1965-04-30 - Gross, Thompson
Summary: Coulson briefs Agents Harman and Thompson on a potential domestic crisis that could be hitting the area soon.
Related: Gold Coast Conspiracy
Theme Song: None
thea flash-thompson coulson 

Its never fun when you're summoned to the sublevels of the Triskelion, which is precisely why Agent Coulson has brought in coffee and donuts. One by one, various agents have come and gone. They come in pairs to be briefed by Coulson himself on a matter that remains classified.

Althea Harman and Flash Thompson are slated to be meeting with him next. The meeting room is separated from the hallway by a sound proof glass wall. At the moment, Coulson is rising and offering a file to a pair of agents, before they turn to leave the room, opening the door as they go.

"Poland," grumbles one to the other. "What did we do to piss him off?"

Reunited and it feels so good! Flash is in a great mood, and the unexpected summons to the bowels of the Triskelion haven't done anything to hamper that. Dressed in fairly typical business attire, Agent Thompson descends through the levels with a chipper smile on his face, giving a nod to those who might acknowledge him as he passes. He chuckles to himself as the pair of agents leave the room with complaints muttered under their breath, and catches the door before it closes; in fact, he'll even hold it open for Miss Harman, should she be ready to cross the threshold herself. "Good morning, sir," Flash greets Coulson once he's entered the room, and immediately moves to pour himself a cup of coffee. And then to the doughnuts. Priorities.

Thea doesn't have much opinion on the Triskelion, as she's never been brought in to be dressed down or reassigned. She's heard grumbling stories, of course, she hears all sorts of gossip while patching up other agents. She's been summoned from the medical lab, leaving her inventory on the clipboard there.

Blonde hair is swept up and back in a classic twist, exposing the small gold hoops in her ears, leaving the collar and shoulders of her pale blue blouse bare. The classic blouse tucks into loose legged gray slacks with cuffs that hover just above the toes of gleaming black patent leather. Unlike other agents, there is no smile or frown on her face. The blank neutrality of the nurse is what her face shows as she accepts the door from Mr. Thompson. "You wished to see me, sir?"

"Thompson," Coulson replies, before turning his attention from Flash to Thea. "Agent Harman." He strides forward, offering a hand and a pleasant smile that provides little angle to determine just why they were brought here. "Senior Agent Phil Coulson. Please, help yourself." He motions to the coffee and donuts. There is also a pitcher of water, and a stack of file folders where Coulson was seated.

"I assume your friend is treating you well, Thompson?" He angles an eyebrow, guessing at the reason for Flash's mood.

"Oh, we're peachy, sir," Flash replies, taking what might be construed as a very inappopriately large bite from the donut. Keen eyes might spot a tongue in there that doesn't look quite human, but he at least has the good sense to keep it, and the rows of monstrous teeth, from direct sight. He moves to sit, coffee in one hand, mangled remains of what was once a donut in the other. "What can we do for you today, sir?" Flash and his 'buddy' are obviously eager for some action. Not that New York isn't thrilling, but there are certain muscles that need to be exercised; a restless Thompson is likely to do more harm than good.

Thea will meet Coulson's handshake, her hand cool and grip firm. She will get herself a glass of water before she'll pull out her seat, smoothing her skirt before she sits. There's just a glance at Thompson, a faint arch of her left eyebrow at that bite of the donut. She will sip her water silently, a model of decorum. She'll set the glass aside, before one leg crosses over the other at the knee, her hands folded atop. She will just let Flash's question hang in the air and cover them both.

"Well, that's good," Coulson answers, "because we have a situation."

He turns over the first file, opening it to reveal the picture of an African scientist, along with a summary of what was found in SHIELD's interrogation of the man. "Doctor Kwunteng, Ghana. Long story short, his family was abducted and he was forced to conduct experiments on innocent people, to trigger latent genetic mutations." The file beneath has a picture of another African scientist, but far less information is recorded. "Doctor Uso, Morocco, similar story, but he's still at large and presumably being held against his will by accomplices of this man." Another page is turned. "Niburu, Nigeria. General, operating without the blessing of his government. Niburu and Kwunteng are in our custody."

Flash watches and listens closely as Coulson briefs the pair of agents. His suit ripples slightly at certain points, but otherwise he allows the Senior Agent to continue without interruption. Inside his own head, there may or may not be a lengthy debate about whether or not this will require lethal, unmitigated force. We're hungry. More donuts, unless there's a more succulent meal on the table?

