A Night on the Water
Roleplaying Log: A Night on the Water
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Peggy Carter and Phil Coulson discuss many things on the frigid waters.

Other Characters Referenced: Eddie Morales, Ulysses Arngrim, Nick Fury, Seneschal
IC Date: January 30, 2019
IC Location: The Love Boat
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 01 Feb 2019 04:52
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The cold front has finally settled in on New York City. Snow fell for a few hours in the morning, however nothing stuck and it slowly turned to cold rain that intermittently fell through the day and into the evening.

A boat has been reserved on the evening. It was easy to obtain, as only idiots, people who love to sail, people who have a job on the rivers and those who may have something to hide want to be out on the water with the cutting wind. Peggy Carter qualifies for maybe two of those and has asked Phil Coulson to meet her here. The last time they met was on a pier and it seems only fitting that their next meeting also include water.

The boat is small, little more than a sailboat. However, there is a cabin glows with warm light, though the deck of the boat is slick with cold rain and river water. A bundled figure sits by the edge, seemingly waiting.

* * *

Coulson steps on to the boat, completely bundled up himself. The boat is a good thing. A rental boat in the middle of the frozen river seems like a good place where they can talk in private and avoid any kind of surveillance. "We must," he says, "be crazy."

But there's a touch of humor to his tone, a touch of warmth that rivals the cold. As much as recent events have battered him and rocked him to his core, he's known for bouncing back. And some days, some circumstances, can still tug a smile from the corners of his lips. As it does now. His weary eyes smile too; a sign that in this, at least, he is not feigning.

He keeps his hands deep in the pockets of his heavy winter coat. The thing looks like it's got to be rated for winter camping.

* * *

The bundled figure looks up at Coulson to reveal a very red faced Peggy Carter. She hasn't been waiting incredibly long, but it's enough for the wind to cut through her layering. Quickly, once Coulson is aboard, though, she unravels the line and steers the boat out into the river.

"Oh yes, we certainly are," she grins at him.

It's windy, but not particularly difficult to navigate the boat into a safe part of the river and to then set anchor. Once that is done, she makes her way toward the lit cabin. Opening the door, she holds it open for Coulson before shutting it agains the cold. Inside, it is pleasantly warm, perhaps even stinging against the bright and biting cold on the river.

There's some food on the table along with wine and water and beer. Flowers are arranged, nice flatware has been set. "I told them I was planning a romantic evening to keep suspicion to a minimum," she tells Coulson.

* * *

Coulson's smile flickers. He is a flirt, he's always been a flirt, even when he never intends to take it any farther than that. He shucks off his coat, revealing black slacks and a grey turtleneck beneath. "Why, Agent Carter, you've had a crush on me all this time? I never knew," he teases.

But he sits down and suddenly tilts his head. "Did you cook all this?" Because that would have been an incredible amount of trouble to go through just to enjoy a clandestine meeting. He hopes she just got it boxed from a restaurant, because while he'll tease, having her put out like that seems to strike him a little uneasily.

* * *

Smirking, Peggy starts to pull off the multiple layers she put on in order to wait for Coulson out on the deck. Her hair sticks up in strange angles, static catching at things. Her face is bright red, even against her make up. Giving Coulson a bit of a look and a smirk, "If I had a crush on you all this time you would know, Agent Coulson."

As for the food on the table, she grins and shakes her head. "Don't be fresh. If I wished to truly woo you, I could put together the perfect dinner and bottle pairing." Peggy Carter is nothing if not method in her research. "However, I do not have much time for cooking, especially these days. This is from some place called La Grenouille? Feel free to tuck in. I'm not sure if it's still warm, but I was told this is was a good restaurant."

Settling herself down, she grabs for some of the dishes. "We have much to discuss, I fear. I would take it from the shouting I heard last week. Is there some place else you wish to start?"

* * *

'Don't be fresh' provokes a genuine laugh, if a soundless one that's little more than a few soft puffs of air.

But then it's to business. He tucks in. He cracks open a beer.

And all at once he looks uncommonly weary once more.

