-1All characters appearing in Captain America and other Marvel titles are copyrighted to Marvel Entertainment and Stan Lee. All real persons mentioned in this story belong to themselves. No infringement of these copyrights or offense to the people mentioned is intended, and is not authorized by the copyright holder or persons. All original characters are the property of TVfan.
Note: I'm using the events of the "Winter Soldier" story line as the main canon to this story, but I'm also going to say that this story is in the same "Universe" as my "A New Life" story in the Spider-Man section, since Captain America and Spider-Man are both Marvel Characters. This story takes place six months after my "A New Life" story and obviously some time after "Winter Soldier" in the comics.
Second Note: This is my version on Marvel's current "Civil War" storyline and will differ greatly in many ways from what has been published. Mostly because I don't like the idea of heroes fighting heroes and the fact that is the main point of Marvel's current storyline, and the fact that they killed Steve Rogers at the end of it.
Chapter 12: Saving Heroes
Red Skull Reich
The Red Skull sat alone on his intelligence room, following the news reports coming over the television. One the screen he was watching President Bush was speaking and the Skull was not pleased by what was being said.
"What has happened, is not something easily admitted," Bush spoke, "It appears that the Red Skull has deceived everyone and is does not truly seek to aid our country. Information has recently come in that would indicate that shows that the Red Skull had some involvement in the attack on Stamford and is thus behind the political infighting currently damaging our country. Because of this, all friendly relations between the Red Skull Reich and the United States is now done."
The Red Skull frowned as the screen shifted to a news reporter in a studio, elsewhere.
"This announcement was made half an hour ago as the President has responded to information delivered to him by the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Anthony Stark," the reporter continued, "It has seemingly put an end to the 'alliance' that the President has tried to forge between the Red Skull Reich and the United States since the creation of the Red Skull's island country. We now go to Harold Thompson for analysis. Harold, what will happen now?"
"Greg, the President wants nothing more then to ask S.H.I.E.L.D. to attack the Red Skull Reich directly," Harold Thompson answered from his seat at the table on the screen, "He's been embarrassed by the actions that he has taken to deal with the Red Skull from day one, and with this new information, he's finally found out that the Red Skull never had any intention of helping the United States, and that only shows had bad things have become."
"Will that happen?" Greg, the main reporter, questioned.
"It's unlikely," Harold answered, "With the present situation in Iraq as it is, and the fact that the President tried to ally the United States with the Red Skull, there is no support in Congress for another preemptive war, and some could even argue that with the Red Skull, preemption is no longer possible."
"Wouldn't they all agree that the Red Skull is a problem?" Greg asked.
"They would now, but agreeing on an action is a problem and being able to act is even harder to do," Harold said slowly, "Politics and other matters have kept Congress from being able to do much in any sort of direct action against the Red Skull. The matter of the Registration Act is chief among them."
"Speaking of the Registration Act, what is the situation concerning it now, as America's superheroes might be our only hope?" Greg asked.
"The Registration Act is essentially on hold, as Steven Rogers, the former, Captain America has recently surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and officially sued the United States government over the constitutionality of the Registration Act," Harold answered, "which is causing an even greater stir in Congress as opinions on Rogers and the Registration Act are becoming divided as well."
"How so?" Greg questioned.
"While the Registration Act passed by a nearly unanimous vote, there are at present a growing number of Congressmen and women that want the bill reexamined and amended," Harold answered, "Rogers's rebellion against the act is not likely to make this any easier, and is largely maintaining continued S.H.I.E.L.D. attention on the Registration Act."
"What do you mean?" Greg asked.
"S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new director, Anthony Stark has taken a vested interest in the Registration Act, and is the leading voice for the present act being amended or replaced," Harold answered, "although that may depend on how Rogers's day in court goes."
The Red Skull then turned the televisions off. Things were going against him, and he was beginning to become frustrated with what would be a great setback for him.
"At least the Registration Act is still in play," cam Sin's voice from behind him, "They've only decided not to be allies anymore."
The Red Skull turned to see his daughter standing there, and nodded after a moment or to.
"Having them as an ally was on our absolute best case scenario anyway," the Red Skull sighed, "I just wished it could have lasted a little longer. Especially after how good things went when this started."
There was a silence for a moment before the Red Skull continued.
"We will have to put more work into preparing our own defenses," the Red Skull informed her, "Even if the Americans can do nothing as an individual nation, we must anticipate that either S.H.I.E.L.D. or some other nation will try something in the near future."
"I'd think that S.H.I.E.L.D. would be just as distracted as the Americans are," Sin commented, "With them having to enforce the Registration Act and all."
"They'll be distracted for awhile," the Red Skull answered, "but the Registration Act will only be a real for a short time. In time even that will cease to be and issue and we'll have to deal with America's heroes."
There was a brief moment of silence for a short while as the Red Skull turned back to face the presently turned off television screens.
"At least I will enjoy seeing the Americans crucify their greatest hero," the Red Skull smiled, referring to the upcoming trial of Steven Rogers, "While the Americans have much to gain by convicting Rogers, it will be awhile before any of their superheroes follow S.H.I.E.L.D. or their own government without question."
"Their government will likely create a new 'Captain America'," Sin commented.
