5728/Coming Clean with the Boss

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Coming Clean with the Boss
Date of Scene: 26 March 2021
Location: Carter-Sousa Home - Long Island
Synopsis: Peggy catches Bobbi up on the investigation, but there's too many leads and not enough wins before their time could run out.
Cast of Characters: Peggy Carter, Bobbi Morse

Peggy Carter has posed:
Much like any of the missions done on this too-long HYDRA hunt, Peggy left Bobbi no official note about it. No email, phone call on SHIELD phones. Nothing but a passed napkin in the hall, underhand to be hidden from cameras, and a momentary look as she commented on maybe catching up over tea later. The note is a simple one: 'Would like to talk about things. Somewhere safe. I'll be there 6 pm on. 1221 Hempstead Terrace, Long Island. Please destroy after reading.' It's very old school spy. It's probably annoying the heck out of Bobbi.

But having relieved Lance from baby sitting duty a little before six, Peggy now sits alone in the ghostly bones of her old home. She's entirely failed at putting away anything personal but has fixed a few things. A blanket is over the back of the couch that has been sun bleached and a rug over that part of the carpet. A few dusty places even the cleaners missed have been gotten. She's rearranged her old desk with the old files put away and some of the new (old) ones she's working on out. Vogel has had three square (take out) meals from good places. She's now sitting at that desk, going over the files from the Pacifica. She looks worn around the edges. Thinner than normal, in her cheeks and shoulders. She's not sleeping well.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    The sound of a motorcycle engine in the drive way, shutting off. Morse is here. She got the note - it is high time she got some answers. Lance's babbling about a bunch of nefarious business men in suits was confusing enough; let alone a previously unknown head of hydra being captured by Peggy's team. Things escalated quickly and it seems the group is out on a limb with no safety net to catch them.

    Helmet off, Bobbi shakes out her long blonde hair and pauses as she notices the name on the letter box "The Carter-Sousa's" This has her eyes widen a touch in surprise. Director Carter and Chef Sousa? she had no idea. Peggy still has plenty of secrets and this house was yet the latest. There's a knock on the door and then she enters. "It's Bobbi," she calls out to avoid getting an undeserved ICER to the chest.

    Still wearing her riding leathers her eyes surveil the living room of the house. Like a time capsule, frozen in place. Pictures on the walls, her eyes roam over them as she takes slow steps in to the place. Bronzed baby shoes on the mantel. Peggy and Daniel got married? Her eyebrows raise.. she did better than Bobbi's ever managed to do in this job.

    She rounds the corner in to the study and sees Peggy. "You look dreadful," she says and unzips her riding jacket, placing it on a spare chair, then takes a seat down across from her. She's not even wearing her heart rate monitor, that's how seriously she's taking this Peggy-level paranoia. No gadgets, no internet connectivity, no signals.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The older woman is on her feet already, the desk and work abandoned the moment she heard that motorcycle come up. She had her ICER in hand just in case it wasn't who she expected, but it's already being slipped beneath her shoulder by the time she opens the door for the blonde and invites her into the strange time capsule of a place. She gives a tired, professional smile and a respectful nod before looking out behind the woman. Just double checking she wasn't followed. Then the door is shut and triple locked once more.

"Thank you for coming out. I know Long Island seems like another world but... it was the better choice for keeping our guest. And might as well put the old place to *some* use." Peggy states purposefully too casually, like she's talking about pulling an old dress out of the closet.

She nods the woman the rest of the way in, offering a seat on the achingly retro couch. There's a stack of fresh dot matrix printed files there. Nothing that touched a network, but the information is there. "Everything we have on Vogel. His financial connections. Photos of the HYDRA Quinjets he supplied that match our own. A report of when we found him and two other heads of HYDRA in the Vatican City. Everything I don't dare put on a SHIELD server anywhere is there. There's a non-networked, wireless off tablet with more as well. I keep reports, I just... I can't trust SHIELD, Bobbi. There's someone high up turned against us, if not a few people. I *know* their are. And they're getting as close as we are." Probably the reasons she's not looking so good.

"Do you want...tea...or coffee or something, for the read?"

