An Indian slum, a little girl runs through the crowd, trying to force a way through. At a tiny shack. The little girl runs up the steps, only to bestopped by an attending woman. Then, the little girl spots him Bruce Banner, their local doctor. She implores them her father needs a doctor.
Banner looks behind him seeing how the girl is staring at a few people, lying down, looking very sick. The little girl holds all the money she has in the world. In the slums, Banner and the little girl hastily run nearly to the edge of town. The little girl gets ahead of herself.
Banner spots a local government car, he turns around, blocking any view of his. At the little girl’s shack, Banner quickly follows her inside her house. As he walks in, the little girl escapes through the window. Banner is left standing there like a dumbass, he's been duped.
Banner: Should have got paid up front, Banner.
Natasha then appears from behind the curtains. Banner turns around, quietly.
Romanoff: You know, for a man who's supposed to be avoiding stress, you picked a hell of a place to settle.
Banner: Avoiding stress isn't the secret.
Romanoff: Then, what is it? Yoga?
Banner: You brought me to the edge of the city, smart. I uh... assume the whole place is surrounded?
Romanoff: Just you and me.
Banner: And your actress buddy, is she a spy too? Do they start that young?
Romanoff: I did.
Banner: Who are you?
Romanoff: Natasha Romanoff.
Banner: Are you here to kill me, Miss Romanoff? Because that's not gonna work out for everyone.
Romanoff: No. No. Of course not. I'm here on behalf of SHIELD.
Banner: SHIELD. How did they find me?
Romanoff: We never lost you, doctor. We've kept our distance, even helped keep some other interested parties off your scent.
Romanoff: Nick Fury seems to trust you. But now I need you to come in.
Banner: What if I said no?
Romanoff: I'll persuade you.
Banner: And what if the... other guy says no?
Romanoff: You've been more than a year without an incident. I don't think you wanna break that streak.
Banner: I don't get always what I want.
Romanoff: Doctor, we're facing a potential global catastrophe.
Banner: Well, THOSE I actively try to avoid.
Romanoff: This is the Tesseract.
She shows him a photo of the Tesseract on her cell phone.
Banner takes a closer look.
Romanoff: It has the potential energy to wipe out the planet.
Banner: What does Fury want me to do? Swallow it?
Romanoff: Well, he wants you to find it. It's been taken. It omits a gamma signature that's too weak for us to trace. There's no one that knows gamma radiation like you do. If there was, that's where I'd be.
Banner: So Fury isn't after the monster?
Romanoff: Not that he's told me.
Banner: And he tells you everything?
Romanoff: Talk to Fury, he needs you on this.
Banner: He needs me in a cage?
Romanoff: No one's gonna put you in a...
Suddenly, Banner shouts at her with great anger.
Banner: STOP LYING TO ME!
The thunderous tone of his voice makes Natasha quickly grab her gun and points it at him. But something is now off in the atmosphere. Banner stands straight up, smiling.
Banner: I'm sorry, that was mean. I just wanted to see what you'd do. Why don't we do this the easy way, where you don't use that, and the other guy doesn't make a mess? Okay?
Natasha, still wary, doesn't lower her gun.
She lowers her gun and speaks into her earpiece . . .
Romanoff: Stand down. We're good here.
Banner [looks at Natasha in amusement]: Just you and me?
Outside the little girl's shack, amazingly, dozens of SHIELD agents are surrounding the shack outside.
In the SHIELD Analytical Room, Fury is facing several large monitors as he has a conference with members of the World Security Council. They are displeased with Fury activating the Avenger Initiative . . .
Councilman 1: This is out of line, Director. You're dealing with forces you can't control.
Fury: You ever been in a war, Councilman? In a firefight? Did you feel an over-abundance of control?
Councilmanv 1: You're saying that this Asgard has declared war on our planet?
Fury: Not Asgard, Loki!
Councilman 2: He can't be working alone. What about the other one, his brother?
Fury: Our intelligence says, Thor is not a hostile. But he's worlds away, we can't depend on him to help either. It's up to us.
Councilman 1: Which is why you should be focusing on Phase 2, it was designed for exactly...
Fury: Phase 2 isn't ready, our enemy is. We need a response team.
In Brooklyn, somewhere in an old, almost WWII-esque boxing gym, Steve Rogers, a man out of time, the First Avenger, Captain America is pummeling a punching bag. With every swing, it’s like a memory he’s trying to fight off and repress.
FLASHBACK: Captain America is running through the forest, dodging mortars,gunfire and the Tesseract’s energy firearms.
Steve’s rage keeps building as he punches the bag. It gets harder.
FLASHBACK: Horen H. XVIII, Red Skull's ship, Steve places his compass with an image of Peggy Carter. The time is here for him to crash the plane.
