Differential Synthesis

Summary:
February 21, 2015: Hawkeye and Maria Hill discuss Mockingbird's situation and what they might be able to do about it.

Hill's office, Triskelion

High security clearance means having access to a kickass office.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


Never a dull moment… The Triskelion's security measures are well underway to being updated beyond all recognition, yet domestic violence seems to be on the rise. Hill's barely had a chance to catch her breath before one of her agents took two shots to center body mass. This..is a problem. On so many levels. One of the more pressing concerns -besides- Mockingbird's health are those people who are already flying off the rails just upon hearing about what happened.

So much for the cool and collected mentality drilled into every agent well before they're cleared for level one. She's not running a damn daycare facility here, these people are supposed to be professionals.

Another sigh escapes her lips, one of a great many from today alone. Another night of little sleep, another early morning, another pile of things to tackle, and a continued diet which consists of eighty percent coffee. Yeah, she's having a blast this week.

*

Clint Barton's already raided the coffee stocks in the cafeteria, and a bagel to boot. Slap on a little butter and he's got carbs, dairy and caffeine. Everything a growing agent needs. He, too, took a sniper's bullet in the chest, but it didn't take out any vital organs, thankfully. Just bled a bunch and now hurts like hell because of the muscles that it tumbled through. According to the report, the return fire was a hallmark of Hawkeye. Right through the sightscope into an eye.

With coffee mug in hand, he's looking a little scruffy; not shaving in a couple of days will do that. (At least he grabbed a shower… um… yesterday?) Stopping at the door, Clint nudges it to knock with a boot. Only polite!

*

Hill figured this meeting would be happening sooner or later, though the "Come in" is completely on autopilot. She doesn't know just who's at the door yet, still having her attention buried in official documentation.

She'll glance up to the guy a moment later. One look at his current state tells her everything she needs to know. "Couldn't have said it better, myself."

With a quick sweep of her hands she effectively clears all of the projected data off of her desk, which is more of a formality (and a security measure) than anything else. The physical surface of her desk is pretty clean, already. Now it's also transparent without all of the fancy glowing outlines and things.

This also gives her another excuse to drink more coffee. Coffee first, then she asks "How are you holding up?" Whether she's asking about the bullet wound or his emotional state is left undefined.

*

Whatever it is that Hill has on her screen really isn't of any consequence to him. The entire organization, as far as he's concerned, is 'need to know'. It's how he operates. 'Take that guy out'. There's no 'why' involved, unless at a later date, things start to -not- add up. His approach means it's a damned good cover, and plausible denyability is in place. For everyone involved.

Clint's not looking great, but he's not sobbing in a corner either. No hints of red around the eyes, other than he's been getting his combat naps rather than full sleeps. It's what keeps an agent 'fresh' enough without losing resources. Coffee is the trick. He's in the room, the door closes behind him. There, he stands at the edge of the inside of the door; his 'perch' in offices.

"Better than some, worse than others." It's a fair statement. "Bobbi and I had something of an agreement. Even after getting divorced, we both kept each other on the 'what if' list. If she went for a guy not in SHIELD, she didn't want him making the decisions. Same on my side." There's info. Bobbi has medical say over Clint, and Kate may not be too happy about it. "She came in knowing what could happen." It sounds callous, just stating it. "But I don't want to lose her, so I'm here. You know a hell of a lot more than I do about stuff around here. Do we have -anything- lying around that'll help?" Go the 'legal' route first.

*

Yep. Here it is. Before Hill offers another word of response she taps the surface of her desk a few more times, both locking the door and making the outer glass completely opaque. Within seconds the two are left inside of a secured black box of reinforced glass.

Then she leans forward, hands held together with her index fingers steepled upward to the base of her nose. Thinking. Considering her words. It's a delicate situation all around, full of heavy choices and consequences. None of it is to be taken lightly.

"Medically speaking, our hands are tied. Too little, too late. I know that's not what you want to hear. None of us do."

This isn't the end of the story, however. It never is. Not with their resources.

