2016-01-11 Courting Nightmares
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
Players: Agent Carter, Agent Tracer.
GMed by N/A
Title: Courting Nightmares

Two airlocks were set up for body processing, one with the bodies that are suspected to maybe have some sort of contagion in them, and one with the ones that tested clear. The contagion lock only has clean suit access permitted, so Peggy hasn't gone in there yet. It's Lissandra's show, really. But this place looks just like a large meat locker or graveyard. It's about as cold, the thermostat in the room having been turned down to the 40s to keep the stink down on the bodies. There are 6 rows of them, 34 in total, all under sheets to give some sort of privacy and dignity to the dead.

It's ridiculously late, Peggy having ordered most of the staff that's worked around the clock since the bodies came in to go and rest. They've been tagged and bagged. Tests have been sent. They're not getting any more dead. Now she just walks slowly between the rows, surveying the devestation that her oldest enemy has devised. There is almost no sound in the room other than her high heels and the faint draw of her breath.

Almost no sound in the room.

But save perhaps the quiet footfalls of a curious agent, Tracer in fact, sneaking into the room wearing protective gear and carrying a computer tablet in his gloved hand. Surreptitiously, the young man peruses the info on the tablet, and starts walking down past some of the bodies, frowning.

He does not appear fazed by them at all, being around so much death. He looks… curious. Fascinated. "What have they done…?" he murmurs to himself, not realising he has spoken aloud.

While Peggy's senses aren't quite so enhanced as Steve's the infinity serum she did get certainly perked them above a normal human. So, there is very little sneaking around her. The moment she hears Daniel's footsteps, she pauses, body turning back in his direction. She doesn't call out or stop him, but she watches the young agent as he makes his way around the bodies. She's not in protective gear herself, not having touched a single one. Perhaps she was simply here praying for them. The reports Lissandra has given her can say far more than what her own touch could tell.

"They? They who?" Peggy asks flatly, responding to his words, not letting him get away with speaking aloud whether he's realized it or not. She doesn't necessarily seem fazed by the death, but she has the solemn look of a woman walking through a graveyard. She is respectful of it. Saddened by it. Every time something like this happens, it adds a touch more weight to her soul.

Tracer turns around and looks at Peggy, his arms falling to his sides. "Begging your pardon, Marm," he tells her formally. "I was referring to whomever did all… this." And he motions with a hand at all the death around them.

Traces of disgust show through in his visage, despite his efforts to hide his emotions. That 'stiff upper lip' is not a perfect defense against such horrible sights. "I… had to see it for myself," he explains rather lamely, referring to his presence in this area.

"The other room is worse. Most of the bodies are heavily cancer ridden. Even if they hadn't been killed when HYDRA evacuated the base, the people would have been dead within weeks." With just a few simple sentences, Peggy has given him more information than a single report on any of the public, level one or two clearance servers. But tongues around the base wagged and it was no secret that people thought or knew this was HYDRA. Still, seeing it in person was far more difficult. No sympathy brushes at her features, though, as she watches him through her own distant defenses.

"Why did you need to see it for yourself? Do you like courting nightmares?" Her breath mists on the chilly are with each syllable she speaks. Though her words are flat with very little emotion behind them, there is something of a test in that questioning. Getting to know him or, at least, his motivations. She takes a few slow steps towards him across the metal floor.

"The proverbial cat that couldn't shake its curiosity, poor thing," Tracer responds glibly, but his eyes betray him; this whole affair has him thoroughly unnerved, despite appearances. "Marm," he adds a bit belately.

The mention of 'HYDRA' barely elicits any sort of response from the young fellow. For whatever reason, he is not remotely surprised. "Was anything else recovered from the mission, Marm?" he inquires, only very slightly accenting the word 'thing'.

He takes a step or two closer to one of the bodies, as though silently daring himself with the effort.

"I suggest you learn to curb that curiosity quickly, Tracer, or it's going to get you reprimanded, demoted, or dead rather quickly. The matters we are facing aren't to be prodded lightly." Peggy warns, perhaps just a hint of protectiveness in her clipped voice. Despite her threats from last time, she doesn't WANT to demote him. She just has to be the hard one so others can be the likeable ones. She tracks him as he takes another step towards one of the bodies.

