sat around being angry. ‘Angry at you, angry at me, angry at the circumstances that had brought us together - and the ones that tore us apart!’ Bobbi explains that one day, there was a knock at the door, and she was greeted by SHIELD Special Operative Frank Hampton, who announced that he had been sent to call her in. Bobbi tells her former teammates that she keeps trying to remember if there was anything at that moment which should have made her suspicious - but there wasn’t, for Frank Hampton looked like SHIELD, sounded like SHIELD, ‘He even smelled like SHIELD - that strange mixture of metal and leather and bottled air’.
Bobbi reveals that she went with Hampton, in his flying car, and she was then introduced to the head of a project known as Vigilance. Bobbi tells the West Coast Avengers that the man’s name was Cameron Brock, and that in two words he told her what the project was all about: ‘The Vision’ he said. Cameron Brock reminded Mockingbird that several months ago, the Vision tapped into every computer on the planet and seized control of America’s nuclear arsenal - ‘His goal was nothing less than world domination!’ Brock declared.
Mockingbird assures the Avengers that she reminded Brock that the Vision had been - unhinged - at that time and was now fully recovered, which Brock was aware of, adding that he knows steps were taken which supposedly guarantee such a thing cannot happen again, and that so long as the Vision seemed content to stay in New Jersey, playing house with the Scarlet Witch, they had no problem. ‘But that has changed’ Brock told Mockingbird, reminding her that both the Vision and Scarlet Witch are once again active Avengers, and that gives the Vision access to the Avengers’ computer systems.
Brock told Bobbi that is what Vigilance is all about - ‘We are charged with keeping a watchful eye on everything the Vision does - every day‘. Brock explained to Bobbi that there was more, an additional part to the project, which is where she came in. ‘How’s that?’ Bobbi asked. Brock pointed out that Mockingbird has the unique position of being both a SHIELD agent and an Avenger, and that SHIELD now wished to make use of the knowledge Bobbi had gleaned as a member of that team to help in the creation of an emergency plan - a plan to guard against the eventuality of the Vision once more attempting to gain global mastery. ‘We need your help to work out all the necessary elements involved in penetrating Avengers Compound and seizing the Vision’ Brock told Mockingbird….
Bobbi tells her former teammates that she thought about Brock’s offer for a while, and then said “yes”. ‘WHAT?’ shouts Hawkeye - ‘Just like that you decide to help a bunch of half-gassed James Bond groupies attack us? Where the heck is your loyalty lady?’ Bobbi replies that attack was never supposed to be part of the plan, that the whole thing was just supposed to be theoretical, just a contingency plan. ‘As to loyalty - that happens to be to my country! I didn’t join SHIELD because I thought it would be a fun way to kill an afternoon…I joined because I believed in what they stood for. I still do!’ Bobbi explains that this is why she helped them, and that they quartered her right there, lap of luxury, real SHIELD style.
(Shown with flashback illustrations, takes place between West Coast Avengers (1st series) #41 and #42)
Mockingbird reveals that, due to her knowledge of the Avengers Compound security systems and codes, she was able to create a scenario in which a small team of agents could do the job without tripping the alarms. ‘Excellent, Agent Morse, excellent!’ Brock told Bobbi, assuring her that she has done a better job than they dared hoped. Bobbi replied ‘Thank you’ but really, she wasn’t so sure.
A couple of days later, Bobbi accessed the computer files on her plans to see if she could do a little fine tuning - which is when she found something that had nothing to do with her scenario - Ultron! Everything was there in the computer - the plan to use a duplicate Ultron to battle the Avengers while the computer team accessed the main system, and another grabbed the Vision. Bobbi informs the West Coast Avengers that even the nasty mention of planting a posthypnotic suggestion in Wanda as she slept so that she couldn’t use her mutant hex power against Ultron was there.
Mockingbird was appalled, as the new additions to her plan were stupid and reckless, so she went to Brock and demanded the additions be removed, as the Avengers could get hurt fighting the fake Ultron. Bobbi pointed out to Brock that, even worse, should the real Ultron decide to attack, the posthypnotic suggestion on Wanda could get her killed. As Bobbi relates to the West Coast Avengers, Brock listened to her, then very politely said: ‘I’m very sorry to see you take this stance, Agent Morse…you’ll understand that we cannot possibly allow you to remain at liberty under these circumstances…’.
