SIX SHARP CLAWS AND A MISTER POINTY
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BTVS: sometime in Season 4
Marvel/DC: An alternate world based on both the universes coexisting together from the beginning.
Special thanks for markmark261 for beta-reading this chapter for me.
CHAPTER 1: TROUBLE BREWING
Colonel Nicholas "Nick" Joseph Fury had been around for a long time.
A very, very long time. Longer than most people would probably want to be around for.
Even with nearly ninety years behind him, Fury was still at the pinnacle of human fortitude. This - he owed mostly to a Doctor Berthold Sternberg from France who had introduced the experimental drug known as the Infinity Formula into his body… in hopes of restoring his health after he had been seriously injured by a landmine near the end of World War II.
With more than half of his existence devoted to combating and preventing trouble from arising - trouble that could no doubt jeopardize the lives of innocents - one could state that Fury had become something of a specialist when it came to pointing out when and where trouble would most likely rise from.
He was the head of the most dominant counter-terrorism organisation on the planet. One did not lead an organisation such as S.H.I.E.L.D. without the nearly supernatural capacity to tell the difference between immediate trouble and trouble brewing.
He glared at the manila folder on his desk with his one good eye, something he had been doing for the last half hour ever since he had dropped the said folder there himself.
That folder was trouble with a capital T, R, O, U, B, L, and an E.
Well, okay, not the folder itself but the documents that it carried, or rather the details within those documents about a specific project a small faction of his government was involved in.
At the centre of the top of the folder, typed in large bold capital letters, was the name of this particular project: The Demon Research Initiative.
No sooner had he read the name that he had known nothing good was going to come from that project.
Nothing good ever came from that project.
Well, that was his personal opinion on the project. No matter, he had been right before and he was certain he was going to be proven right once again.
He had not even wasted his time going through every one of the documents that had been provided within the folder. Halfway through, he had stopped reading, closed the folder and had then proceeded to throw the folder across his desk hoping it would fall among the pile of other folders lying at one corner of his office - folders with documents he had categorised as being under the trouble brewing category.
The folder itself of course had other plans. It stubbornly stuck to the edge of the desk, not wishing to join the other documents in the pile. As though pleading with Fury to have a second look at what was inside.
Fury for his part just kept his scowl directed at the folder.
The Demon Research Initiative had been started nearly half a century ago during WWII. Fury had heard whispers at that time about such a project. He had not heeded them. Whispers, rumours; that's what they had been. Nothing more.
It would be another two decades until he would discover that those rumours had not just been rumours but had, in reality, been facts.
From the second he had found out about the project, he had undoubtedly been the most unsupportive of the particular venture. To this day, his views had not faltered.
The government secretly trying to turn everyday individuals such as Rogers into super-soldiers was one thing. Trying to control demons and other such beings to combat and protect the interests of the state on the other hand was, in his opinion something else entirely.
Especially since he knew first hand how uncontrollable these particular creatures the government was so intent on controlling were.
Although he had expressed his concerns and displeasure about the project more than an adequate number of times, the suits upstairs, in his opinion, were too pigheaded to grasp the simple concept that certain things were basically beyond their understanding, their control. No matter how many times he had tried to drill this particular concept into their heads, most of them were too much of a control freak to even consider the notion.
He remembered one particular occasion when the most powerful being in the known and unknown universe - the almighty devourer of worlds, Galactus - had come to earth for the first time with only one goal. To feed on the planet's life-force. Its very life-essence.
Some idiot down at the Pentagon had suggested that they should look for ways to harness the power of this mighty being from beyond the stars. Use it of course for the benefit of the country.
He had laughed then. The world was about to end, but he had laughed. Laughed right at the man's face. He had not been alone.
Simple concepts. Yet, so hard, so very hard to grasp for a few.
He wondered sometimes if they would ever listen to reason or not. And the answer would scream out at him with one word. One word that was both simple, and yet effective at the same time.
Not to mention the fact that if anything went wrong, they could always rely on people like Fury to clean up their messes.
Sometimes, Fury really hated his job. Especially when he was faced with situations such as the Demon Research Initiative, or Project Cadmus, and the like. Yet he would not trade his job for anyone else's on the planet. Just like he wouldn't trust anyone to do his job for him.
A long time ago, he had come to the conclusion that while most people in positions of influence were essentially good people, there were always a few who - blinded by their own ambitions, ended up taking part in certain things that more than often tore at the very soul of his beloved country. Not to mention at times: the world.
Some could ask him how he, a man of considerable influence himself, allowed these certain people to exist. Some could ask him why not stop them before whatever they were taking part in started to endanger people; before a single life started looking insignificant in the face of their goals.
His solemn answer to them would be that he couldn't. No matter how much he wanted to, he couldn't touch them. Not until he had enough proof to nail them once and for all; put them behind bars for the rest of their existence if possible.
Otherwise, these people would only take their missions and objectives somewhere else and start the whole process all over again.
He was part of a system and, unfortunately, the people who caused the most trouble were sometimes part of the same system. A system which they used to their full benefit.
Much like those who ran the Demon Research Initiative.
His gut instincts were telling him that he should take a closer look at the operations of this particular incarnation of the Demon Research Initiative. A much closer look. Unfortunately, he knew he couldn't do that without garnering the unwanted attention of some higher-ups. He did not need that at the moment.
