Summery: Fury contemplates America
Grammar, spelling… yada yada
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Fury didn't like unknowns. He didn't like mysteries. He definitely didn't like unpredictability.
Therefore, nothing was more guaranteed to ruin his day than a situation involving Alfred F. Jones. Otherwise know as the human embodiment of the United States of America or the Personification of America.
Obnoxious and overly friendly the man seemed to find even the most pressing situations irritatingly hilarious, fumbling blindly into the most random of occurrences. Always grinning and with a pedant for sprouting ridiculous ideas Fury often wondered how the United States ended up with the idiot as their Personification. Sure Americans weren't the brightest bunch but good god if Jones didn't try his patience every time they met. And anyone who said that Jones wasn't the most irritating man to walk the earth needed a good punch in the face.
Anything to do with the concept of a Country Personification was, in itself, enough to give him a headache on the best of days. They were a security nightmare. Mostly, this was due to the fact that Personifications seamed to have some of the most inconstant abilities he had ever witnessed in a metahuman and, coming from him, that was saying something. Personifications could move at great speeds, but not all the time. They could teleport…sometimes. Superhuman strength? Yeah, sure, why not? But only when the circumstances were right. He had seen the Jones toss cars around and survive hundred foot drops yet be taken out by a simple punch to the face. Top scientists gave him squat in way of explanation aside from evidence that he was 100% human, which was bullshit.
This did not even begin to cover the occasional bouts of freakish insightfulness or the fact that Jones seamed to know an unpredictable amount about fucking everything. As someone who prided himself on his ability to keep his secrets and the secrets of the country this uncanny knowledge of America's darkest doings had put Jones firmly on the 'national hazard' list. The thought that all someone needed to do to seriously compromise national security was kidnap this kid off the streets never failed to keep him awake at night.
Perpetually optimistic, a gross misunderstanding about his precious position and prone to disappearing for extended periods of time, were only some Jones' more aggravating habits and did nothing to alleviate his stress. In other words, Jones was a walking security risk, and it was SHIELD's job to keep tabs on the man when he was not bumbling around in DC.
His only consolation was that other governments also had these glaring weaknesses and, if his intel. was correct, they had just as much trouble dealing with and securing them as he did. Having set surveillance on several Personifications of interest he had come to several conclusions.
Firstly that, like Jones, they were difficult to keep track of without doing anything obvert. They also seamed to do whatever the hell they wanted regardless of what their handlers decided. Some were more stable and well behaved than others and it was not unusual to see them involved in different aspects of their governments and countries. But never overly involved, so it was difficult to pinpoint any particular agenda. Lastly and most importantly, they were all dangerously unpredictable, making any attempt at exploitation unadvisable.
As was tradition it was the United States government that primarily dealt with Jones. They had a department dedicated to the job, which he considered woefully underprepared to take on the task. He had lodged several protests and amendments, which had all been shot down. It was 'traditional,' they had reiterated, so obviously common sense was brushed aside. On one hand he did not have to deal with the obnoxious embodiment of America anymore than he had too, on the other hand he was surprised that there were not catastrophic emergencies on a weekly basis.
Seeing Jones at his desk, in his very secure office, aboard the Helicarrier, when he had no right being there, almost had him shooting the man. I few choice swear words were directed at whoever hated him. How the fuck did that stupid government department manage to misplace Jones all the way out here? For gods sake did he have to do everything in this country himself. Luckily, he did not end up accidently shooting the embodiment of America.
Jones swung back and forth on his chair not appearing to notices his presence. He flicked a pen in the air and twirled it between his figures. The disorderly state of his desk probably meant the man had been there a while.
"Dude!" Jones yelled excitedly, dropping the pen upon noticing Fury stalk through the door, "Finally, I've been waiting here for ages."
"I thought I had the wrong room and, oh boy, would that have been embarrassing, because I've been sitting here for two hours, hahahahah."
"Jones. How the hell did you get into this office," he interrupted, stomping forward to yank the man out off his seat, relocating him to the front of the desk.