"He will not be the same," the Red Skull replied, "A non questioning soldier will never be as good as the individual that knew what he was fighting for and why he was fighting for it."
Tony sat quietly as another series of FBI agents attempted to talk him into handing Cap over to them. It had become the latest attempt to try and quiet the entire Registration Act situation. The Supreme Court was yet to decide on whether or not they would hear the case and the government apparently wanted Cap in their custody.
"It's an affair involving the United States government and its laws," the FBI agent spoke, "it would be best if he were moved to Federal custody."
"He's also only a prisoner because of the Registration Act," Tony answered, "and I am also sure you're fully aware that S.H.I.E.L.D. has the right to either detain or inspect all criminal incarceration facilities that are to hold persons whose abilities that are deemed beyond the capacity of normal law enforcement to control. And since the Registration Act has made it clear that America's superheroes can not be trusted, he thus falls under S.H.I.E.L.D. jurisdiction."
The FBI agent gave him a very sour look.
"If you're worried that Cap will not be delivered to his court date on time, then I assure you that your worries are baseless," Tony continued, "I have no intention of violating any of Cap's rights or to simply hold him. He wants his 'day' in court, and he will get it."
The FBI agent sighed, got up and left the room. As he did, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent entered holding a large business envelope. The agent saluted and waited for Tony to acknowledge him. Tony looked up and saw him and sighed, guess that it would not be his day to get any other work done.
"Yes?" Tony inquired.
"You received a document from the US Supreme Court's offices, sir," the agent answered, handing him the envelope.
Tony quickly took it in his hands and began to open it.
"This must be the answer as to whether or not they'll hear Cap's case," Tony commented aloud.
He then looked up to see the agent still standing there, looking incredibly confused. It made him sigh again.
"You may speak freely," Tony sighed.
"There are some things that really confuse me, sir," the agent commented, "I can understand that Rogers would challenge the constitutionality of the Registration Act, but why have you been doing most of the paperwork for it, or having S.H.I.E.L.D.'s legal divisions work on the paperwork?"
"Because the way the present Registration Act was written and the way it was intended to be enforced isn't right," Tony answered, "The way things are being done are dangerous for everyone. Cap and I are both certain that the Red Skull was behind the act and that he intended for us to fight each other."
"You haven't," the agent commented.
"Yes, but that doesn't mean future heroes on either side won't,' Tony sighed, "the way things have been done will leave lasting and dangerous consequences on the future, long after I am too old to put on my armor. There is too much of a control element in it that is beginning to be overused, and with the Registration Act itself, that is one of the things Cap feared would happen. Maria Hill wanted to control America's superhuman population, make them report to her and do as she wished, which the government found appealing as they thus got a voice in how superhero versus super villain battles were fought."
"But shouldn't that be the way things are done?" the agent asked, "I mean, most of these fights generate a lot of damage. The government can't just keep letting people lose everything because of them."
"Yes, but which is worse, three thousand dollars worth of damage," Tony began, "or potentially more financial damage counting whatever was stolen, and the potentially fatal consequences on normal law enforcement before a superhero is called in. I won't say that some sort of regulation might be necessary, but the way things are being done is not the way."
Tony sighed and then continued, "and a lot of us have foes that would not hesitate to use lethal force and are generally smart enough to cause trouble on a much larger scale then simply the loss of money. I, mean, look at the present situation. The Red Skull has come up with a plan that very nearly started a superhuman civil war in the United States, and very well still could. He is behind everything, and the tape Cap gave us proves it. He may have played to legitimate concerns, but that is something that men like the Red Skull love to play to. It allows men like him in the political arena to lead others into committing acts of great evil."
"So what do you plan to do?" the agent asked, "If you don't mind my asking."
"Cap is struggling to try and stop the Red Skull," Tony answered, "We're going to let him try. There are a fair number of legitimate reasons for a Registration Act, but the Skull insured that the act that passed Congress was far too extreme. For now, we'll let Cap have his day in Court, and then we'll go from there."
Tony then opened the envelope and began reading the paperwork inside it. After a few moments, he sat back with an almost relieved smile on his face.
The Security Cells
Steve sat alone in the cell he had been put in. He hated the situation he was in, incarcerated in a cell and awaiting trial, but it was the only real way he could fight the Registration Act. He was certain that the Red Skull had intended for America's heroes to fight each other over the issue, and he was glad that that part of his plan had been avoided from the beginning. Not that fighting the Pro-Registration heroes would have done anything really. It would have only added fuel to the fire for government to use in supporting the Registration Act, and he knew that beating up friends would only prove that Cap and the Anti-Registration heroes were better combatants and they would have had to go underground afterward.
He sighed and looked up to see the door hiss open, letting Tony enter.
"I swear you have a sixth sense about that these sorts of things," Tony commented as he walked in and sat down on the bench next to Steve.
"I was actually looking up because it was something to do," Steve told him, "not much else I can do until I can go before the court."
"Then I guess I have good news for you," Tony commented, "I just got an answer from the Supreme Court. They acted a lot faster then I expected, but then, maybe they're awestruck by the fact that Captain America is bringing something in to their attention."
"Will they hear the case?" Steve asked looking up, and looking slightly optimistic.
Tony nodded, "The decision to hear the case was nearly unanimous in favor. The decision speed up the process passed only by a narrow margin."
