Nick Fury reviewed the report from the North Sea. Hints of a strange metallic alloy had started showing up on the very edge of their radar. They wanted to do further research and were requesting authorization. He made a note to sanction the continued exploration as the phone rang.
"Report," he answered.
"Sir, we found it."
"Well done, Coulson," he noted. He pulled up the relevant data. "What can you tell me?"
"It appears to be some kind of hammer."
"A hammer?" Fury drew in a breath. "I've got a full scientific team as well as security heading to New Mexico for a hammer?" He sat back. "What, the space station crew decided they had too many?"
"Actually, sir, it appears to be an ancient form of war hammer," Coulson replied steadily. "From the size of the crater, it was moving with an extremely high rate of velocity when it hit. Both onsite reports as well as interviews with various locals have confirmed there is no damage to the item, not so much as a scratch."
"Hmm." Fury's eye narrowed in consideration. "Anything else?"
"Yes, sir," Coulson answered. "It appears immovable."
"No one has been able to move the item," Coulson explained. "The locals have made quite a stir about testing their ability to move it. Attempt to move it have failed, and even caused significant damage to one vehicle."
"Get the locals away from there," Fury ordered.
"On it, sir," Coulson agreed. "The advance team of scientists has put out a story about trace amounts of radiation. The place cleared out fairly quickly."
"I'll bet." A quick grin slid over Fury's face. "Set up a mobile headquarters and get that place roped off. I want to know what it is, why it's there, and who's going to come looking for it."
"Barton is on his way with a full security complement. Let's give the locals the assurance that we're there to keep them safe, but keep the security as nondescript as possible."
The faint trace of concern filtering into Coulson's voice caused a chill to run up Fury's neck. He slowly straightened in his chair. "I'm not going to like this next bit, am I, Agent Coulson?"
"Possibly not, sir."
"Spit it out."
"Darcy's here, sir," Coulson replied.
"Darcy," Fury stated calmly.
"Darcy," Fury continued. "As in smart-mouthed, Taser-loving, outlandishly outspoken, gets into trouble at the drop of a hat Darcy?"
"Darcy," he repeated. "The girl we have hidden under her great-grandmother's maiden name. The girl we have buried under so many layers even Romanoff would have trouble navigating them."
"Agent Coulson, do you have any idea of the amount of trouble there will be if she has so much as a scratch on her when this is over?" Fury inquired in a steady voice.
"I do, sir."
"Good. Then I won't have to remind you of the consequences we will all be facing if she gets hurt." Fury finally set back once more. "I want security on her at all times. I don't care how she tries to slip away," he commanded. "You have backups for the backups if you have to."
"I'll put Barton on it," Coulson replied.
"That'll work," Fury agreed. "If he can keep up with Romanoff, he can probably handle Darcy." Coulson muttered something under his breath. Fury cleared his throat. "What was that, Agent?"
"Sorry, sir," Coulson responded. "I simply noted her ability to slip almost any leash."
"I know," Fury acknowledge with a wry twist of his lips. "I blame her mother." Coulson stayed quiet. "Never mind that for now. Make sure Barton is aware of the importance of this, understood?"
Fury hung up the phone. He placed his elbows on the top of his desk, laced his fingers together, and rested his forehead on his folded hands. He did not want to make this next phone call. Val would have a conniption. He sighed and reached for the phone.
How the hell did his step-daughter always manage to land in the middle of these things?