An End to the Civil War
By Adrian Tullberg
Maria Hill looked up from her report.
A man, in the tattered remains of a skintight gold and red uniform, was being dragged by two of her troopers.
Normally, she would have had him processed and imprisoned. However, he had possessed information that required a more personal touch.
The guards saluted, dropping their prisoner in the process, and left. Good to see even now, proper discipline was in place.
And the proper attitudes.
Peter Parker, a.k.a. the Amazing Spider-Man, could barely hold himself off the floor.
"We got him ... the guy who hired Nitro rolled over..."
Hill rolled her eyes. "We know."
"... and you're covering it up? A businessman hires Nitro to take out a whole school, to kill his illegitimate daughter and her mom, and you destroy the confession?"
"Very clever man. Hiding a hit inside a superhuman fight." Hill held up the report she'd been reading "Did you know he timetabled the whole backlash against superheroes perfectly? If it wasn't an oxymoron, I'd call him a marketing genius."
"You're not answering, lady."
"I don't like answering obvious questions, Mr. Parker."
"... okay then, stop me if I'm wrong. You ... you and a whole bunch of people ... one day decided super heroes ... just won't play ball ... whenever you decide there's a game."
Hill gave a slow, mocking clap. "Very good. Of course, I wouldn't call several high ranking congressmen, senators, Washington power players, international leaders and those on the upper tier of the Fortune Five Hundred 'a whole bunch of people' … but then again, I didn't grow up in Queens."
"Still don't get it."
Good god. They let anyone have a college degree these days. "It's simple."
Hill got up from her desk, walked over, leaned down, and held up Spider-Man's chin to meet her gaze.
"You people need to be controlled. You think that hiding behind masks, and gadgets, and flashy powers makes your kind above the system. Above the whole network that makes ... society."
Hill's wrist communicator toned. She touched the receiver button without breaking her gaze.
"No interruptions." She got up, exasperated. "Just like you supers, some people don't know their place. And we can't have that."
Hill started walking towards the bank of computers at the other side of the office. "Just like we can't have a bunch of heroes deciding that one day, the whole system of government and society should be ... improved. And they will, because they're not a part of the system, and won't be effected by any change they feel like making."
"We ... we do this to save people's lives ..."
Hill stalked towards the prone man on the floor, her boots making an ominous echo through the office.
"And what you do make important people worried. You and everyone else like you make men and women who've spent their lives getting into the big corner offices loose sleep because a super hero might get so popular that they could start a revolution just because little Timmy couldn't afford the medicine he needed."
Hill stopped, a few feet away from Parker.
"And so physically powerful he could do it all by himself."
Her communicator sounded again. Couldn't they follow a simple order?
"I said no interruptions!"
The Director of SHIELD took a fortifying breath, and continued. "So the little people in the street need to think that the little people in the skies need to be registered. Filed. Categorised. Controlled. Then the people who count can get on with running the world."
Spider-Man had heaved himself to a sitting position, and was struggling to stand. Hill had seen the beating he'd taken earlier, and wondered why the hell he was bothering.
"Do you ... really think ... that'll work?"
"Feed the sheep the right images, and they'll take any hope you offer them."
The man was making choking noises from his mask. Good. Breaking his hope now would save valuable time in the interrogation.
He was … laughing.
"What's. So. Funny."
"First off ... your ass is just a bit too large for that costume."
Parker was finally getting to his feet. Hill wondered if she should knock him back down again.
"Second - even a ten year old knows how to make backups. Logan made a few before giving one to me."
Finally, an excuse. "Then he's dead."
"Good luck. And I mean that. He's seriously annoying. And last, but not least…"
Parker pointed to his mostly intact mask.
"... I made a quick stop before handing in my two week notice to Tony. Smile."
Times Square is full of many attractions.
One of them is a large, billboard sized TV screen.
It was currently showing a transmission that was overriding every broadcast and cable feed in the nation, namely that of a woman in a tight blue jumpsuit staring quizzically down the barrel of the camera.
The voice of a now famous former photographer and science teacher filled the air.
"You're on candid camera."
In a small room filled with electronic equipment, Abe Jenkins leaned back in a chair, grinning at his handiwork. If there was one thing a supervillian knew what to do, it was how to make grand statements.
"And they'd said I'd never amount to anything."
The JumboTron revealed the woman's face filling with realisation and horror
"Gonna say anything else? Get anything else of your chest?"
She moved out of the camera's view. The voice continued it's spiel.
"Like how you tried to arrest Captain America with your stormtroopers before the Registration Act passed?Kinda illegal, wasn't it?"
The woman returned, holding a massive rifle.
"Or your little prison camp for everyone who doesn't play ball?"
She pressed a button on the rifle, making it charge up with an electronic whine.
"The whole blackmailing heroes to do dirty work for you?"
With an angry snarl, the woman pointed the rifle directly at the camera.
"Sheesh. Tough crowd."
The rifle muzzle flared –
- the screen instantly burst into static.