The life support systems randomly flare up in warning whenever Jane's physical faculties plunged. 24 hours have passed after Jane suffered a critical injury. In so far, she has yet to recover from the wound despite Cerion's best efforts. He would have used the White Light to heal Jane but he was dissuaded by the Ancient One.

"You must be patient Cerion. If Mephisto wanted her dead she would have died already. He was expecting you'd use your power to heal her and use her as a conduit to corrupt you." Ancient One advised.

Cerion just nodded having already been explained this fact but that doesn't mean it makes it any easier to watch Jane suffer. The Ancient One has extended her help by offering many of the foremost healers of her order. They have already made six attempts to cleanse the dark taint that infests Jane's body. The only reason she has held on so far was that he was artificially augmenting her using vita rays and a mild super soldier serum which can last for two hours at best.

"Her body can't take it anymore. The serum can only give her temporary respite to whatever it is you people are doing." Cerion said, knowing the toll on Jane's body was just about to cross a point of no return.

"Please understand we are dealing with an entity that predates humanity itself. There are difficulties involved in purging the influence of an ancient being like Mephisto."

"I understand. If you can't pull out the infectious dark energy surging within her then I'll be forced to stop injecting her with any more of the serum. Jane is barely shielded from the consequences of repeated exposure to the serum." said Bruce, who was also helping out with the process.

"Might I suggest that you gentlemen find a way to make the effects of the serum on her body permanent." said Ancient One, a placid smile on her face before she went ahead to converse with her colleagues from the sanctums around the world.

"Is that possible?" Bruce asked, looking curiously at Cerion.

Cerion looked towards the cryopod on the other side of the wall of his lab where Steve Rogers was sleeping soundly unaware of the outside world. He had not attempted to develop a permanent supersoldier serum from the sleeping Captain because he never thought it'd come in handy in the future. Even the serum he developed was more out of scientific curiosity. He was planning to use the serum in an experiment to see how it behaved with the animal species and perhaps the DNA of a Kryptonian. After all, Professor Erskine developed the supersoldier serum for humans. Cerion wanted to see whether he could modify the original serum and thereby impart significant changes to the animal kingdom. His interests were purely academic but now…

He looked at the prone form of Jane in his lab and then at the sleeping Steve Rogers.

"It's possible." Cerion admitted, looking at Bruce. "But it'll be difficult. There can't be any mistake in the formula and it has to be specifically designed for Jane and no one else."

"Why's that?" Bruce asked, intrigued.

Cerion took a moment to think it through whether he should confide in Bruce about the secret experiments of Kree and how their experiments left a mark on the human genome. Letting out a sigh, he led Bruce out of his lab to the cryo chamber.

"Come, let me explain…"


"I still can't believe aliens experimented on early humans and created a subspecies. What are they called again?"

"Inhumans." Cerion answered for the umpteenth time.

"Why would they call themselves that? Do they have a death wish or something?" asked Bruce.

"Frankly, I have no idea."

Cerion had also thought the term a disadvantageous one but he didn't make up the name. So, he felt he was not in the wrong to use a popular adjective already in use by the species.

"Do you think I had latent Inhuman genes?" Bruce asked as they worked on the serum.

"I don't think so. Your case is unique in that aspect. You seem to have regular human genes but they behave… oddly." said Cerion.

Bruce snorted. "That seems to be an understatement. Also, where did you find Captain America?"

"That was a complete coincidence. I was scanning the planet for more Vibranium deposits when I came across the wreckage of an old aircraft in the North Atlantic close to Greenland. My scanners picked up the Captain's shield and when I found it I found him trapped in ice in suspended animation."

"I still can't believe he's alive after all these years or why you have kept him in cryo sleep." Bruce said.

Cerion could feel a hint of disapproval coming from his friend.

"Trust me I thought of waking the man but I…" Cerion was cut off as the particle accelerator finished its work on the new serum.

"Sir, the new supersoldier serum is synthesized. I also took the liberty to run some tests. It has 97 percent compatibility with Miss Foster's DNA." said Optima.

"That's wonderful news." Bruce said happily looking at Cerion who was also quite satisfied with the news.

