Pt 52. Digging for answers…..
[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 04142017 1600hrs]
Loc: Residential Level A, Quarters of P. Carter, AVENGERS TOWER, Broadway & W 58th St, New York, NY
Peggy: <pacing her office, in a heated video conference with Fury& Coulson> I’m TIRED of scrambling to react to these attacks from HYDRA and Russia. We need a more proactive approach. Whether it’s cyber or physical, one of these times we won’t be able to move fast enough to stop them. At the very least we need to be better prepared to both defend an attack, and to strike back. Better yet, we need to make them think twice about an attack in the first place.
Nick: Calm down, Carter. We’re trying to keep a low profile. SHIELD is still getting back on it’s feet after some very public incidents over the last few years that haven’t put us in the best of light.
Peggy: <arms crossed, tilts her head, giving Nick the side eye> Are you referring to the Triskelion or the Accords?
Phil: <slightly alarmed> How did you…
Nick: <interrupts, showing no concern, only slight amusement> Somebody’s been digging into things on her restricted access list. Don’t you have enough work on your plate without nosing around into things you know you can’t change?
Peggy: You’ve said yourself there are things my future self put into the Toolbox and Black Book files, such as the Directorate Retrieval Protocol. Perhaps knowing what lies ahead for SHIELD is exactly why I did so. I may not be able to change things, but I very well may have put such things in there to help us prepare.
Phil: <ponders a moment> She DID place all those off books secret bases we used as bolt holes after the Helicarriers came down on the Triskelion.
Peggy: Did I now? Well I’ll be sure to make that a priority when I get back to 1948. Howard rarely pay attention to the mundane bookkeeping and such. It shouldn’t be difficult to slip a few extra hiding spots in. He’s so busy worrying about competing with the Russians on tech, that he almost never questions my decisions about running SHIELD. Well, except for that damn Operation Paperclip. He’s been rather sulkish as of late, because I was in the process of shutting it down. <Nick’s eyebrows raise, but he says nothing>
Peggy: What is it?
Phil: <uncharacteristically surprised> You were shutting down Paperclip?
Peggy: <confused at his reaction> Of course. I’m not comfortable trusting the security of our nation to ‘reformed’ HYDRA scientists that just a few years ago were trying to kill us all. Howard keeps asking me to release more of them to his think tank, each one worse than the one before. I’d rather send the lot of them to Nuremberg. <concerned> Is that a problem? Should I let Howard keep his brain trust? Will they help us, or hurt us?
Nick: <arms crossed, firm, noncommittal look on his face> Sorry Carter, no spoilers. This is exactly the sort of thing we’ve been trying to avoid. You’re starting to second guess yourself and your decisions, wondering how it will affect the future.
Peggy: <bites her lip, sighs, closes her eyes for a moment, then opens them with renewed determination> While that may be true, it’s better than stumbling around here blindly. There are things I SHOULD know about, details that would help me make better informed decisions and strategies to prepare us for whatever they throw our way. You CAN’T keep me in the dark like this!
Phil: I’m sorry Peggy, but we can, and we will. What if, knowing you live to a wise old age, you go charging into a situation, guns blazing, when you normally would have used more caution and diplomacy, and you or someone else dies at the wrong time? Or the reverse, you make compromises with people your gut tells you not to trust, and it backfires?
Peggy: <stands her ground> I don’t make compromises, and I don’t go charging into situations without considering all options.
Nick: <looks unconvinced> For the sake of the timeline, we can’t take that risk. <ends the call, leaving Peggy staring at a blank screen>
Peggy: <irate and fuming, grabs an empty mug from the desk, hurling it at the wall, it shatters, as she roars> THOSE ARROGANT, SELF RIGHTEOUS, WANKERS! SO SURE THEY KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR ME! I WILL NOT BE TREATED LIKE A MEWLING INFANT, CODDLED AND SHIELDED FROM THIS WORLD! THEY PULLED ME HERE, AND I WILL FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE HIDING FROM ME!
APRIL: Boss, your stress levels are through the roof and spiking your vitals.
Peggy: <still seething> DID I ASK FOR YOUR OPINION? <lowers her voice> I need to hit something. Anthony said there was a gymnasium somewhere around this maze like monolith?
APRIL: There are a variety of workout and training rooms located on Utility Level B.
[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 04142017 1800hrs]
Loc: Workout Room 3, Utility Level B, AVENGERS TOWER, Broadway & W 58th St, New York, NY
<Tony walks in to find Peg furiously pounding a heavy bag, muttering to herself, leans against the doorway, watching>
Peggy: <pounding away, mumbling under her breath too softly for Tony to hear> They’re no better than FauxNews, thinking they can control what I see and hear, trying to keep from me what’s really going on.
Tony: <keeping his distance> Looks like somebody doesn’t know not to get on your bad side. I’m guessing it’s either your buddy Grant, or Fury.
Peggy: <turns to him> I’m fine. Just a difference of opinions on something between myself and <disdainfully> MISTER Fury. I’d rather not discuss it.
Tony: <looking around> Well, it’s good to see someone getting some use out of this place. Though the way you were going at the bag, I was worried I might have to replace it again.
