Several weeks passed. The husband and wife duo had been taken to a safe house where they spent a few days getting used to their new names having had the option of choosing them on their own, not simply being told what they would be as most in the Witness Protection Program were. This man was too important and respected to be told what to do in such a manner. The same respect was afforded his wife, who had carved her own worth into the public consciousness over the years, though nothing like that of her husband.
The names they had chosen were Marshall and Meredith Montgomery. It had made them smile to think of themselves as both M&M and 3M when their initials were looked at in two different ways. After the initial shock of being ripped from their lives they had settled into a rhythm and decided they may as well have as much fun with this upheaval as they could.
They played around with their new identities, creating back-stories for each. He became "Marsh" or "Mars" to her and she became "Meri" to him. They decided from the age each were, although a few years had been shaved off each of their lives within these new people they were becoming, that the story they concocted would be that they had met in high school and been together ever since. He had joined the Marines and become involved in Force Recon, the deep reconnaissance unit, fighting in Afghanistan and other areas of unrest around the world, while she went on to college and earned the degree which allowed her to become an attorney.
When they first considered her taking on the role of a lawyer she had hedged on such a thing.
"How could I be a lawyer, Marsh? I haven't been to law school and never taken a bar exam."
"Have you really looked at yourself?" he asked, cuddling her at that moment. "Over the years you've exhibited a unique understanding of the laws of this nation so well that you could argue cases in court with the best of them and win."
She considered his idea, but wasn't certain she wanted to be shut up inside an office poring over legal tomes, looking for the information that would prove or disprove whatever case she worked on. She was too used to being an active participant in everything she did. Being cooped up in a courtroom as her only daily activity was not being active in her mind.
"How about if I become an FBI agent?" she had almost been teasing at that point, but he seemed to take it seriously.
"Right now all federal agencies are working together with us in crafting the lives we'll be living," he mused aloud to her. "I'm sure no one would balk at setting you up within the Bureau as a Special Agent. You certainly have the training for it."
She had considered the new role carefully. What they chose for themselves dictated where they would live. Certainly as an FBI agent they would need to be stationed somewhere close to a main office, right? At least that meant she would be living in a large city. She wasn't sure she could handle small town life.
"Okay, I'll go for being an FBI agent," she grinned, taking hold of and squeezing his hand. "Now, what about you? What kind of job did you get after separating from Force Recon?"
"Security," he spoke the solitary word with a slight smile. She knew he was up to something, but wasn't quite sure what that was, so she knew she had to play along for the moment.
"Security?" she asked, her eyebrows raised in arches. "Like a little old man wandering around an empty building at night, wearing a pseudo-police uniform? That kind of security?"
"More like the National Security Agency," he grinned, pulling her close to him and kissing her. They had often resorted to such displays of affection since finding themselves cooped up in the safe-house where they were making their transition. It was the only way to keep from succumbing to the grief of losing everyone dear to them.
"The NSA?" she sounded both surprised and pleased as they broke their embrace. Obviously her mind hadn't been on the mild love-making at that moment. "You think you could work within 'the System' on a daily basis any better than I could?"
"What do you think you would be doing in the FBI?" he returned. "It doesn't exactly allow its agents to have free-reign, you know."
"No, I suppose it doesn't," she sighed. It wasn't going to be easy, this major changing of their lives. She was used to doing exactly what she wanted, what she saw fit as she carried out her assignments and investigated underworld crime figures, corrupt businessmen and their companies, political leaders on the take. She had always been her own woman in every way. Now she would have to "toe-the-line" if she actually became an FBI agent. Could she do it? She wasn't sure, but she did know that in order to make their new lives convincing she would have to give one hundred percent to whatever she chose to be.
"Maybe working in the CIA would be better for you," she offered. "You'd have better access to roaming about the entire world that way."
"It wouldn't really matter," he shrugged nonchalantly. "If something comes up halfway around the world requiring my attention, I can be there in moments, regardless of what I'm currently doing, then be back most likely before I'm even missed."
"There are limitations now," she reminded him. "Others will be watching for you to make such moves." Her veiled reference to the aliens constantly watching from outside of Earth's orbit was always forefront in his mind, as it was hers as well. "You might need to delegate some of those jobs to others."
Certainly other heroes about the world had picked up the slack in his current absence. They knew too-well what had happened with "Big Blue" and vowed to work overtime in every respect to keep their world from reeling from the impact of criminals thinking they could have a free pass on committing crimes with Earth's Champion being hobbled the way he was. New heroes had begun to arise; people who had remained in the background for fear their powers weren't enough to be more public. The many factions of the Underworld were finding that the absence of one hero only meant more attention from everyone else.
He was glad these new heroes had made themselves public. Even those who truly shouldn't be fighting crime, who weren't really even up to unofficial "side-kick" status. It would make it that much easier for him once he decided on his new role so the aliens might not take as much notice of him as they would had these others not begun using their powers openly.
"Maybe I should become an inventor," he mused aloud.
"An inventor?" she cocked her head in a way that queried his statement.
"Sure. Why not? I've always had a lot of ideas in my head on new inventions and redesigns for those already on the market. I just never had the time for implementing them. It could be a great way to not only earn a living for us, but ease my way in with my new hero role."
"Have you even decided on something for that?" she sat back on her end of the sofa where they had been relaxing as they held their conversation.
"Actually, I've been seriously considering in order to fool - those keeping watch - that I might utilize my, ah, talents, through an action suit."
Her eyebrows arched once more. She held out her right hand and twirled her index finger in a circular motion, indicating she wanted him to continue his line-of-thought.
"If I establish myself as an inventor, I could 'invent' a suit that would allow the wearer to harness abilities not otherwise inherent within that person. Naturally it would be all me, or at least mostly me, since I would have to build some technology into the suit that would actually work. I'm sure the sensors scanning from above would detect the ruse if I wore a suit that actually had no working technology.
"In that suit I would be able to fly, use my enhanced hearing and vision, made possible only because of my technology, of course, have increased levels of strength, which I would start off with having perhaps double or triple that of a normally strong human, but then be able to make even greater as time ensued simply by 'tweaking' my suit from time-to-time. This really might work." His eyes were alight with an inner brightness as he poured forth his thoughts. His wife could see him getting more and more into this scenario and knew this was what he would ultimately choose. It was the only thing he could do. Certainly being restricted by an agency such as the NSA would never work for him.
"Any idea what you might call yourself in this new persona?" she asked.
"Hmm, not yet. Still thinking on that. It'll come to me, though. Unless you have any thoughts on the matter?"
"No," she shook her head as she smiled her encouragement to her husband. "I'll put my mind to thinking on it, too. I think I like this concept. It will keep everyone worldwide from realizing just who it is inside the new 'action suit', as you called it. Who would believe that Earth's mightiest hero would limit himself to what could be accomplished through the workings of a suit?"