June 2002

Transformed from SuperSpy to SuperFly and dissed by his superiors in SHIELD, General Nick Fury establishes his own organization: SHAFT!

The Bush Administration decides to spin this in their favor and announces the creation of a new federal agency, the Super Human African-American Federal Taskforce (S.H.A.F.T.). The Taskforce addresses minority concerns and begins recruiting any African-American superheroes that feel alienated by the predominately white SHIELD agency. The fact that SHAFT is actually an auxiliary branch of SHIELD is not publicized.

Nick Fury and Captain America, friends and patriots since World War II, discuss the state of the nation and decide to form a nonviolent resistance movement. They secretly settle on the name "Super Heroes for Anarchy and Free Thought," and begin recruiting the like-minded members of their circle.

See also: Ultimate Nick Fury, Agent of SHAFT #1.

July 1, 2002


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July 2, 2002


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July 3, 2002


At a routine SHAFT Press Conference, Fury reveals that the Super Human African-American Federal Taskforce is merely an auxiliary branch of SHIELD created by the Bush Administration to win points with African-American voters. The headline of the Daily Bugle reads "SHAFT is a SHAM." Hounded by bad publicity, the Taskforce is shut down, and the government-sanctioned version of SHAFT goes the way of Rumsfeld's "Office of Strategic Influence."

Fury then announces that he is resigning his commission, and turns in his badge and gun. "It's not General Fury anymore," he tells reporters. "I'm just Nick." 

When a journalist asks Fury if he is retiring, he responds by disclosing his plan to start a resistance movement to oppose US imperialism, government gangsterism, and global corporatization. However, he makes no mention of the Ultimates.

The resignation of one of the most highly decorated generals in US history, combined with his announcement that he is essentially turning against the government he served for decades, starts an instant media frenzy.

News crews are lying in wait for President Bush as he steps off Air Force One, eager to get his response to Nick Fury's revelations. Bush immediately flies into a rage, denouncing the former general as a traitor to his country.

Nick Fury, now more casually dressed, appears in the crowd and is immediately surrounded by reporters shoving cameras and microphones in his face.

"Well, if it isn't the International Man of Misery," comments Fury, referring to Bush's recent return from Europe.  

"I'm on to you, Dubya," he continues. "I know what you and your Legion of Terror have done to the world. I will never forgive your ass for this shit. This is some fucked up repugnant shit!”

"Hey!" screams the president in response. "You can't talk to me like that. Do you know who my father is?"

"No," replies Fury. "Do you?"

"Don't misunderestimate me, Fury!"

"Not possible, sir."

"Not only are you a traitor to this great country, but you've traitored out your own people. SHAFT was created to get colored folk heroes out of the ghetto where they belong!"

"Warms my black heart to see you so concerned 'bout us minority folks. But don't be frettin' about the fate of SHAFT. It's still around, but now it's all mine."

"You were a great man, Fury. I really could've used you on my SHAFT."

"I don't doubt it, sir, but I'm not going anywhere near your shaft."

"Your domestic terrorists don't stand a chance," shouts the president. "This is a supernation of heroes, ultimately... I mean a nationally heroistic... Look, whatever it is, we have federally funded superpeople to kick your black hiney."

"Cut the crap, man, this is SHAFT. We aren’t terrorists. We’re shepherds, protecting the asses of the weak and the righteous from the tyranny of evil men like yourself. We are our brothers’ keepers and the finders of lost children in the valley of darkness."

As President Bush is whisked away by Secret Service agents, the reporters close in on Fury.

"Mr. Fury, has SHAFT declared war on the federal government?" one shouts.

"Please. You can tell by looking at me that I'm a changed man. I have chosen a path of nonviolence -- I turned my gun in this very morning. But I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my Brothers."

"That's a pretty scary statement coming from someone with your resources and experience," interjects another reporter.

"If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions."

With that, Fury presses a button on his belt and, cloaked in an invisibility field, disappears into the crowd.

July 4, 2002

Captain America, still President Bush's golden boy, makes a spectacular entrance for the Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C., shortly before dusk.

Jumping his motorcycle off the SHIELD Helicarrier parked above the Washington Monument, Cap uses the bike's built-in glider to land on the National Mall as the crowd goes wild.

As expected, the living symbol of the American Dream gives a rousing speech on patriotism, duty, honor, and sacrifice.

