A new e-mail landed in Director Fury's inbox. The man shook his head in mild surprise, as the distinctive chime of new mail snapped his fatigued senses into the present and out of his worried thoughts. Reading the subject line of the e-mail did not help with these worries.
"Russian Recon: Sightings confirmed re: Bunker 47-DVF-72."
Taking the mug of coffee in his right hand, and wishing he'd started drinking earlier due to it's less than lukewarm status, Nick double clicked the e-mail, entered his security code and began reading.
*For the eyes of Director Fury only*
After reading the preliminary documents, and having been deployed to Russia for the allotted amount of time, on my return I can confirm the rumours of the re-awakening and use of Bunker 47-DVF-72. Please find attached recon photos, documents and transcripts.
Opening the attached files, he found a series of photographs that showed a group of Russian armed forces escorting a young man through the snow and into a Soviet bunker. The face seemed to stir a memory within Fury, but he could not quite grasp it fully. Running facial recognition across the photos led to well known Russian Soldiers, but no matches for the young man. Shaking away the nagging thought in his mind, he continued reading the notes, the bunker last reported as disused, and as no particular threat or future threat.
Fury entered the bunkers identification number into the database and once again saw the same result. With an upturned mouth, and a slight growl, Fury internally cursed the last Agent that composed the report on the bunker. They should have seen this coming. 'Useless, overpaid, slacking-'
*Report composed by Agent Coulson*
A tinge of guilt washed away Fury's feelings of resentment. He smiled slightly, his tense body relaxing. He knew that if this report was written by Agent Coulson, it was done to the best possible degree of accuracy and credibility.
It had been a time since... The incident. The last time he had seen him was when the medics took him away. From then on, he had heard nothing, as regulation had to be kept to. He did not know if his Agent was dead or alive. Protocol instructed that after such a possibly fatal injury such as that, all ties with the Agent were to be cut, so that emotional ties to the deceased would not be formed, or that the Agent could retire and live the rest of their life in peace.
'Let him be alive. I want to believe that Agent Coulson lives...'
Returning back to the documents, he had no reason to doubt that the bunker was previously not seen as a threat. 'The activity is recent then, and so are the sightings...'
Looking again at the pictures, specifically at the young man, Director Fury once again took the coffee up in his hand and sipped at the black liquid. Skimming through the documents to find any key words to trigger his memory, a knock at his office door brought him back to reality.
"Captain Rogers and Stark are wanting to meet with you, sir."
"Thankyou, Agent Hill." mumbled Fury, as he rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger. 'Stark. Bloody Stark. I could do without him right now... And he's with Cap? Since when did they-'
And then he remembered. Those two names together triggered the memory.
Lifting himself from his chair and in one swift move, putting on his leather jacket, Fury left his office, carefully locking it behind him. Walking with strong purpose down the many flights of stairs to the bottoms of the ship, he arrived at the entrance to the storage facility quickly. Swiping his card through the lock device, a satisfactory beep and green light gave him the signal to push through the door into the cold and dark basement.
Director Fury slowly made his way down the corridor and to the door marked 'Early Records'. Taking a deep breath and turning the door handle, the dust of the years escaped the room.
'I hate it down here. Why can't they just get the cleaners down here and put a little more light on the problem!?'
Arriving at a cabinet, Fury pulled the draw open and reached instinctively inside, drawing out a single picture. The face looking back at him was the one he had just seen on his computer screen.
'But that's impossible...'
The picture in Fury's hand was at least 70 years old, and the other taken on 23/7/2012. Well at least he now knew why he hadn't come up on facial recognition. He needed someone to sort all these paper documents and get them onto the system. Turning the picture over, two words were scrawled in loopy handwriting: Winter Soldier.
Taking the file from the cabinet, Director Fury started to re-read the operation notes, not before checking its name.