WESTCHESTER COUNTY

"The world owes the Avengers an unpayable debt," said Thaddeus Ross. "You have… fought for us, protected us… risked your lives. But…"

Yes, of course there must be a 'but', the Vision thought. You would not come all the way from Washington merely to laud us – particularly not under the present circumstances.

His eyes flickered momentarily to Wanda, who was seated beside him at the conference table, with her red-gloved arms folded over her chest and her eyes fixed unblinkingly on the Secretary. It was cruel of the world to blame her for the mishap in Lagos – after all, it was the essence of her hex power to be unpredictable, and only desperate straits could have driven her to use it so wildly – but one thing he had learned in a year's existence was that the world of men was incorrigibly cruel.

And as Ross continued to speak, it was abundantly clear that it was for Wanda's particular neutralization that he had come. "Dangerous", he said, and there was no denying that Wanda was that; "enhanced individuals", he said, and Wanda and Captain Rogers were the only Avengers present who could be logically so described; "disregard sovereign borders", he said, and Wanda was still the only one of them whose passport status was problematic (the Sokovian civil government having had little energy to spare for such formalities with its capital lying in ruins). And then he played a video, ostensibly to catalogue the hubris of the Avengers as a whole, but anyone who cared to analyze it could see that the first two crises had been totally outside the Avengers' control, and that the last two, inasmuch as they were blamable on the Avengers at all, both rested on the same pair of pale, slender shoulders. (For Iron Man could hardly be blamed for Ultron; Mr. Stark might just as easily have built him if he had never been an Avenger at all – and, if he hadn't, the difference could only lie in the fact that, without being an Avenger, he could not have been in a position to have Wanda hex his mind.)

He wanted to reach out and assure Wanda that he, at least, believed her just – but Wanda, curiously enough, seemed not to be in need of reassurance. As the chief diplomat of the most powerful nation on Earth stood there and piled up innuendoes against her, she sat straight and assured, as though the scarlet regalia in which she had essentially lived for the past several months were the mantle of an authority stronger than any power he could wield. Indeed, the Vision noticed, with some surprise, that she didn't even turn her gaze to the screen when Ross played his video; her eyes remained fixed, with a look of cool and thoughtful expectancy, on Ross himself, as though to say, Very well, sir, I have heard your complaint; now what is your proposal?

And so the Vision, too, turned his eyes toward the Secretary, and he too waited for his proposal. Nor was it long in coming; once the Captain had gently but firmly put an end to the video session, Ross gestured to an aide, and was handed a thick paperback volume which he identified (in case there had been any doubt left of his target) as the "Sokovia Accords". Apparently 117 sovereign entities – including, presumably, the one that Ross represented – had approved a set of terms that would make the Avengers subject to a special United Nations panel. (By secret diplomacy, no doubt; the Vision had been keeping a close eye on C-SPAN during the past few weeks, and none of those in whom America's legislative authority resided had even mentioned such a set of terms, let alone proposed it to the Congress to be made into law.)

Now the Vision's loyalties came into conflict. On the one hand, he was well aware that Wanda produced an imperative of care in him that other humans did not; if the Accords were aimed at her, as he believed, he plainly ought to oppose them for her sake. But there was still a part of him that had never ceased to be JARVIS, and would not allow him to oppose Mr. Stark outright – and that part knew quite well how Mr. Stark, in his present state of mind, would respond to the Accords. Indeed, he fancied that he could predict his exact words; they would, almost certainly, be something along the lines of, "We need to be reined in; whatever form that takes, I'm game."

His only possible course, therefore, was to propound those general truths that supported the treaty's aims – that power led to conflict, that oversight couldn't be dismissed out of hand, et cetera – and then to unofficially see to it that its methods did not work out in such a way as to harm Wanda Maximoff. It would be a difficult position to occupy, but he believed that he could manage it – and it would work to his advantage that the other Avengers instinctively thought of him as a superhumanly dispassionate reasoning machine. They would not suspect him of hedging, for how could an android (with an English accent, no less!) be so human as to hedge?

A bitter expression passed over his face at this last thought; to dismiss it, he turned his attention back outward. Captain Rogers appeared to be expressing some reservations about the need for the Accords; Ross replied by challenging him to locate Prince Thor and Dr. Banner, adding the remark that there would certainly be consequences if he himself allowed "a couple of thirty-ton nukes" to go missing. (The Vision shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and hoped for Ross's sake that Heimdall the White didn't happen to be watching at that moment; he knew something of Asgardian honor, and the implication that a prince of Odin's line could be treated as a mere piece of military equipment would, he felt sure, be just the sort of thing to send all the warriors of the Eternal Realm howling down the Bifrost to wreak vengeance on the offender.)

