Plan of Attack

December 30, 2016:

Peggy and Steve discuss more in depth about a plan to recover Bucky.

The Triskelion


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's not long after Peggy's conversation with Jane that she attempts to track down one Captain Steven Rogers. She's read through most of Jane's papers by now and looked at the SHIELD file they have on her. It's certainly a puzzler, but now she knows it involves Steve. And Jane saying that they need to catch up. Among other things.

Since the cemetery, she has stealthily been not exactly avoiding Steve, but making it a habit to generally not be where she knows he is. It's most likely best so that she can avoid another embarrassing and inappropriate situation like attempting to snog him in front of his best friend's grave.

Now, though, she actively seeks him out. She has Jane's file and papers with her, ready to discuss things on a strictly professional basis. She can do this. She can be professional.

And when tracked, Peggy will find that Steve Rogers is getting checked out in the SHIELD infirmary. Apparently, they needed see to some minor wounds inflicted by one of the Avengers and ensure that a bite from a demonic spawn didn't have any sort of curse or infection.

When she gets to the hallway that the infirmary is on, she will see that Cap is on his way out. His star-spangled top is in his hands, showing a dark blue tank top with a yellow emoticon with a :D on it (likely a gift considering the man wearing it). The rest of his outfit is the classic Captain America get-up, including the red boots. His face is black and blue, like someone worked him over. His shoulder, where the bite is said to have occurred, has some light medial gauze over it, clearly not slowing him down or troubling him at the moment.

"Hey, Agent Carter, good seeing you!" Steve says cheerfully, apparently over what happened when last they talked, or at least in a much better mood. "I just learned about something. It's called the Muppets, it's really funny. They have these little odd puppets, but they sing. It's great… They have this guy who tries to cook things and he goes-" He gives a little laugh, as if thinking about the Swedish Chef. "-'Bork, bork bork!' It's great."

As Peggy enters the infirmary, she blinks a few times as she takes in the state of Steve. Holding the files a little closer to her chest, she pauses for a moment and steps more fully into the room. "Goodness. Are you alright?"

The greeting that Steve gives her is met with a bit of surprise. Of course, she didn't expect him to cold toward her, but the cheerful mood and the conversational topic of Muppets is certainly not what she was expecting. "It's good to see you as well, Captain Rogers. Though, I do wish it was under better circumstances. What happened?"

A raised eyebrow is met at the impression of the Swedish Chef. "I've heard of them, yes. They're very sweet. I'm glad that you've been enjoying them."

"Well, this," Cap begins, motioning toward the shoulder wound. "I got that while I was fighting some sort of demon brood. Thankfully, there were a lot of other heroes around. Some kid called Spider-Man, who I feel bad about because I got his name wrong, Fairchild, some guy that calls himself Starlord, and Jane Foster, who was mixed up in it. Winter Soldier was there too, but he was gone by the time I got the situation under control." A frown is given at that. While he did his 'heroic duties' it's clear that Steve felt he could have done it better.

Rogers then points to the shiner over his face. "This was given to me by Starfire. Apparently her and Iron Guard found me and wanted to talk to me, but after a spar." Captain America shrugs, clearly not putting too much on the blows to his face. He understands that for some reason, it's how a lot of heroes work. "She was pretty strong, but I think I proved… Whatever point I was supposed to prove. I think they want me on the Avengers as a symbol." It's clear that Rogers isn't sure what to think on that. "I really want to, but not sure if it would work out. I know I tend to run rather… strong sometimes when it comes to things that matter."

'We can't leave those people, so do what you need to MAKE it work!'

'To gain the advantage but lose sight of who we are is not worth the cost, destroy the machine! DO IT NOW!'

'Those people worked hard to bake us the cookies. They might taste like baking soda, but they deserve to be tried before we write them a thank you card. Sign the card!'

Perhaps these unique memories might fill Peggy's mind of Steve's convictions during the time of WWII. Likely the cookies will be remembered… that parish in Iowa really really needed to learn to make better cookies.

Peggy blinks at the play by play given by Steve and the fighting. "It—goodness, it seems as if you've had quite a lot of scrapes recently." There's a name involved, though, that certainly catches her attention - Jane Foster. That's something she will have to get to in just a moment, as something flew by that she feels the need to address.

Though it seems as if Steve is on his way out of the infirmary, she glances behind him to see that the examination room is now empty. This part of their conversation certainly doesn't need privacy, but it might be best to speak of what she sought him out about behind closed doors. So, she remains where she is, hoping that this will mean Steve will not attempt to continue walking while they talk.

"A symbol? Why is it that you believe they wish you to be a symbol of the Avengers?" There's a bit of a smirk as she remembers the cookie incident in particular. "I would think that your strong convictions would make you an ideal member of the team."

