5123/Out of the Hands of Hydra

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Out of the Hands of Hydra
Date of Scene: 11 February 2021
Location: Old factory in Queens 1950
Synopsis: Lily Chen and a team of SHIELD agents rescue Daniel Sousa and Peggy Carter from a Hydra-held factory in Queens. As Peggy is taken into surgery for serious bullet wounds, Daniel and Lily distract themeselves by probing Lily's uncanny similarity to Melinda May.
Cast of Characters: Daniel Sousa, Peggy Carter, Melinda May

Daniel Sousa has posed:
It was a strange night, first Field Director Sousa and Agent Cardoza failed to report in, then Director Carter blazed out of her office, raided the armoury and drove off leaving only a note behind with the address of an old factory in Queens, the one Sousa and Cardoza were meant to be staking out. The lines were easy to draw from there and when there was no word from the Director either, it became a problem, namely Agent Wallace's problem since he was the ranking agent on the night shift, he'd put in a call to Stark and Phillips to let them know the Director was missing, then gathered up what agents he had on duty plus the new girl Chen, and headed down to the address Carter had left behind.

Now, that group of agents stood crouched on a building across the street from the factory, watching as guards prowled the perimeter, not seeming to be concerned about the amount of firepower they were showing off, what with the Tommy guns they were packing, "Well, this is the spot," Wallace says. "And something is definitely not right, we're going to need to get in there pronto and get out our people," he says. "Sanders, go hit up a pay box and call for back up, the rest of us we need to scout this place out, got any volunteers for that duty?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
The note on Carter's desk simply said: 'HYDRA kidnapped Field Director Sousa. They are making demands for his life. If I am not back by 6 pm, assume HYDRA has taken or killed us both, this is the address where he was investigating. Clean things up as best you can. -Director Carter'. She knows if she'd read a note like that from any agent, she'd be incredibly livid. But she's the director and that affords her some privileges, like running off on a hair-brained scheme to save the man she loves. She probably worried the office a bit before six Pm, the way she ripped out alone and with too many weapons, but it was up to that crew if they acted faster than her commands or not.

Melinda May has posed:
"I can do it," Chen says evenly to Wallace. She saw Carter's note. She discovered it, having intended to go ask the woman a question. Then, understanding the chain of command, she brought it to Wallace. It certainly made it easier to get herself on the mission.

She feels the tension of the men around her. It radiates in her shoulders, but not on her face. She's spent several days becoming accustomed to all of them -- to let them become accustomed to her as Chen, not May. It makes it easier to push the ratcheted emotions down, to channel them. "Give me five minutes," she tells the senior agent, "then move in. The way will be clear."

They *have* all heard that she took out a dozen armed Triad single-handedly, right? Then again, by now, that rumour may have swollen to a couple dozen or, less charitably, less than a handful. Who knows? She hasn't actually been paying attention.

Still, her eyes track the movement of the closest of the perimeter guards. "They are expecting an attack," she notes. "So, don't be shy, if they start to get excited."

That said, she waits just a few seconds -- mainly to at least make a nod to the protocol of waiting for the mission lead to approve the plan and get his response -- but wastes no more time than she needs to before she's heading off to do her job...

A Specialist's job.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
When Chen volunteers one of the men opens his mouth to protest, "Shut it Webber," Wallace says, "You weren't down at that warehouse in Chinatown, I was," he says giving Chen a nod. "You got it, we'll get tooled up out here, those guys twitch we'll come running," he says, as he heads to their waiting van for vests and weapons.

At the factor there's a bit of commotion as a pair of big double doors are pulled open and a plain delivery van rolls out, a couple of men in the front seat.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Things are a little messy behind the van that's rolling out. The inside of the warehouse looks like a bit of a bomb hit it, pallets tossed over everywhere, boxes scattered, at least one desk in a corner tipped onto its side. There aren't any obvious bodies yet, but there's mysterious streaks along the floor that definitely look a bit more red than oil slick. No actual machinery is going in the factory and no one is clearly patrolling any longer on this floor. But that's all that can be seen from the outside.

Inside, there are two guards left on the upper scafolding, heavy rifles in their hands as they silently stalk across the room like vulture guardians. They're just waiting for the operation to be cleared, then they are gone.

