The mission started a couple of days later. Wilson, Cage and Knight had found a victim whose phone had been working for some time during the abduction. It was destroyed eventually but the area where the signal ended deserved to at least be searched.
Even though Rhodey was the official correspondent, Erik was keeping an eye on it through Sam’s googles. He had installed a speaker in the strap just under his ear to communicate with him. Meanwhile he was also communicating with Claire to check on their progress regarding the mole.
This wasn’t the first time he had kept his eyes on more than one mission. Somewhere deep down he was hoping it wasn’t the last. Going from being involved with, no, supporting Wilson, to becoming involved with the whole team was a revelation. They we’re more efficient than their file let on and most importantly adaptable. They worked with his suggestions but had little problems also spinning them into something that worked with their own style. He could see up close how they could be seen as a threat.
Even with all this extra work; they were still keeping up with their community services.
This was different from any operation that Erik had been involved in so far, but he found it interesting. He didn’t want to analyze any deeper at the moment though. These people were committed to their work in a way that Erik couldn’t be. So he stayed where he was.
A loud sound from the right screen drew his eye from Wilson’s feed. He could see that a fight had broken out. There were people dressed in tactical gear storming in. Knight and Wilson had drawn their guns. Cage was using his body as a shield and punching his way through the crowd.
“It was a trap,” Wilson said as he flew overhead to gain some speed coming down to sweep some opponents off their feet while shooting his way through them. He was using his wings as a shield and weapon.
“Rhodey find them a way out. I’m going to see if I can find out where they’re getting their commands from,” Erik said and got to work. It wasn’t easy because Wilson was constantly moving. They had apparently gotten through some opponents but there were plenty of them and they were only three. The fight wasn’t ending soon enough. They had to get out.
“Wilson I need you to plant the device I gave you on one of them,” Erik said. Sam flew forward right into one the fighters and slapped the bug on his ear.
“Ich will nur den Vogel.”
“Y’all need to get Wilson out of there now,” Erik said.
“Sam get out of reach for now,” Rhodes repeated. Sam flew high but all of a sudden he was falling. He hit the ground hard and wasn’t making any moves to get up.
“Wilson,” Erik screamed. That fool wasn’t wearing a helmet. “WILSON!”
“Rhodes,” Erik said.
“Luke and Misty are on the other side of the site,” Rhodey said sadly. They had no other option but to watch as Wilson’s cam indicated that he was being dragged away. Then suddenly there was a quick motion across the cam and Sam was being dropped. When that motion appeared again Erik got a better look and it looked like a pointy star.
“What’s happening Rhodes?” Erik asked. “Is that your back up?”
“Monica is on her way, but she’s minutes out,” Rhodes said confused himself.
Then suddenly they saw a man bending over Sam. It wasn’t actually a man. Even with that Zorro style mask his features looked young. He checked for Wilson’s pulse and then gave a thumbs up to the camera. Erik took a deep breath. Why wasn’t he getting up then? He hadn’t even fallen that far. The boy stood up and that’s when he revealed that he was holding a shield. Cap’s old shield.
“Shit Cap’s black now?” Erik asked.
“Last time I checked he wasn’t,” Rhodes said as stunned as Erik felt.
“Then who the hell is that?” Erik asked.
“Shit, I don’t know,” Rhodes answered. Erik was vibrating out of his skin. He should have gone with Wilson. He was almost ready to laugh. Who cared about being framed? If Wilson died, he couldn’t do shit. If Wilson died….
“Monica has arrived. That boy is apparently fighting those soldiers. So I guess he’s on our side,” Rhodes mentioned.
Erik went back to the footage and tried to run facial recognition but it would take time. Wilson still wasn’t moving and that wasn’t a good sign.
“Dr. Crane is on her way out to you right now,” Rhodes said. The fight was over. “Meet her halfway.”
He saw Cage, Rambeau, Black Cap and Knight bend over Wilson. They looked concerned. Cage picked him up and they carried him to a car.
“Any info on who that kid is Rhodes?” Erik asked. He didn’t answer. “Rhodes?”
“Stevens how did you know they were trying to get to Sam?” Rhodes asked.
“When he planted the bug I heard a voice in German say ‘I only want the bird.”
“This is just a theory, but have you heard of Project Schwarzebitte?” Rhodes asked.
“Rhodes that was a long time ago,” Erik replied.
“Okay you see a nigga with what looks to be Cap’s old shield and you don’t ask yourself even for a moment if there isn’t some truth?” Rhodes asked.
“That dude has to be older than this kid,” Erik said, but even he had to admit that he was curious now. “Wait Rhodes. You might be onto something. It’s the serum. ”
It suddenly all connected in his head. Damn he should have known when he heard about the potassium levels. Doctors theorized that potassium was one of the main ingredients to the super soldier serum. “You might just be right about that kid Rhodes.”
“We’ll bring him in after we get Sam to Dr. Crane,” Rhodes said.
“How is he?” Erik asked. Rhodes seemed to hesitate. “He’ll be fine. I gotta go but I’ll keep you in the loop.”
Erik pulled at his hair. If he was there now he’d at least be busy. Shit just got really complicated and he didn’t know where to begin. Actually he did, he just didn’t want to do it. He wanted to go see Wilson. He wanted to check with his own eyes that Wilson was okay and that he’d be okay, but Erik knew better. Where there had been no space in his former life for Wilson there was no space for a dead man in Wilson’s.
So instead he started his research on Project Schwarzebitte. The answer to it all had to lie there.