Disclaimer: I only own the stuff I made up. The rest belongs to Marvel, song artists, etc.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, and Jaime Murray as Rose.
One year after the fall of the Red Room, Natasha Romanoff is living the quiet and stereotypical life of a woman, staying home to take care of her niece. She thought she left her career as an assassin behind her but her red ledger catches up to her when she becomes number one on Homeland Security's most wanted list. There's no agency in the world that Natasha Romanoff can't beat, but Nat isn't trying to run, she's trying to figure what really happened that put her in Homeland Security's crosshairs because her final fate of herself and her loved ones could depend on it. Set in an alternate universe on Earth 192322, acts as a parallel universe to the actual Black Widow movie.
North Carolina Beach
The sun. it was the one thing that kept us alive in times when it is cold. It is also the thing that can kill us without shoving a knife into our hearts. The sun, a circular ball of fire floating in the sky, millions of miles out of our reach. Too much sun exposure and you'll get sunburned. Too little sun exposure and you're as pale as a vampire. But just enough, you'll get a tan outline on your body.
And that was Natalie Rushman's goal.
"Ow," she grumbles as she sits up and touches her scar on her appendix area. "Still hurts like shit."
Natalie Rushman sits up in a white beach chair, wearing nothing but a black bikini and has her hair as red as an apple hanging loose over her head and the wind blows at it like it was trying to extinguish a fire. She touches at the stitches on her flesh with her right arm before she stands up onto the sandy beach and stretches like she just spent three days crawling inside a log.
"What a beautiful day and my stitches have to reopen," she said as she looks out to the sea, the waves breaking like there was no tomorrow. "Goddamn wound." She reaches over and picks up a khaki-colored purse and digs inside. She takes out a roll of gauze and uses it on her wound as blood starts to seep through the stitches like water through a door crack. After she finishes wrapping up, she puts her purse over her shoulder and walks away, stepping over a sandcastle that a child built just a few moments ago. She was so tempted to kick the sandcastle down, teach children a lesson about leaving things undefended, but decided that she should just let children be children. After all, I was a child without a care in the world.
Natalie walks across the beach, heading for a pier that was a quarter of a mile away and stretched at least a thousand yards over the ocean. She reaches into her purse and pulls out a pair of sunglasses that were slightly too big for her but that was all she could afford at the hotel gift shop. I know, a shock: There are some things even Natalie Rushman can't afford...or she is just playing dumb with some kind of target in mind.
That was what she was hoping for when she stepped over a man sunbathing on a purple and white striped towel while laying on his back like a sunbathing whale.
"Hey," the man called to Natalie.
Natalie stops and turns around.
The man who called out to Natalie had a tan skin tone from the sun and was wearing nothing but a pair of orange swimming trunks. Natalie studied his face and noticed the beard that ran from ear to ear and made him look like a caveman. He had his hair shaved recently and now it looked like a Chia pet that was only half an inch tall.
He gets up from his spot and approaches Natalie with a smile on his face. Natalie looks down at his flabby stomach and realizes that he was out of shape and fat. If men could get pregnant, that's what he would look like.
"How are you doing?" Natalie asked and put on a Russian accent along with a seductive tone that only a skilled seductress could achieve. Basically, she spoke in a way that could seduce any man with her Russian accent. "What can I help you with?"
"Are you with Harry Daze and his group?" he asked with a New York accent. Natalie considered this to be weird because they were on the Carolina Beach. What is a New Yorker doing in North Carolina when he could be a New Yorker and speak with a Brooklyn accent? She's always wondered how people with Brooklyn accents pronounced Brooklyn. Apparently, they say don't pronounce certain syllables in their sentences. Fine with her.
"I don't know any Harry Dazes," she said slyly. "But I've heard of a man of your reputation: Gilbert Wiles." She put a hand on his shoulder and held with firm pressure. "I've always been intrigued by the company in which you work. It's called A.I.M. I presume."
"That would be correct," he said. He smiled like a giddy schoolboy. "Advanced Idea Mechanics, are you a fan?"
Natalie cocked her head to the side and placed her hand on his chest, feeling for bones. Skeleton bones. This guy had no physical fitness whatsoever. "I most certainly am. I think it was fate that you called me here. Maybe it was fate that leads me to this beach."
