Chapter 23

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   When I walked outside onto the landing platform, everyone stared in awe. My brown hair was in a loose side French braid that bounced when I took a step. That's how confident I was. I felt like I was walking in slow motion with music in the background.
   Sam's mouth dropped when he noticed me. Natasha gave a proud smile that secretly said: "That's my girl."
   Winter looked at me and almost cowered, but that was probably because I was so confident in the mask. Steve stood like a captain in the army, and gave a polite nod.
   They all followed me into the plane, slow and uncertain. They didn't expect me to change that fast. They expected me to be disorganized and scared to lead my first mission, especially against HYDRA. But that's where they were wrong; it's not the first mission I've lead.
   I was the better fighter between Clara and I. I was the top assassin at HYDRA for two years. If HYDRA sensed a real threat, they would send me in, and that's why they called me S.O.S. instead of Soldier of Summer.
   Sam went straight to the pilot seat, but he didn't stop looking at me until he was given the clear for takeoff.
   Natasha and Winter steadied themselves on the wall when we lifted off. Peter went straight for a seat on the side of the plane and strapped himself in.
   Steve and I didn't grab onto anything, because we had been in these jets enough times (and had the strength) to know how to keep our balance.
   A S.H.I.E.L.D agent closed the door, and Sam took off. Peter squealed when the ground fell farther and farther away. He bounced in his seat, and I could almost see his smile under the mask.
   The plan was to extract information from HYDRA. The info was on a flash drive located in a room on the second floor of the facility. Everyone that "worked for" HYDRA had I flash drive with their file on it. The Avengers must have gotten my flash drive somehow.
   But to be honest, I think that this was a test run. I knew that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't care about this as much as they were saying. They cared about my commitment to HYDRA, and by sending me back to the exact same facility I've spent my entire life, they would be able to see how I would react. They wanted to see how I would lead the situation.
  Call me crazy, but I think they wanted to make me an Avenger.
   It took a little over five hours to get to Asia, and during that time, I tried to convince Peter to get up out of the chair.
   "Get up Peter." I took off my mask so that my face wouldn't sweat.
   "No. I don't want to fall and embarrass myself," he said. One of his knees nervously bounced up and down.
   "Trust me that ship has sailed. Look at everyone else. Even Natasha is standing, and she doesn't have super strength. I barely even know I'm on a plane."
   "Fine, but I'll need you for balance," he moaned.
   I rolled my eyes and grabbed his hand after he unbuckled himself and stood up. He was so weird about it, crouching and keeping his hand out for balance while the other gripped my flesh arm.
   "Yeah you're not embarrassing yourself at all," I said sarcastically.
   Peter soon realized he was being a wimp and stood up straight.
   "Can you let go of my arm now?"
   "Oh, sorry." He let go of my hand, which left some sort of sticky substance behind.
   "Peter ew, what is this?" I asked, examining it.
   "Oh I'm sorry. My hands secrete oils that help me stick to the walls." I wiped the substance always with my metal hand.
   "Does this happen all the time?"
   "No, only when I'm nervous." He shrugged.
   "Sooo, all the time?"
   Peter laughed. "Yeah pretty much."
   "How do you control it at school?" I pulled out a drawer filled with rifles and started inspecting them.
   "Well I don't really get nervous at school anymore. I know exactly what's going to happen, and who's going to push me around."
   I stopped looking at guns.
   "People bully you?"
   "I can see that. You seen like the kind of guy who would let people push you around."
   Peter took off his mask to reveal his red face. "I let people push me around because people pushed me around before I was Spider-Man. And I couldn't defend myself then, so I shouldn't now."
   I put my flesh hand on his shoulder. "I'll tell you what. I bet that if I become a permanent resident here, these bozos will make me go to school one day," I nodded towards my parents and Steve, who were obviously listening. "If they do, I'll defend you. No one will know who I am, and and no one will pick on you as long as I'm there. Deal?"
   Peter narrowed his eyes. "How will you disguise the arm?"
   I waved him away. "We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Deal?"
   He smiled and slipped his mask back on. "Deal. But only if they make you go to school."
   "Fine." I grabbed a gun from the drawer. "By the way this shotgun's mine!" I called out so that everyone could hear, not that they weren't already listening.
   Sam called back to us, "We're almost there anyway, you guys better pick out your weapons."
   Everyone else came over to the gun drawer with stern eyes. Who says you need weapons to make people afraid of you? Their faces would do the trick just fine.
