Deep Intel
Roleplaying Log: Deep Intel
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Phil and Eddie come up with a new play against Palmer. It's as crazy as it sounds.

Other Characters Referenced: Peggy Carter, Daisy Johnson, Seneschal (Benjamin Palmer), Courtier
IC Date: March 18, 2019
IC Location: Roof of the Trike
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Mar 2019 17:59
Rating & Warnings: Language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Ever since rejoining SHIELD, Eddie technically lives on premises. Though there are some nights she spends away doing God Knows What, the majority she spends haunting the halls, working out in the gym, and generally avoiding social situations. Thus it is Known, at least for her team, that she comes up to the rooftop of the Trike to smoke, using her pass card and security clearance so no alarms go off either on the stairwell access or the proximity alarms. She's currently propped up against the ductwork that houses a large exhaust fan, and the fragrant smoke that is curling up from the hand rolled paper is most assuredly not of the nicotine variety.

*

The exhaust fan is perfect. There are probably both cameras and bugs up here, but the roar of the fan will give nothing but static to the latter, and the former will only show an Agent talking to her assigned CO. It's unlikely any bugs are even anywhere near the fan as that would just be a waste of a listening device.

Even here, Agents find pockets where they can be as close to alone as any Agent of SHIELD ever is.

Coulson slips up to the roof and stands downwind of the smoke. "I'm glad I caught you."

*

If Eddie is surprised by Coulson's approach, like any good spy she doesn't show it. Sure, she heard him from a mile away. Absolutely! That's why she just gives a casual exhale of smoke with an upwards cant of her lips that has it curling back through her nose. "I have a prescription." She tells him with a smile taking its lazy time in spreading her lips wide. With a little reversal of her grip on the joint, she offers it up and over to Coulson. "What can I do you for, Phil?"

*

Phil gives a light, amused snort at the prescription part.

"Two things. First, apparently someone has figured out how to dampen powers, because they stuck some sort of inhibitor on one of our new Agents who happens to be a meta. It must have been a development that happened back when I was calling in dead, because I'd never heard of them until I was told about them the other day. I can write up an order for you to get some if you still want them."

That first, because he did promise he'd help, and an exterior-solution may be preferable to a surgical or genetic one.

*

"Daisy." Eddie fills in the name that Phil doesn't seem inclined to include, which she doesn't seem to blame him for, she's just merely letting him know that she already knows. "Our neighborhood hacktivist I warned you about from my vision." Her hand remains lofted with the offer to share, mainly because she wants to see if Phil will loosen his proverbial tie or if he'll verbally decline. "A direct line from you would be faster than schmoozing the R&D nerds. Not as amusing, but faster. You know what I'm going to do the minute I get them? Make you take me to the greasiest diner you know of so I can get a big fat cheeseburger."

*

Phil lived during the 70s and 80s. He's not as prudish about cigarettes as some would believe. He finally takes it and takes a single drag, remembering the days where he smoked them on the plane, smoked them in the restaurant, smoked them while banging away at his computer. He closes his eyes, expecting a hit of nicotine he hasn't felt since, at the age of 32, SHIELD doctors told him he wasn't going to be able to keep up in the field if he kept poisoning his own lungs.

Expecting a return to a time when he had more hair and wore worse ties, full of a time when the enemy was the enemy and he woke up every morning he was doing the right thing, the thing that would help him and this organization protect as many lives as possible. Rose colored glasses, perhaps. That feeling of being a dinosaur coloring things that probably weren't as simple as he remembers them to be.

What he gets is a mouthful of burnt rope taste. He grimaces and passes the joint he'd taken for a hand-rolled cigarette back. The fan had blown all the smell away. "Good to know," he says dryly, "that you've been staying off the drugs."

But then they're on inhibitors.

"Daisy," he agrees, shaking his head ruefully. Sure, Eddie knew, Eddie told him, and Phil still habitually reveals the least possible amount of information. The further he gets from the need to grapple with his resurrection, the more those feelings become manageable, the more he reverts to his old self. Which means habitually keeping secrets that aren't even secrets.

His smile is faint. "Alright. One cheeseburger dinner. I think I can swing that."

*

There is a slight laugh from Eddie as she stands to take the joint back. His keen eye might notice that she's favoring her left leg just the slightest bit, "I believe my instructions from you were to act as if it's business as usual, which means," She toasts him with roll of marijuana pinched between her gloved forefinger and thumb, "That I keep being the lovable liability that I am." She takes another hit, holding the smoke in her lungs which causes her next words to be pinched as she tries to exhale as little as possible. "I'm holding you to that. It's a date."

