"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing" - John Stuart Mill (01/02/1867)
“That’s a fine question Ms. Tilbury, I fully support the president’s decision to temporarily restrict access to our nation from these so called ‘havens of terror’,” The blonde haired middle aged man dressed in a smart business suit stated as he stood on the steps of the White House, “although honestly I believe that his decision that such a measure should be temporary doesn’t go far enough.” He added before being ushered inside by a pair of Secret-Service agents.
“We’ll have more from Vice President Ford Kallet later when he and President Harris address the chosen members of press on their plan for the country over the next four years.” Trish stated, as glimpses of the crowds outside the grounds of the White House could be seen, all of them brandishing Pro-Harris placards with his campaign slogan, ‘America First and America Only’. “Now back to the studio.” She added as the image on the TV screen froze.
“Director Hill, I want permission to monitor Kallet.” The female SHIELD agent implored as she stood before the Director’s desk. “Kallet came out of nowhere and changed the nature of Richard Harris’s campaign from a joke to something serious and sinister. Before his involvement a Democrat victory was almost assured and yet the moment Kallet…”
“I know Agent Jessup, his involvement caused the polls to shift in days to favour a Republican Victory, one that was chosen by the people for this country.” Director Hill stated, as she crossed her hands and glowered at her subordinate. “You may not like it, but Harris and Kallet were elected in legally, and while they are not as progressive as the men they replaced, they are not figures of interest for SHIELD at current.”
“Director they are fostering hate for immigrants as well as other groups. Surely that is of interest to SHIELD?” Jessup asked, as she balled her hands in anger.
“There are other threats Agent, just last week the Lethal Legion attacked an oil pipeline in Texas, something that caused major ecological and economic damage.” Hill stated, as the image of Kallet’s interview shifted to reveal acres of oil polluted desert. “Worse still their leader the Grim Reaper and one of his subordinates the Living Laser escaped before they could be captured. If you want to really help this country find those two before they can strike again.”
“Yes Ma’am.” Jessup hissed through gritted teeth as she turned to leave.
“Oh and Jessup, if you have a problem with Kallet pursue it in your own time. Waste any more of SHIELD’s resource on this and you’re parental issues will come to light.” Hill purred as she placed her hands together, a threatening tone leaking into her voice. “I’m sure nobody would trust the Vulture’s daughter to even be a janitor of SHIELD, let alone a full-fledged agent.”
The ‘Purse’ Holding Facility, Undisclosed Location
Agent Jessup sat at the reinforced desk her eyes drilling through the prisoner she had come to see, his scrawny frame, well-groomed facial hair and bald head making him look like a famous music producer she’d long since forgotten the name of, albeit one who wore an orange jumpsuit and printed out licence plates in his spare time. Unlike other prisons such as ‘the Vault’ and ‘the Raft’, the facility known as ‘the Purse’ didn’t focus on rehabilitation but rather on assets for SHIELD and only SHIELD. Being sent to ‘the Purse’ was a death sentence, not because of any execution, but because any prisoner transferred here would never leave no matter how short his or her sentence was, something Jessup suspected that Alan Teach AKA the Architect was beginning to realise.
“So Mr Teach how are you finding your sentence so far?” Jessup asked.
“I haven’t even been to court yet, look I admit that I may have been involved in that spree of armed robberies, but surely that’s for a court to determine!” Alan snapped as he strained against the chains that were connected to the chair. “I haven’t even talked to my lawyer and I know I have a right to legal counsel!!”
“Dead men don’t need lawyers.” Jessup replied calmly, her words causing the look of panic on Alan’s face to turn into one of pure terror.
“P…please I…I will do any…” Alan yammered before watching as Agent Jessup slid a document in a manila folder across to the desk to him. “W…Wait this is my d…death certificate?!” Alan gulped as he opened the folder and read the piece of paper inside. “But that date is a week after my arrest?”
“SHIELD had you moved and a fast-grown duplicate sent to take your place, one that they arranged to have killed.” Jessup stated, as Alan looked down in horror and disgust at the pictures of his dead body lying in a cell. “Your parents, your girlfriend and everyone else who would ever go looking for you if you were moved think you’re dead.” She added. “In essence you can be kept here indefinitely because dead men have no rights.”
“Jesus why would you do this?!” Alan snapped.
“I didn’t, I’m your friend Alan, I want to see you released I really do.” Jessup stated in the most genuine and caring voice she could muster, a warm smile across her face. “I honestly think you could be of more use in the real world, providing that this little unjust incarceration matter is forgotten of course.”
“You…you can get me out of here?” Alan gasped in amazement, hope flooding into his voice.
“Of course there are two conditions, firstly you don’t mention your time here. For that SHIELD will compensate you quite kindly.” Jessup told him, as she slipped the folder away from him.
“That’ll be hard but I think I can manage.” Alan sighed, as he put his hands together in a gesture that looked almost as if he was praying. “What’s the other one?”
“I need your help in a ‘classified mission’.” Jessup told him as she studied the look of hope’s retreat, and its replacement, that of one gripped by horror replace it.
“I’m not a killer, I won’t kill for you.” Alan replied in a quiet nervous voice.
“Alan I wouldn’t ask you to kill someone in cold blood, and you know why?” Jessup sighed, her voice not helping Alan’s nervousness. “Because you wouldn’t be good at it, because you are not a killer. And even if you were I can always find someone more discrete, more well trained and with a better reputation.” She added. “No Alan, I want you to use your powers to move a few corridors around and maybe shift some architecture.”
“Move some corridors.” Alan replied before sighing in relief. “Sure, sure I can do that.” He added, as Jessup passed him an electronic contract on a tablet.
“Then all you have to do is sign this and everything works out well for you Alan.” Jessup purred as Alan skimmed over the conditions of the contract. After double checking he signed at the bottom and passed the tablet back to her. “Welcome to the rest of your life Alan, tonight you leave here a free man.”
“Just one thing before we go, we’re not going to kill anyone right?” Alan asked.
“Of course not Alan.” Jessup replied a wicked smile spreading across her face. “What we’re going to do is far worse.”