1964-01-01 - Acting Director Coulson
Summary: Peggy Carter's impostor is dead, the Director presumed missing; Phil Coulson becomes Acting Director and makes moves to secure SHIELD assets while starting the search for the real Peggy Carter.
Related: This is Fine
Theme Song: None
bobbi sousa skye fitz coulson 


Calling Daniel Sousa had been a tough phone call to make. "Mister Sousa. Phil Coulson, Acting Director of SHIELD. I'm sorry to disturb you on New Years Day, but I need you to come to base, immediately." A pause. "It's about Peggy."

Coulson had put the word out, asking others to come to HQ for a bit of a con-fab. Upon arrival at the bullpen, they will notice two armed agents standing outside Peggy Carter's office, which has been taped off like some sort of crime scene. Coulson is sure to intercept Sousa before he arrives, so that he might pull the man aside and bring him up to speed.

"Thanks for coming so quickly, Daniel. I'm afraid I have some… difficult news." He pauses for a moment, before delivering the blow. "There's no other way to put this. One of the aliens was… impersonating Peggy. We don't know what happened to the real Peggy Carter, and I've called together some heads to try and sort that out." He gestures toward the bullpen proper. "Would you mind?"


It's been a really weird few days. Which is about what the bullpen feels. The blueprint hanging in the centre of the bullpen has now undergone significant revisions as FitzSimmons have attempted to correct the plans to include a large concrete structure to encase radiation. Unexpected radiation. Leo stands in front of said blueprint and rubs the back of his head. "Uh… so… we basically have to redo the whole thing," he taps a piece of chalk against his chin. "The Director was an alien. We may all have radiation sickness. We could've gamma radiated New York…." Fitz manages a flicker of a smile towards one of his comrades, "Welcome to 1964~ It's bound to be a real party~"


Bobbi slid away from her desk, coffee in hand as she eyed the blueprint for a long time in consideration. "I'm all for redoing it. Also been keeping a monitor on my heart rate and other vitals. But then again radiation sickness can also feel like having too much caffine. So either way, it's really not worth stressing over Fitz." She sipped her coffee, frowning faintly up at the blueprint.

"Hmm, any chance you know any powered individuals that can, oh I dunno, manipulate concrete that we can hire? 'Cause that would be damn useful for making a new building you know.." Another sip of her coffee, black and thick and military levels of bad. But she drank it anyways.


To say that it was odd was an understatement. The Winter Soldier escaped, probably because of Daisy's doing, but not that she'd mention that outright. Or even mention anything that happened aboard the facility. In fact, she's been rather tight lipped. Whenever someone questioned her, it went down with a trembling room and a really bad upset stomach that had her turning her back to whomever so that she could sleep. At least now, she was out and about among friendly faces. And actively pinned to her desk, wrapped up in the thickest blanket that SHIELD could provide. Along with a cup of coffee and a few bits of advil to help with her headaches. Maybe the heat from the coffee would stop her from looking so goddamned pale? "I feel fine." Annnd.. that's all she says about the gamma radiation. And anything else for that matter.


"About the real Peggy or the one that's been running SHIELD?" is asked back when Coulson mentioned he was calling about Peggy. Sousa seemed to know that something was going on so he didn't actually completely lose it when Coulson explains that Peggy was an alien. Granted, he didn't know -quite- what was going on with her, but that wasn't HIS Peggy. He was pretty certain of that. However, he did come into SHIELD when his presence was requested.

"I mentioned this to Heather weeks ago. I asked her to send Skye," he gestures to the younger woman, "to go to where her last known location was. Where is -she- in all of this?" He hasn't seen or spoken to her since their meeting over Pizza. Dark eyes glance to the others gathered, "It's been a month since…she probably went missing. It's been a month since I was fired from SHIELD and this imposter took over. And no one else noticed." Which is why no one did anything.

"What are we going to do about it -now-?" The statistics of finding someone alive after a month missing…it's not good.


Following Sousa into the bullpen, Coulson looks around at those gathered. Each individual is given a moment; he has thoughts on all of them, and takes the time to allow those thoughts room to breathe.

"Unlikely," Coulson tells Bobbi, before motioning toward the blueprints. "But either way, we've got to contain this situation before anyone else gets any funny ideas. The last thing we need is half the city turning green and… hulking up."

