Bo swallowed nervously as he stood outside the door to the briefing room. Today not only marked their first mission, but today also was his first day in command. It had always been assumed that should the team go into battle Tarantula would lead them. However,

Bobby had elected to stay home and attend his senior year in a public high school. Bo couldn't blame him since his sister had died at the school last year.

Bo cleared his throat and straightened his jacket that perfectly matched his black and blue uniform. The whole team of Alpha Squad, or A-Squad for short, had been giving matching black spandex uniforms with blue in the trimming and a blue " A" on the left breast. Running his fingers through his short brown hair, Bo walked into the room where his first success or failure was to begin.

The computers along the wall shone in bright colored lights humming with electrical life. Seven chairs were placed around a big wooden table. Five of the seven chairs were currently occupied. Taking the chair at the head, Bo began the meeting.

"Okay, first, I should state for the record, each of your names as being in attendance for this meeting."

Looking to his left, he saw a boy of slightly smaller frame wearing a black cloak over his uniform with the hood drawn over his face. "Warrior, human siphon with the ability to absorb the abilities of others and use them to their highest potential."

Sitting next to him, a beautiful blonde girl was fidgeting with anticipation and stroking the longbow she held in her lap. "Longbow, mistress of archery, who also has a personal force field making her virtually invulnerable." Rory sighed with disgust and impatience.

The girl to her left sat with her head held high as if to say she needed no introduction. "Eternal, Woman of Might, incredibly strong with the ability to manipulate molecules."

"Thank you," she replied haughtily flipping her long brown hair

over her shoulder.

Bo hesitated at the next person then regretted it because he did not want things to be awkward, not again. "White Tyger, human-cat, who can transform into a cat-like being with increased agility, speed and strength."

David just looked down hoping that there would come a day when he would no longer remind the others of the bad things he had done.

Finally, Bo turned to his right to announce the presence of one of the headmasters of the academy. "Wasp, headmaster of Van Dyne Academy and founding avenger with the ability to grow wasp wings as she shrinks and a bio electric sting."

"Thank-you, Bo," Wasp commented, "Although I doubt the colorful descriptions were necessary." Jan smiled brightly to let Bo know she wasn't upset or meaning to be cruel.

Bo cleared his throat again, "Right, I guess I'm just a little nervous. But the matter is that for the first time since we joined the academy, we're needed to go into combat. Earlier this afternoon, Time Square was invaded by a group of super-powered beings that has never been seen before. Their leader identified himself as Piety of the Moral Code. The group has taken control of Madison Square Garden. Every major super powered team has been called in to assist with this latest threat. I don't think I have to inform you of how dangerous this is. Several thousand lives are at stake. We are to join the Avengers at Avengers Mansion. She-Hulk is preparing the quinjet. We leave in twenty minutes. You are dismissed until we meet in the jet."

"Its about time we see some action!" Rory expressed to Bo as she walked behind the others out of the Briefing Room.

"Lets not get too cocky, Rory. If we're being called into action, that

means things are very, very serious." Jan cautioned, marveling at how similar to Hawkeye his niece seemed.

Bo breathed a sigh as he looked at Jan. "I'm sorry, Miss Van Dyne. I don't know why I'm so nervous."

"Sweetie, you've got a lot of pressure on you. I mean Captain America will be in charge of the ultimate mission, but it's your job to keep the A-squad together." Jan patted his arm. "But you'll do fine. You've had very good training."

*****************

The quinjet settled down softly on the roof of Avengers Mansion. Bo made sure his uniform was straight before nodding to his team indicating that it was time to go. The others got out of their seat and followed their leader out of the jet. Jarvis, looking surprisingly fit for a man who had served as the avengers faithful butler for at least 20 years.

"Good evening, Master Bo," Jarvis greeted them nodding to the others.

"Captain America and the others are in a meeting at the moment, so I've been asked to meet you and your team."

Jarvis led him to the rooftop entrance. "Captain America would like to speak with you shortly."