"Good to stay busy. But you know that, you've been pretty busy yourself. Haven't seen you around, so figure you've had a lot to do." Because that's why Rogers figures she hasn't been around him. Dense as a post about women, that Cap.

After he says that, Steve appears like he will walk down the hallway, but with how Peggy is not moving, he stops himself as he speaks of the Avengers. "Well, I suppose if you think so, could give a shot." It's clear that he was looking for Peggy's blessing and now, he's gotten it. "They said something about needing a 'We need a true emblem, a banner of America's Avengers'.. I figure they need someone to be their front man, not sure if they are looking for a leader." He knows the concept of front man. After all, he sold war bonds for his first days as Captain America. He gives a shrug. "Either way, all I can do is try my best."

On the topic of the Avengers, Peggy gives it a moment to think about Starfire's wording. "Hm. I can see the worry. But, if anyone will show the Avengers that you are more than a symbol, it's you. And if they refuse to listen, you can form your own Avengers." She grins.

"I—yes." Peggy gives a bit of a sheepish smile at being told about how busy she has been. She's not about to correct him about why they haven't seen much of each other in the past week or so. "I have been. That is, actually, what I was hoping to speak to you about. Do you have a moment?" She glances behind him toward the door. "And if you do, would you mind getting the door? I don't wish for any prying ears."

A simple frown suggests that making his own Avengers is not something he wishes to do, but doesn't voice the reasons for it. After all there are other things to talk about. "I can get the door," he begins, listening to the woman's command. "But shouldn't we go to the supply closet if we are talking about important things?"

The frown is certainly something she wishes to speak to Steve about. There's sure to be reasons and she's curious about them. Glancing about them, she confirms the room is empty as Steve shuts the door. "Oh, ah, no, I believe this room will suffice." The mention of the supply closet brings up a faint blush to her cheeks which she quickly hides as soon as the door is closed behind the files she brought with her. Dammit, Carter.

"You mentioned a Dr. Jane Foster, did you not? In your battle." A hand gestures to where he got the bite. "What do you know of her? I've pulled much of her research, but I believe there is something untrustworthy there." There's a pause as she hands over the SHIELD file on her. "She told me to speak with you."

"She was linked to Thor, I know that much," Captain America states as rubs his chin in thought. "Seemed a little off, but scientists tend to be that way. Erskine was odd, but a good man… I think she means well too. She seems to have some information on the Winter Soldier or some tie, but she's scared about SHIELD being aware. Or him. I'm not sure." Rogers gives a shrug at that. "But that's pretty much it. I take it there is something else?" He opens the files and begins to look through it, clearly looking for whatever has Carter so concerned.

"Yes, that's what I read, too." Peggy keeps a hold of the doctorate papers for now. The SHIELD file only has so much on it. "She seems friendly, but jumpy." There's a frown. "You think she has a tie to him?" That must be why Jane sent Peggy to Steve. "When she saw the bruises on my neck, she started to act stranger. Guilty. I wanted to press her for information, but she started to shut down. She said that she spoke with you and that the two of us should catch up." She will not add that Jane said that she thought Steve missed Peggy. That's not the matter at hand.

With a sigh, she crosses her arms. "I believe Dr. Foster may be our link to finding The Winter Soldier."

The papers are flipped through and it seems Peggy's hunches are the real tidbits of worth, so the file is swiftly handed back. "It would seem so," Cap points out, frowning at the talk of the Winter Soldier, but remaining rather level headed. While it's likely painful and draining for Rogers to be forced to discuss Barnes so often, it is likely a useful thing, making sure that when the time comes, he'll be able to keep his emotions in check as much as possible for… whatever is necessary.

"Considering what she and others have said, I'm starting to get a picture of this. People want Sgt. Barnes back to how he is. I'm touched by their desire to help. However, it appears whatever has a hold on him, it's deep and it's dark. It might be that it's the holes in an attempt to make some sort of replica of Bucky. Or control the true James. Whichever one it is, they press too hard… Sounds like it's a miracle he hasn't kill Doctor Foster or anyone else trying to help."

Captain America gives a frustrated sigh as he moves to seat himself on the examination chair.

"For now, we'll have to play along. If we get too aggressive, they might attempt to shield him, thinking we might hurt him or 'break' him further. But if there is someone pulling the strings, we can't afford to wait either. If they feel like they are endanger of losing a valued asset…" The Man with the Star Spangled Plan leads off, understanding his current company can fill the rest of the horrible scenario(s) out without his aid.

Taking the pictures back, Peggy sets them down on one of the nearby metal tables that are usually handy in an examination room. It seems that whenever the pair of them are together, Bucky Barnes is brought up. That may be only natural, but it can be draining. There's quite a few scenarios that Peggy can come up with that are most likely darker than Steve can imagine.