Not expected, however, are the critical remarks the Super Soldier makes once he has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. The President is especially surprised, as he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Cap for optimum photo opportunities.

Describing his experience as a soldier frozen during World War II and then awakened at the beginning of the 21st century, Captain America laments the loss of the principles under which the nation was founded. He admits to being perplexed by much of the complexity of the modern world, and to longing for the simpler days when his responsibility to his fellow citizens and the people of the world was more clear-cut and straightforward. 

After promising to always use his best judgment to "do the right thing," Cap concludes his presentation with a statement he reads on behalf of the Ultimates, announcing their collective resignation from SHIELD and their defection to SHAFT. The stunned and silent crowd can do nothing but part and allow Captain America to ride his motorcycle off into the sunset as the poetically-timed fireworks display begins overhead.

Left: The annual fireworks show on the Mall goes off next to the Washington Monument to close out Independence Day celebrations in the nation's capital July 4, 2002.

Right: Thankfully, any terrorists planning to disrupt the celebrations were thwarted by a temporary chain-link security fence around the National Mall, with stern "Authorized Personnel Only" signs posted along it.

July 5, 2002

The Evil Empire Strikes Back...

Spin Control begins first thing Friday morning with a press conference at the White House, broadcast live on CNN and network television. SHIELD Director Timothy Dugan reports his agents' "discovery" that the black Nick Fury is an impostor, and that the "real" General Fury has been held captive for over a month by the Axis of Evil as part of a sinister plan to undermine US security.

A SHIELD Life Model Decoy (LMD) of a white Nick Fury steps up to the podium and describes his daring rescue from an Iraqi dungeon by fearless SHIELD agents. Representatives of the media, believing the Fury LMD to be the real deal, report the account as the gospel truth. 

President Bush is able to drum up more support for his proposed invasion of Iraq, and the 2 investigative journalists that question the veracity of this bedtime story are denounced as conspiracy theorists.

SHAFT's sources inside SHIELD claim that Director Dugan regrets the cover-up, but is able to justify it to himself because he truly believes that General Fury and the Ultimates have fallen victim to an extraterrestrial mind control plot (by the Skrulls, most likely), since nothing else could explain their treasonous behavior.

The conspiracy to deny the legitimacy of the black Nick Fury and to replace him with a white android proves to be the last straw for high-profile SHIELD agent Gabriel Jones, who immediately resigns in order to join SHAFT. 

The loss of Jones proves to be a severe blow to Director Dugan's credibility. Both Jones and Dugan were members of Nick Fury's original Howling Commandos unit during World War II, and Jones is the only African-American to have served as an agent of SHIELD during the 20th century.

Left: Gabriel Jones and Nick Fury reminisce about the good old days.

July 6, 2002

SHIELD Deputy Director Sharon Carter speaks at the Pentagon before the Joint Chiefs of Staff to outline her agency's proposed strategy for the War on Terror:

"Gentlemen, my SHIELD Manual defines terrorism as 'the calculated use of violence against civilians to intimidate, induce fear, often to kill, for some political, religious, or other end.' President Bush has made the astute observation that, 'So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk.'

"Furthermore, he has stated that 'our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.  It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.'

"Now that the al Qaeda cells in Afghanistan have been crippled, I have drafted a proposal for SHIELD's involvement in the continuing War on Terror. I am prepared to lead the campaign against terrorist groups 'of global  reach,' taking my cue from the US government's course of action to date.

"I have identified two primary targets, each of which has been involved in global acts of terror for the last half century...

"Phase One of my plan calls for the carpet-bombing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHISC, formerly known as the School of the Americas, a terrorist training camp located at Fort Benning in Georgia. For decades, Latin America has been devastated by the dictators and death squads that have graduated from the Institute, and as President Bush said, 'America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it.'

"For Phase Two, I will deploy ground troops in Langley, Virginia, for an assault on the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. This military campaign will continue until every CIA agent has been smoked out of his cubicle, so as to put an end to the agency's assassination programs, international drug smuggling, military coups, and other terrorist activities."

Carter concludes her briefing with a quote from US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, changing a single word from his original statement — Afghans — to Americans

"We stand with those Americans who are being repressed by a regime that abuses the very people it purports to lead, and that harbors terrorists who have attacked and killed thousands of innocents around the world of all religions, of all races and of all nationalities."