Finding an empty desk, Phil sits half upon it and folds his hands across his lap. He fixes his attention upon Sousa with a long look. "That's a good question. We'll start by reinstating you, at least on a temporary basis." He turns to Fitz. "I need a forensic analysis of Carter's office, her residence. Nothing is sacred here, Agent Fitz. We don't necessarily know how long this alien was impersonating our Director. I need all the data we can muster."

He turns his attention back to Bobbi, Skye, and Sousa. "That being said, we're going to need to dig in, deep. I'm going to ask all of you to share with me your encounters with Carter. I'll need to know your secrets. Unfortunately, clues to her whereabouts may be hidden in the details."


"Don't think I know anyone that could make that happen," Fitz replies to Bobbi as he continues to rub his neck. "In New Zealand," he rocks his hand back and forth uncertain, "maybe. Still new to the Americas." He shrugs. But as far as redoing the prison, "It's a project nightmare. The NATO council that mandated the project isn't going to be happy with the setback. At least the bottom floors are still usable and completed. Might need supports…" His eyebrows knit together and he takes a few steps back to stare at the board longer.

"Good on the vitals. Simmons is busy analyzing effects. At least one fellow was exposed. We know that. And the effects are already," he cringes, "something. Green skin, elongated forehead — definitely irradiated. Not sick though. Not sure if that's good or bad." He shrugs.

A glance is given back to Skye, "You're probably fine. Most of us don't seem to have trouble." Coulson however warrants a small nod, "The DWARFs didn't find anything around here peculiar earlier, but once Simmons is done the autopsy," because there will most certainly be an autopsy, "we can try some analyses to give them information to go on."


A shrug, and Bobbi traces a finger over the paths that she had taken in and out of the building before on the blueprints, eyes narrowed in consideration. Before she let her hand drop and took another sip of her coffee.

"It helps having gone to school for biology, you tend to take notice of your own a bit more. She murmured to Fitz before stepping away.

Blue eyes turn toward Coulson as he addresses her and then the room at large in regards to the situation regarding the Director.

"I'm concerned about our files and what information may have been passed along to who knows where. It's obvious why she was targeted, as Director of Shield and all." She murmured, moving to lean against her desk. "Do you want typed reports or interviews, sir?"


At least Sousa is taking this alright. Daisy leans forward to grasp her cup of coffee, both fingers clutched around the edge as she takes a little sip, her head bobbing in a nod towards Fitz. Though she was astute, attentive and listening as she slowly gives a shake of her head. "Ever since I've been back I haven't seen the Director. So my part in this is effectively finished." She wrinkles her nose at that. "Not.. finished.. I mean I'm going to help find her but.. I have nothing to offer anyone in regards to her .. uh.. state of mind or actions."


Sousa shakes his head, "No. Not our house. Our daughter has been upset enough by this, I'm not having SHIELD agents turning things upside-down. She was away on a mission when this happened and after that, the house was empty for two weeks." Before he and Mickey returned. "Also, while I appreciate the reinstatement, I have a job, Coulson, and I'm not going to step away from it. You know that I will help as much as I can but you are not getting the intricacies of my relationship with my wife." He looks to Fitz, "She was herself before that project. That Prison project. That's where the search should begin.

He begins to pace some around the bullpen before he smacks his hands down on one of the nearest desks, "This is a -person- who is missing here! Not a file, not a piece of equipment! This is -my wife- carrying -my child- and all you're worried about are what kind of reports to file?" He shakes his head, "You know what? The NYPD will hand this. I'll file a Missing Person report and -WE- will handle this."

Well, he -was- handling it well?"


Coulson nods his head to Fitz. "Good. With that in mind, I'm going to mandate that every one of us provide blood samples to biochem on a weekly basis." He turns to look at the others. "We have to take these precautions, in case the aliens target one of us again." Back to Fitz. "I'll get with Simmons on that; she's gonna need to develop a way to identify… whatever it is these aliens do when they impersonate someone, and quickly."

He looks then to Bobbi. "Good point, Agent Morse. We've got to operate under the assumption that all of our files and intel has been compromised. That means a total overhaul of our counter-intelligence systems and protocols. I'll need all hands on this. You'll have your assignments within three hours from this point."