"I think that ground's been pretty well covered," he says softly. "SHIELD has made its decision. I do not agree with said decision. My lack of agreement doesn't really matter to the courses of action that will be taken, one way or the other. I'm just sorry it spilled outside of the realm of professionalism. I should have walked out of the room while the walking was good. I should have known when it comes to politics, a good solid argument mostly just makes people dig in more, not less."

* * *

"Yes, most likely." Peggy settles back with her plate and pours a glass of wine for herself. For clandestine meetings, this is rather comfortable now. "They have."

Sighing, she nods her head. "If some people are true believers, things do not tend to sway them." That means for one way or the other. The weariness and the fact of their new reality returns to Peggy as well.

"What is your next move, then?" She watches Phil and holds the wine glass. She knows his conviction, his friends, his beliefs. She wants to know what he wishes to do before she gets too far into things.

* * *

"About that? I honestly have no idea."

Phil Coulson, the man who thinks nine steps ahead, has no idea.

But the truth is, he doesn't. There's no spy trick that can fix this. No mission he can generate, no op that he can run. And if he's taken steps to shield Peggy's niece, well, those steps are already taken, and they don't shield well if he doesn't play that one close to his chest. Not that Peggy might not already know, but habit? Habit keeps Phil close-lipped.

"I heard you wanted Michael to register," he says. "Or asked him to, anyway. Want might not have figured into it at all."

* * *

And as a woman who knows Phil as a man who thinks nine steps ahead, Peggy looks to him skeptically. "Really?" In that point, she looks at him as if he is cutting her out of his plans. It's a split second and then she nods.

"I did ask him to, yes." And the fact that he knows about that is exactly the reason why she did it the way she did. "That's resolved, though."

Taking a drink of her wine, she sets it back down on the table even as it sways this way and that gently. She takes this all in for a moment, weighing things, weighing options, weighing trust. Then, she looks up at him. "Do we want to play the game, Phil, you and I? I didn't not cook you a romantic dinner to not get not lucky. Let's put our cards on the table."

* * *

"Now who's getting fresh?"

Coulson leans back in his chair. "Fine. Cards on the table? I don't know. Your niece wants to cut deals with non-problematic metas so we can capture the problematic ones while letting them move the non-problematic ones out under their noses. I only took command of the team again because I thought I might be a buffer while she sets all that up. "

If nothing else, he sincerely doubts Peggy will turn Sharon in.

"Other than that? What can I do?"

He chuffs. "Cards on the table. I don't even know…I nearly didn't come back. I almost walked. SHIELD's a mess. It's going in a direction I'm not sure I can live with. One of my mentees just revealed she was working for the man who killed me, so I'm even less sure of who to trust than I used to be."

He takes a long sip of the beer. His mouth twists into a cynical version of the Cheshire Cat smile. "And I'm sick of hearing myself talk about any of it."

* * *

Peggy nods as she learns this about Sharon. That makes a lot of sense. "Something's wrong in SHIELD," she agrees. In fact, as she says so, she scoops some more potatoes onto her plate and starts to pick at them. "I'm not sure what anyone is trying to do, but I guess that is par for the course in an espionage agency. What I know? This is something I gave my life for once and dedicated myself to twice. I'm going to figure out how to bring it out of this. Whatever this may be."

Sighing, she shakes her head and leans back. It seems very unlikely that she will turn Sharon in. "I understand. I am glad you came back. I need people I can trust. I will bring SHIELD back if it kills another Peggy Carter. I owe that to the woman I could have been. It seems one of the main things is that this Palmer that killed you needs to be taken care of and that he has people inside."

Sighing, she picks up her wine glass. "It seems so long ago to so many people, but to me? I formed SHIELD only three years ago. I remember what we stood for and what is happening now isn't it. I understand when things get larger, things get more complicated, but as far as I am concerned, we need to get back to basics."

* * *

And in that moment Coulson finds something he can grasp onto.

He's been searching. Striving. Feeling his convictions and the things he dedicated his life to slip out from beneath his fingers, as if he were hanging over a cliff while clutching a tuft of grass, feeling the erosion slipping away. Wondering if it was a mistake for anyone at all to have put anything into bringing him back. Feeling downright lost.

But Peggy Carter, who formed this agency, the agency he once believed in, wants to get back to basics. Something in him shifts. Some edge eases off the miasma of melancholy that's been looming around him. He nods firmly and says, "Alright. I can't go wrong following you, Agent Carter, and so I shall."

