4734/California Teaming

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California Teaming
Date of Scene: 15 January 2021
Location: The Mojave Dessert, California, 1949
Synopsis: In 2021, Peggy makes another unexpected call across the timestream to May in 1949... only to hear Daniel Sousa's voice coming across the line. Although there's work to be done, there's no question that important things never really die. And don't entirely fade, either.
Cast of Characters: Peggy Carter, Melinda May, Daniel Sousa

Peggy Carter has posed:
With an afternoon of going between Fitz, the actual site, two other scientists, and the heavy security in the desert, Peggy is practically dripping in sweat even in her light desert wear. She knows they are missing something and, while the hour is earlier than normal, they've made enough progress it feels like she can justify May a call. Besides, it's a good excuse to sit down in a shaded tent for a few minutes.

So, the damn SHIELD agent steps into the shaded command tent, sinking onto a stool as she pokes at the security lock on the 'time phone', pulling open the little safe it's in and withdrawing the thing. A moment later, she's putting in a call to the past. Someone drops her by a bottle of water and she gives a silent nod of thanks as the phone rings.

Melinda May has posed:

Standing in another tent on the same site, some 70 or so years distant, May swallows a mouthful of water and stares down at the blue prints of the proposed machine that will -- theoretically -- stabilize and reverse the polarity of the time rift enough to allow passage through it. It's foolish, she realizes, to stare down at these plans. It's not like she really understands them beyond a 'big thing goes here and connects to smaller thing over here' sort of way. But, it makes her feel better to understand the topology. Not that she expects it to stay the way it's presented. Howard, she's learned, is... endlessly creative.

She's surprised, however, when the buzz from the time phone goes off. Patting down her jacket, she finally locates the inner pocket she's got it tucked into and pulls it out.

Her back is to the entrance to the tent as she raises the small field radio to her ear. "May here. Go ahead."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"May, hope this isn't a bad time. I just wanted to touch base about a few things. And, frankly, it's bloody well sweltering here. Dry heat my arse." Peggy's familiar voice clips out over the phone, a bit more chipper than usual which is probably a sign for her being a hint more *exhausted* that usual and hiding it behind a chipper atmopshere. She's the leader on site, after all. No one needs to see or hear her falter.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Now that his team was here and deployed either to watch the site or to their cots to sleep until their shift to do the same, Sousa had a bit of free time on his hands. So, gathering up a trio of letters, he slides them into a larger envelope and makes his way for Agent May's tent, nodding to a few familiar faces as he passes until he stands outside the flap. "Melinda, it's Sousa, mind if I come in for a sec?" he calls loud enough to be heard inside.

Melinda May has posed:
May has had the oppotunity over the past few weeks to study Carter as a leader -- albeit a young one. She can hear shades of it in the elder Peggy's chipper tone. "No argument here," she replies dryly. Though the weather is actually fairly comfortable for her, given the winter has taken the sweltering heat down closer to a more regular room temperature. "What have you got for me? Carter and I have relocated to California, now. Howard is working on this side of the anchor, as we speak."

Then, of course, Sousa's voice rings out, doubtlessly carried to the receiver on her radio. Her head snaps around towards the sound and Peggy will likely hear a soft, "Damn."

Peggy Carter has posed:
Peggy's just staring to speak again, as down to the point as she ever gets, "It seems we-" then that voice cuts into the tent, not exactly clear as a bell across the radio and the distance, but she knows that voice. She'd know that voice anywhere. Her words catch in her suddenly tight throat as she just stops breathing a moment and considers what May is going to do.

The woman should hang up, probably. But maybe Daniel didn't hear her words. Maybe her friend will give her this tiny bit of impossible comfort, to hear the man's voice again. "...please don't hang up." Peggy whispers across the line. She has no way of knowing how close Daniel is, whether he'd hear it or not, but she's taken risks before. All she can do is hope that only May heard that and the woman will understand enough to simply let her evasdrop on their conversation.

Melinda May has posed:
It's Peggy's plea that makes May pause. She knows what she *should* do. But she's met these people now. She knows what Peggy's lost, on some level. And she can't do what she should do. Her shoulders fall and she nods, for all that Peggy can't see it.

"Come in, Daniel," she calls to him. "Close the flap behind you, please, and keep your voice down."

