2015-12-03 Returning to Duty
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
2015-12-03
Players: Lissandra Peggy
GMed by Random Acts of Spongebob
Title: Returning to Duty

Naps are good. Naps are essential to healthy minds and help prevent the murder of idiot interns who decided to rearrange certain R&D lab layouts while the principle scientist/engineer that uses them was away on medical leave. And so it is that Agent Doctor Lissandra Vorhes, the aforementioned scientist/engineer is coming out of the nap lounge on her high tech wheelchair/atv after logging a few hours of sack time. She has all the hallmarks of the recently awakened, but perhaps most notable is the HUGE pile of dark red hair that's gathered up on her lap while her hands are busy getting it braided and out of the way.

This is going to take a while, as there's easily two-plus meters of the stuff to deal with.

Externally, there's not much to indicate what kind of medical leave she had been on since she's still obviously confined to her wheelchair and apparently still very much parapalegic. But outside of Director-level personnel the only thing listed on her file is 'leave granted for medical reasons'.

***

A file came across her desk of an operative she'd never yet met. Not an active field agent, but just as valuable and twice as smart as some of the new crop, Peggy spent most of the morning reading it over. She learned every last detail she could about the paralyzed computer genius, wanting to go into the situation armed with a confident amount of knowledge. Now, having asked the computer where the woman could be found, Director Carter has made her way down to the employee loung. It's a place she doesn't often go — not wanting to make some of the younger agents uncomfortable — but maybe she'd been wrong in keeping herself so distant. So, here she is.

Where as Lissandra seems to have just woken, Peggy has the look of someone who has been up and going for hours. She's in a gray pin strip suit, the style a bit more fit and flare with an A-Line skirt which looks rather old fashioned but still business professional. A pair of stockings and high heels finish the look. The only hint that she might be anyone is the SHIELD pin at the corners of her lapels. And, of course, the fact that her face is in every SHIELD history as one of the founders of this great organization. She looks just as young now as she did in her original picture for the files, so that might be a bit strange. She slips into the room quietly, not wanting to disturb the woman for the first few moments. She likes to observe and learn. After a handful of minutes, though, she walks closer, letting her high heels click on the floor this time. Her clipped, British tone holds a touch of earnest amusement. "Perhaps I'll see if we have it in the budget to get you a few lady's maids, hm?"

***

Lissandra looks up as her peripheral sensors flag the approach of someone on her interal systems' 'VIP' list. A quick smirk crosses her face at the comment about maids. "I'd have to pay them more than the job is worth to deal with this titian mass, Director." She disentangles her right hand with the ease of long practice and meets Peggy halfway to offer her hand in greetings. "Plus I'd then have other people to deal with beyond… interns." The word is stated with a dramatic shudder. "But beyond that Sisyphean task, it's good to be decanted and back on duty. It's also good to meet you, Director Carter. I'll try to avoid asking what must be all the usual questions."

***

The smile that Peggy gives the woman is warm and genuine, apparently heartened by her response to the only half teasing offer — they probably had the budget. Her lipstick is probably a bit screamingly red for the office, but she doesn't seem to care. She comes around to the woman's front and extends her hand for a quick, business like shake. "Agent Vorhes, it's an honor to finally meet you. Now, I enjoy a luxurious bath as much as the next lady, but I must say that was a bit excessive in time." Her eyes glimmer with lingering entertainment, clearly teasing. She looks the woman up and down for a moment, "You're looking enough in one piece, at least. Ready for active duty again?" This question is followed with slightly more focused eyes, Peg taking in every last bit of the woman's body language and expression. She is genuinely checking in to see if the woman feels ready no matter what her medical release says.

***

Lissandra manages to not laugh out loud at Peggy's bath remark, but the struggle shows itself plainly in her expression. Finally she is able to gain enough self control to speak without snorting. "Well, how long do you think it takes to wash and condition this mess?" Her hands return to the semi-involuntary task of braiding her hair while she keeps her full attention on the Acting Director and her questions. At the appraising look she is given she sits up straight in her wheelchair/atv. The intended impression is of someone who has been out of the office more than long enough.

"Perfectly so, Ma'am. My updated internal systems are now fully self-powered, so I will no longer need to remain within range of my medical support systems. Also, the fabrication systems at Umbra Labs, Maryland have nearly completed the first production run of updated quinjets. Once system integration and shakedowns are completed, SHIELD will have access to a fleet of craft capable of atmospheric, surface and submerged oceanic, and starflight operations. As for the enhancement packages for SHIELD personnel, the files are ready for your review."

