00059. A deciding vote.
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Announcement
So I changed a few things and will no longer post a single chapter every Monday. I will post at least one chapter a week with the goal of being consistent at two chapters a week. We will see what happens though. Enjoy the chapter.

After they ate, Tao took Ezekiel back home so he could switch places with his clone. He also made sure to share his memories with Itachi before they switched. Tao took Itachi back to the base where he shared the memory packet with Ezekiel who was in the meeting room with everyone else. Once finished, Ezekiel smiled as he said in a completely different voice than normal, “Good news everyone!"

Everyone seemed a little confused at Ezekiel’s statement and the weird old man voice he used. Ezekiel shook his head as he said, "Never mind…" 

Ezekiel scratched the back of his head for a moment before he said, "It worked, we can go ahead with the mission.”

Bucky and Steve looked relieved but Fury frowned as he asked, “What about Romanoff? Won’t this ruin the timeline for her?”

Ezekiel grinned as he said, “She will be fine, actually she will be better than before.”

Everyone else besides Tao was a little lost as Steve asked, “Mind filling the rest of us in, who is Romanoff?”

Ezekiel typed on his computer and a profile for a young girl came up, she had her hair dyed blue and bright green eyes. It displayed her full name as Natalia Alianovna "Natasha" Romanova. Ezekiel pointed at the screen as he said, “In a different timeline she becomes one of the world's best assassin’s before she turned into one of the world's heroes. She is currently in the red room program along with her adoptive sister Yelena Belova.”

Steve frowned a little as he asked, “Are you planning to train her?”

Ezekiel nodded his head as he said, “Yes, if that is what she wants. If you don’t want to help, that's fine. But keep in mind, Romanova and the other girls we rescue from the red room are coming here and they have been trained for years to be assassins and spies. I will have my clones help deprogram them, but if they want to join us… I won’t tell them no.”

Steve looked upset as he was going to speak again, but Bucky placed his hand on Steve’s shoulder as he said, “I know how you think, you want those girls to have a normal life. But those girls are anything but normal. We might be able to help the youngest ones to have a normal life. But the girls who have been there for years are already trained killers.”

“But they should have a chance at a normal life also.”

Ezekiel nodded his head as he said, “And I will offer them that chance, but I won’t force them to live a normal life if they don't want to.”

Steve still looked unhappy as Ezekiel said, "I know you aren't happy with training kids, but just pulling them out of the red room is keeping them alive."

Ezekiel typed on his computer and some files popped up on the screen. They showed how many girls had been brought into the program over the years and the number of graduates it had. The number was less than one percent of more than ten thousand. Everyone was surprised at the low number and Peggy asked, "Why is it so low?"

Ezekiel pulled up a video on the screen, it showed two young girls as they talked with each other happily. The video cut and the same girls were displayed but both of them looked a little older and they were fighting each other. Both of them were covered in wounds and bleeding heavily. One girl lagged behind in her defense and the other girl was able to plunge a knife into her throat. The winner stood over the other girl as she watched her bleed out.

The video cut out as Ezekiel said, "They pair the girls up with a friend and after a few years they make them fight to the death. They take the winners and do it again with other winners. It's terrible but also the most effective way to make them obey without question. The last thing they do is to sterilize the girls for their graduation, so they are even more loyal."

Ezekiel looked at Steve as he said, "I will do what I can to help them, but I can only do so much. From what Tao and I saw, almost every one of those girls joins us."

Tao nodded her head in agreement as she said, "What Ezekiel said is true, only a handful of girls didn't want to fight. But those few still joined us and helped in other ways."

Peggy reached over and clasped Steve's hand as she said, "I know how you feel, but this is the best outcome for these girls."

Steve nodded his head in defeat as he said, "I know, I just wish it wasn't."

Ezekiel took a moment before he said, “On to less depressing issues. We already scouted and planned out the rescue mission. The only real issue is housing, which I have my clones currently working on to expand the base to add more rooms."

Ezekiel typed on his computer and the screen pulled up a camera feed which showed his clones currently working on making new rooms with earth jutsu and then reinforcing them. Ezekiel looked at everyone as he said, "They should be finished by tomorrow for the rough layout. I had them placed by the gym area. As for the plumbing, electrical, flooring and the rest, that will be done in a few days once Koenig has all the supplies for my clones."

Jarvis spoke next as he said, "We will also need to start stocking more food and get some more kitchen help. The kids have been wonderful, but I could really use a competent helper or two for food preparation. Does anyone know someone we might be able to bring in? From the look of it, we will have at least a hundred new mouths to feed."

Peggy shook her head as she said, "Unfortunately I do not know anyone who could work under our special circumstances." She looked at Fury when she was done talking.

Fury also shook his head as he said, "I don't have anyone in Shield who could fill the role currently." As he finished Peggy looked at Tao.

"I could spare someone to help part time, but they mostly cook Asian dishes."

Ezekiel smiled at that before he said, "I can have two of my clones help out. They are amazing cooks, but since they are clones they can't taste anything which is why I never offered before. But they should be able to help out a lot with the prep work."

Jarvis nodded his head in thanks as Bucky asked, "So when are we going to rescue those kids?"

Ezekiel typed on his computer for a moment before he looked up as he said, "In about a week, I want to make sure we have everything ready to support them. Unfortunately we are late with our rescue, they just did their 'testing' of the girls three months ago."

Everyone frowned at the news before Ezekiel said, "During this week we also need to try and recruit a few people who can help us." He typed on his computer and a few pictures appeared on the screen.

Fury was the first to react as he said, "Are you out of your mind? Those people are enemies!"

Peggy nodded her head as she said, "I have to agree with Fury."

Ezekiel glanced back at Fury and Peggy as he asked, "Who exactly are they enemies with?"

Fury frowned as he said, "With us."

Ezekiel shook his head as he said, "I never had a confrontation with them before and as far as I know they don't even know we exist."

Fury and Peggy both looked displeased but it was Hank who said, "I remember fighting one of them before when I was still in Shield."

Ezekiel nodded as he said, "I could see that since the U.S.S.R. never joined the world security council. But we aren't Shield so we should try to make contact and recruit them."

Fury still looked upset as he said, "How will we even vet them?"

"I am going to use my clones for that. That way I can make sure there won't be any issues. I am confident in recruiting two of them, since in almost every future we looked at, they were with us. The other two joined us also, but it wasn't as consistent."

Fury and Peggy still looked reluctant so Ezekiel said, "Fine let's vote on it. All in favor?"

The vote count was split dead even, with Tao, Ezekiel, Steve and Jarvis who voted for it. While Fury, Peggy, Bill, and Hank voted against it. Ezekiel looked a little disappointed as Bucky asked, "I know I am new but do I get to vote?"

Ezekiel looked at Bucky for a moment before he looked at everyone else. Peggy shared a conversation with Fury from just a momentary glance. She then looked at everyone else for a moment before she said, "I don't think anyone has an issue with it."

"Great, I vote for trying to recruit them."

Just a heads up, I currently have 21 draft chapters up on Patreon and a voting poll up for the next two months. When it's finished I will be starting a new project based on what people voted for.

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