- "Yesterday, we witnessed a harrowing and unprovoked attack on HYDRA's Enlightenment Cultivation Center. The perpetrator, the Inhuman terrorist and Resistance leader who called himself "The Patriot" again acted with flagrant disregard for human life. But we are pleased to report the Patriot has been killed. That man will no longer stand as a symbol of evil and villainy."
- ―Sunil Bakshi[src]
The Infiltration into the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center was an attempt by S.H.I.E.L.D. to rescue undercover agent Antoine Triplett, who had obtained schematics of Project Looking Glass. While the Patriot and Phil Coulson quickly retrieved Triplett, Coulson noticed Chris Adler and decided to rescue dissident students he had allowed HYDRA to arrest, resulting in a detour to the Quarantine Building, where they discovered teenagers being subjected to Faustus.
However, HYDRA was aware of the break-in and had dispatched Melinda May to the Center. After a brief fight with the Patriot, she was ordered by The Doctor to authorize an airstrike on the quarantine building. She entered the crumbling building only to encounter the teenage dissidents escaping and eventually witness the Patriot sacrifice his life to allow not only the dissidents and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents but herself to escape.
Despite killing their greatest enemy, the airstrike proved to be the HYDRA regime's undoing. May, one of HYDRA's top agents, had become aware of the Patriot's true persona and was horrified that she had been ordered to murder children, resulting in her empowering Daisy Johnson, defecting with Johnson in tow, and delivering body cam footage from inside the Quarantine Building to S.H.I.E.L.D. so they could expose HYDRA's true colors.
In a virtual world ruled by the dangerous totalitarian organization HYDRA, all those who were considered potential subversives were sent to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center. This included even children like Chris Adler, who was taken out of his class under the eyes of his teacher Phil Coulson.
While working as a S.H.I.E.L.D. undercover agent within, Antoine Triplett took several pictures related to Project Looking Glass but was finally discovered and arrested before being taken to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center. Jeffrey Mace decided to set up a mission in order to rescue him.
Phil Coulson, going under the alias of Jamie Flugelman, drove a stolen HYDRA bus to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center, making the guards believe he was simply carrying dead bodies. When a guard got in the bus to inspect his cargo, Jeffrey Mace choked him before emerging out of one the mortuary bags, along with Burrows. Burrows remained outside to keep an eye on security while Coulson and Mace infiltrated the building in order to retrieve Antoine Triplett and the valuable information he had gathered.
After knocking out a HYDRA agent, Coulson and Mace quickly found prisoners locked in tiny cages, and among them was Triplett, who was released with the others. However, they needed to find Triplett's boots as he had hid his intel inside it. Triplett finally found it, but in the meantime, Coulson saw his former student Chris Adler being taken into the quarantine building. When he learned from Triplett that several kids were detained in this building, he decided to go and save them, much to Mace's dismay.
With the arrival of a HYDRA Quinjet, the situation suddenly got more dangerous. Mace ordered Burrows to return to the Playground with Triplett's intel while he and Triplett went to join Coulson in the quarantine building. They were ambushed by HYDRA agent Melinda May, who had been injected with HYDRA Super-Serum in order to kill Mace. Mace decided to fight her while Triplett joined Coulson. Meanwhile, Burrows warned Grant Ward about the situation.
Coulson and Triplett found a room full of children who were forcefully brainwashed through the Faustus method and Coulson recognized two of his former students, Chris Adler and Burnell, among them. They were joined by Mace who had managed to defeat May after a fierce fight. May reported the situation to Madame Hydra and The Doctor, who ordered her to destroy the quarantine building using the Quinjet. With the building beginning to collapse, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, joined by Ward and Jemma Simmons, proceeded to evacuate all the children who were trapped in it. However, Adler was stuck beneath debris and the Patriot had to jump in to protect him from being hit by more debris and both were buried beneath the rubble.
Outside the building, May activated her body cam and entered the building in order to make sure that the Patriot was dead. In the stairs, she was shocked to meet several children who told her about people needing help upstairs and asked her superiors the reason of their presence, but did not get any answer. She reached the room where all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were gathered and saw the Patriot lifting up the debris. While the others went to help him saving Adler, May ordered everyone to stay still, but finally helped them rescuing the child. After that, they had no choice but let the Patriot sacrifice himself, with May silently nodding at him in recognition for saving their lives.
May returned to her team while the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents put the children on the bus that Burrows had driven back to Enlightenment Cultivation Center and watched the building's full collapse, sealing the fate of their leader.
Reactions within the Framework
- "As you all know, a HYDRA facility was destroyed yesterday. HYDRA told you that it was an act of terrorism. They told you an Inhuman named the Patriot murdered civilians. But what they told you was a lie. We're gonna show you what really happened. This footage was taken from the body-cam of a high-level HYDRA operative. HYDRA used this Enlightenment Center to brainwash anyone who dared to question them. Jeffrey Mace saved these people, but HYDRA was willing to kill them just to maintain their lie. Once you see this footage, the truth is undeniable. HYDRA doesn't think we're smart enough to know when we're being fed alternative facts to keep us afraid, to keep them in power. Remember, there are more of us than there are of them. And now that we know the truth, we have a choice to make. We all have the opportunity to be patriots. Will you take a stand? Are you going to hold them accountable?"
- ―Phil Coulson[src]
The infiltration and the ensuing battle ended up with a major failure for S.H.I.E.L.D. as they lost their charismatic leader who had brought them together. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were deeply affected by the death of the Patriot and Phil Coulson feared that it could mean the end of the S.H.I.E.L.D. rebellion.
However, it soon turned out that after this battle, HYDRA's reign of terror began to shatter, although they had managed to kill a dangerous enemy. Indeed, Melinda May, one of HYDRA's best elements, defected after learning that HYDRA was forcefully indoctrinating children and seeing Mace save these children as well as her own life. She sneaked a Terrigen Crystal in Daisy Johnson's cell, allowing her to escape from the Triskelion, severely injuring Madame Hydra in the process and thus putting the organization in a weak position. Moreover, May's body cam's footage from the event was used by S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to create a subversive broadcast which was broadcasted in lieu of The Bakshi Report and successfully triggered a massive rebellion against HYDRA.
Discovery of Project Looking Glass
Following Antoine Triplett's rescue, Jemma Simmons studied the pictures of the Project Looking Glass he had taken while working undercover and figured out Aida's plan to obtain a human body. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. was unable to stop her.
In the Real World
The death of the Patriot in the Framework caused his death in the real world. His body was desecrated by Anton Ivanov who shattered his bones with a hammer before abandoning it on the beach in an attempt to redirect the suspicions regarding the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader's assassination towards Quake.S.H.I.E.L.D. once again became the target of international suspicion, with General Glenn Talbot especially attempting to understand what had happened. Mace's body was found by Glenn Talbot. A leaked autopsy report revealed the fact Mace was not an Inhuman to the public, causing suspicions about S.H.I.E.L.D. to balloon further.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.