ByTrent Tofte, writer at
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Trent Tofte

The scene opens on Bucky, dressed in Captain America's uniform, with his real arm in a sling, (having been broken during the final battle with Thanos), laying flowers on the grave of Steve Rogers. Tears fill his eyes as he begins to speak. "Back during the war, the world needed a hero. And a scrawny, determined kid from Brooklyn became a symbol of hope. Then, seventy years later, the world needed a hero a second time. And that same scrawny kid from Brooklyn came to the rescue again. And then, the world of heroes had a civil war. We didn't win, but we lost with honor. But in the midst of our defeat, you were still our ray of hope. But then, tragedy struck..." his voice trails off. Bucky salutes Steve's grave with his metal arm. Reaching into a bag at his side, he pulls out the pieces of Cap's shield, broken in the final confrontation with Thanos, and places the fragments next to the flowers as he whispers quietly, "I was with you to the end of the line, pal."

The scene shifts to Thanos, lying atop a pile of rubble. The Infinity Gauntlet is cracked in half and lying a few feet away. Around him are scenes of carnage: bleeding civilians, burning vehicles, shattered hulks of what had been skyscrapers. And here and there, pieces of Avengers gear: a cracked War Machine faceplate, a crumpled arc reactor, the remains of the Vision after Thanos wrenched the Infinity Stone from his forehead, a half-intact Black Widow armband, the battered metal skeleton of Falcon's wingsuit. As he lies dying, The Mad Titan begins to hallucinate. Loki appears, grinning sardonically. "You call yourself a ruler?" he sneers at the fallen alien, "You couldn't even control your own daughters! And now look at you. Weak. Broken. Humiliated. Defeated. But I... I stand in glory! I sit upon the throne of Asgard!" Loki laughs and his image fades away.

The scene shifts once more to a gamma research facility. Doctors Samuel Sterns and Leonard Samson are working to stabilize the failing gamma reactor. Sterns states that he will put on a hazmat suit and enter the reactor chamber to manipulate the dampening rods. Samson argues that it is too dangerous as the reactor has already gone critical. Sterns doesn't listen. He dons hazmat gear and enters the chamber. No sooner does he close the door than Samson yells to him that the reactor is melting down. Sterns turns to open the door, but discovers it stuck. He fearfully tries to wrench it open, but without success. At that moment, the reactor explodes. A wave of green energy engulfs Sterns as Samson watches helplessly from the other side of the lead door. Sterns collapses. Samson, now also wearing hazmat gear, manages to force the door and kneels next to Sterns, whose skin has turned green and whose cranium has swelled to be about two feet tall. Samson tries to awaken Sterns, but fails. He exits the reactor chamber to phone for help. As he walks out, Sterns opens his eyes, and a green glint appears in them as he whispers harshly, "Prepare... to meet your Leader!"


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