A look is given to Daisy, but all things go on hold at Sousa's reaction. He watches with a calm expression, never moving from his perch upon the desk. "Look, we all care about her," he answers. "Peggy Carter meant - means something to each one of us in this room." He finally stands, though he doesn't move closer to Sousa. "Engaging the NYPD only broadens the risk. We have to assume that the aliens aren't finished with this. As much as we want her back? We can't leave any stone unturned." He shakes his head. "I can't order you to give up information, Daniel. But I will do whatever I have to in order to find her."

Its interesting how Coulson's tone of voice doesn't change much, but there is a sense of ice beneath the pleasant, non-aggressive manner in which he speaks. Yeah… there's a threat in there, somehow.


"Aye," Fitz agrees with Coulson. "After the autopsy is done, I can help with that. Not that I won't assist with the autopsy, just not as strong stomached as Jemma." His eyebrows lift. "Will have to remind her to keep the various components away from our lunch space," he mumbles to himself.

His gaze flits towards Skye, "I've only been here a month. I can give you what I know, but it's not much. Didn't seem happy about our USA transplant though."


Bobbi remains silent during Sousa's rage, his shouting and his slamming his palms against a desk. Her lips thinned and after a moment she turned her gaze back to Coulson. Blue eyes just as carefully critcal as before. "I interacted with her frequently. It's a lot, and I kept notes. I'm going to assume that the Peggy Carter that I have interacted with since I returned from abroad was not the Director at all. Her behavior was erratic from the start, before the prison was announced. I have data on the dates and times, I was worried it was a sign of a hormonal imbalance that might be a symptom of her pregnancy." A shrug, Bobbi certainly hadn't had children but had studied quite well what it could do the body. To her it as already a bodily intrusion.

"She would go from screaming at me out of her office, to very carefully being concerned about my health. She gave me multiple assignments that invovled her mistrust of other agents in the department, along with the mission to help take down Barnes." A head tilt, and Bobbi side eyed Sousa.

"If 'it' managed to dig into our files more than the Director can be in danger. The possibilties are endless if this is an alien incursion. First step to an invasion is always intel. Then counterinteligence. Destablize a region and take out its ability to gain new information. Standard tatics.."


There was nothing but silence from Skye as Sousa went on his rant. The coffee was slowly put down, her hands carefully hovering over it in case it were to crash and fall from the table, but it was not. "If the alien was in your home after the construction of the Project, then you know, as an agent, that you need to vacate the premises to allow us to do the work. It's personal, Chief Sousa, for all of us. If it would make you feel better, I can go to your home to look? And I promise I'll respect everything and anything I come across."

Random blood tests be damned! Though, she already submitted her sample and already scheduled another appointment to see Simmons. So.. for that, she remains silent. Though there was a quiet grumbly nature about that silence, which was added by a sip of her coffee.


Sousa's gaze goes to Fiz when he says he's only been there a month. That's…awfully coincidental. "Stones have been let to rest for a month, Phil." He looks to Bobbi when she mentions her interactions, "Peggy has mood swings with pregnancy, but not like that. Not like what I saw and not like what Agent Morse is describing." He's been trying to hold it together as much as possible for Mickey and his new job. A hand lifts to press at his forehead, "I don't think the alien was…but I can give you a day." He could demand a warrant, but he doesn't actually want to inhibit the investigation. "There needs to be less talk and more action. We need to go looking for her -now-. If she's still alive…" there's a pause as if he can't believe that he's even saying that, "She might be sick or injured. She is seven months pregnant. If she's not receiving the right medical care, both she and our unborn child could be in grave danger. The longer we deal with red tape, the worse off she could be!"


Bobbi makes some good observations, as always. Coulson nods his head to her specifically when she speaks of pregnancy altering mood. It's likely that a lot of people overlooked Peggy's actions, assuming them to be a natural course of pregnancy.

Its also worth noting that Coulson hasn't drilled Skye on what she did at the NATO construction site. He will… just… not here, in front of everybody. Pity he couldn't have spared Daniel the same, but he felt it best to get all the dirt on the table so that this team could get to work without the baggage.

"He's right," Phil trails on the end of Sousa's words. "Skye, you and Bobbi will take point on the Carter situation, but I want you working closely with Chief Sousa." To Daniel, he says, "If you have to engage any of your investigators, I'll insist they provide weekly blood samples for Agent Simmons. Don't worry about the red tape." He makes a gesture with his hand. "I'm Acting Director for the time being, and this situation poses a significant threat to national security. If there's red tape to cut? I've got the world's biggest pair of scissors."

