In 1990 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent John Garrett stepped on an IED in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The blast left him in a mortally-wounded state, and his calls for extraction were met with excuses. Realizing that he was more loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. than S.H.I.E.L.D. was to him, Garrett swore that if he survived he would treat S.H.I.E.L.D. in the same manner in which they treated him. Garrett moved his intestines back into place, duct-taped his wounds shut and made his own way to safety.
Garrett survived those wounds, and would soon be recruited into HYDRA, while maintaining his cover as a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. With the help of the Cybertek corporation, he became the first test subject in Project Deathlok, a project carried out by Garrett's new allies in HYDRA and Cybertek to build a super soldier via cybernetic prostheses. Decades later, Garrett's organs would start failing, and his biomechanical parts would be the only thing that kept him alive.
As a member of HYDRA, Garrett became the mastermind behind the Centipede Project, a science group dedicated to the creation of Super-Soldiers. Garrett, however, saw it as a means of finding a way to reverse his failing health. Garrett recruited Edison Po into Centipede, and for a time, Po was the project's only means of contact with Garrett, even while Po was in Havenworth Federal Penitentiary. Garrett also recruited billionaire Ian Quinn to his cause.
Using his access to personal files, psych evaluations and other classified information, Garrett almost seemed to be able to read minds and foretell the future. Using this seeming ability, Garrett took on the alias of "The Clairvoyant" to those within Centipede.
The project's scientists created the Centipede Serum, derived from a variation of the Super Soldier Serum, mixed with Gamma Radiation and the newly-discovered Extremis formula, as a means of granting powers to their subjects, but their initial results were highly unstable with explosive results.
When Garrett's old friend Agent Phil Coulson, was slain before the Battle of New York and restored to life days later through means unknown, Garrett felt discovering the truth about Coulson's return was the key to both the Centipede Project and to restoring his increasingly failing health. The details of Coulson's resurrection were classified Clearance Level 10 by Nick Fury. In an attempt to uncover this secret, Garrett planted Grant Ward on Coulson's Team.
The Project first came to the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2013. Phil Coulson and his team were investigating the incident surrounding the explosion and the unknown Hooded Hero in Los Angeles. To gather more information about the subject, Coulson and agent Grant Ward kidnapped Rising Tide member Skye and took her to the Bus for interrogation. After being questioned in the Cage of the Bus, Skye agreed to help them. Skye told the team about the Centipede Project, a unknown subject for the team, and gave the identity of Mike Peterson. Coulson sends agents Melinda May, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons to investigate the scene of the explosion. They find out that Centipede is a combination of alien technology, Gamma Radiation, the Super Soldier Serum, and Extremis. The serum was highly unstable, causing Mike Peterson could explode at any moment.
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