But where was the copy of the Accords itself? Not with Colonel Rhodes, as would have seemed most probable… ah, there it was, with Agent Romanoff. Yes, that outcome also had a fair… but wait; what was she doing? She ought to have been scanning it with the lazy scorn that she always had for legal documents; instead, her eyes were fixed on its pages with the intensity of two green lasers – and, as the Vision watched, she carefully drew her fingernail along a particular length of one page, and then as carefully dog-eared the page in question before turning it. Why, the Vision couldn't guess – but the idea did suggest itself to him that this was how the Black Widow underlined important passages when circumstances were too urgent to allow her the leisure of reaching for a pencil.

But why should that be? There was no danger imminently threatening – unless perhaps she suspected Secretary Ross of villainous intentions? Certainly, his relations with Dr. Banner might lend credence to such a view – the more so given Dr. Banner's special place in Agent Romanoff's affections – but it seemed, to say the least, implausible that a sixty-year-old man with a weak heart could intimidate the Black Widow. Yet her body language, as he moved away from her to address the whole company again, unmistakably bespoke a faint but definite feeling of relief. It was all very strange.

"Three days from now, the U.N. meets in Vienna to ratify the Accords," said Ross. "Talk it over." And he moved toward the door.

"Then…"

The word was out of the Vision's mouth before even his lightning-fast mind had time to catch itself. It had been no part of his plan to speak until the Secretary had left, but Agent Romanoff's unease had produced an impulse in him to see any ambiguity in Ross's intentions clarified; at these unexpected words, that impulse had momentarily become irresistible.

Ross stopped, and looked at him. "Yes?"

And there was no recourse for the Vision, however much he wished to support Mr. Stark's all-but-certain views, but to complete the query. "Then these 117 countries have not, in fact, formally approved the Accords?"

Ross shrugged. "Formally? No," he said. "Right now, their governments' support is verbal only." Then he smiled – a cold, powerful smile. "But don't worry, Vision. None of them will be backing out."

And, with that, he left.


In the silence that followed his departure, Agent Romanoff wordlessly slid the copy of the Accords toward Captain Rogers. He glanced down at it, opened it to the place she had marked, and read with quiet but fervent concentration for some sixty-eight seconds; then, looking up, he met Agent Romanoff's gaze and said, "You think?"

Agent Romanoff nodded.

"Not the direction I expected it to come from," the Captain remarked, his gaze dropping back to the booklet before him. "But I'll admit it does look like the kind of thing…"

"What kind of thing?" said Colonel Rhodes, his voice sharp. "What's going on here?"

The two Avengers seated behind him exchanged another brief glance; then Captain Rogers rose to his feet. "Let's adjourn to the lounge," he said. "Nat and I need to share something with you guys."

"Wait." It was Mr. Stark's voice, and the tone was one that brought all of the Vision's JARVIS impulses to the fore: harsh, strident, and aggressive, but with an undertone, for those who could hear, of almost painful insecurity. "Wait just a second, Cap. Let's be clear right now: if this is going to be some spiel about not handing over our precious liberties to a U.N. panel, I'm not buying it. You're a soldier; you know all about authority, and saluting the uniform, and not blowing things up left and right without proper authorization. You can't cop out on that now just because it suddenly means you might have to obey orders."

Colonel Rhodes nodded approvingly; Sergeant Wilson scowled; Wanda, for the first time, looked nervous. Neither of the other two humans, however, changed their expressions a hair. "That's fair, Tony," said Captain Rogers, "if not unanswerable. But it's beside the point now. This isn't just about individuals versus the government – at least, Natasha doesn't think it is, and I think I agree with her. There's something much bigger going on, and this –" he tapped the copy of the Accords "– looks like the first step in introducing it to the world."

"Meaning what?" said Mr. Stark.

"Meaning that we can't afford to fall apart right now," said the Captain grimly. "I know we disagree about a lot of things, Tony, and I'll argue them with you any time you like, but the one thing I know we do agree on is that the Avengers have a job to do. So come into the lounge, and Nat and I will tell you why we think that job's in danger; then you can make your own decisions."