Melinda May has posed:
Chen leaves the men behind, unconcerned by Webber's doubt. She settles into Specialist mode like it's second nature to her. And, really, it is. Instinctive, automatic, complete muscle memory. The van pulls up to the loading dock, distracting most of her prey. So, she moves in from the opposite side, doing exactly what she told Peggy she did to the Triad. She hits them fast, hard, and silent from behind. She drops them as noiselessly as she can and prevents them from calling out for help as much as possible. The delivery van only masks what little noise she must make.

While she has a weapon on her, she doesn't use it. She doesn't need to. Her fists and feet do the job admirably and as she drops the last of the perimeter guards between her team and the warehouse proper, she now moves on to scoping out her next angle of attack.

She needs to take out the pair on the upper scaffolding. But getting to them may be more problematic than the men patrolling the grounds. She eases her way carefully up a shadowed ladder, rolling on to the upper surface and keeping her body low as she carefully makes her approach.

Wallace and the boys should be providing another distraction any time, now.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Right on cue Wallace's team hits the other side of the factory, their van pulling up and the men jumping out, Webber rushes to the doors and places a breaching charge before, Wallace says. "Make as much noise as possible, boys, we want to make sure all eyes are on us!" There's nods all around and they all duck and plug their ears. BOOM. The doors blow in and the SHIELD rush through behind them guns blazing taking aim at anyone not Chen and not one of them.

Peggy Carter has posed:
While the two patrolling on the second level are paranoid, they are also very good at their jobs. The one who seems in charge frowns deeper and gestures to the other one, whose head has entirely turned to the outside. "Check it out. Kill whoever you fine. We're out of here in ten minutes anyway." And he gestures for his partner to go.

The second man dashes out and to a rusty old firescape, moving to check out the explosion and into a trap of far more people than he is in numbers. The one inside, however, swings his weapon back around. He's going to give Chen a fight for her money.

Melinda May has posed:
Chen slides under the man's aim, flipping onto her hands and kicking at his arms. The way her legs swing and twist, she traps his arms in a scissor grip, using her weight not only to pull his weapon away, but to unbalance him as well, sending him towards the edge of the scaffolding. She doesn't need him to fall over the edge, she just needs him disarmed. Then, it becomes a far 'fairer' fight... if such a thing is a concern.

Really, she just cares that he can't shoot at her. And, maybe, whether or not he can point her in the Director's direction. Because, for reasons she can't quite understand and isn't even consciously aware of, making sure Peggy Carter survives is a driving imperative in her subconscious.

All the Agents want to see the Director and Sousa survive, brought home whole and hale. But Melinda May's loyalty is at the core of Chen's being. She may not be The Cavalry by name. But she is in spirit. And always will be.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Wallace's men keep pushing the guards at the factory back, Wallace knocking one out with the butt of his shotgun before getting under cover to reload. As he does Webber, takes a hit, falling back clutching his arm, "Get your ass back to the van," Wallace says.

"Screw that sir, I'm in this to the end," he says lifting his pistol with his good arm and gunning down another HYDRA guard. "Looks like we got scaffolds uptop, a crap load of machinery down here and guessing that door on the left is some stairs, "Where do we wanna go, boss?"

"Take cover in that machinery, and drop as many Squiddies as you can, less of them the more chance Chen has to do her thing."

Webber looks skeptical for a moment before he nods. "Yes, sir," he says before calling to the other boys, "Grab some cover and let those Squids have it!" he says leading the way.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The HYDRA agent on the scaffold was CLEARLY not prepared for someone competent, much less a competent woman. Before he knows it, the gun is tumbling down to the first floor, fortunately not going off at the SHIELD agents who have just rushed in. But the main area now seems unnervingly quiet. No one else popping up to defend. There's a faint sound from a side hallway, and the bottom two sets of doors have been storm-barred. There's a second story entrance from an office, that goes down into the stairwell, probably why their were guards up there. Whatever they are cleaning, it's going out from the basement to the very back docks and it's still moving.

The blonde woman who abandoned her victims (captives?) in a room well beyond the main floor, is now rushing with two crates and four of her last agents, to a small speedboat off the lowest back dock of the big warehouse. The door she's escaped slams behind her, echoing through stairwell to possibly be heard by sharp, trained ears.