"Probably a good thing that it's been moved up," Steve commented, "If this thing with the Registration Act, the Skull could still do something. The tape may have stopped his influence on the government, by getting them to back away from him, but that doesn't mean the Skull won't devise some new attack."
"He probably won't," Tony told him, "at least not directly. America may be over extended militarily, but the Skull knows that Europe would be all to eager to see the Red Skull tried for war crimes and would be willing to fight with American troops, and that's despite everything that's happened here, politically that is. He'll sit back and build up his own defenses. He's going to have to play by the rules of international politics now, if he wants his little island to be respected as a nation."
"Doesn't mean he'll use other methods," Steve warned.
"We'll be on the lookout," Tony commented, "I'm sure everyone will. In the meantime, well do everything we can to see that you are treated fairly."
Sharon sat quietly watching the television screens that were covering events going on in the outside world. It was about all she could do now really. She was certain that after deserting S.H.I.E.L.D. in Washington, she would be looking at best charges of cowardice or desertion. Buck would be facing the same possible punishment as well, as S.H.I.E.L.D. had run itself as a military organization since before even Fury had been the Director. If she returned it would be a cell for certain, and if not, it would be a life on the run. She silently prayed that she made the right choice.
"In the news today, the months of struggle between the government and the hero popularly called 'Captain America' has reached a climax as the United States Supreme Court has decided to hear his case considering the legitimacy of the Superhuman Registration Act," the news reporter spoke in a calm voice, "in an announcement earlier today, the Court also announced that they agreed to speed up the standard procedure in handling the case."
"He'll make it through," came Fury's voice from behind her.
Sharon jumped in surprise and turned to see Fury standing quietly just inside the room. The man only snickered a little bit.
"He'll make it through," Fury repeated, "Cap's made it through rougher scrapes then this."
"Yes, but arguing before a court is a bit outside his experiences," Sharon commented, "If they challenged him to a fight, that would be one thing, but right now the challenge is on him to prove his point."
"Stark will probably give him all the legal advice he needs to deal with them," Fury answered, sounding unconcerned.
"But Stark backs the Registration Act," Sharon commented.
"From what I've seen, not in the way it's being enforced or interpreted," Fury commented, "and besides, the two of them have been fairly good friends as Avengers teammates. I doubt Tony would cold heartedly ignore that friendship, especially while the act is now starting to cause more trouble then it's solving."
"Doesn't mean the case could be defeated," Sharon warned, "The current court is filled with people that analysts believe will side with Bush and the government."
"And that is what we must prepare for," Fury said firmly, "And why I will need you and Buck to be on the top of your game."
"We will," Sharon said.
"Good," Fury answered, "because what we will have to do will be a bit beyond what's been done so far."
Sharon turned around looking slightly puzzled.
"We all agree that the Registration Act is at least being used badly, if not bad in itself," Fury commented, "but, if the Supreme Court sides with the act, Cap is likely to face prison time and the guys underground here will be looking at real trouble."
"So what?" Sharon asked, "We conquer the US militarily and rewrite its laws? If Cap loses, our mission will be to either help the people here find cover or get them out of the country. The Registration Act may be going south, but the rest of the country hasn't. Not entirely anyway."
"Yes, and how do we do that?" Fury answered, "The cover for these people will have to be a new identity, as I doubt they're just going to retire. That's going to take a lot of work, work which will need to look authentic."
"But you know I'm not a forger," Sharon told him.
"True, but what you and Buck will be needed for will be the freeing of Cap," Fury spoke, "I'm not about to let him rot in a cell for the rest of his life."
"What do you want me to do?" Sharon sighed, knowing full well that she didn't want to see Cap in a cell either, although, privately, that was for a fairly different reason.
"For now, follow outside events closely," Fury instructed, "Cap won't be going before the Supreme Court for awhile, yet, and for all we know, they could side with him. Many members of the current court were appointed to repeal Roe vs. Wade. They haven't had a case like that to challenge that ruling, but that doesn't change why they're there."
There was a brief pause for a moment before Fury continued.
"We also might want to keep an eye on Stark," Fury commented with a sort of knowing smile, "See how he handles my old job. If Cap fails, knowing Stark well might be necessary and definitely helpful."
"Of course, sir," Sharon sighed.
The announcement that the Supreme Court would hear Cap's case was not felt well everywhere. Chaney fumed at the entire decision as well as at the general situation. President Bush wasn't entirely very happy either. The Red Skull had effectively pulled down the pants of every neoconservative that had agreed to back the quasi-alliance, and with elections coming up quickly, both were certain that the hope that no one would ever vote Democrat again was beginning to clearly slip away.
"I can't believe they agreed to listen to that traitor's case," Chaney growled, "Next I suppose they'll say that the Geneva convention applies to our prisoners in Guantanamo, which we now have no other place to send them."
"The Court could still side with us," Bush commented, "I mean don't this mean that they just think it's necessary to look it over. Just to make sure."
"They're not supposed to review what we're doing," Chaney growled, "They're supposed to be reviewing what those dumb ass liberals did in the past. They're supposed be reinforcing our decisions. That's what we've spent years trying to put like minded conservative judges up for nomination. So that they do what we say."
