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For Robert Gonzalez's attack on the Playground, see Attack on the Playground
For the LMDs' attack on the Playground, see Siege of the Playground
"Daisy said Hive knows everything the Zephyr's capable of. If he gets his hands on it..."
"That's his new missile."
"And we brought him right to it."
Alphonso Mackenzie, Melinda May and Phil Coulson[src]

The Battle of the Playground was an open confrontation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans led by Hive.

Background

Rise of the Inhumans

"The laws of nature have changed. And until the laws of man change to reflect that, we can only do what we feel is right."
Rosalind Price[src]

Following an open confrontation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and a faction of Inhumans, a Quinjet loaded with crates of impure Terrigen Crystals crashed into the ocean and contaminated a shoal of fish. The fish were later caught and turned into fish oil pills, which were subsequently distributed worldwide.[3]

While S.H.I.E.L.D. successfully removed most of the tainted pills from store shelves, at least five individuals consumed what was not caught and inadvertently discovered their true heritage after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist. At the same time, four of the five individuals were executed by Lash.[4]

In response, Matthew Ellis approved the formation of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit, a covert task force that would deal with the sudden rise in enhanced individuals, and appointed former intelligence agent Rosalind Price as the organization's head. When a confrontation with Joey Gutierrez and an attack orchestrated by Lash took place on the same day, however, Ellis held a press conference and revealed the ATCU's existence to the nation.[4]

HYDRA's Last Stand

"Now we're building an army for It to command when It returns. And you and I will rule beside It."
Gideon Malick to Grant Ward[src]

Unbeknownst to everyone, Gideon Malick was secretly manipulating the newly-formed organization into creating an Inhuman army that would serve Hive when he returned from exile to conquer Earth. To that end, Malick tasked his agents with giving all ATCU employees the tainted fish oil pills and conscripting them into HYDRA after they underwent Terrigenesis.[5]

Absolution Hive Captured

Hive is captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hive successfully returned on Earth and began swaying Inhumans, including Daisy Johnson, building an army he firstly gathered at Union City, where he forcefully enlisted the assistance of Holden Radcliffe who helped him create a virus which would turn all the Humans into Primitives.[6] Hive intended to release the virus using a nuclear warhead launched from a missile silo, but his plans were thwarted by S.H.I.E.L.D., who ultimately captured Hive and brought him back to the Playground, which was locked up.[7]

Battle

Release of the Virus

Absolution Transformation

Agent O'Brien is turned into a Primitive

"Stay away from them! Stay away from the gas! We have to get out of the hangar!"
Leo Fitz[src]

Despite having lost their leader, Hellfire and Giyera managed to smuggle boxes into the Playground containing samples of the Absolution Virus. Hellfire and Giyera remotely detonated a bomb installed within the packages, releasing the Virus into the cargo bay, where Leo Fitz, O'Brien and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were.

All the agents but Fitz and two other agents were turned into Primitives. While Leo Fitz tried to find a way to get out with help from Phil Coulson and the other top S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while the two other agents tried to keep the Primitives at bay. Jemma Simmons managed to force the door to open, enabling Fitz and another agent to escape, the remaining agent being captured by the Primitives.[7]

First Confrontation

Daisy and Hive

Daisy Johnson begs Hive to sway her again

"I don't want you to die. I want you to suffer."
Daisy Johnson to Hive[src]

The Primitives turned their attention to the Suspension Gel Chamber where Hive was still imprisoned and proceeded to destroy it, releasing their master. Hive intended to use the Zephyr One to launch his nuclear warhead loaded with the Absolution Virus and struggled with all his memories to remember how to fly it. While he was doing so, Daisy Johnson took control of her Containment Module and joined the plane as well. She confronted Hive, but against all expectations, she knelt and begged to be swayed by Hive once again.[7]

However, it turned out that Hive was unable of infecting Johnson again as Lash had rendered her immune to the parasites while attacking Hive. Enraged at the idea that she could never feel the absolute connection again, Johnson suddenly assaulted Hive and used her powers to violently throw his against a wall. Johnson and Hive furiously dueled against each other, landing several hard strikes. Eventually, Johnson fell on the ground, but she picked a knife and resumed the fight, only to be disarmed by Hive moments later.

