Disclaimer: BtVS and all characters from the show are owned by Joss Whedon, SHIELD, and Nick Fury are owned by Stan Lee and Marvel Productions.
Authors note: Once more I’d like to thank everyone out there who has taken the time to review this story and also the many fine writers who contribute to this site, your works inspire me. Olbear
Authors note II: I apologise for any and all mistakes concerning Marvelverse canon. Since it’s been several years since I’ve paid a great deal of attention to comics I’m sure I’ll make some whoppers.
Five armed and armoured figures crept along the wall. The only sound was the faint creak from their gear and the crunch of sand beneath their boots. Unless someone was standing right next to them it was doubtful that they would hear anything. Finally they reached the destination, the main door of the building.
With a speed that showed that they had done this numerous times already they stacked up to one side of the door. The lead figure swiftly placed explosive charges on the doors lock and hinges before holding up its left hand with all five fingers extended.
Four fingers and the team snugged their weapons into their shoulders and disengaged the safeties.
Three fingers and they crouched slightly, ready for the rush
Two fingers, a pause then one finger.
With a muted crack the shaped charges detonated, blowing the door off its hinges and into the room itself. The five man assault team didn’t wait for the echoes to fade or the smoke to clear but charged in, weapons up and searching for targets.
Inside the room the terrorists, armed with a mix of assault rifles and stolen high tech weapons froze as the armoured door smashed into the room, nearly decapitating one who had been standing too close to it when the charges went off. Even as the remainder raised their weapons the assault team was already in the room and servicing their targets
With short, controlled bursts of fire the team engaged the hostiles, each member covering their assigned section as they swept the room. Seconds later the terrorists were down, chests shredded by the fire of the team.
“Alpha One clear!” One reported with his rifle still at his shoulder and looking over the sights for a new target
“Alpha Two clear!” Another member said. Unlike the first his carbine was hanging from its tactical sling and he held a pistol in a modified Weaver stance.
“Bravo One clear! A female voice said rifle sweeping up to ensure that there was no trapdoors or murder holes in the ceiling.
“Bravo Two clear!” The fourth barked as he ejected the spent magazine from his carbine and replaced it with a new one.
“Room clear!” The fifth and team leader said after a quick scan showed that the room was secure. “Move on to the next one.”
The group started to move to the next door when suddenly the dim lights in the room brightened and the ‘Terrorists’ were revealed to be early model LMD’s, commonly used by SHIELD for training purposes, at the same time concealed speakers in the room activated.
“End scenario! Team stand down!”
The assault team relaxed slightly and made their weapons safe. Above them bulletproof screens retracted to expose the windows of the observation booth. “Alpha Two.” The supervisor said. “Why did you go to your secondary weapon?”
One of the agents looked up to the booth. “Stoppage Sir, I didn’t want to try and clear it in the middle of the assault.” He explained while at the same time he holstered his pistol and began to work on the carbine. Within seconds he had extracted the burst shell casing that had jammed the M4.
The instructor nodded, despite the best quality control you still got the occasional dud round. Looking down at the timer in the console in front of him he keyed the mike. “Seven point nine seconds.” He reported. “Not the best time I’ve seen but far from the worst.”
Below him the team stood a little straighter despite their fatigue. They’d been up since four in the morning and the day had started with a twenty kilometre forced march in full tactical gear followed by lectures on criminal investigation, intelligence gathering and police procedures and that was before lunch. Then they had been marched out to ‘The Playpen’, the sprawling area of bunkers, buildings and mock ups of aircraft and ships used by the SHIELD Training Facility for tactical exercises.
“Alright you’re finished here. Report to the armoury to return weapons then de-brief and you’re finished for the day.” The instructor ordered.
In the room below the team started to file out, at the same time removing helmets and ski masks. Outside they paused to take a breath of fresh air and watched as technicians entered the room and began to recover the LMD’s. By morning the robots would be repaired and back in action.
“Well that was fun.” Trainee Carl Alvarez remarked. At six foot three inches in his stockinged feet the Texan native and former USMC Force Recon Gunnery Sergeant was the biggest trainee at the facility. But the big man was surprisingly quick and agile and rumour had it that several major league football teams had a collective coronary when he walked away from the game when he finished college and joined the Marines.
Next to him the woman, Morgan Phelps, formerly of the Dade County Sheriff’s Department in Florida ran her fingers through her shoulder length brown hair before slipping on a pair of Rayban sunglasses. Even though it was late in the afternoon the Nevada sun was still brutal. “Yeah but we still have a two mile hike back.” She groused and wondered whether it was a good idea to take off her armour. In the end she decided to keep it on. Wearing the thirty pounds of Kevlar and ceramic was bad enough but it beat trying to carry it that distance.