Thus, when he enters, he'll see her with what to him will be advanced technology but to her is cutting edge technology disguised as something old. And Peggy will probably realize that a) May, who lets almost no one use her first name, has let these people call her by her first name and b) may have some inkling of how important this is to her friend...

She gives Daniel a wry smile. "Consider this ultra top secret, Chief Sousa. Please."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Sousa enters the tent and makes sure the flap closes behind him. And good thing too, seeing what May is holding. "Done," he says of it being top secret, as the implications of what that device is and who she must be talking to hits him. "Is that?" is as much of the question as he gets out. That and, "Is she?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
Considering Peggy can easily hear May's comment of this being top secret, she lets out a small breath she was holding and puts another mental mark in 'things she owes Melinda May' column. It's going to be a VERY nice bottle of whiskey, or something else, when all this is over. Peggy looks behind her as well, though her phone isn't on speaker now, she's still double checking that neither Bobbi nor any other staff are left in the command tent with her. Sure enough, after she was dropped off that bottle of water, she's been left totally alone.

Daniel's voice, far more clear now that he's inside, renews that tightness in her throat. "I...owe you, May..." Peggy's tone is just an edge raspy, though she'd never admit it. "... And hello, Daniel. You have... no idea... how good it is to hear your voice." Peggy sounds nearly identical now as she does to her past self, though her accent is a little less blunt, decades and decades having lived in the US has softened it somewhat.

Melinda May has posed:
The irony of this moment isn't lost on May. Daniel Sousa, according to SHIELD history, will be dead in 4 years. And in 2021, Peggy Carter looks almost exactly as she does here in 1949. "It is," she says to Daniel. "And, she is... There are some... impressive medical advances coming." In case he thinks about the fact she's bridging 70 years with this one phone call.

She adjusts the volume of the radio so that it won't carry too far, moving so that she stands beside Daniel. "Don't mention it, Peggy," she says gently, then. Because, seriously... they'll both be up shit creek, if she does.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Despite the fact that Daniel had just checked in with Peggy an hour ago hearing her voice through that phone seemed surreal. "Peggy," he says, finding himself leaning hard on his cane, as he comes to grips with the moment. "Good to hear yours too, Peggy, you sound good, you... " a beat. "You from now said you sounded a good for around a hundred, she wasn't wrong. Is it weird that I just talked to you five minutes ago like it was no big deal and now I am struggling to find something to say that doesn't sound blockheaded?"

There's a nod for Melinda. "I bet, I know my grandpa lived until he was 90 but he didn't sound half that good," then aware of the timeline issues, "Don't worry I'll fight the urge to ask for details."

Peggy Carter has posed:
A wry, slightly muted laugh escapes Peggy's throat as May says not to mention it. She knows there's more than one layer behind that comment. The sound of Daniel's words, however, bring her eyes shut and a slower exhale on the other end of the phone. Hopefully neither of them heard it. She's quite unaccustomed to wearing her heart on her sleeve and is silently happy to be alone right now.

"Quite kind of you... I've had a little... Help along the way. Still, it's... incredibly good to hear you, Daniel. I seem to have lost my words as well..." But there was something pressing she had to tell May. She really shouldn't put it off. She forces her eyes to reopen, rubbing her free hand across them as she looks down at her notes. "Oh. yes... it's probably best you both hear this. Our people have mostly gotten the machine together on this time but... I am missing some sort of connection to your machine. A direct gateway... did HYDRA have anything in their files on YOUR end?"

Melinda May has posed:
Peggy's return to business spares May the need to step out of the tent for a few moments to give them time to collect themselves. "Yeah, that's the interesting thing," she tells Peggy, glancing to Daniel. "We have a rock. It's about the size of a brick. I don't really understand it all, but Howard says it has some highly unusual properties. Something about a concentration of tachyons or something when combined with the right energy source. I don't know."

Again: Not a scientist. She got the layman's view. Very roughly.

"But he believes this weird brick is the key. I'm not sure if your side of the bridge is going to work properly without it."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Work. Always their savior in awkward moments. Daniel takes a moment to wipe his own eyes with his sleeve while Peggy fills them in on the tech problem. By the time he's chiming in with "Guessing Tachyon rocks aren't common even in the world of tomorrow?" he has a thin veneer of professionalism over the storm of emotions that would otherwise be visible on his face.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The act of drinking her water is a good time and face saver for Peggy. It lets her listen to them both on the phone without her own breath or heart interfering. And, frankly, she probably needs it. So, she knocks back a good bit of that bottle as she listens to the report about the brick. Still, hearing Daniel's voice after all these decades? It stops her breath again. Work is the ONLY thing dragging her back to steadying focus now.