Daisy and Hive 2

Daisy Johnson and Hive fight

The duel kept going and Johnson managed to have Hive point the knife at himself. She claimed that she did not intend to kill Hive, but rather to make him suffer. She then forced the knife through Hive's chest and repeatedly stabbed him. However, Hive was barely affected by his wounds and instantly recovered from it. Thus, Johnson used her powers to shatter his bones, but once again, Hive quickly put them back into place. Finally, a Primitive knocked Johnson unconscious from behind while Hellfire and Giyera reached the Playground with a HYDRA QuadCopter. They all boarded the Zephyr One and Johnson was put back into the Containment Module.[8]

Siege by the Primitives

"We have 28 ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that know this base inside out. How long before they find their way through the hangar doors?"
"Several hours at least."
"They may not have to. They're in the vents."
Alphonso Mackenzie, Holden Radcliffe and Lincoln Campbell[src]

Meanwhile, the Primitives also infiltrated the Playground through the vents, prompting the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to split up to secure the different areas of the base. Leo Fitz and Melinda May left to check Daisy Johnson's Containment Chamber, only to find out that she had escaped and was fighting against Hive. Jemma Simmons was ordered to gather equipment in Phil Coulson's office. Coulson and Lincoln Campbell, followed by Holden Radcliffe, went to secure the core systems while Alphonso Mackenzie and Elena Rodriguez had to lock down the armory.

However, the Primitives got ahead of all of them. Rodriguez was wounded when she shielded Mackenzie against bullets shot by a Primitive in the armory. Mackenzie took her and reached Coulson, Campbell, and Radcliffe, who had failed to stop the Primitives as well. All of them took refuge in the workshop, where they did their best to tend to Rodriguez's wounds all while arguing over Radcliffe's involvement in the creation of the Primitives. Coulson managed to calm everyone down and to find something in the room which could help Rodriguez: all they could find was a blowtorch which painfully cauterized Rodriguez's wound.

Simmons Hide Primitive

Jemma Simmons manages to hide from O'Brien

Meanwhile, Simmons had taken refuge into the Playground's boiler room. Some Primitives forced the room but they were unable to see her and left upon hearing Rodriguez's screams. Simmons figured out that the Primitives' infrared vision could be turned into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s advantage and she increased the heating of the base, thus rendering the agents invisible to the Primitives. Simmons made her way to Coulson's office, where she was joined by the rest of the team still in the Playground, although she almost hit Coulson out of fear he was a Primitive. Coulson then used his Prosthetic Hand to remotely call a Quinjet, but he insisted on going to fight Hive alone.[8]

Infiltration into the Zephyr One

May and Fitz

"What are you doing here?"
"Grabbing you, taking back the Zephyr."
Daisy Johnson and Melinda May[src]

Thanks to Grant Ward's and Will Daniels' memories, Hive was able to take off the Zephyr One and programmed it fro vertical ascension so that it could reach the altitude of 100,000 feet and release the Absolution Virus. However, unbeknownst to him, Melinda May and Leo Fitz had secretly boarded the plane as well after discovering Daisy Johnson's escape. They took down the Primitive guarding Johnson and get out of hiding. However, Johnson refused to be released from the Containment Module as she felt she was a liability.

Fitz Cloaked Gun

Leo Fitz kills Giyera with his Cloaked Gun

While Fitz gathered some weapons, May talked with Johnson to convince her to help them instead of brooding. However, she was knocked unconscious by Giyera, who seized a machine gun and aimed it at Fitz. However, Fitz managed to play for time by pretending he had hidden a weapon in the plane and killed Giyera with a Cloaked Gun. He then released Johnson and they took May to the plane's lab.

As the air was getting colder, Fitz gave his jacket to Johnson, who found the golden cross she had seen in the vision provided by Charles Hinton and in which a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was supposed to die. Therefore, Johnson felt that she was the one who would die.[8]

The Rest of the Team

Hive vs Coulson

Hive confronts Phil Coulson's hologram

"When you give an order, your followers have no choice but to obey. But when I gave my team the order to stay behind, they just wouldn't listen. They got out right before docking was complete, climbed along the top of the fuselage to a maintenance hatch. I'm just a distraction."
Phil Coulson to Hive[src]

Alphonso Mackenzie, Lincoln Campbell and Jemma Simmons refused to let Phil Coulson try to take down Hive on his own. Therefore, all of them boarded the Quinjet and reached the Zephyr One. They decided to create a distraction for Hive and Coulson, inspired by Felix Blake's trick, created a hologram of himself which confronted Hive to play for time. Hive, who revealed its true tentacled form, tried to attack Coulson and take his body to fool the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, only to fail at touching the hologram and realized he had been fooled.

