March 20, 2015: SHIELD sends Mockingbird to investigate Eugene Thompson and give him some options.

Empire State University — New York City - New York City

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Friday night at ESU is usually a hectic and busy time for the students there. The dorms are alive with commotion as people get ready to go out and enjoy the first night of the weekend. Past the wide tinted windows of the gymnasium people will occasionally wander by, groups of kids heading to a partner, or a club, maybe a movie. In times past Flash Thompson would be right out there with them. But ever since he got home he'd kept mostly to himself save for meeting a few friends from the old neighborhood.

So tonight he's on the other side of those windows, inside the gym. It's in the weight room that he finds himself, his gym bag by the benchseat and his hands holding up a pair of appreciably strong weights. His attention is distant as he works his upper body, comfortable for once in the weight room since no one else is using it. Nobody is around to occasionally glance at the titanium frame of his prosthetic legs, nor to glance at him with that mixture of embarassment and pity.


Agent Bobbi Morse is also Doctor Barbara Morse, a renowned biochemist. Being as she not only worked on the recreation of the super soldier serum that created Captain America, with Dr. Wilma Calvin, she also was recently injected with a version of it to save her life after being fatally wounded. If anyone has a good perspective on tampering with someone biologically, it's her.

Thus, SHIELD has sent her to ESU to meet the military's candidate for their own serum, and see if he's stable enough for it, and really prepared for what comes along with such a commitment. Bobbi is dressed casually, in jeans, boots, a t-shirt, and a wool coat to fend off the snow that's falling outside. If she ever sees that damned groundhog, she's going to break its neck.

"Mister Thompson?" she asks, as she approaches the young man. Not that she has any doubt to his identity, the legs give it away. "I'm Bobbi Morse, do you have some time to talk?"


As she draws near, Flash lifts his eyes and meets her gaze. At first there's that momentary glimmer of suspicion in his blue eyes, then she addresses him by name and he cocks an eyebrow curiously. The first weight makes a faint metallic clink as he sets it down, moments later he lets the other join with it. A small smile touches his lips, polite, then he offers a small nod. "Ma'am."

He lifts his chin and then offers his hand to her in greeting. "My business isn't terribly pressing. What can I do for you?"


"It's more a question of what I can do for you," Bobbi notes with a charming smile. Being charming when she needs to is something she's good at. "I don't want to interrupt your workout though, I can hold the heavy bag for you?" She moves behind the bag to steady it, blue eyes sweeping over him thoroughly to assess.

"I hear that you're eligible for a super soldier program of sorts. I worked on one for many years myself. I just wanted to be sure you know everything you need to before you commit to it fully," the blonde points out.


Again there's that glimmer of suspicion as the young man considers her. There is something disarming about her, but if he spilled the beans to every beautiful blonde gal that sauntered up to him… well ok he'd still only have spilled the beans once counting this time. But the eggheads back at Project Rebirth hammered into his head the need for subtlety.

So slowly, a little tenuously he gets to his feet moving to rest a hand upon the heavy bag but not striking it. "No offense, ma'am, but I'm not sure what you're talking about." He looks down at her a bit, decently taller than her but not lording the fact over her.


Bobbi shrugs out of her coat, revealing a Star Wars tee beneath it. She steadies the bag like someone who knows her way around a gym. "Really? But I thought rutabagas were in season?" she quips, using the passphrase that she was given. "The program just wants the opinion of an expert on the subject of biological transformations, and believe me, I'm the expert." She chuckles.

"I recently was the subject of a similar experiment, using research I pioneered. It was a success as far as we can tell, but it also came with some downsides. Have you been told the risks, not just physical, but more mundane, for your program?"


"Ms. Morse…" He lets that hang there for a moment as Flash looks at her, then he adds, "I know some things are getting shaken up with the Project. I know a buncha folks are rotating out. But if you're coming in you should know that, well, things have progressed. And not entirely in a good way." Flash steps back and casually gives a few jabs into the heavy bag, followed by a strong right that causes the fabric to crunch and the chain holding the bag to clink and shift.

"I'm still dealing with what all happened and to be fair part of me wants to tell you people to go to hell." The bag bounced again from another punch, then he adds almost embarrassedly. "No offense."


