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“Doppelganger” – pt 8 of 18

General Nick Fury gives his agents Grifter, Mockingbird, Hawkeye and the Black Widow a dressing down after their failure to capture a potential terrorist.

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General Nicholas Fury wasn’t an imposing man. Grifter and Hawkeye had him by a few inches in height, and Fury wasn’t one of those muscle guys that seemed to overpopulate the military set.

But the world-weary look in his eye and the sense of command he relayed even through a television monitor demanded respect.

It was that dedication and ability to find solutions that had allowed an African-American man in the late forties to get the reigns of the world’s premier spy outfit.

Fury insists the fledgling United Nations gave him the command on the chance it’d all blow up in his face and then they could “blame the Darkie.”

It never felt good for an agent who’d just botched a job to have to sit for the debriefing with the General. Something about feeling like you let down your domineering grandfather.

“We analyzed those papers you found at Gordon Construction,” Fury began. “Total dead end. But that doesn’t surprise or concern me.”

Fury leaned forward toward the camera feeding the monitor, making him an even more imposing figure at the head of the table in the SHIELD briefing room.

“What the hell happened out there?” Fury demanded through the briefing room’s speakers.

Mockingbird and her fellow agents Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Grifter were alone in the briefing room. It was better that way; saved SHIELD’s premiere agents some of the embarrassment.

The underlings were already talking, and not in good ways.

“I made a hell of a shot,” Hawkeye said.

“You always make a hell of a shot, Barton,” Fury barked. “That’s why the hell I drug you from that silly ass purple costume at the carnival and put you in the field!

“But watching traffic cams of my agents suddenly passing out just because a mercenary woman said to stand down demands an explanation!”

“We passed the medicals,” Mockingbird interjected. “No signs of mental implants, control words, psychedelics. And my wounds were superficial, thanks for asking.”

“Though if we’re to be honest,” Black Widow began.

“And I insist you are,” Fury interjected.

“I don’t know about all of you, but I never felt the same after that robot spewed that gray cloud.”

The others in the room remained silent.

“Anybody else feel not so fresh?” Fury asked.

From the lack of answers, Fury’s expression showed what amounted to frustration.

“All of you are on administrative leave, effective immediately. Take your butts to your bunks and hunker down for the next twenty-four.”

“Can you at least tell us what we were up against?” Grifter asked.

“HYDRA,” Widow replied.

The others looked at her.

“Near the end of World War Two, the Nazis splintered into two factions,” Widow explained.

“History tells of Hitler’s side, its defeat at the hands of the Allies. People who would go on to authorize SHIELD buried all knowledge of the other faction — an organization called HYDRA.”

“Explains that weird logo on our boys in green,” Mockingbird observed.

“Fascists do like their symbols,” Widow replied.

Fury took a long draw on his cigar before responding. “Agent Romanova is correct,” he eventually said. “HYDRA was behind advanced tech projects. Its boss, a guy named the Red Skull felt he should lead the Reich.”

“Hence the split,” Grifter threw out.

“Points for the guy in the red bandana,” Fury said. “The Skull disappeared about the same time as Captain America and his sidekick Bucky. Couple of posers ran things until the late sixties, but SHIELD shut them down.

“HYDRA went dormant. Don’t know where this strain came from, but we’ve got agents on it.

“As for that blonde with the rifle, that was a mercenary named Steel Raven. She usually works out of the country. HYDRA must have dropped some heavy coin to get her to come stateside.”

Fury gave the team a moment to let that sink in. “Now get out of here. And don’t be upset that I’m assigning agents to monitor you.

The agents looked to one another. Off their looks of concern, Fury added, “And don’t try to shake my agents. Fury out.”

The monitor went blank.

Merry Christmas!

As next Monday is the Big Day, I’m gonna skip publishing a chapter. But don’t despair, True Believers! Instead, I’ll publish on the 26th, the Tuesday after!

You’ll also get your regularly scheduled Thursday publication on the 28th before we break again for New Years.

Until then, have a safe and Merry Christmas.

Copyright Info

DC Adventures, Copyright 2011, Green Ronin Publishing; Author Steve Kenson. It’s now Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition

Advanced Player’s Manual, Copyright 2005, Green Ronin Publishing: Author Skip Williams.

Proteus Plot, Copyright 2006, Green Ronin Publishing, Author Steve Kenson.

The characters Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Mockingbird, the Black Widow, Arnim Zola, the Red Skull, HYDRA, SHIELD and Captain America are Copyright Marvel Comics

The character Grifter is Copyright DC Comics

None of the characters (or the plot, for that matter) belong to me as this is fan fiction, done for fun and as a creative exercise.

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