1965-01-02 - Court of Nevers: Story IV - Peggy
Summary: Ms. Carter bites off more than she can chew confronting Nick Fury in the archives of SHIELD after learning that the world's safety rests in her uncovering a mole.
Related: Court of Nevers
Theme Song: None
nick-fury peggy rogue 

The woman in a smart green dress sips a glass of wine, the decanted beverage a deep, rich Bordeaux. She swirls the contents around, seated at a bistro table. "Our final champion, Margaret Carter. Be welcome, and tell your story."

0835 AM. East 42nd Street. Midtown.

Getting anywhere in the vicinity of Midtown requires patience beyond the skills of a codebreaker or an agent in European operations. Pedestrians brave the howling winds created by the wind tunnel along East 42nd. Unusual hubbub at Grand Central Terminal has her running behind, and the usual ten minute walk to the U.N. building no doubt will take double. Snow and ice fog up traffic and the sweating pedestrians on the bus or in a taxi aren't getting there any faster than on foot.

As long as she makes it to the plaza by nine sharp, all should be well. Her contact is famous for his punctuality and unwilligness to brook any kind of interruption to the Friday morning cultural displays in the glass-covered atrium. Every week, something different shows. Last time it was classical Indian dancers and this week a Hungarian string quartet. The contact, an attache in the Greek embassy, is Spiros Stavros, a senior Greek attache respected as much for his naval experience as the staunch family fortune keeping him atop Greece's precarious situation. He is by dint of his family connections, fabulously resourceful.

He's also one of the better sources of information, a go-between for other friends. Her target, of course, prickly as a cactus and deep as a Cretan well.

Peggy's in her normal sharp business attire. Ever the professional, she's ready to meet, and of course she's going to be prompt and on-time. She moves to approach, makeup and hair perfect, heels tic-tacing out their beat. She smiles, as she looks over. "Good morning." she offers to Spiros.

Stavros embodies that kind of dark, classic Mediterranean appearance that belongs on a yacht somewhere in the Aegean, betraying the fact his mother was a Cossack and most of his father's line prowled up and down the Black Sea for the past century at a half. He sits in the glassed-in atrium on a bench, far enough that the pretty dancers wearing flowers in their hair and the string quartet will not drown out business. The dispatches usually carried on his person are in his briefcase. He looks entirely as though he could use a proper flat black coffee any time now, and that vaguely harried expression little changes his salt-and-pepper mustache when she arrives. "Ma'am," he states. "Good morning." It's never quite different with him. Courtesies first, as he rises, grey suit sharp as a tack.

The brunette sits, crossing her legs. "And how are you doing this fine morning?" she asks. She looks over to the dancers, and then back to him. "The performance this morning looks to be a good one."

The dancers are young, fairly slim things in traditional Hungarian dress rather than gauzy tutus or scandalous clinging leotards. The Friday cultural shows begin promptly at nine, and after a few minutes of preparations, the usual lackeys and attaches, diplomats and staff filter in to take up the benches rather like they do in the assembly halls and conference rooms. An air of hushed anticipation falls while the conductor for the quartet identifies the young ladies and the quartet, one from Buda and the other from Pest, as is an injoke of no real importance. Their visas are no doubt a matter of great interest. The cellist smiles, the violinist looks serious as an engineer inspecting a dam. Meanwhile, the Greek replies, "Well as can be expected. The usual trouble with tickets to the Met Opera. The box office cannot seem to get row F tickets, and consign me to a balcony seat." Code, sensitive paperwork in flight is taking the slow route due to overly monitored agents.

Peggy smiles, looking over to the performers, and then back to him. "I'll see what I can do. I have some friends there; I might be able to expedite things a touch there."

He nods, rather than gushes. Stavros glances at the girls gathered together in a stately position rather like a youthful tree, birch-thin arms raised outwards while the quartet runs through a simple warm-up before they begin the program in earnest. "Imagine missing the opening for the winter season. Unthinkable." His spindly fingers curve about his knee, silver ring flashing on one hand, gold wedding band on the other. "See what you can do. Of course I appreciate the gesture. A pair of tickets for you, the least I can do to repay the trouble. Any particular performance?"

Peggy smiles. "Oh, I trust your discretion. You always seem to know what the best performances are." She seems relieved that things are going well this morning. "Is anything especially memorable coming up soon?"

