[Author's Note: Quick note before we start: Due to people really getting into the idea of the whole Civil War aspect, I have decided to forgo the time skip and stick to this time period in Marvel history. While I'll need to edit several of my original ideas, this should be more than doable, though I need to get one last plot thread out of the way before we go full-blown Civil War like everyone seems to want. Hopefully, you'll like this one. Anyway, enough with the chatter, back to the story! Extra-long to make up somewhat for lost time]
"Where do you think they're taking us?"
Jill managed to pull her eyes up from her navel and turn to face Chris, looking with suspicion among the blue-clad men on either side of them. Since they were released into their custody, the soldiers had not answered any of their questions, only telling them that they were with SHIELD and that someone called the Director wanted to speak to them about their positions in the BSAA. The two of them, along with the young African woman that Chris had introduced to her as Sheva, were now loaded onto an air transport heading to an unknown location against their will. Jill let out a low sigh. She did not expect things to get any better at this point.
She jolted in her seat a bit as Chris put his hand on her shoulder, "Jill? I asked you a question… you ok?"
Jill nodded, "Yeah, I'll be fine…" Ever since they had gotten that… thing off her chest, Chris had been more than a little paranoid about her well-being. She subconsciously pulled up her jacket to cover the scars left on her chest and continued, "I don't like our odds. We've been detained in a foreign nation that sprang up out of nowhere for close to three weeks now, and when we are released, it is to an organization that, again, sprang out of nowhere. They refuse to acknowledge our credentials, they seem to severely underestimate both the Las Plagas and Wesker, and on top of all that, they have us outnumbered and outgunned." She shrugged, "Only thing that prevents me from thinking we're about to be locked up in some crazy bin is that this 'Director' lady apparently knows about the BSAA and is willing to hear us out. From there, who knows?"
Sheva's head peeked out from the other side of Chris. Jill barely knew the woman, and didn't know what to think of her yet. But Chris seemed to trust her, and that was enough for Jill. "What about this 'Merge' they keep talking about? Do you really think that these other universes have converged with each other?"
"Dunno," Jill replied, "I mean, it just sounds like some cheap sci-fi story to me."
Chris turned to Jill and raised a brow in disbelief, "I can't believe you can say that with a straight face after everything we've seen Umbrella pull…"
"Umbrella never had interdimensional portals or laser guns, last I checked."
They were interrupted by a shout from the cockpit, "We're approaching the Helicarrier. Prepare for landing."
"Odd," Sheva said, "I didn't feel us descending at all. Did either of you?" The other two shook their heads as the plane landed on the runway, then slowed to a halt surprisingly fast. The soldiers pulled Jill out of her seat and placed handcuffs on her. Since she had been experimented on by Wesker, Jill had noticed that nothing felt as binding as it used to, and the cuffs were no exception. In fact, flexing her arm muscles a bit, she was almost certain that she could snap the cuffs and incapacitate at least two of the guards before they even knew what was going on if she wanted. Better not show my hand just yet, she thought to herself, and let them lead her to the bay doors along with Chris and Sheva.
However, as the bay doors opened, Jill realized just how much she underestimated this SHIELD organization. She quickly saw that the reason they didn't feel a descent was because they hadn't descended. The Helicarrier, as they called it, was in the air, a flying fortress with a top like that of a naval aircraft carrier that soared across the night sky as if it were on the calmest sea. As they were lead across the roof, she saw that the whole thing was held aloft by four gargantuan turbines that made so much noise that she could barely hear herself think. She glanced over at Chris, who gave her a rather large smirk. She could hear the snarky statement he no doubt wanted to say in her head, I bet -they- have laser guns. She simply gave him a glare that told him to can it.
They were brought inside the Helicarrier through a door that lead into the lower decks of the fortress. The metal corridors snaked through the complex in what appeared to be a rather erratic fashion, but the men guarding them appeared to know where they were going. Eventually they stopped in front of a door labeled Maria Hill: Director of SHIELD. Shortly after one of the guards knocked, the door slid open, and they were face to face with a rather stern looking woman with short brown hair. She turned to the guard and said in a stern voice, "I want to speak with these three privately. You are dismissed." The guard saluted, and then he and the others left the three of them alone with Hill. She gestured into her office, and they all entered, the door closing remotely behind them.
