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Lumley was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who worked for the organization during the late 1980s. Partnered with Agent Linda Avery, Lumley was sent into a rural Chinese village in Hunan Province to investigate an 0-8-4 after the initial response team failed to communicate. Once there, Lumley's team found that the entire village and the first S.H.I.E.L.D. team had been killed, and the lone survivor, the 0-8-4, an infant, was lying in the arms of one of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents.
Lumley and his team returned to the United States, with orders to turn the infant over to S.H.I.E.L.D.. When the team started to be killed off, Agent Avery decided to disobey orders. Fearing for the child's safety, Avery created a new identity for herself and delivered Skye to the Saint Agnes Orphanage. Soon after, Avery herself was murdered. Lumley alone was left alive, and fled the country to avoid a fate similar to the rest of his team.
When Agents Phil Coulson and Melinda May followed up investigations into Skye's past, they tracked Lumley to Mexico City. After giving chase, Lumley briefly fights with May, before attempted to take his cyanide capsule but that attempt was thwarted. As Coulson drove up in Lola, Lumley began climbing the fire escape, but Coulson switches Lola to flight mode and identifies himself as S.H.I.E.L.D., to Lumley's relief. Lumley then accompanied the two agents back to their airplane, where he tells them about the mission in China and the subsequent deaths of his partner and three teammates. Lumley warned the agents to stay away from the girl Skye, insisting that death surely surrounded her. Instead of turning Lumley over to S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson respected Lumley's wishes to leave the organization and relocates him.
May and Coulson remembered Lumley's warning about Skye when they conversed with Raina who went to Coulson to take Skye to her father. The fear that Raina had for Skye's father made them theorize that Lumley was warning them about him.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (First Incarnation)