And it is going to be the fate for what comes next.
"What is your name, miss?"
She thought for a second before she answered. "Call me, Natalie Rushman. I've already said your name so no need to introduce yourself." But I do know that Gilbert Wiles isn't your real name so you're going to be remembered in death as Gilbert. What kind of a name is GIlbert? I wouldn't even name my dog that.
"A pleasure to meet you, Miss Rushman." He grabbed her hand and kissed it. How polite of a gentleman he is.
What a deer, I'd like to hang you on my wall.
"I know this seems sudden," Natalie said. "But since I'm just meeting up with someone who works for the AIM company, I was wondering if you could fulfill my dreams in showing me one of your labs." She perked a smile on her face. An innocent smile. Or was it? "I'm sure I can/..give you something in return."
Natalie didn't miss the smile that came across Gilbert's face. He looked like a boy who was being asked by his long-time crush to go to prom.
As if I would take this fat wad to prom? I'd rather duct tape my mouth shut and die of starvation.
Advanced Idea Mechanics. A large mechanical engineering company spanning from New York to North Carolina and even has partners all over the world. Russia, China, and England have made deals with AIM and most of the products that AIM sells to these countries are made with stuff that only cost pennies. Putting them together costs dollars. Thousands of dollars. It was like a gold mine for this company. They were respected by the public, children looked up to them to become mechanical engineers, and they've made over $1.2 billion dollars in their ten years of activities. But this was all the public knew. What they didn't know about AIM was that AIM had a different meaning. Sure, it is has a fancy acronym that sounds catchy, but AIM has a double meaning. Only people working within AIM know what this means and AIM even made bets amongst each other that if someone from the outside world who has no connection to AIM is able to figure out the double meaning to the acronym, then that person would be paid thirty million dollars in cash, then silenced permanently.
Natalie should've been nervous like a normal person when Gilbert Wiles escorted her from the beach to an office building downtown, but she wasn't a normal person. She was superior to the regular person and she could walk through hell and not get burned (basically). Gilbert Wiles had a change of clothes in his car and he turned his back to allow Natalie to change back into her formal clothes. Natalie's formal clothes consisted of a white t-shirt with a black bra visible underneath, black sweatpants, and flip-flops that were as blue as the sky. Gilbert's clothing was simple: A suit and tie with a Rolex on his right hand (which indicates that he is left-handed).
On the seventh floor of the office building, Natalie looked out a wide rectangular window and gazed down below. The ground wasn't so far from her when she thought about it and she didn't understand how people could have a fear of heights. Besides, it's not the fall that kills you.
"In here," Gilbert said as he slid in a keycard beside a door and punched in a four-digit code that beeped with every push. The lock was heard clocking and Gilbert opened the door and let Natalie walk in first like a gentleman. A lovestruck gentleman.
"This lab you gaze upon, AIM works here."
"The lab?" Four walls spread out evenly, about eight different tables in the room placed side by side to create a large square and each table had some kind of mechanical instruments on them. Natalie spotted on that looked to be a microscope, she spotted a remote controller to an R/C toy car, and even a computer with a cracked screen. She was more focused on the table that had a computer but one that was turned on.
"See anything you like?"
Natalie would've nodded except she went straight to the computer and pulled out something from her back pocket.
Gilbert stepped up beside her and realized that she was turning on the computer. He remembers protocol on how nobody is allowed to use a computer without authorization. He wanted to say something but stopped himself when he realized that all computers were locked and the only people who had the codes to unlock them were employees of AIM.
Natalie was able to do the opposite, however. When the password screen came up, she typed in a cryptic sentence and the computer turned on and took her to the homepage. Gilbert looks shocked like someone had done a magic card trick in front of him.
"How did you do that?" He stepped in closer to see Natalie pull up a screen with the name Monica Rappaccini. "This is Monica's computer," he panicked. "This is her computer!"
Natalie clocks on the 'Delete All' key and erases everything on Monica Rappaccini. Then she took out the flash drive and put it in her back pocket. When she turned around, Gilbert Wiles grabbed Natalie by the throat like he was trying to squeeze a balloon. He slammed Natalie's back on the table and placed his face in front of hers. "What have you done to Rappaccini's file? What have you done to Rappaccini?!"
