Summary: Bobbi Morse has been recruited as a researcher for S.H.I.E.L.D. and when her life is threatened by A.I.M. a certain Avenger is assigned the task to protect her.
Author's Note: I realize that yesterday's chapter was really short, so here's a slightly longer chapter. I'm obviously not following what has been done in the comics, but I am taking a few elements and molding them for myself. Enjoy this chapter and don't forget to review!
Chapter Two: Choices
Six Months Prior to Graduation, Georgia Tech Campus
The clock tower bells pierced through the night air and this alerted the librarian to do her daily routine strolls through the stacks to pick up stray books and push in chairs. Upon reaching the last floor, she noticed a woman sitting in the middle of the aisle with several books strewn around her. The librarian inwardly sighed at the sight before her and scratched her throat out loud, "Mam, the library is about to close." The librarian noticed a variety of colored post-its tagging different passages and formulas throughout the books and immediately recognized the young woman as a graduate student.
Pen in mouth, Bobbi looked up from the book she was currently reading and turned to her watch, which sat on one of the bookshelves.
"Seriously?" Bobbi said as she stood up and swayed slightly, "There's no chance of me sleeping over, is there?"
The librarian shook her head and Bobbi inwardly cursed. She gathered up the reference books into a large pile and followed the librarian to the hold shelf, where she left them behind and gently whispered good night to the spines. The librarian laughed and Bobbi smiled back before made her way down the stairs and out of the empty library.
The night was eerily calm for December. She zipped up her jacket nevertheless and made her way through the serene campus to the apartments outside of the college campus.
She lost herself in a series of science-based thoughts along the way and was halfway home when she felt someone following her. She stopped abruptly and so did the figure behind her.
"If this is your way of intimidating me, then you've got the wrong girl," she said confidently as she turned around to see the none other than the guest lecturer that came to her class earlier that day.
"Dr. Sallis, what are you doing here?" Bobbi asked. Theodore Sallis was a professor of biochemistry at Empire State University with degrees in mathematics and engineering. Doctor or not, she clenched her fists within her pockets ready to knock the lights out of him, but she waited for his response.
"Barbara Morse, correct? I hear very great things about you from the faculty," he said calmly, but Bobbi continued to keep her guard up.
"I hear many not-so-great things about you though. Your insane lab experiments make headlines every other week. It's a miracle Empire State still has you on their payroll," she said and started to walk away.
"I have a proposition for you," he said with a smirk. Bobbi stopped in her tracks. She turned around to face, but he was already seated at a nearby bench in front of the science building. He paused and waited for her to sit in the space beside him.
She walked closer, but continued to stand, "A proposition at 11 o'clock at night?"
"I had to attend to my insane laboratory experiments," he mocked her and chuckled lightly, "You're the brightest student in your class, but if you're not interested-"
"I didn't say that," Bobbi interrupted him and hesitated slightly before she sat down on the bench, "What are you proposing?"
"Most people are unaware of my position as leader of a science and research organization based in different locations throughout the country," he said as he pulled out his wallet.
"Why would you keep that off your CV?" she asked as she followed his hands. He pulled out a white card from his wallet and he shuffled it between his fingers.
"Some things are best left hidden," he smiled and presented the card to her, "With this moment being an exception."
Bobbi looked down at the bright white card and he motioned it to her again. She pulled out her hand and hesitantly took the card, which was actually made of plastic with the letters A.I.M. imprinted at the center.
"Advanced Idea Mechanics. We have a rigorous recruitment program and you'll be the perfect candidate."
Bobbi bit her lip and shook her head, "What's the catch?" she said as she placed it in the empty space between them.
"Follow regulations, conduct research and experiments," Bobbi narrowed her eyes at him, "Humane experiments. Come in for orientation and you'll find out more."
Her eyes fell on the card and she shook her head again, "I'm in the middle of writing my dissertation. Thank you for the offer, but-"
"The joy about this program is that in addition to being trained by A.I.M. you'll also be working on your dissertation with state of the art equipment. The real work won't start until you graduate," he smiled and stood up from his seat.
"Just think about it and if you're interested just slide your thumb over the name on the card. That will activate a sensor and a dispatch will be sent out to pick you up for orientation," he said as he offered his hand.