If that wasn’t enough to convince Barbara that the bozos she was dealing with were not SHIELD, then their fighting style was. ‘They were pathetic!’ she tells the West Coasters. But they were also treacherous, and Bobbi tells her former teammates that she remembers feeling a sharp feeling in her back, a sudden feeling that she was about to lose every lunch she ever had, and then, nothing. Bobbi expected to wake up dead, instead, she found herself in a maximum security cell, and recognized the style from SHIELD briefings - it was KGB!
‘KGB? You mean it was the Russians behind all this?’ Hank Pym asks, to which Mockingbird replies that it sure looks that way. Tigra begins to ask a question, but ends up roaring loudly. Puzzled by her sudden roar, Tigra looks sheepish and apologizes, before asking why the Russians would want to grab the Vision. Mockingbird replies that she is not exactly sure, but that she would be willing to bet their reasons were not too far from the story they originally told her. Barbara reminds everyone that the Vision successfully tapped into virtually ever computer system on Earth, accessing data so sensitive that some Heads of State do not have security clearance high enough to see what he saw.
Mockingbird remarks that she believes the Russians want to make certain the Vision has no memory of whatever Soviet secrets he learned. Hank suggests that the Soviets might also be interesting in learning what other nations’ security data the Vision might still retain. Bobbi agrees, and remarks that the Visions’ memory was not completely cleared of that information when he was restored to sanity, so therefore he could be a treasure trove of secret information. Simon asks Bobbi why she didn’t come and tell them this sooner, pointing out that she clearly escaped the bad guys. ‘Obviously’ Bobbi replies, ‘But only two hours ago!’ she reveals, before continuing with her story….
(Shown with flashback illustrations, takes place between West Coast Avengers (1st series) #41 and #42)
It took nearly three weeks of Bobbi biding her time before she was able to sucker her guard into her cell with a yoga breathing exercise that simulated her own death. ‘Like I said, these goons were not very good’ Bobbi remarks, before declaring that she escaped the Installation, changed into her fighting togs to be ready for action - and arrived here too late to be able to do anything to help the Vision….
The Scarlet Witch tells Mockingbird, who is playing with her hair, that she doesn’t understand her attitude when she first arrived back here, and asks if it was her intention to help them, why she came in as much as admitting to having betrayed them. Bobbi looks awkwardly at Wanda and replies that she doesn’t know, before remarking that she was upset and embarrassed that she had been played for a fool, and that when she came in on them all, she realized it was too late, and realized that it was all her fault. Bobbi adds that it might also have something to do with seeing Hawkeye again. ‘Seems like he’s always had the power to make me say the wrong thing…like “I do”!’.
Hank suggests that they get into the reasons for Bobbi’s behavior later, but that right now they should take the position of assuming she is telling the truth and that her presence her is not some continuing plot, adding that he thinks Mockingbird best show them the location of the ersatz SHIELD installation, for at the moment, that is their only lead as to the current location of the Vision.
A few minutes later, a sleek Quinjet streaks from the concealed launch bay in the cliff face below the Compound. On board, the Scarlet Witch and Mockingbird sit to the back of the jet, and Barbara tells Wanda that there are not enough ways she can say how truly sorry she is that this has happened. ‘We’ve been friends, you and I, and now…’ Bobbi begins, until Wanda interrupts, ‘Now I am forced by circumstances to reconsider our friendship’ Wanda replies, addressing Bobbi by her codename, Wanda adds that even though she believes Mockingbird when she says she was duped into assisting with the kidnapping of her husband, the fact remains that she was willing to assist in the formation of the plan which made the kidnapping possible. ‘And although I may understand your reasons, there is no way I can ever condone them…’.
Suddenly, the Wasp motions out of the window, ‘There it is!’ she exclaims, before remarking that the abandoned factory complex, according to their records, is deserted and scheduled for demolition, meaning it is ideally suited for the kind of activity that Mockingbird described. Janet tells Hank to make a slow pass at five hundred feet, adding that she will shrink down to wasp size and see if she can find a way to reconnoiter. Hank begins to reply ‘Right darling’ before cutting himself off, ‘Right Jan’ he says instead.
