Four till Boom!

Static.

“Clint! Clint! Talk to me! Did you make it? Clint!”

“…I made it. Oh, man, that hurt. I’m not doing that again, Molly, not ever, not even if the whole Earth’s in peril.”

“Well, I’d think jumping from a secret military plane onto a nuclear missle would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“My ribs hurt. I think they might be broken.”

“They are not. Stop complaining. Your ribs are made of an indestructible metallic alloy. Listen, we have less than four minutes till this thing slams into New York. We can discuss your boo-boo later. Get up to the warhead, now.”

“Give me a second, it’s hard to grab onto anything and my joints aren’t working right….”

“Enough, crybaby. Just do it.”

“Alright, I’m there. Now what? There’s a wire to cut or something, isn’t there? I saw this on an old TV show.”

“Wires, you buckethead? A sophisticated computer runs this thing.”

“Can’t I just clobber it?”

“Three minutes till impact, Clint. Even you won’t survive the explosion, so stay on task. Rip off the panel, will you, and tell me what you see.”

“Okay…there’s some circuit boards, some stuff I don’t recognize, and a lot of other things I don’t recognize. You know, if that mine had blown off my face, too, I could have had video cameras for eyeballs and we’d all be sitting pretty now, wouldn’t we?”

“I like your eyes, Clint.”

“Oh, now you’re nice to me! Don’t know how to shut it down, do you? And now you’re afraid you might never see me again.”

“Shut up. I need to think.”

“Maybe there’s an off switch.”

“Clint, be quiet! Okay, look, there is a way, but I didn’t want to do it. Remember those nanites Doctor Destructo infected you with?”

“Yeah, like Marty McFly remembers being called chicken.”

“And we stabilized you by locking them in your chest, under a stasis field?”

“Uh, yeah, weirdest surgery ever, staring into my chest cavity like that. How does this keep New York from going boom?”

“If you hardwire yourself into the system and shut down the stasis field, the nanites should disable the warhead for you. They’re programmed to shut down any computer they come in contact with.”

“I know. They almost killed me last time. We were just discussing that.”

“It’s my only plan, Clint. Two minutes till impact.”

“I was seconds from having all my functions wiped and my heart stopped.”

“I know.”

“And this is your best plan?”

“I’m sorry…the clock’s ticking. I can order you to do this.”

“You’re a big talker, you know that? Give me a sec…I’m wired in. ’Bout ready to release stasis field. Hey, Molly?”

“Yeah?”

“You better cry at my funeral. All right, he goes nothing.”

Static.

“Clint, is it working?” Static. “Clint, can you hear me?” Static. “Clint? Don’t you die on me, Clint.”Static. “Clint!”

“Wooo-ahh! Oh, connection’s back. Molly, you there?”

“What’s going on? Are you all right?”

“Hey, hey, now, don’t sound so panicked. Piece of cake. The dumb nanites didn’t even bother with me. Thought I was defective already.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Broken ribs. I told you they hurt, joints weren’t working. Probably messed up a lot of internal circuitry. Free falling, now. Just a second.” Crash. Silence. “Ah, nice day for a swim. If you want, you can send a boat after me. If not, I think I’ll just enjoy myself.”

“You’re insufferable, you know that?”

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