   I shuffled over to the knife drawer. Knives were my weapon of choice, but I normally use guns when I'm on a mission so that I can keep my distance.
   I wasn't one for slow deaths. Even though I was literally bred for it, I always killed with mercy and efficiency. I would always shoot right between the eyes, unless I needed to make a quick getaway, in which case I shot between the toes to look imitate a heart attack.
   Soon, we had all geared up and chosen our weapons. When midnight started to roll around, I was getting a little antsy. The jet was landing in the woodlands near the compound as Steve addressed everyone.
   "Alright, there's no getting around the fact that it will be weird to have a teenager leading us." Everyone nodded and glanced at me. "But I know that if we trust her, we can execute this mission and get through it without a hitch. Now Auriana, you have the floor."
   Everyone turned to me, and I cleared me throat.
   "Alright we all know the plan. And the first order of business is to get through the woods and into the base. After that, we may need to split up so that we won't be detected as easily. Does everyone have their earpieces on?"
   Everyone nodded, and I narrowed in on Peter in his red and blue suit.
   "Peter? Is your earpiece on?"
   The big white eyes on his mask narrowed. "Of course it's on Auriana, watch." He put a finger to his ear and spoke.
   "Testing, testing, 123," I heard in my ear.
   "Alright that's another thing I want to address. I prefer that while on any mission, you guys address me as S.O.S. or Summer Soldier."
   Peter raised his hand.
   "Peter you don't have to raise your hand."
   "Sorry," he put his hand down. "Can we call you Summer?"
   I sighed. "Yeah, just don't call me by my name okay?"
   Everyone nodded and Sam adjusted his flight suit. I put my mask on and pressed the button that lowered the jet door into the woods.
   I led the team through the woods and towards the facility. All these memories were coming back to me. Memories of killing people, and torturing people, and being tortured. A headache started to form.
   I was so wrapped up in my thoughts, that I didn't even realize where we were until we came into the clearing.
   I stopped.
   It was a beautiful scene. The trees swayed a bit in the breeze, letting little moon rays through the leaves. The air had a bit of a blue shade to it, and the small buds on some branches signaled that spring was on its way.
   I would have enjoyed it if my best friend wasn't buried in the ground.
   I walked slowly through it, and soon I was next to her grave. I don't look, or think. I just stood there.
   "Auriana," Steve whispered. "Don't worry. We'll be out of here soon, and you won't have to think about this."
   "Yeah." I started walking again, but not before casually picking up Clara's headstone, and casually hurling it through the trees. I heard Peter squeak behind me.
   We left the cemetery and went through the woods, and eventually the trees thinned our, and I could see lights that came from the base.
   "Alright are we clear on the plan?" I whispered.
   "Get in, get the flash drive, get out," Winter responded. Then we all ran toward the building, silently and on our toes. I heard Peter swinging above me. His red suit could be a problem, because I could really see it in my peripheral vision.
   But I kept running, and so did everyone else. Eventually, we made it to the side of building. All of us except Peter and Dam pulled out a grappling hook and tossed it up. 
   Peter simply climbed up the wall, and Sam soared above us, his shadow looking like a real bird. Meanwhile the rest of us climbed up a rope like chumps.
   On the roof, Sam cut a hole where I told him to. It was above the room that had the smallest chance of someone being in there at the time. Luckily, there was no one in there. It was almost pitch black, save the small window on the door that poured in yellow light from the hallway.
   "Karen," Peter whispered."Who else is in a hundred foot radius?"
   "Who the hell is Karen?" I asked. Peter held up his finger to make me quiet, but as much as I strained my ears, I couldn't hear anything.
   "That was the computer inside my suit. I used to call her computer lady, but then it got weird, so-"
   "Peter shut up!" I hissed.
   "But Karen said that there's someone in the hallway coming toward us."
   Sam moves toward the door. "On it."
   Opening the door, he stalked out. After a couple seconds, he came back in, dragging an unconscious man. I went over to him and searched his clothes for any keycards.
   When I found it, I held it up to the window so that I could read the clearance level.
   Clearance: 4
   Clearance four was all we needed to get to the room with the information in it, after that, we could get Peter to hack into anything else we might need.
   I signaled for everyone else to leave the room, and I brought up the rear of the single file line we made. The halls were eerily empty, which made me nervous. Whenever the halls were as empty as this, we were ambushing someone.
   No sooner than I had the thought, everything went dark.

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