This story is a crossover fic with the Avengers. I hope you enjoy it. I've done my best to reasonably meld the universes together.
Three Months Ago: Mid Spring 2034
The carnage that filled the halls of St. Mary's hospital was rather perplexing. Not altogether surprising considering the circumstances, but still, perplexing.
By the time a lithe, black clad figure came stalking over the remains of several dozen armed Fireflies the blood had already begun it's slow drying process, it's stagnant stench beginning to drift to every untouched corner of the facility. Weapons still loaded with their triggers half pulled by cold dead fingers lay loose on the ground, adding up to enough ordinance to outfit a small army.
After all, this had been a small army. The last bastion of the resistance group known as the Fireflies. Most of their numbers had already been decimated in recent years by heavy military crackdowns, and this loss would finally break the camels back. All but a tiny smattering of the group still lived, and even then, their charismatic leader lay dead in the parking garage roughly a hundred feet below the surgical floor.
The figure in black shook her head, loosening the curl of her slowly graying read hair.
Horrible as it sounded the groups decimation brought her a great sense of relief.
Granted, many of the Fireflies had been genuinely good people, out to make a difference in the godforsaken hell-scape that had once been the United States. But that being said, their actions as a group were nothing short of domestic terrorism. Most of their operations did little more than provoke the military, leaving uninvolved civilians to get caught up in the crossfire.
Their desperation and radical methods had long ago eclipsed their once noble intentions. Morality had long since been abandoned, and as a result they'd become nothing more than a crazed militia group hiding beneath the moniker of rebellion.
To the red headed woman however, the icing on the cake was the fact that they'd been about to murder a fourteen year old girl for the slim chance that it may produce a vaccine.
The Fireflies had long since been a thorn in Natasha's side, and that of her team, but before now she'd never wished such a fate on them. Now however, it took a considerable amount of willpower not to add another bullet to the collection already riddling Marlene's body.
She knew what it was like to be used for the supposed 'greater good'. Even now many decades later she had little to no recollection of her own adolescence. It had all been washed away in a torrent of psychological conditioning and red-room brainwashing. She'd been turned into a weapon, a tool of destruction for the oh so glorious Russian state.
Despite herself, Natasha felt a strange report with the comatose girl now being sped away in the back of a truck. Though she'd been tailing the pair for the last several weeks, since the blooming of spring, she recognized the signs. That girl had more blood on her hands than she knew what to do with.
Lowering her pistol, Natasha stepped over another assortment of bodies that had been shredded by a well-placed nail-bomb. Her eyes widened a little as she examined the bodies.
She could understand why the man called Joel had done all this. He hadn't been able to stand by while the Fireflies killed the girl.
But what perplexed her was how he did it. How in god's name had a man with no formal military training taken down a well-armed militia with nothing more than a collection of makeshift weaponry?
Paternal instinct, perhaps?
The next several corridors contained similar scenes of slaughter.
Natasha took a left towards the elevator.
She didn't have long before she'd have to be after them. Commandeering a vehicle shouldn't be too difficult with the garrison dead. And her driving skills were more than enough to close the distance between her and her charges. But before that she had one more floor to check. The basement that laid adjacent to the garage. Facilities like this always had useful equipment, and she and her team weren't well off enough to just leave it.
With the press of a button the elevator doors slid open, albeit rather shakily, and she stepped into cubicle lit only by a single flicker light hanging from above. The hospitals lighting system was shaky at best. Most of the electricity was being diverted to surgical equipment or high powered computer terminals.
When the doors opened at her destination, Natasha knew at once that something was off.
It was a nondescript square room with the only notable features being a few desks shoved against the walls and a large map of the building plastered on the back wall that was peeling at the corners.
She tutted as if chastising a child.
Boot heels clicking with each step, the well versed agent approached the map and with a single flourish ripped it from the wall, revealing an enormous metal doorway drilled into the concrete. A perfectly circular portal with a keypad off-center.
This had been the contagion vault before the outbreak. Where samples of diseases were kept under lock and key, and, as the infected that wandered the world in droves showed, were probably experimented on with careless abandon. Two chairs on either side of the door were evidence of two armed sentries that had stood watch here. They must have charged upstairs to aid their comrades when the fighting started, and were now probably somewhere amongst the immense corpse pile.
A quick flash of a blacklight revealed the numbers of the entrance code. Judging by the intensity of each fingerprint, the order was easy enough to discern.
6132013. The date of the outbreak. How fitting.
Natasha cringed slightly at the grating of metal as the door spun itself open, letting otherworldly green light spill over the assassins wrinkling face.
Being experience as she was, Natasha wasn't easy to surprise. But what lay in the vault had her jaw dropping through the floor. Almost fearfully, hand on her pistol at once, she stepped inside.
The vault was a long rectangular chamber, almost like an oversized hallway. Steel greats made up the floor to allow for draining in case of flooding, and large pipes ran just below the celling. She noticed none of these things.
What caught her eyes were the twelve cylindrical glass tanks that lined the walls, filled with strange fluid that glowed with a greenish ting. Clearly these were salvaged pods. Scuffs marked the bottoms, and the S.H.I.E.L.D logo was emblazoned at the top. Even her former employers bases had been overrun after the outbreak. Employees ransacked the place and left them open for the picking.
Each chamber stood teen feet tall and had a display panel running streams da ta every few seconds. And in each tank was a twisting, churning lump of flesh.
Some were just flesh, raw meat with little to no blood marinating in the tank. Others had malformed limbs that sprouted at all the wrong angles, and still others had matted hair and revolving eyes that were as green as the tanks fluid.
"These had to have been set up in the last six hours" Natasha said aloud, trying to calm her nerves to absolutely no avail. Her hands were shaking. She knew exactly what this was, and she prayed silently to a god she'd never really believed in that she was wrong. She wasn't.
Cautiously, she took a step deeper into the room, fleshy shadows falling around her. A lidless eye gaped.
A tank labeled number eight stood in the center of the left row. A very different shadow fell from it's glass. One with limbs, a head, and brunette hair.
"Ёб твою́ мать!" she breathed in her native tongue.
Tank number eight held a naked girl blooming with adolescence. Smallish breasts were budding and a petite body was beginning to show curves. Brown hair fell ghost-like around a pair of shoulders. Cables and cords tangled around the limbs, feeding vitals signs from the major organs systems to the read out panel at the tanks base.
The girls' arms and legs were paper thing, nothing but bones and bulging veins beneath otherwise opaque skin. Her stomach was blank. No umbilical cord, no bellybutton. She had never been born, after all. She'd been created.
Natasha knew then her plans had changed entirely. It would be a week before this girl would be well enough to walk, let alone travel. Her muscles would be undersized due to lack of use, and she'd be disoriented. Confused in ways that Natasha herself could never hope to understand.
A line thrummed up and down with the thrum of a heartbeat. The delta brainwave was present, and full of dormant activity.
Nearly frantic Natasha's hand flew to her earpiece. Sending a message this far below the ground would nearly cut her charge in half, but this couldn't wait.
"Black Widow to Tower, Captain, do you read?"
Almost instantly the voice of the Star-Spangled-Man replied. Static muffled his syllables only slightly.
"I read you, Widow. What have you got?"
"A flash-clone" Natasha said, gazing into the unconscious face of Ellie floating behind the glass.