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi's expression becomes perplexed as she looks at all the printed reports. "You know you can get offline tablets for $50 at a best buy?," she says but.. this is what she's being given. Her expression darkens a touch as 'the guest' is mentioned though and she says, "I believe you promised tea?"

    Her reading glasses are taken out of her bag and donned. She starts to look over the printed materials and asks, "You picked up Vogel, but not Gyver? Even though the Gyver family was Paperclip. Hmm," she says thinking out loud as she tries to absorb what has been found by Peggy's team so far.

    "If Vogel's claim is to be believed, then Paperclip was just a reshuffling of HYDRA resources when the Nazis lost? Disturbing. Very disturbing," she says as she starts to sort the papers in to her own piles based on a mental mud map she's creating. "Huttz ... and we've never even heard of these people before. Except they provide SHIELD technology - and HYDRA at the same time. It makes sense, this technology cannot be created in a vacuum. Someone has to field test it for them."

    She leans back and ponders. "A HYDRA temple? like it's some sort of religion? or cult? or tradition? Peggy you and your team have uncovered more about HYDRA than anyone in SHIELD has ever known before," she says in surprise and looks over the notes, "Vogel has given us the name of A Russian spy.. and somehow Senator Roberto Feavits fits in to this complex mess too. I got the impression he might be AIM, or perhaps a go between. Didn't strike me as HYDRA but I bet may be he knows someone who is."

    She nibbles on the inside of her cheek as she turns over pages like she's reading an engrossing novel, which for her these reports are. "Kirk Vogel, Vasily Karpov, Roberto Feavits, Kathlene Huttz, Jason Gyver... I don't get it, none of these people have any connection at all. And what's the connection to List and Strucker?"

    She takes off her glasses and rubs her eyes. "This is a lot.. sort of a grand conspiracy. How do these people know each other - is it all familial? or something else?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
Tea is made. And it's the good tea (of course it is), one of the first, fresh things that Peggy brought back into this ghost of a house was proper gunpowder black and lady gray tea. Tonight it's lady gray, steeping in a large pot, and she pours it out after four minutes between two mugs. Sugar and cream is brought, though she doesn't use them. It's all painfully English and genteel, despite the discussions they are having. A scrape towards normalcy with the world spinning.

"Power...money and power, for one. If Vogel is to be believed, and I think we can get more clarity out of him, this has been set up for generations. Not just one. Many. Over a hundred years. Ties that go back before the war. Modern conspiracy theorists would call it something near to the Iluminati, I believe... And seeing their ties, power...Money? I can't fully disagree. HYDRA has many different heads and faces. They've been pulling many strings. I just want them to stop pulling *ours*." Peggy admits with a bit more of a hiss behind her nornally emotionless, professional voice.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi nods and sets the papers down. Tea. Tea is an important distraction as she considers the scope of what Peggy is on to. "If they're not pulling our strings, it'll be easier for us to take them down. Vogel stated in your interrogation that he doesn't know if there is HYDRA in SHIELD but he assumes there would be. He also states he doesn't know who the other heads of HYDRA are. I'd like to know how many there are.. it'll be easier to keep score."

    She frowns a moment and says, "These people seem very different to Red Skull and Whitehall. Whitehall set up 'Super SHIELD' for goodness sake. He had his agents running around wearing a SHIELD logo with an SS on top of it.. not at all subtle. Where as... well, we've simply not known about any of these people at all."

    She sighs and sips the tea, "You do tea much better than Hunter." It's Hunter right now, she's still pissed at him. He can be Lance again when he apologises. "So.. let's talk tactics. Why did you grab Vogel? usually when we want to take a big player out of the picture we set up a dragnet to see who responds to the disappearance. I get.. you don't have the resources to do that right now because you don't know who can be trusted in SHIELD..."

    She grimaces at that. Now she's wondering too. At least she has the freedom to choose who works for her now. The conspiracy Peggy has put together is many of the agents she trusts. "I'd have to guess that at least one level 8 commander is HYDRA given the kind of access they have to things."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Now, at least, you see my dilemma. It killed me to distrust every inch of what I worked my entire life for, Bobbi, but I can save it, I don't care of you all call me treasonous in the end. And I know you're...angry with Hunter. I don't think he understood entirely what he was getting into either, but he's loyal and would give his life as fast as any of us. He's reliable and I needed him. If you want to be pissed with anyone, it's me, not him. He was everything I needed him to be when... when I needed it."

