2016-02-03 This. Never. Happened.
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
Players: Lissandra Peggy
GMed by Broken Hearts
Title: This. Never. Happened.

The Umbra Labs campus in scenic coastal Maryland is quite the sight to see, especially for a series of connected buildings that weren't there two years ago and were constructed behind high barriers in under six months. Sweeping architectural lines frame buildings underneath that seem more the standard dozen-floor office blocks. The grounds are heavily landscaped with broad, tree-lined walkways and marked paths for vehicles leading to what are presumably underground parking spaces. Visitors are first directed towards the vehicle checkpoint which directs them to the temporary slots in nearly the exact center of the grounds. Illuminated path borders then lead towards a sheltered entrance that seems to be all window, no hint of a doorframe. The entire window panel is an active video display, currently showing what seems to be an artist's rendering of a Mayan-style village and temple crafted from bricks of pure gold.

When approached, the window flashes subtly brighter while a synthetic pseudo-male voice speaks out, "Identify for access."

This first of many security checkpoints was mentioned in particular by Agent Phil Coulson in his initial recruitment report. A bit of a twist on Tolkienesque humor that Dr. Vorhes uses to test the basic personality of the labs' rare visitors. Of course, Peggy would already know how to clear it and enter.

The waving, strange shape alone of the buildings is a bit offsetting to Peggy, it's almost dizzying, but she'd never let anyone see her actually dizzy. It just wasn't done. She's in a smart black suit, bespoke of course, with a set of low heels made for walking or fighting. She has a small, insulated bag across her shoulder as she walks through the halls, giving every ID check needed. Finally, she mentions needing a private meeting with Dr. Vorhes whenever the woman's schedule frees up. This wasn't actually planned. Maybe she was worried about being followed? Who knows.

One of the best things about the Maryland and New Orleans campuses of Umbra Labs is that even when Lissandra isn't on site, no one crosses the borders without her knowing. And no one stays on campus without her blessing.

Director Carter received an honor escort of two of the Umbra humanoid security drones upon entering the building. And when she asks to meet with Lissandra, the Doctor's voice responds from the drone to her right. "I'm down in the Umbra Prime sublevels, Director. Once you reach the power plant level, take the access corridor labeled 'Project Aegis'. I'll meet you there. To what do I owe the honor of this visit?"

The Director's voice murmurs up towards the ceiling in her usual, clipped British tone, "We'll talk about it in person. I'll be down shortly." And with that, Peggy turns upon the ball of her foot and begins walking out the directions which she was just given. Sharp as ever, she doesn't need to be where told to go twice. It's not even five minutes later that she's stepping through the Project Aegis door. To those who do not know her, nothing would seem odd. But to those who do? There are a few hints of things being off. A slight stiffness to her step, a strange heaviness under her eyes. She's just not really herself.

The 'Project Aegis' section of the labs is recent construction, not listed in the initial inventory of the facility taken when Lissandra was recruited into SHIELD. It's not even on the 'Eyes Only' section of the report that only four people have ever seen (Lissandra, Agent Coulson, and Directors Fury and Carter respectively). Here are the technologies that Lissandra deemed as to intrusive or disruptive and just plain from too far in the future to put into general circulation, and which she has been using to create tools for the anti-sentinel project to ensure its success and deniability.

Right now she's 'standing' suspended in a harness to keep her upright as she works on what very much seems to be a perfect duplicate of herself on a cybersurgery table. She looks up as Peggy arrives and pauses in her work as she takes in the Director's demeanor. Lissandra is a very details oriented person and Peggy's details are out of whack today. She tilts her head to one side and quirks an eyebrow. "It has to be serious to have you this out of sorts. How can I help?"

A slight frown tugs at her lips as the woman mentions she's out of sorts. Peggy shakes her head slightly, "First… how are things going? Here." She nods towards the room, a few other of the projects, determined not to put her personal issues in front of the fact that thousands or more people are being threatened by these Sentinels. So, that's what she focuses on first. She steps over, still hugging that insulated case against her side as she moves to study a few of the things Lissandra has out — even if the tech is far over her head.

