- "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s becoming a problem."
- ―Daniel Whitehall
HYDRA was embarrassed and viewed S.H.I.E.L.D. as a problem when two trusted operatives, Bobbi Morse and Jemma Simmons, revealed themselves as undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and were able to Escape from HYDRA Laboratories.
Calvin Zabo entered HYDRA Laboratories and gave Daniel Whitehall the Diviner, an object that Whitehall once had and, for over fifty years, desired to possess again. Previous attempts to weaponize the powers of the artifact were unsuccessful; with the actual Diviner, Whitehall had Toshiro Mori use the schematics created by Vincent Beckers to produce the Splinter Bomb.
Julien Beckers helped to formulate a plan where S.H.I.E.L.D. could be exterminated; Belgium would act as a safe port country inviting the organization, where HYDRA could find them altogether and destroy them. HYDRA needed an incident that would deface the organization internationally, especially since countries like Italy, represented by Adamo Dioli, still viewed S.H.I.E.L.D. favorably after the HYDRA Uprising. The mercenary Marcus Scarlotti was hired to pretend to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
- "S.H.I.E.L.D. is done hiding."
- ―Marcus Scarlotti
Brigadier General Glenn Talbot of the United States Air Force was invited to the United Nations Headquarters in order to give a speech about the threat to global security that S.H.I.E.L.D. still posed.
Talbot described S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first public appearance, during the Chitauri invasion of New York City that he personally witnessed. He denounced the organization, saying that S.H.I.E.L.D. abused the public trust as it gathered super-powered individuals, garnered extraterrestrial weapons and technology and built facilities all over the world, acting without regular supervision.
Italian representative Adamo Dioli protested Talbot's words, asking for proof on his allegations against S.H.I.E.L.D. While Dioli was speaking, a group of mercenaries led by Marcus Scarlotti, and disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, burst into the room and Scarlotti himself threw a Splinter Bomb to Dioli, which instantly killed him by disintegrating his body.
As the other delegates fled in terror, security guards tried to stop Scarlotti and his mercenaries, but he easily killed them too. Talbot witnessed how the mercenaries attacked the security guards while staying behind and prompting the delegates to escape from the room.
Talbot went on to help a woman who had fallen to the ground, an opportunity that Scarlotti seized to taunt him, saying that S.H.I.E.L.D. was done hiding, and attacking him with a Splinter Bomb. Talbot was able to escape, but he broke his arm while doing so.
Senator Christian Ward announced a plan to create a multi-national police force to hunt down S.H.I.E.L.D. agents around the globe. Julien Beckers publicly disagreed with the proposal in order to lure S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into an ambush. S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to capture Beckers and Marcus Scarlotti in Belgium.
Phil Coulson proposed a deal with Senator Ward to hand over Grant Ward to the United States Armed Forces in exchange for revoking his anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. legislation. Senator Ward then gave a speech outlining the differences between S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. Christian then revealed in the speech that he had a brother named Grant who was a member of HYDRA.