She lets out a slow breath, taking a deeper sip of her tea as she tries to focus herself about it all. Bobbi is seeing the files for the first time that have been swimming in Peggy's head for weeks. "Vogel was an attack of opportunity. He was in Philadelphia, I confirmed him for HYDRA, I had a crew. We did it neat and clean, made it look like AIM. Probably the cleanest operation yet. Pacifica, well... we did that official through SHIELD. But I copied all the files just in case things go missing." She nods towards the desk, "...what I've been working on going through now."

tThen her eyes trace across the house, taking in a few of the photos, the strange mantel again, her old record player. "...and I should have brought him here in the first place. That was my mistake. I've been... avoiding it, and Lance got caught in that."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi presses her lips together in displeasure as Peggy sings Lance's praises. "That's great that he was a good agent for you Peggy. That's not why I'm pissed at him," she says and then sighs. "Imagine your ..." she pauses and looks at the photos, "Okay imagine your husband tells you you don't put enough time aside from your work life to be with him, so you re-arrange your life to make sure you have a nice separation of work and private life. Then he turns around and does the exact opposite by locking a head of HYDRA up in his bathroom."

    She glowers again and says, "And may be I do blame you a little bit, but he's a grown man that makes his own dumbass decisions. Our relationship can't be based on this notion that somehow it's all my fault when clearly he's just as terrible at this as I am. Until he admits he's just as much of a jerk as me I'm going to remain pissed at him. It's as simple as that."

    She shakes her head and says, "And I'm sorry, but this .. I know we've gotten to know each other well since you've come back but this doesn't concern you. Hunter is my problem. I'm the one who asked him to stay and I don't regret that. I regret letting him bully me in to thinking it was me that messed up our previous attempts at being together."

    She exhales a long held breath and puts the tea down, her hands actually shaking a touch holding her glasses. "You of all people should know how much it hurts to betray yourself like that."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"...Ah. Yes. I had not...been aware of those conversations." A bittersweet smile crosses her ever-red lips as she looks from Daniel's photo back to Bobbi. "I suppose I was lucky. Daniel and I never had those conversations. We simply lived to work. There were still SHIELD files on the bedside table when I... straightened up last night." She admits quietly. From the look of the place, they might still be there.

Peggy then reaches her hands up, palms forward, a surrender sort of gesture. "I don't want to push it and, in truth, it's no place of mine to pry into your personal life. No, sadly. We've not had the chance to be that... close. All I am saying is that I appreciate him in the field. And now I have that liability out of his hair."

Dark eyes flicker back towards the kitchen, the heavy steel door that leads down to the panic room and bomb shelter locked four different ways, but quite secure. Still, it's as if she can feel his presence behind there. The evil she has trapped in her own home. "I've been... kinder to our guest. Three good meals. He's got a nice bed down there, a few soft cover books. Someone needs to go down and play good cop with him because he knows me too well, but we might be able to get more out of him. And, while I'll kill in the field, I'm not an executioner. THis is not currently life and death. So... prisoner he remains./'

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    She shrugs her shoulders and picks up the tea again. "The man just infuriates me sometimes. He blows things up way out of proportion and somehow manages to make me look like the bad guy every time. And then, when things are going well.. they go really really well." She grimaces a touch and sips more of the tea.

    Her expression changes, "It's weird to talk to you about this stuff. You have been the director of SHIELD most of its existence.. and here I am pointing out to you that we're now on a ticking clock and we have no idea just how long that clock it. Pacifica is information acquired by tricking Huttz and abducting Vogel. May's report says Huttz believed the Cabal were behind the attack on the Vatican.."

    She motions to the files taken from Pacifica, "But it'd be quite evident now that either it was us, or someone willing to sell us that information." She pauses and lifts a finger, "Quick question... who the hell are the Cabal?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
A slight smirk pulls at her lips, "Is it weird to be talking to me about your personal life, or the cracks in an organization which I lead for far longer than my natural life, and still managed to let rats in the door?" Peggy's trying to keep it light, but every inch of her aches over this. The exhaustion doesn't help, but there's clear edges around her words. She blames herself and she accepts that blame.