Alfred F. Jones just laughed his loud annoying laugh, letting himself be pulled up. Some people said his laugh was infectious. He disagreed.
"Well, you see, funny story, I was in DC with Mark and then I totally got this urge to go for a drive," Jones, having launched into his recount, propped himself up against his desk, disrupting a stack of files. Fury scowled.
"Mark's a total hard ass, he's getting transferred soon so he's been a bit antsy, but he's nice so I wanted him to come too. You know everyone needs to relaxed,"
"Jones. Shut up and tell me how you got in here," he ordered. This was serious, he needed to know if there were a glaring security flaw he had somehow missed.
"OK, jeash, I was getting to that. I dunto how I got here."
Fury could almost feel his eyebrow twitching, "You don't know?"
"Yeah. Just sort of arrived here," Jones shrugged, examining the stack of files he had pushed over, picking up the top folder.
Fury leaned forward and slammed the file back on the table.
"Jones," he waited until he had the others undivided attention. Honestly, it was like working with a child sometimes. What did the people of America do to deserve this…
"This is serious,"
"I'll say," Jones nodded in agreement.
"There has got to be something big coming for me to end up all the way out here,"
Jones frowned, "Where are we again? Somewhere in the Pacific? You know, as much as the bigwigs harp on about it, the sea belongs to no one. I have no real power here. Yet here I am."
And there it was.
Fury noted the change in Jones' tone, the slight shifting of shoulders, and the minuscule changes in posture that only someone trained in deception would be able see. And suddenly the rambling kid before him was something much more dangerous. He straightened subconsciously in response.
He liked to think that this more threatening person was the 'real' America if not for the fact that Jones was just as sincere no matter what he was doing. The loud idiot, the soldier and whatever else, were all genuine, none of them being an act. He had seen this odd personality spitting among the other Personifications as well. And it was exactly this sort of unpredictability that made them the threats they were.
"But you don't know what this 'something big' is, or when it's going to happen," he said slowly, pushing aside his irritation in favour of professionalism. He had seen Jones accurately predict big events before. He had also seen him inaccurately predict events.
Jones frowned slightly before letting himself loosen up again, "Dude, you like totally need to get that team of super heroes together because we're going to need them. And it would also be totally awesome,"
Unfortunately, all of Jones' warnings were annoyingly vague.
"I'm going to need something better than 'totally awesome' to activate the Avengers Initiative."
Jones just shrugged, folding his hands behind his head, "Sorry man. You know these things are, like, really hard to predict."
Fury grimaced internally. The council already disliked Jones, almost as much as Jones disliked them, so it would be hard for him to act of this warning.
"And you're sure this is something important," Jones was fickle in that sometimes what he considered important to America did not quite line up with what Fury considered important.
"Whatever it is it's gonna' change things," Jones paused, running a hand through his blond hair. Fury took note of the advice, adding it to his never-ending list of concerns. It was something to look into later.
For now he put Jones' sudden appearance down to Personification strangeness. Spontaneous teleporting… he had seen Personifications do it several times. Probably one of his least favorite abilities no matter how much Jones tried to explain it as 'completely situational.' He did not like leaving things unanswered but with these people there was little logic and trying to apply some sense to them was a losing battle if ever he saw one.
"So, dude, now that's out of the way. Can you give me the tour of this place? The helicarrier is, like, hella-awesome."
Fury fixed Jones with the deadest look he could manage before letting out a stream of air. He was getting too old for this shit. The other man continued to grin, looking at him expectantly. Sure… why the fuck not. It would allow him to keep an eye on Jones and prevent him interacting with people not cleared to know about this particular national secret… and stop him from breaking anything.
While he waited for a Quinjet to be prepped to take Jones back to the mainland he guided the hyperactive man towards the command deck. All the people there at least had a high enough clearance so if they happened to pick up of Jones' inhumanness it wouldn't be a compete headache.