The office itself did not look as lived in as Jill would have expected. Everything seemed to have its own place, to the point where Jill wondered whether this woman had some sort of OCD. The thing that caught her attention next was the giant screen on the wall behind the desk, most likely used for video conferencing by how it was set up. There were smaller consoles scattered around it, as well as Hill's personal computer, all of which were far beyond any technological level Jill was familiar with. She could make out that some of the smaller ones were showing personnel files of several individuals. While there were too many for her to read them all at a glance, she was able to make out the names Rogers, Steve, Cage, Luke, and Drew, Jessica. She also noticed a lack of any sort of family photos or other personal effects of any kind. She concluded that either this woman had just been promoted, or she had no social life. Maybe both, Jill thought to herself.
Director Hill sat down at her desk, then barked out, "Sit." Jill, Sheva, and Chris complied, managing to pull up three plastic chairs to the front of the desk. When they were seated, Hill continued, "As you may already know, I am Acting Director Maria Hill of SHIELD, a global defense organization dedicated to protecting the world from global terrorist organizations and superhuman threats…"
"Excuse me," Chris interrupted, "'superhuman'? Like Wesker?"
Hill nodded, "Yes, like your 'friend' Wesker. And as you'll find out very soon, he's not the only one that you'll have to worry about anymore, nor is he the strongest."
Sheva was the next to speak up, "Wait, so you're telling us that in the span of three weeks, Wesker went from one of the only superhumans around to part of a group large enough to be irrelevant?"
Hill shook her head, "I don't think you understand. We didn't come into your universe. You came into OURS. And you are far from the only one, and because of this happening at the WORST possible time, I'm currently sitting on a powder keg ready to blow the collective asses off of everyone on this planet!"
Jill shifted uncomfortably in her seat. The situation was worse than she had thought, although in hindsight all the evidence pointing to them being the ones displaced. Still, it all just seemed so unbelievable. She took a deep breath to maintain her composure, and then spoke up, "And what is the problem you are having, other than the obvious one of integration?"
"You mean other than the fact that the numerous people and locations spawning, including your own highly-irradiated Raccoon City, are pushing the whole damn world to the edge of anarchy? How about the fact that more and more unregistered and outright dangerous superhumans are manifesting every day, and we have no idea where they come from or what they're capable of? Or maybe you would like to hear about how my own resources are currently spread paper thin trying to deal with all of this? On top of all that, I have a bureaucratic nightmare to untangle, of which you three are only a small part of!"
Sheva cocked her head in curiosity, "That's why you called us here, isn't it? Because the BSAA is just as jarring to you as your organization is to us."
Hill shook her head, "Not exactly. Your BSAA is effectively a scaled down and rather limited version of what we do. Yes, we deal with bioterrorist attacks some of the time, and we regularly find ourselves in rather odd situations, but we're a little more varied in what we face… which leads me to my next point." She opened the drawer of her desk and pulled out three ID tags, one for each of them, "While T'Challa was busy keeping you locked up, SHIELD effectively absorbed the BSAA into our organization. As of now, your BSAA credentials are no longer valid, and you are all official agents of SHIELD. Welcome aboard."
This was the last straw for Chris, already pent up from being detained and disregarded for weeks. He stood up from his chair, and started shouting at her angrily, "You don't have the authority to just shut down a UN organization like that! The BSAA-"
"…is redundant," interrupted Hill, "You and Ms. Valentine's little pet project did the exact same things SHIELD does for the UN, only more limited. You might be angry now, but you'll learn that working for us will be far more rewarding." She glared at Chris, "But don't you dare yell at me like that again. Like it or not, I am your boss now, so sit down, shut up, and take orders like a good soldier boy should."