Melinda May has posed:
"Where are they?" Chen growls sharply, expression feirce, burying the shock and fear the man now dealing with her elbow on his throat feels. "Now!"

"I don't know what you're talking about?" the man replies, clearly lying.

Chen is about to force the issue when the sounds catch her ears. She shifts her elbow and lashes out with her hands. The man drops, senseless. The Asian woman turns toward the sound of the slamming door and starts running, dropping down between stair levels as if the landings were ladder rungs. All those tricks Tessa and Rose admired come into play.

No, she's not entirely sure what she's heading into. But she doesn't doubt her ability to handle it. Were she conscious of it, she'd admit that it's situations like this that make her feel both the most alive and the most herself. She revels in it, in fact. Too bad she doesn't realize it.

Chances are, she knows, wherever those bodies are going, they're either leaving Carter and Sousa behind -- telling her approximately where to find them -- or they've got Carter and Sousa and are ready to cut and run on the boat she can hear idling. So, that's where she's heading. Either way, they need to be stopped.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Not long after Chen throws that door open Sousa's voice can be heard from down the stairs "Down here! The Director is dying!" he sounds desperate and even at long range Chen can likely feel the first hints of what he's feeling. By the sound of things he's through the door at the bottom of the stairs.

Upstairs Wallace and the boys run towards the boat trying to stop it before it gets away with it's passenger and cargo.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The bodies lining the hallway, when Chen gets down the staircase, are enough to show that someone put up quite a fight. It looks like at least one grenade went off, a whole lot of close range gun fire, and four men in their dark HYDRA security garb laying strewn over the ground. All entrances from the main floor to this place were steel barred, so it's thankful that Chen was one level up. The other agents would have been stuck looking for other entrances, but they can work on getting the last few trying to flee out the back.

The door Daniel's behind? Annoyingly locked as well. Basically, the blonde has pulled the pin on the heavy press bar, but that means the lock is solid from both sides without that pin again. Behind it, through a thick, bullet proof glass rectangle of a door, there's a fairly small, blank concrete brick room set up as an interrogation chamber. There's a lot of blood on the floor and at least one more dead body. And one dying -- Director Carter, slumped against Daniel's side.

Melinda May has posed:
"Why does she always get herself shot?" Lily mutters to herself, peering in that window to see just what's happening within. Don't ask her how she knows Peggy is prone to being a bullet sponge, but she does. She's absolutely sure of it. And, were she actually Melinda May, she'd probably have flashes of memory of at least a dozen other times she's seen the Englishwoman bloodied on the battlefield. Good thing she's not May.

She examines that pin and considers her options. She moves methodically, if swiftly, down the hall, frisking bodies, looking for further grenades. She scoops up weapons instead. Grenades are a rarer commodity, it seems.

Returning to the door, she shouts through, hoping Daniel understands. "Cover her! I'm coming through!" Don't ask her how. It's probably better just to duck and cover.

Then, she retreats half a dozen steps down the hall and aims a gun at the hinges of the cheep steel door. That glass might be bulletproof, but she's seen old doors like this before. Something, some piece of trivia in her brain, tells her they might make good blast shields, but they really suck at small target penetration. Not if you know where to hit.

Hinges are weak points.

She empties a mag into one hinge, then a new mag and the next hinge, methodically until the metal groans and she can pry the damned metal slab away from the entry.

"How bad?" She's in and sliding down onto her knees beside them in mere heartbeats.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Daniel looks up from where he's huddled next to Peggy, going to the door, surprise and relief radiating from him. He must hear what she said as he covers Peggy with his body for the shots, careful of her wounds. "Told you we were getting out of here," he tells her his concern dulling the intended levity in the words. Then May's beside them, "Bad," he says, "One to the shoulder one to the stomach, we're going to need a stretcher and some extra hands to get her out of here."

Peggy Carter has posed:
The door is tough, but it's not THAT tough. And HYDRA simply didn't expect a woman with Lily Chen's know how, or her lack of giving a shit. Or enjoyment of artillery. The thing swings open with a protesting groan to the mess of an interrogation room beyond. The two on the floor are proof to how foolish it is to go off alone, but then Cordoza's body hasn't even been seen. Most likely dead. Peggy is half sprawled against Daniel, trying to keep conscious but she's mostly lost the battle. Her body mostly hides the fact that they took his leg from him, along with flesh off his face and hand. Not to mention the bruises.