She lets out a short breath and continues on the next track. "As for my own mission readiness, my Supervisory Agent has scheduled me for a series of readiness tests over the next few days. /I/ say I'm ready to go on alert on-call status, but Agent May does insist."

***

A second later, Peggy is pulling one of the easily moved chairs up to be rather close/right next to the doctor. "May I?" She motions to the woman's hair in a casual gesture, like she was asking if she wanted another glass of wine. When permission is given, Peggy settles down and reaches out to carefully use her fingernail to part out a small section of that glorious hair before she too begins to braid. An old fashioned lady — especially one who learned how to do hair during the war — she can use her hands to do almost anything with a woman's locks. Her motions are as business like and professional as her voice, even if the action seems a bit intimate. "I look forward to Agent May's report, then. And you are equally welcome to ask the…how did you put it — Usual questions? I no doubt just did that exact thing."

***

Lissandra is mildly taken aback as basically her boss offers to help braid her hair… a chore she normally only shares with particular women. But the offer seems honest and earnest so she nods permission and enjoys being able to share the load, as it were. When touched, the hair seems to have qualities not normally present in humans. It seems fully flexible, thick and luxurious as its appearance suggests but it also seems much tougher. It's entirely possible that it would take serious hardware to cut this hair.

When Peggy gives her permission to ask her own questions, she shrugs and even blushes just a tiny bit. "Well, there's the obious question of how you've remained so well preserved over the decades. And I know that if I were in your position my default answer would be 'three six-packs of beer a day and plenty of moisturizer'." She grins to show her humor in the remark. "But of course I'm also curious about how things were at the start of SHIELD. What Captain Rogers was like, that sort of thing."

***

Peggy braids that hair with a smooth precision, the same sort of motions she'd use if she were cleaning a gun. Otherwise, she acts as if she weren't performing a rather intimate act of friendship. They could be having this conversation across her desk as much as they were in this position. "Impressive hair. I should ask what shampoo you use." She only half teases there, a distraction from, yes, the usual questions. It didn't always mean they were comfortable questions. Still, she'd given permission, so her warm voice begins quietly. "About seven years into the formation of SHIELD, maybe a bit longer, years run together, I was shot multiple times in the course of duty. Howard couldn't save me at the time, but he figured they might be able to in the future, so they froze me. Sure enough, he was right. A combination of medical technology and a donation of Steve's blood and… here I am today. I owe the dead bastard a drink." The words dead bastard are said with aching fondness of friendship and love, even if they are teasing. "And Steve was a wheezing, shorter-than-me, asthmatic 4F when I first met him."

***

It's easy for Liss to recognize the 'dealing with it' tone of voice in Peggy's remarks, so she responds to the question about shampoo with high humor. "What do you think I was floating in for the past eight months?" But then she's listening quietly, and then shuddering in sympathetic reaction when Peggy mentions getting shot. One of her hands drifts of its own accord to a place on her own abdomen just below the ribs, brushing against her own scars under her light cotton blouse. Then Peggy is describing pre-war Steve and she can't help the short bark of incredulous laughter that comes out. "Short? Wheezing? But he's so…" She can't find quite the correct words so she just gestures with her free hand in a manner suggesting height and muscles. She may not play for the straight team, but that doesn't mean she lacks artistic appreciation.

***

This close, the scent of Peggy is noticable. Starch on the suit (still that old fashioned) and just the fainest hint of Chanel No. 5, about as classic a perfume as one gets. She might have woken up in a new century and has adapted to the new technology fairly well, but she's still very much herself. Where as other agents opt for the blue and back, unisex uniforms, she is rarely seen in nothing but one of her suits. Director's privillege. She finishes off one braid of hair and takes whatever band Lissandra uses to hold them, tying one off and then parting another piece. Her voice is softer than normal, filled with the gentle ache and pleasure that is nostalgia. "That was all the serum. He washed out of four recruiting offices before someone finally saw something — a truly good heart and a possible science experiment. He… he'd have done anything to help anyone. As for SHIELD, well… you think we're a motley crew these days? You should have seen us in the beginning. There were days I thought it'd never work — run by a drunk mad scientist and a stubborn mule of a woman, mixed with agents who believed, didn't believe, didn't understand and sometimes had more balls than wits about them."

