Coulson's wrists and bare ankles (he and Fitz were never given shoes to wear, not even outside) began to throb in numbness caused by the cold, hard, shackles that were digging into his skin. He had no clock to look at and no guard in the room to ask the time (not that they'd answer other than possibly whacking him across the face depending on who the guard was) but Coulson estimated he'd been sitting alone for around an hour and a half.

Was Talbot being chewed out for asking the wrong question? Or was he being read-in?

Coulson tallied everything he knew and mentally organized his thoughts:

· After being captured, the Mystery Man, the Red Head, and the Woman (the codenames he'd given them in his head since he was never told their names or even what he should call them) had tried to use him to broker a deal with a guy named Simon Clover.

· He had no idea who Simon Clover was, a feat that was utterly surprising considering he was the Director of SHIELD.

· The operation concerning Clover had been scratched after it was discovered that HYDRA was involved, or at least was interested in the information that they were using Coulson to sell.

· Fitz had been captured too and for some reason they kept Fitz and Coulson together: a stupid move when dealing with two agents of any organization that deals with espionage and highly advanced tech.

· They were kept in a laughably low tech prison that had no discernible electronic locks on any doors, nor any security cameras. Coulson admired this fact. Having barely any tech meant that the only possible way to break prisoners out was to mount an assault and do it by force.

· The only fact that seriously concerned Coulson was that he was fully aware that he (and Fitz) were extremely high up on the US government's, and the world's, most wanted terrorist list. He couldn't come up with a reason why he wasn't already in GitMo and why he had been in the custody of only the FBI for so long. He was especially shocked that it had taken him this long to even see Talbot.

With this all on his mind he concluded that he and Fitz were where they were either because the FBI had something big on their mind and they needed sole custody of them, or, the politics of the DoD, Justice Department, military, and Federal Alphabet soup had created a 'finders-keepers' and 'keep away' attitude towards SHIELD and HYDRA personnel and assets. If the latter was the case, the Talbot was most likely fighting tooth and nail to win both games.

Coulson kicked himself mentally. He should know the inner politics of the US and world atmosphere where SHIELD is concerned. Granted he's been out of the game for a few months now but he should have an idea of that based on what he knew before. Coulson frowned slightly as he realized his obsession with the carvings had led to him shirking his Directorly duties…

As that thought ended, Talbot re-entered the room with four of his guards (distinguished from the regular guards by the 'U.S. Air Force' on their uniform and tac gear against the similar label-less get-up worn by the others). The guards approached Coulson swiftly. One put a bag over his head and he now felt the shackles be unhooked from the chair but be left on his extremities. Grabbed by the armpits, Coulson stood up.

Am I being taken by Talbot?

They started to escort him to the door. Coulson frowned again, he had grown used to only being handcuffed behind his back. Now he was forced to move while his hands and feet were shackled to a belt around his waist.

They walked him out of the room and to the right. After two minutes Phil became aware that Talbot (his loud breathing/cigar smoke and pine scented deodorant aroma) was no longer with them.

It was a split-second decision that had Coulson suddenly walk slowly and weakly while bent over as much his manhandlers would allow. To add to his act, he began to act as if he was going to throw up. One of the guards had enough of this after only a minute. "Move."

Coulson managed to bring himself to a complete halt. "I'm sorry, I can't. I feel sick."

He could hear the skepticism in the Bostonian accented man's voice, "Why are you sick all the sudden?"

Coulson took the opportunity, while immobile, to bend over further and really play up the 'I'm gonna be sick routine'. "I think it was the injection they gave me. I didn't feel it until I got up and started walking."

The hood came off after the men guided him over and had him facing the wall on their right. No one moved and Coulson figured they were just gonna let him lose his breakfast all over the corridor floor. He continued the act for a few more seconds. Once he was ready he sprang into action.

First, he shoulder-checked the guard on his left, pushing all his weight into the guy's side. That guard fell to the floor as the one on his right drew his weapon on Coulson while running to tackle him. Coulson anticipated this and bent down, the guard had been unable to control his momentum and was thrown over Coulson's back. His forehead cracked the floor as he landed on the first guard and Phil worried that he had sustained a concussion

It was during that move that Coulson came into possession of the firearm. Before the other two guards (who did nothing while Phil dealt with the first two guards to avoid hitting them) were expecting it, Coulson discharged the weapon from behind himself while turning around and they went down. He had aimed for the muscle of their thighs and the area of their shoulder right above the arm pit. A well-placed shot in both those places would take them out the game but pose no immediate danger to them.

Now that the posse were dealt with, he reached toward one of the guards he shot. He noticed that one and not the other three had keys clipped to his vest. The two guard were on their backs simultaneously holding the wounds on their shoulders and their thighs. The one that Coulson reached for looked him dead in the eye. "You're a terrorist."

Coulson looked back at the guy, he was in okay shape and seemed to be defiantly ignoring the pain as the other gunshot victim whined in pain and tried not to cry. "I'm sorry I shot you," he said as he unclipped the keys and then set to unshackling himself.

Once he was free he noticed the first guard, who had pinned under the unconscious second, had rolled his friend off him and was nearly on two feet. Coulson didn't shoot him, he only whacked him with the grip of his firearm.

Now Coulson ran. All the action had taken under a minute, but that was still too long. He needed to get to Fitz. He had gone back the way they had just came back from. He knew he was on the right track as he passed the Interrogation room. Running passed it for only 100 feet he came to a fork in the corridor.

Looking left he saw Talbot and more of his men and women. From the quick glimpse, he caught sneaking a peek around the corner he saw they were oblivious to his little escapade.

Coulson flattened himself against the wall before the corner out of sight. He knew there was no way to get passed them without a confrontation and felt sweat stick to his skin and clothes as his heartbeat raced. Suddenly he had an idea…

-When it came to SHIELD and everything related to them, people included, Talbot had learned to expect anything and everything to happen. He should have been overseeing Coulson's transfer to the helo that he had called but he hadn't because the General insisted that he go with one of her aides, along with three feds, and finalize some red-tape which said he was responsible if anything happened with Coulson.

When they finished, they had gathered in a corridor. Talbot had been about to leave them and catch-up with the prisoner escort party when he realized he didn't need to: Coulson came running at them full speed, obstructing their view of him by igniting a fire extinguisher in short, controlled bursts.

Talbot eventually got a view of Coulson; he was now wearing select articles of tac-gear, and carrying arms and ammo (though, Talbot noted, most of it was made for non-fatal warfare). They fired at him but he ran in a zigged zagged pattern, just random enough to avoid the bullets aimed for him.

A melee ensued when Coulson was close enough. After a minute of pure chaos created by undisciplined guards who gave the SHIELD agent everything he needed to succeed, all the Airmen, Feds, and base guards were subdued. Talbot had been dazed (by his own man no less) when suddenly Coulson came up from behind him and put his left arm around his neck. It was almost a funny picture: Talbot was nearly a head taller than him.

"I am very sorry, general. Really, I am, but I kind of have a shadowy, non-sanctioned organization to run." Coulson ran off taking Talbot, held at gunpoint, with him.