The Hub: February 5th, 2020 - 7:18 PM
Prior to the Brotherhood breaking into the Triskelion and destroying the Gifted Index, as well as taking the biological weapon S.H.I.E.L.D. was designing as a nuclear deterrent to mutants, Director Fury had already been pondering the so called mutant question. Only it wasn't just mutants these days - there were inhumans and mutates, those who studied magic and witchcraft, gods who came from living legend, aliens, and even highly weaponized suits of armor made by people with uncontrollable personalities. Each day, his job seemed to get a little bit harder to protect the world and live up to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founding ideals.
"Explain that again in English, this time, doctor. Not scientific mumbo jumbo," Fury requested, getting up from his seat and walking over to the floor to ceiling window. He had a stunning view of the ocean from his office at the Hub, one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s facilities.
"As you know, Director Fury, my background is in studying mutant genetics," Dr. Jiāng explained. He had worked for the private sector up in Canada before S.H.I.E.L.D. made him a better offer. "Before you continue, I think this plan is already dumb. Too much expository writing for my taste," Agent Kennedy, called Jim by his friends, interjected.
Dr. Jiāng paused, while Fury didn't react, as if Jim hadn't cut in at all. "...At any rate, you're approaching the problem from the wrong angle. The Avengers and the X-Men...They both have their own agendas, Director Fury. If you authorize Phase Three, we can give our own people - those who we know will fight for the greater good - abilities."
Fury paused for a moment, before he turned his attention to Jim. "Agent Kennedy, you've been a real rock here at S.H.I.E.L.D. I'd like to know your thoughts on Phase Three - compulsive experimentation on our soldiers to make them into superheroes, like Captain fucking America...It's not without precedent."
Jim sighed, his thoughts flickering back to when he had been deployed. Radiation had both ended and saved his life. "With all due respect, Fury, you've already made up your mind. I could say that I think it's inhumane, that it's cruel, that you're playing god...Or maybe I'll make some point about how this isn't something you can undo, green lighting this type of research...You can't put the genie back in the bottle after something like this."
Fury nodded, falling silent for a moment. "You're right. Doctor, proceed with Phase Three. Agent Kennedy will assist you in monitoring the recruits post transition." Fury moved to the elevator, before he looked back at the table. "Oh, and Agent Kennedy, I don't play god. He plays me."
The Triskelion: August 7th, 2020 - 2:25 PM
Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury had just returned to his office after a particularly aggravating meeting. Even with only one good eye, he had found it hard not to roll his eyes at the frantic inquiries. After O.M.E.N. was shut down, S.H.I.E.L.D. had seen a large increase in funding and resources - but also in situations they needed to monitor and address. He had had to pull in a majority of their reserve agents to active duty, just to be able to ensure his organization wasn't spread thin. There was no point in being a shield for all mankind if they couldn't protect anyone.
There was a gust of wind, entering the room. Standing there, leaning against the wall, was the one and only Pietro Maximoff. He was pissed off, that much was obvious, just from the look on his face. Pietro was glaring at Fury, and he wasn't even trying to hide his anger. "Hello there Fury," he said through clenched teeth.
Fury didn't need to turn and look to see who it was. He moved his hand to his side, subtly switching the rounds on his gun from bullets to inhibitor darts. It was something he'd had a scientist draw up for him after the entire fiasco against the Brotherhood of Mutants - and he was glad he made the call. "Mr. Maximoff - to what do I owe the displeasure?"
"I'm guessing you already know why," Pietro said, before he raced over, and getting the gun away from Fury. "I've been running from assholes like you since I was 12, how dumb do you think I am. Now... Why did you call Guin in," he said, lifting Fury up by the collar.
"I don't answer to you, Quicksilver," Fury said calmly. "What I do with my agents is none of your concern, got it? I trust you can find your way out," he added coldly. "Guessing you're the one that caused all of our security systems to crash, huh?" Fury rolled his one good eye at Pietro. He doubted the speedster would want to mess up his record after S.H.I.E.L.D. had wiped it clean in exchange for his assistance defeating the Brotherhood.