Chris looked like he was about to continue arguing with her, but Jill stood up and put a hand on his shoulder, "Chris, what's done is done. We can't change that. Please, just sit down." Chris turned to face her, and after a couple moments, sat down. Jill sat down next to him, and then gave him a small nod that to Hill looked like a nod of approval for him calming down, but that Jill could see by the smirk on his face that Chris correctly interpreted it as That bitch totally deserved it, though.
Jill turned back to face Maria Hill and asked, "So, what's our first assignment?"
"I want you three on crowd control and surveillance," Hill replied, "It will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with our world, as well as allow you to start gathering intelligence on any new superhumans we might have missed in the Merge before the war starts up again."
Chris seemed to have calmed down somewhat, and cocked his head, "War? What war?"
Maria Hill sighed in exasperation, "I don't have time to go over every detail now, but the short version is that the United States recently introduced a law saying that all superhumans had to register with the government for accountability so that if they went crazy on us, we could track them down. Some of these 'heroes', led by none other than Captain America himself, decided they no longer like playing by the rules, called the law unconstitutional, and started a guerilla campaign in an attempt to get the law reversed."
"That's crazy," Jill said, "I know firsthand what happens when a person with that kind of power has no accountability. They abuse it, and then try to force their superiority on others." She shifted in her seat again, unconsciously rubbing her scars again. She realized that whatever this law said now applied to her as well, but she reasoned that if it kept more Weskers from slipping through the cracks, she wouldn't mind signing some forms saying she was now a freak.
Hill nodded, "Exactly my point. Luckily, a significant number of heroes agreed with me, and were actually starting to win against the rebels before the Merge happened. Now no one wants to think about the damn Registration Act anymore until things stabilize, even though I keep saying that it would HELP to have some centralized information database of all these new superhumans. But if I push it anymore, I lose Stark's support, and as much as I hate to admit it, the Registration Act's as good as dead if both he and Cap are against me."
Sheva leaned forward and spoke up, "Do you have any idea what caused the Merge?"
Hill shook her head, "We have a few guesses, but so far we've turned up blank. Our sensors didn't detect any spikes in interdimensional energy at the time the Merge began, and so far, we haven't found any portals that could be conceivably causing rifts to open. Some of our scientists think that it might be-"
Hill was interrupted by the intercom on her desk lighting up as a young man's voice came through, "Director Hill, we have a huge problem in New York. You're going to want to see this transmission, right now."
Hill swiveled her chair towards the huge monitor on the wall behind her, "Bring it up on the main screen." The screen turned on, and Sheva let out a gasp. Jill didn't blame her, as she couldn't believe what she saw either.
Most of the screen was taken up by an image of a large green man with muscles so gigantic that Jill thought at first that it was a joke. He was dressed in a manner similar to what she would imagine a barbarian to have dressed like, with a silver headband, metal-plated pants, and shirtless save for a steel arm-long gauntlet with spikes going down it. He appeared to be in the middle of a grand speech, and his voice rumbled like thunder, barely holding back the fury of the storm behind his words, "…But your 'heroes' sent a bomb. Killed a million people. Now this city will fall. You have twenty-four hours to evacuate. When I return, I want to see Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange…"
The monster bent down to pick something off of the ground, "And if they're not here…" He came back up, and held up a man in a black and white spandex costume and what looked like an antenna on his forehead, though it was severely bent, as the man himself looked like he was beaten to death. The green man continued, "…I'll do this. To what's left of your whole stinking planet." Now it was Hill's turn to let out an audible gasp at the sight of the man, and Jill had a feeling that this she wasn't the type of woman to have that kind of reaction unless things had gone seriously wrong. The green man threw the body down on the ground as the transmission cut out.
There was almost a full minute of silence before Chris spoke up in a hushed voice, "Who was that?"
Hill took a deep breath, and then answered in a shaky voice, "That, was the Hulk. And we are now all officially screwed."
[I know, I know, a LOT of talking. But next chapter will have an awesome fight scene, I promise. Also, to those who say that World War Hulk doesn't happen until AFTER Civil War, you're right, but think of it as a combination of the delays in Civil War's events caused by the Merge and just the differences between universes that sort of sped it up. I have a reason for doing this, I promise.]