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"Whoever came after us anticipated the protocols, knew we'd fly to safety. The sniper was just their first move. Sabotaging the Quinjet was plan B."
Phil Coulson[src]

The Attack on Jeffrey Mace was an assassination mission orchestrated by former HYDRA operatives acting on orders from the Watchdogs.

Background

Raid of the Fridge

During the HYDRA Uprising following the Battle at the Hub[5] and the Battle at the Triskelion[6], Yuri Zaikin was among those who was believed to have been killed on the Fridge when it was attacked by John Garrett, Grant Ward and multiple HYDRA operatives who were sleeper agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2014.[7] However, Zaikin survived and was recruited to the Watchdogs.[8]

Project Patriot

"The President tasked me with finding the next Captain America. Not an easy job, but I did it! I delivered a Patriot, a bonafide American hero!"
Glenn Talbot[src]
TP Project Patriot

Project Patriot

In 2016, S.H.I.E.L.D. was legitimized following the Destruction of HYDRA[9] and the death of Hive.[10] Jeffrey Mace was appointed the new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director[11] after he had saved many lives following the Bombing of the Vienna International Centre.[8][12] It was made clear that the new Director had to be Inhuman, and since none of the candidates fit the criteria (neither did Mace), Glenn Talbot injected Mace with the Patriot Serum as part of Project Patriot, which had imbued him with superhuman strength that would have made it seem as if he was Inhuman. The serum was kept near Mace in a biometric briefcase, carried by Burrows, a public relations S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and a right-hand to Mace.[8]

Attack

Assassination Attempt

TP Judas Bullet

Jeffrey Mace blocks an exploding Judas Bullet

"Sniper! Get down!"
Quake[src]

S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace held a public speech session in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, to officially recognize Quake as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. While Michelle Caldwell was delivering a speech in which she expressed her gratitude to Quake as the vigilante had saved her life during the Collapse of the Edison Bridge, Phil Coulson noticed that one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent guarding the area was missing. In his place was the ex-HYDRA operative and sniper Yuri Zaikin, who shot at the Patriot and Quake with a Judas Bullet. The bullet hit the speech desk, which was thrown in the air by the Patriot right before exploding.

Due to the threat on Mace's life and with the effects of his Patriot Serum coming to an end, General Glenn Talbot enacted the Contingency Plan Foxhole protocol. Coulson and Alphonso Mackenzie took Mace and agent Burrows to a Quinjet which agent McCafferty flied away while Quake quickly overpowered and arrested Zaikin.[8]

Quinjet Crash

Quinjet Crash Freyer

The Quinjet crashes in Freyer National Park

"We lost the port engine!"
"Everybody hold on!"
McCafferty and Phil Coulson[src]

While agent McCafferty was flying the Quinjet to safety, the plane was further attacked by the ex-HYDRA operatives, who blew a hole in the cabin from which Burrows was ejected, taking the briefcase containing the Patriot Suit and the syringes of Patriot Serum with him. With one engine completely destroyed, the Quinjet could not avoid crashing in the middle of the Freyer National Park. While Phil Coulson, Alphonso Mackenzie, and Jeffrey Mace were only knocked unconscious, agent McCafferty was killed in the crash.[8]

Ambush at Freyer National Park

"Time to suit up, Director."
"You heard the part where I don't have powers, right?"
"Yeah. But they don't know that."
Phil Coulson and Jeffrey Mace[src]
Phil Coulson, Jeffrey Mace and Alphonso Mackenzie got out of the damaged Quinjet, left without any working network to call for backup. Mace insisted on finding Burrows since he was carrying the briefcase containing syringes of Patriot Serum, even if Coulson and Mackenzie were not aware of this motivation. Upon hearing engines, the three S.H.I.E.L.D. agents found a communication scrambling truck. However, Mace refused that they take the truck down before finding Burrows and the briefcase.

They found a camp overrun with former HYDRA operatives who had reclaimed Burrows' body and the briefcase. They split up to take them down, but Mace did not act as expected since he simply took the briefcase and ran away without a fight, much to Coulson and Mackenzie's surprise. However, one operative found Mace before he could inject himself with the Serum and shot Mace in the thigh. Coulson and Mackenzie arrived in time to save Mace, but they also discovered that Mace was not an Inhuman.

TP Shield

Phil Coulson fight the Watchdogs with his Energy Shield

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team sought refuge in the cabin now emptied of its occupants. As more enemies kept arriving, Coulson ordered Mace to wear his Patriot Suit nonetheless in an attempt to intimidate their opponents and distract them. Meanwhile, Mackenzie successfully destroyed the jamming truck. A gunfight erupted and Coulson protected Mace with his Energy Shield before retreating in the cabin while Mackenzie fought other operatives in another cabin.

As S.H.I.E.L.D. communications were working once again, the three agents were found by their colleagues. Daisy Johnson and Melinda May's LMD arrived on site and help to defeat the remaining operatives. Once the battle over, all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents returned to the Playground.

Aftermath

Patriot

Jeffrey Mace offers to resign as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director

"Keep the title, handle the politics. I never loved that part, anyway. But when it comes to operations, make no mistake. From now on, I'm calling the shots."
Phil Coulson to Jeffrey Mace[src]

Phil Coulson returned to the Playground, where he confronted General Glenn Talbot about the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. had lied to the public by claiming its director Jeffrey Mace was an Inhuman. After the argument, Coulson and Mace remained in Mace's office and Mace offered to resign as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. so that Coulson could be reinstated in his rightful position. However, Coulson noticed that Mace had been good at lying to everybody about his true nature, so he insisted that Mace should remain the official Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. while Coulson would give orders regarding all S.H.I.E.L.D. field missions, becoming the unofficial and de facto Director of the organization.[8]

As Mace nearly died because he could not get a shot of Patriot Serum in time, Leo Fitz redesigned the Patriot Suit so that Mace could directly inject the Serum whenever necessary. However, Jemma Simmons conducted tests to assess the effects of the Serum on Mace's body and informed the Director that keeping using it could endanger his life. As a result, Mace would struggle to find his role in the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as he could no longer act as an enhanced fighter the way he used to.[4]

TP Metal

Melinda May's LMD's wound

Melinda May's LMD was wounded in the battle. A tear in her synthetic skin made her discover her artificial innards, which made her question her true nature.[8]

References

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