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Episode 3: Headin’ Down the Wrong Highway August 1st, 1947. Somewhere over the Midwest United States. Daniel Sousa looked out the window of Howard Stark’s private plane. The sunlight reflected off the wings and scattered across the clouds below them. “Would you like something, sir?” Daniel turned to see the attractive redhead in a white stewardess uniform smiling down at him. She gestured to the beverage cart in front of her. “Um… no. Thanks.” She shrugged and continued on as Howard Stark, in a airline pilot’s outfit and sunglasses, opened the cabin door that led to the cockpit. He squeezed past the cart and gave a wink to the stewardess as she made her way behind the curtain. “It’s the only way to travel, eh, Agent Sousa?” Howard said, sitting down next to Daniel. “I appreciate you letting me use your plane, Howard, but you really didn’t need to come along.” Howard adjusted his seat to recline back. “Don’t be ridiculous. You said so yourself. Somebody seems really keen to get their hands on Peg’s file. And they don’t care about shooting people to do it. After all she’s done for me, I owe her one. Probably more than one.” Howard then took off the sunglasses and shot Daniel a grin. “Besides, if I help the SSR catch a guy who shot one of their agents, it might give me another feather in my cap with the higher ups.” Daniel rolled his eyes. “I should have known. You’re all heart, aren’t you?” “I’m serious! If I play my cards right, I might wind up running the SSR in a year. Maybe two!” “God helps us all,” Daniel muttered under his breath. But Howard was already getting out of his seat. “Relax, Daniel. I’ve already spoke to my contacts in London about this Driscoll. He’s a boozehound, but he’s a creature of habit. We’ll find him, and then you can ask him all you want to know about Peg’s file. For now, close your eyes and enjoy the flight. I’m going to uh… check the galley. Important to make sure we have enough food.” Daniel gave him a knowing look. “And enough drinks?” Howard’s grin widened. “You’re getting the idea, Agent.” Howard donned his glasses and ducked behind the curtain. Daniel sighed and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the noises from the galley. New York City, New York. Midtown South precinct. “I must say I am shocked, Miss Carter,” said Acting Chief Flynn in a lecturing tone. “I read in your file that you had a tendency to knock over hornet’s nests. But this?! Not even 24 hours back in New York, and you wind up in the middle of a shoot out!” Peggy sat at the table in the interrogation room, watching Flynn pace back and forth in front of her. Her patience had just about reached it’s limit. “Chief Flynn….” “Acting Chief Flynn!” “Sir! I assure you I was not trying to find trouble. I was going to that theater to support a friend of mine. Have the police found Angie yet?” Flynn folded his arms in front of him. “I am sure the NYPD is doing a thorough job looking for Miss Martinelli. They may be a little more preoccupied in the search for this Adams woman.” Peggy got up from the table, walking gingerly after her fight with Miss Masque. “Sir, the SSR needs to assist in this investigation! Miss Adams is not in her right frame of mind, and appears to possess intensive combat training.” “Miss Carter, the NYPD are dealing with the Adams investigation. I’m sure they can handle some woman who obviously suffered some sort of nervous breakdown.” “A nervous breakdown? Miss Adams went from being a one woman army to a scared child. Somethings not right here, Chief, and I’m thinking it might have something to do with these Maggia attacks.’ Flynn scoffed. “Still trying to insert yourself into that investigation, Miss Carter? The reports clearly state that the individual behind these assaults is a man in red and blue costume wielding a boomerang. This is a case of a highly strung actress who snapped, nothing more, nothing less.” Peggy was about to protest, when the door to the interrogation room opened and a police officer stuck his head in. “Miss Carter? We called the Stark house and Miss Martinelli is there, but she says she needs to speak to you.” Peggy breezed past Flynn and out the door. “Don’t think I’m not done with you, Carter!” he yelled. “You get yourself to Stark’s mansion and stay there until you are called upon! Is that clear?” “Oh sod off,” Peggy muttered under her breath. She reached the desk and was handed the phone by the officer on duty. “Angie? It’s Peggy. Where have you been? Mr. Jarvis and I looked for you after the police got to the theater and couldn’t find you!” “Sorry, English,” Angie’s voice replied. “Something came up.” Peggy could hear the nervous tone in Angie’s voice. “Angie, what’s wrong? Is someone with you?” “I don’t have time. You need to come to the mansion, as quick as you can. No cops. Nobody from the telephone company. You understand?” Peggy looked around the precinct, trying to gather herself. “Angie? I need you to stay calm. I’m on my way with Mr. Jarvis. We’re coming to get you.” “Thanks, Peg. Don’t keep me waiting, will ya?” Angie placed the telephone on the receiver. She was sitting in her room in the Stark mansion, and in front of her was Diana Adams. She was still in her Miss Masque attire minus the mask, and her