Stavros nods. "You know these avant garde performers popping up everywhere, Argentinian and Ethiopian and somewhere in Central America. Much ado about nothing if you ask me." His exacting tastes on these matters tend to be precise and unerring. "A passing fad, but the consummate experts are where they have always been. I heard something about a trove of instruments unearthed from boxes in some dreary manor, misclassified as Swedish. Quite the embarrassment if the news weren't buttoned up. But the quality of the violins is said to be unsurpassed, exquisite pieces. Certainly worth hearing, don't you think? A private audience might be the thing, before everyone else has a chance to speculate." He inclines his head. "They occasionally offer a preview. Worth asking about the office, perhaps."

She listens carefully. "Of course. I'll be happy to. I'm a great fan of things European." A smile curls those red lips up. "I always do enjoy our morning chats together. Is there anything going on with your business matters that I might be able to help you with?"

More of the crowd watches in anticipation as the simple libretto ends. The lively slide of the strings begin, the viola player setting his bow to the neck of the instrument. Across from him, the woman playing the violin waits, patiently and the cellist begins, taking up the quiet, robust harmony. Spiralling sounds arise out of the almost dusky gloom. Rapid arpeggios unleashed in a thunderous lightning shall follow in short order, contained within the quartet's limits. An impresario performance, to be sure, to match the shocking modernity that captivated Parisian audiences half a century ago. Harsh sounds play in cacophonous spills, almost tribal, harsh and glorious in the choreography. Long-braided Lolitas, those Hungarian dancers, savagely spin in defiance of gravity and sink ever so low towards the earth. Their poses defy the canon of accepted grace and malleability so beloved in classical dance, but they are exceptional nonetheless. Immersed in sound and fury, how can the corroborating notes ever distinguish themselves from the five girls leaping and dipping, almost squatting, a row of automata performing the ancient custom.

It's the Rite of Spring, and in that beguiling madness is a potent unlocking of the mind almost as strong as repeating a few choice words in a little Red Book hidden in the Soviet Union. Except for Peggy Carter, the sounds are the turn of the key. Not the words. The primitive dance grounds and beats steel, the rhythm of the steppes translated into a certain, deeply despairing melody. One of those girls is doomed to dance to the death, and it's in those notes the right chords are struck.

Peggy looks over, as she hears the music. She stands, her attention clearly elsewhere, and starts to walk away. Meanwhile, she's rummaging in her purse. Nothing that would seem amiss for a lady, though what she's doing is affixing a silencer to her pistol. Someone has to die.

A rare silence follows amidst the skirling notes, and the earthy tempo full of uproarious, haunting fervor clashing out of the vehement interactions between violins and viola, the cello never undercutting so much as raising the prospect of great doom to the adolescent maidens called forth. Those Hungarian girls stoop and bend, their expressions fraught with tension under glistening perspiration at their temples.

He waits a beat, then two, and gives the softest of gestures. Stavros has done his work, and it falls upon another man in a forgettable black suit with an equally forgettable mid-American accent to deliver the message. He has brought her here, and now the work begins. His words are Russian, terribly soft: "«Go to your office. Procure personnel files. The Germans have cultivated a mole for nearly ten years, and seek to place him in your agency. Identify code-name Basalt and eliminate his influence.»

Peggy gives a nod. «Understood.» She replies in kind, her tone neutral, her voice quiet. She'll start on her way towards her office. After all, she has work to do.

«Contact through normal means.» The fellow in a black suit doesn't smile. He slid onto the stage with all the charisma of a wet potato, and he vanishes into the crowd again in a similar manner, one of so many suits set up in place. The dancers are full of youthful verve and energy, and they need it, pouring out their hearts to the delight and disturbance of the United Nations. While the guests luxuriate in the faulty, devastating blows of the rising arc of music, Peggy is left to her own devices. The musicians strike their bows and bow their heads, almost moving in herky-jerky automations as much as the machine-dancing girls.

Peggy heads to her office, the very picture of British professionalism. She'll stop off at her secretary, get her messages, get her tea. Everything by the numbers, exactly as she normally does it. It'll be a solid hour in, when she heads off to the file archives. This she'll pull herself, to avoid any other eyes on it.

Well… she might try.

Her secretary has a bit of a dazed look on her face, tied to the phone. The sensible woman goes off to perform random acts of filing and delivery of a message. She may prove unfortunately late about the tea, a sin probably unforgiveable, even though the hob isn't so terribly far away in a little corner kitchenette reserved for hoarding scones. But that's not exactly what stands out.

No knock at the door announces the entrance of a pair of men in black uniforms, white eagles on the shoulders, belts angled over chest and waist. They stare a moment, and say, "Put the files down, miss."