"But it would show him that he's wrong, that the people support the Registration Act," Bush commented.
"A lot of people are actually beginning to turn against the act," Chaney sighed, "The fact that Rogers never actually harmed anyone directly and the fact that we've been embarrassed by the Red Skull has made a lot of people simply back him. They don't want to support something that the media has told them is the Red Skull's fault."
"Can't we tell them that it isn't?" Bush asked, "I mean I know we're taking heat because of what the Skull did, but the Registration Act is totally different."
"We shouldn't be facing 'heat' to begin with," Chaney growled, "I have a bad feeling that everything we've tried to accomplish is about to be undone."
"All you need is a little faith," Bush said confidently, "God won't let evil win."
Steve waited patiently for a couple of days before Tony returned for anything truly serious. When he did, he was carrying a change of clothes. Steve looked at him with a rather confused look on his face.
"You have your chance to present your argument before the Supreme Court today," Tony commented, "This isn't a criminal trial, so a orange jumpsuit wouldn't be tolerated. Hopefully one of my spare suits fits."
"It'll be tight on me," Steve commented.
"We don't have time to get you a normal suit," Tony sighed, "You'll have to deal with it."
Steve sighed and looked down for a moment.
"Okay," Steve sighed, "I trust you'll give me some privacy to get changed?"
Tony nodded, "Just knock when you're ready to go. You'll have to be guarded, but I'll be going with you to make sure that there isn't any problem."
Tony then left the cell and Steve sighed. He had wanted to wear the jumpsuit he had been made to wear as a symbol of how far the government hand fell, but sighed heavily. He wasn't going to a criminal court. He was going to the US Supreme Court. Things would be very different there from anything he had seen before, and officially, he doubted he would be called 'Captain America' so he also doubted that his normal costume wouldn't work well, either.
Tony waited quietly outside the cell with a nervous look on his face. He initially thought that registration was a good idea, and while he still thought that the idea was a good one, he found the way it was presently being used was not. And Cap was now paying the price for its misuse. He hoped that Cap would be able to convince the judges to agree on the current Registration Act. Things would be awfully tough in the future if he didn't, and this was about more things then just the Act itself or the Red Skull. The way things were going, Tony was privately certain that the right to have superheroes itself was on trail.
After a few moments, there was a knock on the cell door and the guard turned to open it. It opened to reveal Steve wearing the suit that Tony had given him to wear. As Steve had predicted earlier, the suit looked extremely tight on him, but thankfully was not so small that it impeded his movement.
"This thing is tight, but I'm ready," Steve announced.
"I'm really sorry," Tony sighed, "but protocol and half a dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that I've had to…"
"It's alright," Steve answered, "Even if you had a suit that would fit me, this is not something that I've ever done before."
Nearly every anti-registration hero filled the monitoring room as a news reporter stood on the screen in front of the building that the Supreme Court heard cases in. Fury quietly leaned against a wall while Sharon and Buck sat at a small table in front of the television screen.
"Thank you, Cal," the reporter on site reported on the screen, "As you can see behind me I am in front of the building used by the Supreme Court, where in a few moments the first case heard before the court that could be of a criminal nature is soon to be held."
He then paused for a moment before continuing onward.
"As everyone knows, Steven Rogers, popularly known as Captain America, has taken offence to the Superhuman Registration Act and has been campaigning for its repeal," the reporter continued, "Which has recently climaxed with his surrendering himself to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and delivering a formal challenge to the Supreme Court stating his intentions to challenge the Registration Act."
"And the court recently announced it would hear the case and would actually speed up its procedure to do so," the studio reporters voice commented, "What will be the repercussions of this 'trial'?"
"If the court upholds the Registration Act as it is, it could mean very large consequences for the superhero community," the reporter responded, "The act has divided the superhero community down the middle between those who support the act and those who don't. It was originally feared that the two groups would fight each other directly, but it appears that fears concerning the Red Skull or suspicions of the Red Skull's involvement in the events that led to the passing of the Registration Act prevented that from happening. But with him now isolated on his island 'country', the agreement between the two groups may not last."
"Does that mean that Stark will actively lead the Pro-Registration Heroes in a fight against those who supported Rogers's position?" the studio reporter, Carl, asked.
"It's possible," the on site reporter informed him, "although that can not be known for certain. Stark supports the Registration Act, but according to recent press releases, it is more the identification and training of superhumans that he supports, and not the sort of 'draft' that the current act has become. He could possibly decide to ignore the anti-Registration heroes and focus on the parts that he supports."
There was another brief pause before the site reporter spoke again, "the real danger is will be done between government and the anti-Registration heroes. While the act demands all heroes work for S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. itself is not held responsible for insuring that. While Director Hill enthusiastically tried to get S.H.I.E.L.D. involved in that, she did not have to, and Stark's plan so far has aggravated some in the government as being far too soft. That means that those heroes or other persons directly employed by the US government, and not through S.H.I.E.L.D. may be ordered to go after Rogers's supporters, in addition to the possibility of military force being used to enforce the Registration Act."
"What if the act is declared unconstitutional?" the studio reporter asked.
"That is really anyone's guess," the site reporter answered, "The Executive Branch and most of those who support Registration have already said that they will 'do everything possible to insure that the Registration Act remains unchanged, regardless of the decision' but with the current act's growing unpopularity and this being an election year, Congress may not pass another one, even one that is watered down. A new act could be passed, but then again, it might end up being tabled until after the election."
"Let's hope everything goes well," Sharon sighed as the group continued to watch the television screen.
The news people were there and were determined to cover the trial, and while they couldn't directly show what was happening, they did state that they would keep broadcasting to give updates on what had happened in the trial. Sharon sat back quietly and sighed, knowing that there were a lot of things at stake and that if Steve failed, their future wouldn't be easy.
Steve was practically blinded by the flashes of cameras as he exited the police car that he had been brought in. He had been placed in the back seat shortly after he had arrived in Washington. He was still guarded by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and Tony was directing several of them to keep a path clear so that he could walk into the building. Several of the present reporters asked him questions, but he ignored them and pressed on. Once inside, things were much more reserved and quiet. No reporters were allowed in the main room, and Steve was ushered to the prosecution chair before the nine seats where the justices sat. He quietly sat down while people who would be watching the 'trial' entered and sat behind the wooden divider. Tony sighed and approached him.
"I'm sorry we're having to make you look like a criminal in all of this," Tony spoke with a sigh.
"It's alright," Steve answered, "my case is slightly different from others in the Court's history."
"Hopefully you're able to make history," Tony answered, "I'll be watching here, just to make sure everything goes smoothly."
Steve nodded as Chaney and several lawyers representing the government entered and began setting up their briefcases and papers in the 'defendant's' desk.
"The only time when the defendant is legally allowed in the plaintiff's chair," Chaney grumbled, "What is this world coming to?"
Steve ignored the comment, sensing it was coming from a politicized viewpoint that didn't want to admit that mistakes were made. After waiting a little while longer the standard guards entered to take their places. Soon after, the highest ranking guard stood between the plaintiff's and defendant's desks and the long 'desk' that the justices would sit behind and cleared his throat.
"All rise," the guard spoke as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts lead the rest of the Supreme Court Justices into the room.
Steve and the others all stood up while the Justices took their seats. They sat in order of seniority from left to right to hear the case. After the others took their seats, Chief Justice Roberts remained standing and prepared to speak.
"Everyone may be seated," Chief Justice Roberts spoke in a firm voice, "the case of Steven Rogers versus the United States of America concerning the Superhuman Registration Act will now commence. Mr. Rogers would you please inform the Court as to which article of the Constitution that the Superhuman Registration Act violates?"
"The Thirteenth Amendment" Steve answered plainly.
"Very well," Chief Justice Roberts answered, "You may state your case. However, given the fact that the Act currently makes you a criminal that could possibly face charges of treason and sedition, you are not to leave your desk or chair."
"Yes, sir," Steve answered and then sighed and looked down at the pitiful lack of any evidence on his desk, mostly the fact that the government had refused to give him any copies of what he could use as evidence.
That made him sigh heavily before speaking.
"The Superhuman Registration Act is an act of little care for the rights of human beings," Steve spoke after a few moments, "true, it targets a relatively small portion of America's population, superhumans, but the American government exists to protect the rights of all its citizens, not to enforce a 'tyranny of the majority'. The government will tell you that it was a legally passed law by the bulk of both houses. But the law itself greatly restricts the rights of all superhumans in the United States. And it is in this how the act is in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment."
There was a brief silence for a moment before Steve continued.
"By the wording of the Registration Act, all superhumans, regardless of their personal choices must 'unmask' themselves and report for assignment with local S.H.I.E.L.D. offices," Steve continued, "and this is regardless of their choices in careers. It is not limited to those who have chosen to be heroes, it is says that every superhuman must work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and is bound to serve the organization for life. Now, I am not opposed to working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but that is my choice of career, and I would accept the using of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a training facility for others who decide to become heroes, but that would again involve people who chose to be heroes and require the training. The act, however, would force people who do not want to be super heroes to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and undergo the training just because they are superhuman. They lose the right to chose their careers, which only means that the fact that they are superhuman has made them slaves to the government even without committing a crime."
Steve again paused for a brief moment, hoping they would believe him.
"That is the heart of the matter," Steve finished, "There are many other things about the Registration Act that I believe are wrong, but they can not be proven constitutionally. But the fact that it makes every superhuman work for S.H.I.E.L.D., even if they did not want to be superheroes, and keeps them there for life, that shows that the Registration Act is intended to make superhumans slaves of the government. Because when one is forced to do a job they did not chose to do for life, that is slavery. That is all I can say."
Steve then sat down and looked forward very respectfully.
"A very interesting argument," Chief Justice Roberts spoke, "Mr. Vice President, you may now speak in defense of the Superhuman Registration Act."
Chaney then calmly cleared his throat.
"Justices of the Supreme Court," Chaney began, "the man who just spoke is a traitor to the United States of America and has no business bringing matters before you. He should be facing a military Court Martial and then a firing squad for his actions. The Superhuman Registration Act was passed to better protect the people of the United States, from super villains such as the Red Skull, from the religious fanatics that are currently tormenting our brave soldiers in the Middle East, and from traitors an communists such as Rogers who seek to destroy this country from within. The Registration Act protects the American public from these menaces."
