5408/Tea in Nepal

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Tea in Nepal
Date of Scene: 02 March 2021
Location: Afterlife Settlement - Nepal
Synopsis: May and Peggy take a few moments in Nepal to debrief about things entirely unrelated to the Inhuman crisis. Namely, the HYDRA crisis. There's always something.
Cast of Characters: Peggy Carter, Melinda May

Peggy Carter has posed:
If the bit of dizziness is lingering, Peggy's certainly not showing it. She lets May lead her back towards the tent area, though her brows arch to the younger woman. "Somewhere special you keep the good tea that over nosy agents won't find it?" Peggy asks quietly, not really talking about tea, but it's casual enough that it probably sounds like it is to anyone but May, who knows how quiet they need to be about certain things. Peggy follows her through the settlement, well... As far as they can go, still keeping eyes out on everything.

Melinda May has posed:
May glances sidelong at Peggy, and nods her understanding. She stops by the back of QJ01 to pick up a couple of bottles of water. Passing one to Peggy, she slips under the jet's wing and starts strolling out past its nose towards the treeline a little ways away. A narrow game trail wends through the trees, emerging only a little while later to a clearing on the edge of a bluff. The trees aren't so thick, as they pass through them, that they can't see others approach. And the bluff clearning is wide enough, deep enough, that no one's getting close enough to them to overhear without them being fully aware of the approach.

"Saw this spot on the flight in," she says, twisting the cap off her bottle. It's about as good as anything around here. Sensors on the jet haven't shown much in the way of technology, especially beyond the confines of the village. If there is anything, it'll be Inhuman and there's nothing we can do about it."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Long as they aren't going to try to take our heads for taking a stroll, it's as good a spot as any." Peggy accepts the water, screwing off the top of the bottle and taking a long, deep drink. She's spent more time in QuinJets than on the ground lately and the jet lag might be really setting in, among other things. She's quite content to sink down into the grass, her back against one of those sparse trees, dark eyes looking over the path that they came in on. She trusts May to watch the other direction.

"...How are you holding up?" She asks softly, once they are both settled in over the water. "How'd you finish up in Rome?"

Melinda May has posed:
May lowers to set her back against the same tree, at an angle away from Peggy that lets her cover the rest of viewing arc. "We should be fine," she says. "The rule is: No going into the village unless you're Inhuman and have accompaniment. We've gone the opposite way. They might wonder why, but they shouldn't complain."

She takes another sip of her water and rests her forearm on a bent knee, looking out at the mountains beyond the bluff. "I'm fine. A helluva lot better than Morse, certainly. But they're talking like the Index can never be breached, never be weaponized against these people, and that's bullshit." And it irritates her. Because she's *been* that weapon.

The question about Rome elicits a snirk from her. "It was nothing I couldn't handle." She glances over her shoulder at her friend. "Actually, I was able to track down the blonde. Katheirne Huttz. CEO of Pucktech and, apparently, one of the heads of HYDRA." Her expression sobers. "I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions. I took it." There's a long moment of tense silence as May mulls over what all she found out. "Fuck, Peggy. This is bigger than any of us knew."

Peggy Carter has posed:
While the inhumans matter is interesting and a bit worrisome, the other words from May are far more of both. Peggy sits up a bit straighter, eyes going wide as she hears that information. "What? I mean... I figured it did. I was worried this went.. fairly close to the top. Something I missed all those years ago. Hell, maybe even someone I brought into the organization. Lay it on me. What did you find? I really need to get out of here and back on that hunt, especially if it's worse than we ever imagined..."

Melinda May has posed:
May starts ticking names off on her fingers. "Vogel, Gyver, List. Those are the names Huttz dropped. Add her to it, and you've got 4 operating in the US alone. Vogel might operate primarily out of Italy, but he owns the Pacifica Complex in L.A., which is where Dr. Helmut List is, apparently, doing extensive research into x-genes, possibly inhuman genes as well. Certainly, it has something to do with metahuman development. Huttz, apparently, thinks they're on the wrong track, but she can't gainsay Vogel."

She chuffs a bit of air at that. "But then there's that temple. The thing's been around since at least the rennaissance. And, according to Huttz, it's supposedly the 'true face' of Hydra. It's a religion to them, Peggy. Huttz believes Vogel and List are on the wrong track because they're following plans set down by Johann Schmidt, instead of by whatever this religion is. She quoted someone named Arturo Malevolo." Yeah. Arthur Evil. There's a name, for sure. "'We stand between the right and the wrong, human nature dictates that this is the eye of the storm where we shall call home.' That's the quote she recited. And she talked about how they're actually a neutral party -- playing both sides against the middle. They don't care who wins, because they're backing both sides. Like arms dealers selling to both factions on a battlefield."

