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"You can't just scratch the surface, Coulson. We have to dig deep. That's why I started carving bodies. It has to be deep."
"It's not two dimensional."
"No. The answer isn't on the surface. It's what lies beneath."
Sebastian Derik and Phil Coulson[src]

The Attack on Hank Thompson was an attempt by Sebastian Derik to torture former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hank Thompson and extract information regarding the symbols he kept carving into himself.

Background

Mysterious Carvings

"The writing's coming more and more frequently. Used to be two, three times a month. Then once a week. Now it's every day, every night. I can't turn it off."
Phil Coulson[src]
TWotW

Phil Coulson keeps carving the Words of Creation

Phil Coulson was injected with GH.325 during his resurrection, which caused the damaged tissues in his organism to regenerate. However, there was also an undesirable side effect: Coulson began suffering crisis during which he would carve mysterious symbols at an increasing frequency. Melinda May and Skye were worried to see Coulson in that condition and the three of them resolved to investigate the matter after Skye figured out that the symbols represented a map, although they ignored what it represented.[5]

Former Patients

Sebastian-Derik-T.A.H.I.T.I.-Project-Questioning

Sebastian Derik as a Project T.A.H.I.T.I. patient

"Pain made me remember. I found out after I started cutting myself. The more pain, the more I remembered. That's how I found the others you erased."
Sebastian Derik to Phil Coulson[src]

Meanwhile, Sebastian Derik, a former Project T.A.H.I.T.I. patient who had also been subjected to GH.325, suffered the same crisis as Phil Coulson, having the Words of Creation tattooed on his own body. The pain of the process resurfaced the memories of the project T.A.H.I.T.I. and Derik began a rampage to find the other patients. When he found them, he carved the symbols on their bodies, hoping that the pain would also bring back memories so that Derik could know why he had these symbols in mind. After failing to find Coulson, Derik murdered Lewis Seaver, Janice Robbins and two other patients without progressing in his quest. He then found another fellow patient, Hank Thompson, who was also secretly recreating the symbols in his garage, but as a three-dimensional structure.[2]

Search in the Past

Coulson Brain Machine

Phil Coulson uses the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine

"If you don't know anything, then how are we gonna find them?"
"You're gonna have to torture it out of me."
Skye and Phil Coulson[src]

S.H.I.E.L.D. was informed about Janice Robbins' murder. After autopsy, they discovered that Robbins was a former Project T.A.H.I.T.I. patient and suspected that the killer was a patient as well. Therefore, Phil Coulson resolved to use the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine to search his memories back in the time he was in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. Though the process was painful, Coulson managed to identify Sebastian Derik as the killer and Hank Thompson as the next victim. Against his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents' advise, Coulson left to warn Thompson without telling anyone.[2]

Attack

Phil-Coulson-threatens-Hank-Thompson

Phil Coulson interrogates Hank Thompson

"You have pieces that I need!"
"I don't know what you're talking about, and I don't care. Look, I've told you both, you've got the wrong guy!"
"Both? Someone got here before me?"
Phil Coulson and Hank Thompson[src]

Sebastian Derik journeyed to Hank Thompson's house to interrogate him about the symbols. However, Thompson pretended he did not know anything about them. When Phil Coulson arrived, Derik took Thompson's wife and son hostages and let Thompson talk with Coulson. Thompson reiterated the same answers, claiming he did not know what the symbols Coulson was showing to him represented. Derik then sneaked behind Coulson and knocked him unconscious.

Sebastian

Sebastian Derik reveals his tattoos to Phil Coulson

Derik locked Thompson's wife and son in a room and tied up Thompson and Coulson in the former's garage, where the structure built by Thompson was. Derik proceeded to interrogate Coulson, asking to know what the symbols he had tattooed on his body meant. Coulson replied that he did not know and that he was also looking for answers just like Derik. However, Coulson recognized the structure built by Thompson as being the missing piece of the puzzle he had been trying to solve, something that Derik had failed to notice.

Hank-Thompson-catches-knife

Hank Thompson manages to escape from Sebastian Derik

While Derik started to carve into Coulson's body, believing it would provide the answers, Thompson managed to break out of his bonds. He released his family and managed to block the knife Derik threw at him, throwing it back to release Coulson as well. Coulson ordered Thompson to get to safety while he fought against Derik after cutting down the power in the garage.

Coulsonandderek

Sebastian Derik discovers the full pattern of the Words of Creation

Coulson went upstairs in the garage and taunted Derik, prompting him to come. Coulson then sneaked behind his enemy and forced him to come at the rail so that he could look at the structure from the top. However, Derik refused to comply and tried to break free. At this moment, Alphonso Mackenzie and Skye arrived in the garage and ordered Coulson to let Derik go, fearing he could kill him. Just as Mackenzie was ready to shoot Coulson, Derik opened his eyes and stared at the pattern, recognizing the full puzzle of the Words of Creation. His quest being finally over, he was no longer a threat and Coulson loosened his grip on him.[2]

Aftermath

Blueprints Holograph

S.H.I.E.L.D. goes after the Kree City

"I know in the past few months I may have seemed like I was leading you on some fool's errand. Chasing after strange carvings and artifacts. At times, I questioned it myself, wondering if I was chasing windmills, trying to solve some unsolvable puzzle. But the pieces are coming together. The puzzle's taking shape. The bad news, HYDRA's trying to solve the same puzzle, and they have more resources. The good news, we now have a piece they don't have. Everything we've been doing, it all... leads here. Our job: find it before anyone else."
Phil Coulson[src]

Thanks to Hank Thompson, Phil Coulson was able to solve the puzzle of the Words of Creation. Thus, his impulses to carve the symbols on any surface available subsided and Coulson's mind could finally rest. However, this also meant that a new quest started for S.H.I.E.L.D.: locating the Kree City which was represented by the symbols. Coulson knew that they had to hurry in this endeavor, as HYDRA was also searching the city although they did not have the information S.H.I.E.L.D. had acquired.

Following Sebastian Derik's arrest, Coulson also offered Hank Thompson to return as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but he refused, claiming that he was happy with the normal life he had been living since his memories had been rewritten.[2]

Alphonso Mackenzie was quite unnerved by the sight of Coulson getting nearly crazy because of the alien GH.325 serum he had received, which in his eyes justified his decision of siding with Robert Gonzales's S.H.I.E.L.D faction.[6]

References

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