"I've completed all of the equipment and arsenals for Tony and Natasha based on the imput they gave me and the need to keep things deniable." Lissandra nods to three of the octagonal sections of the imense room where a series of thick suits of what seems to be some kind of organic metal fabric. Arranged around each suit is a variety of attachments that are obvious devices and weapons as well as generators and an array of her 'd-sink' batteries to hold the power it all needs. She's working in a fourth section at her cybersurgery suite, with what could be her own clone on the table with dozens of wires and leads attached to its body. The only real difference between her and the body on the table is the one on the table has barely enough hair to count as stubble. "I'm just working on the last part of my own set-up, here. I should be operational in a few days."

She gives Peggy some time to look around and take in the idea that by coming down here to the deepest levels of Lissandra's personal kingdom she's essentially stepped forward in time by a half-dozen or more centuries. Then she nods towards the hardside case Peggy's carrying. "Is that what has you… concerned, Peggy?"

While Peggy can understand most of what she said, the technology is simply entirely too far beyond her knowledge to really comprehend. She's caught up mostly with this century, but some things are still lost on her and equipment this far forward? It's way over her head. She studies, trying to make certain things out, to figure out how it all comes together, but it'd take another few degrees of university course work for her to even really start to get it. She was a spy, a code breaker, a fighter. A politician. Not a scientist. So, after another few heartbeats, she gives up trying to decipher exactly what is going on and sighs. She then looks back to the woman, "You let me know whatever you need and I'll make certain you have it, alright? Anyway I can help, just say." Peggy meant it too, she still believed in this project.

Then that next question comes and there is just a new level of tension in Peggy's frame that says Lissandra has hit the matter entirely. She breathes out slowly, trying to calm her heart as she unshoulders the bag. "I have a blood sample in here. I need you to take one from me and compare the two. Tell me exactly what you find."

The request brings Lissandra up short for a brief moment. But then she shuts down the surgical tools and a field of absolute darkness forms over the seeming clone of herself, much like the ones she used at the last Hydra raid to put Three and the two cancer cases into stasis. The harness holding her up moves her over closer to Peggy. She gives the Director a searching look for a moment, then nods towards a second medical station next to the one she was working at. "Certainly. Go sit down over there. I'll take the samples and run them. My best diagnostic systems are down here, so it won't take long at all."

As Lissandra *doesn't* ask questions yet, Peggy's already high level of respect for her grows even more. She gives a slight smile and hands over the case before she moves towards the medical station and shifts into sitting, as recommended. "Jacket off? I don't know how much you need to work with. I only have a single vial of the other sample." Peggy really didn't quite understand genetic testing yet other than, well, it could be done.
Monitor> Victor has connected at 7:29 p.m..

Lissandra follows Peggy over to the med station, swapping her gown, gloves, and faceshield for fresh ones. "Testing from this era would require a few vials to get a reliable result. My techniques are a bit more advanced. And a lot faster." She holds up a syringe with a needle that's barely visible, "Now most of the time we Doctors are lying when we say this, but I don't lie to my patients." She takes hold of Peggy's hand and holds the needle just over one finger. "This really won't hurt a bit." And so it doesn't. She has her sample from Peggy, then nods to the case. "Go ahead and take out that sample while I get this one going." She puts a few drops of blood into one of her machines, then does the same with the sample from the case once Peggy hands it over. "It'll only take about fifteen minutes to run the full battery of tests. While we wait, has SHIELD had any success in tracking the source of that message from Samuel?"

Peg seems to trust her, not a bit of wincing or tensing as the blood is draw from her fingertip. "Impressive." She mutters, only able to compare it to the battery of tests that was needed for the army back in the day — far, far more invasive and less gentle. She then reaches for the container, drawing out a completely unmarked vial of the blood she carried in the cool, proper storage container. She hands it to Lissandra, watching her almost nervously. The fact that she's letting those edges of emotions leak through to her exterior at all says how wound up she is internally. "And no… no luck yet. They're still working on it but…" She sighs, shaking her head, "It doesn't trace to anywhere known and we can't track it even to a destination unknown."