Lowering her hands back to the desk, she says "I'm already aware of the subject of her research into the Super Soldier project being talked about. Voices..and opinions..have been quite pronounced. But it's flawed. We've never been able to replicate the results seen in Rogers. Her research is incomplete. It might buy her some time but I'm not sure such a cure would be an improvement over the disease. I've been looking through our records," she continues while holding a palm flat to her desk then lifting it upward, creating a virtual stack of folders beneath her hand. "Experimental treatments, unproven serums, dangerous and potentially lethal stuff. One in a million odds."

Another slow breath is released before she looks back to Clint, a heavy weight clear in her eyes. "I may have found something, though I'm not sure you're going to like it."

*

Clint is here to be sure that every option is discovered and weighed. It's a responsibility that sits heavily on his shoulders, too. The life of a damned good agent, the single life, means something, at least to him. SHIELD trains exceptional operatives every day here. Every. Day. But there are one, two, that stand above, and the loss of Bobbi would mean -something- to an organization as large as SHIELD. At least that's the hope.

His expression is neutral at the pronouncement of 'medically speaking', though he does nod. "Yeah, I know." Clint's not happy, at all. But at least he's going in with a clear head.

It's that other bit, that once things are locked down, that he cants his head and slowly moves his arms to cross in front of his chest. "You know, I never understand what the hell it is she does here. That doesn't clear it up at all." At least he can share wry humor. "But," and he's completely back to neutral professional, "I'm going to Russia. What about leftovers from 'Tash? There's gotta be something. What about raiding Weapon X labs? There's gotta be something there, too. Find some crazy, crackpot scientist and shake him down." He's reaching, and he knows it.

It's the shifting of manner and mien when Hill directs her attention right at him, and he stops talking, blue eyes reflected right back. "What is it?"

*

Hill's about ready to hold a hand up just to try and get Clint to slow down a little when he starts blindly reaching about for potential solutions. "I've looked, Barton. I may not have the same level of involvement with her as you had but I'll be damned if I'm going to lose an agent over a couple of rounds from a nine millimeter. We're at the bottom of the barrel, here. This is level nine, stuff that even I'm barely allowed to know about."

Perhaps it's because of this that she doesn't have any fancy visual aids or important data to display for the other agent. Nothing but a blank desk and a determined stare from the Assistant Director. This is what she calls a 'controlled security leak.'

"It's called the 'Infinity Serum.' Not without its own setbacks, mind. It was developed some time ago as another one of those 'miracle drugs' which is supposed to allow someone to live forever. As could be expected, it didn't always work. That said, we do know of one successful attempt."

"Now, there is a -chance,-" she emphasizes then pauses with fingertips splayed across her desk, "that Infinity might cover the shortcomings of the Super Soldier cocktail. There's a similar chance that the Super Soldier one will cover any shortcomings with Infinity. You need to understand what's at stake, this isn't a simple procedure. We're talking about combining two highly experimental projects, each with very limited success rates, with the same subject."

'Subject.' Not 'Bobbi Morse.' Sometimes she really does have to distance herself.

"I won't tell you the odds of this being a flawless success but if it happened to work I'd order her to buy the Division a lottery ticket."

*

'Looked'. Clint's thinking more 'boots on the ground'; he and 'Tash go in and do a level burn. He's up for it. Hell, he's rarin' to go and he knows the team for it, too.

Stopped before he can expound, Clint listens carefully. It's not high on his list of abilities, but coupled with lip reading, he's in for the nuances.

Level Nine stuff.

"I'll kill myself after, promise." To cover the leaks.

As he hears her out, Clint's stock still, thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. "If it doesn't work, we're in the same boat. If it does, then she gets to join the ranks of 'Tash and Steve." Not impervious to injury, but a whole lot tougher.

And ageless.

"Do we have the stuff on the shelf, or do I have to go and shake someone down for it for testing first? I mean, has it ever been combined before?"

*

"Don't even think about it, Barton," Hill flatly replies when he promises to kill himself afterward.

Once again she feels the need to intervene, this time with words. "Slow down. This isn't like making the call to put someone on life support. No part of this deal is 'simple.' If we do this we're going to be playing God with Morse, any future she has after this point will be on our shoulders. Quite a lot of it will be on -yours.-"

If this isn't enough… "She could out-live all of us, Clint. I've heard that immortality isn't all that it's cracked up to be and we simply don't know about the long-term effects of either of these treatments. 'Vague understanding with high risks.' Nothing more."