Taking them through the doorway and down a few flights of stairs,

Jarvis showed them to a small library. "If you all will please have a seat, Captain will be with you soon."

"Thank-you, Jarvis," Aveena spoke to the butler as if he were

a common servant instead of the valued ally he had become.

Bo glared sharply at the girl who barely glanced his way before letting her long slender legs carry her to a nearby leather couch. Rory slumped against the wall grumbling, "I don't see why we have to sit here and wait when there are things to be done!"

"Because it's better that we know where we can be the most useful instead of going in half-cocked." Answered Bo with a tone that indicated he would not accept any more argument.

"Besides, Rory, we're in with the big guys now." Jeff beamed as he pushed the hood of his cloak back off his head. David sat down in the corner and looked nervous. It was obvious to Bo that he was feeling distanced from the others. Not that he could blame any of them for acting weird, Bo thought, since it had only been a week since David was released and allowed to return to the academy.

Bo walked over and placed a hand on David's shoulder. "Its good to

have you back, David." Bo reassured the younger boy.

"Is it, Bo? I hope so, but I think the others might not agree with that."

"You have to give them time, David. This is hard on all of us. But, give them time and space. I'm sure they'll come around."

David smiled at that last comment and it was clear that he intended to do just that. A knock on the door caused everyone in the room to turn as Captain America, looking exactly like he had since he was thawed from an ice-burg, walked in with a certain determined presence that commanded the respect of many.

"Thank-you for coming, A-squad. Believe me when I say that if this wasn't a serious situation, you would not be here."

"We're ready, sir." Bo commented causing a smile of pride to cross his uncle's face.

"I'm certain of that, Son. And while your assignment might seem less glamorous, I assure you that it is very important. I need the A-squad to remain at the mansion to keep it safe in case Moral Code decides to use the main battle as a diversion to break into the mansion."

Rory, Jeff, David, and Aveena's jaws dropped at their 'assignment'. Rory and Aveena, both, were about to protest when Bo cut them off. "You can count on us, sir."

With assurances that things were in control, Captain America turned and left.

"You can count on us, sir." Rory marked with a sour face. "Why didn't you fall down and lick his boots while you were at it."

"That's enough!" asserted Bo. "If you don't like the assignment or how I handle it, then you can take it up with Ms. Van Dyne when we return. Until then, we have our orders, team."

Four hours later, Rory and Aveena were slumped with their back against the wall as Jeff and Bo studied the video monitor against the far wall. The monitor was split into four sections showing three security cameras in three of the sections while the last section was

devoted to the local news, which was carrying the battle live at Madison Square Gardens.

"Where's David?" Bo inquired.

"He said he wanted to check things out on foot." Jeff replied.

Bo nodded and returned to the monitor. He could see David, now. Suddenly, David transformed into his cat form and dashed into the bushes.

"Stand sharp, team!"

Before any of them knew it, the building was plunged into darkness for a few seconds before the generators came on. The room was empty by the time the lights came on because the team had sprung into action. Bo directed each person to take a direction.

"Stay sharp!" he cautioned again.

For all her complaining, Bo need not worry about Rory. She was at full attention and released an arrow as soon as she saw her opponent cross a corner. She heard a rip indicating that her arrow had probably caught her opponent's garment, but she was acutely aware as the man in the purple cloak lunged at her baring steel-sharp claws.

"Die, heathen, die at the hands of 'Creed'," growled her opponent who appeared to be a young man in his early twenties with short blond hair and fangs protruding from his lower jaw.

Rory grabbed his legs as soon as he was in reach and knocked him down onto his back. Reaching into her boot, she pulled out a small dagger, "Shut up, you fool." She snarled before Creed sent her flying with a powerful thrust of his legs.

When Rory landed, she wasn't harmed but the force of the impact

knocked her breath out of her dazing her. Creed took advantage of the situation jumping onto her and snapping her neck back rendering her unconscious. Satisfied that she was out of the fight, Creed walked away in hunt of the others.

