1963-06-20 - Protesting Paperclip
Summary: Senior SHIELD Agents and Director Peggy Carter discuss the impending Operation Paperclip and how to secure SHIELD before Nazis walk their halls.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
sousa uj coulson peggy 

Well after 7 pm and the rest of the office has, finally, cleared out. Of course, there is someone on phone duty 24/7, but that's all the way out in the farthest hall and away from any prying ears that could be at her door. The orders were clear — Stay late, act natural, meet in Peggy's office at 7:30, don't mention it otherwise. Clearly, this is something Peggy doesn't want getting around the office yet.

Fortunately, the director is a benevolent dictator and has actually ordered plenty of food from usptairs for all of them. So, there are containers of noodles, dumplings, fried wontons and everything in between, spread out on the little coffee table. The scent alone might tempt them to less hate. The office bottle of scotch is also out, and a few tumblers. It's going to be that kind of meeting. Peggy sits behind her desk, staring at a stack of folded files with vitroil in her eyes as she pokes violently at her own carton of noodles.

At 7:30 sharp, Brian walks into the office. A quick look around shows him what's been set up but his nose pretty much already did that. Spying the bottle, he says "Going to be one of those meetings, is it." Pity he'd need a bottle all for himself to get a solid buzz going. Collecting a plate, he takes an assortment of the larger fare such as wontons, dumplings, egg rolls and the like before pouring himself a glass and taking a seat.

Sousa also arrives pretty much on the dot, although it probably took a little longer to get from his office to her's. That's intentional. Peggy gets a nod of greeting before he grabs a carton of shrimp lo mein for himself. No sharing. "Brian, good to see you." He then takes a seat, leaning his crutch within reach. He glances at the stack of folded files, brows lifting as if silently asking Peggy if those are what he thinks they are.

Because SHIELD agents must have such interesting Pillow Talk.

Putting in extra hours isn't something uncommon for Agent Coulson, so slipping away once everyone else is gone is easy enough to do. The rather unimpressive-looking man makes his way through the SHIELD HQ towards the Director's office with a confident stride. After he's made his way through the building without stopping for coffee, he makes his way then into the office.

He's on time as he always is when called in for meetings and arrives at roughly the same time as Brian. The layout is given a look over and only the faintest of grimaces crosses his lips. "Looks like," he replies to the man.

And then it's on to the plates himself. One is taken for himself, but he seems content to wait for Falsworth to get what he wants. Coulson goes for the noodles and dumplings, but his eyes are mostly on Peggy. "Director Carter," he greets her with a nod. A nod is also given to the other man. "Agent Sousa." The look that follows is between expectant and curious.

The only hint that *maybe* there are perks to being the Director's husband is that Peggy gives Sousa a subtle, quiet nod as he stares at the files. Her own expression looks pinched, tired. It's *definitely* going to be one of those meetings. She sets her barely eaten noodles down and sits forward. "Lock the door, Coulson. This is senior ears only right now. If we're lucky, no one outside will ever know there was an issue." From the flatness of her voice, she doesn't really expect them to get lucky.

"Sorry to keep you so late, but I really didn't want the whole office buzzing about what the meeting is, and the boys around here gossip more than women at a salon. So. Late meeting." She then leans forward and starts fanning out the stack of files on her desk. The names across the front of each file are clear. Wernher von Braun. Heinz-Hermann Koelle. Arnim Zola. Fritz K. Mueller. Georg von Tiesenhausen. Some of the names might ring a bell. Some might not. "How many of you recognize these files?"

"Good evening, Daniel. Phillip." As Peggy starts speaking, he lifts an eggroll and takes a bite off an end. Looking over the names on the files, he nods but waits till he's finished that bit of food before speaking. "Of course. Some of the Nazis most talented scientists. We had standing instructions to capture any of them if chance put them in our path. We almost had Doctor Mueller in our hands once but Master Man intervened and he was able to escape."

Sousa gives a sigh into his lo mein as Peggy answers his unspoken question. He takes some of the noodles with his fork and stays quiet, listening and watching as the files are spread out and the names shown. After all, there are certain benefits to being the Director's Husband. He knew this was coming sooner or later and with Captain America's revival coming when it did, he figured it would have to be on the sooner side.

Phil looks down at his plate and then towards the door. With a slightly quirky half-smile, he turns and walks back over to lock the door with a resounding 'click'. Soft enough that it's still innocuous, but the quiet that's fallen over SHIELD HQ with most everyone else going to tend to their personal lives makes it audible enough. Once more, he moves into the room and rummages for utensils. A fork works well enough for him.

