Michelle's a Marine F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) pilot and Steve's the legendary Captain America. Throw in some swing dancing and the Avengers and we might just have a story. (Takes place during the film)

*Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Marvel universe & while I'd like to claim Michelle as mine, she really has taken on a life/personality of her own & I just write what she "tells" me to. Rated T for mild swearing and adult situations. Essentially nothing more than what you'd see in the films or comics. I'm trying to keep this as close to cannon as possible.

Chapter 1:

As Michelle pulled the handle and felt the rocket fire off beneath her seat, she could only think, crap not again.

After the flight doc had checked her out Michelle stood at perfect attention in front of her commanding officer. Her CO had a sardonic, knowing look on his face as he let out a long sigh.

"At ease, Captain."

"Yes, Sir." The Marine parted her feet and rested her hands against the fabric of her green flight suit at the small of her back, but apart from that did not relax in the slightest.

He stared at her for a moment and then nodded his head giving her all the opening she needed to launch into her prepared speech.

"Sir, with all do respect I need to do everything possible to these planes before we can safely field them. There's no way we can properly put the JSF through its paces if we have to worry about getting Monday morning quarterbacked anytime we have the slightest mishap!"

The Air Force colonel raised a dark eyebrow. "I hope you don't consider the total loss of a well over a hundred million dollar aircraft to be a slight mishap, Sample."

"Sir, I—"

He raised a hand forestalling Michelle's further comments. She blew a frustrated puff of air at the strawberry blonde hair that had fallen loose from her bun and was straying into her line of sight.

"Relax, you're not in trouble. I brought you here to introduce you to an old friend of mine." Colonel Koia indicated someone behind her with his hand. Glancing back, Michelle realized there was someone else in the room.

Standing against the far left corner of the room dressed in simple black suit and sporting a leather eye-patch was a tall, dark-skinned man. He stood away from the wall and in one step was at her side with his right hand held out. She took it automatically and looked back at her CO, wordlessly asking him what was going on.

"Sample, this is Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D." He fixed his gaze on the director. "Nick, this is Captain Michelle "Sample" Smith, one of the best test pilots I've ever had the pleasure to fly with."

Giving her hand a firm shake before releasing it, Fury moved to stand beside the seated Colonel. "I've heard a lot about you, Captain Smith, and I think you're just what S.H.I.E.L.D. needs."

Whatever high Michelle was feeling from the Colonel's praise faded. "I'm sorry what? I'm afraid I don't follow – what is S.H.I.E.L.D.? And you need me for what?" She crossed her arms under her breasts, confused; she'd come in expecting as ass-chewing and instead got praised. But now this...

"S.H.I.E.L.D. is Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division—"

"Now that's just ridiculous—"

"And we're fielding our first squadron of Joint Strike Fighters—"

"But there aren't any squadrons of F-35s yet – they're still being built. I mean, except this squadron. But we're flying test models." Michelle looked to her CO for confirmation, but Colonel Koia just smiled.

If Director Fury was annoyed at her interruptions he didn't show it and kept right on talking. "There's one. S.H.I.E.L.D. has it and we need you to come out to our base to train our pilots."

Michelle let out a sigh of relief. That was no problem and traveling to new places was always fun, too. "Oh, okay, so you mean this would be TAD for me to train up an instructor of your own. Then I'll come back to the squadron." At their silence she shot a questioning look at her CO. "Right?"

He shook his head and held out a sheet of paper toward her. "I'm sorry, Sample, it's not temporary. Effective immediately you're attached to S.H.I.E.L.D."

Stunned, she grabbed the orders and scanned them looking for the city, so at least she'd know where she was headed for the next two to three years of her life. "All this has for a location is TBD. Where am I going?"

"Our aircraft carrier."

She groaned inwardly, she'd just come from the boat. So unfair! "And it's located where?" Perhaps its port would save this mess. She was fond of San Diego, after all.

"That's classified." Fury held up a hand forestalling her next question. "I know you have a TS/SCI, but you need higher clearance. I've already got one of my agents working on it."

Her fingers closed around the paper crumpling it, and she fought back angry words, forcing herself to be calm. All her plans - her career path, eventually leading to command of a squadron of her own - were washed away as she was transferred to a no-name squadron from some government alphabet agency she'd never heard of.

"Why me? I'm not nearly the most experienced JSF pilot. There's Lieutenant Colonel—"

"You're the one we want." The Director's voice spoke with finality and Michelle sent a pleading glance to her CO.

"I don't suppose I have any choice in any of this?"

Colonel Koia shook his head and stood up to shake her hand. "Sample, this is the United States military – have you ever had a real choice in your next duty station?" Giving her hand a quick pump, he smiled. "I recommended you for this assignment personally. I think you're perfect for it."

"Thank you, Sir." Swallowing hard she forced herself to accept what had just happened: that her test pilot tour, so sorely competed for, was being cut short by two years and she was being sent back out to the boat. She wondered if her monitor even knew. Maybe if she called him she could get different orders cut back to a fleet squadron and salvage the situation…

"If there's nothing else for me, gentlemen, it appears I need to pack."

"That won't be necessary." Fury sat on the edge of the desk. "I had your household goods packed up and put into long term storage while you were at the hospital getting cleared."

Suppressing a flash of irritation, Michelle opened and the closed her mouth unsure of how to respond.

Standing back up and holding out his hand again, Fury smiled. "Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain. I think you'll find it a bit more exciting than being a test pilot."

Taking his hand, Michelle shook it firmly. "Hundred bucks says you're wrong."

Author's Note:

This is my first return to FanFic since I started writing my own original stories in 2008, and let me tell you, it has been fun! Man, I've missed this.

I've had this Avengers fic rolling around in my head since May but have been ignoring it due to some submission deadlines I've got with my own stories. Fast forward to November, and I figured NaNoWriMo was the PERFECT time to finally get this story out of my head.

Many thanks to my Beta, My_Belle – you rock girl! This thing would be littered with typos if not for you.

Many thanks to you, the reader, for giving this story a shot – I hope you enjoy it, and please don't hesitate to PM me if you've got any questions or comments.