By Anthony Breznican
Updated July 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM EDT

Agent Carter has been activated.

Marvel Studios premiered the latest in its One-Shot series of shorts at San Diego’s Comic-Con tonight, and Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive clip.

The action-noir story picks up with British operative Peggy Carter just a year after Captain America: The First Avenger left off, with Hayley Atwell’s character now working in New York for the watchdog group that will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D.

The problem is that Carter is stuck with a desk job, doing the kind of busywork her chauvinist boss (The West Wing‘s Bradley Whitford) thinks is suitable for a woman.

Then one night when the office is empty except for her, a call comes in. A voice (provided by Iron Man 3 director Shane Black) tells her that the enigmatic “Zodiac” has been located, and three to five agents are necessary. Agent Carter ventures off to find it on her own.

What is The Zodiac? “Zodiac in the books has been many, many different things,” says Agent Carter director Louis D’Esposito, the co-president of Marvel Studios. “We just want you to know it’s deadly, it’s important, bad guys are guarding it, and it’s imperative she gets it.”

The short also co-stars Dominic Cooper as industrialist Howard Stark, Tony’s father and one of those helping shape the new global crime-fighting team. There are a few cameos, too, though we won’t spoil those here.

D’Esposito also directed last year’s One-Shot short, Item 47, and has continued to expand the series to feature more ambitious storytelling.

The screening Friday night is prologue to Marvel’s highly anticipated Saturday evening presentation in Comic-Con’s 6,000-plus seat Hall H, where Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World and possibly Guardians of the Galaxy will be featured.

Agent Carter can be seen in its entirety on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray, out Sept. 24.