Turning his attention entirely to Peggy then, the man listens intently. Apparently, it is indeed going to be one of those meetings. "Huh. It looks like a who's who of former nazi scientists," he answers, brows furrowing as he looks over the folders. "Aerospace mostly." There's a nod in return and also in agreement with his assessment. "Brian," he greets him. He holds off on eating for now, instead looking over at Sousa enviously.

"Indeed, and they are all, currently, being held prisoner for war crimes for one reason or another. Aerospace or not… and this is just the first round, some of the experiments they conducted were… unspeakable. Of course, they all say they were just following orders." Peggy is doing her best to be neutral, to present a calm, professional face to the men she trusts more than anything in the world. But they all know her better than this. They can see the slight tension behind her eyes, the carefully practiced sharpness of her words. She draws in a slow breath through her nose and continues.

"NATO is in the process of negotiating with Germany and Switzerland to… free these scientists on the condition that they come to serve the international community on the whole." She then looks up from the folders and levels dark eyes in their directions. "That they come to work for SHIELD."

"Just following orders has never been an excuse for atrocity." Brian notes evenly. As Nuremberg proved. He continues to eat as he listens but pauses in mid chew and sits up a little more straight when Peggy gets to the final act. "They are what? Are they bloody insane? Aside from ending their well justified punishment, the security risks are astronomical."

"What safety measures can we take?" Daniel asks, nodding to Brian. His thoughts exactly. "We're already thin as it is and I'd want to assign agents to their tails 24/7. Two, at least. And I'd want them under house arrest when they're not here and surveillance when we are. I don't care what 'freedoms' they were granted, they're still murderers."

He's already had his moment of 'Are they insane for doing this". He'll let the others have their's before he tries to move the conversation forward."

Finally starting to dig in to his noodles, Coulson raises his brows to wrinkle at his forehead so that he can still keep eyes on Carter while she explains. Slowly, he bobs his head in a nod while he chews. When Carter says the nazi scientists are to work for SHIELD, he almost does choke on the bite of food. After a cough and a clearing of his throat, he manages to swallow the bite. "Why do they think it's a good idea to bring nazi scientists on board now?" he asks, squinting and looking awfully befuddled. Of course, 'why' is dismissed as unnecessary and instead he deigns to nod in Sousa's direction. "My guess is that they're each going to need a handler."

The brunette woman tilts her head in their direction, agreeing with all the anger, the backlash, the incredulousness. She's been through it already, so she's a bit more calm than she might otherwise be. She grimaces quietly, "Yes, the security risks are insane. Yes, tey are murderers… And yes, this is an awful idea. But if we want to continue operating in NATO countries with the freedoms we have, I suspect we are going to have to play ball.

Peggy sighs and steps around from behind her desk. She's going for the scotch now, if no one else is. She needs it more than her chow mein. She pours herself out a few generous fingers before sighing and turning back to them. "

"…That is what I want you gentlemen to start planning while I am gone — security measures. Handlers, if we can. Parts of the building to limit them to if we can't. Clear out all files from those sections, anything experimental. I want clean rooms for these bastards and a locked trail do and from them. I don't care if you have to put up new walls. I'm going to Geneva to try and… fight this. But… I already missed the Washington meeting. I don't know if we're going to win this one." She sighs and looks back to Phil, "They seem to think almost 20 years is plenty long for punishment."

"I can't believe Her Majesty approves of this plan." Brian states, frowning. "She surely must have been outvoted. No one who lived through the Blitz would think this was anything but a disaster in the making." Reaching for his glass, he takes a sip and considers. "That is not a bad idea, Peggy. We could purchase another piece of property nearby and reinforce it so it's secure. Then we open an entrance to it from the tunnel, making it the only one to or from, and place them in there. Supply them only with what they need and nothing else." Taking another sip, he adds "And make sure we can pump gas into every last corner to render them unconscious if need be."

"Tell that to my leg," is muttered before Daniel looks up and at Peggy, "Wait, what? You're going to Geneva? Switzerland?" Did he know that? The lo mein is temporarily forgotten as Daniel looks to the others and their reaction. He'll have to discuss Geneva with her another time. Or when she gets back. "The real question is can we barrack them like that? Do we also want them together? Where they could plot and plan?"

