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"This is Agent May. There are kids in here. Why the hell are there kids in here?"
Melinda May[src]

The Infiltration into the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center was an attempt by S.H.I.E.L.D. to rescue undercover agent Antoine Triplett.

Background

"One of our operatives got caught trying to smuggle out intel on a new HYDRA weapon. They got him locked up in the Center."
Grant Ward to Alphonso Mackenzie[src]

In a virtual world ruled by the dangerous totalitarian organization HYDRA, all those who were considered potential subversives were sent to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center. This included even children like Chris Adler, who was taken out of his class under the eyes of his teacher Phil Coulson.[1]

While working as a S.H.I.E.L.D. undercover agent within, Antoine Triplett took several pictures related to Project Looking Glass but was finally discovered and arrested before being taken to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center. Jeffrey Mace decided to set up a mission in order to rescue him.[2]

Battle

"Figured you couldn't beat them, so join them?"
"You're a terrorist, a thug."
"If I was, you'd be dead right now."
Patriot and Melinda May[src]

Phil Coulson, going under the alias of Jamie Flugelman, drove a stolen HYDRA bus to the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center, making the guards believe he was simply carrying dead bodies. When a guard got in the bus to inspect his cargo, Jeffrey Mace choked him before emerging out of one the mortuary bags, along with Burrows. Burrows remained outside to keep an eye on security while Coulson and Mace infiltrated the building in order to retrieve Antoine Triplett and the valuable information he had gathered.

Patriot-TriplettReunion

Antoine Triplett is rescued by the Patriot and Phil Coulson

After knocking out a HYDRA agent, Coulson and Mace quickly found prisoners locked in tiny cages, and among them was Triplett, who was released with the others. However, they needed to find Triplett's boots as he had hid his intel inside it. Triplett finally found it, but in the meantime, Coulson saw his former student Chris Adler being taken into the quarantine building. When he learned from Triplett that several kids were detained in this building, he decided to go and save them, much to Mace's dismay.

May Fights Mace

Melinda May and the Patriot fight

With the arrival of a HYDRA Quinjet, the situation suddenly got more dangerous. Mace ordered Burrows to return to the Playground with Triplett's intel while he and Triplett went to join Coulson in the quarantine building. They were ambushed by HYDRA agent Melinda May, who had been injected with HYDRA Super-Serum in order to kill Mace. Mace decided to fight her while Triplett joined Coulson. Meanwhile, Burrows warned Grant Ward about the situation.

Quarantine Destruction

HYDRA destroys the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center's quarantine building

Coulson and Triplett found a room full of children who were forcefully brainwashed through the Faustus method and Coulson recognized two of his former students, Chris Adler and Burnell, among them. They were joined by Mace who had managed to defeat May after a fierce fight. May reported the situation to Madame Hydra and The Doctor, who ordered her to destroy the quarantine building using the Quinjet. With the building beginning to collapse, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, joined by Ward and Jemma Simmons, proceeded to evacuate all the children who were trapped in it. However, Adler was stuck beneath debris and the Patriot had to jump in to protect him from being hit by more debris and both were buried beneath the rubble.

Patriot-LiftingEntireBuilding

The Patriot lifts up debris to save Chris Adler

Outside the building, May activated her body cam and entered the building in order to make sure that the Patriot was dead. In the stairs, she was shocked to meet several children who told her about people needing help upstairs and asked her superiors the reason of their presence, but did not get any answer. She reached the room where all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were gathered and saw the Patriot lifting up the debris. While the others went to help him saving Adler, May ordered everyone to stay still, but finally helped them rescuing the child. After that, they had no choice but let the Patriot sacrifice himself, with May silently nodding at him in recognition for saving their lives.

May returned to her team while the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents put the children on the bus that Burrows had driven back to Enlightenment Cultivation Center and watched the building's full collapse, sealing the fate of their leader.[2]

Aftermath

Reactions within the Framework

"The Patriot brought all these people together. His death might tear them apart."
Phil Coulson to Jemma Simmons[src]

The infiltration and the ensuing battle ended up with a major failure for S.H.I.E.L.D. as they lost their charismatic leader who had brought them together. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were deeply affected by the death of the Patriot and Phil Coulson feared that it could mean the end of the S.H.I.E.L.D. rebellion.

"When an enemy sacrifices his life for yours, you have to question if you're fighting for the wrong side."
Melinda May to Daisy Johnson[src]

However, it soon turned out that after this battle, HYDRA's reign of terror began to shatter, although they had managed to kill a dangerous enemy. Indeed, Melinda May, one of HYDRA's best elements, defected after learning that HYDRA was forcefully indoctrinating children and seeing Mace's save these children as well as her own life. She sneaked a Terrigen Crystal in Daisy Johnson's cell, allowing her to escape from the Triskelion, severely injuring Madame Hydra in the process and thus putting the organization in a weak position. Moreover, May's body cam's footage from the event was used by S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to create a subversive broadcast which was broadcasted in lieu of The Bakshi Report and successfully triggered a massive rebellion against HYDRA.

Discovery of Project Looking Glass

"How about we review those plans I stole from HYDRA's lab? You know, since I almost died to get them."
Antoine Triplett[src]

Following Antoine Triplett's rescue, Jemma Simmons studied the pictures of the Project Looking Glass he had taken while working undercover and figured out Aida's plan to obtain a human body. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. was unable to stop her.[3]

In the Real World

"You watched, unaffected, as I took a hammer to the bones of the Director's corpse."
Anton Ivanov to Aida[src]

The death of the Patriot in the Framework caused his death in the real world. His body was desecrated by Anton Ivanov who shattered his bones with a hammer before abandoning it on the beach in an attempt to redirect the suspicions regarding the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader's assassination towards Quake.[4]

Appearances

References