1963-06-26 - Preparations for Paperclip Pt. 2
Summary: Agent Sousa, filling in for Peggy Carter, tries to talk to Captain Rogers about Operation Paperclip…and fails.
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-06-20-protesting-paperclip, http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-06-21-preparations-for-paperclip
Theme Song: None
steve sousa 


*

He didn't want to bring Captain Rogers into all of this right away, but he knew that one, he would need to talk to the man sooner than later and two, he would need to be briefed on certain upcoming events. There was also yet a third subject that he may broach, but that all depends on the conversation. Sousa did his best to give the man some time to get a little settled before he asked for the meeting,

He was also a little intimidated by the legend. He knew the story. He saw the films. He read the news. Some of the time between Rogers' awakening and his own meeting request was also making sure that -he- was ready.

With Peggy in Geneva and things set to swirl into chaos soon, he figured it was now or never. Set up as Temporary Director, he decided to have the meeting in Peggy's Office. One, he knew the man had been there before. Two, some things he wanted to discuss didn't need to be shared with his own team and while his office is private, it's certainly not quite as secure.

*

"You wanted to see me, sir?" Steve asks as he enters the office and stands in front of one of the chairs, careful not to take a seat until asked. Military procedure of course. He's been coming to the SHIELD HQ more and more these days, gradually trying to figure out how to take power back in his life and how to help people again. Part of his uniform, that which was damaged in the plane crash, has been fixed and his helm and shield have been returned. All that needs to happen is a mission, and Steve is silently hoping that's what this is about.

*

Sousa looks up as the legend steps into the office and gets to his feet. "Captain Rogers. It's a pleasure to meet you, finally. I've heard, well, I'm sure everyone gives you the spiel." There's a lopsided smile then before he grabs his crutch and steps out from behind the desk to offer a hand. "You and your men weren't too far from my regiment in Belguim back in the War. I don't expect you to remember that."

He then gestures to the seating area, "Have a seat. Can I get you any coffee?" Rather, he can have it fetched. He then gives a little shake of his head as he completely forgot, "Sousa. Daniel Sousa. Head of Supernatural Investigations and, apparently, Temporary Director while Carter's away." There's a slight grimace that goes with that. It's not a position he relishes.

*

"Some heavy fighting there sir, I remember it well." Steve shakes Sousa's hand and gives him a nod. "I'm fine, thank you," he says regarding the coffee. He never really liked the taste and the caffeine has no effect on him anymore.

"Supernatural Investigations?" Steve says raising an eyebrow. "Pardon me sir, but do you investigate ghosts?"

*

"Oh, we don't investigate ghosts. Supernatural, in this instance, is actually true to the name and not the popular definition. Anything that seems…beyond the 'normal' that we are familiar with tends to be on our radar." Sousa limps over to the seating area but waits to see if the Captain will follow. It's been a while since he was in the Military, but he recognizes the stance. "That's something I'd like to discuss with you eventually, but there are some more pressing matters."

"First though, "Are you settling in ok? Do you have questions or anything that I can help answer? I'm not sure how caught up you'll need to be for what I asked you here to discuss, but I can't even imagine how jarring it must be. I know you don't know me from Adam, but I'm happy to help."

*

Steve follows along, folding his hands behind him and staying mostly quiet. "Beyond the normal sounds pretty exciting sir. You must see all kinds of things out there." The talk of more pressing matters has Steve raising his head, still having no clue what this is all about.

"I've been doing well, thank you. Been staying with Brian which is nice, given he was a friend of mine before this all happened. I appreciate the help, and won't hesitate to ask for help if I need it."

*

Good enough. Sousa stays standing as the other does but they're away from the desk. It's not entirely a formal meeting. He nods as that bit of business is done and he can move into the main points that he'd like to bring up. "Did Falsworth tell you why Director Carter went to Geneva? I'm just trying to figure out how much you know already. No need to rehash if you've already been given information."

*

"No," Steve says with a shake of the head. "Really, people haven't really discussed Director Carter much with me, for obvious reasons. I only found out she was gone when I got the message you wanted to see me, sir."

Apparently he doesn't know anything.

*

The thing is, Peggy doesn't know he's talking to Rogers either. Well, she didn't tell him about Geneva so he'll use that if this ends up being an issue. "Well, I suggest that if you want to discuss Director Carter, you do so with her." If she hears about him asking anyone else about her, she might not be happy. He clears his throat then before beginning, "She's in Geneva to protest the transfer of five Nazi Scientists to the US. To SHIELD, specifically. NATO has claimed that in return for them giving us information and supposed loyalty, they've been pardoned and released to us to be added to our Research Division. Naturally, we aren't in favor of that, but we may not have much choice. Director Carter is going to try, but we're also preparing for them here."