Peggy: <looks at the sturdy bag, swaying from its chain> Again?
Tony: <shrugs> You’re not the first person to come down here& beat a bad mood into submission.
Peggy: Ah, yes. Your friends. Tell me, once those Accords are rescinded, do you think they will return?
Tony: <frowns> I don’t know. There was a lot of bad blood after that. I wish <pauses> I wish we could have settled it with words. It got uglier than it needed to. <thinks of Rhodey and Wanda> People got hurt.
Peggy: <concerned> Oh dear! It seems these Accords have done more harm than good.
Tony: You don’t understand. We needed something. Something to keep us in check. There’s been too much collateral damage from our involvement in events.
Peggy: You’re right, I don’t understand, because I’ve been left in the dark about all this ‘Avenging’. But tell me, if you and your friends HADN’T been involved in these events, how many more would have died?
Tony: <angrily> You can’t just boil it down to numbers!
Peggy: <calmly> I’m well aware, but not everyone can be saved. I learned that in the war. We were painfully aware, that these were real men and women, real lives and deaths. We do what we can. We do our best, to save as many as possible.
Tony: And the ones we can’t save?
Peggy: <hangs her head a moment> We mourn. And we strive to make our best better.
Tony: So, you don’t think the Accords are a good idea?
Peggy: I think the idea behind them had good intentions, but from what little I HAVE managed to glean from both you and others, it seems like it was rushed into being, by military and politicians, without including any input from those it would affect.
Tony: <sighs> I, I agree, but…. <Peggy raises an eyebrow> but we were told that once we had signed, it could be amended, changed to better respect the rights and freedoms of those governed by it.
Peggy: And you trusted them? Now that your freedom has been signed away, how fast has OUR government moved to make those changes? You realize you and everyone in SHIELD is risking their freedom by working with The Resistance? Working outside government authorization, in DIRECT violation of the Accords. If it weren’t for that King from Wakanda and some of the European countries stepping in to try and fix things….
Tony: <interrupts> That’s not how it was intended to be used…..
Peggy: Oh? What if these rumors and theories I’ve heard are true? What if that Orange Menace in the White House decides to start a war, and orders all enhanced American citizens who have signed the Accords to serve?
Tony: He couldn’t do….. <whispers> oh my god….. he could actually DO that…
Peggy: How much concern do you think HE will have for collateral damage on EITHER side? What happens if other countries decide that he, we, and the rest of the U.S. need to be stopped, by any means necessary?
Peggy: I’m not saying your intentions were wrong, Anthony. Your heart is in the right place. Yet perhaps the best judge on how and when to use one’s gifts, is oneself.
Tony: <chuckles, shaking his head> You sound just like <bites his lip>
Peggy: Like who?
Tony: Ah, <tugs ear> Just someone who refused to sign.
Peggy: <notices> I’m sure there’s more to this you’re not telling me, it’s seems there always is. <sighs> You really ARE so much like your father.
Tony: <winces> Gee, thanks Aunt Peg.
Peggy: You DO realize that sometimes that comparison is meant as a compliment?
Tony: <rolls his eyes, cocks his head sideways, a skeptic smile on his face> Uh huh.
Peggy: <ignores his mocking> Still, I’ll feel better once those Accords are rescinded next week. <her face suddenly scrunches in disgust> Good Lord I need a shower!
Tony: <laughs at the look on her face> I hadn’t realized they were that close. How do YOU know more about this than I do?
Peggy: <winks, turns and heads for the exit, calling over her shoulder> A good Agent doesn’t reveal her sources.
Tony: <arms crossed, rolls his eyes once more, this time in annoyance, calls after her> So how IS your buddy Grant?
[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 04142017 2000hrs]
Loc: Residential Level A, Quarters of P. Carter, AVENGERS TOWER, Broadway & W 58th St, New York, NY
Peggy: <in the kitchen, hair in a towel, relaxing in jeans and an over sized sweater, brewing some tea> April, set up the screens in the office. I’m still angry with Nick and Phil, but there’s work to be done. <pours her cup and heads to the office, sets the cup on the desk, and relaxes in her chair>
APRIL: We’ve got 18 e-mails and 12 DM’s to sort through, Boss.
Peggy: <hopeful> Any from Grant?
APRIL: Sorry Boss, no word from him since your last talk when he spoke of coming home.
Peggy: <disappointed, sigh> Very well. Let’s have some music, shall we? Put on that last play list he sent, the one he said was ‘timeless oldies’.
<a series of classic songs from the 1940’s plays in the background as Peggy works, she stops as one catches her attention, she smiles nostalgically>
Peggy: I remember the first time I heard this one. Bing Crosby, 1944, London, going over the latest reports from the front lines. <starts to sing along in her usual off key warbling> I’ll find you in the mornin’ sun, And when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon, But I’ll be seeing you.
APRIL: <makes a strange sound, voice sounding stiff and formal> Passphrase Accepted. Access Granted. Welcome Director Carter. Downloading all SHIELD Directorate Level files. These system updates will be complete in approximately 21 hours.
Peggy: <eyebrows raise in surprise> Hmm, I always did love that song. Well now, so much for being kept in the dark. Twenty one hours. <checks clock> This will be well worth the wait.