Written on 10/15/15
Steve Rogers, aka “Captain America” looked across the table at the two heroes sitting across from him. Wearing a green blouse and black slacks, the former assassin and spy Natasha Romanov, aka the legendary “Black Widow”, sipped on her cup of tea, watching him. Sitting next to her, in his customized purple and black uniform, eyes blazing with nervous energy was the marksman and current Chairman of the Avengers West, Clint Barton, aka “Hawkeye”.
“I realize that this meeting has run a bit long”, Cap said to his two fellow Avengers, “but we had to take care of all the legalities and paperwork involved in running the three different divsions and teams of Avengers.”
“I get paper work as a necessary evil”, Hawkeye smirked, “but couldn’t we have done this via skype or something like that? Sitting here for three hours talking about food budgets and community outreach is a bit much. We’re Avengers. We should be out busting heads and chasing bad guys. Stuff like this is for the birds!”
“Hush Clint”, Natasha smiled. “I hate paperwork and red tape as much as anyone, but it’s part of the responsibility that I accepted when I became the Chairperson of Avengers International, just as you accepted when you agreed to lead the West Coast team. But look at the bright side. How often do the three of us get an opportunity to spend some time together without having a major fight or risking our lives involved?”
“I’m always glad to spend time with you and Cap”, Hawkeye replied. “I just hate these budget meetings.”
“We’re nearly done”, Cap interjected. “And if the two of you are game, how about a workout in the gym when we finish. The Beast was here earlier this week and has added several new simulations for us. It should be fun.”
“Cool”, Hawkeye smiled. “I’m getting stiff from sitting here all day anyways and could use a good work-out to loosen up the muscles.”
“So what do we have left on the agenda?”, the Widow asked her red, white and blue clad comrade.
“We’ve taken care of all the annual budget matters and necessary crossing of the t’s and dotting the i’s”, Cap said as he glanced at the notes he had been taking during their meeting. Now it’s just a discussion of the currrent rosters so I can update our main computer and know who is available for missions and current statuses.”
“And then we’re through?”, Hawkeye asked.
“Yes Hawk”, Cap laughed, shaking his head. “And then we’re through.”
“Then I’ll start”, Hawkeye said. “Out in California, at the Whacko compound, our current team as of last night, consists of myself as the Chairman of Avengers West. My lovely wife Bobbi, better known as the Mockingbird, our orange furred feline Avenger Tigra, founder and general pain in the ass Iron Man, Wanda, aka the Scarlet Witch, the mysterious Spider Woman and our resident actor and major ham Simon Williams, known to the masses as Wonder Man, and of course the US Agent, they make up the rest of the official roster. And on an unofficial, but always willing to lead a hand status considering how much he’s been hanging around the Compound lately, is Pietro, aka Quicksilver.”
“I haven’t talked to Pietro in a long time”, Cap said thoughtfully. “How is he?”
“Arrogant, obnoxious and over-protective of Wanda”, Hawkeye responded. “But he’s mellowed a bit lately and seems happy and content for a change.I believe that he’s been seeing a young lady who lives out in San Diego.”
“That’s good to hear”, the Widow commented. “Pietro has always had a hard and bitter road to travel. He deserves a bit of happiness in his life. It’s too bad that he and Crystal haven’t been able to work out their problems.”
“The way I understand it is that for the time being anyhow, they’ve both decided to start seeing other people and the marriage is pretty much over in everything but name. They’re trying to remain friends for the sake of Luna, plus Crystal’s royal family of the Inhuman’s situation. A divorce is out of the question, but they’re making the best of it.”, Hawkeye said.
“Crystal has been back here in New York working with our team”, Captain America said. “And so I guess that means I’ll go next with an update on the roster of the current Avengers New York team.”
“The Eakos”, Hawkeye interjected.
“Currently as the Chairman of the New York team, operating out of the Avengers Mansion”, Cap began, ignoring Hawkeye’s comment”, is myself, Captain America. Our current active roster for this team is Hank Pym, operating as Giant Man, our resident Norse entity, Thor, the telekenetic mutant known as Justice, Janet Van Dyne aka the Wasp, The Vision, the elemental inhuman Crystal and Carol Danvers, aka Warbird.”
“I thought Firestar was still on your roster”, Haweye noted.
“Angelica is currently on reserve status”, Cap replied. “She decided to take some time off for personal matters, but is still available if we need her. The same also replies to Jennifer, also known as the She-Hulk. She’s not part of the active roster at the moment, but her law office is only a few blocks away and she’s made it clear that she’s available if we call.”
And I guess that leaves myself and our London based team, Avengers International”, the Widow sighed. I am currently serving as the Chairperson of the group. Our current active roster consists of myself, Dane Whitman, better known as the Black Knight, Olympian and demi-god Hercules, the shape-shifting Skrull and former member of the Fantastic Four Lyja, part time X-Man and master of the bad joke, Bobby Drake, aka the Iceman, Isaac Christians, also known as the Gargoyle, Miguel Santos, aka the Living Lightning, Union Jack and as a reservist status, when she’s not and I quote, ‘dealing with the bloated ass-hats that don’t have a bloody clue’ in the House of Lords, Jacquiline Falsworth Crichton, aka Spitfire.”
“Jackie always did have a way with words”, Cap snickered.
“She is quite outspoken at times”, the Widow agreed. “I find her quite refreshing to listen to.”
“What happened to Druid? And the werewolf and vampire connection? And Mantis for that matter?”, Hawkeye asked.
“Dr. Druid has currently taken a leave of absence from the team”, the Widow said. “Our young apprentice hero, Kori has gone with him and they are currently back in Boston investigating some supernatural activities.”