Pausing to claim a deep breath, she answers "To my knowledge they've never been combined. It's not on the shelf, either. Most of what's connected to Infinity is kept off-site, but I know where to find it."

*

"I get that," is said softly. Clint's taking it down to the personal level for a moment. "I work with lots of supers now. More than I've ever done in my life. I know Steve has to struggle with playing catchup. I couldn't begin to know how 'Tash handles it. I get older, she doesn't." One of his closest friends, on top of being a partner in the field.

Talk to 'Tash.

"'Vague understanding with high risks'. Maria, what's the option, here? At least we should get all our stuff in a row, and maybe test it. But I'm not going to make a decision like this alone." Clint's got a short list, and here it comes, "I need to talk to Bobbi, and I need to talk to 'Tash. And Steve." The only two 'experts' that he knows.

"Should I grab a Quin and go in scorched earth?"

*

Yeah… There really isn't an option other than 'hope for the best' or 'let her die.' Knowing that he's not planning to make the decision by himself is a comfort for Hill, it's not an easy problem to solve.

"Negative, keep your tail feathers grounded," she replies. "First, there's nothing to scorch. We already control the facility. Second, I need you to do something else for me."

"I need you to have a level head when you give the final okay for this, and with Hunter already threatening other agents over the matter I can't see throwing him into the brig while the rest of us charge forth. Someone needs to stay here for Morse and the only way that someone is going to be Hunter is if I have him sedated and strapped to a gurney beside her."

She's back to staring at Clint with Intense Direct Eye Contact mode. "Stay here. Be with her. Look over her research so you understand exactly what we're dealing with where the Super Soldier treatment is concerned. Get hold of Romanoff. You'll have a chance to talk to Rogers soon." Which must mean he's on the team. "Be -absolutely certain- that this is the right move to make, and know that I'll have your back in finding Infinity."

-She'll- have his back. She'll be going after Infinity, herself. With a team, of course, but it should give Clint an idea of how important this also happens to be for Maria.

*

All this is 'easier', perhaps, because Clint was also injured in the same op. And he was with Bobbi at extraction, never leaving her side until he had to hit the hospital and she was moved to the Triskelion. Never let it be said that it's truly 'easy', however.

Clint just understands.

"Yeah," the archer concedes. "I'm guessing Hunter didn't take it well." Understatement? A soft, barked laugh exits the man even though he accepts the duty. "You do know I never graduated High School, right?" Though, much smarter than he lets on!

"I'll look the stuff over. Talk to 'Tash," like he'd said he would before. The mention of Steve brings a nod, "One of the team, then?"

Bobbi's work is classified, and he knows it. The fact Hill is releasing it to him is a huge step, and not one taken lightly. "I'll get on it." She's got his back, and he's got hers.

*

"Not at all," Hill replies with a grim smirk. Any specifics on what Hunter got up to can remain unspoken for now. Instead, she asks in return "You do know I don't care, right? If you're concerned about reading comprehension then grab a tech to translate for you, just don't be too hard on them."

Then she confirms with a dip of her head. "Rogers is on the team." Not only is he useful (and currently uninjured) but he might have some insight which could benefit them along the way. She doesn't know, but it can't hurt to try and be prepared as best as they can be.

Barton's already being clued in on level nine details, what's a bit more with Bobbi's research? With the ultimate decision of Bobbi's own future solely in his hands, he needs all of the information he can get. Maria will deal with any consequences of these decisions later, when there isn't another agent's life on the line.

When he agrees, -without- argument, she nods once more. "When you get to medical tell them to prep for Differential Synthesis."

All or nothing.

*

Clint smirks; techs are fun people! To harass.

"Okay," and he gingerly pushes himself up from the lean. It'll be awhile before he can take a full breath, but he's never been one to wallow in his own misery. Not when there's work. Takes a beating and keeps on coming until he simply can't get up again. "Good. I won't whine a lot if you take 'Tash, too. Just bring her back before midnight."

Now, though, the hint at amusement fades, and he's left with a concerned expression. "You take care of yourself out there. Yeah, yeah… this is our job, but just… do it."

Turning about now, Clint waits for the doors to unlock, and he'll take his leave. Rather than repeating her words once security is relaxed, he nods his head. "Gotcha. Medical, R&D and home." He has to check in on 'Birdie first.


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