*

He twitches an eyebrow upward at 'it's a date,' but he doesn't address it. Instead, he makes the 'touche' motion to her comment about being a lovable liability.

"I need to make a change to your orders in:re Palmer," is what he says instead, looking out over the city with an expression that shifts to something grimmer.

*

"Don't worry, I'm still staying off the hard stuff. Even if some days it feels like there are a million angry ants crawling through my veins." Though a promise from Eddie might normally be a tenuous thing, she at least seems sincere about that point. Though her definition of 'hard' might be a little loose. She doesn't push her luck with offering Phil another hit, instead tapping out the cherry on the ductwork behind her and she slips the rest of the joint into her pocket for later. "But a girl's still gotta take the edge off." And having no qualms about Coulson knowing it, either. She is what she is, and makes no apologies for it. "Whaddya got in mind for good old Benji, then?"

*

"I need to know what the Hell he's up to. He's not going to crack under interrogation, and he's made moves I don't entirely understand. Or rather, which I understand, but which could have eight to ten motivations and I'm not sure which of them I'm looking at."

He gives a slight nod in acknowledgement of the stowed doobie, adding, "There are times I don't give a damn what the other guy wants, but I'm not sure I have that luxury now. I think I'm going to give you a bit of an edge in that conversation too."

*

"You know I could just kill him, right? If he's turned into such a pain in the ass, I could get in close and return the favor he bestowed upon you. He's already accepted a drink from me without the slightest suspicion, I'm sure I could arrange something subtle if it suits you." The offer is made nonchalantly. It is, after all, what she does. Hell, most of the world still thinks the scars on her arms represent her kills. A rumor she's all too happy to perpetuate by having the name Hashmark linked to another mysterious death or out and out assassination. "Or maybe you'd prefer something a little louder."

*

"You know, assassinating him isn't a bad idea. After we get the intel. Because before we get the intel, we don't have any idea who else may be out there supporting him. He's not a lone actor, because of Warhorse or Warbird or whatever that guy sitting in the cell not telling us jack calls himself."

Coulson exhales and says, "If he's launched some new organization we'd better know about it before we go off half-cocked, or we'll just have something new to blindside us later. I suppose he could be a member of Hydra or something, but that feels off to me."

*

"It didn't feel like Hydra when I spoke to him. It seemed more …political than militant, if that makes sense. Not to say that Hydra doesn't have their hand in politics, as well. So. You want me to start probing him for details? You know that means I'm going to have to go in deeper. I'm going to have to give him something else on SHIELD, something worse than uploading some little virus or whatever it was I put on Rami's machine thanks to Daisy. Something big." When she agreed to become a triple agent, it was clear that Eddie did it for Coulson and whatever friends she may have in the Company. It's not for loyalty to the Company itself.

*

"Data miner. You put in a data mining program looking for evidence that SHIELD was experimenting on metas to try to figure out how to shut them down, or how to target-kill them. You might just be able to leverage your outrage. But tell me what you have in mind. What do you think you should bring him?"

Coulson will take the personal loyalty. He always has; but especially right now, he will.

*

"Wait. What." Eddie holds up a hand for Coulson to slow his roll. At least she won't have to fake said outrage because the way Eddie's hands are curling into fists now indicates that news has brought about the genuine article. "Is this what you meant about giving me an edge? Did you know about this?" There is a flash of anger in her dark eyes like that loyalty is about to be tested.

*

Coulson shakes his head. "I didn't know about it until my agent told me what that program was meant to do and what it found. And even now all I have are fragments. Rest assured I'm taking steps to make sure that information is contained and dealt with. I don't ever want to see it used, and I'm doing everything I can do to see to it that it won't be. I'm just as pissed about it as you are, Eddie. Hell, I'm starting to wonder which of us is the good guy here. Whether it was Palmer all along. So, as you can see…finding out what he wants matters."

*

There is a long exhale from Eddie, like she's trying to calm the thunder of anger in her ears just so she can even hear Coulson's explanation. Her fingers finally flex out of their tight curl, and she starts systematically popping her knuckles to relieve the last of the tension that wants to linger in her limbs. "You." Eddie says the single word like it holds two tons of weight. "He has it out for you. Still. I don't know what you did to stick in his craw, but. That's what you have to give me. I need to give him something on you."

*

Coulson shakes his head with a little bit of bewilderment. He can't fathom why Palmer would have anything out for him, personally. "When he faked his death he left me believing we'd been on good terms," he says.

A pause. "Eddie, if you don't believe me just touch my jacket." It's the same leather one he wore over to Peggy's the other night.

