Icky Business
Roleplaying Log: Icky Business
IC Details

Phil Coulson enlists the help of Ulysses to check some information before he'll invest S.H.I.E.L.D. resources into further investigation of Icarus Dynamics.

Other Characters Referenced: Isa Reichert
IC Date: April 07, 2020
IC Location: The Renwick, Roosevelt Island, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 08 Apr 2020 02:28
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

In the relatively quiet space that's accumulated desks and cubicles, in one such corner is Ulysses' domain. There's a printed out slip of paper that's acting as a makeshift nameplate, tacked up on the wall beside the opening. Maybe the real one got lost in transit somewhere. And yet, this is not where Ulysses is at the moment, although the screensaver on his computer certainly hints that he's in the office today.

Nor is he at the break room across the way, replenishing his coffee. No, at this moment he's in another room entirely, arm-deep in cables and wiring as he deals with another unofficial job that he's somehow found himself saddled with- tech guy.

Okay, it's not so bad as it seems, and he's sure that there's just a loose end somewhere, and really, given that he'd been the one to set the thing up in the first place it shouldn't be too difficult. …and it isn't. He's done with the plugging back in part. He's just…stuck.

Footsteps sound behind Uly, and there's a moment where they come to a stop and nothing is said at all. Then Phil's voice carries through:

"I think we have the budget to hire a guy for this if you need us to hire a guy for this."

Clearly, he has not caught on to Uly's current plight, the tech nerd version of Winnie-ther-Pooh's encounter at his friend Rabbit's house after eating too much hunny. He just thinks this is part of Uly's process, because…what in his repitoire would tell him differently?

Oh. Oh this is fine. It's just his boss. One of his bosses. Look, anyone outranking him is probably easily considered 'Boss.' Quite frankly, Ulysses will take this boss over, say, Director Fury.

The younger agent ceases wiggling his hand around in the gaping panel of wirework, making sure the sigh he exhales is seen as well as heard. "I would love that, actually. I just hope not to make this a thing." He pauses, scrunching up his nose as he tries to tackle this another angle, turning his wrist and flattening his hand as much as possible. Aaand tug—.


The sigh that follows is more of a huff. Ulysses finally glances back where Phil is. "Hand's stuck." He finally comes out and says it. "Actually I think it's a cuff button."

Phil slow blinks like the amiable and slightly lazy cat he so often resembles, but gets down on his knees amiably enough. "Here, let me see if I can help," he says, pausing to carefully remove his holographic watch, and his jackets. He rolls up his shirt sleeves (neat and crisp). Today he is, in fact, in his boss suit, not that Uly's in any position to see the high-end, perfectly fitting thing that definitely makes him look like Phil, High Ranking Agent, and not like Phil, Accountant.

Phil, High Ranking Agent, removes his tie as well, tilts his head to contemplate the entire mess, and then eases his hand in and starts feeling around to try to find the cufflink. This puts him practically cheek by jowel with Uly as he goes fishing around for the offending cuff button.

"I'll get on hiring you a guy," he adds.

Ulysses blinks, not that he's in any position to refuse any help. "Oh, um. Sure?" He glances quickly at the open paneling, perhaps mentally calculating if it's big enough for more than one arm. He also takes mental notes as Phil prepares before he goes in. Ah. Yes. Maybe taking his blazer off would have been wiser, in hindsight.

No, this isn't awkward at all. With Phil slipping his hand into things, Ulysses tries to press himself back to give him more room, not that this is really easy to do with his own arm stuck in the hole in the wall. At least the wiring is relatively neat, bundled and for the most part straight. It's just a lot and close together, and from here one can't appreciate the color-coding.

"I'll get on hiring you a guy," says Phil Coulson. "Great! Be appreciated!" Then someone else can be bothered with questions like 'why isn't my internet working?' and 'I think so-and-so deleted all the email correspondence.'

"And to think we're some of the most highly trained operatives in the world," Phil says, grimacing and straining. This is a ridiculous situation, but soon he finds the button and pops it free. "Okay, I think you're loose," he says, and then hesitates, not sure whether he should pull out first or whether Uly should. He ultimtaely decides himself, given positioning, and there's another strange moment where he's wriggling his hand free. Then he stands, doing the lesser Picard manuever on his shirt before rolling his sleeves back down.

"As it is, everyone else's Internet will have to wait a few hours if this excursion hasn't fixed it. I am in need of your real talents."

"The most highly trained operatives in the world that have been relocated to a lo-tech, pre-internet facility," Ulysses points out. He can feel the tension against his sleeve give with Phil's movement, and he just barely manages to keep from trying to extract his arm just as the other agent does. That would have been even more awkward, all around.

With one less arm there, he goes ahead to finally extract his own, shaking it out. He hadn't been there too long but the pins and needles had just started doing their thing. "Oh, it should work now. Something was just loose- I'll probably have to get a replacement." Oooor someone else can do it but he'd feel better if he did, at least for something like that.

Replacing the panel cover, Ulysses then hops to his feet, tugging at the lapels of his jacket, his sleeves, in perhaps some small effort to look just as presentable but never as crisp as Agent Phil Coulson. "So, what do you need?"

"I want you to hack into a company called Icarus Dynamics," Phil says. "One of our new agents thinks they're developing some sort of superweapon plane, and are killing pilots with dangerous human experimentation. I am not convinced as to the veracity of her data. I'm convinced she's convinced, but I'd like more. And to run a full threat assessment to see if they're a problem worth allocating any resources to right now."

