"Even though S.H.I.E.L.D. knew she was Inhuman, they brought her back to the States and put her into a classroom. The rest is history."
Phil Coulson[src]

The Cambridge Incident was an event that took place in the virtual reality known as the Framework.


"Take the Cambridge Incident. It was a setup. That girl shouldn't have been at that school in the first place."
"Where we're from, she died. This never happened."
Phil Coulson and Daisy Johnson[src]

Using knowledge previously obtained from the Darkhold, Holden Radcliffe and Aida redesigned the Framework to create a virtual reality where the user could correct their greatest regret.

The two then uploaded the consciousness of Melinda May into the Framework and recreated her life up until the ill-fated S.H.I.E.L.D. mission in Bahrain, which originally ended with May retiring from field work after being forced to kill Katya Belyakov.

As a result of the Framework's new capabilities, May experienced a version of the mission that ended with her saving the virtual Katya.[2] Following the rescue mission, S.H.I.E.L.D. brought Katya back to the United States, where she began attending school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[3]


"If that girl had been taken down in Bahrain, she wouldn't have gone on to kill all those people in Cambridge."
Vijay Nadeer to Daisy Johnson[src]

Using her abilities of sensory manipulation, Katya caused the deaths of more than two hundred students and teachers.[1]


"While they perished at the hands of evil, the fight for justice will go on forever in their names."
―Commemorative plaque in tribute to the victims of the Cambridge Incident[src]

The public's response resulted in S.H.I.E.L.D. shutting down and HYDRA conquering the planet. The Cambridge Incident was later taught to future generations as a reminder that the needs of the state are more important than the needs of the individual.

Since Katya was an Inhuman, institutionalized bigotry and persecution against Inhumans formed the backbone of HYDRA's new world order. Because her mistake was responsible for this persecution, Melinda May became a hated figure among Inhumans.[3]