But, something on him. He rubs the back of his neck and says, "I honestly am not even sure what is interesting about me. What do you recommend?"

*

"He specifically told me to target you out. Chose me because of our previous relationship." Eddie explains as she tilts her head, eyeing Coulson as if trying to see him in a new light. "That suggests a personal vendetta." Her bottom lip is caught between her two rows of teeth, one spot worried with a saw of their edges.

"Alright." She finally says, starting to pluck at the fingers of her gloves. "I'm not doing this because I don't trust you. But maybe we'll learn even something you're not aware of." The gloves are stowed in the pocket of her jacket and then she's shedding that too despite the chill of the early spring night of NYC. At least the air from the exhaust fan is warm, probably why she chose this particular spot to smoke in general and not the unlikelihood that it's bugged. The sleeves of her thermal shirt are pushed up, exposing her forearms and their neat little rows of scars. "You know what to do to pull me out." Her words sound dark as she pulls a switch blade out of her jeans and flicks it open, setting on top her jacket before approaching Coulson. "Ready? You're going to have to hug me tight."

*

He hesitates, mostly because he doesn't want to put her through this. His eyes take on a compassionate grim cast. But he gently wraps his arms around the younger woman, not sure if she really needs that or if she just wants a hug while she does something terrible.

She'll get, most recently, glimpses of a huge argument between Coulson and Peggy. "Did you know about this?" "How can you possibly think that about me?" "I just don't have any faith left, Peggy." Long story short, neither of them knew, both were outraged, and Coulson risked some sort of plan by going (to her apartment? Peggy is throwing him across a roof in her PJs, Coulson, soaking wet at 3 AM, doesn't resist).

*

It's like an immediate shock to the system when her arms snake around him and the last thing she's conscious of in the here and now is kissing him square on the lips without explanation as to what part of the process that is. It's not a preamble to anything more, as shortly after, her head is sliding to his shoulder where it stays resting her forehead there. It becomes obvious for the need of his own tight hug when her legs can no longer fully support her weight though her arms and hands remain in contact, fingers spread out against his back to get as much contact as possible. As much solid vision as possible. How long has he had this jacket? What else has it been through with him? Certainly the time with Peggy is the sharpest and most clear of the noise in her head, tagged with the most emotion.

*

He is startled when she kisses him, and his eyebrows lift a little higher, but this is all the reaction he gives. After a moment he's busy holding her up, eyeing the knife as if not really sure when to use it, wondering if there's maybe a better way.

The smell of GSR and muffled hearing. Shot after shot after shot at the firing range. Rusty. Angry. Feeling strange. Grateful and angry and depressed. Is he alive or is he undead? He still doesn't know.

Napping in his office. It's not set up right anymore. Someone half boxed up his things before they stopped. His fingers trailing over his chest. There's no heartbeat there anymore. He imagines he can feel the whirring of the machine, but that's not true. Beneath his fingers he feels nothing at all.

Soft rain in the night, following a raccoon and a tiny tree, an alien weapon in his hand. Mere coincidence that his neighbor in Wisconsin put an alien artifact on her mantle. She's in her 80s. Chitauri are after her. He ditches his detail, his guards. He follows the Guardians through the night and they save the day, and for just a moment he feels okay.

Then nothing. Not for a long time. A younger Phil, pressing his face into the jacket. It wasn't his, not at first. It had been his Dad's. Dad is fresh in the ground. It still holds his smell. He leaves it hanging on the closet in the cabin, tears rolling down his cheeks. Now he's truly alone. Except for one thing. The SSR pins pressing into his pockets, reminding him he'll always have a family.

*

Eddie's eyes are open but they see nothing that's actually before her. Cast down where her forehead rests on his shoulder they move as if in REM sleep, following the play of images in her mind and reliving every emotion that has seeped into the object as if it's her own. There is one moment when her fingers tighten in a clench beneath his shoulder blades, something intense making the muscles seize as if by their own accord. A noise emits from her throat, a whimper on the tail end of a breath, and then tears are silently falling to pad against the leather of his jacket as they fall unhindered from slow blinking eyes.

*

Coulson starts. He has no idea what that would be about. The memory is something he hardly thinks of anymore. He decides not to screw around though.

He gently pushes up her sleeve, takes the knife, and makes a swift, sure cut, one that probably won't give more than the quickest flash of pain at first

*

There is a hiss from Eddie as she throws her head back, the sting nothing more than something to focus on, something to draw her back from where ever it is she goes when her Psychometry takes over. Her knees are still weak as she pushes away from Coulson forcibly, taking a stumbling step backwards that has her tripping back onto her rump and her bare palms pressing into the roof to stop her fall. She inches over to the safety of her jacket, sitting on its blanketing surface and clamping a hand over the fresh wound on her arm, not even bothering with the tears on her cheeks.