Hellfire-vs-LincolnCampbell

Hellfire fights Lincoln Campbell

While on the way to the cargo bay, Campbell was attacked by Hellfire. Campbell, aided by Melinda May, managed to defeat him, but not before Hellfire put a small bomb on him thanks to his power, wounding Campbell. Simmons and Leo Fitz rushed at Campbell to give him the first aids and then left Johnson and Campbell for some privacy. Johnson apologized to Campbell for what had happened and Campbell forgave her, mentioning his past alcoholism to tell Johnson he understood her.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team, finally reunited in the cargo bay, discussed a plan to stop Hive once and for all. Coulson suggested to put the warhead containing the Absolution Virus in the Quinjet which would be sent into space where the virus could be released without any danger. However, it also meant that someone had to remain in the Quinjet and sacrifice to ensure it followed the right course. They realized that Johnson, who intended to fulfill her vision, left for that purpose.[8]

Campbell's Sacrifice

Ascension Team vs Primitives

S.H.I.E.L.D. fights the Primitives

"You can't just die for me like this. It's... It's wrong."
"I don't know. Saving the girl that I love and the world at the same time? Feels pretty right to me."
Daisy Johnson and Lincoln Campbell[src]

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team was soon attacked by the last Primitives and Hive himself. Together, Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Alphonso Mackenzie, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons successfully took down the Primitives, but they realized that Hive had come after Daisy Johnson in order to keep her from sending the warhead into space.

Hive confronted Johnson in the Quinjet, where she had already stored the warhead. While Johnson intended to leave the Quinjet and let it fly automatically into space, Hive reminded her that he could use Grant Ward's memories to override the automatic pilot and reclaim control over the warhead. However, Lincoln Campbell revealed his presence in the Quinjet and that he had sabotaged the manual control. Refusing to let his girlfriend sacrifice herself, Campbell used her powers to forcefully throw her out of the plane, which left towards space with Campbell, Hive and the warhead onboard.

Horrified, Johnson realized that her boyfriend would sacrifice himself to save everyone. She rushed at the Zephyr One's communication room and contacted Campbell, begging him to come back as she thought she was supposed to be the one to die. However, Johnson realized that she no longer had the golden cross, as Lincoln had taken it, meaning he was truly the one who would fulfill Johnson's vision.

Hive and Lincoln Death

Lincoln Campbell and Hive seconds before dying

Johnson was joined by the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. They unsuccessfully tried to bring the Quinjet back to the atmosphere and the contact with Campbell was interrupted as Johnson and Campbell were implicitly declaring their love for each other. The Quinjet then arrived into outer space. Campbell unfastened his seat belt and joined Hive in the rear of the plane, from which they contemplated the Earth until the Quinjet exploded.

In the Zephyr One, Johnson begged Coulson to do something to bring Campbell back, but Coulson told her that there was nothing they could do. Johnson blamed herself and said that Campbell was paying for her mistakes, to which Coulson replied that he was actually paying for all of their mistakes. Johnson and the others then saw the signal of the Quinjet being destroyed and Johnson burst into tears, devastated by the loss of her boyfriend.[8]

Aftermath

"Seal the perimeter! But you won't find her. Call the Director. We struck out again."
Phil Coulson[src]

Several months after Lincoln Campbell's death, a traumatized Daisy Johnson went rogue and began operating as a vigilante. Dubbed "Quake" by members of the press, her activities prompted S.H.I.E.L.D. to launch a manhunt in an attempt to apprehend their renegade comrade.[8]

At the same time, with HYDRA destroyed and the Sokovia Accords ratified, S.H.I.E.L.D. was relegitimized but needed a new Director since the world still believed Phil Coulson was dead. During a meeting with Matthew Ellis, Coulson requested a successor with powers who could be trusted by the public.[9]

They eventually agreed that International Affairs journalist Jeffrey Mace, who underwent Terrigenesis during the Inhuman Outbreak, was the perfect candidate. Coulson remained unaware, however, that Mace received his abilities after being selected to participate in a classified government program known as Project Patriot.[9][10]

References

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