1964-09-07 - CIA Grade LSD
Summary: Phil Coulson makes an unexpected and questionable request of Sharon Carter.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
sharon carol-danvers coulson 

Somewhere in SoHo, there is a pawn shop. It is but one of many, only this pawn shop is cover for SHIELD field operations. Oh, it's a fully functional pawn shop, it's manager and two employees all trained field agents trained in both subterfuge and the nefarious dealings of pawn shoppery. They come complete with bad attitudes, poor self care, and one even has a bad case of bad breath (most intentional, one accidental, you be the judge).

An official request was sent to Sharon Carter, via Langley, courtesy of interagency courier. Along with the official request, an address given to this particular pawn shop. Though the sign hanging on the door reads 'CLOSED', the 'manager' is still inside, along with two of SHIELD's finest.

Phil Coulson is seated at a fold-up chair, briefcase resting on the floor at his side. Even though it is night time, he still wears his sunglasses, and the normal business professional in plain white, black, and grey tie. A card table is before him, and his hands are filtering through a deck of cards.

"I've always enjoyed 21 more than poker," he tells the woman seated across from him while dealing the round. "I understand the general fascination with poker, of course, but to me… 21 is more about reading the odds of probability."

He flips over his first card, as dealer, which happens to be the 10 of Spades. "Oof," he winces, and shakes his head. "Figures."

The blonde was quite curious about this job, but with her increasing dissatisfaction with her agency and sloppiness when she's state side, well, she's been given some shit tasks as of late. Of course, Sharon's also probably been given this with a comment of 'for some of your old friends', because it's SHIELD agents, but she doesn't necessarily know that yet. She just remarked off handedly to her boss: "I don't have friends…" Took the envelope, and headed out into the world.

Now she's walking down the street to that seemingly closed pawn shop, the folder tucked in the oversized leather jacket that she's wearing. She's watched to make certain she wasn't being tracked the whole way down here and is confident of being alone by the time her lanky frame slips in the door. SHe doesn't bother knocking. An arch comes to her brow, even higher than before, as she sees who is at the table. "…well… This is one way to arrange a renuion, I guess." She mutters huskily.

Carol laughs, "You don't really play that often, do you Phil?" She shakes her head a bit, and looks over towards Sharon, "So, we meet again… and not at that bar either." She grins, tilting her head as she is dressed pretty casually for the moment. She smiles faintly, "Want to help teach Phil how to play blackjack?" Her eyes sparkle a bit as she looks rather amused.

"Oh, not as often as I'd like," Coulson answers. "However, what I have found is that, when dealing the first round and dealer receives a ten, it is quite difficult to anticipate how the rest of the hand might go."

He folds his hands into his lap then when Sharon arrives, and stands up to greet her. "Ah, Sharon Carter. So glad you received my message. I do hope my request wasn't too much trouble." He walks forward to greet her with a handshake. "I know it was… unusual."

A slight smile, as much of a smile as Sharon ever really gives, flickers across her features as she sees Carol. "Ms. Danvers. Good to see you again as well. I… don't know that I realized you worked with SHIELD too. I should have figured, my aunt and all…" Sharon smirks a bit at the thought, no more happy with Peggy than Carol is right now, it seems. Then her pale eyes flicker back towards Coulson and she offers a slim, slightly calloused hand. "Agent Coulson. It's… been a while. And yes, I got your request. And yes, I have it. That doesn't mean I'm *giving* it to you. YOu're going to have to convince me real damn hard of this ridicuolousness."

Carol Danvers chuckles, "Well, you always want to see a ten, Coulson, it just makes things a lot easier since you're more likely to see another ten than anything else." She grins back towards Sharon, "Hello Sharon, haven't seen you since that run-in at that bar. Did you get that bartender's number?" She winks a bit, rising to her feet as well.