Peggy looks over, lifting an eyebrow, as she looks to the men in the uniforms. "Can I help you gentlemen? I wasn't notified about visitors." And really, she should have been.

The gentlemen wear the same military-grade hatchet expressions and upright poise. No doubt they learned that at Fort Bragg or Camp Lejeune, depending on the outcome. A dark glower levied flat at the woman peering at files and uniform details typed on regulation stock paper by an ugly old typewriter. Stamps of 'classified' and 'top secret' decorate pages liberally. Reason enough for one to adopt a broad stance.

"How long have you been in the building, miss?"

Peggy looks over to them, annoyed. "I've been here since my shift started this morning, gentlemen. Really, you should have announced yourself to my assistant." She sets the files on top of the cabinet, and then closes the drawer. She has that air of perturbness she does so well.

Loud footsteps can be heard now from the hallway. The smell of a cigar making it's way into the room as well. When Fury arrives one of the two guards is yoked up, and slammed against the wall. Smoke from his cigar escapes his nostrils and burns the mans eyes. "I"LL HAVE YOUR ASS!" He shouts. When he releases the man he crumples to the floor. Turning swiftly to the other he shouts, "Detain her!" Nick crosses his arms and stares Peggy down. "How?!" He growls at the woman. "Start talkin'. My patience is short and I doubt you'll be leaving here today. Make it easy on your self." He removes the cigar slowly, a moment of calm and then, "KGB? RED ROOM!? MI-5?!?" He's practically foaming at the mouth now and inching closer, his steps measured and heavy as he looks down. His demeanor so threating the guard has stopped and stepped aside. He reaches over and undoes the buckle for his side arm. He drops the stogie and squishes it out with the upmost authority. "I won't ask again ." He says now, his mug only inches from hers and that one eye squinting with…Fury.

The first of the guards on the left doesn't hesitate, stepping into the room and taking Peggy by the upper arm unless she chooses to lash out. She just might but their training focuses upon detainment, defense, and subduing an unwilling target. Practice in the fields of Korea probably translates to some expertise. Moving in, the one on the right flanks to take Peggy's ability to scamper for the door away. Mind you that means mowing Nick Fury down, and that accordingly raises the bar of difficulty.

Peggy is not about to hesitate. Nor is she about to be grappled if she can help it. The Designated Female Grab Area (TM) may paralyze most women, but Peggy Carter is not most women. One foot lashes out at the side of the knee of the man grabbing for her. "Agent Fury, WHAT do you think you're doing?!" She demands.

Fury looks outraged, then confused, followed by pure anger. "You've been asked that yerself'!" He shouts, bits of spittle flying from his mouth in her face. He shouts and more agents pour in the room behind him. But he's closer and she is already acting up! Now he goes for her and will make to subdue her. "Tha' documents!" HE adds to his yelling for someone to retrieve from where she had set them. "WHO SENT YOU!" His voice is at a steady roar now, his face twisted in scorn.

A flash of her foot hits, but the agent swivels, moving with it rather than against. His partner unleashes a block just in case another strike is coming, the two of them moving around Fury rather than in his way. Peggy can negotiate her own state, but the presence of mind to kick the file room door closed is probably a point of wisdom, really. Shooting in short range is not good, but no one has pulled a firearm. "The agent reported her violation after oh-fifteen," reports one sharply.

Peggy puts on that voice of command. "I am the Director of SHIELD, and you will /STAND DOWN/." She's not going to stop, though. She's better with a pistol than unarmed, and she will pull backwards, while pulling out her pistol. "NOW."

Nick gives the briefest of nods to acknowledge the agents short report. "Ya' took yer' good ole' time makin' me aware!" Though he knows the blame does not lay on the man. He opens his mouth to bark more orders but Miss Carter is already pulling back, a move mostly anticipated, hence the unstrapping of his own side arm. It's pulled in a flash of brilliance and the muzzle leveled at her. Nick is not standing down, rather he is ready to shoot. "I'd suggest not dying here…." Then he adds with a vicious half grin. "Yet." Most likely wanting her alive.

They won't throw everyone else under the bus. Protocols deserve to be followed later. "Doormen need some dressing down," is the worst that will be said. Silence, then, as they take up their position. Oh, sidearms pointing everywhere, this ought to be good. Their own hands are dropping to pistols, prepared to drag at speed yet.