He digs into his potatoes with considerably more gusto, paying the beer a little less mind now, and then says: "I think we might able to get an inroad to Palmer…but I wanted to run it by you anyway. I think Eddie made a mistake, but I think she was also desperate. I think if we can meet her needs we can turn her into a triple agent. And she can lead us right to him."

* * *

Peggy is sure of herself, has a plan of action. While she knows that SHIELD is a bed of disruption and disloyalty, she remembers why it was founded. That has been clear to her since she arrived. The disparity, honestly, has been fitting that into what SHIELD is now.

"That sort of blind loyalty is what breeds the situation we live in now." Peggy gives Coulson a bit of a smile at that. "I could go wrong. However, I hope I don't."

As Coulson starts to tuck into his potatoes, she nods. "Eddie was your mentee? How did Palmer know her at all? And how could we trust her to be a triple agent?"

* * *

"I don't know," Coulson says grimly. "I don't think she knows either. He approached her at one of her flophouses. He seems to know a whole lot of things he has no business knowing. And he's either gotten his hands on some of the alien tech he was always obsessing over, or he's grown himself some abilities since I saw him last. Either way, he's formidable. As for trust, well, that I'm not sure of. She swore she had no idea who she was working for. She said she did it because she wanted money to pay a doctor who claimed he could get rid of her powers. They're Hell for her to live with. Gave me everything on my word I'd put her in an isolation pod when she got sent to the Raft. Actually wanted solitary the rest of her life. It's more that psychological issue than her loyalty I'm worried about. I think right now she'd do anything to redeem herself. I'm hoping SHIELD has something that can help her. Surely in all our medical science, technology developed for the Raft, whatever, there's something. Even a temporary dampener."

He gives a humorless laugh. "I'm sure any meta who knows or heard we were developing anything like that might think it an evil aimed their way, but there are still also those for who powers are as much a curse as a blessing."

* * *

Peggy takes all this information in at a rate of about half a potato a second while she listens to Coulson. That's how she attempts to settle this information. "I certainly know he was able to get into one of SHIELD's most secure facilities with members of the Brotherhood and in that time stab you." They're talking facts now. "That is certainly formidable."

As for Eddie, she frowns. "If you think she can be a triple agent? If you think she won't use that opportunity to arrange another attempt for a doctor, then I will trust you. You know her and I do not. However, she came into SHIELD for a reason, it seems. I'm not sure we have something to help her and to simply offer her that carrot stick makes us no better than your Palmer. However, we can certainly try to make that happen. We have a rather extensive research and development department. I'll talk to Agent Shepherd about it."

* * *

"Peggy…"

He realizes she might not know.

He clears his throat. "One of five Level 9s in the agency is one of the moles. Way back in the Bucky Barnes trial, I had to team up with a local street hero to go retrieve some of the files that served as evidence in the trial. The ones about all of Hydra's mind control efforts and experiments over the past many decades. Files that had been sent to a Hydra server in Tennessee. I found other files deleted, moved to different servers, locked up with Level 9 access, made classified. We were only able to rule out Hand. That leaves three. Four, I guess, if I could bring myself to believe for a second that Fury could possibly be Hydra."

He looks pained. His mentee already sold out. He's hoping his mentor didn't.

"I would…be very careful. What I told Shepherd. Until we can find a way to rule him out. One of my team had a suspicious encounter with one of his pilots, but not suspicious enough to prove a damned things. He's…"

He pushes his potatoes around on his plate before firmly forcing himself to eat a bite of steak instead. He chews it, swallows it (it's so good, but the conversation itself is hard to swallow).

"He's my top suspect now."

* * *

It's clear by the look on Peggy's face while she is not keeping up appearances that she did //not/ know. "One of five?" That's, also new to her.

The fact that things are this high up is something she has to frown. Be careful. "Alright." She isn't about to say anything about it. Instead, she piles more food onto her plate. "If he is, then we'll at least we have suspects. Let's work with Eddie as you can. I have another two to send your way: Ulysses and Daisy. They'll be looking into what Eddie may or may not have done to our servers. See what you can find of them and we'll work from there."

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