*

Coulson takes a handkerchief out of his pocket and kneels down beside her. He moves, carefully, so carefully, giving her lots of time to push him away, like he's going to try to get her to wrap up the wound.

"I'm sorry, I…didn't think you could possibly get anything disturbing off that jacket," he admits. But then, he doesn't really know all that she can get. Doesn't really understand what it's like for her. How can he, without experiencing it for himself?

*

Morales gives a thick sniff, dealing with the remnants of emotion that weren't really hers to begin with. She doesn't push him away this time as more awareness seeps back, but she does take the handkerchief to mop at her face first. "Damn, Phil. You need some fun in your life." Waving the square back at him, she asks, "Do you mind?" Wrapping up the wound. Her fingers are still a little too shaky to manage on her own. "Had I stayed in long enough, I likely could have gone all the way back to the person who made the jacket. Nothing to apologize for. I volunteered."

*

He shakes his head. He doesn't mind. He wraps it up neatly and gently, snug and tight. It's hardly combat medicine, but it suffices for what it is. He makes no comment on fun in his life, only looks moderately embarrassed, knowing she probably picked up on some things that he would not talk about with any particular ease.

*

"Maybe I should be the one that's sorry." Eddie says after the long piece of silence, her eyes flicking from his general wrap of her wound to his eyes and the plains of his face like she's scouring every laugh line and every crease of frown that's etched into his skin. "I didn't see anything." That they could capitalize on, but maybe he'd feel better with half the truth than placating him with a full lie. "So we'll just have to make something up."

*

"Trust is at a premium these days. A small price to pay to earn yours again," Phil says. The lines are etched pretty deep. "So I hope you saw enough for that at least. Especially as we had to shed your blood for it."

He stands up and says, "I'm trying to stop it, Eddie. I'm taking every step I know to take and I don't know if I'll succeed. But I'm trying to stop it."

*

Eddie pulls her gaze away lest she start staring as the echoes of Phil's past are still gnawing at her mind. She starts tugging down her sleeves, mindful to not disturb the handkerchief and his handiwork. "In the grand scheme of things, I think I still have a long way to go myself on that trust front to even the scales. My faith in you never wavered." It comes out a bit brusquely, but that's just Eddie stacking back up the bricks of the wall she builds between herself and others. "So I go back to Palmer, tell him I found out what SHIELD was up to with the gene targeting. Act enraged - not hard on that front - and then loosen his lips by telling him how miserable you are. Hey, at least if I'm going to die, I've crossed one thing off on my bucket list."

*

"What was the thing on your bucket list?" Phil asks, and then it dawns on him, and he blushes, and he goes, "…Seriously?"

He doesn't know whether to look immensely flattered, a little smug the way he can be about how he's still got it, or a little bit ready to lecture her on how he's old enough to be her father. He instead straightens his jacket in a full on Picard maneuver with all the unnecessary flare.

"I'm not sure misery is prime intel, but at the same time I think it might work."

*

Eddie's grin twists up wryly, even if it's a bit pained around the edges. She's digging out her stump of a joint to deal with the latter. "Since I graduated Academy and my tits finally came in." So, around her early 20's but leave it to Eddie to phrase it so lewdly it will strip away all sentimentality and let Phil off the hook.

Just as she's blazing up again, something occurs to her. "Hear me out here. Are you seeing anyone? Romantically involved? Regularly schtooping someone on the side that'll get their panties in a twist if you start 'secretly' dating your protege?"

*

Phil has a slightly poleaxed look on his face that grows into something less slight and more axed as Eddie goes on. He steadfastly makes sure his eyes do not dart to any bits of anatomy that have already come up in this conversation. "Have you got another joint?"

Because what's a failed drug test for Phil Coulson at this point?

He goes to the edge of the roof and folds his arms over it, looking out over the horizon. "I'm not romance material," he says. "The job eventually takes any relationship and rips it up into tiny little shreds. And even if that weren't so, there's the morality. There's a power imbalance between us. Age. Rank. Right now you think it won't be a problem, but it will be. I'm also not particularly mentally healthy at the moment and I'm still not even fully convinced I'm actually alive. You're a beautiful woman, and I won't deny it's a tempting offer, but I think on balance it's best if we don't go there."

