10/17/2014

Fate of SHIELD: Episode 2 - Totem

Previously on Fate of SHIELD: the team encountered an 0-8-4 dubbed Wendigo and they were betrayed by HYDRA agents within their squad!  They were forced to retreat to The Observatory to regroup!

As the team moved through the armor towards the Quinjet, Zorya stopped them, suggesting they might want some of the safeguarded ordanence from The Observatory.  She told the team of a gatling gun, a repulsor rifle, and a surface-to-air missile launcher.  The team discussed it briefly and decided to take the gatling gun and the repulsor rifle, which were carried by Savage and Gott respectively.  They were about to board the Quinjet when Stalson decided to reveal another secret.

He told them he felt the need to come clean.  He recapped the events of HYDRA's revelation and then said that he'd known what the signal meant.  He went on to explain that he'd chosen to act on SHIELD's behalf rather than HYRDA's because he still believed in SHIELD's ideals.  In the process, he had betrayed the people he really worked for: HYDRA.  They'd approached him the academy and brought him along slowly until he'd had no choice but to join them.

The team was immediately against him.  Gott wanted Stalson locked away and potentially tried and executed.  Savage glared at the man he'd not so long before been joking with.  Richards argued that he could have killed them more than once, but hadn't, which was worth a chance.  Rennaker couldn't trust him at just his word, though.  She gave Savage the order to lock him in the interrogation room and the field agent moved to comply as Stalson gave no resistance.

Richards explained that he could build a lie detector as Gott argued for a full interrogation.  Rennaker shot down the full interrogation as the hunt for Wendigo was time sensitive.  She told Richardsto get his machine ready.  By the interrogation room, Savage punched Stalson across the face.  Stalson took the blow with no retaliation and went into the room.

The team briefly split up at this point.  Savage and Gott headed north in the Quinjet to the very first logging camp struck by Wendigo.  They searched the wreckage of the Roxxon site and found a journal that appeared to belong to a professor Paul Cartier.  In it he detailed orders to search a nearby abandoned mine.  Someone dubbed SV pushed him deeper and deeper under threat of violence until he found something.  After some translation help from Zorya, they realized it was a totem with symbols of the Wendigo.  SV broke it, apparently, and Cartier reported being very hungry...

Meanwhile, Richards completed his lie detector and he and Rennaker set to interrogating Stalson.  Richards ran Stalson through a series of calibration questions, then asked Stalson if he was part of HYDRA.  Stalson confirmed it and when asked why he'd split from them, he explained that he shared more ideals with SHIELD than HYDRA.  Rennaker, mostly satisfied, excused Richards and asked questions of Stalson's history with 0-8-4's and if he'd ever heard of other organizations within SHIELD.  He listed TASK, STRIKE, and HYDRA, which satisfied her.

Not long after, Gott and Savage returned, handing over the journal to Richards, who was able to interpret the events recorded within to determine that SV, a Roxxon employee forced Cartier to take the totem, which was not what SV was looking for.  The totem, now broken, released the Wendigo spirit, which empowered Cartier.  Cartier then went on a rampage as Wendigo.

Planning to find the totem and take it from Cartier to stop him, the team used Richards' Icer tracker to fly the Quinjet to the woods near where they'd recently fought Wendigo.  They unloaded their gear and followed Richards' tracker signal out into the snowy woods.  As they approached, Wendigo's pacing stopped, a clear sign it had noticed them.  They froze and slowly retreated back to the Quinjet, where they'd make their stand.

Savage dug in against the jet, Rennaker lined up her shot, Gott did the same, and Richards set up an Icer mine before climbing in to man the Quinjet.  Stalson put his sniper rifle in an easy to grab position and headed back into the woods, moving quickly, to bait Wendigo out to the ambush.  Wendigo reacted strongly, and gave chase one Stalson gave himself a superficial cut to let the scent of blood into the air.

At first, it seemed Stalson might outpace Wendigo for some reason, but the beast surged and nearly caught him.  He dodged around the  Icer mine, but Wendigo did not, taking the full blast.  It was slowed, but not stopped.  The team unloaded on the beast.  Wendigo, pinned between too many positions of fire, couldn't do much to avoid the damage and so plowed on after Stalson.