There's a brief pause, "Falsworth suggested that you and he be their escorts when they arrive. I happen to think it's a good idea. They need to know who they'll be up against if they try anything funny."

But that's only part of it.

*

"I don't think that will be necessary, sir," Steve responds to the bit about asking Director Carter about Director Carter.

As Sousa begins to discuss what's happening and what they want Steve to do, the Captain looks to be shocked. "I'm sorry, do you mean that there will be Nazis working here at SHIELD?" This was not something that anyone informed him about to this point. Perhaps that was for obvious reasons as well.

*

Sousa lifts a hand to press against the bridge of his nose, "Sadly, yes. Although we're told that they're no longer Nazis or, in some cases, affiliated with HYDRA." He lowers his hand, "Between you and me…and a few others, I'm not holding my breath and I'm not trusting them farther than I can throw the Statue of Liberty. This also stays between you and me. I'm telling you because -I- feel that this is something you need to be a part of. I'm sorry that we're dropping you into this so quickly, but I'd rather have you in from the beginning than have you come in for clean-up. I hope it doesn't get that far."

*

"I …I don't know what to say," Steve says, shocked. "I mean, back when this was the SSR, this office was fighting for what was right. To have them here, as part of this staff." He shakes his head. "It's not right. I don't think I can be a part of it, a part of any of this if that's the case."

*

"We don't want them here, Captain Rogers. But there's a higher power that's demanding this of us. That's what Peggy's gone to fight," Sousa points out. "If we're lucky, she'll win, but there's a distinct chance that we're going to be outnumbered. Of course it's not right. Of course it's wrong in so many ways but our hands are tied." There's a sigh, "It's an enemy we can and plan to keep an eye on should it come to that. I don't know if it's better that they're here and sat on or sent somewhere else that might be less attentive."

*

"Our hands are never tied, Mr. Sousa. We always have a choice. If SHIELD or individual agents can find a way to rationalize it, that's understandable and their business. But this is America. We're free people, to do as we believe is right."

*

"And NATO believes that it's right to give these men a second chance. Do I personally agree? Not in Hell. Am I concerned? Of course I am." Maybe he should have let Peggy handle this. "We're an International organization now, Captain Rogers. We're beyond the SSR that you knew. We're beyond the SSR that -I- knew. We go beyond just America now."

*

"Bigger doesn't always mean better, sir," Steve says with a sad look upon his face. If it means not joining SHIELD, then that might have to be a decision that Steve has to make. Everyone has a line. And this is a lot more fresh for him than NATO or others.

*

"No, it doesn't." It's hard for him to remember that Rogers was fighting the war until a few weeks ago. He hasn't had the 18 years between then and now. "Tell me, Captain Rogers, would you have prefered to have been told this after the fact?" He's fallible. Maybe he made a mistake.

Sousa is quiet for a moment as he tries to decide how to proceed next. "I'm not asking you to like it. I'm not even asking you to accept it. If it happens, I'm asking if you'd be willing to help us keep an eye on them. We're already planning surveillance and assigned agents. They won't be living in luxury nor will they have free reign about the offices and labs."

*

"I'd prefer that it didn't happen. I'd prefer that they were told no, and that if that wasn't a good enough answer, than we would refuse out of protest. That is what I would prefer, sir," Steve says in response. "They should be in jail cells, luxury or not."

*

"I agree. They shouldn't have been granted any sort of clemency," Sousa limps over to the mantle to lean up against it, his elbow resting on his crutch. "We told them no. They pulled rank." Maybe the military jargon will help. "Best I can guess is that they figured it would be better to have these guys working for us than against us. Stupid line of thinking, if you ask me."

*

"I suppose we will see what the Director says when she gets back from Geneva. Hopefully she'll talk reason into them." Steve isn't going to threaten, because he doesn't believe in threats. But it seems very clear that he's simply not going to be privy to any of this.

*

Sousa is probably going to get a tongue lashing from Peggy for taking this initiative, but he knew that -he- wouldn't want to be surprised by the news. "Yes, we will. Until then, I ask that you not discuss this with others. Falsworth knows so he's fine." It might even help. "I'm here if you have questions. I'm sorry to be dropping this news on you, but I figured you should know."

*

"Thank you sir, I appreciate you being honest with me. It was nice to meet you. It will stay with me and me only." Steve reaches out to shake Sousa's hand, and will make his way from the office, heading back to Brian's and wondering what in the world this organization was all about.

*

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