*

With her joint tucked into the crook of her mouth, Eddie sort of half rolls to her feet, dragging her jacket with her as she does so. She gives it a little shake then threads her arms through the sleeves and shrugs it back up on her shoulders. Already she's pulling back on her gloves as she goes to join Phil at the edge of the roof, opting to hitch up a leg and sit on it rather than lean.

A fresh joint is offered over. "I believe I told you to hear me out. If the answer to my questions is 'no', then that's what we give him. I convince him that we've started an affair. That I'm now privy to personal aspects of your life. Like the glimpses I caught from your jacket."

*

Oh. Well now Phil feels foolish. He downright blushes again, and he takes the joint. He lights it up, glad she doesn't express too much shock. He was a teenager during the 70s. Not a very old teenager, and it was the late 70s by the time he got there, but nevertheless, he experimented. And if it's been years since he's done this on purpose, well. He's earned it.

"I suppose," he says slowly, "you could tell him you came and 'comforted' me after Agent Carter threw me out in a fantastic fight. But…"

He gives his singular wince. "There might be one problem with this plan."

He rubs the back of his neck. "Ah…" He's not sure how to put this. Finally he shakes his head. "Ben and I were…he might quiz you about certain details," he says at last. "That ahh…you're not just going to be able to make up."

*

Smoking pot together. This is a bonding moment, and Eddie certainly isn't going to do anything to ruin it like pass judgment or make him feel uncomfortable about doing it in her presence. So just close your eyes and think of the 70's, Phil. But at the little confession there the fragrant smoke catches in her throat and it causes Morales to cough and hack and eventually wheeze out a breath, "Well there goes your whole morality speech from just a second ago, doesn't it? Phil, you sly dog…damn. Yeah, okay, I could see that." And no doubt that's the mental image that's playing in high definition in her imagination without needing the benefit of her Psychometry. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

*

“We were the same rank,” Phil says dryly. “I was younger and dumber. And we were the same age. And also he took the job getting in the way to the next level when he faked his own death and stabbed me in the heart. I think he is an excellent example of why it’s important to keep it in your pants at work.”

She makes another pass at him (or is just toying with him at this point) and he takes a long drag off his pot. “You could tell him about my drug habit,” he says dryly.

But who cares about a little pot? He grimaces. “I have a real vice you could probably pass on to him. It wouldn’t get me fired or arrested but his knowing about it could be exploited if I didn’t know he knew.”

*

Eddie leans in a little closer to Phil. "Or. You could just give me your bathrobe to play touchie feelie with, and I'd have all the evidence I need." Toying. Definitely toying. Right? Well. Hard to say really, but her eyes are gleaming. Or are they just glossy from the drugs? Maybe Phil is a paranoid high. "Hit me, big man. No idea is too small at this point."

*

Phil looks even more uncomfortable, if that’s possible. But he exhales. “I’ve been purchasing potions. Magic potions that let me astral project. Essentially leave my body for awhile. They keep me tethered to it but they let me…I made friends on the other side. And it wasn’t all bad.”

In fact some of the worst parts of his experiences were caused by SHIELD’s well meaning(?) attempts to bring him back, snapping him back to his body and pain only to fling him out again.

“Sometimes it feels…more natural,” he admits softly. “I don’t want to be dead. I don’t. I’m grateful for my life. But sometimes I feel too heavy. This body feels too weird. Too wrong. I feel wrong. And so I…give myself a break from it awhile. Christ, there are some people that I know that would smack me for playing with that stuff, and I’d deserve it. But…”

*

Eddie's head tilts slightly with Phil's confession, but she looks at him with a mixture of sympathy and new found respect for his trials instead of judgment. "I'd be the last to cast stones in the glass house of 'needing an escape'. " Her gloved hand reaches over to touch a wisp of his hair above his ear, an intimate touch for a woman hell bent on as little human contact as possible. It drifts away quickly though, instead of lingering.

"That is the perfect thing to give Palmer." She says quietly, but then with more conviction adds, "Which is why we're not going to. He took your life. He doesn't get to have that too."

*

He turns towards it, that contact, if unconsciously. If only for a moment. It's a moment that brings something front and center for him, something that had been buried deep inside everything else. He is profoundly lonely.

It also reminds him she's probably not at all serious about taking him to bed. Talk about too much contact. Too much trauma. He can think of dozens of things she could take away in the first 30 seconds that wouldn't make that fun for her anyway.

He nods, grateful, and tries to get over his discomfit at the other option. But then plenty of people he didn't care about have seen plenty of things of him in the service of the job. He's done his fair share of honey trapping. "Just my bathrobe, huh?"

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