The sound of the door and that violence outside is enough to slightly rouse the bleeding director. She gives Daniel a bloodless, almost smile, then blinks heavy, half lidded eyes in Chen's direction. "...looks like... you were right... the calvary came." She breathes out faintly.

Melinda May has posed:
"Keep pressure on the wounds," Chen tells Daniel needlessly, looking Peggy over with troubled eyes. The Director's breathy comment puts a very odd look on her face. "Don't call me that," she says reflexively. And then she looks momentarily confused. It passes quickly. "I'll be right back. With the *real* cavalry."

Pushing off the floor, she's on her feet and running towards the stairwell. "Wallace!" she shouts, taking steps two a time. She nearly bumps into Webber instead. "Webber." Her tone is cool, all businesses, but her words are sharp and quick. Almost like commands. "I found them. We need an abulance. Now. The Director's been shot and Sousa looks like Mohamed Ali used him for a punching bag."

Yeah, she doesn't know who Mohamed Ali is, either. Does it matter?

Not really, since she's already on her way back down the stairs to do what little she thinks she can. " Get help and meet me downstairs," she calls back over her shoulder.

She jogs back toward the room where Daniel and Peggy sit. She *does* know some field medicine. It's tougher without a first aid kit, but she can make do... which mostly means stripping ties and handkerchiefs from the men in the hallway to use as tourniquets and packing gauze as she goes. Not ideal, probably less than sanitary, but truly easier than trying to rip shirts. Shirts never rip nearly so easily in real life as they do in the movies.

She pauses to pick up Daniel's leg and return it to him. "Help's coming." Because, even Webber won't be stupid enough to discount her word in this instance, right? "Let me see what I can do."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Daniel smiles faintly at Peggy's comment blinking at Chen's response before nodding as she goes off to get help. "On it," he says about keeping pressure on Peggy's wounds, as he starts he looks to Peggy, "Glad you signed her up," he says softly squeezing her hand before getting back to work.

Upstairs Webber frowns, "Who do you think you are-" he begins until she mentions the Director's been shot. "I think there's a phone upstairs, I'll tell Webber and make that call," he says before heading off to do just that, only pausing for a moment to wonder aloud, "Who's Mohamed Ali?"

When May returns Daniel is keeping pressure on the wounds and gladly gives way to May. "There's a medkit over there," he nods to the battered white tin with the red cross on the front, "But it's crappy, not a lot to work with."

Peggy Carter has posed:
Right now, Peggy's entire goal in life is to remain awake. It's a hard fight. "...he... used the sulfa...powder. Stuff hurts... awful. Won't forget that..." Peggy elaborates, her words a little sluggish and slurred, like she was drunk and not just low on blood. But there's probably more of her on the floor now than there is the deadguy in the corner, but he died too fast to leak that much and she is, at least, dying slow.

While there might be some memories, or dim echoes of yes, Peggy gets shot entirely too much, this feels like the worst Lily Chen has ever seen or felt in her strange, mixed up mind. This is probably one of the times Margaret Carter should have died, if it wasn't for the luck of the universe and expertise of her team. As she hears the promise of more help, she gently gives up on her fight, eyes sliding shut as she lets her head lull fully against Daniel's leg.

Melinda May has posed:
Lily's dark eyes remain troubled. She grabs the med kit and, combined with the bits and pieces she gathered in the hallway, begins to triage Peggy's wounds first. "I don't think Sulfa will work well on gunshot wounds," she tells Daniel, since Peggy isn't really coherent any more. His cuts and swollen face, yeah. But not bleeding wounds like what Peggy has.

She pulls out what she can from the kit and improvises the rest, tourniqetting her leg and packing her shoulder.