Phil reaches up to remove the sunglasses from his face before taking Sharon's hand in a professional manner. His expression remains obnoxiously pleasant, not even going so far as to flinch at the woman's ire. "Oh, I'm quite certain of that. Please." He gestures to the table. "Join us. Once the Colonel and I have finished this first round, I can deal you in."

Reclaiming his seat, Phil gives Carol a lopsided grin. "That's just it, Danvers," he quips. "I like to keep things… off balance." He finishes dealing Carol's cards, which happen to be the Ace of Clubs and the 3 of Diamonds. He sets his second card down, face down, then folds his hands together, looking toward Carol expectantly. "So, Agent Carter. How well apprised have you been kept on the situation surrounding James Buchannan Barnes?"

"I didn't come to play cards, Coulson. You two have fun. I'm here for business." Though Sharon does seem to warm up to Carol just a bit, as she steps over and settles in between the woman and Coulson's chair. She keeps her back to the closest wall, meaning she has to keep an eye on slightly less of the room. Just habit. She then pulls out a pack of Lucky Strikes from her pocket, flashing that envelope she has but not fully removing it from her jacket.

"I know that SHIELD potentially faked his death… then he got away, but eventually turned himself back in. You all had him prisoner for a while while you did your best to clear his head and confirm he wasn't a threat. SOmeone did enough of that, so you let him back among the public and he's now trying to rebuild his life after the Russians utterly brain fucked him."

Carol Danvers taps the table once, "Hit it, Phil." She then looks over at Sharon, "Pretty accurate summary, really. And geez, Phil, call me Carol if we're playing cards." She grins wolfishly, waiting for him to deal her that card. "Four or fourteen, might as well try for that lucky seven, huh?"

Sharon's singular nature actually does phase Phil, which is saying something. Specifically, the term 'brain fucked' brings him pause, and he looks toward Sharon with an expression that can only be deciphered as, 'Really, Sharon? Really?'. "That's an accurate assessment, yes," he tells her. "Though clearly nobody has briefed you on the developments at Quang Yen."

He then provides Carol with another card. Queen of Hearts, thus forcing Carol's Ace to fall into the '1' pip category. He lifts his eyebrows to her, wondering if she's willing to chance another hit. "To make a very long and boring story short?" He turns to look at Sharon again. "Bucky's been cloned. And, as you so eloquently put it, his cloners have 'brain fucked' every last one of them. You're correct, of course, in that we were able to unlock - no, the better term might be, 'shut down' the effectiveness of the Russian brainwashing, but, this is sophisticated stuff, Sharon. More sophisticated than anything I've ever seen before, and that includes in the Pacific, and the SSR."

A slight tilt comes to her head as Carol confirms she's mostly right. Sharon, if anything, is a Carter. She knows she's mostly right and her pride is fairly strong for it. She takes a good drag of her cigarette to get the cherry going and then listens to the explanation that Phil gives further. He might look surprised, but Sharon lets utterly no emotion cross her face. Nothing but the faintest uptick in her breath and pulse, something almost no one would notice, gives away any reaction she has. She may be screaming internally, but she never lets it show.

"…Well…cloning. That… is, indeed, a turn of events of which I was not aware. I'm glad you were able to shot down the brainwashing… I am not surprised at it's sophistication. The Russians have far less morals than we do about completely retraining people's heads, so they've perfected technique even better than we have. But… what does this have to do with clones or Bucky's mental condition?"

Carol Danvers taps her finger on the table again, "Come on Phil, you know a 14 isn't any good when you've got a ten showing." She then glances over at Sharon and nods, sounding a bit grim, "James has managed to get through most of it, but the others, well… we only managed to capture one. It was a bit of a harrowing experience all told." Which, well, for her to say that it's a bit surprising.

"Oh, we haven't shot it down," Coulson answers Sharon. "Not in the slightest. We had to enlist the help of someone with 'abilities' to, well, block it from the rest of his brain. It worked, and continues to work, but only on him. We have determined that the Russian influence is triggered by a series of words, words that don't have a single thing to do with each other, aside from the fact that, when spoken in sequential order, the…" He gestures with his hands then. "… the effect is triggered. None of our doctors or scientists can figure it out. However, we do have one advantage."

