“Here comes Jigsaw!” an agent hissed as the members of HYDRA took their seats. Agent Billy Russo entered the room in his green uniform looking at his fellow agents. He was one of the youngest in the organisation which annoyed some people, but not as much as his face did. The web of scars from dozens upon dozens of surgeries to repair his skull after Spider-Man crushed it like a grape.
“Hail Hydra!” Agent Russo said, the fervour for the morning greeting had long since passed.
“Hail Hydra!” came the lack lustre reply from the agents.
“Let’s get up to speed on a few things,” Russo clicked a remote and an image appeared on the screen. “Reed Richards is still in custody as of this morning but now he’s awake.”
Gasps and mumblings rippled across the room. He couldn’t blame them, Mr Fantastic as he’d dubbed himself was a threat to everyone.
“I’ll need a detail on standby near the Vault,” Agent clicked to the next slide. “This is Iron Fist aka Daniel Rand. Also now an inmate of the Vault. He was part of a duo…” A large, muscular black man with an angry scowl on his face filled the screen. “Luke Cage aka Carl Lucas aka Power Man. Near indestructible skin, strength in around the 20-ton range. Considered extremely dangerous, though thankfully it seems not too smart. Local law enforcement has been told to report in but not engage once he pops up, usually to rob a convenience store.”
Russo stopped and glared at two agents looking at a phone. The whole room except for them went quiet and slowly it dawned on the pair that they were going to be in trouble.
“This isn’t high school gentlemen,” Russo said clicking his fingers for the phone. “This is HYDRA. You want to goof off then you can go join the circus. What the hell is so interesting?”
“The Mad Thinker show…sir”
Russo rolled his eyes and dropped the phone into a nearby bin. “Fascinating. Now, there’s a team being put together by Norman Osborn which Commander Strucker has told us to keep an eye on.” Up on the screen appeared the mugshots of six criminals.
“They’re called the Spectacular Six. Made up of criminals taken from the Vault under some deal worked out between people who get paid more than this room combined. They’re good. Personally I don’t like it, but for some reason they don’t consult me.”
“Scared of a face to face,” came a low, barely audible jibe from the room. Russo’s eyes darted about trying to locate the detractor but everyone was poker faced.
“Right, anything from you?” Russo asked them.
Agent Elsie Carson raised her hand. “We’ve picked up some chatter from The Howling Commandos sir. Possibly a weapons buy in New Mexico.”
“Keep me informed on that,” Russo said.
“The guys from Advanced Idea Mechanics want to test some weaponry out on the range.”
“They’ll have to email that through Commander Strucker’s desk before that happens,” Russo replied.
“I may have a lead on Spider-Man,”
The room went silent. Russo looked around to see Agent Ralph Sanzetti looking straight at him. Sanzetti was also on the way up the HYDRA ranks and seen as potential commander material which put him at professional loggerheads with Billy Russo.
“And?” snapped Russo as a wave of memory and phantom pain washed over him.
“We ran an algorithm, plotting the points of his attacks and robberies,” Sanzetti said. “And narrowed his potential location dow…”
“Hail Hydra,” said Commander Wolfgang Von Strucker as he entered the room.
“HAIL HYDRA!” the room roared as it jumped to its feet and attention for the multi-war veteran who pretty much all in the organisation would take several bullets for.
“At ease, at ease,” Strucker shook Russo’s hand. “Forgive the intrusion Billy. I need to see Agent Sanzetti.”
Ralph was up like a shot, a smug smile on his face. Russo nodded and allowed the pair to leave. “Right anything else? No? Good. Let’s have a good day.”
Sanzetti walked in step behind the head of HYDRA as they headed to the private lift to where the Commander kept his offices.
“How many people know about the location of Spider-Man?” Strucker asked as the lift scanned his eyes.
