ATLANTA, GEORGIA-Late September, 1989
Jack cursed and turned on the rental car’s radio as the morning traffic rolled its way to a stop. Transatlantic flights always put him in a foul mood, especially east bound ones in the middle of the night. It had been dark when he’d hopped on the first of three flights to Atlanta, Georgia, and it had been dark when he’d landed at Dulles. The sun had finally made its appearance during his connector flight to William B. Hartsfield International in Atlanta, but all that meant to Jack was he’d be dealing with the morning rush hour to get where he was going.
Switching over to AM and turning the dial until he found a news station, Jack leaned back and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel while he waited for it to cycle to a traffic report. He glanced down at the mention of a plane falling through a hotel atrium in downtown Atlanta then rolled his eyes when he realized that was why traffic was at a standstill.
It would have been nice to know why he was stuck sitting in traffic on the wrong side of the Atlantic but he’d known Nick Fury long enough not to expect that kind of courtesy. He’d find out soon enough and he probably wasn’t going to like the answers he got. Not that it had stopped him from coming. There weren’t many people he’d been friends with for more than twenty years that weren’t attached to Torchwood, and the list of people he’d remained in contact with for more than forty was only a handful. Hell, Nick and the rest of the Howlers were pretty much that whole list. Still, would have been nice to know why he was here.
By the time he reached the SHIELD holding facility on the north side of Atlanta, Jack was grouchy and in need of some coffee. The third check of his ID after entering the building snapped Jack’s patience. “You really think I would have gotten this far into the building if I wasn’t who I said I was?” The agent didn’t say a word, just looked at the SHIELD ID Jack had handed him, then at him for the second time before holding the ID out to Jack.
“The Colonel waiting for you, sir,” the man said as Jack grabbed the card and shoved it in his pocket. “You’ll find him through those doors at the end of the second corridor on the left.”
Shoving the doors open, Jack marched down the hall then turned where the agent had told him to. At the end of that hall, Jack saw two heavily armed agents shift their stances as they assessed how much of a threat he might be, then one of them turned and unlocked the door behind them. The agent stepped aside and Jack felt the guy’s attention shift past him back to the end of the hall. Neither agent said a word.
Jack frowned and slowed his pace as he passed through the door. There was a steady electronic beep Jack instantly recognized as belonging in a hospital room. The room he was in could have passed for one; it was large and white and segmented by a glass wall Jack suspected was reinforced and bulletproof. Nick stood motionless in front of the glass partition staring at the figure lying in the bed on the other side.
Stopping next to Nick, Jack looked at the man in the bed. He looked about twenty though it was hard to be sure since his face was turned away from them. Bandages covered one shoulder and there were bruises coloring the man’s face and torso. Giving Nick a look, Jack asked, “You gonna tell me who this, or am I going to have to guess?”