‘Hey, do you mind, Wasp?’ Hawkeye exclaims, telling Jan that, in case she has forgotten, he is the one who is supposed to be West Coast chairman, so he will decide what they should do. ‘All right, Clint. What do you suggest?’ the Wasp asks. Bobbi watches as Clint turns away and mumbles, before remarking that they can make a slow pass at five hundred feet, and that the Wasp can shrink all the way down…his voice trails off, ‘Good plan!’ the Wasp exclaims before diving out of the Quinjet and flying down to the complex below.
Approaching a ventilation grate, Janet decides that everything looks peaceful, and that if the perpetrators are still around, it would seem that they are asleep at the switch. Jan decides that is not too surprising, as she suspects that they do not know Mockingbird is gone yet, and the Wasp knows that, if nothing else, Mockingbird’s SHIELD training would have allowed her to escape undetected - especially if she timed her break to fall well between changes in the guards’ shifts.
The Wasp decides that this place is way too big to search alone, even at her full human size, before telling herself that it is lucky Hank recently reactivated the bio-engineered antennae in her forehead, so she doesn’t need to search alone. The Wasp concentrates, and across the sprawling complex, tiny, unnoticed ants pause in their robot-like labors, responding to the strange, unspoken language that of all humans, only the Wasp and Hank Pym have learned to comprehend.
Seconds later, the Wasp flies towards a door, ‘According to the ants, there’s been almost constant activity around that big door’ she thinks to herself, deciding that it is time to see what is going on behind it - only to discover that the door Is sealed so tightly that not even an ant - or a wasp - could get through. Suddenly, the Wasp hears some people coming, and deciding that she doesn’t want to engage anyone yet, she backs herself up against the wall, then flies over them, deciding to look a little deeper in this complex before she gets back in touch with her teammates. ‘Hey…what was that? A bee?’ one of the men asks. His companion tells him to ignore it, as this old factory is so full of bugs that most of them don’t even notice the bugs anymore.
The Wasp notices that the men were both speaking English, ‘And is that second guy was a Russian, so am I!’ she exclaims, before recalling that Mockingbird was convinced this is a KGB operation. ‘Speaking of Mockingbird, this looks like it’s probably the cell block where she was held’ Jan decides as she swoops down for a closer look, and seeing two guards decides that it looks like they still haven’t noticed she is gone. ‘How’s he doing in there?’ one of the guards asks to another. ‘Okay I guess. He don’t complain much, anyway’ the second guard replies, before remarking that it seems kind of rough, keeping an old man like locked up like that. ‘Since he was no use, would it hurt to let him go? Who’s he gonna talk to?’ the second guard asks. ‘Well, the Avengers for a start!’ the first guard points out, before reminding his associate that they just do what they’re told. ‘They want the old geezer held, we hold him!’.
The Wasp wonders whom they are talking about, who they have all locked up and flies over to the small window, and looking into the cell, Janet sees who it is: ‘Oh my gosh! It can’t be!’ she exclaims in shock….
Back aboard the Quinjet, a troubled Scarlet Witch continues a path of thought which she began earlier today, while wondering what is taking the Wasp so long, ‘I must know if my husband’s down there!’ Wanda thinks to herself, wishing that the Vision could hear her thoughts, and knew how her heart reaches out to him, even if she did not recognize him as the one fate had chosen for her when they first met….
(Shown with flashback illustrations)
Wanda recalls how she was a captive of the dimension-spanning barbarian known as Arkon, ‘Flee whoever you are! No one can stop him! No one!’ Wanda cried to the Vision, who had come to rescue her. ‘She speaks the truth, android, beware!’ Arkon warned the Vision. Wanda recalls how, for months, she and the Vision fought side by side as Avengers, never once daring to give voice to the secret emotions that were growing in their hearts - until there came that time of the search for the Celestial Madonna, where three women were candidates for that cosmic role - Wanda, Moondragon and Mantis!
As Wanda remembers, it was as that strange adventure unfolded that the Vision finally learned the secret of his beginning, that the evil robot Ultron-5 had forced the creator of the original Human Torch to transform the fallen android’s silent body into the Vision’s own, and no longer a creature without a past, a fatherless enigma, the Vision finally spoke the words Wanda had waited so long to hear: “Marry me” he exclaims. ‘Oh, yes, Vision! Yes, yes, yes!’ Wanda had replied. And even though they were spoken with the Vision’s chilling robotic voice, they were the sweetest words Wanda had ever heard!
