A stunning exposé on the Avengers story that reveals how it all began as a technology project...

Nick Fury was just a nanosecond away from winning the game on his motion-controlled console when a holographic message popped up in thin air, filling the room with glowing letters and startling him. ‘Go for SHIELD’ it said. In an instant, it dawned on him — S.H.I.E.L.D, or Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate. It was now up to him to bring together all the members and get the team ready for action.

Nick would have loved to try out the Xbox, but an ambush marketing clause forbade him from trying out anything prefixed with X as another legion of superheroes had appropriated it. Suddenly a news item popped up on his crystal cube. A car had sprayed an invisible liquid called SmartWater — an odourless chemical with long-lasting effects — on a thief who stole a laptop and other items from it. And when he was exposed to ultraviolet light, he turned green under the glow. “I’ve found my Hulk,” Nick whooped. But ‘Hulk becomes eco-friendly under UV light’ sounded wimpish — it had to be more dramatic. ‘Hulk turns green when he gets outrageously angry’ would be a more exciting way of putting it.

Nick then opened Google to further his search. A news item about the search engine giant caught his eye. In the mid-80s, Hewlett Packard had developed proprietary software which would serve as an Optical Character Recognition engine, but post-2006, Google had begun funding the project. The project’s name made Nick sit up — it was Tesseract, considered by many as the source of unlimited power! If he found the man behind Tesseract, he would find Captain America, for it was he who had battled Hitler’s armies to stop it from falling into the wrong hands.

Nick then checked out for the weekly leaks, more popularly known as Wiki Leaks, to figure out if he could lay his hands on some confidential information. He stumbled upon TALOS — Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, a miracle of modern technology that gave the US Army a suit that was not only bulletproof, but could also heal wounds.

Besides, it would fire weapons, have GPS and contain magnetorheological fluids that would become solid when they come in contact with electric and magnetic fields. And of course, night vision, oxygen supply, temperature control and advanced communication systems were part of standard equipment. ‘Just add Augmented Reality or Google Glass and this will give the wearer superhuman strength’, Nick rubbed his hands in glee. His Iron Man was ready for combat.

Hawk Eye was pulled out of a game of cricket and the Black Widow, from an Animal Planet shoot. Now, Nick needed just one more member. He didn’t have to look too hard. A giant with long hair and a weird helmet strode past, effortlessly carrying a hammer over his shoulder. “Are you after Loki?” Nick asked eagerly. “No, I’m just part of a low-key maintenance project, from the PWD,” came the reply. “You’ll do,” said Nick excitedly. Thor was found and the entire team of S.H.I.E.L.D had been assembled.

Then came the second message. ‘Check out Batman — Arkham City’. Nick was stumped. He had just assembled the entire team and now they wanted Batman? “How is he a part of S.H.I.E.L.D?” he vented his fury. “The Nvidia Shield, you idiot,” came the response. “Since you were a gaming freak, thought we’d suggest the Shield — a gaming device from Nvidia.”

Nick’s face fell. Now what would he do with this team? He went back to Google again. After some searching, he came across someone named Stan Lee who was looking to create action comic books. He surveyed the battery of technology that he had painstakingly put together. Would all of them now be reduced to entertainment for kids? ‘Is this what they mean when they say that technology is for future generations?’ he sighed and began writing a long mail to Stan.

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