“Druid recently led a team of reserve Avengers consisting of Falcon, Ant Man, Hellcat, Joscota and a couple of others on a mission to prevent a breakout at the Raft”, Cap added.
“Oh yeah”, Hawkeye said. “I read that in a report from the US Agent. I had forgotten. So he’s back here in the states?”
“And from what I understand in our recent conversations, putting together his own team to investigate and combat supernatural situations”, the Widow said.
“Probably for the best”, Hawkeye said. “Druid has never really struck me as a spandex type of guy. He just seems as if he’s more of a working behind the scenes, in the shadows type.”
“He’d probably agree with you on that”, the Widow agreed. “But he tried hard and has really been a good and effective Avenger. I will always be glad to have him as part of my team when he’s available.”
“I agree”, Cap said. “Druid’s abilities are probably not quite as flashy as we’ve become used to and he’s not quite as out there as some of our members, but he’s proven to be a good and effective Avenger, especially with this most recent run.”
“I just said that he’s not quite the spandex type”, Hawkeye remarked. “But what do I know? I just shoot a bow and arrow.”
“As for our resident vampire and werewolf”, the Widow continued, “they are currently living here in the States and running a private school in Collinsport, Maine. Professor Xavier of the X-Men asked Quentin and Barnabas if they would consider opening and running a third branch of the Xavier School and working as the co-headmasters. They accepted the challenge and now run, along with their associate Dr. Julia Hoffman, the Stoddard Institute. Mantis is currently also residing and working at the Institute and I believe, has a romantic involvement with Quentin Collins.”
“Mantis… and the werewolf guy? Wow! Where have I been?”, Hawkeye chuckled. “Wait until Bobbi hears this?”
“So they’re not with the team anymore, but they have made it clear that if we ever need them, they are available.”
“Wasn’t the Alantean Andromeda working with your team as well”, Cap asked.
“She was”, the Widow answered. “But Namor decided to recall her back to Atlantis and she’s currently the Commander of the Atlantean Royal Guard. But she is also available as a reservist if we need her.”
“So your current roster, the official one anyhow, for the Avengers International group is youself, the Black Widow, the Black Knight, Iceman, the Gargoyle, Hercules, Lyja, the Living Lightning, Union Jack and Spitfire?”, Cap replied.
“Yes”, the Widow said.
“And for your West Coast team Hawk, the official roster is yourself, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the US Agent, Spider Woman and, more or less, Quicksilver?”
“Sounds right to me”, Hawkeye smirked.
“And for the official roster of the Avengers East, it’s myself, Vision, Thor, Crystal, Giant Man, Wasp, Justice and Warbird with Firestar and She-Hulk as our reservists”, Cap said.
“Oh, I almost forgot. Rhodey, better known as the War Machine, just moved back to California a few weeks ago. I’m planning to contact him and see if he is available for reservist status”, Hawkeye quickly stated. “I’m sure he’ll agree so long as he and Stark are getting along.”
“War Machine? Got it!”, Cap nodded. “So I guess that’s it. We have an official roster list for each team to provide to the government and the United Nations, as per our charter…”
“Subject to change of course”, the Widow quickly interjected.
“Subject to change”, Cap smiled. “It’s just part of the deal and paperwork that we let them know who is and isn’t part of the team.”
“Big brother is watching”, Hawkeye joked.
Ignoring the archer, Cap continued. “And now, I believe that concludes this meeting of the three Chairpersons for the Avengers. I’ll go over everything and forward the paperwork to the necessary persons and officials later. I think it’s safe to say that the expansion of the Avengers franchise to two additional teams, Avengers West and Avengers International, has been a major success thus far. All three teams have strong and solid rosters and the capability to handle major threats against our world and people.”
“I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about the addition of a team based in Europe”, the Widow added, “but it was a good idea and we’ve been able to reduce our reaction time to dealing with threats on that side of the planet by a great deal. With three teams, located as they are, we can respond to almost any situation quickly.”
“And we have more back-up to call upon if needed, having this many Avengers on active status”, Hawkeye remarked.
“Very good point”, Cap smiled. “Before, we had only six to eight Avengers on active status at any given time and it limited our abilities and responses to emergencies. Now, with three teams of active heroes, plus a steady supply of reservists available, we are much more capable and effective.”
“So, is that it?”, Hawkeye asked.
“I believe so”, Cap said. “Unless either of you have anything to add?”
Getting up and stretching, Hawkeye let out a big yawn. “I’m going to the kitchen to grab a sandwich and then I’m headed to the training room. You ready to get a workout, old man?”
“I think so”, Cap laughed. “If you think you can keep up, you young whipper-snapper.”
“I’m going t go change into my work clothes and I’ll see the two of you in the gym in what… say fifteen minutes?”
“That’s fine”, Cap said.
“Excellent”, the Widow said as she stood up, stretched and walked from the room.
Hawkeye grinned and walked out behind her. “Fifteen minutes, old timer!”, he hollered back at Cap.
“I’ll be there”, Cap smiled as the Widow and Hawkeye left. Looking back at the papers and notes on the table in front of him, Cap glanced once more at the list of names, the men and women who made up the current rosters of the Avengers.
“And to think, I used to think we had too many Avengers”, he laughed to himself. “Now all I can do is wonder why we didn’t do these expansion teams several years earlier. What was I thinking?”
With another smile to himself, Cap quickly gathered up the papers and notes.
“Not to sound egotistical, but this group, these people… I believe they truly deserve the title of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. We’ve come a long way since that first teaming of Thor, Jan, Hank, Tony and the Hulk. Quite a long way.”
And with that thought, Cap walked from the room turning off the light as he left.