"However, there's an unforeseen development." Optima added, cutting their celebration short.

"What's it?" Cerion asked.

His trusted AI put forth the present genetic makeup of Jane and her projected changes once the serum runs its course.

"I'm afraid Miss Jane's latent Inhuman genes will get triggered once the serum is used on her sir." said Optima.

"You mean she'll immediately undergo terrigenesis?" Cerion asked incredulously as he found that odd.

Terrigenesis was not supposed to commence without certain nuances in the play. He had extensively studied the process from the Kree archives. His research into the matter has so far revealed it was nigh impossible for the Inhuman genes to mutate without the aid of Terrigen mists.

"How is that even possible? Without the Terrigen mists, the Inhuman genome cannot get activated."

"But these are not ideal conditions sir. The dark energy surging within Miss Jane has shifted the parameters drastically. Even now, her Inhuman potential is only several steps away from being unleashed." said Optima.

"So, by using this serum on Jane she'll unlock her Inhuman potential? What does that imply? What kind of mutation can we expect?" asked Bruce, keeping a close eye on the projected anomalies in Jane Foster's genome.

"I'm afraid my prediction models are woefully inadequate Dr Banner. I only have the Kree archives to use as the source for any model projections and they all have the Terrigen Mists involved." Optima claimed, projecting files after files translated from the Kree archives about the subjects who have undergone Terrigenesis.

Cerion turned away from the data put forth by Optima while Bruce went about taking a cursory look at the details which were admittedly gorier than he realized.

"So, we'll be entering the realm of unpredictability if we are to use the new serum on Jane." Cerion commented.

"I'm afraid so sir." said Optima.

"What do you plan to do?" Bruce asked.

"It seems we have no choice." Cerion said, making his decision known.

Bruce nodded and together they made the necessary preparations for the procedure.

Half an hour later they were back in the lab placing Jane into a modified cryopod.

"Activate the discharge electrodes." Cerion ordered.

Two silver-coloured cylindrical objects were placed on either side of Jane's head. As the electrodes were powered up, the nanoparticles on the electrode became excited and proceeded to melt like ice. The fluid state of the nanoparticles allowed them to cover the entirety of Jane's body like a second skin.

"Initiate the serum." Cerion ordered once Optima showed him the nanoparticles settle on Jane's skin perfectly.

Several needles were drilled into Jane's body injecting the serum. Once the serum was introduced into Jane's muscles the needles withdrew followed by treating her under the increasing intensity of vita rays. The nanoparticles snuggly clinging to Jane's skin acted as a conduit to concentrate and discharge the vita rays uniformly across her body.

Despite all that happened, Jane remained unresponsive.

"Increase the output." Cerion ordered.

As Optima increased the intensity of the Vita rays, he saw Jane's eyelids move. He kept Jane under observation as the intensity climbed higher and higher until her heart rate began to elevate approaching dangerous levels. As the Vita rays reached the optimum threshold the security features kicked in and cut off the radiation automatically. The cryopod powered down while Jane shook with small tremors.

"Extract a blood sample and…" Cerion trailed off as Jane's skin suddenly turned pitch black.

"What's happening?" Bruce asked, alarmed at what he was seeing.

"Calm down Dr Banner. Miss Jane's vitals are all normal. The infliction you see on her skin is Terrigenesis running its course." said Optima.

There was a bright flash of light and an explosion of a wave of energy. The cryopod exploded outwards. Cerion was quick to shield Bruce from the debris by smacking away the door of the pod that came straight for the good doctor.

"Thanks." Bruce said, feeling a rush of relief flooding his mind as he managed to avoid transforming into the Hulk on instinct.

Cerion patted the man on the shoulder before rushing in to check on Jane. He needn't have worried as she was safely inside the cryopod awake and whole.

"Cerion! What happened?" Jane looked around in bewilderment. "Where am I?"

"I'll explain everything." he said taking her hands in his and pressing a tentative kiss on her forehead.


