Disclaimer: I do not own the Ultimate Spider-Man™ television series, Ultimate Spider-Man™ is the sole trademark of Marvel Animation Studios.
Update: July 2017 – In celebration of the story earning 100 favorites in this community, I've decided to begin its remastered edit as part of its 3-year anniversary. I can't thank the community enough for the opportunity it has given me in writing this story and I hope this remastered edition brings this beautiful series back to light.
Author's Note: This story is pure fiction based off the Ultimate Spider-Man television show. The Phantom is not an existing character within the Marvel Universe but an original character that I've created for this story. This story is spread out, loosely following the events that occurred at the end of Season 2 in the show. Season 3 and beyond is not referenced. Enjoy!
A Special Assignment
On a cool Friday night, after-school, somewhere over Manhattan…
New Yorkers bustle out of their workplaces and schools out into the streets to begin a well-earned weekend to hang-out with friends and family. Traffic pacing about at a usual rate, social media exploding on the latest trends and stories, and a general sense of security in the minds of most citizens.
What, with the Damage Control agency cleaning up most of the city's rubble and destruction following the Chitauri attack earlier that year, most New Yorkers were returning to a state of peace, away from violence.
With those events in mind, however, Director Nick Fury and the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, or SHIELD for short, opted to strategically position SHIELD heli-carriers at each major city in the United States to protect them from all sorts of attacks at a moment's notice.
After the successes of the Avengers Initiative, Nick Fury turned his attention towards a junior team of younger superheroes based out of Manhattan. He appointed Peter Parker, the Spider-Man, as the leader of this five-hero team.
The others, Luke Cage, Danny Rand, Sam Alexander, and Ava Ayala were all independently recruited by Nick Fury, who examined each of their skills before bringing them aboard into the team. While Sam led the team for a short while, Fury figured it was high time to bring aboard New York City's wall-crawler as part of SHIELD.
Luke Cage, known professionally as Power Man, serves as somewhat of a mature caretaker to the group. Even though he's got immense strength and indestructible skin, he's got a reasonable mind, and always does what he thinks is right.
Danny Rand, also known as the Iron Fist, is the calm and level-headed contributor to the team. Wielding both power and title of the Iron Fist and King of the mystical city of K'un-L'un, he offers an invaluable approach to tough situations with his philosophical wisdom.
Sam Alexander, Nova, a former member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the last surviving member of the Nova Corps, and a self-proclaimed "natural leader". Though obnoxious at times, he shows loyalty and determination to the goals of the team.
Then there's Ava Ayala, the White Tiger, the only female of the team and motivated to succeed her male counterparts in everything from combat to education. Though tough on the outside, she often shows an emotional layer when talking about her past and her feelings.
Shots of webbing gripped each edge of a building, swinging the enigmatic wall-crawler on his nightly patrol back through the city, his thoughts on his team, thinking of each of them and their importance, especially… Ava.
He's worked with them for several months now, and they've all shared a special connection with one another, learning each other's weaknesses and strengths.
Suddenly, a loud ring blasted through his communicator, prompting him to stop at the ledge of a building.
"Jeez, I really need to tone down the ringer on this thing." Spidey murmured to himself as he looked at it.
There was an incoming message from Nick Fury.
"What's up, Nick? It's Friday night and I'm about to get off-duty. Want to know about how many cats I saved off a tree today?"
Fury's stolid expression underlined his mood.
"Never mind that, Parker. I need you up at the heli-carrier right now. A special assignment's come up and I can't talk the details over the communicator." Fury firmly directed.
Spidey subtly sighed, thinking about the importance of his time-off to get more sleep after fighting crime throughout the night.
"Alright, I'm going, Nick. But you owe me, this is the fifth Friday in the last two months you've got me working."
Without another word, Fury hung up.
"Yep, he definitely owes me."
He glanced up at the darkened silhouette looming behind the clouds in the night, The Guardian, Fury's flagship heli-carrier.
"I guess I better make my way up there." Spidey remarked as he shot a web up at a building and made his way upwards.
"Here goes my Friday night."
A little while later, on-board The Guardian...
Arriving on-board The Guardian, Spidey quickly pushed through the busy-looking agents, walking past the entrance to the bridge, down one of the elevators and into the secured conference room where Fury holds most of the meetings with the team.
Inside, he saw Iron Fist meditating in his seat, White Tiger doing her homework with a pile of textbooks next to her papers, Nova pacing about the room, and Power Man sitting up as he noticed the web-slinger walk in.
"Hey look, web-head's here." Power Man greeted.
"Yippee…" Nova unenthusiastically commented, still pacing about. "Okay, so we're all here, can we find out what's going on now? I hate waiting for these assignments, especially on Friday nights."
"Jeez, is everyone so depressed about being here?" Spidey sarcastically questioned.
"Just Nova. He is missing out on a date with Mary Jane." Iron Fist calmly pointed out, his eyes still closed in meditation, adding a slight grin at the end of his sentence.