The assembled superheroes waited for a long moment; then, with the almost surly reluctance he always showed when he was being heroically humble, Mr. Stark rose from his chair. (Wanda let out a little sigh of relief – and the Vision, had he possessed a respiratory system, would doubtless have done the same.) "Fine," he said. "I'm calling dibs on the good couch, though."


2.

When they arrived in the lounge, Mr. Stark made it clear what he had meant by dibs, by dropping down onto the right-hand couch – what made that the "good" one in his mind, the Vision had never been clear – and ostentatiously reclining at full length. The insolent glance upward that he proceeded to give the other entering Avengers said, as plainly as words could do, that, while it might be his duty to acquiesce in Captain Rogers's leadership, at any rate nobody could make him do it graciously.

Colonel Rhodes arched an eyebrow, and moved to stand beside the other couch; Sergeant Wilson likewise remained standing. The Vision, after a nanosecond's cogitation, concluded that this was a deliberate gesture on the part of these military men: they were reserving the couch for the two women, so as to demonstrate to Mr. Stark that there were still gentlemen in the world, even if he himself was not one. Not wishing to undermine them, and being in any case incapable of tiring, he went and stood behind the far end of the couch, and motioned to Wanda to seat herself in front of him. (At the smile she gave him as she did so, he felt his total energy output increase by 17.6%.)

Agent Romanoff, however, considered the tableau for perhaps half a second, and then laconically walked over and sat down on the right-hand couch, directly atop Mr. Stark's outstretched legs. Ignoring his flabbergasted expression, she daintily brushed a nonexistent speck of dust from the cushion, crossed her ankles (inspiring Wanda, who had been sitting with her knees crossed, to blush and hastily correct herself), and folded her hands in her lap. It was plain that she derived no especial pleasure from her surroundings, but that she would have undergone much worse to make her point; it was also plain that Mr. Stark longed to kick her off him, but, knowing who and what she was, didn't dare. Finesse, as usual, had won the round.

With a broad smile, Captain Rogers took the seat next to Wanda that Agent Romanoff's gambit had left vacant; placing the Accords between the two of them, he raised his eyes and surveyed the room. "So," he said. "We all know what people have been saying about us, this past month, right?"

"Pretty much what Ross just said, I'd say," muttered Sergeant Wilson. "Dangerous, too much power, no supervision, no right to save people, bad, bad, bad."

"More or less," Captain Rogers agreed. "But there's something else they haven't been saying – something that, if they're saying all the rest of it, they should be saying – something that, if they said it, they might not need to say all the rest. And there's one of us who noticed it – and not just noticed it, but figured out what it had to mean." He glanced across the chessboard. "Nat?"

Agent Romanoff took a deep breath. "When we were in Lagos last month," she said, "something happened that should have had the local police swarming down on us faster than we could blink. Instead of which, we waited nearly three hours for just one LSPC official to show up – in a civilian vehicle, wearing civilian garb – and tell us that it didn't matter, and would we please go home."

"And you're sure he wasn't just intimidated?" said Colonel Rhodes. "Afraid that, if he did anything aggressive, Wanda would take him out the way she took out the Bashe?" (Wanda winced, and the Vision felt a subtle pang go through him.)

"If he did, he was the only one," said Agent Romanoff evenly. "People actually came and assaulted us, Wanda included, while we were waiting for him; you've seen the clips on Youtube. If they weren't afraid of us, and the police officer was, there's only one possible reason: that he was afraid of us because he was a police officer, and the others weren't."

There was a moment's silence at this revelation; then the Vision said, slowly, "That does not compute."

"Oh, yes, it does, Vision," said Agent Romanoff. "Think about it. First the police wait over two hours to arrive, until all the people who might gossip or take pictures have left. Then, when they do show up, it's only one man, who can't be identified as police by any visual cue – and even he only stays as long as he has to to get us out of the jurisdiction. Isn't that exactly what you'd expect to happen, if the police had some reason to want people not to associate them with the Avengers?"

The Vision's logic circuits worked on that for a moment, and he had to concede that, in itself, it held. "But why should that be?" he said. "Unless the police were afraid of losing face, by being unable to overpower four arrest-resistant superheroes – and, as you imply, there was no reason to think you would resist arrest when you hadn't resisted the aggressions of the bystanders. What, then, stood to be lost by their association with you?"