Steve closes his eyes. Goes at the bag harder.
FLASHBACK: The Red Skull picks up the Tesseract.
Steve opens his eyes and fuckin’ tears the bag as the last memory kicks in.
FLASHBACK: A half frozen Steve Roger is lying down on a medical slab. Two SHIELD scientists run over hi-tech devices to see if his vitals are up. And it seems he's alive.
Steve tears the bag open, off its chain, spilling out the sand. He stands, breathing hard, letting out 70 years overrepressed feeling. After taking a few breathers, Steve picks up another punching bag, which is laying next to a row of more bags. He hooks the bag up and starts punching again. Fury walks in.
Fury: Trouble sleeping?
Rogers: I slept for 70 years, sir. I think I've had my fill. . . . When I went under, the world was at war. I wake up, they say we won. They didn't say what we lost.
Fury: We've made some mistakes along the way. Some, very recently.
Rogers: Are you here with a mission, sir?
Fury: I am.
Rogers: Trying to get me back in the world?
Fury: Trying to save it.
Fury hands Steve a file on Tesseract, along with other files on HYDRA’s projects.
Rogers: HYDRA's secret weapon.
Fury: Howard Stark fished that out of the ocean when he was looking for you. He thought what we think: the Tesseract could be the key to unlimited sustainable energy. That's something the world sorely needs.
Rogers: Who took it from you?
Fury: He's called Loki. He's not from around here. There's a lot we'll have to bring you up to speed on if you're in. The world has gotten even stranger than you already know.
Rogers: At this point, I doubt anything would surprise me.
Fury: Ten bucks says you're wrong. There's a debriefing packet waiting for you at your apartment. Is there anything you can tell us about the Tesseract that we ought to know now?
Steve turns and picks up a punching bag, starts walking out of the gym . . .
Rogers: You should have left it in the ocean.
Out in the Atlantic Ocean, Tony Stark, in his Iron Man suit, is cutting a pipeline transport with a laser cutter coming from his hand. He then places a Stark Energy Reactor. It lights up. Iron Man rockets out of the water and flies towards Stark Tower. Inside the suit, Pepper appears on his HUD monitor. They are working on an energy system to power the building.
Stark: You're good on this end. The rest is up to you.
Potts [on the other line]: You disconnected the transition lines? Are we off the grid?
Stark: Stark Tower is about to become a beacon of self-sustaining clean energy.
Potts: Wow. So maybe our reactor takes over and it actually works?
Stark: I assume. Light her up.
As Iron Man flies to the Stark Tower building, the power is switched on and the Stark sign lights up.
Potts: How does it look?
Stark: Like Christmas, but with more . . . me.
Tony arrives at his skyscraper penthouse and is in the process of taking off his Iron Man suit through a hi-tech gauntlet of gadgets. Jarvis, Stark's A.I., informs him SHIELD is on the line, but Stark ignores the call.
In the penthouse, Pepper Potts stares up at the monitors looking at the reactor device.
Potts: Levels are holding steady... I think.
Stark: Of course they are, I was directly involved. Which brings me to my next question: how does it feel to be a genius?
Potts: Well, ha, I really wouldn't know now, would I?
Stark: What do you mean? All this came from you.
Potts: No. All this came from that.
She points to the energy in his chest plate.
Stark: Give yourself some credit, please. Stark Tower is your baby. Give yourself... 12% of the credit.
Potts: Twelve percent?
Stark: An argument can be made for fifteen.
Potts: Twelve percent for my baby?
Stark: Well, I did do all the heavy lifting. Literally, I lifted the heavy things. And sorry, but the security snafu? That was on you.
Pepper pours herself and Tony a glass of champagne.
Stark: My private elevator...
Potts: You mean OUR elevator?
Stark: It was teeming with sweaty workmen. I'm going to pay for that comment about percentages in some subtle way later, aren't I?
Potts: Not gonna be that subtle.
Stark: I'll tell you what. Next building's gonna say 'Potts' on the tower.
Potts: On the lease.
Stark: ...Call your mom, can you bunk over?
Jarvis chimes in again reporting his protocols are being overwritten. It's Coulson on the phone, but Tony again ignores him.
Coulson [via phone]: Mr Stark, we need to talk.
Stark: You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark, please leave a message.
Coulson: This is urgent.
Stark: Then leave it urgently.
Coulson enters Stark's penthouse, hanging up his cellphone.
Stark: Security breach. [to Pepper] That's on you.
Coulson: Mr Stark.
Potts: Phil! Come in.
Stark: "Phil?" Uh, his first name is "Agent."
Potts: Come on in. We're celebrating.
Stark: Which is why he can't stay.