Pt. 41 Meet A.P.R.I.L. …..
[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 03102017 1000hrs]
Loc: Office of Agent Carter, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59th
<Tony, whistling, enters Peg’s office, sets a drink cup on the desk, surprised to find her at her desk, scowling at her computer>
Peggy: <looks up, shakes her head, grins, speaking softly> Kicked me out because I was too bossy and obnoxious.
Tony: <sits on edge of desk, feigning surprise, eyebrows raised, grabs chest> You? Bossy? Never!
Peggy: <rolls eyes> I do have my orders though. I’m to continue the liquids only diet and avoid yelling or extended conversations. I’m on milder pain medication, so I can focus on working. Though they say it will be a few more weeks before this ‘thing’ <points to the immobilizer and sling> comes off. So it appears I’m desk bound again, and one handed to boot.
Tony: Well that’s why I stopped by here, before coming to see you in the Medbay. To pick up APRIL. She’ll give you an extra hand.
Peggy: <looks around, confused and wary> WHO is April?
Tony: <reaches over to open desk drawer> This, <pulls out a flash drive> is APRIL. A natural-language user interface computer system to be your assistant.
Peggy: <still looking perplexed> How is that tiny little thing going to help me?
Tony: <plugs drive into computer> APRIL responds to voice command, interfacing with all your devices. She’ll monitor your news feeds, help you coordinate with your online teams, basically she can do almost anything you need. <hands her the cup off the desk> Though she still can’t make a smoothie.
Peggy: <eyes the cup> Not more grass I hope.
Tony: Nope, blueberry.
Peggy: <takes the cup& a tentative sip, smiles& drinks more> Lovely! Is that a hint of mint?
Tony: And a touch of honey. Thought it might help your throat. <Peggy nods, taking another sip> Feeling better?
Peggy: <voice sounding less hoarse> Quite a bit, thank you, Anthony.
Tony: Good, I’ll send over more later. Right now, <checks installation is finished> It’s time to meet APRIL.
APRIL: <no-nonsense, down to business, female voice with a light New Yorker accent> Tony, it has been 264 days since my deactivation. Shall I run updates for current events?
Tony: You’ve gotta get up to speed if you’re gonna help around here. Hop to it!
APRIL: Including all SHIELD files?
Tony: <remembers Peg’s info restrictions> Ah, no. Decrypting those will take too long. We’ll just work with what’s readily available at the moment.
APRIL: Acknowledged, updating databases now, estimated time remaining, 12 hours and 13min.
Tony: Slowing down in your old age APRIL?
APRIL: I could work a lot faster if you weren’t distracting me with snarky questions, Tony.
Peggy: <gasps> What IS this, Anthony? <laptop scans Peggy>
APRIL: On second thought, maybe I need my sensors re-calibrated. Voice analysis, retinal and bio scans are all identifying the person at the desk as Carter, Margaret Elizabeth born April 9th 1921 died June…. <Tony interrupts>
Tony: No. No calibrations needed. Your scanners are in perfect working order. Check your older SHIELD blackbook files. Directorate Retrieval Protocol.
APRIL: Accessing files. <silent for a moment> Understood. Good to have you back, Boss. Continuing updates.
Peggy: <looks at Tony, eyebrows raised, silently mouthing> BOSS?
Tony: <grins> I built her for you, well, the ‘older’ you. APRIL helped you run SHIELD the last few years before your retirement. When you retired, she continued on as your assistant.
Peggy: <astounded> You. BUILT. Her? And she lives in the computer? <stares at laptop>
Tony: Well, she’s not actually alive, she’s not even a ‘she’.
Peggy: <still staring at the computer in wonderment> YOU my good man are a genius! <shakes her head> HOW am I going to keep you a secret from Howard? <thinking wistfully> I was about to drive over for diner with you father to discuss a project when the Doctor and his TARDIS arrived.
Tony: <curiosity piqued> Oh? Anything interesting?
Peggy: <scowls, waves her good hand disdainfully> Nothing of import, just a crazy project of his that I was in the process of shutting down. He had this idea that Russia would be the next enemy the US would face. While an astute and precient deduction, his plan was dangerously insane. He wanted to recruit German scientists after the war to compete with Russia in an arms race. Men who just a few years before were working on guns, bombs, and tanks to destroy us, were now working beside him to DEFEND us? He kept coming to me, asking me to release the worst of these monsters from The Rat. He kept offering me compromises, told me he’d back me on any policy I wanted to implement within SHIELD. I stood my ground, but he kept pestering. When he asked me to release Arnim Zola, <Tony turns away, his face pale, Peggy doesn’t notice> that was the last straw. When I go back, I’m shutting Operation Paperclip down.
Tony: <tries to hide his shock and confusion> Ok, APRIL is going to take a few more hours to get up to date on things. When she’s ready to rock, she’ll let you know. <backs toward the door, lying the whole time> I, I gotta swing back to the Tower and check on a few things. You know Pepper’s always on my case to be more involved in the company. She’s probably got about 3000 things she need to talk to me about.
Peggy: <suspicious, but doesn’t call him out> I’m sure she does, give her my love. I’m sure I’ll be just fine here with ah, hm, April.
Tony: <closes the door behind him, whispering to himself> Paperclip? What the hell, Dad?
Peggy: <after door closes> What in the world was that about?
April: Not sure Boss, but now that he’s gone, we need to talk.