Peggy doesn't lower her pistol. But she also doesn't fire. "/What/ do you gentlemen think you are doing? If you're prepared to attack me, I assume you have some measure of evidence?" She asks, looking at the men there. Outnumbered. And she of all people knows how hard it is to get out of this room. She'll slowly, and obviously raise her hand, and pointedly set the pistol atop the cabinet, taking her hand off it

Nick keeps his gun aimed. Slowly he moves forward. A quick head nod is given and one of the agents will make to grab the gun she set down. A few more hand waves and militairy gestures and two more will move around each side of them to cuff her. "/WHAT/ Do you think you are doing?!?" He screams at her with malice. As the others are moving in to place he adds, "Name, women. State yer' business! I will drop you right here!" /Now/ his finger could be seen getting tighter on the trigger. "She's clearly bat-shit." He says now, "Someone sedate her!"

Peggy looks confused. "You know entirely well who I am! Peggy Carter, Director of SHIELD!" She says, angrily. "What is all this nonsense?!" however, her weapon is placed down, and she'll let herself be handcuffed.

"Cuff her first, sir?" That seems to be the voice of reason, espoused in ex-Marine. The fellow does not question whether or not this would be illegal or ill-advised. Metal bracelets do a good job of taking away someone's volition to fight. Usually. He is not following her orders, but he waits on Fury to confirm this idea before acting.

"We got no idea where she came from. Up the stairs, and that was that," mutters the first with the gun picked up with a gloved hand to avoid ruining any prints. Outside the door there's muttering of voices, hints that others are present. Ms. Wallace, the secretary in question, is no doubt mortified to see her boss in this state. He is mouthy, yes, but rarely driven to such high dudgeon.

Fury nods. "Get her subdued." Then he looks over, "Try not to take any more kicks in tha' knee this time." His tone is angry. Over his shoulder he says, "Stand by to inject her if need be." Though without her gun she seems less a threat. Once she is cuffed he will re-holster his side arm and approach the cabinet to pick up the papers she set down. Giving them a brief glance his eye never stays off her for more than a second or two. "Now, one more time 'fore ya' get tha' needle." He growls at Peggy. "Why. Are. You. Here?" His volume has flattened out and he squints at her violently.

Peggy just looks confused. "I. Work. Here. Check my purse. It'll have my identification in it." She says, matter-of-factly.

"Miss, please stop ordering around government officers." The gruff conversation over Peggy's shoulder comes with rigid professionalism. Nothing personal, just a part of the job. Handcuffs are applied to the right wrist, then the left, snick-snack shut, more than just the flimsy bracelet of a prank gone horribly awry. No Christmas party joke here, no demonstration of lax security standards in an era where big bad horrors hidden behind level nine clearance are so much worse.

Ms. Wallace shakes her head from outside, the door hauled open enough for her drawn, angry face to show. "I don't know what is claimed. Bus schedules, the train, gum, half a dozen cards in here. New York Public Library card, for Margaret Carter? I don't even know what to make of it."


Fury would have motioned to retrieve her things and have Ms. Wallace go through them. But, when naught more than a librairy card and such comes up his face draws tight. "I've had enough lies ta' last a lifetime. Didn't need any today." He pulls a cigar now with the tension dying down and lights it. A large puff given before he continues. "Get everything you can on, 'Margaret Carter.' Sure it's just phony papers and tha' like." He reaches back over and grabs the papers she had had. Handing them over to his secretary he says, "Go through these. I want a list of every rival faction and sorry bas##$d that these just might interest." He looks back down to Peggy now, "If ya' know enough about SHIELD to have got yer' sorry little self in here you must know enough that this next part won't be pleasant." Then he turns to the men who have her in custody. "Search her."

Peggy glares. "If I'm to be searched, it's to be by female agents. Protocol 241-7." Peggy knows the regs. Hell, Peggy /wrote/ the regs. "And I haven't any idea what's going on here. I am the Director of SHIELD. And I can provide any passcode needed, to that end."

The two agents frown slightly as they listen to Agent Wallace over there, secretary to Fury at large. The woman rifles through a few more things and shakes her head. "Train ticket and that's the best we have. I can send this over for inspection and evidence." Some passing lackey out there is deputized to run off with the purse and put it through the paces of a technician's tray, x-ray scanner, and worse than what Checkpoint Charlie on the GDR side faces. The guards hold fast on orders, shaking their heads.

"You high?" It's a simple question from the one who ran off with the gun. "How else would you just waltz in here and pop yourself down at a desk? Could be she needs a blood panel done, sir, to see that she hasn't been shot full of chemicals." Or a self-destruct button, at that matter.

Nick squints that one eye when she speaks up. "24- what?" He puffs vigirously now and gives a nod to the men who have her in custody. They will not fail to search her one would assume. "And definetly sedate her."

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