The Commandos are there when she wakes up. It's altogether unsurprising, really. She might've known that ascertaining her location would be the first order of business with, possibly, throttling Captain America as their second. She does hope they withheld on that one. Phil will be positively impossible to deal with if they haven't.
Victoria lies there a moment longer, eyes closed, listening to Falsworth quietly attempt wrangling the Dugan twins into some sort of modicum of behavior (entirely impossible, even taking into account the boys' fear of Sophia, but she commends the girl's determination) and then steels herself to face the utter disaster Normandy has become.
She's silent when she first opens her eyes, taking in the cluster of Commandos stationed about the room. The Dugans are poking at each other, frowning with the carelessness of a sibling dispute, Morita is watching the readings on the monitor above Victoria's head, and Falsworth is standing at her side as she always is. This much, at least, is right with the world.
Her voice is, fittingly, a dry rasp when she tries to quip, "The well-laid plans of mice and intelligence agents are frequently derailed by equally well-intentioned supersoldiers."
Falsworth snorts. "Which is precisely why we didn't bring him into this."
Sitting up, Victoria nods. "It also might have been our mistake in not doing so. Normandy is something of a complete failure." Calling it a disappointment is making an understatement of the highest order, but it is nevertheless that is precisely what it is.
Hydra should be the one in ruins at this moment, fugitives from justice, not SHIELD. This is not the objective Director Carter handed down to her. This is anything but the objective that Director Carter handed down.
Still, she hasn't the luxury of self-pity. None of them do. She looks down at herself then up at Falsworth. "You, I trust?"
Sophia nods. "I thought you might wish to get back to work as soon as possible. A suit seemed in order." She's dressed in combat black, sheathed staff hanging from a belt-loop, and the others are similarly garbed. Ready to go to work then.
Standing, Victoria takes physical stock. It would seem the treatment has worked wonderfully. Well, almost perfectly. She's hardly in fighting shape, but she is alive and that's the key determining factor in success at this point. She's willing to take a little temporary weakness in return for that.
"Someone pass my compliments to medical," she says, walking past them to the door. "Sophia, with me, the others to your transports. I'm certain you've all destinations in mind. Hydra will be looking to secure facilities and I'm not of a mind to give up any of them."
Once, years ago, when Director Carter had introduced her to the modern incarnation of the Commandos, Victoria had been astonished at the size and breadth of their infrastructure. The idea, then, that such an organization could exist within SHIELD without any notice had seemed unthinkable.
Surprisingly, waiting until the rest of the Commandos (the Dugan brothers still scrambling into their tactical gear) have disappeared round the corner is a challenge. She's not accustomed to battling her own impatience.
"Must be the medications," she mutters, annoyed, taking a moment to lean against the wall and is further annoyed by that too.
"Medical did indicate there might be some fogginess involved," Sophia states, crisp as ever and as if Victoria weren't holding herself up by sheer force of will. "They were quite against you resuming duty so swiftly." A small smile teases at her lips. "I disabused them of that notion."
It's not quite approval in the smile Victoria bestows on her, but it's something close to. "Excellent foresight on your part."
"I'd hoped as much," Sophia replies. "As for Ward, we are working on his location, but that is proving difficult. Coulson and his people are on the move and seem most interested in vengeance on your behalf. It's making tracking and containment something of a challenge."
"I suppose I should be touched." The world seems to shift slightly beneath her feet and she glances at the nearest screen for a heading. The Commandos are not overly fond of helicarriers, but needs must. "Remind me to schedule that in at a convenient opportunity."
"Second Tuesday after never should suffice, one would think."
Bright girl that one. Might even go far presuming the world survives the next attempt at an apocalypse.
Which, given their luck as of late, should be within a month or two. Sooner, if dear Captain Rogers keeps at his current rate.
God help them all should Stark get involved.
"Make it the third," Victoria decides, walking out onto the main deck. Their numbers are thin and there are empty chairs which tug at what's left of her soul. "We might need to consider recruiting from what's left of SHIELD's ranks."
Before Sophia can object, she holds up a hand. "I'm fully aware our intelligence on their loyalty may be compromised." She was very nearly personal proof as to the fallacy of that intelligence. Ward had most certainly not been among the suspected Hydra members. "I am equally aware that we've presently no idea just who has and hasn't survived."
Victoria looks around her, turning in a circle as she does, making eye contact with each and every person watching her.
"That will be the fun part."
It feels like an eon ago since she last sat in a room with Melinda and Isabelle. An eternity since Peggy Carter looked them all in the eye and welcomed them to a new world
The truly terrifying part is that, in truth, it should feel even longer.
She'd no idea in those early days what would be asked of her. She'd no idea of the loves she would leave behind, the disappointments that she would drop in her wake, or of the successes that would be her cold comforts and the lives that she would shape.
Peggy, however, had known every single bit of it.
Victoria thinks of that moment and doesn't even bother fighting back the gleeful grin. "I was warned, once," she says, looking at Sophia, "that there would come a day I'd quite willingly trade my right arm for a long, hot bath and a break from willful adolescents masquerading as secret agents."
Sophia's lips curve up into a little grin. "I would imagine that day was yesterday?"
She doesn't laugh, Victoria has enough control left to hold it back, but perhaps some of it creeps into her voice when she says, "Tomorrow's a possibility as well. Any possibilities to making that happen?"
"I'm sure we might have something in stores," Sophia takes a tablet from a short, dark-haired woman, glancing at it before handing it on to Victoria."I'd suggest keeping your right arm, however. You might wish to throttle Grant Ward with it."
There's a myriad of status reports waiting on the tablet for her. Victoria has a very long night of reading ahead of her.
All things considered, she's actually looking forward to the idea. If she has to stand much longer, it is entirely a possibility that her legs might collapse beneath her. Most undignified with a legendary military unit's descendants watching her like a very anxious brood of hens.
"I do believe that is the best suggestion I have heard in a very long time." Victoria makes herself ease down into a chair, trying to look natural as she does. "And I do believe you have a flight to catch. Happy hunting, Agent Falsworth, but do try and stay out of Phil's way. Unlike him, I do actually prefer to keep my covert operations covert."
"Short of the Avengers, does anyone not know about him?"
"Janitorial staff," Victoria muses, "but they do seem to be catching on. As for my own resurrection--"
"It doesn't leave this ship, ma'am," Sophia assures. "There are actual advantages to you being dead and I thought it prudent that we take advantage of every single one."
"As with so many things, Sophia, you are not wrong in that." Victoria leans back in her chair. "We'll start with a good chunk of SHIELD's remaining arsenal, please."
After that, well, things just might have to get interesting.