“Aww is the princess feeling a little delicate today? Or maybe you just want some cheese to go with that whine.” The third team member snarked. Morgan just glared at him before flipping him the bird.
“Bite me Steve-O!” She muttered to Stephen O’Hara. The ex FBI HRT member was about to retort when the Team leader decided it was time to step in.
“Knock it off you two.” Graham Douglas snapped, the former SEAL Chief Petty Officer had little time for bickering. “Or I’ll lock the pair of you in a closet and see which one survives. Now let’s get moving I want to be finished up in time for chow.” He looked over to where the fifth member of the team was just clipping his helmet to his assault vest. “That includes you Kid.”
“Yeah Chief I’m coming.” The youngest by a good seven years of the group trotted over and the group started the hike back to the main complex as the sun slowly sank in the west. None of them noticed the two ravens perched on the stripped remains of a semi truck.
As the group broke into a slow jog the two birds took flight and winged off into the distance.
Colonel Dan Garrison (Ret) leaned back in his chair and put on leg up on the lower desk drawer that he’d pulled out. For some reason his right leg was in pain despite the fact that he had lost that leg below the knee in a car wreck five years ago and it had been replaced by a high tech prosthetic. After his release from hospital and medical discharge from the Army he had been selected to run SHIELD’s training facility.
“So” He asked the man sitting opposite him. “What brings you to my little corner of the world Agent Coulson? Another dog and pony show for junketing Congressmen?”
Phil Coulson didn’t look like a SHIELD agent. When people first met him they usually pegged him for an accountant or mid level bureaucrat. But Garrison knew differently, beneath the bland appearance of one of Director Fury’s trouble shooters beat the heart of seasoned fighter who once defeated a HYDRA assassination team with nothing more than his wits and a rolled up copy of the TIMES.
Agent Coulson adjusted his tie. “It’s about one of your trainees.” He said meeting the gaze of the former Army Ranger. “I think you know the one I’m talking about.”
“Alexander Harris.” Garrison finished for him before retrieving an inch thick file from a cabinet.
“Well these are his records for the last three months.” He said placing them on the desk.
Coulson made no move to read the file instead he asked a question.
“What do you make of him?”
“Harris? Good raw material with a lot of potential. Works well with a group and doesn’t mind doing that little bit extra to help others out. The physical side of the training isn’t a problem once he built up his fitness but he’s weaker than average academically. But since he just finished high school that’s understandable and his team mates are helping him in that regard.”
Coulson nodded in understanding. Almost all potential SHIELD recruits came to the agency with at least a college degree and years of experience in either the military or law enforcement. Those that didn’t tended to have a skill or talent that was in demand by the organisation such as ESP or computer hacking.
“So do you think that he’ll graduate with the rest of his class?”
Garrison sagged back into his chair for a moment. “I don’t see why not. His overall marks are good and any deficiencies in experience can be fixed with on the job training. Of course he still has three months left of training, but barring injury he should be a probationary agent by New Year.” Dan looked at Coulson and asked the question that had been on his mind since Harris had arrived.
“Phil who is this kid? And don’t give me that cock and bull story that he’s part of a programme to see if we can get decent agents from high school graduates. That sort of programme I’d know about a year before it started. Then there’s the things that have been happening over the last few months.”
“Like what?” Phil asked.
“Like the Helicarrier went into full lock down four months ago and a week after that there was a full background check started on every active agent which resulted in over twenty agents being identified as Hydra moles. Then just before Harris arrived here an investigation started on OsCorp which turned up evidence that linked Norman Osborne to the costumed criminal Green Goblin. I don’t think that it’s all coincidence.”
Outwardly Phil’s expression didn’t change but inwardly he sighed in exasperation. He knew that the cover for Harris was weak and wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny.
“You’re right Dan, Harris and that’s not his real name, isn’t just some random kid plucked off the street.” He paused. “This doesn’t go any further than this office, understood?”
Garrison nodded and Phil continued.
“Harris’s father was highly placed in Hydra. We think that he was a coordinator for many of their operations in North America. From what he’s told us he and his father didn’t get along though he didn’t know exactly what his father was up to. Somehow Harris got hold of his father’s records and handed them over to us. In the files we found hints that Hydra has been infiltrating SHIELD and other government agencies for decades.”
“And in the files there was information linking Osborne with The Green Goblin?” Garrison asked.