"Yeah, Guin is my concern because unlike every other idiot in here I know what SHIELD really is about, and you don't care about the agents, just the job. So either you cut ties with her, because she is a part of the X-Men and has obligations to them and is surrounded by people who actually care about her, or I keep pounding on you until you do," Pietro said before he punched Fury in the face, hard.
Fury's nose snapped and began to bleed, but the decorated S.H.I.E.L.D. director hardly even blinked an eye. It wasn't the first time someone had questioned his decisions with physical force and he doubted it'd be the last. "Agent Stark is a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and can be called in whenever I damn well please," Fury shot back. "Punching me isn't going to change that, Quicksilver. And do you really want this going on your rap sheet? Because I can throw you in a hole and then throw away the hole, kid."
"You're just pissed off because the X-Men decided to stop doing all of the dirty work for you, you owe us for saving the world and taking out your biggest problem. Taking away one of our members just because you feel like it is not the best way to keep making friends," Pietro said, punching him again.
He started seeing double, staring into the face of an incredibly vexed and irritated speedster. "Didn't go into this business to make friends," Fury told him. Blood was trickling down his face and he was in immense pain, but he didn't show it. He couldn't help but be slightly disappointed in the other agents in the building, as no one else had even noticed that Maximoff had breached their security yet as far as he could tell.
"Now, Guin doesn't work for you you son of a bitch, she's with a team that actually cares, so you just stay the hell away, and everything will be fine," he said, punching him again.
Getting punched at super speed in the face repeatedly was no easy task. Fury gritted his teeth, trying his best to focus on the blurred images in front of him. "Fine," Fury muttered, clearly irritated that he had no other options. "Take my best engineer."
"Thank you for your time Director, this has been a nice chat," Pietro said, letting him go and watching him drop to the ground.
Location Unknown: August 13th, 2020 - 9:23 PM
In a quiet room, where shadows dance across the wall, a lone figure typed away at a computer screen. His identity was concealed, as well as those of his correspondents. But does it really matter who they were? They could be anywhere - and they could be anyone. They were nothing more than faceless cogs in the organization that was HYDRA, committed to the ideals of blood purity and advancement of the Aryan race. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America may rest easy, thinking that their old foe was defeated - but it's always just a matter of time before HYDRA pops up again.
M: WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME ON PHASE THREE COMPLETION?
The figure paused, tapping his hand twice on the table as their eyes glanced at the files they had been examining. Rivera, Emilia-Marie...Hale, Arcturus...Bautista, Niah... His eyes went back to the computer screen before he typed in his reply quickly.
M: DID OUR CHILD SURVIVE?
T: SHE DID.
M: HOW MANY CASUALTIES?
Their eyes went back to the files. Smith, Maria had been a close call. Sparks, Theresa had a near death experience, with the SHIELD physician on call, Chloe Ridgeway, just barely managing to revive her. Kelley, Teig had been pronounced dead, until he revived miraculously a few minutes later, likely as some sort of delayed reaction. Dr. Jiāng was the only one that really understood why that had happened.
T: EIGHT. SO FAR.
M: HOW MANY ARE NOT PURE?
Smith, Maria... The Jew. They hadn't been able to make a move against her yet. Novikova, Dominika... The Russian - she would need to be taken care of. Few realized that the Soviets had been targets of the Nazis as well. And HYDRA had began as the Nazi deep science division. Hale, Arcturus... He was one of the few they had determined to be homosexual. But with conversion therapy, that could be corrected. Bautista, Niah... Rivera, Emilia-Marie... The figure sighed slightly. This was going to be a lot of work - so much sexual deviance.
T: FIVE. THREE CAN BE CORRECTED.
M: GET RID OF THE WASTE. KEEP THE BLOOD PURE.
M: HAIL HYDRA.
"Hail HYDRA," the figure whispered, before they heard footsteps coming down the hallway and they shut the computer closed, plunging the room into complete darkness.