Chaney then walked to stand in front of Steve's desk.
"Contrary to his accusation, it is not slavery," Chaney said firmly, "It is a draft. Conscription of beings who have tremendous amounts of power. The draft, conscription, is not illegal or unconstitutional, and it is still an approved method for the United States to use to gain added manpower. Each hero that registers will be paid a yearly salary for their work for S.H.I.E.L.D., which is further proof that it isn't a slave system. Slaves aren't paid for their work."
Chaney then turned and walked back to his desk.
"Removing the Registration Act would also take valuable money away from American corporate businesses," Chaney spoke, "New Yorkers pay extraordinarily large taxes to pay for insurance policies to protect their homes and business from the damages that these heroes cause. The Registration Act allows people to know who these careless and brainless fools are, so when they have a battle with Doctor Doom, or who knows what, and do damage to public and private property, they can be sued and brought to justice for their actions. Regulation of these people is a must if our society is to be safe and orderly and within the limits of the law. The Registration Act provides that. Remove it, and the nation will fall."
"What about those superhumans that do not chose to become superheroes?" Justice Ginsburg questioned.
"Pardon?" Chaney asked back.
"What about people who chose to live normal lives but happen to be superhuman?" Justice Ginsburg clarified, "The Registration Act doesn't clearly separate between superheroes and superhumans, and you have not drawn any difference between the two."
"There is no difference between a superhuman and a superhero," Chaney said angrily, "Any idiot can see that as soon as someone has gained powers, they have either become a superhero or super villain. There is no middle ground that can be taken. If that is done, heroes will hide behind the phrase 'superhuman' and that they do other jobs and will continue to do damage to our nation without the control of normal people over them. The act is protected under the 'necessary and proper' clause as it is necessary to insure that the United States has weapons superior to those of her potential enemies and that the property of its citizens are protected from the damages that superheroes cause in their battles."
The Justices all shared glances before Robert's spoke again.
"We will now adjourn for the day to deliberate the arguments that have been presented before us," Chief Justice Roberts spoke, "Rogers will be detained in the city of Washington until we come to a decision."
Everyone then stood as the Justices then stood up and left the room. Once they had left, Steve's S.H.I.E.L.D. guards moved to lead Steve out of the room. Chaney stopped them.
"You will escort him to the Pentagon," Chaney ordered, "The government will take care of him from there."
"He will be taken to the S.H.I.E.L.D. base north of Washington," Tony cut in, "Seeing as he is fighting with the government, the last place he should be is in a government facility. S.H.I.E.L.D. as a neutral party will hold on to him until the Justices reach a decision. That way, no mysterious sniper can break in and 'remove' the problem without justice being served first."
"You would go so low as to think that the American government would clandestinely commit murder?" Chaney growled.
"No," Tony answered, "but I do think you wouldn't shed any tears if some third party, like the Red Skull arranged Cap's assassination while in your facilities. I can be certain that the Red Skull would not mess with S.H.I.E.L.D. If they find the Registration Act to be constitutional, I will hand him over to you. Not before."
Red Skull Palace, Red Skull Reich
"They'll find the act unconstitutional," the Red Skull said with a sigh as the television news reporters finished their report on trail of the Registration Act, "His separation between superhuman and superhero will clinch it."
"Wish they'd let us watch them grill Cap," Rumlow commented, "I mean he can't just order them around."
"Yes, but there is much work to be done here," the Red Skull said with a sigh, "We must continue to develop our military and rapidly. If the Registration Act is held as constitutional, we win a 'moral' victory in America's heroes will probably end up fighting each other soon afterward, but we also risk America's heroes and military attacking us in force, and even with my power, I can not defeat all of them. If it is declared unconstitutional, we may lose the battle to destroy America, but they will be too busy picking up the pieces to bother with us and we gain time to strengthen our defenses and prepare for the next battle."
"I thought you were furious that things were turning against you?" Sin asked.
"I am," the Red Skull answered, "but, the overall situation is still a win, win for us. We'll just have to accept that. Besides, no plan goes exactly as it drawn up on a drawing board. I'm going to try and adapt to the situation. I would have liked America to destroy itself in a superhuman civil war, and while it doesn't seem as likely, it's still possible."
He then turned his chair to face his daughter and his main lieutenant.
"The destruction of the United States was and is the ultimate goal for us," the Red Skull spoke, "but thankfully, we've shaken them up so much that we have easily secured the stepping stones that will be required for future conquests."
"Conquering the old fashioned way?" Sin asked.
"The first Fuhrer came close," the Red Skull nodded, "and I am far smarter and powerful then he was, and now I have a base from which build my own Reich. Losing this battle will not lose the war."
"That's that," Fury commented before turning to move toward a different room in the bunker as the news station the group had been watching finished its coverage of Cap's day before the Supreme Court.
"He'll win?" Buck asked, "You're certain?"
"I've seen several cases go before the Supreme Court over the years, and I've never seen one succeed by citing the 'necessary and proper' clause," Fury answered, "It's too big and too vague of a clause to be effective in these sorts of cases. One could use it to say that shooting every man named Dave for no other reason then that his name was Dave was constitutional. It's a sign of desperation and that they never intended for the act to be challenged, or at least that they didn't want it to be challenged."