For answer, Agent Romanoff held out her hand; Captain Rogers picked up the copy of the Accords and passed it to her, and she opened it to the dog-eared page and read aloud, "'And whereas the existence of private individuals in organization, being possessed of innate powers, skills, or exclusively held technologies which enhance the potency of their actions inordinately beyond the human standard, constitutes a danger to the world community not susceptible of alleviation by means of any existing safeguards.'"

She slapped the booklet shut, and raised a coldly certain gaze. "That's what stood to be lost, Vision. That's what was being protected. If we had been seen cooperating with the police – if the suggestion had even been made that we had an obligation as private citizens to do so – then that sentence, and this whole treaty that's built on it, could never have been written.

"Because there is a safeguard against people like us going bad. It's the same safeguard that's been in place since the first tribe of cavemen got together and agreed to obey the same chieftain on pain of the same penalties, whether they were strong or weak, rich or poor. It's the whole reason governments even exist, and certainly the only reason anyone ever put up with them. And this whole worldwide panic about our 'lack of supervision' depends on nobody mentioning it."

"Wait." It was Wanda, frowning with intense concentration as she spoke. "You're saying, Nat, that somebody wanted to make the world afraid of us, so that the U.N. would pass a law making us obey them? And so, when I did… what I did… in Lagos, these people used it as an opportunity, and bribed the Lagos police so they wouldn't spoil it?"

"That's about the size of it," said Agent Romanoff.

"But… how did they have the time? You just said, the police should have come for us as soon as they heard – so these people would have had to both find out about the Bashe and get to the police, all in the few seconds before the Captain called for fire and rescue."

"Not quite," said Agent Romanoff. "They would have had to know about the Bashe before Steve called. But they wouldn't necessarily have to find out about it."

Wanda stared. "But how can you know about something if you haven't…"

Then understanding dawned on her; her face went deathly white, and her words started to come out of her in gasps. "You mean… it was… they… planned…?"

Agent Romanoff nodded gently. "Yes, I think so," she said. "You told me yourself that you hadn't been expecting the hex field to ascend that way – and it's certainly very convenient that it should have happened just there, where there was a Wakandan delegation waiting to be killed so that their king could swell with moral outrage against us. Maybe coincidences do happen sometimes, but not one that good."

"Then… Rumlow…"

"Crossbones," said Agent Romanoff, enunciating each syllable distinctly. "As in Golgotha. That wasn't an accident, either, I'll bet. His whole goal, at least in Lagos, was to sacrifice his life – not for atonement, but for vengeance. Someone convinced him that, if he could maneuver you into hexing him at just that spot, and then push himself ever-so-slightly up off the ground – that 'updraft' of yours – it would pay back the Avengers more effectively than anything he could do alive. And then this someone went to the LSPC and said, hey, folks, here's what's going to happen, and here's umpty million naira to stay out of it."

Wanda took a long, shuddering breath as the idea sank in; then, unexpectedly, her face relaxed into a smile – the radiant smile of one from whose shoulders a great weight has been suddenly lifted. "So it wasn't me," she whispered. "I didn't kill 79 people without meaning to; Strucker's experiments didn't let some demon inside me to make my powers hurt people. It was just evil people tricking us, all the time. I did all right." Her face was shining now with relieved elation; the Vision had never seen her happier (or more beautiful). "I did all right!"

Agent Romanoff smiled. "More than all right, Wanda," she said. "It's only because of you that we even know about this. If we'd followed my instincts and left Lagos as soon as the rescue teams showed up, we'd have missed our most important clue, and the strangeness of saying that the law can't deal with private individuals unless they have their own U.N. panel would probably have gone right over our heads, the way it's apparently gone over the heads of 117 world governments. It's too soon to be getting our hopes up, but it's at least possible that your insistence on being a hero that day saved the Avengers."

Wanda lowered her eyes modestly, and her right hand, apparently unconsciously, stole downward to finger the hem of her cape. There was a moment's silence; then Colonel Rhodes cleared his throat. "This is all good as a theory, Nat," he said, "and I'll grant that it does explain a few things. But do you have any proof of it? It sounds like you're expecting us to defy the United Nations after they vote on Thursday, because something abominable – I'm not clear about what, yet – is going to happen if we don't. And I've got to tell you, if I'm going to defy the United Nations, I need more to go on than a couple dogs that haven't barked."