"A... brick." She deadpans. Both of them can probably practically see her smirk. "A magic brick is the... key? No. I suppose magic tachyon bricks are not all that common, even now. I don't suppose you can drop that thing off with the lawfirm for us to use... Or get us enough information on it to recreate on this side?"

Melinda May has posed:
May gives Daniel the space he needs to collect himself, a shade of a smirk at talk of the 'magic brick' touching her lips. That's pretty much how she and Carter defined it, yep. "I was thinking that might be the way to handle it, yeah. Though I'll have to ask Agent Carter to send it, since Howard insists we'll need it here and, frankly, I'm really hoping I won't still be here when it's all over to be able to send it."

Gee, go figure.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Sousa gives May a nod of thanks for the moment to collect himself. "Right, so the magic brick, does it need to be in one piece? Or can we cut it in half send half to the future and keep half here?" he glances to May to try and see what she thinks. "On the other hand my BA was in history not arcane geology so, I can understand if that's a colossally stupid idea."

"All that aside though if you can tell me which lawyers I can see the brick gets to you guys in the future."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"While I very much hope my... I suppose predacessor isn't the exact word, but I hope I shall be in condition to put it with the legal firm, considering the way these things go... It might be best that Daniel know as well. I'm am suspecting that you're in the know of everything now, Daniel, being that you aren't entirely losing your head over speaking to me on this radio. Even if I suspect we spoke in the desert as well. I... vaguely remember this case. It has been quite... quite some time." Peggy's voice is mostly put together, but they both probably know her well enough to hear the emotions around the edges.

Melinda May has posed:
"Why do we need to cut it in half?" May asks. "I mean... While from each of our perspectives, this is happening simultaneously, it's really not. We can use the brick here, send it through the mail, and they'll have it there just when we need it it." She doesn't understand much about the intricasies of time travel, but she has grasped that much just because of her experience with sending the letters earlier.

Thus, she nods to Daniel. "The law firm is in New York. I'll give you and Carter both the address and name of my contact there. That should make it easy."

Anything to ensure some measure of success. Preferably a perfect measure of success.

"But, yes. We've brought Daniel in on everything." A beat. "Rose, too." And she met Jarvis and Ana at New Year's... She has glimpsed some of the forces that make Carter who she is... and thus her friend Peggy who she is. It's been very revealing.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
"Hoping you remember the chat after May goes home a little better than the one five minutes ago, Peg, if that's how this whole thing works?" You know, the 'calendar date' they'd set up to finish Thompson's bourbon. As for the thing not needing to be cut in half he considers that for a moment leaning on his cane, "Right, that makes sense, sorry this time stuff has a bit of a learning curve to it, but I'll catch up. Anyhow between me and this time's Peggy we'll get the brick to the future as soon as we're sure things have worked."
Hiss for being read in on the whole situation. "Yeah, it's been a real mind bender but I think Rose and I are managing okay, now that Rose has stopped pumping Melinda for hand to hand tips from the future anyhow," he says with a wry tone.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Oh... Rose." It's not that Peggy had forgotten her, she certainly hadn't. It's that she has little corners in the back of her heart, where all the people she's mourning are gently put away, to be brought out in the private hours and dark corners where no one else will see her mourn. It's rare that someone cracks the door open during a work day, but here they are. "...I'd say... tell her I said hello, but..." She understands operational security is already breeched.

She swallows back a slightly shaking breath. "Y-yes... yes. I'm certain one of us can get this... Brick... into our hands here. Then simple as finishing the build and... starting them up at the same time, right? We'll... be done with this in a few days."

Melinda May has posed:
May snirks at that. "Rose and every other agent in the New York office," she deadpans in response to Daniel's comment about the eager woman. "But, I'm totally bringing home her cake recipe." And, tangentally, a vial of 1949 Peggy's blood in a little sphere that once held Steve Rogers' blood. Because that needs to happen.

She doesn't mention that, though.