Coulson then turns back to face Fitz, Skye, and Bobbi. "I'll handle the reorganization of our protocols, so that you three can keep your heads down and focused on your assignments. Fitz, if there is anything you need to make this containment situation come together, you tell me. And don't be limited by what you think is possible."


"All due respect," Fitz rub his temples, "I'm not entirely convinced we're resourced to handle this investigation, and while the Department of Defence made it abundantly clear they don't want us helping with the alien problem, maybe we finally have grounds to get a seat at that table. The brain trust in that group is something we want to be tapping into. Liv Sigrunsdottir arranged for me to meet with Doctor Richards to discuss multiversal theory and the possibility and likelihood of time travel." The reasons for that may not be immediately apparent, "Liv was already concerned about the Director and was working alongside others to determine the problem." He pauses.

His gaze turns to Coulson, "I think we need to strategize. If this is the same as what that Alien-Partnership group was working on they may already be spades ahead of us in detection," he pinches the bridge of his nose. "We don't know how the impostor managed to infiltrate under anyone's noses, and we don't know if the change is at the molecular or cellular level." His throat clears, "What I'm saying is, we don't know if people are detectable even in blood samples. It's possible the creature replicated the Director's DNA. So yes, blood tests are well worth completing, but we need to tap into that brain trust at that alien agency. Even if it's just on an informational level."

As far as containment is concerned: "I need access to Doctor Banner. We need him in the lab. I know that he's electing to be here, but he is the expert in gamma radiation. We need him to work alongside us to come to a solution. Especially if it's going to be in a timely manner."


A glance was spared for Sousa, then back to Coulson and the blonde offered a sharp nod, taking a sip of her coffee again. "Yes sir. If Skye wants to handle investigation of the house, I'll work on her office. See what files she has in there, which ones were pulled recently from the storage rooms too. If the alien was looking for something, the paper trail should be there. It had no reason to try to cover up what it was looking for, so the files should give us insight to whatever it wanted. If we trace that backwards, we might find a lead." She exhaled a breath at Fitz's words, her lips pursing together tightly.

"The alien knew about Agent Sigrunsdottir, wanted me to track her because it didn't trust her. We also lost Agent Clint Barton around that time, as he quit. It would be worth it to cross reference his story as well. If we don't know and can't know who else out there is a possible leak for these creatures then we have to start assuming the worst."

Bobbi's expression remained stilted, she was good at compartmentalizing the worst of things, and this definitely qualified. Job first, then emotional break down and paranoia.


With Daisy having her marching orders, she gives a faint nod, her hands pressed against the desk to try to stand but.. she just settles back. "Since our marching orders are given, I'd like to get to work right away. Home to change and check in, then with Chief Sousa to his house. I do have a gift for Mickey I'd like to give her.." Okay, so she has a lot of gifts to give. She'd even say that she had gifts for everyone but it was left in their lockers. Not forgotten, but not mentioned. "I'd like to request the option to bring in an asset to help?"

That'll go over well!

"I'll draw up a file on this asset and have it on your desk.." After that, all is quiet yet again, she was fixing her mind to get into work mode. "Chief.. if it's alright, I'll need your keys. I promise I'll be respectable, you know me." He recruited her along with Fury, after all.


Sousa scrubs a hand through his hair, "I don't think I have any suited to this, but if I do, I'll send them…and recuse myself." Since he can't be on a case that involves his family. "This," he gestures towards Fitz and Bobbi, "This is what I can't be at SHIELD anymore." There's too much emphasis on reports and not about -finding-. "Right now," he looks to the others gathered, "Right now, I am -not- a SHIELD agent. Or even a former SHIELD agent. I can't pretend to be one. Not when my wife and unborn child have been missing for a month." And he had a hunch and still no one did anything! There's a shake of his head before he limps over to his coat to dig in the pockets for a moment. Keys are produced and brought over to Skye. "The nanny is home with Mickey and the dog. I'll call and see if she can take them to the Library or something." At least for a few hours.


Coulson looks between Fitz and Morse, nodding his agreement on more than one occasion. "Good. And Bobbi, when you're done with Carter's office, bring in Barton so we can interview him." He takes a step closer to the tall blonde, fixing her with a stern look. "There's a lot of stuff you'll find in there. I trust you'll know what not to do with it."