Wanda’s involvement with the Vision and his search for his past had meanwhile absented her from the quest for the Celestial Madonna, long enough that the choice was made without her. ‘This one…?’ Mantis asked when she was appointed the Celestial Madonna. As Wanda recalls, the living ghost of the Swordsman had declared Mantis the Celestial Madonna because of her humility and physical perfection, and so, in a sheltered garden in Vietnam, Immortus officiated what must have been the strangest double wedding of all time - the mutant Scarlet Witch to the android Vision, and the exotic Mantis to the reanimated Swordsman!
Wanda and the Vision left the reanimated Swordsman and the newly elevated Mantis to ascend to a higher plane, and they returned to the Avengers and America, Wanda’s adopted homeland. But, if the Vision and Wanda had expected their marriage to be one of a fairy tale’s happiness ever after…it did not take long for her brother, Quicksilver, to burst that shining, fragile bubble. ‘You know I have never approved of the feelings you have shown for this machine, sister’ Quicksilver told Wanda, ‘If you think I will now sanctify this mockery of a marriage with my blessing you are sadly mistaken!’.
Wanda knew that much of the human world would share her brother’s stance, so she and the Vision chose to keep their joining a secret, at first, but though this meant they could share their great joy with only a few close friends, they found it left that joy remarkable undiminished - all the more so when Wanda used her power to warp probabilities and caused her womb to bring forth the fruits of an otherwise impossible mingling of mutant and android - and their twin sons William and Thomas were born.
Speaking of Wanda’s children…back at the guest house at the Palos Verdes Compound, in the makeshift nursery, the newly hired governess tends to her infant charges. ‘Aren’t you just the prettiest little darlings!’ she exclaims before picking them out of their cot, and telling them that it is time to get ready for a nice new day. Miss Bach tells the children that it looks as if their mother and have already gone out. ‘Such a lovely couple. But what dangerous lives they lead!’ Miss Bach exclaims, before putting Tommy and Billy in the bath, she declares that she wouldn’t like to think what sort of a world this would be without the Avengers, and tells the children that they are both very lucky to have such wonderful people as their parents. ‘Although I suppose your daddy isn’t quite people, is he?’.
Miss Bach turns away to get something from a cupboard, remarking that she remembers how surprised she was when everyone found out that the Vision and the Scarlet Witch married. ‘My brother-in-law thought it was terrible. Like someone marrying a blender, he said!’ Miss Bach adds that her brother-in-law said that he thought in most states the Scarlet Witch would be arrested, and the Vision impounded. ‘Did you ever hear such a silly…thing…?’ Miss Bach asks as she turns back to the toddlers. ‘Oh my lord - NO!’ she screams….
Back at the mysterious complex, the Quinjet is fired on by weapons aimed from the complex, ‘What the heck is going on? Are they insane?’ Hank asks, remarking that for a Russian operation to take this kind of action on American soil is tantamount to a declaration of war! Wonder Man agrees, and asks Tigra to step aside as he opens the emergency floor hatch, he dives out of the Quinjet, boasting that he will show them just how dim a view they take of this kind of thing in America. Simon lands on one of the laser weapons, crushing it, before ripping up the grounding that the weapons are latched to, and realizing that these guns are not manned, at least not here anyway, so the best use he can be to his teammates is to get down inside the complex for a more direct assault.
At that moment, inside the complex, Cameron Brock enters a console room and asks what is going on, ‘Who authorized firing the plasma cannons?’ he exclaims. ‘You did, sir’ someone replies nervously asking Brock if he doesn’t remember ordering them programmed to fire automatically if the same aircraft made more than three passes over this installation in a specified time frame. ‘Don’t quote me from regulations I wrote!’ Brock bellows, before declaring that is not just any aircraft out there, but the Avengers’ Quinjet. He reminds everyone that the whole point of this covert masquerade was to avoid directly confronting the Avengers. ‘Well…if we can’t get engaged, will we still be able to see each other on weekends?’ shouts a voice. Brock turns to the direction of the voice and sees Wonder Man leaning against a wall.