The bag doesn't shift too much, because the woman holding it is far stronger than she looks. Shockingly so. Bobbi watches his facial expressions and body language, pulling more from that than words can give her. "You're angry. I understand that. You devoted yourself to your country, and you came home missing pieces of yourself, and not just in a physical sense. This is an opportunity to gain back some of yourself, clearly."

She tilts her head to one side. "But it comes with caveats. You did your duty, but you know that accepting this is going to require you to keep doing your duty for an undisclosed amount of time to come. It's not a gift, it's a trade. You get rebuilt, they get a super soldier. You're going to be property. You're going to be tested and poked and prodded so much you'll want to throttle people. You're going to be at their beckon call. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?"

Bobbi smiles a little. "For me the answer was yes, but my situation was a bit more dire. I was going to die, plain and simple. I wasn't done living yet. But now I have a long, long time to pay back my debts to my saviors. I'm also going to have to get used to be more than I was, and others around me being less than I am. It's a lot."


"Thing is, Ms. Morse, I already made the choice." His smile is there, a bit wry and self-deprecating as he shifts to hold the bag, just in case she wants to get a few licks in herself. "They gave me the suit, let me test it, gave me the caveats and all. But then they aimed me at some innocents and tried to blow us up." Flash meets her gaze levelly, something dangerous in those eyes. "So I imagine that fact they didn't tell you that means they're trying to clean slate the thing. And you know, that doesn't sit right with me."


"No, that doesn't sit right with me either," Bobbi admits. "So where do you stand now? Are you going to continue to work for them? Or consider their attempt to violate your rights and those of those innocents as a breach of contract, and find another organization to work for?"

She hauls back and slams her fist into the bag, without thinking about it, like she would whallop it before her alterations. But Mockingbird is now on par with Captain America in the strength department, and it's quite a blow.


And crazily enough he takes it. At first it does surprise him but he hunkers down and braces with his shoulder then looks at her with renewed respect. Slowly he turns the bag to see the place where her knuckles left the imprint in the fabric, then he looks to her. A small smile reaches his eyes and he shakes his head.

"Right now, Ms. Morse, I'm sort of in some ways a captive audience. I mean, of course I want to give the benefit of the doubt. But…" He holds up a hand and then silently a black almost liquid-like fabric crawls over his hand and encompasses it. "Since the op and I had to wear it past the time limit… it's become a part of me."


Bobbi nods as she watches the transformation. "So the suit is…sentient? Or some form of biomechanical enhancer?" She moves to look more closely at the hand. "I can't make you too many promises, but I can offer you alternative council and somewhere to go if you feel that the program here is corrupt."

She draws out a business card with the SHIELD logo on it. "We aren't the US military. We're international. And, you know, Captain America thinks we're pretty ok," the last is said with a grin.


When she moves closer he steps back almost instinctively, as if self conscious about another person's proximity. Nothing she hasn't seen from other vets in the past, however. As quickly as it appeared, the black suit slowly shifts colors and fades back from view. "They told me it's a nanotech suit that connects to the wearer on a genetic level." He takes the card and considers it, turning it one way, then the other before pocketing it. "But my confidence has been a bit shaken in what I've been told."

A beat, then he half-smiles, "Cap, huh?"


"Yep. Really, the nicest guy in the universe. He's everything the hype says he is," Bobbi admits with a smile. "Just keep your wits about you, Mister Thompson. If something feels wrong to you, it probably is. You've spent enough time in combat to know to trust your gut. If you need help, give us a call."


"Hm," The young man steps back and gives a nod. Then Flash smiles a touch sardonically. "If I hem and haw will they send you again to twist my arm?" For a moment there might be an edge to that smile, something unspoken, but then it shifts amused. He lifts a hand, "Whatever the case, thanks for the talk, Ms. Morse."


"No, they aren't much for arm twisting. They don't want to ruffle the US military's feathers more than they have to, Mister Thompson. But if something corrupt is happening, they want to get you to safety and shut it down before it gets out of hand." Bobbi gathers up her coat and puts it back on. "You deserve to have options."

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