She takes another swig, and for a moment wishes it were whiskey. "Oh. And there's another faction out there -- the Cabal. I have *no* idea who the hell they are. Or what their game is. Only that Huttz thinks our team was one of theirs."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Well, that is one weight off my chest, that she doesn't think it was SHIELD? That's good. We can still keep quiet and underground about this all for the time being. Buy ourselves a bit more time, it seems. Good." Peggy confirms gently, even if it's clear this all settles heavy on her. "...they're the next generation of HYDRA. I know Gyver. Or, well...I knew his grandfather. We lost his father in this mess and now here he is. I recognized one of the guards at the site we hit, he's old HYDRA, but not one of their leaders... not the hard core HYDRA of earlier years."

Peggy lets out another, slower beath, letting her back sink a bit deeper into the tree as she considers all the information that May laid out in front her. It's much to process, but good news that they have all of it. "...Excellent work. I wish I could give you a promotion, or a bonus, or...something other than anonymous praise against a tree that you can't even take back to SHIELD. No word on anyone they have in our organization yet, hmm?"

Melinda May has posed:
"No," May says, shaking her head. "But they almost don't need to, Peggy. Huttz's company, Pucktech, supplies almost all of our advanced encryption chips. They've got fingers in the US military, the UK, China, Russia... the world."

She doesn't want a promotion. Promotions mean turning into Phil or Gonzalez. She'll pass. A vacation, though. When all this is over, she'd settle for a vacation. Maybe a nice beach somewhere, with a cabana boy.

Peggy Carter has posed:
A little groan escapes her lips as she hears that. She drags one hand across her forehead. "Fuck." It's rare that Peggy swears, really swears, but this is one of those situations. "And we can't even tell half the staff because we don't know who in house to trace yet. I guess if we can start going through files and see who decided to award Pucktech that contract, that might be a start..." Peggy's eyes are distant, lost in the beautiful day beyond them, as she tries to run scenarios in her head.

Melinda May has posed:
"Daisy helped me trace a lot of this research," May says. "She's clean. Bobbi... Hunter will vouch for her. I *think* she's clean. But I also think she's a liability because of her powers and health conditions. I'd bet my life on Phil, though."

She nods about running down Pucktech, her own gaze turning outward. "I want to check out Pacifica, too. I want to know exactly what List is up to and how it connects to Vogel. The religion may be a factor, but you and I both know that the Red Skull's doctrine is bad enough all on its own. I don't care if HYDRA is using magic or science, it's all bad news."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"It is. And HYDRA had a lot of advanced tech masquerading as magic and..." Peggy grimaces to admit, "Some of the opposite too. We saw it in their plasma weapons, back in the day. We know that was tesseract power now but, back then, we just figured they'd cracked an energy code we hadn't." Peggy admits gently, lips pulled into a quiet line. "Would be nice to get Phil alone to talk about all this. He might be able to peek into things we both can't. But...it means I need to get back to SHIELD. I'm no help here... Just going to piss off the lady in charge more, when she realizes I was around for the beginning of it all."

Melinda May has posed:
May gives a wry smile. "Maybe," she shrugs. "I, for one, like to know you've got my back on a mission." She can't really fault the other woman's retreat, however. God knows, she'd retreat if she could. "I'm here because Gonzales needs a Field Leader out here and Morse is compromised." A beat. "Well. If nothing else, she should be on the disabled list for a while." Apparently, the Asian woman has serious issues with Bobbi's physical preparedness for field work.

"But, yeah. Go home. I've got this." She doesn't like it. But she does. "If I think of anything else, I'll get you a message somehow."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"She should." Even if there is a moment Peggy worries she should as well. "But...I'm glad you're here. Gonzales clearly trusts you, and it means I have eyes I trust on the ground. I'll...stay if you want. But I think if they offer me a rotation to go back, I'm going. We can't drop the ball on this HYDRA mess, not as we're just starting to put it all together." Then Peggy slowly stands up, finishing off her bottle of water. "We should get back before people do get suspicious. Thanks for the update. I owe you a tropical vacation after this all, if nothing else." Peggy offers with an off hand smile before she starts leading back to the settlement, an uncomfortable quiet between them.