Afterward, Deputy Director Carter meets with delegates from the United Nations. In light of the Pentagon’s plan to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria, Carter recommends sanctions be brought against the United States until UN weapons inspectors can determine that all US weapons of mass destruction have been dismantled.

The Bush Administration immediately calls for Carter's resignation. Director Dugan responds by stating to the press that, as far as he is concerned, Carter's speech was her resignation.

July 7, 2002

In the wake of Sharon Carter's expulsion from SHIELD, Director Dugan appoints Major Glenn Talbot as her replacement. A protégé of the late General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross -- the Director of SHIELD until the time of his death -- Major Talbot has led combat missions against the Hulk.

Because of this field experience, Talbot is placed in charge of Operation Burning Cross, SHIELD's program to assess and neutralize any threats to global security posed by SHAFT and/or the Ultimates.

July 8, 2002

Left: Newly appointed SHAFT Goodwill Ambassador George Carlin addresses the House and Senate on Monday, telling them in no uncertain terms that, as members of Congress, they are the opposite of progress; using all seven words you can never say on television in the process, Mr. Carlin allegedly gives one C-Span censor an apoplectic fit.

Middle: Ambassador Carlin will be spending the week aboard SHAFT's Orbital Headquarters so that he can set up the Office of Agitation on the space station. He plans to get to work as soon as he can find a place for his stuff.

Right: Ambassador Carlin shows his solidarity with the mutant subculture.

Quote:  “When I hear a person talking about political solutions, I know I am not listening to a serious person.”

July 15, 2002

Major Talbot launches his first initiative against SHAFT, releasing a squad of cyborgs, specially designed by SHIELD scientists to infiltrate the Wakandan Embassy, onto the streets of New York. Equipped with plasma rifles and Adamantium-plated endoskeletons, these Hunter-Killers make lethal and nearly indestructible assassins.

Sadly, their urban camouflage also makes them prime targets for racial profiling. Guilty of DWB (Driving While Black), the squad is pulled over by NYPD officers. The cyborg in the driver's seat plays along with being stopped and frisked, but the cops press their luck when they insist on searching the rest of the van. Throwing open the rear doors, one officer is immediately sliced and diced by multiple plasma rifle beams.

His partner survives long enough to call for back up. Riot cops descend on the area, and carnage ensues. Entire city blocks are devastated before some of the Hunter-Killers' endoskeletons are exposed, cluing the police in on what they're up against. Luckily, Spider-Man happens upon the scene on his way home from the Daily Bugle and puts in a call to SHAFT, which dispatches the Ultimates to save the day.

A follow-up investigation of the cyborg pieces-parts determined that they were SHIELD technology, giving the agency another black eye.

July 16, 2002

After disappearing for a week and a half, former SHIELD agent Sharon Carter surfaces and contacts SHAFT, requesting extraction from a remote stretch of Route 66.

Captain America, who's been touring the heartland to try and absorb the changes the country  underwent during his suspended animation, detours to pick her up on his motorcycle.

"I took care of the problem with the Nick Fury LMD," she tells him.

"Really? What did you do?"

"I reprogrammed his personality chip, issued him a prototype STARR vehicle, and sent him to California to make himself useful to humanity."

"What's a STARR vehicle?"

"A SHIELD Trans Am Roving Robot. It's a superspymobile with an AI interface. I set the voice module to sound like Jon Lovitz."

"Won't SHIELD just track him down and restore him to the General Fury identity?" 

"Not likely. I buried the LMD's entire 'mission' deep in their computer, under the codename Project: Bayrider. No one's going to bother checking up on that one for a long, long time." 

Sharon climbs onto the back of Cap's bike, and he heads down the highway.

"Well, Captain, this is quite a revolution you've got going here."

"I love this country, Ms. Carter. I won't see everything it was built on destroyed by despots and oil barons. It's time I lived up to the name Sentinel of Liberty."

"I'm sure waking up in the 21st century was quite a shock to your system. Why don't we talk about it over dinner? And if you fix me breakfast tomorrow morning, I'll think about joining SHAFT." 

July 2002-March 2003

For coverage of events during this time span see:

The SHAFT Newswire Archive

And finally:

Ultimate Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.A.F.T. #2

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