Interlude 3
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Interlude 3

(SHIELD’s Fate)

White house
January 6th, 1997

Peggy exited the oval office. It had been a tough meeting with President Clinton and his staff. She went to sit on one of the nearby sofas of the waiting room and leaned into it with a sigh. To say that Peggy was tired was an understatement, after they had captured all the high ranking Hydra officers, Jean Grey released the most damning and damaging evidence in Europe under the name of the whistle-blower called 'Anonymous' then it was the USA's turn.

The country was in shambles and the media had been running with the story constantly as new evidence was released over time, confessions were made for leniency by most of the remnants of Hydra who were caught. Some tried to flee the country but were easily stopped by the border police or the NSA. A lot of businesses had gone under as a result of their owners being arrested for treason and embezzlement. The USA was now guaranteed to see a mini recession in the coming months. It was due in part with Jean’s takedown of the Merovech Investment Group that was run by Baron Von Strucker; they had a lot of fingers in American interests.

She laid the blame on Hydra about Camp Lehigh being turned into a crater to protect Jean, not wishing to shine the spotlight any further on her. Now with her financial status and apparent ease of slipping past country borders, Jean wasn't worried about any prosecution from her home country. Though Peggy worried about the money she had illegally obtained from Hydra’s fund.

Jean had refused to hand over the money she had stolen from Hydra and there was nothing that Peggy could do to coerce her. It would have helped in clearing everything up, all they had was the evidence she had gathered from Europe, the politicians whose heads she had mined for info and the base full of traitors that had been recovered.

Peggy adjusted her choker, it was a tad constricting, then she looked at the two bracelets on each of her wrists; they were holographic devices in the form of jewelry with the task of masking her youth. She looked just like she did some weeks ago before landing in Pierce's clutches. Speaking of Pierce, the man had vanished, Peggy tracked his family and they were in the UK while he fled somewhere her people could not trace. *He went off the grid."

SHIELD was in peril because of him, his actions and career were all now under review and the results found were damning. Bribes, assassinations, fraud, human experimentation, funding foreign terrorists whose actions could be traced to the most heinous acts in the USA and its allies. Most but not all were of their doing, it was always to affect the political map of the world; Hydra spread war, fear, famine and just like magic they swooped in with their helping hand open. It seemed to Peggy that they had learned since their defeat and wanted to pretend to be the good guys.

It was disgusting.

The president wasn’t happy, the Secretary of Defense wanted her head and the military still worshiped the ground she walked on. Peggy laughed as she realized that her meeting Jean may have either saved this country or doomed it. As most of the first world countries were still reeling from the revelation of Hydra’s manipulations, Peggy thought about the World Security Council and its members, some of them were Hydra agents who were all under investigation. So now, that organization was made unviable to supervise SHIELD and they needed new backers.

Peggy was still musing about SHIELD’s fate when her mobile notified her that she had received a message. She took the device from her purse and unlocked it with the scanner on the side of the flat device. The prototype smartphone was a gift from Jean who intended to market such devices. The ten inch screen came to life, a notification appeared and informed her that it was from Jean.

[Hey, good afternoon Peggy, I'm looking for a good spot to build a house, do you know any good places in Queens where I can build a mansion?]

The SHIELD director slowly answered, she was still getting used to the touch screen. {As a matter of fact I do, but wouldn’t you prefer to come back to live in the Penthouse that we had you in?}

Peggy instantly received an answer. [Nope, I don’t want to make it easy for anyone who knows about some of my skills to bug the place. No, I want to create a place for my growing family.]

*And under your control.* Peggy realized, this little girl was now free to do what she wanted. Images of the nuking of Camp Lehigh and that big crater in Berlin’s outskirts were flashing through the director’s mind. No, she couldn’t leave the girl without supervision at all and if she stayed with SHIELD, Jean wouldn’t tell her what she was up to.

*I think it’s finally time that I pass the torch to someone else.* It was a toss between Fury and Coulson at this point.

Peggy was tired of fighting, she wanted out, she wanted a life with Steve. After receiving this new lease on life, there was no way that she would squander it with doing what she was doing now. The director began to type her answer to Jean and basically told her that she was going to assist her choosing a new terrain and that if she was open to having her live with her, she was thinking of leaving SHIELD and marrying Steve after the politicians and military were done with him.

[Sure, the more the merrier. Mom and my sisters are so going to help you with that wedding thing! Oh and by the way, I'm waiting for the official message about Steve being found…]

Peggy laughed at the message, she was about to answer back when she heard the door to the Oval office open. It was General George Hammond, a man with the start of a case of baldness, the medals on his air force uniform gleamed, almost blinding Peggy. “Director Carter, Ma’am. They are ready for you again.”

“I’m coming.” Peggy said, feigning tiredness of her body and for show struggled a bit to stand up.

She crossed the distance between the sofa and the door, leaving marks on the carpet. Peggy prepared herself mentally and put on her game face; as she entered the oval office, she told herself that it was for the last time.