Recruited - Chapter One
"Good evening, Miss Wellington."
Anna Wellington smiled at the doorman as she entered the lobby of Stark Industries' Manhattan Offices. She flashed her identification card at the scanner and, upon hearing the machine's signature buzz of affirmation, she crossed the threshold into the building. "Morning, James," she greeted, plucking a white mocha-filled paper cup from the holder cradled in her arms. "Here," said Anna, placing the cup of steaming caffeine in his outstretched hand. "One tuxedo mocha topped with cinnamon."
The Offices late-night doorman, James Hill, flashed her a smile as he accepted the warm beverage. He placed the cup to his lips and took a slow sip. "It's three-thirty in the morning, and you found an open coffee shop?" He raised a thick black brow.
"One of my best kept secrets," quipped Anna, a small but friendly grin tugging at her lips. "Shouldn't you be more surprised at the fact that it's three-thirty…," she glanced at the large digital clock flashing below the building's high ceiling, "three-thirty-five in the morning and I'm casually strolling into work?"
The man shrugged his shoulders. "With anyone else, yes. With you? Not at all. What's got you here so late?"
The analyst let out a small sigh, and she pushed back the wayward strands of copper coloured hair. "I just need to go over some of the reports and make sure they're correct before sending them to Stark himself. I shouldn't be too long," she explained, waving a hand in goodbye as she strode toward the elevator.
Anna punched the button for the sixty-seventh floor and waited for the elevator to chime. Once the doors opened, she stepped inside and placed her thumb upon the scanner built into the elevator's doors. The scanner's screen flickered to life and she followed the instructions, letting the scanner read her prints. As the lift soared to the sixty-seventh floor, Anna entertained herself by checking her phone for any new messages. Realising she had a new e-mail from Tony Stark, she hurriedly pushed the 'read' button as the elevator doors opened for a second time, revealing the desired floor.
The twenty-seven-year-old stepped out of the elevator and walked along the corridor, the motion-sensor lights flickering on along the way.
"Good morning, Miss Wellington. Might I be able to assist you?"
"Morning, JARVIS," said Anna, trying to fight back a yawn as she let the scan pad outside her office door conduct the retinal scan. She blinked repeatedly as the light dazed her momentarily, and pushed open the door to the office.
JARVIS, Just A Rather Very Intelligent System, one of Stark's cleverest inventions, had been installed three months previous. The AI was for the sixty-seventh floor only, a belated birthday present from Stark to Anna on her twenty-seventh birthday. The installation allowed Anna and Stark to communicate efficiently and effectively; as Stark Industries' top technical analyst, Anna was constantly on call with Stark or Virginia Potts.
"JARVIS, is Tony awake?" asked Anna, waving the magic mouse of the computer around on her mahogany desk. She smiled as the screen flashed to life, and she tapped in her passwords and answers to the security questions in place. "The e-mail I received sounded pretty urgent. Is everything OK?"
"One moment, please," came the AI's voice. A minute later, JARVIS returned. "Mr. Stark is on line two, Miss."
"Thanks," said Anna, pressing the 'accept call' button on the speakerphone. "Tony?"
"Good," came the man's smooth voice, "you're awake."
"You do know there is a three hour time difference from New York to Malibou, right? It may be just past midnight there, but it's three in the morning here."
"What's the problem? You were awake."
"Well maybe I was going to go to sleep," countered Anna, refraining from rolling her eyes.
A pause. "Were you?"
"Well, no, but-"
"See, you weren't going to go to sleep. Anyway, sunshine,-" Anna rolled her eyes at the nickname, "-I have some figures I want you to look at. It's important that we get these done straight away. I'm going to be pretty pressed for time in the next few weeks."
The glass screen to the right of her desk was soon flooded with digital images and numbers. Anna watched as the numbers and equations crowded the digital display when one particular equation caught her eye. Moving from behind the desk, Anna crossed over toward the display and tapped the turquoise coloured equation with three fingers, dragging it over to the glass display opposite.
"See the problem?" questioned Stark.
"I'm looking at a problem," murmured Anna, mulling over the numbers in her head, "but I don't know if it's the problem. Have you ran the information through screens eight to four-hundred-and-nineteen?"