People in the hall stopped to salute him. Jones just passionately waved at them with that insane amount of energy he always seemed to radiate. Several agents gave him odd looks as if trying to remember who he was. It was a common reaction when first coming into contact with Jones. Most people described the experience as meeting someone they knew but had not seen in a long time. Jones' less that subtle presence was simply noted as nothing out of the ordinary. It was probably for this reason, and this reason alone, that Jones and the rest of the Personifications had remained a secret for so long. Fury eyed some of the newer recruits who returned Jones' greetings without so much as a suspicious glance.
Unless Jones himself specifically explained the situation it was unlikely that people would believe or even consider his position as the United States of America. Of course, this odd perception filter was not full proof and some people did figure it out on their own. He had after all. But it was at least a good first line of defense.
"Hey Maria," Jones all but yelled upon entering the command deck.
Agent Hill, in her defense, maintained a straight face as Jones came bounding up to her, grasping her hand. She did twitch slightly.
"Alfred…nice to see you to," She smiled lightly, shooting Fury a look of enquiry.
Fury waved the question aside. There would be time for debriefings later.
"Good job on that last missions. Snipers are totally annoying. There was this one time, when I was at this restaurant, and some people, like totally, tried to shoot me. Or was that Iggy…" Jones trailed off, "Hahahha, doesn't matter," he continued on, dragging Hill away from the consoles in order to engage other operators in his conversation.
Fury watched as Jones successfully distracted several people from their jobs. He would deal with breakdowns in professionalism later. Several agents did shoot Jones confused looks, glancing a Fury for instruction. Good, at least some people picked up on the man's strangeness. He just signed that Jones was a non-threat, enjoying the sight of people, other then himself, coming face to face with the wall that was Jones' never ending enthusiasm for all things and persons American.
For now Fury pulled out his phone dialing the number, which would connect him to the Internal Liaison Bureau.
The Internal Liaison Bureau mostly dealt with liaising between Jones and the government. They gave him his cover stories, kept him from getting into scandals and hid his existence from the rest of America.
They had been around almost since the signing of the constitution and there was a rumor that Lincoln himself had set up the first task force, though there was no proof. Since the official forming of America they had had the task of keeping the existence of personifications a secret.
"Hello, this is the Internal Liaison Bureau, direct line," said a professional, abet young voice, on the other side.
"I have someone who belongs to you," he said banally, watching Jones give someone an enthusiastic thump of the back. Honestly, he had never liked the department. He thought they were incompetent and near sighted with no regard for the greater safety of America.
"I'm sorry. Who is this?"
"FBI, " He decided to go with one of his aliases, the less these people knew about SHIELD the better, "Have you misplaced a certain Alfred F. Jones recently."
There was a pregnant pause, "Ahhh, please hold."
There was the sound of fumbling as the phone was presumably put down. Then the sound of yelling. This is why he disliked the department.
A gruff voice shouted, "What! He has who! Get out of my way." The sound of boots, "Give me that phone."
"This is Mark Blunt, who is this,"
"Jackson Earthen, investigator, FBI."
"How did you get this number,"
"Mr. Jones was kind enough to provide it." It was true, Jones had been the one to originally provide him with the number several years ago.
"I would like to speak with Jones. Put him on immediately."
Fury allowed his brow to crease ever so slightly in disapproval. He waved Jones over and was not surprise when he answered the with a, "Yo Mark. What's up?"
Furry did not hear Blunt's response but it was longwinded and had Jones rolling his eyes by the end of it.
"I'm in the Pacific!" Jones eventually replied to an unheard question, adding an unneeded amount of enthusiasm to the answer. Fury scowled at Jones' liberal dispensation of information.
He heard the next sentence due to it being shouted, "What! Of all the….How the hell are you in the Pacific!"
"I'm on a boat," Jones laughed. He then gave Fury a conspiratory wink. It was comments like these that made Fury think that there was some method to Jones' idiotness. The end goal being to annoy as many officials as possible.
There was the sound of spluttering across the line.
"Put the FBI agent back on!"
"He, like, wants to talk to you," Jones thrust the phone at him.