Present Day - S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy: August 14th, 2020 - 9:00 A.M.
The experiment had been a grueling and difficult process, with only a ten percent success rate. Roughly half of those who underwent the experiment had died in the process, with the remaining forty percent emerging with no new abilities. Had it not been for the effort of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best physicians, they would have died as well. And the rest? They had emerged with new powers and abilities, increasing the world's population of enhanced individuals fighting for good.
The procedure was a three step process. The first step was the simplest: exposure to Terrigen Mist. If the subject was inhuman, exposure to this mist would cause them to form a rocky cocoon like structure, as their latent inhuman DNA would become expressed and cause them to manifest abilities, after which, they would emerge a changed person. If they were not inhuman, the mist would have no effect.
The next process was a serum designed to active a latent X-gene - a chemical cocktail triggered by adrenaline and stress that would activate both the primary and secondary mutations. If there was no sign of any change after a week of the increased adrenaline and stress, the process was considered a failure and the individual was advanced to step three. If successful, their mutation would manifest instead.
The final step was designed to ensure that the subject gained abilities, through a special mixture of gamma radiation and an extraterrestrial power source. Intense exposure to this unique combination would force an unnatural mutation in the subject's DNA, causing them to become a mutate. If after two weeks there was no change, and especially if the subject demonstrated hair loss, they would be removed from the experiment.
The survivors of the experiment, called Phase Three, had been kept for observation for the past few days. It had been touch-and-go health wise, but the physicians had finally cleared them to wake up from the medically induced comas, albeit a bit wary as to how they would behave. Director Fury had a lot of hope for them, even recruiting the best trainer of the newly enhanced that he knew - Agent Kennedy, who would serve as their senior supervising officer. He was hopeful that Agent Reed would be an asset as well, given how closely she worked with the X-Men in the past.
Super powers were the next arms race - and he had no intention of having S.H.I.E.L.D. be left in the dust. To protect and save the world, they needed the weapons in order to face the new challenges coming onto the horizon.
Location: Sci-Tech Building 4 - Phase Three HQ: Medical Ward
Skills: Dimensional Energy Perception (Passive)
Novikova didn't open her eyes, just listening as she heard three sets of footsteps come into the lab. Two were the even and steady pace that S.H.I.E.L.D. officials tended to keep - whereas the third was more random and sporadic. She could see dimly through her eyelids that the room was flooded with light, so it must have been morning. But every muscle in her body felt stiff and worn, as she slowly sat up and opened her eyes, staring directly at Agent Ridgeway, S.H.I.E.L.D. Physician.
Novikova's vision clouded for a moment, as she caught a glimpse of Agent Ridgeway - only her scrubs had been replaced with a prison jumpsuit and her eyes were red as she vomited into a toilet. Novikova's head started to pound as she found she couldn't look away from Ridgeway, with more and more information flooding her senses - there was Ridgeway again, lying on the pavement filled with bullets - and Ridgeway again, doing crack underneath a freeway overpass. It only stopped once Ridgeway went out of her line of sight and Novikova let out a gasp, shutting her eyes tightly.
"Rise and shine, agents," Fury called out. He was standing at the end of the line of beds, having glanced at a few medical charts along the way. "Congratulations. You sons of bitches are the toughest agents we have here - you survived Phase Three." He let his words hang in the air for a moment. "But that was the easy part. Now, you have to train and learn how to use your powers, in order to protect the world. Agent Fitz is going to be here shortly with a simulation device built by him and Agent Stark, which we call the Framework. You'll be put in a practice mission, in order to let you use your powers without worrying about killing the wrong people."
Jim sighed. He was trying his best not to hit his forehead against his hand, but he was their Senior Supervising Officer - and his co-worker? Lying on a bed like the rest of them, probably freaking out and unaware of her own strength. "...Don't stress out too much, okay? We'll have a good time, get some ice cream, play some games...And you know, maybe save some people in the process. Just a normal day in the life of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent."