Chapter 1:

A/N: I was planning on finishing this whole fic, but I'm tired. Here's almost 800 words.


General Glenn Talbot stared at the sight in the center of the room with the faintest hint of a smirk on his face. He was seeing wanted fugitive and public nuisance Phil Coulson standing immobile, appearing as though he was in mid conversation.

After twenty seconds, the man came to life. He was about to finish a sentence, but he quickly gained his senses. His eyes went wide, and his mouth closed as he scanned the room.

"Okay, that's weird." The SHIELD agent said the words as he surveyed each of the faces in the room, assessing the situation. The last face he looked towards was Talbot's. "Talbot!"

The Air Force general stayed where he was with his arms folded across his chest. The hidden smirk he had earlier was replaced with a disproving snarl. "Coulson." He said coldly.

Coulson's expression broadcasted total confusion as he spoke. "You were shot in the head." He went to take a step in the military man's direction but the squad of airmen in full tactical gear drew their weapons higher and appeared more than willing to pull the trigger. Not wanting to test his luck, he put his foot back where it was and raised his hands in the air. "Okay, we're not friends anymore. I get it."

Talbot didn't appear to respond to Coulson's words. He continued to stare deadpanned at the agent as he tapped the fingers of his right hand on his left bicep. "Give it to me straight, Coulson, and I may not recommend the death penalty. Where have you been?"

Coulson blinked as he considered his response while simultaneously processing Talbot's words, body language, and their meaning. Clearly some serious things had gone on in the team's absence. He didn't think he was in that much trouble from before he and the team had been sent to space.

"You want the straight answer? I was in space."

Talbot's facial expression changed as his brain absorbed that information. Now he took a few steps closer to the one-handed man before him. "Pardon me?" Glenn said as if he needed to hear it again to believe it.

Coulson repeated it with the same cadence as before. "I was in space."

The general took in the words once more and surveyed his underlings. The men and women didn't even stifle a laugh as they all held their weapons trained on Coulson. He began to walk around the room as he considered his next move. As crazy as it sounded, he knew that Coulson most likely wasn't lying. He knew that Coulson had spent time on another planet, so it wasn't like it was out of the realm of possibility. "Why should I believe you?"

Coulson merely blinked. Internally he had just realized that he couldn't recall what had happened in space or why that he was there. The only thing he could remember is that the team had been with him, albeit the memories of them were fleeting. It was like the flashes of memory that he got of the real world when he was in the Framework.

Talbot noted his friend's countenance. It was obvious that the man was having a hard time coming up with an answer. "I'm waiting."

Coulson lowered his arms slightly (he wasn't putting them all the way down until he was sure it wouldn't end in disaster). "I can't remember anything about why we were there. But I can remember that my team was with me."

Talbot rolled his eyes playing along. "So, what were they doing there?"

Coulson shook his head. He didn't remember that either.

The general tensed up. "So, you're telling me that you were in space, but you can't remember why or what you were doing there, but you know for sure that your team was with you?"

The SHIELD agent nodded 'yes'. "May I take my hands down?"

Glenn nodded. "Yes, but Sergeant Connel is going to confiscate that hand."

Coulson slowly lowered his arms. "No need to do that. This is my "I'm expecting to go to prison hand."

The general narrowed his eyes. "Really? That's absurd. Sergeant, check it."

Coulson held out his left hand as he kept his right hand at his side. The female Staff Sergeant pushed up his sleeve and felt the prosthetic for any sign of internal hardware and then rubbed the palm of her hand on the forearm aiming to activate any interface. "Disconnect it." She ordered.

"I can't. That's what makes it my "going to prison" hand."

Talbot cocked his head. That was a strange idea and he couldn't help but ask, "How do you get it off then?"

Coulson looked in Talbot's direction. "A very specific magnet."