When Steve moves to the examination table, she remains where she's standing, re-crossing her arms. "Perhaps," she says, politely refusing to bring up her own run in with the Winter Soldier again. "It seems what we are generally lacking is intelligence." Not smarts, but the espionage kind. "In order to find the best way in order to find and contain this Winter Soldier is to arrange all the information we have. Zatanna and Jones said that they met with him and he seemed to remember you. Perhaps more answers lie with Dr. Foster. What did the two of you speak about when you met?"

Expectantly, she watches Steve before her expression shifts and she looks downward at the floor. "Forgive me if I'm pushing this too hard. This must be—I know this is difficult."

Rogers is about to say something about Peggy being smarter than she looks, but she wisely goes on before he has a chance to interject. By the time she gets to the end, Steve is trying to form the answer, his eyes cast downward as he rests his clothing on the ground. The cheer of Muppets is gone, and there is little hope that talk of the Rainbow Connection will bring it back anytime soon.

"Nothing to apologize for. You're trying to help. Foster is too. When we talked though, she didn't give me much just that she wanted to talk about Barnes. Jones and Zatana, they stated that they thought it was Barnes and that he was being controlled, but not much else. I can't be mad at them for bringing it up just like I can't be upset with you trying to help. People expect me to have some sort of answer, some sort of solution." His eyes focus on the ground. If he were Superman, you'd expect holes to start appearing in the tile as his brain whirls into overdrive. While he is clueless on a lot of factual information and nuance of a lot of social interactions, Steve is brighter than he lets on. "Bucky was in Gotham," he begins. "He targeted a woman there. Linked to the Antiques Commission or something like that. He, or whoever is controlling him, wants him to hit something involving them or the Auction they are having. It was looking into those leads where I ran into him. We'll just have to be there and ready for that event and see what pans out."

Captain America gives a deep exhale at that. It feels good to have a plan. Talking out the plan seems to soothe him, as if gaining control of a situation that seems far complicated than he could ever dream. He keeps talking though, despite the fact that this is not at all what Carter was wanting him to talk about, an entire derailment for his own 'selfish' reasons.

"We don't know who's in play, but considering that we are able to figure this out, we can presume that other people have figured it out: maybe people interested in stealing the stuff, maybe people interested in protecting it. I'd like to be there in building, but I'm too recognizable. I'd be able to be close though; maybe ready to drop in the moment it gets hot. However-" His eyes finally flicker up toward Carter as he continues. "-got a feeling you'd have an easier time getting into the festivity. You watch in the building, I watch out of the building, we'll go for him when we get the chance and take it as it comes. Maybe have something to track him or the stuff they try and steal with. Some shortwave transceiver or something." He doesn't understand the current tech, but he remembers Howard having some nifty stuff for special missions.

There is a long pause before Cap has realization he just went off and seemingly ranted. "Unless there is a reason why we shouldn't," he adds on with a hint of chagrin.

Peggy tries to give him a reassuring smile. It's not patronizing, instead it's an attempt to try and comfort as best she can. "I don't need answers," she tells him, tone certain. "What we need is information. From there, we can come up with a plan of action. One step at a time."

And, knowing that he has that information, Peggy simply listens to him as he describes the last time he saw Bucky. Wait, he saw Bucky? There's a glimmer of surprise - then worry - that crosses her face as that piece of information surfaces. It was slipped in there amongst his start of plan of action, so for now she allows it to remain buried. After all, derailing a perfectly good planning session by asking about Bucky at this moment would defeat the purpose of this meeting.

Peggy thinks for a moment, a finger resting on her chin as she does so. "We don't know what it is he's stealing, but perhaps we can use SHIELD's resources to figure out what they may be auctioning, plus if we interview the woman at the Commission, she may help narrow the objects down. Then, we can tag a few likely objects with trackers. If we allow him to steal it, we can follow him and perhaps see if he is working alone or with others."

As she continues to speak, she thinks and grins. "If you would like to be in the room of the auction, I am sure we can manage it. There's always hair dye, colored contacts and glasses."

"No, I think this is quite a good idea." Smiling, she glances about the room. "You know, I feel as if this room should be darker and there should be a large map of the battle lines of Europe on a table between us."

"The woman 'the Winter Soldier' went after is dead. I was too late to save her. She was a guard for the bank that's linked to it." The blond is silent for a second before he sees from Peggy's face that somehow he just assumed she knew. "In Gotham, I ran into the man right after the death. We fought, I tried to get him to listen to reason, but like the other people trying to talk him down, he lost it and fled. I wasn't able to get to capture him. He seemed like you and everyone else said he was, that's for sure."

