“Him being in the interrogation room is not what we discussed!” Kat said to Phil once she found him in his office.
“I know but the rest of the team doesn’t feel safe around him. Honestly, it was all I could do to get some of them to agree to stay on the Bus with him in it. This was the best solution for now. They don’t understand why he’s here and, quite frankly, they’re not too happy with you for bringing him.”
Kat nodded. She had anticipated this. “But we’re agreed that he will get his own bunk and soon? He can’t start earning your trust if he’s not given a chance!” Phil nodded, so Kat moved on. “How’s Leo?”
“He has his good days and bad days but, overall, I think he’s getting better. He had a really hard time at first with being able to move his body and he had a lot of confusion but that’s been going away. Now, it’s mainly severe migraines,” Phil explained.
“Is he expected to make a full recovery?” she asked.
“We don’t know for sure but we certainly hope so. Simmons is very pleased with his progress.”
“Good,” Kat said and then her manner turned brisk. “I don’t know what you’ve planned but I think it best that I get settled in my bunk and then maybe we can call a team meeting. Apparently, I have some questions to answer.”
Phil nodded. “I’ll let them know to meet in 20 minutes. Is Ward attending?”
“No, I think it best for me to talk with them without him at first.”
“OK. Come on. I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the Bus! It’s really great,” Phil said leading her in the direction of the bunks. Kat smiled. He may have died but he was still the same old Phil.
Twenty minutes later, Kat entered the briefing room and looked around at all the grim faces. The only people who didn’t seem too upset were Trip and Fitz. “This should be fun,” Kat thought even as she broke into a smile and went to hug Trip.
“Kat!” Trip said as he stood to put his arms around her. “The Director told us you were coming but I had to see it to believe it! Girl, I thought we were rid of you for good when you went on leave last year.”
“Yeah well, you should have known better! I was down but I certainly was not out!” Kat rolled her eyes and then said in a sing-song voice, “Once an Agent…” Trip joined in, so that they finished together, “…always an Agent!” The two of them laughed together.
“Well, isn’t this cozy! Clearly the two of you know each other,” Skye grumbled.
Kat’s smile faded as she turned to face the rest of the group. She appreciated Trip’s reply, “Hell, yeah! We’re both SHIELD babies; we go way back,” but knew that she needed to get things off on the right foot. “I’m going to dispense with the introductions because I already know who you are and you’ve been told who I am. However, what you may not have been told is what I do. For the past year, I’ve been working undercover in the FBI in order to gather intel from captured Hydra agents, including as you know, Grant Ward.”
Kat looked around as she said this in order to capture everyone’s reactions. May tightened her lips but said nothing. Skye snorted and looked down at the table. Fitz and Trip just nodded while Simmons looked like she was ready to burst.
“Well yes, that’s fine but why did you have to bring Agent Ward here? He kidnapped Skye and almost killed Fitz and me!” she blurted out.
“I know all that, Jemma. I read the reports,” Kat said to her while holding up a hand to forestall another objection.
May suddenly spoke up, “Weren’t you PsyOps when you were with SHIELD?” Kat nodded. “Then why were you gathering intel? Isn’t that a job for specialists?”
“Usually that would be true but these were special circumstances. Not only was I trying to figure out how to find active Hydra cells but I also was trying to gain knowledge about how the Hydra infiltration actually occurred. If SHIELD is to return for good, then you need to know how to prevent such an event from happening again.” Kat breathed a little easier when May nodded thoughtfully.
“But that still doesn’t explain why you brought Ward on board,” Skye said. “You could have gotten all that information from him while he rotted in a prison cell.”
“Grant is a special case and there are several reasons why we had to remove him from the prison environment. First of all, we got information that there were going to be several attempts on his life. And while I know that you’re all angry with him, I’m guessing that none of you want him to die.” Several of them stared moodily at the table while others nodded, so Kat continued. “Neither did we, so we removed him for his own safety. Second, by virtue of his relationship with John Garrett, Grant held a relatively high position within Hydra and we believe that he can be of use in destroying the existing cells. Third, he has an amazing skill set that was being wasted in prison. Stark Industries, the people I work for, believe that not only should we use his skills for our purposes but that he should be given the chance to atone for his mistakes.”
As she knew they would, every person at the table burst into speech at this point. Kat just smiled slightly and held up a restraining hand. “I am aware that this is a controversial viewpoint and I don’t expect you all to just accept it immediately. However, I will remind you of two things. First, SHIELD has a long history of rehabilitating people. In case you’ve forgotten, one of the Avengers, Agent Natasha Romanoff, had quite the disturbing past before she started working for SHIELD. There’s a reason her nickname is the Black Widow and this is coming from someone who loves her. Second, Director Coulson has already agreed to have Grant on board to help with future missions, so it is a done deal.”
“So why are you here?” Skye demanded aggressively.
Kat had wondered when they would get around to questioning her role. “I’m here to help Grant,” she said as she noted several of their disgusted looks. “But I’m also here to help the team. We are aware of how difficult this situation will be, so my role will also be as an advisor for all of you. If you have questions or concerns, please let me know. And if you have challenges with Grant, then by all means come talk to me. For all extents and purposes, I am his SO.”
At their stunned expressions, Kat decided to end the briefing. It was enough for today. She nodded to Phil who said to the team, “That’s all,” as the two of them left the room. Phil looked mildly impressed and said to Kat, “That went better than expected. Maybe this won’t be a total disaster!”