Stalson reached his sniper rifle just as Wendigo caught him.  The beast began to squeeze the life out of him, but Stalson brought his sniper rifle up under Wendigo's chin and pulled the trigger.  Wendigo, acting on some preternatural instinct, jerked it's head at the last second, avoiding being killed but having it's jaw badly damaged.  It dropped Stalson, who rolled away, leaving Wendigo wide open to the cannon mounted on the nose of the Quinjet.

Richards opened fire and the beast stood no chance.  Wendigo was pounded with bullets and slumped to the ground, dead.  For the briefest moment, Richards had a flash of the Wendigo, staring at him from over the corpse, then it rushed him and his vision went black.  He woke up a moment later, none the worse for wear.  The team loaded Wendigo's body onto the Quinjet for study, especially as there had been no evidence of the totem anywhere nearby.  The lifted off and headed back to The Observatory.

Once back, the team moved Wendigo's body to the lab.  It appeared to have shrunk slightly in the trip, as if it was reverting back to Cartier.  Richards accompanied it back and the rest of the team dispersed, finally able to get some rest.

In the lab, Richards began to sense the problem.  The corpse of Wendigo smelled... Delicious.  It had almost completely turned back into Cartier and the totem had dropped from the body.  Richards fought the urge to eat the flesh of the corpse, as something inside him screamed for the satisfaction.  Zorya, sensing that something was wrong, woke Rennaker, who rushed to the lab.  Unfortunately, in the intervening moments, Richards had blacked out and locked the door.  He hovered over the corpse, fighting against himself as Rennaker demanded Zorya unlock the door.  The AI managed it quickly and Rennaker managed to stand Richards off.  She called in Savage and Stalson, who restrained Richards by shooting him with an Icer.  Rennaker declared she'd stand guard and the others tried to return to their sleep.  Stalson locked the totem away using a drone.

In the morning, Gott began making calls to experts in First Nations anthropology, eventually reaching an old contact, Michael Twoyoungmen.  While Gott tried to be cagey about just what had happened, Dr. Twoyoungmen quickly ascertained what had happened and informed Gott he'd be there in about six hours.  They agreed to meet at the University of British Columbia's liquid mirror telescope.

Stalson began loading one of Zorya's drones with Icer rounds, in hopes that it might put Richards down if it came down to it.  Richards, still out from the Icer, had a vision, with Paul Cartier talking to him about the Wendigo spirit.  In the vision, Richards got the idea of using Icer injections to keep the Wendigo at bay so that he could continue to function.  He resolved to start work on it when he woke up.

The team moved about their business for another few hours, tracking the events of Hydra's rise against SHIELD.  Everything on that front seemed bleak, with SHIELD on the run at every turn and most governments turning on the agency.  Zorya informed Rennaker that The Fridge and The Sandbox had fallen, leaving only The Hub as a major SHIELD holdout.  Savage and Stalson locked Richards in an interrogation room and Rennaker continued her watch over him.

He woke there, restrained.  At first he tried to feign sleep, to prevent them from immediately using the Icer on him again, but Rennaker saw through the bluff.  He tried to hurriedly explain to her that he could fix the problem, but Zorya's drone shot him before he could get it out.  He tumbled back into sleep.

Not too much later, Dr. Twoyoungmen arrived and was greeted by Rennaker and Gott.  Rennaker introduced herself and Gott ran the situation down before they blindfolded the shaman and led him into The Observatory.  They led him to the lab, having sealed Cartier's corpse into a storage bay in case they needed it for study, and produced the totem, which Dr. Twoyoungmen said would be inert with what had happened to Richards and Cartier.  He quickly found the broken piece of it and set to work preparing to repair it.

Meanwhile, Richards woke again, and managed to get the team to hear him out.  He explained his Icer device and planned to make it.  He worked efficiently, but slower than he had hoped, completing it just as the urges for human flesh returned.  Stalson was watching over him at this point, and Richards almost made a move to attack him, but the field agent was faster, locking Richards up.  Stalson used the opening to strap the Icer injector to Richards' forearm, suppressing the Wendigo.  He asked Gott to bring a cart of fruits, vegetables, and grains for Richards, remembering the shaman's earlier admonition that Richards not eat flesh for the time being.

Richards and Gott asked about the supply of Icer rounds and Stalson told them he thought they'd run out relatively soon.  Richards back-engineered the ingredients of the Icers and gave them to Gott, who began researching locations to find them.  Elsewhere, Dr. Twoyoungmen had nearly completed his repairs on the totem...

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