Occasionally I noodle a steampunk version of the 1960s British TV show “The Avengers” (aka the reason the MCU films are called “Avengers Assemble” in the UK). My imagined pilot has Emma Peel encountering John Steed while he’s investigating an agent’s death and she’s in disguise following a lead on her explorer husband’s disappearance. Things happen (handwave handwave), the immediate mystery is solved but a deeper one is left to become a season or series arc… and then this happens. (Mother, Steed’s superior, is borrowed from the final season where Linda Thorson replaced Diana Rigg — who, as you will see, I would very much like to have making Special Appearances in this imagined show…)
Mother’s office – interior, day
On a screen along one wall is projected a view of Westminster, its electrotrolleys whizzing past as airships float lazily in the distance. Mother’s prosthetic spider legs clack slightly as he turns from this view to watch Steed and Peel enter, Peel frankly curious about her surroundings.
Mother, this is Mrs. P—
Steed is actually discombobulated for all of a millisecond as he sees the other person in the room: A woman. A very, very regal woman.
Your Majesty. This is unexpected.
Peel’s mouth hangs open for a moment before she drops into a curtsy. The Queen — ideally played by a certain actress with the initials DR — acknowledges Steed before turning to Emma.
Mrs. Peel, allow us to convey our deep concern for your husband, and our fervent hope for his safe return.
Thank you, Your Majesty.
(ghost of a smile)
We are given to understand that you asked Mr. Steed who he worked for. We trust you have your answer now.
(the smile fades)
Extraordinary crimes against our people and state must be…
She glances toward Steed, whose eyes are focused on a respectful middle distance.
…answered… by extraordinary agents. Mr. Steed is one of our top professionals. But we have been known, from time to time, to employ…
(ghost of a smile returns)
Emma looks at the bemused Steed, then back at the queen.
Am… I to understand that Your Majesty is offering me a job?
An opportunity, Mrs. Peel. Sir Peter’s expedition was ostensibly undertaken on our behalf, yet much about it is being…
…kept from us. As well, we have read Mr. Steed’s report of Mr. Roderick’s last words to you… and the lengths to which someone went to prevent their elaboration. To say we are gravely concerned would be an understatement.
Emma and the queen gaze at each other a moment before Emma nods.
Then I accept.
Splendid. You will, of course, report to Mother here. We look forward to your work on our behalf. Mrs. Peel. Gentlemen.
Steed bows, Emma curtsies, Mother inclines his head. Victoria leaves.
So. When can you start?
(pulling tickertape from a brass device)
Good. Because there’s a matter in Guernsey that requires looking into.
Well. Mrs. Peel… we’re needed.