Natalie spits in his face, which causes him to sneer like a dog getting ready to attack another dog. "What did you do? How did you hack into the AIM system?"
Natalie chuckled. She placed her hands on Gilbert's hands but added no pressure to her grip. She put on her seductive Russian accent and closed her eyes with a sigh. "You are supposed to be smart, Wiles, but how can you not figure this out?" She opens her eyes and looks up at him. "You really think it was difficult to seduce a fat wad like yourself? You are such a disappointment. Our CEO would've been disappointed in you for falling for such an ugly woman." Then she cocks her head like she saw the 'okay' side of the argument. "But then again, you are lucky that it wasn't a government agent who hacked to this computer."
Before Gilbert could figure this out, or he decided not to try and solve this riddle, he hauled Natalie off to one of the windows closest to him. He wraps his inner elbow around Natalie's neck as he unlocks the window.
As the window unlocks, he is suddenly launched down to the ground by a force sent to his chest.
A boot was kicked through the glass before an entire body flew right through the window and this person landed on his knees.
Tony Masters looks up and sighs heavily through his skull mask. He stands up and removes the grappling hook wrapped around his waist.
Natalie and Gilbert laid down on the floor with a puddle of glass surrounding them. Gilbert sees the masked man coming for him and starts to crawl away but Tony stomps on his left knee bone. Gilbert yells in pain before Natalie punches him in the kaw and his head hits the side of one of the tables.
"Took you long enough," Natalie said. She picked herself up and dusted the glass off her white shirt. "You could've been a little more dramatic in your entrance."
"I don't go drama," Tony deadpanned. "I go for the 'Final Cut'." He pulls out a knife as if to demonstrate his point. Both eyes turn towards the dazed Gilbert. Natalie smirks and crouches down to one photo before she wraps her hands around Gilbert's throat and gives him a dose of his treatment.
Gilbert tries to throw a punch but Natalie blocks it with her arms. "Don't struggle, you'll just delay this experiment by a few seconds."
Tony stomps on Gilbert's chest and pins him there.
"You bitch," he cursed at Natalie and Tony. "I hope you rot in hell for this."
"We're not going to hell, we're going to bring Hell here."
Before he could say anything else, the door was kicked open and entered four men with pistols. Tony 'Taskmaster' Masters was already on the case. He grabbed a chair and swung at the first guard with it and disabled her. He swung it to the next one and added a punch in the mix. Before the third soldier could fire, he grabbed his arm with the gun in and redirected the line of fire to the fourth guard.
Instead of outright killing the third guard, he looked into the guard's eyes and widened them. He then spoke in a soft voice and put a hand on the back of his head. "Spare me the trouble… and kill yourself." He looks over at the broken window he created. "Cut your throat and then jump out of the window."
And the guard obeyed like he was in a trance. He leaned over the window and cut his throat across the glass. Without even groaning in pain, he leaps out and falls to his death.
"That was beautiful," Taskmaster said.
Gilbert's shocked eyes looked like he had seen someone who ripped off their face.
Natalie sighs heavily like she had difficulty breathing. She licked her lips and cracked open her face with a smile. "What's the matter, Gilbert, you look like you've just seen a ghost." The smirk on her face is still present as she takes out the flash drive and holds it up to her eye level. "Well, I technically, am a ghost."
Taskmaster whipped out a hand-sized canister from his holster and shoved it deep into Gilbert's mouth up to the pin. Gilbert chokes and tries spitting it out but he feels something stick in the back of his neck that paralyzes him. It felt like an acupuncture needle was in his nape.
"Thanks for your contribution."
Taskmaster wraps one end of the rope to the pin so that the pin would be pulled once he walks a certain distance.
"Shall we," Natalie holds out her hand. Tony wraps the grappling hook around Natalie's hand, wrapping it like he was making a noose.
Casually, Natalie and Taskmaster walk back towards the shattered window and leap out in a nosedive.
The rope yanks the pin from Gilbert's mouth. GIlbert's eyes widen and his heart stops as he waits for the boom. There was no boom, but there was smoke blowing out of the cannister like a cigarette.