"It has become abundantly clear that God is on our side. This country is the bastion of freedom, liberty and justice as envisioned by our founders. Whenever the world was in peril, we stepped in to set the world right. I believe this is the God-given duty for which God has created this nation. So, I ask my fellow Americans to step up to battle this evil wherever they may hide."

Fury switched off the television. He didn't need to hear more bullshit from the President. War in the Middle East was now all but a reality. Congress was in a tussle over which nation they should go to war with after the events of 9/11. They had yet to reach a consensus so the President was now stepping in. With the pressure from the White House especially after the events in Nevada, the destination was now clear. They were going to war with the Saudis.

The global ramifications can already be felt. The President has announced a wide variety of sanctions on the desert kingdom. Its assets were also frozen and this means all oil purchases from the Saudis were suspended. The coming days were only going to get further chaotic as sides will be taken in this coming war. The US military bases in the area were the first to be warned and to take defensive positions which he knew in advance.

It was going to be one hell of a disaster, that much he knew for sure. But there was not much that he could do to avoid the war. The Nevada incident has pretty much solidified the pro-war faction in Congress not to mention the public opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of the war.

The American public wanted an enemy and the White House has just given them one. Now, how that'd play out in the coming days on the ground would be interesting. At least, the White House had held back on issuing the declaration of war until the new year celebrations were over. It was one last day of normalcy before the world face the fires of war. Diplomats were still at work to keep the war contained in the Middle East. The last thing they needed was for the war to spin out of control and involve too many players.

He saw Coulson approach his office so he gestured for the man to come in.

"Sir, the prisoner is secured although he is not cooperating with our interrogators." said Coulson, handing over a file to the Director of SHIELD.

"I'm not surprised. This thing is not exactly a human entity so difficulties are to be expected." Fury commented thinking about their prisoner from the Nevada incident. "He's back in ice I hope?"

"Yes sir. There was no other alternative save for employing Nitrogen on the prisoner. But we are keeping that option as a failsafe." Coulson reported.

"Hmm… Keep me informed if there are any developments. A security council meeting is coming up and I'd like to present them with some facts rather than a Bible session." said Fury.

"I understand sir. I've asked Hill to make contact with Vex. He should know more about our prisoner."

Fury nodded before turning away from Coulson. Looking outside his office everything seems so peaceful. But appearances can be deceiving.

"Today was the funeral was it not?" Fury asked.

"Yes sir."

Another causality of the Nevada incident but far more removed from the place. It troubled him that there was another player behind these two demonic figures. And this player preferred to strike from the shadows despite having great power as demonstrated in the Nevada incident. Now that, is an enemy he truly feared. The only piece of good news was Vex seem to have handled it though not permanently. So, this Mephisto can be expected to strike again. Another enemy he ought to keep his eye on.

But exactly how was he supposed to keep an eye on something that was beyond his perception?

He was more than aware of his shortcomings. SHIELD was woefully unprepared to face the challenges and enemies arrayed against them. He had known this from the start. That's why he has been preparing the groundwork for the Avengers Initiative.

"Hmm… Did Hill attend?" Fury asked.

"Of course sir. Agent Hill has been Vex's handler. So, I felt it prudent that she attend the funeral and extend our condolences to Miss Foster." Said Coulson.

Fury nodded in approval.

"Good. We need better relations with Vex moving forward. Keep Hill close to Vex but not too close. This incident has proven that he has not been entirely forthcoming."

"Of course sir. You don't believe Vex made up the whole story about his planet getting destroyed, do you?" asked Coulson.

"I don't believe in anything Coulson. I cannot afford to. I deal only with facts and I see little facts when it comes to our alien guest." Fury sighed. "Keep me posted if anything comes up."

"Sir." Coulson left the office knowing he was being dismissed.

Fury shook his head tearing away his eye from the scenery outside. A veil has been lifted from the world as it got a full front view of what was hiding in the shadows. He didn't know whether angels and demons were real nor did he think it was irrelevant. To a lot of people, the revelations in Nevada became very much relevant which means he has to take it seriously as well. There was even a huge chunk of the American public who thinks they have been saved by an Archangel of God. There will be ramifications going forward.

He knew one thing for sure. The world will never be the same again.