"I'm not trying to be immodest," she tells Daniel, as she pulls off her jacket, "But you may want to close your eyes for a moment." Then, she strips off her shirt, revealing a camisole underneath, before shrugging her jacket back on and zipping it up. The shirt she uses to bind Peggy's leg. It's clean, absorbent, and she's run out of gauze and ties.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Daniel's worry spikes hard as Peggy's words come out slurred and sluggish like that, "Hey, c'mon Peg, you know the deal, you only get to sleep when we get you out of here, no cutting corners, we're almost there." Though as soon as her head lulls against his leg, he cradles her in his lap, "Peggy c'mon, wake the hell up!" he shouts, before looking towards the open door. "Who's ever out theremove your goddamn ass down here now!"

Sousa's attention returns to Chen and Peggy then, only for him to close his eyes when requested.

By the time Chen is almost finished Wallace and some of the men from upstairs arrive, taking in the scene with shocked expressions before Wallace says, "Get that stretcher over here," he calls. "Webber's got an ambo coming, what do you need, Chen?" he asks the woman.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Sadly, Peggy seems entirely out this time. The bleeding of the shoulder and stomach wound has slowed, but who knows if it's the sulfa powder, the pressure, or just lack of blood left in her. She'll be rag doll heavy in the arms of whomever gets her up and out of there. But, if she was awake, she's probably appreciate Wallace actually looking to Chen as some sort of command. It's a good sign. And the rest of the team is going to fall into order behind her, because that's where Wallace is going.

It also lets Daniel take some time to be injured, and focus on the woman they all know he's living with. The dangers of dating at work. Two of the team dash the stretcher in, leaning down to gently try to take Peggy from Daniel's side. "Sir, we've got her... there's a bus almost here." And Cortez dashes over to the far side of the room, scooping up Daniel's discarded leg, "...might... need this.. Sir." He offers, trying not to look too awkward.

Melinda May has posed:
"We've got to get her up and out of here," Chen tells Wallace, sliding automatically, thoughtlessly even, into field command. "She's lost too much blood. She's going to need a transfusion. We need to call ahead to the hospital and make sure they're prepped." She's not a doctor. She's working on suppressed memories that aren't hers of a time that's not now.

When the stretcher finally arrives, she steps back, letting the men do their job and get Carter up the stairs. "Help him up," she tells Cortez... or whomever is nearest. "You're in rough shape, too, Sousa," she says to Daniel. "You'll get to the hospital faster, and be there with Carter, if you let them help." She also remembers that from the future somehow. It's easier to get in as a patient than family. Then the LEO string pulling can begin.

She looks at Wallace. "As soon as they're safe, we need to figure out what Hydra was doing here. Will you do that? I'll stay with the Director and Sousa." Providing he doesn't have another task for her.

Despite her easy transition to command, there's enough of a pause in her manner to suggest she's expecting him to give a field leader's assent... or impose his own decision. Some part of her is aware of the newness of her place in this company.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Wallace served during the war and to him a medic was a medic, and you did what they told you if you wanted your buddies to pull through. He points to one of his men, "Shaw, go up and tell Webber to call ahead to the hospital NewYork-Presbyterian is closest, let them know we've got a high priority patient in need of a transfusion and a second patient in serious condition," he says after a glance to Sousa. Shaw nods and sprints back the way they came in, while two others help get Peggy on a stretcher.

Sousa takes the leg from Cortez, with a nod, holding it rather than putting it on, "Cortez, you're my new leg, come on, help me up and out of here," he says taking the other man's shoulder when he crouches down to help him up.

Wallace for his part nods to Chen, "We'll handle the scene," he says with a nod. "The Blonde in the boat got away with whatever she had in those boxes but we'll turn this place upside down, odds are with them rabbiting like they did they've left something behind."

Peggy Carter has posed:
Cortez gives Sousa a worried half smile, but also a comfortable, quick nod, "Got it, Director. My pleasure. Come on." He scoops one arm beneath Daniel's shoulders, but there's no mocking. Not a single comment about the fact he shouldn't be in the field. It goes to show just how much the team actually respects the Directors, despite their unconventional personas. No one is even questioning Lily now that Wallace has fallen into place listening to her commands.

Webber gets the message and the phone in the office is being put to use again. The sounds of an ambulance are now cutting through the city block and it's being brought around to where that van was trying to flee from the very peginning. Tw of the team are carrying Peggy's stretcher, but listening to Chen for further orders. When things go bad, even rather new, the SHIELD team works like clockwork.