The body in front of him had been recently worked upon, the sheet still pulled back off of its head to the shoulders. There are eletrocution burn marks at both the temples of the man's face. He was probably in his 40s, mostly bald and soft around the edges. He looked like someone's father, achingly *normal*, not the sort for science or super soldier experiments. "Some technical equipment was recovered, but all their computers were corrupted and wiped as they left. They basically EMP'd their own system. So, we can pick apart the function of certain pieces from backwards engineering alone but… the ultimate goal is still unclear. Or goals — with the amount of bodies they had in the two buildings."

Tracer steels his jaw.

His superiors won't like this, interfering with this case. That's the real reason for his 'curiosity'… which is still just as likely to get him killed. Even so… he has other reasons, and some things are worth dying for. He looks back at Peggy.

"Duly noted, Marm," he replies respectfully — no cockiness here, not a bit. "I still think you could use my help. If the paraphernalia collected has been cleared through quarantine, I'm happy to see what I can get from them." He takes a breath and presses on a little further — as tenacious as his father, perhaps?

"This sounds like a case for 'every edge', if you don't mind my saying so, Marm."

In truth, it was what she'd been waiting for. To see if he would make that offer, take that risk. Peggy lets almost no emotion cross her features save a single, slight nod as he presses a bit closer. "This isn't something I would ask if any agent, Daniel." It was weird tasting that name on her lips. She felt like she hadn't truly said it in so long and yet just speaking those syllables aloud had this odd, comforting familiarity. "You can't unsee whatever you get. I have no doubt that we could use the help, I will not risk an Agent's sanity for an easy road to information that good legwork can get us just as well."

A test again? Maybe. But there is a gravitas to Carter's words which says she does not actually expect him to willingly go forward. No judgment for his denial, no shame. She genuinely seems to be talking him out of it, really. She has a heavy respect for the complete amount of horror this entire matter entails. "I've already decided to give all the medical staff mandatory counseling. No one works through something like this and comes out okay."

"Is that the price I pay for asking, Marm?" Danny asks in half-retort, half-response. "Mandatory counselling?" He sighs as if genuinely regretting that notion. Glancing at the bodies again, he blanches visibly and folds his arms across his chest. "So long as I don't have to touch them," he replies after a while, indicating the corpses with his chin. "Reading the dead is… not something I like to do…" He nods.

"I'm in. How can I help?" My handler is going to burst an ulcer when he hears of this… Danny murmurs to himself in his mind. Still… "In for a penny…" He murmurs that last part out loud.

"Ah." Some understanding now crosses Peggy's features, and perhaps a bit of relief? Disappointment? It's so fleeting that Peg actually allows emotion to be seen that it's hard to digest what she's actually thinking before her expression is back to the stoic director she almost always keeps. "No, you do not need to touch them. We have a few pieces of equipment, though considering what they were doing, it might not be much better." It's the last warning she gives.

She then turns on the ball of her high heel and begins a quicker, double time step across the vast room to the corner of the lab where the technology was being dissected. While this room wasn't on high quarantine, they were still keeping all the things scavenged from the HYDRA base in this area and cornered off from anywhere else in SHIELD — just in case. There are monitors here, a stack of round metal crown-like devices that look like they probably were attached to skulls, and a few other elongated pieces for limbs. She nods simply to the line of benches with that variety of tech upon it. "Take your choice."

Tracer follows, internally wondering what he is getting himself into, but his stride never falters as he keeps up with Carter. Once inside the room, his pace slows to a walk… and then to a ghostly, slow stride — almost as if a cameraman had set the scene to slow-motion, while the actor walks upon a moving sled. Danny peers at each item in the room, carefully taking off his gloves.

"Bloody hell," he murmurs aloud. "There is nothing right about the energy in this room." He flinches as if he were about to tuck his hands under each arm, but resists… and comes to a halt in front of the circlet-devices on a table.

He picks one up.

" — Nnngh! You promised! You promised!" Tracer, his face contorted in pain, clutches the circlet in one hand, and mutters words in an American accent. "…ain't-ain't no sunshine when she's gone…It-it's not-it's not…you promised…" He puts a hand on the table to steady himself, and lets the circlet fall.

The Director follows him quietly, ever remaining within a few feet of him, just in case this goes more poorly than she expects. Or possibly she doesn't trust him. It's ever hard to tell, really. As he comments about the energy in the room, Peggy responds flatly, "Yes, I imagine the remanents of a body farm used for vast medical experimentation without any care for human life, ethics or morality would have 'poor energy.'" The tone of her accented voice isn't impatient, but simply… stark. Honest. Dealing with the horror by shining a light on it and calling a spade as a spade.