"I'm am sorry for any problems he caused. I have no idea how he got onto your ship," a more tied sounding Blunt responded when the phone was handed back to him.
Several minuets of negotiating later and Fury agreed to have Jones awaiting one of Blunt's teams on the mainland. Moderately satisfied, Fury scanned the deck for Jones, spotting him a corner animatedly describing something to several people all on whom were laughing.
"Bye guys!" Jones waved as Fury corralled him out the door and towards the flight deck.
Jones strolled down the hall, folding his hands behind his head and humming something, which sounded suspiciously like the national anthem.
"Max's really nice," It took Fury several seconds to connect the name to Max Neilson's file. Furry examined Jones, where was this going?
"You know he has a girlfriend in Prague that he's really worried about…says she's been getting threatening notes."
Fury raised a brow. Threatening notes were not really one of SHIELD's main concerns. However, situations like this could lead to blackmail and Neilson was one of the Helicarrier's top engineers. Of course, it was impossible to keep track of all of SHIELD agents' social lives but random checks and interviews were designed to rout out this sort of thing. Either Jones thought this would turn into a serious situation, in which case something needed to be done, or he just wanted to help Neilson. It would be just like Jones to set the full might of SHIELD on some vanilla everyday stalker.
"I'll see what I can do," It was better to be safe than sorry… even if this was Jones just wanting to help someone. The response was met with a wide grin.
Jones, he had observed, cared a great deal for the American people and when he said that he meant all the American people. Every. Single. One. This was one of the only reasons why he was glad SHIELD did not have direct responsibility for Jones. Fury worked towards a bigger picture and, while Jones was uncannily adept at working for a larger goal, he was easily sidetracked. And reining-in someone as unpredictable and enthusiastic as Jones would be extremely hard.
After Jones' third attempt at engaging hallway personal in conversation he ended up grabbing the back of his shirt and dragging him the rest of the to the flight deck. He did not need Jones uncovering any more bleeding hearts or other such oddities. He had a habit of convincing people to spew their guts and tell him their deepest worries. Another reason he disliked personifications.
Jones complained most of the way about how this was, 'totally the worse tour he had ever had.' Where was Jones' serious side when you wanted it?
Finally, after a lot of fussing, he had the man on the ramp of a Quinjet.
Jones, pausing on his way up the ramp, turned to him, grinning, "The others may not like you but I think you're doing a good job."
He assumed that by others Jones meant the other Personifications. Which wasn't too surprising. As much as he cared about world security America had always been his primary concern.
"Jones…get on the jet," he sighed. Good god this day was dragging.
Jones saluted and it was odd because he could almost smell the heavy Seattle rain and feel the heat of white desert sand.
"Keep up the good work man,"
And dam it if the words didn't make him oddly proud of himself. Dam weird mental manipulation.
"Just stay the hell out of my carrier," he ordered in response, ignoring what may have been a growing fondness. He did not need Jones taking this visit as an invitation to pop over anytime he felt like it. The government had enough trouble keeping him from randomly appearing in the Oval office whenever. He did not need the same security problem.
Jones laughed, strolling onto the jet, taking a familiar echo of bustling Manhattan and thrum of the big city with him.
It was not until the jet was out of sight did Fury take the time to rub his eye tiredly. Human personifications of countries… it never got easier.
And that fucking laugh was still echoing in his head several hours later as he combed through reports, attempting to pinpoint something that could have caused Jones' visit.
After some consideration he decided to raise the alert level. Jones may be annoying and a lose canon most of the time but he was the Personification of America. His warnings were nothing to scoff at. Fury had avoided many an emergency by giving them at least some acknowledgement.
As an afterthought he quickly went over some of the programs he had active at the moment. There had been some odd fluctuations reported by the department dealing with the Tesseract. He frowned at the reports. He had dismissed it at first, the Tesseract was always doing something odd, but now…
He would send Hill over to check on things. Hopefully, this would be one of those times Jones' warnings didn't pan out.