Melinda May has posed:
When the abulance arrives, Chen flashes her shiny new SHIELD badge and makes sure she gets a ride along to the hospital. The team at the warehouse is well in hand, after all. They can afford to lose her. And, among the medical professionals and other agents, she schools her features into impassive professional, answering questions when and where she can.

In the end, though, even she is left in the waiting room as Peggy is doubtlessly rushed into surgery. She can do nothing but wait and check in on Sousa. They can fret together. Misery loves company.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Sousa is in an exam room, leg back on and getting the cut on the back of his hand sewn up, the jangling presence of worry coming off of him in waves. "She got in okay?" he asks Chen as soon as she steps into the room. As though Peggy would bleed out and die in the handful of meters between where he'd been led away and surgery.

Melinda May has posed:
Unfortunately, it does happen. People can bleed out as quickly as Daniel fears. He's been in the trenches. He knows this. "She did," Lily assures him. "They'll let us know what they can when they can. Likely when she's out. But... I think her chances are good." A wry smile touches her lips. "She's... tougher than she looks. And she's got more lives than a cat."

It's another one of those cryptic statements she's prone to making, no doubt. The certainty of future knowledge she can't consciously remember doubtlessly informing her.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Relief undercuts that worry coming off him hearing Peggy made it okay to surgery. There's a wry smile for Lily's comments about Peggy. "Don't I know it," he says of Peggy's knack for surviving near certain death. "The things I've seen her go through?" he shakes his head. "It's a wonder I haven't gone gray yet," he says.

Though tired and worried as he does frown slightly at Lily's certainty about Peggy. He looks to the nurse finishing up his stitches, "Thanks, want to give us the room, please?" he says and the woman nods giving him some final wound care instructions and telling him he needed to rest, given the dozen other injuries he sustained at the hands of HYDRA.

When she's gone, Daniel says, "You're talking like you've known Peggy for ages, where is all of that coming from?" he asks.

Melinda May has posed:
Lily shakes her head. "Observation, I suppose," she says, a faint frown settling on her face again. She lets out a vaguely frustrated sigh. "But I don't know. I just... feel it." She grimaces. "I know how stupid that sounds."

How weak. At least, to her. She can't even say why she feels like *that*, either.

"Really, I keep talking and I don't know why I'm talking. I shouldn't say anything, most of the time, I think." She sounds thoroughly irritated about that fact -- the need to keep talking.

"But SHIELD... *feels* important to me. Like it's been important for a long time. And I guess... Director Carter just kind of... embodies that."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Daniel takes it all in with a furrow forming in his brow, still a mystery was easier to think about than sitting helpless while Peggy is under the knife. "More weird than stupid," he says. "Which is pretty much par for the course lately," he offers with a tired sort of warmth.

"She does," he says of Peggy embodying SHIELD. "Right now the whole exists basically exists by her will alone, which is why I'm going to give her hell about tonight," he adds, with a shake of his head before he gets back around to where he was going. "The person you look like, Melinda May, she cared about Peggy and SHIELD in the same way, can't think that's a coincidence. Is there anything else you remember about her? About SHIELD?"

Melinda May has posed:
Lily shakes her head. "That's the problem, Agent Sousa," she says, lips pulling sideways in a faint grimace. "I don't *remember* anything. I *feel* things. I act and react on instinct. I say things without filtering them because I don't realize I'm going to say them until they're out." She shakes her head. "It only happens with regard to her or to the future of SHIELD."

She fall silent for a moment before she meets his eyes for another moment. "I know she's convinced I'm Melinda May, based, I think, partly on the timing of my arrival and partly on these instinctual reactions I have. But she may be wrong. She said as much. It could be I'm something else. Some... complication from whatever happened when you tried to send Agent May home."

She turns her head, looking at the city lights out the hospital window. "Regardless, there's no way to recreate whatever that was. So, there's no way to fix it. I'm here now. I need to make a life here."