Lissandra nods her understanding of the difficulties involved. "Wish I could help on that, but that kind of tech analysis is outside of my expertise. I've done what I could to help the techs do a frame-by-frame of the video, try to identify as many of the people shown as possible. But I've mostly been finishing the last piece of my new battle system so I can take the fight to the sentinels directly." She nods towards the black field over what looked to be her own clone. "Just a few more adjustments to make and I won't be any more tracable than Nat or Tony." Then she pegs Peggy with her full-on Doctor's stare and nods to her arm, "Now we've got a couple more minutes for the testing to finish. Want me to give your injuries a look?" She gestures to the entry corridor and door frame. "Sensors showed me the injuries as you came in."

An approving nod comes to the adjustments, "I also want you just as healthy as Nat or Tony, so…remember the orders I gave." Peggy isn't letting up on it, she is determined not to let Lissandra risk her health for mobility, even if it's not entirely Peggy's call. And then that comment is made about the sensors and Peggy's nose wrinkles slightly, looking less than thrilled that sensors could even tell those things. "It's…it's not so bad. One of the medics stitched it up. I've had worse." That's Peggy Carter for the fact she's not bleeding to death and is rather embarrassed to have taken an injury at all.

Lissandra nods her understanding, "I remember. And when my Aegis suit goes out on a mission, it will do so with me inside of it… just not the me that's hanging here in a stuntman's wire-work harness." She nods to the table she was working at. "It will instead by my LMD biodrone. The first fully active production model. I'll be driving it from here, using the fully functional version of the communications tech I've used to upgrade SHIELD and Avengers systems."

She offers Peggy a small smile when the Director becomes uncomfortable about Lissa learning of her injuries and tries to wave it all off. "I've been a medical doctor since I was seventeen, Director. But I'll let you go on believing you've got me fooled for even a moment."

And then the system dings that the testing is done and she waves her left hand across blank air. A holographic screen showing a lot of medical details appears in midair and Lissandra reads the displays as they scroll past. And she looks at Peggy and back to the screens. Then back to Peggy. "Huh."

If Lissandra's sensors are really all that sensitive, and still reading, well… Peggy is two steps away from a panic attack. Heartrate greatly elevated, breath just a touch shadow, blood pressure no where near healthy. Peggy has just been trained to keep it hidden so carefully beneath the surface that she could be a hurricane inside without barely letting it show on the outer edges. Everything in her jumps, though, as she hears that ding from the system. She shoves herself to her feet, walking over quickly. "…What does that huh mean?" She asks, just a touch breathless.

Oh, they're running still. They're running always, since they're directly tied into how Lissandra can operate this entire several square-mile facility by herself. Lissandra is just keeping the reports from those sensors from feeding to any screen Peggy can see. "It means…" She sends her harness over to the section of the room with her desk and grabs a bottle and a couple of good size glasses. "It means mazel tov. You, Margaret Carter, have a son. It also means you obviously need a drink." Her wheelchair follows her over and she lowers herself down into it and then takes off the harness before pouring a generous portion of well aged and expensive single malt into the glasses. "It's just you and me here, Peggy. You have my permission, as your doctor and a friend, to let your guard down here. It's a safe place."

As the woman confirms what Peggy pretty much already knew, she nods slowly, trying not to let the fact that her stomach has completely gone out from under her show too much on the surface, but it's hard. She wavers, just a touch. Nothing is near so bad as that first day, though, when he was shot and she had that blood all over her hands. Peg manages to keep a decent level of control this time, forcing herself to breathe slowly. "…not a word of this to anyone. You understand?" Peggy murmurs, eyes harder than before, staring Lissandra down, almost begging for that promise from her. SHe doens't take the scotch yet, she has to know that promise first.

It's a promise that Lissandra can give easily. She sets the glasses of whiskey down on the medbed and places her hands over top of Peggy's own. "I promise. It stays with me." She nods to the holographic screens and they blink away. "Is this what has you so close to going into cardiac shock? If it is," she picks up the glasses again and offers one to Peggy, "Then this is one of the best doctor prescribed relaxants around. Glen Livett, ash wood aged for fourty years."

"I'm *not* going into shock." Again. "I just… It'd be easier if he had been lying to me, is all." Peggy states flatly, this clearly NOT a joyous day. But she reaches one of those slightly shaking hands over and does take the scotch. SHe can appreciate a good scotch as much as the next woman. She takes a slow, deep sip of it, trying to let the burn down her throat indeed calm her just a touch more. She couldn't spill all this onto Lissandra, but she had no clue how to just bottle it up and deal either. So she drinks. It's a good delay, at least.