Thea looks over the folder, taking in the faces in the pictures. If the idea of experimenting to trigger mutations bothers her, it doesn't show on the surface. Brown eyes flicker over the information, before she lifts them to Coulson's face again. "What's the plan, sir?" It's simple and to the point.

Raising a hand, Coulson stalls the conversation with a finger before closing the file. "General Niburu has been less than conciliatory, unlike the good doctor who clearly wants to atone for what he's done. However, what we do know is this." He leans forward, hands clasped together as a look of concern spreads to his face. "The end game here is pretty simple. These commandos and the mutants they've created want to start a race war. A multifaceted race war between negroes and whites, mutant and not. We're still working on Niburu, but we can expect acts of aggression on a global scale." He nods his head then. "You two are gonna work on trying to locate and stop any of these assets that may be operating in the tri-state area."

"Assests, sir? Are we looking for the commandos, the mutants.. or both?" Thea will lift her eyebrows as she looks at Coulson. "Forced evolution should be pretty easy for me to detect, it wouldn't read naturally with the person's system." There's a wave of her hand, because trying to explain it would frustrate her.

Turning from Flash, Coulson looks to Thea with a light smile. She doesn't yet speak Phil, but… he's impressed. "The mutants. I don't anticipate the commandos will migrate too far from Africa. It's much easier for them to hide there. SHIELD was able to confirm that a rogue group of vigilantes shut down their operation in Ghana, but with Doctor Uso at large and Niburu not cooperating, we can't assume that they aren't working on developing another facility to conduct the transformations." He gestures with his free hand, while the other reaches to collect a pair of files. One for Thea, one for Flash, each containing copies of the information already shared.

"According to Kwunteng, a compound was necessary to release certain hormones typically associated with adolescence, then, the subjects were subjected to lethal doses of radiation. Those with latent mutant genes were… transformed. Otherwise…" Well, he doesn't need to explain what happened to those who weren't mutated. "He is working with our biotech department to see if anything can be done to reverse engineer the process, but it doesn't look promising."

"Well, if you need someone to get creative with Niburu.." Thea offers, flipping through her file. "You'd need to have some serious hormonal levels, a spike of adrenaline just before trying to trigger it.." She's murmuring, almost as if to herself. "The radiation, even if they've mutated.. they may not be able to shed that from their systems." Another biological anomaly for her to keep in mind, while she slaps the file shut. "If the body has accepted the mutation, there likely will not be a reversal process. If the body hasn't.. there could be several outcomes, but reversal isn't one I'd bet on."

Coulson looks at Thea flatly for a moment. "They shoved the prisoners into a radiation chamber, about eighty of them at one time. I imagine they didn't need drugs to create any adrenaline spikes." It's merely an observation, of course, and within moments his disarming demeanor is back in full swing.

The Senior agent takes a moment to pour himself some fresh coffee, then offers some to Thea with a lifted eyebrow before refilling Flash's mug. "Wait a moment. Are you saying it's possible that these mutations might be temporary?"

Thea will meet that flat look without even a hint of flinching. "Like I said, sir, if you need someone to get creative." Her tone is flat, before she reaches for her glass of water. "Sir, .." She stops, pausing and sipping at water. "Temporary only in the way that radiation poisoning may make it temporary, sir." There is empathy for those forced into this. "If the body could be flushed of the radiation before the body adjusts to the mutation, it.. might drop away. But it's hard to say, because mutations all differ."

Flash had taken the file and read through it, all the while taking sips of his coffee. Almost like a normal person! Eyebrows lift at various points as he takes in the information and listens to the discussion between Thea and Coulson; he's happy to let them talk about the academic details, but he's not really interested in the 'why' or 'how' or 'whether or not this is temporary', if we're being honest. Track down and contain affected individuals, eliminate those who cannot be handled safely. Right in our own back yard, even. "We'd also like to volunteer for any opportunity to persuade our uncooperative friend, sir," Flash says, unable to fully conceal a sinister smirk as he makes the offer. "Agent Harman may have some unique methods," he says with a nod toward the blonde, "… but we're happy to help. Maybe a little good cop, bad cop." Flash smiles. A nice, innocent smile. Not at all predatory. Uncooperative Mad Scientist probably tastes delicious. Sip coffee like a normal person, Flash.

Coulson looks between Thea and Flash as they both offer to work over the captive General. He remains silent for a while, taking time to drink from his mug of coffee before settling it down. "Psychological trauma has been known to both distort facts and force false confessions," he says. "That being said, we are close to needing some creative methods. Kwunteng doesn't know what we done with these mutants once they were, created. Or transformed. Whatever. Point being, we have no idea who or where they are, aside from one resounding fact that they're from Africa."