"So, that's a good thing," Sharon commented as she walked over.
"It insures that the Red Skull's plans were defeated," Fury nodded, "can't be a bad thing."
Steve was made to wait quietly in S.H.I.E.L.D. incarceration cell in Washington DC while the fate of his case was decided. Changing cities from New York to Washington didn't change his opinion of prison cells, but he knew that the general situation meant that he would have to deal with the situation. The only real bright side to his situation was that it gave him plenty of time to think.
Mostly on what he wished he could say in his defense. The Registration Act's invasion of the private lives of heroes and militarization of them, as well as many other things were among them. But from what he had learned, those wouldn't hold up in an argument about the constitutionality of the Registration Act. The court would easily rule that privacy did not mean that you had the right to hide your identity. The others would probably have accept the fact that they would have to 'unmask', but he still hoped that he could get the worst parts of the Registration Act removed.
After a few days, the guards opened the door and presented him with Tony's old suit.
"They've made their decision?" Steve asked.
The man nodded, "Director Stark called to say that he would be escorting you personally."
"I'll knock when I'm changed," Steve answered as he took the suit and the guard shut the door.
A few minutes later, Steve knocked on the door and prepared to make the journey to the Supreme Court. The guard then escorted him to the waiting police car, with Tony seated in the front passenger seat.
"I'm sorry, but they won't let me sit in the back seat," Tony commented as the guards helped Steve into the back seat of the car.
"Until the Registration Act is overturned, I'm legally a prisoner," Steve answered, "I shouldn't be riding in a limo."
"I hope you win," Tony sighed, "the way things have been done have caused more problems then they've solved."
"I know that," Steve answered him, "I even warned you about all of this."
Tony nodded, "I know, we've been over this already. It's just that I get the sense that this is more then you verses registration, more then even you against the Red Skull. With the way that the present Registration Act was written and the way Maria Hill enforced it, it made it seem like it was a criminal offense to be a superhero. If you win, you'll probably save every hero in the country from being snuffed out in a metaphorical sense."
"I guess I have a lot on my shoulders then," Steve sighed with a slight smile.
They rode quietly along until they finally arrived the court house. Moving from the car to the courthouse itself went just as it did before. Reporters tried to get him to answer questions and people heckled him or cheered him, depending on their personal viewpoint. Many of Tony's pro-Registration heroes were present for the 'sentencing' as well as many members of the government. Some looked concerned, and a few shared Chaney's seemingly endless anger filled glare. Steve slowly put away his own personal fears as he sat in the chair that he had been given.
After a few moments, everyone was again called to rise as the justices entered the room. They entered and then took their seats. Chief Justice Roberts then stood up with a piece of paper in his hand.
"By a vote of nine voting in the majority and none against," Chief Justice Roberts spoke, "It is the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, that the Superhuman Registration Act is unconstitutional and should not be accepted as law. Security is one of the most important things we hope for, but as a nation of free men, we must respect the right of every individual to chose their own career. Superheroes do require some government control, but if there is to be no line drawn between superheroes and simply superhuman, the Registration Act is not the answer. Not everyone will chose or want to be a hero, and it should not be forced on them. This does not meet that the matter of some form of 'registration' is off limits, but the act that has lead Steven Rogers to 'rebel' was unconstitutional. He is free to go and resume his normal duties with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers."
Steve nodded respectfully as the case was ended and slowly turned to walk out. Tony and a collection of pro-Registration heroes stood waiting for him.
"Congratulations, Cap," Tony said with a smile, "Hopefully things will be done a little more intelligently in the future."
"Hopefully," Steve sighed, "Although I'd doubt after everything that has gone on that they will be quick to try and do anything."
"The reasons for registration won't go away," Tony reminded him.
"But the worst of the problems with registration have been removed," Steve told him, "I'll agree that there are some things that need to be done, but doing things quickly is not the best way."
"Well, let's hope that if a new 'registration act' is proposed again, let's hope they take their time about making sure there is nothing to be offended by," Janet commented.
Steve only nodded with a sigh and moved to keep walking when he found an almost sorry looking President Bush standing before him.
"I really don't know what to say about all this, really," Bush said honestly.
Steve really didn't know how to answer all of that.
"I have to be honest, I've been puzzled as to why you didn't support the act and then Mr. Stark showed that the Red Skull had some involvement in what happened at Stamford," Bush spoke, "it's really left me confused."
"That is exactly the way the Red Skull wanted to you to believe," Steve answered, "the man is a strategic genius on par with Napoleon or Caesar. He likely used the powers of the cosmic cube to influence you to the point where he was able to influence your decision making and thus everyone else's."
"So he used his powers to do all of this," Bush spoke.
"He probably only did very little," Steve answered, "Your presidency has been marked by almost catering to the far Right and using fear as a club to beat the people into voting for you. The Skull knows this as every American does and since you refuse to compromise on anything, all he had to do was give you a nudge in the direction he wanted by making his agenda sound somewhat 'right-wing' and reasonable. You never stopped to think that it might not be a good idea because it sounded like something your advisors would say, something you wanted to hear."
"But I'm a good person," Bush spoke sounding slightly defensive, "Everything I've done has been to protect this country and it's people."