It's clear that Lissandra is believing none of Peggy's protestations about being fine. "Yeah, don't try to lie to your Doctor." She takes a sip of her own glass of whiskey, able to enjoy the flavor more than the burn since the alcohol won't do anything. "Your vitals are pegging at levels that would have me worried for someone like Captain Rogers. If you weren't a Brit forged in the crucible of World War Two, you'd be twitching on the floor right about now. "So your son knows who he is. Knew before you did. I'm guessing there's a thrilling and somewhat unlikely tale behind that, but part of agreeing to keep a secret is knowing what questions to not ask."

"They cooked him up in a vat somewhere from… from a frozen, damned…accident… that I thought was destroyed when Howard died." Peggy admits softly, even if Lissandra isn't asking, she's put the door open and Peggy has to tell someone, the quiet, abject horror of how it all happened half of what is threatening to drown her. If only half. She takes another sip of the scotch, not wishing to waste the good stuff, but she knows she needs something right now.

And what can one say to that kind of revelation other than a quiet, "Well… damn." Lissandra is quiet for a bit while they drink their scotch. Then she drains what's left in her glass in one go. Then she looks at the empty glass with a slightly mournful expression. "Sometimes I really wish I could still get a buzz of any kind." She refills her glass anyway and holds the bottle to top of Peggy's if she wishes. "And by 'they' you almost certainly don't mean SHIELD. Not that the organization hasn't been capable of that sort of nonsense, but I think you'd be going a completely different flavor of crazy if it had been." She doesn't come right out and say what she fears. She figures that Peggy's doing well enough letting things out at her own pace so she'll just provide the friendly and sympathetic ear.

The brunette leans over, grabbing at that bottle of Glenlivet. She'll just give Lissandra a bonus in her next check to pay her back for it because goodness knows she wasn't giving the scotch the savouring respect she should have, but she certainly needed more. So, she pours herself a few more fingers of the stuff and brings it up to her lips for a good drink. She could still get drunk — tipsy at least — the changes to her body weren't near so extreme as Steve's. Fortunately. "No… Even SHIELD isn't that fucked. Who else likes biological experiments? HYDRA. Fucking HYDRA. How the hell they got ahold of what Howard froze… Fuck." She looks downright sick. But saying it all to the air has helped, at least somewhat.

Lissandra manages a soft laugh as Peggy takes the bottle and pours deep. "Just what the doctor ordered." The levity is short-lived, however as Peggy confirms her fears of the horror story behind her son. "Yeah…" she lets out a long sigh and slumps back in her chair. "Yeah, that's their wheelhouse alright." She can't help but be impressed that Howard Stark was able to perform the proceedure to properly freeze an embryo back in that era, and in such a way that it remained viable for so many decades. But she keeps that to herself. Not really the sort of thing she thinks Peggy would be keen to discuss just now.

"So Hydra found him, brought him to term, and presumably raised him to be one of their own. And as part of that he ended up as a SHIELD plant?" This is where she lets her intellect loose, given the testing she did on the provided sample told her a lot more than she's mentioned. That and the databases she has here, which are an off-site copy of the ones from SHIELD HQ. But the slow course has allowed Peggy to let things out at her own pace, so Lissa isn't going to rush things. There's plenty of scotch, after all.

"…That…seems to be the story. Surrogate mother, sometime back around '90… Fucking…sick, twisted… fucked up wankers." Peggy's words are so angry it's as if she's about to explode with them. If she could shatter HYDRA with her voice alone, she'd start screaming and never stop. But she can't, so those profanities rip free just long enough to bring the glass up to her lips and take another sip. "But… he couldn't keep the damn secret. Or maybe they planned on him spilling it. I don't know. And then someone, probably them, fucking *shot* him. Lissandra, I want to kill so many people right now it's not even funny. And I don't know if I should have hoped he died or should be relieved he's alive."

Lissandra keeps quiet while Peggy vents her anger in true Margaret Carter fashion. She just listens and nods her agreement with the 'kill so many people' part of the rant. "I'll drink all of the drinks to killing every Hydra fuckbrain breathin'." And she puts action to words as she drains her second glass of the single malt. "But for the last part, I agree that Daniel seems like a… how would you put it? A 'proper wanker'? But I'm willing to think that you'd be in worse shape right now if you'd found out he was your son and then had him die right after."