He turns toward Sharon with a rueful grin. "The one we captured? It seems the same triggering words have been programmed into his brain."

Carol's next card is a Six of Hearts, putting her at 20. Coulson whistles and sits back again, lifting his eyebrows. He's not going to assume her level of risk until she actually signals him to stay.

"…Alright. I'm not seeing exactly why you need government grade LSD for this… We try not even to USE this shit any more. It will literally drive you crazy, you know?" It's effective, but sometimes too effective. Sharon stares at Phil over the lazy smoke of her cigarette, easily speaking around the end of it between the corner of her lips. Carol is given a long look at the comment about it being a harrowing exprience. "…That must have been hell for you to call it harrowing. That's the one you captured?"

Carol Danvers smiles and waves her hand, "I'm good there." She then looks over at Sharon, and nods, "Yeah, barely kept James from going back over… fortunately was able to get him out of hearing range, since they were broadcasting the control words through speakers where we were at." she shakes her head, "But I have no idea where they got the clones, that would be way more advanced than I thought they'd be capable of."

"Oh, I suspect it's fair to assume that the Vietnamese had some outside help," Coulson allows. He nods his head to Carol's decision to stay. Safest bet, of course.

He turns over his hidden card, revealing the Five of Clubs. "The means by which we have supplanted its influence over James cannot be relied upon to, say, subject that same influence over a group of people we can neither number, nor locate," he explains, before taking a card; the Ace of Diamonds, forcing him to total in at 16. "As I understand it, lysergic acid diethylamide can be applied in doses ranging from small to large, triggering a variety of differing effects." He reaches for another card, turning his attention briefly from Sharon back to Carol with a grin on his face. "Show time."

The card is dealt, and it is the Jack of Hearts. A bust.

"Good hand, Carol," he tells her. "Casino rules, or would you like a hand with the bank?"

Finally, he turns back to Sharon, laying his final argument on the table. "I can't force Bucky to take part in the experiment. His counterpart, however, is a prisoner of war. I can force him to take it. Sharon, I'm gonna level with you… we are running out of options. I know this stuff is… unpredictable. But if it can unlock parts of the brain that typically remain hidden, is it not possible that it might allow us to gain more direct access to these words? Maybe even find a way to undo them completely? Is it not worth the risk?"

The blonde listens with slightly furrowed brows. She is clearly not comfortable, but masking it immensely well, as she smokes and considers the problems in front of her. She nods quietly to Carol's story, taking it all in while her lips remain in that mute sort of line. She breathes in slowly through her nose then, not responding to Phil quite yet, but there is something stiffer in her shoulders. "…Force him to take it. You…you know we're supposed to be the good guys here, right? We're… supposed to be doing the right things. Be better than this shit that other countries pull. That's why we get to justify going in there. That's why we get to do what we do, because we are *better*…"

Carol Danvers chuckles, "I can play the house if you want." She nods over at Phil, looking a bit… well, not entirely comfortable with the idea. But then, she sighs a bit, "Yeah, not exactly liking those options Phil. I gotta agree with Sharon, if there was some other way we could go about this…"

Phil's expression remains unchanged, but he doesn't shy away from Sharon's gaze as she argues against the morality of what he's proposing. He keeps his gaze there for some time, before casually reaching down for the briefcase at his feet. He sets it upon the table after clearing away his cards, and dials in a combination. The latches click, and he retrieves three files from within. The briefcase is closed, and the first file is opened.