One more sip of her tea is taken, and then Peggy's back on her feet. She needs to wear a few more divets in the old carpet to think instead of sitting there. It's old habit. "I have no bloody clue who the Cabal are. I... *think*, it is some opposing faction of HYDRA. A breakaway group, or another group trying to pull the strings. That is the best I can get so far. Maybe, if we keep trying with Vogel, we can get more. Meanwhile, I know we lost List, possibly just by minutes at the Pacifica. He's the next to hunt down on my list and he is far more in Whitehall territory. It's almost comforting to go back to the familiar, truly evil face of HYDRA."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    She pauses and picks up various pieces of paper again. "So.. Vogel. You want someone to play good cop with him. I think I might have someone," she says as she puts her glasses back on and reads the papers. "The Sphere. This is the same place we went to, that old AIM facility. HYDRA paid AIM to make a computer that can .. predict the future? Great. And they've been following some crazy plan it came up with? Great. That place is dangerous but if there's intelligence to be gotten there - good. However, I'd feel safer extracting that intelligence if we've cleansed SHIELD of our mole problem."

    "We're not going to find HYDRA moles by lifting a hand and saying Hail HYDRA. They must have a code phrase they're waiting for -- and the only way we're going to learn what that is is to figure out which head of HYDRA is in charge of them. Could be the president, could be a basement dweller.. though all your intelligence suggests someone with power and money."

    She squints a bit and says, "I can't believe we're sitting here and saying capitalism is the enemy in a non-ironic 'money is evil' kind of way..." She takes another sip of the tea and says, "Whatever List is up to it's going to be bad news. So.. we have three priorities. Identifying a way to expose the traitors inside SHIELD; stopping whatever crazy List is up to, and if in the midst of that we get a whiff of where Strucker has been hiding even better; acquiring 'the plan' HYDRA have been playing out this whole time and stopping it dead in its tracks."

    She flops back a bit on the couch again and sips her tea, "We need SHIELD to do this. It's too big. So finding a way to expose the traitors in SHIELD has to be job number one for your team Peggy. We can use SHIELD as-is to fight List because from the sounds of it," she flops some papers on to the coffee table, "There's no love lost between Vogel and List."

Peggy Carter has posed:
A little snerk of a laugh escapes her lips as Bobbi comments about money being the root of all evil. Peggy gives a half shrug and an agreeing tilt of her head. "I know it sounds ridiculous but... That's where we are. And getting the moles out of SHIELD has been a priority, but they are good. I need Daisy more, to keep running traces on missing files. We'll see what we can catch if anything goes missing from the Pacifica files."

There is interest in her tired, dark eyes as Bobbi says she might have someone to play nice. Her head tilts in interest. "I was going to tap in May. He's heard her voice, but he hasn't seen her, and she was the... Kindest in the inital interrogation. He's pretty certain she saves his life. But I'm open to other suggestions. They just... trusted. Through and through. Not just with your life, but with all of our lives. The whole future of SHIELD. That's what this means, and why I've been so damn quiet. So... here we are. You know where I'll be. We're taking shifts baby sitting him and keeping most of the intel here now."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi nods her head, "You should tap Fitz in to this group and get him to design a new comms system that doesn't use this chip from Huttz's telecommunication company." She taps her chin a moment and says, "I have been having discussions with Hill about who my level 7 will be -- and it's clear all the good level 7s have been taken. So we're looking at promoting someone. Well, a certain someones personnel record ended up on my desk that raised both my eyebrows."

    "Agent Barton. He's been a good friend for a long time. At one point I thought may be I even fancied him a bit.. but then I met Hunter, so, you know. Possibly Clint dodged a bullet on that one," she says with a playful smirk.

    "The point being.. you can't have a handler be the good cop. They have to be the neutral cop, the one who listens and asks insightful questions. Good cop is there to make them feel like the world cares about them, prop up their ego. Bad cop is there to remind them they don't have any real choices. So the handler becomes the one that they can be honest with. A mark will lie to the good cop because they don't want them to see them as a monster, and they will lie to a bad cop because they don't trust them not to use information against them."

