Title: Hard Truths
Inspiration: Dominance Prompt (the Big Short over on Rough Trade)
“Please state your name for the record.”
Peggy looked at the gentleman in front of her and took a moment to consider that to most people he would probably seem intimidating, being a tall man who clearly had a robust gym routine. She took a small breath before carefully saying,
“Elizabeth Carter, Peggy to my friends and Agent to everyone else.”
“Thank you, Peggy, now as I…” the man smiled at her even as she cut him off sharply.
“Excuse me but I do believe that you may have misheard, it is Agent Carter.”
“My apologies, but I’m sure there is no need for that sort of formality. At the Centre, we like to consider every Sentinel and Guide under our care a friend.” Peggy bit back the urge to roll her eyes at him and wondered exactly how naive he really thought she was, she smiled at him sweetly as she replied,
“Ahh, I see the confusion. I don’t need to be under your ‘care’ I was told this interview was a formality.” The representative leant forward a little and nodded a little before in a tone clearly meant to be soothing said,
“Peg… Agent Carter, The centre was developed to ensure that Sentinels and guide are protected and nurtured in the important roles they take in our society. I’m sure you will find that things are much better these days, the centre has worked intensely to ensure that the role of sentinels has been uplifted and brought into a more favourable light.”
Peggy imitated his body language and tone as she said,
“Sanitised. The word you are looking for is sanitised.” The representative pulled back sharply and quickly said,
“No, no, sentinels play a vital role in ensuring the safety of our community and we don’t hide the ethical dilemma that enhanced senses come with.” He paused for a moment, looking at her meaningfully before leaning back forwards to add, “But we have worked to ensure that people understand that Sentinels and guides are normal members of society who are simply able to more effectively protect us all than a mundane.” He reached out as though to pat her hand comfortingly before seeming to think better of it when he caught sight of the calculating look in her eyes.
“Have you ever met a sentinel like me?” Peggy asked, watching the man before her lean back and smile tightly as he shook his head. “I am a Matriarch, I came online in a world at war. I was born to eliminate those who would threaten my people. And yet until I woke in a world with a ‘centre’ claiming to ‘protect and nurture’ I was never feared. Except for by those who brought evil to the world, and yet here even sentinels flinch from my presence when they realise what I am.”
“They are simply responding to the fact you do not have the training that they do.” The representative said, his tone verging on sharp before snapping back into that condescending soft.
“I have only seen security officers and the odd low levelled sentinel or guide who has taken some other role. I’m sure the centre would have a better suggestion for me.” Peggy said not even bothering to hide the disdain she had for whatever he was going to suggest.
“Absolutely, someone with your talents would be placed in a role that suits your skill set. I see you…” the man paused as though he were thinking, “in a front line military position, or perhaps a more discreet military setting such as international relations.”
“So, out of sight on the front lines or spying and safely away from your citizens,” Peggy said, words sharp as she set her elbows on the tabletop and crossed her arms.
“I’m sure it might seem that way, but in our experience sentinels with certain talents simply thrive better in a more engaging environment.” The man shrugged, smiling at her brightly as though she couldn’t see right through his act.
“Hmm, I find myself with one question in mind.”
“Of course, ask away.”
“What if I choose to not take up your… Suggested role.” The representative frowned at her as though she was a troublesome child and in a deeply condescending voice said,
“Well, that is your choice but most Sentinels struggle to find a role without our support.”
“I’m sure they do, but I have always found myself quite capable of getting the role that I want.”
Peggy smiled at the centre representative as he took a moment to gather his thoughts. She heard familiar footsteps echoing down the corridor outside and rose to her feet. “Now if you will excuse me I must be going. “ The representative scrambled to catch up, he had clearly expected her to passively wait to be dismissed and he thrust a file in front of her.
“Actually we aren’t quite done. I just need you to sign…” Peggy plucked the file from his fingers and tossed it back onto the table carelessly.
“No, I won’t be signing anything. Oh, and Steve let me know that I should firmly state that I absolutely refuse the Centre any permission to interfere in my life or choices.” The representative looked at the camera in the corner with a frustrated glare and stepped in front of her.
“Agent Carter, I cannot allow you to…”
“I believe that you are incorrect, you have no control over what I do or do not do. We had no need for a centre until someone came up with the idea for one, Sentinels and guides were a respected part of our society until the centre decided to tell the public that we were a threat to them. “ Peggy said as she opened the door, sliding him out of the way as she did, she smiled at Steve and took his offered arm.
“Let’s go home, Peggy.” He said gently placing his hand over hers where it rested on his forearm.