She leans forward in her wheelchair again and puts a hand back on Peggy's knee. "I can't imagine what's going through your head and heart on the 'suddenly a mother' front. So let that sort itself out in the background while you work the Director of SHIELD side of things. I hate to say it, but that's likely to be the least fucked up side of the whole mess."

Peggy stiffens as Lissandra says his name, her eyes going a bit wide as she stares over to the woman. "…How…how did you know it was Daniel?" SHe asks softly, still looking rather too sober for having had as much scotch as she did, but adrenaline counts for a lot. She then forces herself to exhale slowly, rolling her shoulders a but, trying not to completely lose it on the woman who has done nothing but help. "And yes. I… I really can't let this take me down for more than another hour or so. I should get back. There is work to do. No tears in baseball, right? That's the saying?" Peggy offers with a half smile, trying to joke, but it doesn't reach her eyes.

Lissandra taps her temple with her free hand, "Holographic memory. Part of the joyous mess that makes me what I am." For her part, Lissandra doesn't look like she's been drinking anything but tap water for all that the scotch has affected her. Like it's not even reaching her blood in the first place. Then when Peggy looks like she's thinking of getting up and back to work, Lissandra's wheelchair shifts its configuration so that she's now sitting a bit higher than Peggy is on the edge of the medical bed. "The phrase is 'there's no crying in baseball'. And while I'm pleased that you've been getting caught up on cinema, I'm going to have to insist… as your doctor, if not as a friend… that you remember that we're not playing baseball. And you need to give yourself the time and freedom to uncork the bottle."

A slight smile tweaks at her lips as she gets the reference right. At least she got SOMETHING right tonight. Peggy doesn't respond for a few moments otherwise, nursing that scotch like a life line. She's still not cried over it, even if there has been a lot of cursing and a lot of panic. She exhales quietly, shutting her eyes, "..How the hell do I ever trust him? How do I not… hate… my own damn son?" She finally whispers, the last real thoughts stuck in her mind. At least she'll have aired everything before she goes back to work.

Lissandra has no real answer for that, and doesn't pretend to. "I don't know. Objectively, he had to know he was your son before he infiltrated SHIELD. And given his abilities I have to also guess that it wasn't his handlers' idea that he find this out." She shrugs and drains her glass again before pouring the last of the bottle into hers and Peggy's glasses. "On the other hand, what are the odds that there was a sniper in the exact position needed to shoot him right after he came clean? Too many mixed messages." She holds a hand up to stave off the questions, "And before you ask, I'm working through supposition based on what you've said, the report filed by the surgeons that worked on him, and your coming here right after with his blood."

"…correct suppositions. And everything I've been thinking too." Peggy murmurs huskily, her voice heavy in her throat, thick with emotions she's just not quite letting loose yet. The fact that she even is sitting here, drinking, talking about it? That's about as much of the cork she ever lets out of the bottle. Hopefully it would be enough. She takes a last gulp of the scotch, finishing that second glass before standing. She only barely sways. "…I should get back to New York before people start asking questions. I was never here alright? And you know nothing. I… I have to trust you in that." Or she'll probably never trust Lissandra again. But she's taken the leap.

Lissandra doesn't try to say anything pithy about how she's great at keeping secrets. This isn't that kind of thing, it's far more important. So she only meets Peggy's gaze with a solemn expression and nods once. Then she hooks herself back into her suspension harness and sends her wheelchair away. "I've just been here all day performing biononic enhancement surgery on LMD biodrones. I haven't seen you since you sent me on leave last week." As she talks she takes the sample plates, and the vial with Tracer's blood in it, from the diagnostic equipment and over to a small bin attached to the wall. There is a bright fusion flame visible when she opens it and destroys the samples. Then she has her harness move her back over to Peggy, "And you've been following your doctor's orders and getting a solid night's sleep."

One last, long, dark eyed look is given to Lissandra, but Peggy does breathe a touch easier just knowing the woman has made such a pledge. She trusts her, which is a long stretch for the often wary director. "…Thank you, Lissandra." With that, she tilts her head and smoothly heads out of the room, to catch a train she was never on back to her office which she never left.

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