I had a stroke of inspiration today...
“No,” Phil said, “absolutely not.”
“I don’t remember asking you,” the Director said. “Phil, listen. A group of loose cannons with no official government oversight are running around with what are essentially weapons of mass destruction built in someone’s garage, and they just used those weapons to save New York City in front of millions of eyewitnesses. We need them contained and cooperative but we also need them to keep working in case it happens again.”
“Already shit the bed on this and you know it. Come on, Phil, you can’t say you don’t want to work with them. I know how much you admire—”
“Yes, all right, fine, no need to rub it in.” Phil scrubbed his face with his hands—or tried to; the motion caught him with a stab of pain as he moved his left arm, and he couldn’t hide his startled wince.
“And there’s another thing,” Fury continued. “You know you’re riding a desk until you finish rehab. Would you really rather be stuck processing paperwork for the next couple of months? And I know you like the weird shit.”
Phil sighed. “All right, fine,” he said. “You win, boss. But when this is over…”
“Talk to me about that when you can lift your left arm higher than your head again, and we’ll see,” Fury said, then his voice softened. “You’re one of my best, Coulson, but I need you back to full strength. And SHIELD needs eyes on these people, you know this. It could be disastrous for everyone if—well. Let’s just say we’d rather maintain a positive relationship. After what just happened to the city, our contingency planning has had to get a whole lot broader.”
Phil stepped out of the cab, looking up at the building before him. It must be nice to be well funded. At least at this job, maybe he wouldn’t have to buy his own pens to get something that wrote without skipping. He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and went inside.
New York’s saviors were sprawled out around a high table, eating pizza around heaps of detritus that included circuit boards, a lit blowtorch, several paper blueprints, half-empty coffee cups, and what appeared to be some sort of shotgun that was glowing an unsettling shade of blue.
He cleared his throat. “Excuse me,” he said, meeting each set of eyes as he looked around the table. “Dr. Gilbert? Dr. Yates? Dr. Holtzmann? Ms. Tollan? I’m Agent Phil Coulson, and I’m your new liaison from the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.”