"Edna Peterson. Aged 41, occupation, housewife. Married, 20 years to one Al Peterson, Senior Plant Manager, G.E. Aviation, Cincinnati Ohio. Subject to CIA Experiment 201-Section-C-dot-49, as related to effects of LSD introduced in secret over the course of fifteen doses spanning twelve months, ranging in even doses of 40 micrograms to 350 micrograms. Conclusion, effect on subject: paranoid delusion onset by experiences ranging from mild euphoria to visual, tactile and audible hallucination." He closes the file and turns back to Sharon, his expression unwavering. "The point was to see not only it's effect on a random housewife, but truthfully, to determine if mind control over a neutral asset could be utilized to influence the decisions of a civilian working on government contracts for General Electric."

He turns that file under the rest, and glances down to the tab below. "Shall I read the results from, Davis, Michael, Lance Corporal, U.S. Army? Or can we cut to the chase?"

He looks between Carol and Sharon then, lips drawn into a thin line. "There's no telling how long the Russians have been mastering their craft, but for all we know, this is just the beginning. So don't bullshit me about us being better, because I promise you, this is just the tip of the iceberg."

Coulson's passion is evident, but it comes through with an intensity that is not paired by a raised voice, or threatening body language. No, he's as pissed about the idea as any of them, but he doesn't live in a world of white and black anymore. He lives in a world of calculations, and right now, the moral substance of this decision is far outweighed by the moral substance of how many lives it might save.

Sharon doesn't look surprised at the file, offended, betrayed by her parent company. It's all information she's seen before, that much is clear. She just was trying not to remember it. Now, she stares down at the text and sighs quietly, letting her pale eyes fall shut for several heartbeats. "Carol…I want you there… when this shit is happening. I want you… supervising… You're better than the lot of us, you know that…" Sharon mutters. Who knows why she trusts the woman, but she does. She digs her thin hand into her coat and drags out the envelope, passing it across the table to Phil.

Carol glances over towards Sharon, and nods, "Alright, I'll be there for this. It's part of my responsibility after all." She sighs, "Yeah, Phil, I know. But that doesn't mean I have to like it either." She then starts shuffling the deck of cards, fingers nimbly randomizing the deck as she uses that to occupy her mind.

"Well." Coulson looks down to his briefcase, and a frown begins to pierce his stalward gaze. "That makes three of us." He replaces the files, then reaches out to accept the envelope from Sharon. Usually, he would inspect the contents to assure that firstly, the contents are there, and second, no explosives or dangerous substances are within. He does not do that today. The item is simply stowed in the briefcase, which is then locked and replaced at his feet.

Having handed the goods off, Sharon stands and gives them both a long look. "There. You have it. But… I want full reports. Not the CIA. Me. I could give a fuck less what the higher ups think. Bucky is my friend and if we're doing this to TRY and make things better… I want to know what's going on. Understood? Otherwise, I blow this whole cover and I can do it. You know I can." Whether Sharon would actually carry her threat out or not, who knows, but she certainly seems dead serious.

Carol glances over at Sharon, "I don't think that's anything you have to worry about Sharon. James is my friend too." She sighs a bit and then goes through the motions of dealing, giving Coulson a pair of tens (clubs and hearts) while she gets a Queen of Hearts. The other card, of course, is hidden. "Okay, Phil, splitting, or not?"

"I, also, have grown quite fond of him," Phil admits. He looks away from the cards before they're fully dealt, and gives Sharon a heartfelt look. "Nothing will be forced on James. You have my word. And you will have my report, personally."

When he looks back to the cards, his heartfelt expression is seamlessly replaced by that usual, disarming joviality he carries. It might give the women a glimpse into just how he manages to handle the hard decisions he's forced to make every day; with an iron clad shield around his soul.

"Are you kidding?" he asks Carol. "Double the odds, double the fun."

A slight shake of her head as Phil goes right back to the cards, but her lips remain in a cool line. "A full report. Even before you bring James in on it, I want to know what happens. Got it?" She looks at both of them, trying to secure that promise from Carol, if nothing else, but then she's turning on the ball of her foot and stalking out of the place. She's lighting another cigarette off her old one, as she goes, and soon is disappearing into the night. Not even the cherry of her cigarette can be seen — Sharon smokes them with her hand cupped overtop.

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