As soon as someone within the Initiative found out that Nick Fury had taken an interest in their operations, they would simply put off whatever they were up to, only to pick up again at a latter date when they were sure they were not under his intense scrutiny or when they were certain that they would be able to get away with it.
That was something he was not about to allow.
He turned his attention to the pile of folders at one corner of his large office. At any given day, the agents working for S.H.I.E.L.D. on an administrative level would process more than a few thousand cases ranging from simple thefts and kidnappings to possible assassination attempts and secretly sponsored government projects - The Demon Research Initiative being just one of many. Out of these few thousand, a hundred, sometimes less, sometimes more, would most likely reach Nick Fury's office. The cases directed towards him could easily be considered too sensitive for the lower level S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives to handle. Once these cases reached him, it would be up to him to go through the documents, analyse the cases and decide which of the ones among the hundred or so garnered immediate attention and which ones could wait, for a few more hours at the least.
Each and every verdict he prepared regarding which of the cases to follow, and which to postpone as a result, meant that either lives were going to be saved…or lost. All because of his decision.
Safe to declare, being head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was at times not the easiest job in the world.
Sighing, he reached out for the folder and started to sift through it once again.
Fifteen minutes later, he had browsed through each and every one of the documents within the folder. He noticed the mention of a few projects that were being undertaken by the Demon Research Initiative. He had a feeling however that the main projects they were working on had most probably been left out.
Something about experimenting on demons that were being captured, however, caught his eye. Demons to his knowledge might not have any rights but the very thought of people experimenting on anything without giving them any choice in the matter always sent shivers down his spine. To him, people who were willing to torture anything by putting them through gruelling experiments were a lot worse than one man who would kill a thousand without conscience.
He wondered briefly who would be well suited for the task of monitoring the operations of the Demon Research Initiative and reporting back to him without giving himself, or herself away.
Well, he knew that if he simply needed to just beat the living daylights out of someone, whether it be someone from The Initiative or from any other place or organisation - his foremost preference, as at all times, would have been none other than Captain America. Unfortunately, at the current moment, he plainly wanted some surveillance done on the project and its operations. And whatever was found to be reported back to him directly.
Of course, if it later on became necessary to bash in the heads of some of the people working for the Demon Research Initiative... well, the good Captain was only a speed dial away.
Captain America was one of the best covert operatives Nick Fury had ever had the privilege of working with. However, ever since Captain America had exposed himself as Steve Rogers to the entire world, his public face had become one of the most popular in the world. In fact, Fury was willing to bet that the good Captain's face was just as recognisable as the face of the legendary Man of Steel. Therefore, he did not even want to entertain the idea of asking the Captain to undertake such a simple mission on the very likely chance that someone, especially someone from The Initiative, may recognise him.
At one time, he would've called on the X-Man Kitty Pryde for such a mission. Unfortunately, that particular option was no longer feasible. This was due to the fact that not only was Kitty Pryde no longer an X-Man, but she also just happened to be recently married to the son of the one man on this planet, who, even without the mask could still scare the crap out of him… literally.
Not that he was ever going to admit it to anyone of course.
Well, that meant Kitty was out of the question. His next choice would've been Kitty's new hubby of course. Unfortunately, getting the husband involved would end up involving big daddy himself, and involving big daddy would mean involving every one of his little family. And involving every one of his little family would mean more headaches for the old warhorse. Plus, he could've sworn he was running low on aspirins anyway.
Too bad though. Both the young woman, Kitty, and her husband would've made exceptional S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives.
Particularly when it came to operations such as the one he had in mind.
His mind racked through other possibilities. Wolverine came to mind but he quickly dismissed his old friend as he would hear the word experiment and would declare war on the entire project and everyone involved with it.
And just as suddenly it came to him. He turned to one of the pages within the folder that contained information on the current director of the Demon Research Initiative, Professor Maggie Walsh. She was there in Sunnydale as a psychology teacher at the UC Sunnydale, and the semester had just recently started. He could most definitely use that particular cover the Professor was using to keep a close watch on her and her operatives.
Now, Captain America may be a little too old, not to mention too well-known, to actually enrol into college, and he could not even picture Wolverine there. Even the thought of his old friend going anywhere near a college, or having anything to do with one was, well, plain wrong.
But there was someone he knew - who not only would be able to blend in with the student mass at UC Sunnydale without garnering any unwanted attention, but would also be able to carry out the task he had in mind. With training and skills that rivalled that of both Captain America and Wolverine, he knew that the person he had in mind would even be able to infiltrate the Demon Research Initiative facility and bring him any incriminating evidence if there were any to be found. Someone, who, after finding out about the goings on of this particular project, courtesy of him of course, would be more than happy to assist him in closing down this particular incarnation of the Demon Research Initiative.
Until they started somewhere else again of course. But that was a headache for another day and time.
He called an agent into his office and asked him to photocopy the documents in the Demon Research Initiative folder and bring it back to him pronto. By the time the agent returned, Fury had already engrossed himself with another case. He packed the photocopied documents into a parcel labelled "Confidential" and called in another agent to deliver the said parcel to its intended destination.
As the agent left, he sat back in his chair and decided to give Westchester a ring.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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