The Quinjet landed down on a massive battleship known as the Helicarrier. Agent Coulson walked Helena down the ramp with Steve following. Before reaching the bottom, Helena let out a squeal. She left Phil in a hurry despite his protests and ran to the redhead waiting for them.
"Agent Romanoff, Captain Rogers," Phil said.
The men watched the women hug. Helena looked so breakable in the redhead's arms. Steve fought a wince.
"Ma'am?" Steve said.
"Hi," Nat said.
She looked at Coulson.
"They need you on the bridge. They're starting the face-trace," Nat said.
"I'll leave when she does," Phil said.
The agents looked at one another in understanding. They considered Helena a top priority.
"It was quite the buzz around here, finding you in the ice. I thought Coulson was gonna swoon. Did he ask you to sign his Captain America trading cards yet?" Nat said.
"Trading cards?" Steve asked.
"They're vintage, he's very proud," Nat said.
Bruce Banner walked around the ship in the distance, trying to stay out of the way while people walk past.
"Dr. Banner," Steve said.
The two walked up to each other and shook hands.
"Oh, yeah. Hi. They told me you'd be coming," Bruce said.
"Word is you can find the cube," Steve said.
"Is that the only word on me?" Bruce asked.
"The only word I care about," Steve said.
"And who are you?" Bruce asked.
He took in the thin woman that Phil seemed to guard with such intensity.
"I am Helena," she said. "I've read so much about you. You are so brilliant and I am so excited to meet you."
"What are you doing here? I don't remember seeing you in the briefing."
"I'm not," Helena said.
Phil gave a sharp inhale and Steve frowned.
"I'm Tony's daughter," she said. "He doesn't know I'm here, but I just had to steal away for a while."
Bruce nodded in understanding before turning back to Steve.
"It must be strange for you, all of this," Bruce said.
Steve looked off to where a group of men in training is running, remembering his days in the army.
"Well, this is kind of familiar," Steve said.
"Gentlemen, you might want to step inside in a minute. It's gonna get a little hard to breathe," Nat said.
The Helicarrier began to shake as it prepared to take "sail". Others aboard strapped down planes and Quinjets in preparation.
"Is this a submarine?" Steve asked.
"Really? They wanted me in a submerged, pressurized metal container?" Bruce asked.
The three moved closer to the edge of the Helicarrier. Phil grabbed Helena's hand, pulling her back. Steve glanced at the two for a moment before turning away.
Four huge fans mounted on the sides started to lift into the air as the ship took flight. Steve's attention returned to the event occurring in front of them. He watched in awe while Bruce just smiled.
"Oh, no. This is much worse," Bruce said.
The Helicarrier rose high into the heavens. The entire ship covered itself in reflective mirrors, which then camouflaged the carrier in the sky.
"Amazing," Helena said.
"We need to head in," Phil said.
He pushed Helena towards the entrance, anxious to get her inside. The group hurried to the observation deck where Fury stood waiting. They had taken long enough and Phil had work to complete.
"Gentlemen," Fury said.
Steve walked past Fury, giving the spy 10 bucks. The soldier examined the carrier. He looked bewildered. Fury walked over to Bruce and Helena. Fury extended his hand and Bruce reluctantly shook it.
"Doctor, thank you for coming," Fury said. "And Helena, what a pleasant surprise."
Helena grinned at the stiff man and gave him a tight hug. She heard a faint gasp from around them and she squeezed tighter.
"Thanks for asking nicely. So, uh... how long am I staying?" Bruce asked.
Helena released her grasp and moved to Steve.
"Once we get our hands on the Tesseract, you're in the clear," Fury said.
"Where are you with that?" Bruce asked.
Nick Fury turned to Phil to explain their situation, while Natasha eyed an image of Clint Barton on a computer screen.
"We're sweeping every wirelessly accessible camera on the planet. Cellphones, laptops. If it's connected to a satellite, it's eyes and ears for us," Phil said.
"That's still not gonna find them in time," Nat said.
"Hi," Helena said.
Her voice was a whisper amongst the others, but Steve was able to hear her. He gave a nod back to her with a smile.
"You knew my grandparents, right?" She asked.
"I knew your grandfather," Steve said.
The pair watched the group consult one another.
"You have to narrow the field. How many spectrometers do you have access to?" Bruce asked.
"How many are there?" Fury asked.
Helena leaned into the soldier.
"Could you tell me about him?" She asked.
Before Steve could answer, Fury had grabbed onto Helena's arm and pushed her towards Natasha.
"Call every lab you know, tell them to put the spectrometers on the roof, and calibrate them for gamma rays. I'll rough out a tracking algorithm based on cluster recognition. At least we could rule out a few places. Do you have somewhere for me to work?" Bruce asked.
Natasha wrapped her arms around Helena, muscles tensed.
"Agent Romanoff, would you show Dr. Banner to his laboratory, please," Fury said. "Stick close Helena."
Helena looked over to Steve who maintained eye contact with her. He mouthed the word 'later' with a bright flash of teeth. Natasha nodded and walked off, leading Bruce and Helena down the hall.
"You're gonna love it, Doc. We got all the toys," Nat said.
Helena smiled, following behind the pair. They went up a few flights before turning into a lab. Natasha began explaining that Bruce had free reign, while Helena took a seat.