revolver was aimed at Angie. “Well, I did what you asked, Diana,” Angie tried to say calmly. “Could you put the gun down, and maybe we could talk about this?” “We have nothing to talk about it!” shouted Angie. “I need to talk to Carter!” “Why? Why her? She’s just a girl who works for the telephone company!” Diana gave a humorless laugh. “Oh please. It’s obvious. The way she fights, the way she tries to deescalate conflicts. All the marks of an operative. I need her.” Angie looked at the door behind Diana. “And how would you know about that stuff? Listening to the Shadow or something?” Diana’s face grew pale. Her expression became scared and confused. “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know how I was able to fight her like I did. Or how I was able to fight off Nefaria’s guards.” Her expression suddenly became more confident and she re-aimed her revolver at Angie. “I also don’t know how I know the most efficient ways to kill someone, but I know them. And I will not be afraid to use them if Carter doesn’t give me what I want.” Angie’s breath quickened and she bit her lip. “And just what do you want?” she sobbed. Diana’s face softened once again. “I want to know.” London, England. The Lady Coleen pub. Nick Driscoll sat at the bar, finishing up his pint. He slammed down his glass, and wiped some of the beer from his mouth. “Barkeep! Another round, if you please!” “And I’ll pay for it!” Driscoll looked in surprise as Howard Stark sat on the stool next to his. “Listen, mate, I don’t need help buying drinks.” Howard gave a friendly smile. “Oh it’s no trouble at all. In fact, I know a great place where you can enjoy that beer. Make your way to the private room on the other end of the bar.” Driscoll snorted and picked up his drink. “Push off, yank. I’m drinking this here.” Driscoll suddenly felt the pressure of an object into his ribs. Howard continued smiling and his tone stayed cheerful as he spoke. “I know you are in government intelligence. So I know you know who I am. And you know what I can make. The item that’s being jabbed into your ribs is a little gadget I’ve been working on. A flick of a switch, and I send an electrical current into your body. The mildest setting might just shock you, but the stronger setting will send you into cardiac arrest. So you can either drop right here and everyone will think you’re having a seizure, or you can get yourself to the back room slowly, and you’ll get to finish your drink.” Driscoll gulped, then rose from his stool and made his way to the back room with Howard behind him. In the private room, Daniel sat at a booth. “Did he give you any trouble?” Howard shook his head, pulling the spoon out from Driscoll’s back. “Oh none at all. Thanks to my latest invention. I think I’ll call it… the spoon.” Driscoll looked in disbelief at Daniel. “What is this? I know he’s Howard Stark, but who the bloody hell are you?” “I’m a friend of Jack Thompson,” said Daniel, his eyes not wavering from Driscoll. “I want to know where you got the file you gave him.” Driscoll looked behind him and gave a nervous laugh. “File? What file? Look, you say you’re a friend of Jack’s? So am I. It was just a mistake, alright?” “A mistake that nearly got Jack killed,” Daniel said rising from the booth. Driscoll fell back into a chair in shock. “Killed? My God. You mean, someone tried to kill Jack?” “And then ran off with the file you gave him. The file on Peggy Carter!” Driscoll held up his hands in front of him pleading. “Look, mate, let me explain! I didn’t mean to give him the wrong file! I didn’t!” Howard and Daniel shared a look, then Daniel turned back to Driscoll. “What do you mean the wrong file?” Driscoll loosened his tie and set his pint on the table. “Jack asked me to do him a favor. He wanted information on Margaret Carter. I searched through the SOE files and found a redacted file under M. Carter and I figured it was hers!” “You handed Jack a file without even knowing it was the right one?” barked Daniel. “It was a redacted file!” Driscoll argued. “I didn’t think he was going to make heads or tails of it anyway! But then I did some more digging, in case he wanted more dirt on Carter. But then I found it! That file wasn’t for Margaret Carter! It was…” Driscoll’s pleas were cut short as a bullet from a silenced pistol pierced his skull. “Howard! Get down!” Daniel and Howard hit the floor as another round of bullets flew in from the bar. Daniel flipped the table over to give them cover and peeked over it. There were 6 men in trench coats at the bar, and all of them were armed. The rest of the patrons were gone, and the bartended was slumped across the counter, dead. Daniel drew his pistol and returned fire. “I hope you have something more threatening than that spoon, Stark!” Daniel shouted. Howard reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a handheld metallic device with prongs on the end. “I certainly do. I have my electric zapper, and I also have a couple of jitterbug grenades. Sonic blasts, non lethal. Haven’t been tested yet, though.” Daniel looked again at the assailants drawing closer. “Now’s as good a time as any.” OK: Daniel Sousa (Pistol and SSR training) and Howard Stark (Gadgets) vs 6 gunmen. Can Daniel and Howard escape this predicament? Stay tuned to find out! Game On!