“No there has always been a suspicion that Osborne knew about the Goblin ever since he showed up in New York riding a glider that was an exact match for a prototype that was supposed to have been destroyed in an explosion at one of Oscorp’s research facilities.” Phil replied.
Publicly Norman Osborne had stepped down from his position of CEO of Oscorp citing health reasons. Privately it was known that he had been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder caused by the augmentation serum that Osborne had injected himself with and was currently undergoing treatment. Whether the treatment would be successful was unknown.
“So after we confirmed what was in the files it was decided to send him here for training with the cover story that he was part of a new programme to increase recruitment levels.” Phil continued. “That way we can keep an eye on him and apart from the Helicarrier itself this is one of the safest places in the country. Of course if someone starts asking too many questions about him, let me know.”
“You’re his handler?” Dan said.
“For the moment. Once his training is complete a decision will be made on whether he’s kept with SHIELD or placed into Witness Protection.”
Garrison nodded. “I understand Phil and if anyone starts asking to many questions about Harris you’ll be the first person I contact after security.”
“I appreciate it Dan.” He got to his feet and collecting the file.
“I’ll have my driver run you out to the landing field.” Garrison said as he stood up.
The SHIELD agents shook hands in farewell.
Trainee Harris, aka Xander, aka Kid stood under the shower and let the hot water ease the aches in his muscles. It had been a long day but fortunately it was over and he could relax until the following morning.
Turning off the water he quickly wrapped a towel around himself and stepped out of the shower cubicle and headed to the door to his room, banging on the opposite door to let the trainee in the adjoining room know that the shower was now free.
In his room he quickly dried off and looked around. The room was pretty sparse, a single bed, wardrobe, writing desk with a laptop on it along with text books on such things as Forensic Science, Crime Scene Processing, Army training manuals, a ‘T’ shaped stand in one corner with his body armour and assault harness draped over it and a single chair.
Throwing the damp towel into the laundry bag hung on the door he reached for some fresh clothes. As he dressed a thought came to him. If Buffy or Willow could see this room they wouldn’t believe that it was his. There was no stack of well thumbed comics in the room and you could actually see the floor instead of piles of dirty clothes. He smiled as he remembered the time when Willow came over to visit him when they were younger and he was sick with the flu.
His oldest friend had taken one look at the mess that was his bedroom, carefully put down the thermos of chicken soup she had brought with her and told him that she’d call the place a pigsty except that it’d be an insult to pigs.
Of course Xander’s neatness had come about due to the fact that both Gunny Carl and Chief Graham had conducted daily room inspections and brought him up to the standard they considered necessary for a SHIELD trainee.
A sense of sadness washed over him as he thought of his friends. By now Buffy and Willow would have started college, or if they hadn’t they would soon. He wondered if they realised that their ‘Xander shaped friend’ hadn’t returned to Sunnyhell. Would they look for him? If they did would they be able to find him? Xander didn’t know but he was counting the days till the time came for the Sorcerer Supreme to send him home.
But it wasn’t just Buffy and Willow that Xander found himself thinking about at add odd moments.
The former vengeance demon Anyanka, who, after she lost her powers and became human again adopted the name Anya Jenkins. It surprised him that he thought of her. Yes they had gone to the Prom together but it had been a pity date on both their parts since they had no one else to go with.
And despite her reputation and the fact that she had spent most of the night telling him about some of favourite acts of vengeance or pointing out which couples were cheating on each other Xander had enjoyed himself that night dancing with her once he let himself relax and enjoy the moment.
Shaking his head he wondered where Anya was now. Xander knew that the morning of Graduation Anya had fled Sunnydale, not wanting to be anywhere near an Ascension. She had wanted Xander to go with her and to be honest he was very tempted to take up the offer. And if the threat of the Mayor hadn’t been so great he might have.
Instead he stayed to help Buffy and lead his classmates in the fight against the vampires at the school while the Slayer led the transformed Mayor into the library and his fiery death.
A pounding on his door interrupted his thoughts.
“Yo Harris! Feeding time!” Steve O’Hara called through the door.
“Thanks Steve-O, I’m on my way.” He called back as he grabbed a light jacket. At the mention of food his stomach reminded him the last time it had been filled had been over six hours ago and that had been only a couple of Power Bars and a drink of water.
Belly grumbling slightly he left his room and headed to the mess hall.
Buffyverse, late July 1999, Motel 6, outskirts of Butte, Montana
Anya Jenkins jerked awake with a gasp.
“What a strange dream.” She thought as she got out of the bed. Walking over to the sink she poured herself a glass of water. “Why did I dream of Xander Harris dressed as a Viking?” She thought as sipped her water. Maybe it was time she went back to Sunnydale.