    "Now.. trusting Clint not to be HYDRA? Well, I mean, I trust him with my life any day of the week and he is an Avenger... I'd propose you tap him to play the handler for Vogel. Sure, use May to be good cop too. It works. What I'm interested in is considering a plan to figure out how to expose the corruption in SHIELD. They must have a means of coordinating their efforts otherwise what's the point..."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"I... do not know Barton well. He's always off on missions when I get the chance." Peggy narrows her eyes a bit at Bobbi, almost trying to see through the woman. To really weigh just how much she can trust this recommendation. But she's got to expand the team a little bit, and she does trust Bobbi.

She drags in a slow breath through her nose and just nods. "We've been meaning to talk to Fitz about it anyway. Jemma assisted with the transfer operation, it was just a matter of time. So... Fitz with the comms chips, Barton and May on Vogel. I'll keep coordinating on this side, playing babysitter, and reporting to the office like it's another day in the life. Who needs sleep?" She smirks as she says that, leaning over to scoop up her tea and knock back the rest of it in a deep gulp.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    Bobbi nods her head and says, "You know Fury put a note in the file on this - whatever Carter wants Carter gets. I don't know what you said to the man.. but you're the boss." She smiles and finishes the tea, setting the cup down and thinking for a moment. "I should officially assign you to an undercover operation so you don't have to keep turning up at SHIELD. Then you can get some sleep which you clearly need."

    She looks around the house, "This is a terrible place to run such an important operation but I don't have any better suggestions. "What use is my new found commander power if not to cover for things like this. Give me a copy of the guard schedule and I'll make sure it.. makes sense in case anyone in SHIELD is looking for the person currently babysitting Vogel."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Right now, Lance has first shift, I've got second, May has third. I wouldn't mind putting a few other people on that but... " Peggy falls quiet for a second. She's still having a bit of trouble bringing other people here. A bittersweet smile flickers across her lips as she looks at the photos on the wall and the fireplace's mantel. "I should probably clean up before more... people come over. I tried the other night but... didn't have the heart." Some of those photos are very odd. There is an asian woman that looks so identical to May, Bobbi might think they took that many photos together in the little bit of time May was time displaced. But one of them includes wedding photos, and Peggy wasn't married then.

"If you want to stick me on something undercover, you're the boss in that case. I can keep the juggling act up. Not really in the mood for sleep anyway, I have tried." She gives a reassuring smile. The sort of smile that acknowledges yes, she's tired, but she's got this.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
    She smiles and says, "Well.. as your boss I require you to schedule sleep." Her eyes roam around the room and she shakes her head. "This is very.. revealing. I don't think you should take any of it down. I'd love to hear more about it. I didn't know you married Chief Sousa, or that you had any children."

    She picks up more of the papers and sets her glasses back in place and reads, "I'm probably going to be reading this stuff for a while.. you know since we've reset from the modern age back to the SSR apparently. So, don't let me hold you up with your reading from Pacifica. If there's any mention of success in transferring Inhuman abilities, I'd like to hear about that. Ideally you'll tell me they've gotten no where. I'd be very very happy to hear that."

    She does not mention that she and Jemma accidentally theorised a way to transfer Inhuman abilities, entirely, from person to person just the other day. The thought they had concocted sent shivers down their spines and they both immediately ceased intellectual pursuit of the idea any further.

Peggy Carter has posed:
A quiet look is given across the wall again as Bobbi mentions she should leave it up. Peggy's smile is strange. A smile that is years away for a few heartbeats, "It was... a very long time ago. Didn't seem very relevant nowadays. And we kept things fairly quiet. People had different ideas of working mothers, back in the day. But we were happy. For... a few years, we were... Very happy." Peggy admits softly. For a moment, the ache behind her voice is practically visceral. She still misses him, this many decades later.

She then shakes it off, clearing her throat and leaning down to pour one more cup of tea for herself, "Yes. Of course. Back to work. There's plenty of tea. We can order some food if you need to eat. May should be coming to take night shift... Eventually. But... I'll be here, if you need anything." Then Peggy turns on the ball of her foot, fresh mug of tea in hand. Her eyes shut against a momentary wave of that dizziness, not certain if it's simple exhaustion or the vague incidents which have been happening off and on for weeks now. It's no matter, but she's happy for an excuse to return to her desk and her work.