Fall 2020 // Deadwood, California
"And this afternoon, the Deadwood Fire in Northern California proceeds to spread uncontrollably—as more people continue to evacuate. The blaze officially earning the megafire designation as it's covering one hundred thousand acres. As it continues to grow, the focus is now getting the residents of Deadwood to safety."
On the outskirts of Deadwood, there were several ranches in danger as the flames for the Deadwood Fire quickly approached from the southeast. While the mandatory evacuation order was issued two hours ago, there wasn't enough time for authorities to escort the ranchers to safety. Fortunately, someone offered their services to venture into danger, and they were more than capable. Wonder Woman was comforting a frightened horse while its owners loaded it into the livestock trailer already loaded with other cattle. One of the ranchers, an older woman, approached her with sweat running down on her forehead. "Thank you so much. You don't know how much you being here means to all of us."
"No need to thank me." Wonder Woman gently placed a hand on the woman's shoulder and escorted her to the truck, opening the driver's door. "Just follow the road down, and a firetruck will be waiting to escort everyone out of harm's way."
She watched as the truck and other vehicles began leaving the property while the flames were getting ever closer. Wonder Woman still felt unsure about the dirt road despite cutting down all of the dead trees near it earlier. So, she took off for the sky to watch the ranchers driving away without issue; yet, the smoke made seeing from afar difficult. And despite the heat and smoke, she hovered for a few until the lights from the firetruck blinked twice, telling her that everyone was on the main road. Wonder Woman breathed a sigh of relief before turning to see the barn on the edgy of the property being consumed by the blaze. It was both horrifying and breathtaking to watch.
Wonder Woman placed her finger on the earpiece given to her by Daniel Morris, the Trinity County Fire Chief. "Wonder Woman here. The ranchers on the edge of town escaped in time, but their property is already a loss. I plan on checking the support crew close by."
"Actually, someone here needs to talk to you at headquarters." Wonder Woman didn't need to know who was awaiting her and flew straight to the headquarters. It was located on the western edge of Deadwood near the main road leading to the town of Lewiston. She landed on the asphalt and walked past a fire truck driving towards the fire. Then, she entered a restaurant that had been converted into a temporary base of operation to fight the megafire. Fire Chief Daniel and S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Phil Coulson were having a "friendly" chat away from everyone else in the kitchen.
"Governor Torres made it clear that she doesn't want any heroes to-" Coulson tried to explain but was interrupted by Daniel, who clearly was upset over the news.
"Wonder Woman has been doing more here than her and everyone in that damn capitol!"
Coulson remained professional despite being yelled at by a well-built fire chief. "And while Torres is grateful for her services in fighting The Deadwood Fire, Wonder Woman was never granted permission to interfere with personnel on the ground."
"I have to guess that you never applied for one, Agent Coulson." Wonder Woman wasn't able to contain her displeasure towards the agent.
Coulson snapped back. "It's the law, Diana, and you know it."
The Vigilante Registration Act, the law that Coulson mentioned, was introduced in three states a few months after the formation of the Avengers. It granted governors in said states the power to refuse entry to any vigilantes not registered and lacking the governor's blessing. But, the federal government was able to override said power if any threat was proven too difficult for the civil authorities to handle. And it only targeted vigilantes that didn't remain in one state, like Superman and Wonder Woman. So, while it was passed with overwhelming support in those three states, the law was rarely enforced and never considered until the recent crime wave. California was the fourth and recent state to sign the act into law since its creation.
"Look, pal, I don't care about whatever law you've to enforce; Wonder Woman has done more good in recent days. We would've lost acres and lives to the fire without her." Daniel then processed to place himself between Coulson and Wonder Woman, which surprised both of them. "And if preventing her from leaving means I am breaking the law, then arrest me."
Wonder Woman was astonished by the Fire Chief's bravery in the face of such a powerful authority figure. It would've made the spirit of Arete proud. But, Diana understood clearly that Coulson always followed orders from whoever was his new puppet master—no matter what it meant doing. Plus, there was still a megafire that needed containing before more lives were displaced. So, Diana made her way to Daniel while taking the earpiece off of her ear.
"I appropriate you for willing to defy the law from me, but I won't let you get arrested when you're desperately needed. Thank you for letting me work beside your department for as long as possible." Diana gently handed the earpiece back to Daniel and held his hand. "And I swear that the heroics of you and your department will be paid in due time."
Wonder Woman turned to Coulson with a steady, cold stare and then said in disdain. "You can inform the governor that I will be leaving the state. And if she needs a location for her photo shoot, I know a perfect spot."