Loyalties are Tested

This story is about... well, you'll see. :) ;)

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Chapter 1

No Limit

I leaped from the the explosion without a scratch. Back on my feet again, I shook my head. Stupid, I chided myself. Just stupid, thinking he would give you any help. But a grenade? Had that really been necessary?

I shook myself off and opened the door the my car, which had thankfully remained undamaged. I swung into my seat and started the ignition. It was clearly time to get out of here.

It would be a while until I reached New York. That gave me time to think about my mission from A.I.M. Actually, it was probably better not to think about it. I usually tried my best not to ask too many questions. In my range of work, it was best to be out of the loop. I turned up the radio to tune out my thoughts. For a moment, I let my mind wander, wondering what it would be like to be an average 28-year-old on an average road trip. I shook my head and laughed the thought away. Average was far from anything I could ever be.

Two hours later I was still on the road. I spotted my exit. Getting off the interstate, I felt a little excited. S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought. I wonder what that'll be like. In what seemed like no time, I was pulling into a secluded parking lot. Was this the place? I seemed kind of cut off. This was it, though; I saw a wooden sign with nothing but the letters S-H-I-E-L-D on it.

I parked, and stepped out of the car. Almost immediately, a red-head stalked up to me. She seemed to be about my age, maybe a little younger. "Who are you?" she asked intensely.

"Sarah Adams," I muttered stiffly. I hated my name.

"Oh." At least she seemed slightly less rude now. "Come with me, then."

I followed along behind her. "What- Aren't we going to go in the door?" I asked as we passed the entrance and headed around the building.

She laughed. "If you tried to go in there, you'd get blown to bits."

I childishly made a face at her when she turned her back again. Gah! I didn't think I could stand much more of this chick's condescending attitude.

We didn't speak to each other again as we continued to the other side of the small wooden building. I scrutinized it, and finally decided that it must be huge underground.

"Here we are," said the red-head. I laughed as we came to a halt in front of a small window. Yeah, right. We were going to get in through that?

The woman gave me a silencing look as she placed her hand on on of the window panes. It made a slight whirring sound. Suddenly, the very ground dropped out from underneath us and we found ourselves in a large underground room, just as I had predicted.

I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to be doing; I was kind of going along for the ride at this point. I went to take a step forward, but the woman held me back, so I didn't move.

A man dressed in black walked towards us. "Hello," he said smoothly. "You must be Echo."

I smiled, grateful that he had used my nickname. "Yes, that's me," I told him.

"Good." He was polite, but his tone was brisk. He handed me a folder. "I'm not going to be the one to debrief you, but you're going to need those."

I took them without question, and he walked away. I looked at the red-headed woman, who shook her head. "That's director Fury," she told me, "and I'm Natasha."

"Nice to meet you," I said. She turned and led me through many hallways. I got a bit turned around, but finally we came to a big room. There were a few more hallways leading from it, and a couple tables inside of it.

"This is called the cafe," she said. "The kitchen is right through there, and the rooms are this way." She pulled me down yet another hallway. We stopped in front of door 413.

"This is your room. Mine is right down the hallway a bit," she said in a friendly way. "If you have any questions, just come find me."

She left me to take my light travel bag into my room. I always traveled with hardly anything, it was just a habit. I shut and locked the door behind me as I entered my room. I set my bag on the bed and faced the mirror. I messed with my hair for a minute before deciding it was a lost cause.

I turned with a start as a phone rang on the wall behind her. I picked up the receiver tentatively.

"Miss Adams?" said a gravely male voice on the other end. "Can you meet at the cafe in fifteen minutes?"

"Sure." I was about to hang up when I added, "Who is this?" Unfortunately, the man had already left.

I went back to the mirror, but I didn't feel like dressing up or anything, so I decided to just relax until I had to leave.

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Created by SevSaysSkidaddle

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Hogwarts, Middle Earth, GB
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