“I don’t actually know the location sir,” Sanzetti stammered. “My team put to…”
“Hold still or the lift will inject you with a nerve agent,” Strucker said pointing to the scanner. Sanzetti held perfectly still and the lift opened to reveal Norman Osborn.
“Is this him Wolfgang?” Norman asked with a wolfish smile.
“Agent Ralph Sanzetti meet Norman Osborn,” Strucker said as the doors closed. “Ralph, you’re going to turn all your Spider-Man data over to Norman’s team.”
“But sir, this…”
Strucker looked down his nose at the agent. “This is called inter-departmental cooperation and it comes from higher up the chain of command. Mr Osborn gets the data for his little team and in return he’ll contribute to our operating costs of HYDRA to the tune of a hefty sum.”
“Seems Obadiah Stane will climb higher up the billionaire’s ladder,” chuckled Norman.
Billy Russo sat looking at the file on Flint Marko aka William Baker aka Sylvester Mann aka inmate #4947 of The Vault. Small time thief who liked sticking up banks and convenience stores but with little success. His wrap sheet was long and very repetitive. The HYDRA agent compared the file to Maxwell Dillon, who had gotten a whole cell built for him by the mysterious Mr T and his pet dinosaur, that actually powered the prison.
“Wonder what they’re going to do he’s not there?” Russo mused. “And why does Norman Osborn want you?”
There was a tap at the door and Agent Ralph Sanzetti strode in and pulled up a chair. Billy closed the files and glared at his rival.
“What do you want?”
“Nothing really. Just came to gloat really,” Sanzetti smiled. “I’ll be liaising with Norman on the Six Project from now on in, so you’ll have to rework your little roster system around that.”
“Norman? Six Project?” Russo scoffed. “Besties are we? You and Norman doing lunch?”
“Actually yes,” Sanzetti smiled. “I’d invite you but it’s way above your pay grade.”
“You can leave now Ralph,” Russo replied.
Agent Sanzetti winked as he stood, Billy Russo fighting the urge to leap the desk and punch him in the nose with his chair.
Agent Billy Russo adjusted his goggles as he peered over the edge to the people at the docks. “What do you see people?”
“This is H1, no change in the players. Three Howling Commandos standing around with the crate.”
“This is H2, no activity above sir. Skies are c…”
“This is H3! We have a small speedboat approaching. Visual on two people on deck. No lights. No visible numbers. Possible exit strategy.”
“Get our boats ready just in case,” replied Billy as he turned his eyes to the boat. “Are any of those three Fury?”
“This is H9, no sir. Facial scanners aren’t picking up anything.”
“Sir, we have activity,” H2 radioed in. Russo turned back to see a winged man land directly on top of one of the Howling Commandoes, snapping his neck like a twig. With two flicks of his white wings he batted the other two urban terrorists away and grabbed the crate.
“ALL HYDRA AGENTS, GO! GO! GO!” yelled Russo as he popped up and aimed his taser-cannon at the winged man. HYDRA agents burst forth from their hiding spots and fired on the man who swooped like a hummingbird around the hail of projectiles. He looped around and made a beeline for the crate. Russo dropped his cannon and pulled his sidearm; firing a shot into the nearby crane holding a cargo net full of luggage. The winch exploded and the cargo fell right onto the winged man nearly crushing him.
“TAKE HIM!” yelled Russo as he rappelled down the side of the building to enter the fray. As HYDRA agents crept forward the winged man burst out of the mountain of boxes, flying straight up like a missile. Agents fired but he was long gone. Russo shook his head in disbelief.
“Seriously people, that was pathetic!” Russo fumed. “Lock this place down! Get medics here for those three and find out who the hell that winged guy was?”
Russo turned to the agent standing in the middle of the luggage pile. He held out a metal canister.
“What does it say on the side?” Russo asked.
“Mutant Growth Hormone,” the agent read out.
"Sir, this is H12," came a voice in Russo's ear. "We're getting some strange reports in from around the Empire State Building..."
The End…for now