Bobbi followed suit and shook his hand. A pair of headlights appeared in the parking lot nearby and she turned to see a black SUV pull in. He made his way over to it and a woman in a black suit stepped out to open the door for him. Before he got in, he turned and addressed her again, "And if it's any incentive, you'll be paid to work on your dissertation. Last time I checked, student loans are a bitch to pay off."
Dr. Sallis got in and drove off. Bobbi sat back down on the bench and rubbed her eyes to wake up from what she thought was obviously a dream. The card still sat on the space beside her, however. She sighed and was about to toss it into the trash can beside her when she remembered that the rent was due next week and her part-time waitress gig wasn't going to cut it.
She normally turned to her magic eight ball for assistance, but she broke it in an attempt to make it say yes the last time she asked it a question.
"What to do, Bobbi? What to do?" she said aloud as she twirled the card in her hand.
Six Months After Graduation, NYC Facility in Brooklyn
"Starting Test #17. Applying prototype serum to blood sample," Bobbi spoke to the recorder that rested on the table next to her equipment.
"Sample is reacting to prototype serum," she continued and examined the slide through a microscope. The blood cells shriveled up and Bobbi sighed in defeat.
"Test #17 is unsuccessful. If used on a test subject, the patient would suffer and eventually die from prolonged hemorrhaging. How did Dr. Erskine do it right all those years ago? I have no freaking idea," Bobbi said as flipped through an old World War II file.
She stopped the recording, rubbed the sleep away from her face, and stretched out in her chair. Her eyes quickly glanced over the camera situated in the corner of the room. She cleared her desk of the unsuccessful remains of Test #17 and made her way over to the door of the lab.
A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent stopped her on her way out, "Relax, going to the ladies room," she said with her hands buried in her lab coat. He let her pass and she made her way to the restroom.
Back in the lab, the worker behind the camera stood up and walked over to a glass-walled office, where Nick Fury sat at a desk with piles of paperwork, "Sir, she's on the move again."
Fury signed off on a few forms and made no effort to lift his head as he spoke, "Assemble a few men and meet me down by her lab in 2 minutes."
"Yes, sir," he said.
"I have to admit the code she was using was hard to break. I didn't think their technology was that advanced," Coulson said as he walked in to his office.
"The word 'advanced' is in their name. It was only a matter of time before we caught it," Fury responded with a hint of disappointment in his voice.
"This isn't looking good for her, is it?"
"I'll let you know in ten minutes," Fury said as he left the paperwork behind and walked out of the office.
Bobbi hid her phone back in her pocket and rounded the corner when she stopped at the sight of a hoard of agents in front of her lab door.
"Are you guys trying to throw me a surprise party or something?" she asked as Fury emerged from the group.
"Dr. Morse, I'll have to ask you to postpone your work until further notice and to submit to an interrogation regarding your suspicious activity outside of this lab," he said as a handful of men and women surrounded her.
Bobbi counted four on her left and five on her right, "So, that's a no to the surprise party, then?" she replied as an agent stepped forward on her left to apprehend her. Bobbi, however, grabbed the agent's wrist, twisted his arm behind him, and yelled out in pain.
Another agent stepped forward on her right, but she kicked him on the knee and he buckled onto the floor. She jumped onto his back and sprung herself over the rest of her attackers. Bobbi ran back down the hall and momentarily paused to swiftly apply low punches to her immediate pursuers. She then lower kicked the remaining agents onto the floor.
She stood up to see her opponents writhing on the floor in pain when something flashed past her and pinned her to the wall. An arrow. She removed her lab coat and pushed herself through an exit door nearby and out onto the alley. The alarm went off and she thought she was in the clear when a net stopped her in her tracks. She fell onto the wet floor and looked back at the exit door, but no one was there.
She heard a whistle followed by, "Up here." A man armed with a recurve bow released the ladder of the fire escape and slid down onto the ground.
"You're quick, I'll give you that," he said as he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back up.
Bobbi started laughing and the man's expression went from satisfaction to confusion, "What's so funny?" he asked as he removed the net and fastened her wrists together with a plastic tie.
"I just wanted to see how far I got and the fact that I made out the building says a lot, but I don't need your help from here, sport. I just did this for fun," she said with a wink.
She removed herself from his grasp, walked back up to the exit door, turned around, and with her tied hands she punched in her identification number without looking. She gave him another wink before the door opened and she walked back in.
"What the hell just happened?"