Turning back to Fitz, he steps closer to the young man. "You're right, we need to engage ACT-F. I'll go and talk with Doctor Banner, get him on board. How quickly can you bring ACT-F on board?" He nods his head. "I'm willing to trust them as far as we have to."

Coulson doesn't have an immediate response to Sousa's words. He instead turns and merely watches, nodding his head to Skye when Sousa offers the keys. "You don't have to be with SHIELD to be helpful," he says quietly, with a touch of empathy. "Don't worry, Chief. We'll find her."


"I'll call Doctor Richards and arrange a meeting. It's possible you'll want to talk to General Ross — the Department of Defence hasn't exactly been the friendliest at sharing their assets, but I as understand it… he has, in the past," Fitz's eyebrows knit together tightly, "had extreme interest in at least one of ours." He exhales a long breath. "I need to arrange meetings. Simmons is well-equipped to talk to Seo Hyun Storm — both biochemists, and probably well-equipped to formulate some kind of easier detection."

That said, he finally drops the piece of chalk, returning it to the blueprint board before slipping back to the staircase into the lab. There's work to be done.


To anyone trained in inteligence, Bobbi's focus made sense. The detached and determined expression gave away to anyone that knew her, that she was gunning for the aliens that had taken the Director and shaken up the entirity of her world view. She meets Coulson's gaze evenly, a sharp nod offered up to him at the stern look. "Yes, sir. I'll have my other notes on the Director on your desk too."

She turned, making her way toward the Director's office before pausing to look to Sousa. Her lips thinned. "I care about the Director more than just a boss, I trust her to have my back and she never failed me. I failed her. I get that, sir. This is my job, what I'm good at. Right now we're blind. If we can find what the aliens were looking for, what they wanted, then we might yet set a trap to get one of those fuckers alive. Because otherwise, unless you've got a spaceship with a way of finding their base and ripping it apart, we've got very few options of getting a solid lead and getting out Director back." She offered, her voice soft.

Then she was moving with a clipped pace to the Director's office to do just that.


Skye leans forward with a pained expression, her fingers carefully taking the keys from Sousa's hand as she finally gets enough nerve to stand up. No more excuses, time to fight through the pain. They all had their marching orders, and it was time to get to work. "Give me a day, Chief, to get everything settled with medical.." Skye tells Sousa quietly, and upon the heels of the others, she pockets the keys and leaves the blanket and coffee behind, heading down a different path than the rest.


"I want to be there when you find her. I'll help as much as I can but you were around this alien more than me. I can tell you quite a lot about the real Peggy…" not the alien. He hasn't spoken to her since he was fired. Sousa gives a sigh and moves to retrieve his coat. There's a look as the scientist mentions speaking to others and only when he leaves does he ask the agents he knows well, "Who -is- that guy?"

He looks to Bobbi when she speaks to him but once she's goes into the office, he gives a very concerned look to Coulson and Skye, "You think she was -abducted by aliens-??" He has had his share of supernatural instances, but this was not anything he really thought might happen. Mutants and extra-powered beings seem to make more sense than Aliens from Outer Space. That's just Science Fiction!


"You'll be there," Coulson tells Sousa, with a sense of genuine reassurance. He turns to watch as Skye and Fitz depart, certainly feeling proud of how they've each performed. They're all under a great deal of stress, and what's being asked of everyone isn't easy.

He looks back to Bobbi with a raised eyebrow, then turns again to Sousa. "We can't cross anything off the list until we start putting the puzzle together. Which we will. I'll make damned certain."

They all have their orders; he as well. With a nod to the guards, they will stand aside and allow Agent Morse to enter the Director's office. Coulson then turns toward his desk, and his typewriter. Reorganizing SHIELD protocols will be a task in and of itself.

He cracks his knuckles and sits down, feeding a piece of paper to get started.


"May you lead an interesting life…" is murmured as Sousa shrugs on his coat and hat, "More a curse than a blessing." He pauses at Coulson's desk on his way back out, however, "Thanks. If I have anyone who might be useful, I'll send them to help." He's still so new at his position, he's not sure he knows of anyone, but files will be pored through. "Call any time if you find anything. Or need anything. Day or night. I'll look through the house as well," and point anything odd out to Skye when she comes by to go through the house.

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