Outside, the Quinjet lands, and Hank takes command, pointing out that there is no point in waiting for Simon or the Wasp to come back, he tells everyone to get ready, and as Mockingbird knows the way, tells her to take the lead. Bobbi does so, staffs in hand, and with Tigra following her, Bobbi remarks that she thinks this way is the quickest, but as she rounds the corner of the building, an agent steps in front of her ‘Quickest way to a coffin, you mean!’ the agent shouts as he aims his gun at Bobbi, telling her to say “Good night, Gracie!”.
Less than a heartbeat from death is Mockingbird, but a heartbeat is more than enough time for the Scarlet Witch to act, and Wanda unleashes only a tiny part of her mutant hex power - and the ten million to one odds against every bullet in a machine gun turning out to be a dud become one to one odds, as the agent starts to fire nothing. ‘What in the name of…’ he begins, only for Barbara to kick him hard in the face, ‘Looks like your best laid plans have gang aglae’ she remarks, ‘Or to put it your way…”good night, Gracie”!’.
Bobbi makes her way towards a large metal door, ‘One down…’ she mumbles, before pointing out that there are still some doors left, and that their enemy may have changed the exterior codes if they have discovered her escape yet. Hawkeye tells Mockingbird not to sweat it, and boasts that this is finally something he can handle. With that, the familiar sound of Hawkeye’s great bow signals the release of an arrow of curious design - it pierces the corner of the steel door, the arrowhead then deploys itself - inside the door, and out, as the tiny plex-steel blade draws itself across the seam of the door, and eventually the door collapses with nothing left to hold it together.
Hank Pym congratulates Hawkeye on some nice work, before declaring that they are going to have to split up if they are to search this place efficiently. ‘Well. That was fun’ Clint thinks to himself, less than impressed. As the quintet enter the complex, Clint remarks to himself that he was in charge again for about half a second there, as he rushes off in one direction. Hank goes in another, as does Tigra. Wanda, however, calls out to Mockingbird, pointing out that since she knows this place, she wants to be close by. Barbara agrees, but tells Wanda to be on her toes, as she may have to move quickly.
And so, the duo are about to round a corner when Bobbi sees one of the faux-SHIELD officers, and informs Wanda that he is one of the techno-squad men. Bobbi grabs him as he passes them, and declares that he has just “volunteered” to tell them where the Vision is. ‘Huh? Mockingbird? The Scarlet Witch? What? How?’ the surprised man exclaims. Bobbi forces him against a wall and holds one of her staffs to his throat, ‘That’s two more questions than you’re entitled to!’ Bobbi warns him, before ordering him to drop the phoney British accent and tell them where the Vision is being held. ‘Not bloody likely, you can’t make me tell you anything!’ the defiant agent snaps back.
Mockingbird warns the agent not to try and be a hero, reminding him that she is SHIELD trained, and knows fifty-seven ways to kill him - fifty-six of which hurt. ‘Here’s a small sample!’ Bobbi exclaims as she causes the man to cry out in pain. Wanda calls out to Bobbi, but Bobbi tells her to keep out of this, and turns back to the agent, ‘Now talk, you! Where is he?’ she asks again. The agent replies that he is in section 31, which causes Bobbi to grab him hard by his cheek, ‘31? They’re that far ahead on this!?’ she asks, before demanding to know the code to the door. ‘Osiris! The code is “osiris”!’ the agent replies.
‘Blast, blast, blast!’ Mockingbird exclaims, before urging Wanda to follow her, exclaiming that they may already be too late. “Osiris”? Wanda thinks to herself as she follows Barbara. Wanda looks back at the agent, slumped over on the floor and asks Bobbi if she would have really killed him. ‘Looks like we’ll never know’ Bobbi replies, avoiding the question, before motioning to Section 31. Barbara enters the code “Osiris” and as the large doors open, she warns Wanda to prepare herself, as this may not be pretty.
Eyes wide, Wanda looks in the lab, ‘Bobbi…what…what…is that?’ she asks. ‘You wanted to find your husband, Wanda…there he is!’ Bobbi reveals, motioning to a large work station in the middle of the lab, where all sorts of circuits and wires are stretched out. Various parts of the Vision’s body are in some tanks of fluid, and his skin lies hanging on the edge of the table. The Vision has been dismantled….