"Dopey is fine. He just had a little hiccup, nothing to be concerned about." Fitz assured.
"Are you sure it was a hiccup? What if was a sneeze? He could be sick." Simmons pressed.
Ward sat down on the couch and rolled his eyes. "Where's Skye?" he asked Coulson, who was standing next to May. "She's the one who called a meeting."
"She," May started, only to stop when Skye came into the room, a few papers in her hands. "Here she is."
"So, Agent Coulson," she said, immediately zeroing in on him, "how was Tahiti again?"
Everyone seemed to pause, taken off guard by her abruptness.
"Is something wrong, Skye?" Ward asked.
"Why don't we let Phil answer the question and we'll see."
Coulson took another moment before he answered. "It was-"
"A magical place, yeah yeah, we all got that part. How about what you told me that one time, when it was just you and me? You were a lot more descriptive."
Coulson frowned. "I don't think this is an appropriate topic right now, Skye."
"Can't remember what you said, Agent?" Skye asked, mockingly quizzical. "But you almost had it word for word. Don't worry, I got this." She said, holding up the papers and reading. "I believe you said, 'The clouds turned to gold as the sun moved behind them, and the reflection of the clouds colored the earth. I have never seen the ocean so quiet. There were no ripples, no birds, no sign of-"
Coulson ripped the papers out of her hand, studying them. 'What is this?"
"Your script Agent." Skye accused, unable to stop the righteous anger she was feeling from showing. "You should talk to your writers; ripping off Travis McGee novels?"
Ward's attention snapped from Skye to Coulson.
"Yeah, did a web search. That," Skye motioned to the papers, "is from 'The Empty Copper Sea', published 1978."
"Only junior agents use those backgrounds word for word." May said, looking at Coulson, confused.
Simmons looked hurt. "You didn't go to Tahiti?"
"Mai Tais and Travis McGee novels? Really, Coulson?" Ward asked. "You could have just said it was classified."
"Everyone quiet." Coulson commanded, turning to Skye. "Where did you get this?"
"It wasn't hard to find."
"SHIELD, where else?"
"What were you doing?" Coulson demanded.
Skye frowned, surprised by how quickly it had turned on her. "I...was looking into that building we were kicked out of. I mean we're supposed to be red tape free right? So why wouldn't we be let in if there was nothing there? So I tried to use you to get in. What?" she asked at the disapproving looks. "Anyway, I don't know how, but I must have got lost, because I ended up somewhere with your scripts and boring videos of the beach. I-" She stopped, finally noticing how pale Coulson had become. "Are you alright?"
Coulson's eyes flitted from the papers to invisible information around him, not quite focusing on anything, until his attention focused once again on Skye, his gaze intense. "Show me."
Coulson had sat quietly at the computer for over fifteen minutes, going through videos of a beach, a shack. With each new clip he became more tense. "What else?"
"That's it." Skye admitted, shrugging her shoulders. "Before that stuff I couldn't find anything. There's no cameras, no electronic security, which means either SHIELD is really going old school or it's all off grid."
"There was nothing special about the place. It was a fluke we even stumbled over it." Coulson said, more to himself than the group. He didn't want to think about how it was Hill who had ended up calling him and ordering his team away. Didnt want to, but couldn't help the feeling of betrayal that began to spread. "We need to get in."
"Hold on," Fitz said, "I'm still a little lost as to exactly why we need to break into an, obviously, very secret SHIELD facility."
"Alright," Coulson nodded, "Ask me about Tahiti, Fitz."
"But didn't Skye-"
Fitz paused, then asked haltingly, "How was Tahiti, Agent Coulson?"
Coulson's brow furrowed for a second before smoothing out, as he shook his head, "It was a magical place."
"God, Coulson," May breathed, "That's a conditioned response."
"What?" Simmons asked.
"A conditioned response," Ward said, frowning, looking at Coulson with uncertainty, "obviously meant to reinforce false memory engrams."
"False memory? Wait," Skye turned to Coulson, "You actually think you went to Tahiti?"
"Nothing but an empty copper sea," Coulson said, his mouth a thin line.
Skye blinked. "Shit."