"Huh," hummed Anna, biting at her bottom lip. The first half of the code looked to be in order, but this one particular problem had her head in a spin. "I'll try the other screens to see if anything pops up. What's this code for anyway?"
"Do you really want to know?" laughed Stark, his voice crackling down the line.
"I guess not," breathed Anna, whilst her thoughts flitted back to Stark's earlier words. "You're going to be pressed for time? Finally taking Miss Potts out on the dates you promised her?"
"Speaking of dates," said the male, avoiding Anna's question with one of his own, "how'd the date go with Marshall?"
Anna frowned. "The guy from the mechanics department? How did you know about that?"
"I may have put in a pretty good word about my favourite top analyst," came Stark's response.
"I'm your only top analyst, Tony. And, please," said the woman as she continued to stare at the equations, "stop trying to set me up on dates, OK? I'm perfectly OK with being single."
"Oh, please," scoffed Stark. "I've known you since you were twenty-two and fresh out of college looking for a job, and I've seen you date, what, maybe two guys since then?"
Anna ignored his remark and tapped the equation twice, watching as it split into its previous forms. She studied it for a moment in silence before dragging screens one to six beside it. She placed the equation inside the screens, and she turned back to the phone. "I'm scanning it through again in its simpler forms to see if we missed anything, but I doubt it."
"OK, sunshine. I'm going to finish off working on this project for the newly improved suit. JARVIS," commanded Stark, "make sure Anna is not to be bothered unless it's for coffee or someone asking her out on a date, OK? I'll talk to you later." And the connection ended.
Smiling despite herself, Anna sank back in her chair. "You can forget about that last bit, JARVIS."
"Of course, Miss Wellington."
It was now 11:08am, and Anna was exhausted. She lay slumped against the office floor, staring up at the digital boards with a sour expression cast upon her face. She had sent the equation through seven hundred of the screens and come up naught. With what little information Stark had given her, she was at a loss. Despite her Masters degree in Information Systems, and her Doctoral degree in Computer and Mathematical Science from New York University, Anna felt defeated.
And then it clicked.
She knew why the equation wasn't being recognised, and she quickly tapped out an e-mail to Stark, briefing her findings in a short message.
Coffee, thought the analyst. I need coffee.
Yawning, she exited the office and trudged along the hallway. She was the only Stark Ind. employee with access to this particular floor, so she had complete use of the coffee room. Pouring herself a cup of freshly brewed coffee - she made sure to thank JARVIS for the gesture -, Anna returned to her office and dropped the mug in surprise, unflinching as the ceramic cup smashed, and steaming brown liquid seeped into the cream carpet.
A large, well-built man sat in her desk chair, his gaze directed upon her. He wore all black, and a black-eye patch covered his left eye.
"Anna Wellington," greeted the man, watching her every move.
"JARVIS, the floor has been breached. Call Sta-," she began, her voice confident despite her initial surprise and fear.
"There is no need for that," cut in the man. "I was granted entry. Please," he said, gesturing to the seat on the opposite side of the large desk. "Take a seat."
Anna glared at the man, trying to remember the floor plans. Where was her closest emergency exit? "I'd rather stand."
"Alright," agreed the man, leaning forward now. "My name is Nick Fury, Miss Wellington."
"I've never heard of you," said Anna, folding her arms across her chest. "If it's money you want, you've come to the wrong offices. Stark's in Malibou. And as soon as I press this button here," she gestured to the smartphone in her hand, "the police and military will be called." At this, the man laughed and Anna's glare deepened.
"There will be no need for that, Anna. I am not here for Stark's money, his information or weaponry. I am here for something else entirely."
"And what's that?"
OK, what do you think? This is my first Marvel/Captain America fanfiction, and I'm quite nervous about it.
This chapter is to set the scene and introduce you to Anna and her involvement with Stark Industries and her relationship with Tony (quite like brother and sister). I realise Steve Rogers isn't in this chapter, but he will be making an appearance in the next chapter, I promise!
Once has its section for Avengers/Avengers Assemble (if you're in the UK!), I'll move this story into that section. So... please review!