Coulson looks thoughtfully down at the files still, perhaps trying to link the scientists somehow in his head. While he does, he eats and also listens intently to the Director as she speaks. "Mm," he sounds in response to the last bit of what she says. "Well, the fact that they're still alive means that they have information we can use. Why SHIELD, though?" Again, his brows furrow and he lets his gaze settle on Peggy finally. No, he doesn't look happy in the least over this, but he also doesn't look like he's ready to blow up. Instead, his mind is on security already. "Off the record, I don't like wasting our peoples' talents on…babysitting. It looks like that's what's on the menu, though." Looking to Brian then, he takes a breath before sighing it out. "We all know it's a bad idea." A shake of his head is given then before he looks up at the each of them. "No. We'll need to barrack them separately and with eyes on them at all times. That's the part of this that I really…kind of don't like."

No, she hadn't told him she was going to Geneva. Oops. Peggy gives Daniel a half smile, momentarily apologetic, even pausing in drinking her scotch for it. "Sorry, darling. But… if there is any chance I can talk them out of this, or at least get operational authority over what we can and cannot do with them, I have to go. I won't be but a week." Or two. It also meant that the group of men here were going to have to completely hold down the office without her.

Then she's looking back to Brian, focusing on the plan and how they can work it. "I'll…I'll put another budget line in for this. Juggle some things along. Maybe we can get the money out of Howard. Just… buy whatever near by you can that we can get access to easily. Make it happen. I really don't want bringing them into these offices. Just do it." Peggy orders flatly, before gazing back to Coulson and tossing back a good gulp of her scotch. "I don't like it either. But… do we really have a choice? And the want them in SHIELD because they think we are best capable of handling new technology and putting it to use protecting the world."

"We can isolate the floors." Brian points out. "It'll be expensive, especially since it's going to need to be done quickly. But let them pay for it since this is their idea. Just tell them that you 'need extra funding to create a suitable work and living environment for scientists of their renown'." Brian suggests. Dealing with NATO can't be much different from dealing with the House of Lords. "If you truly don't think we can avoid this, it might be the wiser tactic to give in gracefully and then make the requests while they're still congratulating themselves."

"What about them handling new technology and blowing us all up or worse?" Sousa points out. "I really have to wonder what they think will be accomplished by having them here. Do they really think that they'll be so grateful that they'll do work for us? Gratefully? Happily? Willingly? These men experimented on children for kicks. They killed people in cold blood. And they're going to be so happy to come to the US to work for the enemy?" Daniel looks up to Peggy and will 'talk to her later' about the other bit.

One of the files is snapped up from the desk to examine by Coulson. Raising one brow, he studies Braun's file the closest. As he skims through for now, he absently mutters to himself without any awareness initially that everyone in the room can hear him. "'And who will help me file my expense report?'" Then, in a higher pitch, he croaks: "'Not I,' said the Phil." Slowly, he looks up from the report and gives a thin, somewhat sheepish smile. "Sorry. I'll take a look around some of the surrounding properties to see if they'll be suitable." Again, he clears his throat and snaps the file closed before laying it neatly back on Peggy's desk. He takes a somewhat extra long step back, with that done.

"I'll let you deal with internal security while I go secure, well, safe houses. We'll need them under lock and key and separate as much as we can manage." A nod is given then before he looks to the others and gives another firm nod of his head. It's no wonder Phil's hairline is retreating…he never does from the grunt work. There's a thoughtful look for Sousa, but then a shrug. "The other departments threatened Hari Kari if the were forced to take them on?" he suggests, helpfully. Yes. Helpfully.

"Well…if they blow all of us up, they probably blow themselves up too. I have to imagine they've been psychologically tested enough that they aren't suicidal, but…" Peggy shakes her head, trying to suppress the shiver up her spine at all of this. It really does turn her stomach. She exhales slowly and knocks back the rest of her scotch before pouring another one and walking away from the bottle before she kills it alone. It wasn't quite proper, getting drunk in front of her team.

"I…I don't know if we can avoid it. I don't think we can. It's already passed Washington, and I thought the US would be the biggest hold outs. If Britian is complaining, no one is listening.. ANd yes, they seem to think that out of all the war criminals, these men are the least dangerous and the most repetant. That they have changed their ways and can now change the world." She looks back down to the files, especially as Phil folds closed that one file. The higher pitch does seem to break her temper, but for just a moment. She almost smiles until her eyes rest on Zola's file once more. "…Zola… Arnim f*cking Zola…" And suddenly Peggy is turning and just tossing the tumbler she's holding against the wall. It shatters, of course. But that's better than her fist.

"Give in gracefully and you can perhaps make some conditions." Brian suggests again. "In fact… I would suggest that we are the ones who bring them here. That will let us set the stage to make the proper impression upon them. I daresay they remember Captain America and Union Jack quite well. Having us escort them here will make a point without needing to say a word."