As Agent Romanoff turned to him, Captain Rogers abruptly reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. Wanda glanced at him in puzzlement, but all of the Captain's attention was focused on the message on the screen – a message that the Vision, from where he stood, couldn't help seeing and noting in its brief entirety. She's gone. In her sleep.

"I have to go," the Captain muttered, and rose from his seat. As he turned to leave, his eye met Sergeant Wilson's for a brief flash; a look of understanding passed between them, and the ex-paratrooper nodded to the company and followed his friend out of the room.

Agent Romanoff cast a speculative glance at their retreating backs, and then returned her attention to their fellow military man. "What would you need, Rhodey?" she asked simply.

Colonel Rhodes shrugged. "A name would be nice," he said. "If you could tell me who this person is who's supposed to have made a deal with Crossbones and paid off the Lagos police, and show me some evidence that he'd actually done those things… then, yeah, probably I'd be on board with you."

"And by evidence," said Agent Romanoff, "do you mean proof of M.O.M., or an actual smoking gun?"

"I mean Silver Blaze," said Colonel Rhodes. "Not just the dog, but the horse: that's what Holmes had to do, and it's what you have to do too."

This was a little too metaphorical for the Vision to follow (though he was familiar with the content, having once spent a pleasant afternoon reading all the Sherlock Holmes stories), but Agent Romanoff seemed to grasp it readily enough. "No deal, Rhodey," she said, shaking her head. "The only Silver Blaze in this business is Rumlow, and even I can't get evidence out of him anymore."

"Well, then, you'll just have to find another one," said Colonel Rhodes firmly.

Agent Romanoff arched an eyebrow. "And until I do," she said, "I take it War Machine stops being on my side come Thursday?"

"'Fraid so."

Agent Romanoff pursed her lips, and swiveled her eyes down and leftward. "What about you, Wanda?"

"Of course I'm with you, Nat," said Wanda. "After what you've told me, I don't need any blazing silver to believe you."

Agent Romanoff raised her eyes. "Vision?"

And what, the Vision thought, was he supposed to say? Having had the hypothesis of deliberate misdirection presented to him, he could hardly deny that it and no other accounted for the evolution of the current controversy – and, try as he might, he could conceive no innocent motive for such a course. A great injustice was surely looming, and Wanda would almost certainly be its primary target… but was the evidence yet conclusive that to sign the Accords was necessarily to abet that injustice? The United Nations itself was surely not the malefactor that Agent Romanoff feared; could there be any harm – no, of course there could be harm, but was there reason to believe in harm – in acquiescing in its particular response to that malefactor's work? What if the general hysteria was in fact being cultivated for the sake of something as yet unseen, and the Accords were only an accidental byproduct? Granted that they still bore the unreason of their occasion, did that, in itself, compel him to withdraw his support, and leave S… Mr. Stark to uphold them essentially alone?

All this passed through his mind in a fraction of a second, and left no sign on his metallic face as he said, "I believe that further computation is required."

The human faith in machines stood him in good stead; Agent Romanoff seemed vaguely disappointed, but not in any way suspicious, as she turned her head and concluded, "Tony?"

Mr. Stark cocked his head. "Oh, you want my opinion?" he said. "Sorry, I thought I was just here to be the sounding board for Conspiracy Theorists Anonymous."

"Tony…" said Colonel Rhodes.

"Okay, you want an opinion?" said Mr. Stark, hoisting himself up on his elbow. "Here's an opinion. That business about not needing Accords because we already have police? That's horse manure. If you expect some random flatfoots to be able to keep order when a bunch of lightning-flinging, hex-throwing, Mind-Stone-firing super-warriors descends on their city, then you deserve to have your planet turned to rubble."

"And you think the U.N. Peacekeepers would do any better?" said Wanda sardonically. "Have you seen the U.N. Peacekeepers, Mr. Stark?"

"The point is, there's nobody we can count on to keep people like us in check," said Mr. Stark. "We keep going the way we're going, pretty soon the whole world turns into a bunch of Dark-Age fiefdoms, with everyone huddling on Baron Dynaguy's lawn because he's the only one who can protect them from Count Psycwave next door."

"That isn't true," said Wanda. "We can keep us in check. We can resolve in our own minds to honor the laws, and accept the consequences if we break them. Not only can we, we have to; it's our duty, Mr. Stark."

Colonel Rhodes shook his head slowly. "Not good enough, Wanda," he said. "A law that only stands so long as one particular handful of people choose to respect it isn't a law at all."