He leans forward then, fixing both with severe looks. "Which brings me to my next point. This cannot becomes a witch hunt. Race tensions are already high in this country, and the last thing we need to be doing is targeting mutants because they have dark skin. General Niburu likely knows who these people are, so… if anything, getting that information from him is most important. He's radicalized though, and willing to die to keep his secrets safe. I shouldn't need to say it, but I will, or else Peggy might have my ass if you two fuck this up. Dying to keep his secrets safe is something that cannot happen. We're clear on this, agents?"

There's an almost innocent look at Coulson, all big brown eyes and slightly parted lips. "Oh, there's no need to get psychological, sir. I would just need to prove to him that I'd be willing to do everything to /not/ let him die for his secrets. If you can heal someone just after you've hurt them and leave them without a mark.. well, people tend to see how that could go." But there's a light shrug of her shoulders, before she finishes her water. "No offense, Agent Coulson, but I'm interested in bringing them in, and freeing them of this if possible. It's more than the color of their skin, for me, sir. They're mutants, and they've been /forced/ into being it. None of it was pleasant."

But if he dies *after* those secrets have been liberated, it's all good, right? Flash gives a nod to Coulson, and turns to give Thea an approving smile. We like the way this one thinks. We can work with this one. "Of course, sir," he says simply. "We wouldn't dream of disappointing you, or the Director. We'll be very discreet." Smile. Are there more donuts? Shove something in your face, Flash.

Yes, Coulson is hesitant. He's always hesitant to use radical interrogation techniques, for any number of reasons. However, Thea has made a point that he can't argue with. He leans back, looking to her for a long moment before looking back toward Flash. "Give my interrogators 48 hours. If they haven't made significant progress?" He nods his head. "Then I'll send you in. In the meanwhile, work your contacts, see if you can find out anything that might help us anticipate their movements.

Thea would argue that there's nothing radical about the technique. It's just a quicker, more satisfying version of the usual harm and heal a suspect that's been used for ages. She won't react to Flash's smile, keeping her intention on Coulson. "Of course. No use in waiting around to see if he breaks." She'll pause. "My contacts are not all SHIELD vetted, sir. I can keep it vague, say that there's word from other quarters about an influx of new mutants from outside the country. But a lot of mutants wouldn't talk to SHIELD, and I couldn't blame them. I am somewhat.. interestingly connected." From the penthouse to the poorhouse.

Flash's contacts are mostly military, probably no-one Coulson himself doesn't have access to. Even so, he gives a curt nod of affirmation to the instruction. He'll do what he can. "I'm gonna want to be there when you take your shot," he says smoothly to Thea. No innuendo there at all, of course. "We'll keep you appraised of anything we're able to uncover," he says to both Thea and Coulson. He's a well-behaved and reliable agent, after all. He's just happy to be part of the team.

"In this scenario, they do not have to be vetted," Coulson clarifies. "Honestly, this concerns them as much as it concerns us. Maybe more." He takes another drink from his coffee before lifting his eyebrows. "Good. Now, unless there's anything more, you're both dismissed. Oh, and Thompson?" A pause. "Make sure Harman knows about that thing inside of you before you let it loose."

Thea moves to rise, one hand on her file. She pauses, head tilting as one eyebrow cocks upwards. "You mean that thing that's not him, but resides in there? The thing that has a not human tongue, sir?" She finishes rising, pushing her chair in. "I would be a piss-poor biokinetic if I hadn't realized there's something other than him inside him."

There goes the fun surprise Flash had planned for the blonde agent. Phooey. The look of disappointment on his face is fleeting, before he straightens out and gives a nod. "No surprises here." The suit ripples a bit, and a few spots turn black and inky, before loose tendrils start to pull away from his body, inching through the air toward Thea. And then they retract almost as quickly as they appeared. "We'll make sure we're well-acquainted." He gives Thea another one of those *perfectly innocent* smiles.

Coulson rises and looks between the two with a deadpan expression before lightly scolding Flash. "Thompson. That is gross." He then whisks them away with his free hand. "Go on. You're not the only team I'm briefing today."

"You better be careful how well you try to acquaint me. I don't react well to people trying to crowd me." She'll sass at Flash, a mock salute at Coulson. "Later, sir."

Flash gives Coulson a proud smile as he stands, and gives a crisp salute. "Thanks for not sending us to Poland, sir," he says in closing before turning to head toward the door. As he does, he turns to Thea again, "I wouldn't dream of doing anything untoward, sweetheart," he says to her on the way out, holing the door open for her again. He's a gentleman.

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