Captain America: Secret War (THIRTY-FIVE)

The plan was simple. Fight off Dr. Frost’s army and rescue King T’Challa and the Wakandan named Nakia. Unfortunately, things were never that straightforward.

Dr. Frost’s army was equipped with powerful weapons, making the venture through Parliament a little more perilous. Once again Steve found himself missing his shield as he was forced to dance about dodging bullets and laser blasts while taking down the soldiers with powerful punches and kicks.

Nick Fury, Agent Hill, and Sharon Carter were handling themselves pretty well as they shot through the throng of enemies blocking their path around every corner. Princess Shuri and General Okoye moved through the enemy lines with relative ease, proving once again the superiority of the Wakandans. Colonel Rhodes was pretty well off, relegating to using his suit as coveted armor as he performed hand-to-hand combat to avoid decimating Parliament’s halls with explosions and machine-gun shrapnel. And The Hunter…The Hunter was proving why he had been such a tough opponent to fight as he moved through the HYDRA soldiers with an unnerving lack of effortlessness.

It wasn’t long, however, before they found King T’Challa guarding what were the leaders of the world who had, essentially, become makeshift prisoners.

When T’Challa saw his sister his eyes widened beneath his mask. “Shuri,” he gasped.

Shuri rushed toward her brother and hugged him. “You’re okay,” she said.

Of course, I’m okay, he responded in ixiXhosa.

When Secretary Ross beheld Sharon Carter, Steve Rogers (mainly Steve Rogers), and Colonel Rhodes his head seemed to practically explode. Colonel Rhodes was supposed to stop Steve Rogers, not aid him!

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” he yelled, charging forward to give Colonel Rhodes a piece of his mind.

Rhodes’ helmet retracted, revealing his annoyance. “What do I think I’m doing? I’m saving the world.”

“You’re supposed to do your duty!”

Rhodes neared the Secretary. “This is my duty!”

Still seething, the Secretary couldn’t respond. The President placed a calming hand on the Secretary’s shoulder.

“We don’t have time for this Secretary,” The President said. “What Colonel Rhodes is doing is the right thing. Right now, what we need to do is get out of here like the rest of the world leaders instead of berating the people who just saved our lives!”

Steve Rogers smiled. Secretary Ross’s snarl slightly lessened. The Hunter stepped forward.

“Come with me sir,” he said.

The President began to follow The Hunter but the Secretary lingered, giving Colonel Rhodes one last glare.

“I’ll have your hide for this,” he hissed before following after The President.

Where is Nakia? General Okoye, ignoring the petty squabble, asked T’Challa.

T’Challa dipped his head in response. “Follow me.”

And that’s what they did. T’Challa led them through several more halls before finally reaching a room barred by a single door. As soon as they stopped before the door they heard the distinct pop of a single gunshot. T’Challa’s heart fell into his stomach. He busted open the door to find Nakia on the ground unmoving, a pool of blood spreading beneath her head. A Winter Soldier stood behind her body, the gun in his hand still smoking.

“Dr. Frost warned you,” the Winter Soldier began, “if you step out of line she would pay the price.”

T’Challa couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He didn’t move as he tried to process what had just happened.

He barely registered Shuri’s cry of horror as his trembling hands balled into fists. His vision turned red as his gaze rose to focus on the two Winter Soldiers occupying the room. With no warning he leaped toward the Winter Soldier with the gun in his hand while Shuri and General Okoye charged the other one.

The Winter Soldier who killed Nakia tried to shoot Black Panther but the bullet simply bounced off of his mask just as T’Challa tackled him to the ground. Without hesitation he plunged his vibranium claws into the man’s heart, instantly killing him.

Meanwhile, Shuri was holding the other Winter Soldier in place with the disorienting vibranium wave blast that sent her enemies immobile while General Okoye with an anguished scream, drove her spear through the villain’s midsection. The Winter Soldier slumped on her blade and, once released from Shuri’s blast, slumped to the ground dead.

The rest of the heroes gazed on sorrowfully as T’Challa turned from the latest victim of his deadly claws to cradle Nakia’s form in his arms. His helmet retracted, revealing the tears pouring down his cheeks as he stroked her beautiful face and auburn curls.

“No,” he whispered. “No.”

Shuri fell to her knees, weeping. General Okoye remained standing but her eyes were wet with tears and her chin was trembling.

Steve Rogers stepped forward. “We can fix this.”

T’Challa’s gaze whipped toward him. “How? How can you fix this?!”

“We have a plan to go back in time and stop this threat that Dr. Frost has created,” Colonel Rhodes said. “If we do things correctly this, this will never happen.”

“Go back in time?” T’Challa said. “How? There’s no such thing as a time machine. It’s impossible.”

“We met someone,” Sharon Carter assured him. She shook her head as T’Challa’s expression became more confused. “It’s a long story but you’ll get what’s going on once we do…what’s going on.”

Still holding Nakia in his arms T’Challa looked at every one of them in the room except for his sister and General Okoye. “You’re telling me there’s a chance to turn back time and create a reality where Nakia never dies?”

“Yes!” Nick Fury said. “And if we don’t hurry up the chances of making that reality possible are growing slimmer and slimmer.”

T’Challa looked at Nakia for a moment, kissed her forehead, and then laid her down slowly before standing. “If we can save her then let’s go!”

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