***

Lissandra's own scent is a very subtle woodsmoke and floral note that seems to be a part of her rather than something she wears. As for her hair… when Peggy reaches the end of the braid she was working on, the dark red locks reveal one of their secrets by wraping back on themselves of their own accord and weaving up into the braid to form a kind of macreme closing knot at the braid's tip. She's also one that doesn't seem to give much credence to Official Uniform Code, but rather retains the dress sense of her native New Orleans… wearing light, breezy clothes suited to a tropical clime even here in a New England winter. And lab coats, of course, but hers is currently folded neatly in its pocket on the wheelchair's side.

She listens quietly to Peggy's words about SHIELD's early days, smiling with a touch of her own more recent nostalgia. "Sounds like a larger verson of my first team assignment after I was recruited. Well, more like the same /day/ I was recruited." She grins as she brings up her perfect recall memories of her time on The Bus with Agent Coulson's team. And yes, there might just be a moment where she licks her lips at a particularly saucy recollection. "They were… quite the crew." She shrugs briefly, returning to the present. "But then Norse myths tried to end the world and that put paid to the agency wanting to allow me to stray too far from home."

***

The strange finishing of the braid makes Peggy yelp a bit, laughing as she realizes what is going on, "Your hair has a mind of it's own. This… this is certainly different than doing my roommate's hair back when we were sharing a lady's apartment." That's why she's so comfortable! She used to live with women and, really, it's what was done. Girls helped each other with make up, hair, dressing, pretty much everything. When you hot bunked with an overnight waitress, really, nothing was sacred to such roommates. With that braid finished, she moves onto the next one, more prepared this time. "Well, I am glad to hear that Agent Coulson is keeping up tradition. I started recruiting an entire unit of women, focused on training women for self defense, code breaking, infiltration… Proving they were just as capable as their male counter parts. Howard grumbled a lot. I told him to shut it. We kept on going. Eventually…things began to click. A few more of his inventions actually became viable, my first units were fighting ready. A few others from the SSR joined us and… things just snowballed."

***

Even fully braided Lissandra's hair is easily long enough to reach her feet were she able to stand on her own. She's finished the braids she was working on and listens attentively to Peggy's stories of the Early Days. "I wish it was any different these days. Still and likely for always, guys have to try and prove themselves to be better just because they're guys." She shakes her head with an air of long suffering just as long tolerated. "It's why I didn't have any Y chromosomes on my racing crew back in my youth. Well, except for Brian. But he was my girl's brother and had a way with engines. And then even more so in academic and medical circles. Hard to believe that there have been patients who would refuse to let me operate on them." She sighs and shakes her head at the recollection.

"But that wasn't the case with Agent Coulson. I honestly don't think there's a truly duplicitous bone in that man's body. Which is saying something for an Agent as successful as him. But he knew how to put a team together and never even batted an eye at the estrogen levels on that plane. For my part, I was just glad that I had the means to keep up with everyone else. Even if it was just barely."

***

"Phil is a good man. I cannot imagine a single man who has… old fashioned ideas like that, raising to a command position in SHIELD. Especially not now." Peggy would probably remove certain parts of their body if they did. She finishes with the last braid and then sits back, stretching out a bit and popping a few things in her back and shoulders as she does. She's got the back of a woman who leans over a desk a bit too often for far too many hours. "I'm…glad SHIELD has treated you well. Everything in your file says you are an immensely valuable resource. If there is anything more I can do to ensure you are comfortable here, just ask. The same goes for any projects you may have in mind. This should be a place for experimentation as much as protection…" Those are some *old* ideals, in truth, that first part having been something SHIELD fell away from without her or Howard at the helm.

***

While Peggy is stretching and popping, Lissandra is getting her newly fixed braids to settle across her shoulders so they're kept more or less out of the way, and more importantly out of the wheels of her chair. She has a wicked grin on her face at the mention of experimentation, "Well, you can just consider me to be your modern mad scientist. Just without the drunk part. Booze and I are still on speaking terms, but drunk is something I can't become anymore." But she makes it plain in her posture, manner, and vocal tone that she is genuinely comfortable in this place and position.

"From what I've seen, I agree with you fully. Too often of late, SHIELD has come up against a serious technological diference between us and our enemies, HYDRA especially. That's one of the reasons I insisted on taking my medical leave. Now that I can operate independent of my medical support equipment I can do much more in the way of getting us not just up to current standard but so far past it that groups like HYDRA will seem like stone age throwbacks."