The remorse is brief, Cap clearly not wanting to take the assurance perhaps confusing it for pity despite Carter's clear attempts to show it's anything but. Or maybe he is just getting that focused.

"As for dealing with the auction, I'd rather be dressed for action. If it really seems like it isn't possible to get close in my usual, then we can try the disguise." Cap really isn't too much a fan of disguises, it appears. "We can likely try both plans at once: try and capture him and track the items. We do the first, it will help cover up the second." Rubbing the back of his neck, he gives a weak smile at the talk of battle maps. "While I had a pride in what we did back then, I'd rather deal with stuff like this… Where hopefully the causalities are much lower." No matter how Cap fought, there were always some deaths when open fighting broke out during the war, after all.

"Ah." Peggy winces a bit as Steve says that the woman is dead. "I see." That will rule out gathering any information from her. They'll go with SHIELD contacts, then. As Steve describes his meeting with the man they believe to be Bucky, she moves a step closer. Reading the room, however, she keeps the talk professional.

"Alright. I'll infiltrate inside the auction, tag the likely objects and then keep an eye for our man. We'll keep in radio contact, should either of us see anything." Looking down at her feet, she sighs. "I'll be sure to bring a pair of flats." Because if it comes down to a foot race, doing it in heels is the last thing she wants. There's a pause and she adds, "If we brought a small team, that might be more effective. More eyes, more was to split up should we not be able to catch him inside." However, while she is helping plan, this is clearly the Captain's show.

"I can understand that. I just meant…it's been quite awhile since we planned a mission together."

As Carter brings up assembling a team, Rogers nods in agreement. "That's true, we'll see who we can round up for it then," Captain America states. "It will need to be people who can follow a plan or at the least orders however, this has a lot of ways this could go really badly."

Steve lingers in thought with Peggy's final words, pushing off the table. He makes sure he has all the stuff he brought in with him. "It's true. We always did work well together," he concedes, his tone softening oh so faintly. "Is there anything else you wanted to talk about before we do some prep work?"

"I'm sure we can find a few people who can do that." Peggy tells him with a nod. "If there's someone you'd like to volunteer, let me know." After she gathers her files, she stays where she is for the moment. "There are quite a few ways this can go wrong, but I think this is a solid plan. We'll find him."

Holding the folders against her chest, she smiles at Steve. "Yes, we did." At the question, she blinks, debating for a moment. "I'm not sure if we can trust Dr. Foster," she tells him. "However, perhaps we should speak with her for more information. Unless, of course, you think you've already gotten all you can out of her."

There's a bit of a pause, wondering if she should ask this. Perhaps she should always take those pauses to mean she should keep her mouth shut, but she cannot. She cannot keep her mouth shut, even when it might be more beneficial. "If I may ask," her tone is softer, "Did he remember you?"

"As I remember what some of the Russians told me long time ago, 'Trust… But Verify'. I think she doesn't mean us harm, but talking with people to make sure is rarely not wise. We just need to make sure we keep /her/ trust. Otherwise, she might tip off the Winter Soldier. Remember, she's scared for his and her safety from SHIELD just as much as she is scared of him, I'm sure."

Captain America's words on how to deal with Jane Foster seem thought out and compassionate. Blending wisdom with practicality, kindness with realism, it's why Captain America was effective in binding people to him and making friends out of some of the people that would be his enemies.

Then Peggy unknowingly offers the question. Even though there is a sharp inhalation at That Question, the First Avenger doesn't offer a knee jerk response; again, a perk from talking about a dark topic far more than he would have ever expected. "He does," he begins softly, his baby blues showing that he is currently revisiting that moment that he saw beyond the Winter Soldier and saw James Barnes. "If it's him." The second Peggy offers any sort of movement, like a dino, he breaks out of his haze and takes a step back. It's clear that in offering his tactical plan, his adopted a mostly professional edge. Perhaps in an attempt to emulate the woman in front of him, perhaps to keep his wits together until the big night, it's hard to tell. One might think it's because he's infuriated at her, but as he turns his tone is just as kind and gentle as it usually is. "Your Christmas gift came late," he states as he turns around. He turns his head so she can see the side of his face. "I'm sorry it was late, but it took a bit to get it ready. It's in your mailbox, I wasn't sure I'd see you before the New Year. Take care of yourself." With that, Rogers makes his way out with a calm and almost militaristic stride.

It is rare and usually an accident when Captain America lies. This time is no exception for floppy gift is wrapped with care with a wrapping paper. It seems to be vintage reprints of Christmas time during the war, perhaps the 'final' Christmas that Steve and Peggy had before fate separated them for a time. When she gets past it, she will find something odd. A red dress, seemingly made as close as a skilled tailor can make from a Man Out of Time's description of a stunning red dress he saw from a woman waiting for the right partner to dance.

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