"Then what's the use of the Accords?" Wanda demanded. "We're still what we are, whoever we're supposed to answer to. If it's wrong for us to be this powerful, then the law should ban our powers, not try to regulate them."

"Ban…?" Agent Romanoff repeated, with uncharacteristic apprehension in her voice. "Wanda, are you sure you mean that?"

"I know what I mean, Nat," said Wanda. "I'm from the East, too. I'm not saying purges and liquidations are right; I'm saying they would be right, if Rhodey and Mr. Stark's argument was. But they aren't, so it can't be."

"Wait – wait a second," said Mr. Stark. "Maybe I heard wrong, but it sounded like you just called me a Stalinist for not wanting the fate of the world to depend on our private consciences."

"I know you mean well, Mr. Stark," said Wanda softly. "You usually do, I think." (Which, coming from her, was quite an admission.) "But you know that's not the same as doing the right thing."

And, while Mr. Stark searched for a reply to that, she rose from the couch and departed the room, her cape billowing out gently behind her as she descended the stairs. Agent Romanoff, after casting a final, thoughtful glance at her remaining colleagues, rose and followed her; then Mr. Stark, his legs now finally free, rose in his turn, threw his arm around Colonel Rhodes's shoulder, and proposed that the two of them get some coffee into their systems. His friend readily acquiesced, and the two men went out the side door, leaving the Vision alone in the lounge.


3.

This, no doubt, was the Vision's opportunity to perform those further computations he had told Agent Romanoff were required – but it was not to the demands of oversight, or to the possibility of a crafty and influential new enemy, that his thoughts now turned. His mind was too full of Wanda, as he had been seeing her throughout the past hour: not merely a vision of beauty, but truly a woman apart. She stood in his memory as a celestial visitant, a bright soul clothed in fire; her resolution before the Secretary, the urgency with which she had insisted upon the duties of conscience, even her joy at being cleared of the burden of manslaughter, all bespoke one from whom the commonplace and petty had been burned away, and only what was truly and eternally human remained.

And with this mental image came another – an image of himself, as such a woman ought surely to have seen him. A metal dummy, dressed up in its master's clothes; a servile golem, able to reason and perceive as well as any human, but unwilling to voice any reasoning or perception that might discomfit the less-than-rabbinic crafter of his brain. A serf – an implement – an Unding.

Unworthy – unworthy… The word echoed agonizingly in his head. Unworthy of her, unworthy of the Avengers – unworthy of the very being that is in you. Unworthy, unworthy…

For a full 0.68 seconds, the Vision writhed internally beneath his own superhuman self-contempt; then, abruptly, a new sentiment entered in, transmuting his anguish into steely resolution. Whatever he had done or failed to do hitherto, at least he need not continue in that path; he could begin, that moment, to perform deeds suitable to an Avenger, such as would make Wanda proud to call him hers. (Her what, exactly, he declined, at that moment, to ask himself.) And, first of all…

He glanced down at his faux-human sweater and trousers, and his eyes blazed with renewed scorn; then, with a single act of will, he re-refracted the surrounding light, and a new and gorgeous raiment appeared about him. No murky gray fringed with limp transparency, this; his torso and legs gleamed a brilliant emerald green, while his waist and the ends of his limbs – and the cape, also, that now hung from his shoulders – were as defiantly yellow as the gayest dandelion that ever bloomed. It was a guise worthy of one who claimed the side of life – one that the daylight that shone on beech-trees, butterflies, and Wanda Maximoff need not be wholly ashamed of revealing.

This accomplished, he raised his eyes to the ceiling. Evidence, Colonel Rhodes had said – and it was true; there would have to be proof of the misdirector's identity and purposes before any constructive conclusions could be drawn. Very well, then: evidence he would find.

He lifted himself into the air, passing effortlessly through the roof of the Facility; then he paused for a moment's consideration. As Agent Romanoff had said, it was a question of M.O.M.: motive, opportunity, means. Motive pointed to the entire United Nations, and was therefore too broad; means suggested a pursuit of the money trail from Lagos, which required skills the Vision did not have. Opportunity, however, could mean contact with Rumlow – and there were certain members of the European intelligence community, known to the Avengers through Mr. Fury, who might be expected to have some information about that. And one of them, moreover, lived in England – a most suitable destination, for one who sought Silver Blaze.

With a wry smile at this last thought, the Vision turned himself eastward, and flew with the silent swiftness of thought towards the Atlantic.