***

That is news to Peggy. If she was looking languid before, she's now sitting up straight and looks down at the woman with stern, professionally curious eyes. "What do you mean there is a technological difference? Please, elaborate for me… And use laymen's terms, I'm still catching up with technology these days myself." Those words pain her a bit to say, it being embarrassing that she's not perfectly able to waltz into this century and know everything. But now she is genuinely worried and wants it from the mouth of the most qualified to answer.

***

Lissandra takes a moment to answer, then shrugs and just shoots from the hip figuratively speaking. "Well, it could very well be that my own technological foundation acts to skew my perception of how advanced others are. I mean, with a few notable exceptions like some elements of Starktech, aspects of Sentinel technology and the weapons and armor fielded by HYDRA agents everything I work with here at SHIELD is about three or four centuries behind what I'm working with. As for what I mean about HYRRA's capabilities, my very first day I was involved in defending against an attack of theirs against our Groom Lake facility in Nevada. Their weapons, vehicles and armor used a power source that granted them near mythical levels of effectiveness. And I wasn't allowed to get my hands on any examples afterwards, either. They were all swept up and packed in crates with 'Level 10 Restricted' stamped on the sides."

She shrugs and waves it off as in the past. But when she says 'get her hands on' she means it literally. Her 'public' personnel file leaves out any mention of her metahuman ability, but Director-level access would include specifics about the nature of her ability of technological absorption through physical contact.

She offers what she hopes is a reassuring smile to Peggy, "But those quinjets I mentioned are the first line in getting SHIELD well and truly past what the rest of the modern world considers to be cutting edge. And if there's any chance for me to get my hands on any and all new tech that comes across our attention, that will only make it easier for me to do so. And don't think my focus is just on hardware. I'm a medical doctor by primary practice, specialized in ways to improve human ablities through internal and external enhancement."

***

With the spill of information, Peggy simply cannot sit any longer. It's too still and stable a position for her and she needs to move while she's thinking. Even as a director, Peggy is almost always in motion. There is a reason she's still working in the field, and stayed a field agent for so long even as a SHIELD founder. She smoothly slips up to standing on her ever present pumps and now falls into a steady, slightly aimless pacing of the room. She heads over to the little tea area, putting on a kettle before returning to just pacing. "I'll have a conversation with Director Fury. Other than Tony, who is a disorganized hot head on the best of days — so much like his father, that damn boy — you are our most capable technician. You might even be more capable. I'm not going to have enemy technology sealed away when they're getting the jump on us because we're bloody well scared of it. Though… was I dreaming things when I read something in a file about it possibly being Asgardian in nature?"

***

Lissandra is also one that prefers to be in motion as often as possible, but her circumstances don't allow her much more than changing her chair's position and using frequent hand gestures. She's certainly up for some good tea, though. The question of Asgardian tech brings a shrug to her shoulders, "No idea on that score. My only knowing encounter with anything Asgardian was during the Battle of Ragnarok. Using SHIELD orbital cannons to help kill an ancient mythical world devouring snake. Not exactly my specialty, I'm afraid." There is also a visible scoff at the suggestion, however unintentional that Tony Stark has anything on her in the technical department. Even though he occasionally does. She's never claimed to lack ego. "If it's possible to get me in physical contact with any examples that we might have in whatever back room Indiana Jones style warehouse we might have, I'd be able to answer any and all questions about it." A brief shrug preceeds the qualifier of, "Provided, of course that said contact doesn't cause me to drop into a coma. The odds of that are slim, but all the same it will be good to have a medical team on stand-by."

***

The coma information makes Peggy hesitate, but she doesn't look thrilled. She exhales a slow breath and nods, "I'm going to speak with Director Fury. We are going to get your hands on a few basic pieces, at least. Now that you are back and active, I'm not letting any valuable resources go to waste. I trust members of my team to tell me their limits, so if you tell me you can do this… I'm listening. If we hit your limits, you have to damn well speak up, yes?" Peggy's eyes are hard and dead serious, her jaw a bit tigther than before. It's as much cheerleading and trust as it is worry for her people. But she has spent her whole life being underestimated, she won't do that to others. Once she gets a nod from the woman, she nods back and turns to stalk to the door. "If you excuse me, I'm going to go speak with Fury now. Be prepared to work this afternoon, I'm tired of us wasting time, waiting for the fight to come to us." And with that, she's out the door with a flurry of ideas and unhappiness.

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