David, meanwhile, was fighting viciously against a young girl who was managing to send blows against him without even touching him. Oh, great, a telekinetic! David thought.

"It must be the Lord's will that you fight 'Peace', animal," the girl

growled as another mental blow sent David's Cat-like form flying through the air.

Landing on all fours David realized he was ill equipped to fight this one, so he took off inside the mansion to find the one person who could.

Aveena was just reaching the hub of the mansion, the main computer room when she was buffeted by tremendous forces of wind.

"Turn and face the 'Wrath' of God, witch." a metallic voices commanded the strong and brave Eternal.

Gripping into the frame of the open door, Aveena struggled to reach the control panel. She knew that if she could get the door shut, it would be near impossible for the enemy to get in.

Sensing her intention, Wrath intensified the winds blowing her hair back and drawing her skin tight against her face. Gritting her teeth, Aveena reached for the control panel as she concentrated on transforming the molecules of the air around them into liquid. Suddenly the air turned into water, sending Wrath cruising away with strong force as Eternal kept her grip on the wall.

Once the flash flood was gone, she managed to reach the control panel, found the right switch, and collapsed as soon as she heard the whishing sound of the adamantium-lined doors closing.

David bounded down the hallway in a state of panic looking for Warrior, the only person in the mansion who had a chance of battling

'Peace'. Glancing left and right, David was moving so fast that he was on top of Jeff before he even saw him.

"Oh, Jeff. Good. I need you help. There's some psychic chick chasing me. I think she called herself 'Peace' or something."

"Which way did she go?" Warrior replied in an effort to calm his teammate. David just gulped for air as he pointed to the direction he last saw Peace. Warrior ran off in that direction as David slid down the wall to the floor.

A dark shadow flitted across the hall as David lay panting. Creed crept up from behind, "Want me to waste him, Boss?"

"NO!" replied the dark resonant voice from the shadows as David

stared a Creed frozen with fear.

"They win this one, but we'll be back. Let's rejoin the others and see how things are faring for The Moral Code at Madison Square Garden. Where are Peace, Wrath and Solomon?"

"I'm right here, and I've brought one for you," called the young woman, Peace. Her long black hair was loosely tied in the back and she wore a loose-fitting tunic and robe of dull brown, the tunic only slightly

lighter in color. In her right hand, she dragged the limp form of Warrior behind her.

"Excellent." The Master intoned evilly while developing a plan. "I hadn't planned on taking prisoners, but if we take these two, we

might be able to determine their weaknesses."

Creed, during the conversation between Master and Peace, had turned towards David and using a pinch nerve technique rendered him unconscious.

"Bring them." The Master commanded before disappearing into the shadows.

Bo came around a corner wiping sweat off his still green face. He had been ambushed by a massive figure of a man and been forced to transform into Behemoth to fight him off. The man, calling himself 'Solomon', had fought with a strength Bo had never felt before. The

battle had raged through several rooms as debris littered the mansion. Solomon had been so fierce that when Bo felt his shoulder snap out of place, he was sure the man would finish him off. Instead the man had

turned as if hearing another's voice, snarled at Bo and walked away. It had taken Bo 20 minutes to get up the courage to slam his shoulder into the wall in order to set it. He let out a loud bellow as the nerves in his arm felt like they were on fire. It took him another 15 minutes to calm down enough to transform into human. During that time, Aveena had found Rory still unconscious where she had fallen. Not thinking anything of it, Aveena picked her up and carried her to the

infirmary.

"Someone, help me!" she cried as she placed Rory on the table.

"Let me see what we have." a doctor took over. "How long has she been unconscious?"

"I don't know. She was out when I found her."

It was about then that Bo came limping in his arm hanging

loosely to the side. "I'm sorry, Jarvis, it looks like we've failed."

"Its not a failure, sir. Mistress Aveena was able to secure the computer mainframe before The Moral Code could gain access to our data."