"Zip it, Danny!" Nova snapped, resuming his pace.
"Of course, Tiger's mad that she had to haul her homework up here." Power Man added.
Tiger looked up and glanced at the others, sighing and shaking her head as she returned to writing her paper, continuously looking back and forth at her textbook and her paper.
Spidey took a seat next to Tiger, at the far end of the table.
"What do you guys think? Maybe ol' Greeny Gob's back in town?"
"I wish." Tiger groaned. "I'm getting sick and tired of fighting the common thugs that keep robbing banks or stealing from little old ladies. This hiatus of supervillains is really getting to me."
"Does Coulson or Hill know anything?"
Power Man shook his head. "We asked but this is apparently too secret for the both of them."
"That must mean this assignment is exclusive only to Director Fury." Iron Fist added. "That means there is a high degree of danger accompanied with it."
"Well, obviously." Nova smirked.
"I guess we'll find out soon enough." Spidey remarked.
Moments later, the electronic conference doors slid open and the mysterious, black leather-coated, and one-eyed Director of SHIELD entered the room, his expressionless face eyeing each of the team.
"Good, glad you all could make it at such short notice."
"Did we have a choice?" Nova murmured, taking a seat.
"You always have a choice, Nova." Fury sarcastically answered. "Now, to the issue at hand."
"Goblin sighting, Nick?" Spidey immediately questioned.
"No. Something else…" Fury clicked on a button at the head of the table which prompted the hologram projector on the table to display an image to float above the table.
It displayed a map-out of what appeared to be a secure SHIELD compound in a jungle-like environment tinted in blue from the holographic projector. The division's insignia painted on the side of the facility while most of it stayed hidden within the thick of the rainforest.
"This is the SHIELD Archive, our most covert base this side of the planet, located in a remote part of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Everything from national to international secrets are stored within this high-security facility, guarded by a small battalion of elite SHIELD agents." Fury began to explain.
"Why would you build something like that in the middle of the Amazon?" Tiger curiously questioned.
"We house some of the most damaging secrets on the planet there, files that can dissolve treaties and start the next world war. The Security Council felt that this was the most remote and secure place to keep these secrets under lock and key."
"Okay, whatever, so what's the problem?" Nova anxiously asked, crossing his arms. "Did it fall under attack or something? You can call the Avengers you know! This sounds too serious for our normal mission tempo."
Fury scolded him for a moment before answering.
"We don't know. We lost communications with the Archive less than 24 hours ago. They usually send a situation report every 12 hours to the Triskelion, but no encrypted emails or calls have been answered. The local SHIELD detachment in Brazil sent agents to investigate but nobody has returned."
"Maybe Nova's right, Nick, maybe we should think about sending the Avengers." Spidey pointed out.
"I don't want to bother them with this, they have far more pressing concerns than checking up on a high-level facility we lost tabs on. For now, I'd like you all to go investigate. Consider this a good field exercise."
"On. A. Friday. Night."
"I sense that there is something you are not telling us, director." Iron Fist calmly spoke out.
"I agree." Tiger concurred.
The director glanced back at the closed entrance to the conference room, almost like he was seeing if anyone was listening in on them.
"I bet this is the work of the Goblin or the Beetle." Nova murmured to himself.
"There are persons of special interest kept at this facility. I can't elaborate past that because you kids aren't cleared to know that much. Again, I'd like for you five to first investigate the facility and see what's going on. Search for SHIELD personnel and establish contact. I'll direct Coulson to make sure your responsibilities here are taken care off while you're off, good luck."
Without another word, the director promptly exited the room.
"Well that was the shortest mission brief I've ever sat through." Tiger coldly remarked.
"Look on the bright side, guys, we're getting to visit Brazil, the Amazon. That's cool, isn't it?" Power Man optimistically pointed out.
"Most amusing. I have never explored that much of South America." Iron Fist agreed.
"Guys. This isn't a vacation. I'm genuinely concerned as to what we're going to find down there." Tiger quickly reminded them.
"What do you think, web-head?" Power Man asked for the leader's opinion.
"I'm with Tiger on this one, guys. I think we should be careful when we get there. It doesn't sound like it's just a routine check-up either, especially with how important this place is."
Nova rolled his eyes.
"Alright, we'll play it safe. But, I'm telling you, webs, it's probably nothing. Fury over-exaggerates about everything. If it's nothing, he owes me my Friday night and most of my Saturday morning for that matter."
"Do you ever stop complaining?" Tiger scowled.
"Do you ever stop being a goody-two-shoes for once?!" Nova snapped back.
Tiger shook her head, gathering her books and papers.
"That's what I thought."
"Exercise caution, Nova. She is still the most qualified in the martial arts in the entire team, besides me, of course." Iron Fist reminded him.
They left the conference room and embarked off into the skies on-board one of SHIELD's Quinjets towards the Archive in the Amazon Rainforest.