Daniel Sousa has posed:
"Daniel," Sousa corrects gently, "At least when the troops aren't around," he says before he focuses in on what she's saying. "Peggy mentioned it could be, what you're talking about, a complication with what we did to send her home," he says. "I personally can't wrap my head around that stuff, but you're here now and that's what matters, and if you've signed up with SHIELD you've got a good start on making that life for yourself. We're just getting our feet under us, but it's a good group and we do good work, as you've seen," he says before looking down at his stitched and bandaged hand. "I'm sorry to be bugging you with all these questions, but I dunno, it's easier to think about this than," he gestures vaguely towards surgery. "Feel free to tell me to shut up, we're off the clock."

Melinda May has posed:
Lily shakes her head again, though this time there's a hint of a smile on her lips. "No, it's... it's good, actually. To talk." She looks vaguely perplexed at that thought. "Weird," she admits. "But good."

Her emotions roughly mirror his -- concern for Peggy distracted by the need to talk about just about anything else. And if curiosity about her own predicament is what drives it, so be it.

"Peggy is... still very guarded about what she tells me about Melinda," she says. "I think she's afraid she'll say the wrong thing. She feels... I think she feels guilty about it. I don't know. I know I feel guilty whenever we talk about it. So, maybe I'm just projecting onto her." It doesn't occur to her, it could be the reverse; it could be she's absorbing it, instead.

This open confessional, however, is very unlike Melinda May, who was easily as guarded as Peggy when she was here. Lily's emotions ride closer to the surface, sublimated only when she becomes 'The Specialist', so to speak. Only when she's on mission.

Daniel Sousa has posed:
"Well glad I'm not being a pain in the ass at least," Daniel says with a bit of a smile of his own. "And weird how?" he asks her, curiosity spiking though it's not the casual sort not the focused 'Agent' sort. He pulls his good leg up on the bed he's sitting on and nods to a vacant chair, he wasn't going to stand on ceremony,

"Things were complicated when it came to Melinda, so don't take it personal if Peggy doesn't tell you everything, or if I don't, there's a lot at stake, even now that she's gone home." The part about the guilt though gets a bit of a wry look as he rubs his brow, "Yeah, that sounds like Peggy, she and Melinda got close while she was here, and that doesn't happen easily with Peggy. I think she feels like if you're here because of something that happened when we sent Melinda home then it's on her to somehow make things right, since it was her operation." There's a fondness that's coupled with that statement, even if his tone is wry.

Melinda May has posed:
"Weird," Lily echoes. "Like talking very much at all is weird. Especially about anything... emotional, if you know what I mean." Because that's what this is. And it brings a fleeting look of distaste to her face, which then disappears quickly into a bewildered, apologetic half-shrug as she pushes that discomfort away.

"Weird like I feel I want to say something about Peggy always being that way, always taking on too much guilt for things that are outside of her control. But I don't know her well enough to say that. I feel like I do, but I know I don't." She shakes her head, moving to the chair. "It makes me think maybe I do have some sort of connection to Melinda May."

And, somewhere in the back of her mind, the understandable reluctance the two directors have about discussing May only makes her more determined to find out -- or remember -- all she can about her. About what happened to her.

"I get flashes, sometimes," she says after a moment. "Just... these moments of deja vu. Like I've seen a place before. Or I recognize a face before I'm introduced. I can't recall the name until it's said, but I know the face. I recognize threats, and I recognize people I should trust, even though I have no recollection of ever meeting them before." A wry smile touches her lips. "So. Yeah. Weird." There's not a better word for it.

She lays her hand on the back of the chair, but instead of sitting, she cants her head. "Do you want a coffee or something? I can go get one for you. Check in with the doctor?"

Daniel Sousa has posed:
Daniel chuckles, "That tracks, Melinda wasn't much for talking," he says, "Didn't broach on feelings with her but kinda got the sense if someone tried they'd just get a flat stare," he says before his expression becomes more curious as Lily hits the nail right on the head about Peggy. "That's Peggy to a T," he says. "At least when it comes to responsibility for what happens on her watch anyhow. She tries to put up this front of being coldly rational about all of that but it's just that, a front." Again a flash of fondness out of the Field Director, before he turns back to the topic at hand, "I'd say it's pretty likely you and Melinda have some sort of connection, given everything, and if you want to find out more about it, we'll definitely help you, you're one of us now, no matter how it is you came to be here."

The offer of coffee gets a warm smile of thanks, "That'd be great," he says. "And thanks for talking, it helped."