"I expect we will be, too," she says regarding setup. "If you don't get that brick within the 24 hours or so, contact Goodman, Kurtsburg, and Holliway."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
"I understand," Sousa says with a fond if sad smile about not passing on word to Rose. Too many people knew too much as is. "But you can count she says hi to you, Peggy. She was glad we were all back together again for a bit. There's a smile then as May brings up the girls pestering her for martial arts lessons. "You should have seen her, Hydra didn't know what hit them," he says, "She made a big impression."

Then they draw towards the end of business, and Sousa's professional mask slips a bit out of place even as he tries to be professional. "Right, we'll be ready here," he confirms needlessly, grinding his cane point into the sand of the floor as he searches for something, anything relevant to say that would let the call continue. "Anything else we need to get done on this end?" he settles on lamely, flinching even as he says it.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"N-no... I suppose... Suppose that's it. I'll be in touch with the law office if I don't hear from them soon, I promise." Peggy knows there's no more reason to really stay on the phone. They're just taking silly risks now in a situation that was already rather too high risk. She draws in a deep breath, blinking against a suddenly stinging in her eyes. "You two... You both take care of each other, alright? You... mean a lot to me." She whispers across the phone. And that truly is meant for Melinda and Daniel. It seems May has gotten into the inner circle.

Melinda May has posed:
That May is able to maintain a reasonably stoic mask is a testament to years of practice at shutting herself off from her emotions. Channelling them into action rather than any other display. "We'll do our best," she tells her friend, giving Daniel a small hit of an understanding smile. "You, too. We've made ripples on both sides of this bridge. So, watch your back. I'm... looking forward to coming home."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Sousa looks up from his cane point at Peggy's words. "You too Peggy," he says of what she means to him. It wasn't everything but it was enough. "And don't worry we'll get May back to you safe and sound," he promises trying his best to keep any sadness out of his earnest good cheer, he's only partially successful. He turns to May, "May, when you get to the other side, you make sure Peggy doesn't try to carry all the world's problems on her shoulders alone alright?" he says in a message for them both before speaking to Peggy alone. "Hear that Peggy, make sure you live a little." This time the tears are rolling down his cheeks and he doesn't try to hide them. Peggy's reaction to his voice at the start told him all he needed to know about his future, whatever happens he doesn't make it to the time he's talking to right now so he had to do what he could now to make sure she'd be alright.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Peggy knows him well enough to know those tears in his voice. It's enough that her's finally come, even as she's tried to fight it. She swallows back hard against them, giving a cracked little laugh across the radio, "Trust me, I've lived...plenty, plenty of life. But I'll keep it in mind. You... do the same, Daniel. Please. And I'll see you soon, Melinda. I... I'm going now. Good... Good bye. It's an honor to serve with you... again. It always was." That last bit is probably for Daniel. She never got a goodbye, it all happened so fast... At least she does now.

Then the click comes, the static of dead radio on their end. In the suddenly silent, still very empty command tent in the Mojave desert of 2020, Peggy sinks over herself, letting her head hang as a few more quiet tears just keep staining down her face. At least, in this position, if anyone sees her, her hair is hiding her face now.

Melinda May has posed:
May watches the tears come to Daniel's eyes and hears them echoed in Peggy's. She inhales a slow breath and lets it out just as slowly, the only indication of it in the rise and fall of her chest. Her jaw sets, though her eyes show the compassion she feels. She just share in their tears.

It's not her way.

Instead, she reaches out to give Daniel's shoulder a brief clasp before she sets quietly about shutting off the now dormant radio and tucking back away into her inner pocket. She says nothing, leaving him the room to process, drifting toward the tentflap... just to make sure no one else walks in and finds themselves surprised by what they discover.

'Cause that wouldnt' be awkward at all.

Still... as sad as this may be for the other two, May knows it means she's one step closer to home. Home, and a tall bottle of whiskey she fully intends to share with Peggy in a tribute to old friends they both now know.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Sousa is alone with his thoughts until May clasps his shoulder and he turns to look at her for a moment gears turning behind his tear watered eyes, "Melinda-" he begins a question he shouldn't ask, four simple words, 'how do I die' that could change everything, maybe even clear him a path from here to the place Peggy was. The question gets no closer than that, and his fingers tighten on the crook of his cane until they go white. "Thank you," he settles on, before he takes his leave of the tent. That Peggy was gone, changing the future was too dangerous, but he had now and he intended to make the most of it.