It's still probably not enough to actually help him work through what happens next. The first thing is pain. Searing, violent, vicious pressure and pain, like the worst migraine one has ever experienced in their lives. That's where the singing came in, it was the only thing the man could do to keep himself from screaming, and if the screaming started again, the pain got worse. They promised it'd get better, but it never got better. And then it's a flood of memories. More memories than he's ever picked off of something before. Thousands upon thousands of flashes, synapses flying at a thousand percent. Screaming. Milk. Carpet. Floor. Bike. Pavement. School. Chalkdust. Sunshine. Beach. Kiss. Graveyard. Dance. Music. Car engine. There are too many to discern, picture after picture, and entire life in a moment pouring out of that metal crown. If Tracer manages to not go into a seizure or just completely lose consciousness, he'll be lucky.

The images hit Tracer full in the face, just as the emotions attached to those visions catch him in the gut. Somehow, the young fellow manages to keep from vomiting all over the table… if only barely. Using the table to keep him partly upright, he glares at the circlet, his shoulders all hunched in and elbows pressed to his sides — as though injured.

When he turns around again, he does not stand up straight, nor does he uncurl the fingers of his hands. They appear to be contorted and curled together in a rictus of agony.

"N-no more, Ma'am," he drawls in a Texan accent. "I mean, not you, Ma'am. Them. Nggahh! Fuckin' hard ta… git th' stuff outta mah head…" Slowly, gradually, he begins to stand upright again. When he looks at Peggy this time, his face is haggard.

"I, um… I think I might…" his real accent starts to return. "I do think I might — " and Tracer throws up on the floor.

The moment Tracer begins to falter, Peggy is at his side. Her hands come up, supportive and protective, reaching for his arms to try and give him some steadiness — it also means she'll be RIGHT THERE to catch him if he collapses. She'd rather he not pass out hard and give himself a concussion on this floor. She holds on tightly, careful not to touch anywhere that skin is exposed, but also not scared to give that physical support as needed. She only slightly lets go, one hand, when he begins to turn around again. Her other hand stays on his elbow, ready to be there in case he would drop.

Fortunately, he doesn't drop. Unfortunately, he does the thing that all agents have done at least once in their career when they see something truly gristly — he pukes. Peggy side steps out of the way just in time, sick coming up on the floor and nowhere else, but she doesn't seem fazed either. "Daniel. It's alright. Just take a breath and we'll get you out of here. Up to med bay. Don't…don't think about it again. Just breathe." The ice queen isn't demanding her report, she's just making certain her agent isn't about to keel over. Reports are for later.

"Thanks, Mo — Marm," Danny replies as soon as he can speak again. He almost — ALMOST — says a different word than 'Marm', but covers it up with another cough.

"My gloves," he manages to say after spitting bile out of his mouth onto the ground. "Crikey, I can still hear him in my head. Patricia Jessop." He pauses talking so that he can reach his gloves — with a bit of help — and put them on. Only then does he stand up, not willing to risk accidentally touching something else with his bare fingers… for now.

"Patricia Jessop," he repeats. "That was the name of whomever wore that… thing. "I can hear her parents calling her name… and her husband. Ah, it's… I can block some of it…" Danny closes his eyes and walks a few paces away from Peggy, careful not to tread in his own sick on the floor. His strides are unsteady, and he soon turns about to give his Director a nod.

"Medbay it is, Marm. I could use some of those anti-nausea tablets. And a drink. This… all of this…" And he locks eyes with Peggy. "There aren't words, Marm. I've never — there aren't words."

If she catches any bit of that slip, she thinks nothing of it. There are deeper concerns here than a slight misforming of words from a guy who just puked his dinner out all over the airlock floor. Slowly, she releases his arms, when she's certain he's not going to collapse any more. But without acknowledgement she does reach up and assist with his gloves. No words or even look about how tender a gesture it might be. She does it with the same clinicl distance of a bored nurse taking someone's temperature. Once he's fully outfitted again, she silently offers her shoulder should he wish to lean.

"Come on, medbay and out of this place. Whatever you can handle in the morning, write up a report and send it to my office. There is no rush, we're still piecing through everything." Peggy murmurs softly, actually trying to pull back the usual stiffness in her words — it seems she's actively making an effort not to sound like an iron maiden constantly driving them to work the same 24/7 she does. Whether he accepts her shoulder to lean or not, she gently begins to walk with him around that puddle and straight to the exit. She subvocalizes a mutter to a clean crew, but that's the last thing on her mind right now. As she gives one last look back to the room, all she whispers is a quiet,

"…they've gotten worse."

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