"So were many of the soldiers who served Hitler," Steve answered, "Evil men are always capable of hiding the true nature of their intentions or plans from those who aren't or are at least able to hide their plans behind good concerns. It is why one must always think things through. It allows us to correct any possible mistakes that might be made or prevent us from making mistakes in the first place."
"Certainly sounds like a lot to think about," Bush commented.
Steve nodded and then walked with Tony and the others out.
"I have my limo waiting outside," Tony spoke as they walked out of the court room, "A hero of heroes will ride home in style."
Steve smiled slightly.
"So what will you do now Tony?" Steve asked as they walked out toward Tony's waiting limo, "This whole mess got you the job as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D."
"I doubt the government's going to do anything for awhile," Tony sighed, "but the registration issue will never go away. Maybe, though, if we regulate ourselves, things will work more smoothly."
"Like what?" Steve asked.
"Try to establish a voluntary training program," Tony answered, "Use S.H.I.E.L.D. to train new heroes and prepare them for the sort of life that it is. The real problem is that the only thing that will slow down the urge for registration in the government is everyone went public with their identities, and some of them like Peter have some really bad enemies who bear personal grudges…"
"And would go after their families," Steve sighed, "We have to leave that as their choice. The 'secret identity' thing was never really my thing, but I can't force others to drop it. You're going to have to let people willingly give it up."
"I know," Tony sighed, "but it may be something that must be done. Some form of 'registration' is coming. The current one failed because it went too far. But that doesn't mean that a new one will eventually come around."
"We'll just have to be prepared," Steve answered, "Has the Skull done anything?"
"Nothing so far," Tony spoke, "So fortunately, all the problems that need fixing right now, won't have the added problem of him mucking anything up."
"That's a relief for now," Steve sighed, "I'd be best to work fast, though. It won't be long before he tries something else."
Tony only nodded.
Fury's Bunker, Next Day
It was quiet as Cap entered the 'base' he had used to oppose the Registration Act from. He was there to let the others know that the danger was over. He had wanted to do that as soon as he got back to New York, but Tony and many of the 'pro-Registration' heroes wanted to celebrate his victory in court, and thus over the Red Skull's plans. It only proved to Cap how bad things really were with the Registration Act, that those who initially supported it were glad that failed. Now, he had to let the others know that everything was fine.
To his surprise, he found the place empty. He had expected most of the others to be waiting for him. He then began looking around for them.
"They all went home," came a voice from behind him, "To check on their families and so forth."
Cap turned to see Sharon standing behind him alone.
"We saw the news report," Sharon told him, "Good job, Steve."
"And the others left?" Cap asked.
Sharon nodded, "Although I don't think any of them have left the city. And Buck and Fury will be back later, they're moving on to something big."
"He's not sticking around?" Cap asked.
"He told me he can't just be a sidekick anymore, and specifically your sidekick," Sharon told him, "Staying around would only try to make him become your sidekick again. Besides, what Fury is suspicious of will probably involve all of us here anyway, so it isn't like you won't see him."
"So what will you do now?" Cap asked her cautiously.
"I don't know," Sharon sighed, "Hill probably kicked me out of S.H.I.E.L.D., so I'm out of a job now."
"I'm sure Tony would let you back in," Cap commented.
"Sure," Sharon sighed.
"Is something wrong?" Cap asked.
"Buck would say it's us," Sharon commented.
"Us?" Cap asked.
"Yes," Sharon sighed, "Us. Two people who constantly put duty in front of each other. We've been off and on so many times that our relationship could be described as a trolley in San Francisco."
Cap could only sigh.
"The times that we were 'off' had nothing to do with our feelings for each other," Cap sighed.
"Yes," Sharon nodded, "and that's why we keep getting back 'on'. I still have strong feelings that won't go away."
Cap sighed and nodded, "I couldn't let the Skull just hit you in Washington. I still care for you too."
Sharon gave him a slight smile and nodded.
"So are we 'on' again?" Cap asked.
Sharon sighed and nodded, "I guess so, but let's lay down some ground rules this time. If you decide to propose in the future, do not do so with the intention of turning me into some housewife. And don't think that because Buck is working with Fury that you'll get rid of me."
"That's a given," Cap said, embracing her, "I can deal with that."
The two then kissed and it felt to Cap as though a moment that had always been just beyond his reach was now in his grasp. It felt good.
"So," Sharon spoke as they pulled apart, "You said Stark would give me my job back?"
"I believe so," Cap nodded.
"Then let's go," Sharon answered, "I've lost my apartment by going underground and that means I need to start looking for a new one. I can't do that if I'm unemployed."
"Of course," Cap nodded.
"So what happens now?" Sharon asked.
"Tony says he's working on some way for superheroes to regulate themselves," Steve sighed, "A sort of compromise solution that satisfies both sides. It'll take a lot of time and work though."
"I'd think that after today, you have nothing but time to make sure the right thing is done," Sharon commented as the two left Fury's Bunker.
"The only freedom worth the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way."
John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist, On Liberty (1859)
End Note: This ends my version of Marvel's "Civil War". I do want to do something that will continue from where this story ends, but that will be in the "Avengers" section, and unfortunately, I want to finish the Spider-Man story, "the Laws of Terror and Joy" before I move on to what will be the continuation of this story.