Sousa gets to his feet as Peggy throws her glass against the wall. He doesn't move to her yet, but he does watch her carefully. He then looks sharply to Brian, "Would Captain Rogers be willing to do that? That's…" he points a finger at the other a few times before he taps at his lips. "He's right. We need to be the perfect hosts to these…refugees. These 'brilliant men' who will be able to earn redemption here. Working for Peace. We're the Good Cops in this."

Indeed, Phil looks a touch surprised as Peggy throws the tumbler at the wall and shatters it. Not startled. He's never startled. The former Army Ranger quietly regards the woman for a long moment, clearing his throat. "I'm not okay with this either, Director Carter," he says in a calmer tone. "They should be tried right along with the others." No further comments go towards whether or not the scientists are 'repentent' or 'not so bad'. For whatever reason, the US government thought the war criminals would be useful. "I don't think it needs to be said, but we're all agreed that surveillance is going to be around the clock in whatever rooms we put them in, right? If nothing else, we might catch them slipping up."

Looking over at Brian then, he squints a touch. "How is Captain Rogers, anyways?" he asks in a moment of curiosity. A nod is given to Sousa then once more. Apparently, 'good cops' also includes constant surveillance for Coulson.

A slow breath, and Peggy realizes that destroying the glass was probably a bit much. But she's still that angry. She drags her free hand across her face, opting to ignore the broken glass to handle later. For anyone who knows her service record, which is at least one person in the room, she was one of those personally responsible for putting Zola away. She, apparently, is taking this just as personally. She stalks in quiet, slow pacing behind her desk.

"…If I go out there to fight it, I'm fighting it. If we really think we're not going to win…and we probably aren't… I still have to fight it. I can't just go in with open arms saying we're happy to cheer on this great step for science. I *can't*." Even their director isn't perfect, though her dark eyes search Brian's features, then Sousa's, as they agree with this idea. Her jaw just tightens. Only Phil seems to be on her stubborn side here.

"Confused, quite naturally." Brian answers. "But he won't let it stop him." Also quite naturally. "No one is saying you need to pretend to be happy about it, Peggy. Be unhappy. But also let them know that you see the necessity. You don't need to inform them that what is necessary is getting t hem to agree to our terms and not that of letting the Nazis free. You are perfectly capable of lying to the enemy, are you not?" Of course she is. "In this instance, regard them as such and say what is needed to deceive them into giving us what we want."

"All right, so…maybe not quite so conceding," Sousa offers, "But…if we go in fighting to that extent, we don't look good. We look like we're bucking NATO. That we're not willing to cooperate. That maybe we think we're better than them. Now, maybe we are, but just going in guns blazing is just going to set them on edge." He nods at Brian, "Go in unhappy. Go in angry. Go in with our demands. No concessions. We are taking them. That's their play. They get nothing else. We're taking them and they will be under -our- terms."

He tilts his head to Peggy, "Better?" The flight over might help her calm down to a simmer.

Coulson doesn't really seem entirely willing to stop Peggy from raging over the situation. He'll likely have his own aggression to take out. The job is the job, though. "We should fight it. Anyone in their right mind should. We all know what's coming down the pike, though. If you intend on fighting it, you've got my support, but if we lose…I've still got a job to do. I'd rather lay the groundwork now than have less time later." He does nod to her in understanding, though. Looking to Brian then, he nods his head. "I'll have to look in on him sometime." There's a look to Sousa than and a nod of his head. "Reasonable," he comments. With that, he goes back to eating his noodles and dumplings. It's going to be a long night.

Peggy gives Coulson a thankful little nod as he fully backs up her anger. At least SOMEONE did here. Blood pressure sky eye and eyes still bright with her temper, Peggy breathes in deep through her nose and considers the other mens' reasonable reactions. Brian gets a good smirk about her lying to the enemy, just a little glare to say she KNOWS what he's doing and it's not really working. But then she's looking back to her husband and she just sighs. "…I'm going to Geneva. We'll see what they hit me with when I get there. If I think there is any chance to stop this, I'm fighting. If they hand me done documents… then I'll use Daniel and Brian's method. I'm taking the red eye out tomorrow night. You gentlemen have two weeks to turn this place into a prison for nazi scientists."

One last breath and a hand pushed back through her hair. "…Otherwise, dismissed. Go home. Get some rest. It'll be in short supply later on." Peggy isn't quite going yet, just slipping back to sit in her desk.

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