Two hours later, the other heroes returned from the battle battered and weary. They had managed to drive out Moral Code, but with several injuries. Bo and Aveena had been given rooms for the night while the doctors attended to Rory.

Bo lay in the bed going through the events of the night in his head. He had heard Aveena's description of her battle, but they were still unsure of who and what their opponents were. He also could not help but wonder how things would have turned out had Tarantula been there to lead the team as originally intended. He was perusing these thoughts when he heard a knock at the door.

Moaning in pain, Bo lifted himself up as Captain America, Uncle Steve, walked in. Seeing his nephew in pain, he bid the boy to lie back

down.

"How's things, sir?" Bo inquired not needing to indicate that his thoughts were focused on his missing teammates and Rory.

"We've got some of our best searching for David and Jeff, son. As for Rory, well, I'm afraid she's still unconscious."

Bo sighed deeply, "Sir, I'm sorry we didn't stop them."

"That wasn't what you were commanded to do, son. You did your job,

and you did a fine one at that." Cap winked at his nephew and patted his uninjured arm. "Get some sleep, and hopefully we'll have some good news for you in the morning."

"How do you do it, Uncle Steve? Risk your life and the lives of your friends day in and day out?"

"Easy, my boy, because we fight for the safety of others and that is a fight worth fighting for."

Captain America and Bo were so into their conversation that they did not see the shadow of the blond haired girl in the corner. Aveena thought bitter thoughts that night. Right after she put Rory on the examining table, the doctor was able to tell that Rory had suffered a broken neck. When he looked at Aveena with a worried expression on his face, she remembered all the times she had heard how you are not supposed to move a person that might have a broken neck. If Rory becomes paralyzed it will be all my fault, and all daddy can do is fawn all over his precious nephew. She immediately felt guilty for thinking the dark thoughts, but she knew they would not be so easy to rid of.

The next morning, Bo woke feeling like his whole body was his arm it hurt so badly. Struggling to get dressed without hurting his shoulder any worse, all he could manage was to put on a robe loosely tied around

the waist. That would be enough to cover the pajamas he was given to sleep in the night before.

Jarvis met him in the hallway, "Good morning, Master Bo.

Would you care for something to eat?"

"Not right now, Jarvis, where are the others?"

"They're in the infirmary, Master Bo. Mistress Rory woke up."

Bo just glanced at the butler with a slight look of irritation at not being informed that Rory was awake before he ran off towards the infirmary oblivious to his pain.

When he got there, several doctors were around the bed along with Aveena and Cap. Hawkeye, who had arrived in early in the morning, was consulting with the head doctor near the entrance so Bo could overhear

what they were saying.

"How long will it take before she's better, dr.?" Hawkeye asked with a look of concern on his face.

"It will be hard to tell, sir. With a neck injury like this one, Paralysis might last for a short period of time or it could be

permanent."

Bo stood stunned. Paralysis? That's not what he thought would happen at all. It only made him feel worse about the way he handled things. Everyone looked over at him suddenly and it was then that he realized that he had started screaming and sobbing.

"Uncle Clint?" Rory spoke as she came out of a short sleep. She

had originally woken for a brief time long enough for the doctors to test her reflexes without her knowing it.

"I'm here, Sweetheart." Hawkeye knelt down kissing Rory lightly on the forehead.

"What's wrong with me? Why can't I feel my legs? What's happening?"

Sobbing Rory's breathing started to become rapid and shallow, then she let lose with a cry like the river of her soul had finally come undammed.

Aveena turned away from the others as a tear began to form in her

own eye. She looked around thinking that if she could lean into her father's arm, and let it out she would be all right, that the ache she felt inside her would go away. Turning around, she found her father. He

was kneeling next to Bo, who was threatening to pass out. When does a father's love become stronger than an uncle's love? When the child has no need for the father anymore and its too late?

The price of heroism can be might big sometimes. Sometimes it requires of you your life, sometimes your livelihood, and then again

sometimes it requires the lives of your friends. But this is the price of being a hero, and many men and women give that price every day.