He frowns thoughtfully and says, "She never did even answer as to her process for getting the information, so…it could all be false. The construction of a mind trying to cope with an absolutely horrific accident. She passed her psych evals, but…Either way, we need to know."

Nodding dutifully, Ulysses hums as he considers the things Phil's having him look into. Assuming that the man will follow, he starts to weave his way back towards his desk.

"Soo…should I be looking for any personal name references aside from the potential of super-planes and human experimentation?" he asks. Once at his station, he drops into his seat, takes a gulp of lukewarm coffee and frowns before setting it aside, and then sets to work as he taps his computer back into wakefulness.

"Let's see, Icarus Dynamics…" He'll start off with a general search to kick things off and go from there.

"You could cross-reference with the name Isa Reichert," Phil replies. He pulls his watch back on and pulls up a file, then fires it over to Ulysses' inbox. "That's everything I currently have on them and what she's told us about them."

He finds a chair of his own, settling into it and leaning back thoughtfully. "Anything else helps. Research data. Bank data. It'll all have to be sorted through, I don't expect you to find a smoking gun. Not that I won't listen, if you do."

Ulysses clicks open his email while he glances over the search results. He opens a link to the most relevant looking item, then moves back to the file to open it up.

"Okay, let's go with a surface search first, see if anything pops…" he says as he double-checks his security settings before inputting the name of Isa Reichert and Icarus Dynamics in another tab. He clicks over to the other tab with the company page to grab its IP address and then pulls up another window altogether, fingers nonstop as he drops it in and works on a backdoor into things.

Phil, for the most part, cannot follow what Ulysses is doing. He knows enough to stay out of the agent's way and not to pester him with questions until he's done. So he takes the other desk and gets to work on some other task, fingers flying across his holographic display. Emails or orders or reading reports, all the sorts of things that must be done and responded to in his average work day.

By that logic he probably could go back to his office and wait for Ulysses to come up with a report. And yet something holds him in place, perhaps an instinct that Ulysses might find an answer one way or another faster than Phil could anticipate.

For his part, Ulysses says nothing after that. The thought that someone might want him to go step-by-step over the things he's doing is one that's never occurred to him, and with Phil going about his own work in the meantime, a thought that remains unconsidered.

By the time Phil's settled into his own routines, the other agent has multiple windows open and enters commands or searches in one after the other as he brings things up, closes others that don't look nearly as promising. He's in his element, and if it seems his supervising agent's been completely forgotten, it's not really that far off the mark.

And so it goes, but Phil finally comes to the end of his patience with what he's doing. He stands up, goes into the break room, and gets two cups of coffee. He sets one down next to Uly's elbow, then sips at his own. "How's it going so far?" he asks. He eyes all the tabs and things. It's less that he's not interested in the process (he is) and more that he questions his own ability to understand it (which is not much).

Still, Uly hasn't come up and said there's absolutely nothing here yet, either, and the longer it goes on the more Phil thinks he's probably found some things worth an extra look.

In the back of his mind he registers that yes, there's been someone here and oh, right, that'd be his boss. At least that prepares Ulysses for when Phil returns, not only with blessed coffee but with an inquiry on his progress. He only tears his eyes away from the computer screen long enough to retrieve his coffee before he can accidentally knock it all over himself.

"Icky's hiding something all right. I mean, sure, a lot of companies have their secrets but I'm kind of…impressed by the level of encryptions and security they've got going. I can't say I've got anything to compare it to. Maybe I should try hacking Stark or Luthor for funsies to find out." Who knows if he's joking or not.

"Right, where was I— Oh yeah. Soo…" His eyes have since returned to the screen, his fingers deftly shortcuting its way between the numerous windows which have only tripled since Phil had last looked. "So, Isa Reichert is probably not our agent's real name." Beat. "Icarus has figured this out, it's a cover for a Raisa Ivanova Ya…Yakovul….leva- ugh. My tongue does not work that way. Ya-kov-leva. Also, they've got some beef going on with her. Someone up top's got a bounty on her. Seems personal."

He picks through his windows again. How he keeps track of them all is a mystery. "I can verify the things you've mentioned to check up on, but I'm still working on getting through for anything deeper."

"Icky. I like it," Coulson comments.

"Don't hack Stark," he adds. "It just makes his AIs angry and they can be vicious. It also inspires Stark to troll you. Or to try to hire you and then troll you. No opinions on Luthor."

He frowns though. "That at least verifies they're after her."

His mouth thins a little. "And that she's lied to us. Though whether it's a lie worth making an issue out of, I don't know. When she first told her story I was initially concerned that it sounded like prime bait to run some other objective, though I couldn't say what."

Ulysses opens his mouth, then closes it. He has many Stark-related questions but he figures they're not on-topic. His fingers move on.

"Well, unless they know we've taken her on, whether she intended to do us in or not might not matter much, considering how bad these guys want her." He widens one of the windows he's been scrolling through. "They wanted her because of her qualifications as a pilot- she must be really good. They tapped her out of the Russian Air Force- test pilot, but she declined Icky's offers. They must have wanted her real bad because they resorted to ruining her reputation in hopes of nabbing her when she got desperate. …oof."

His brows furrow, and he frowns over his coffee as he continues to skim things. "Guess these guys don't like it when they can't get what they want. Also, apparently she had a Star Wars moment of 'I have a bad feeling about this' and put a lot of money into getting info on these guys. So they found out. They staged a car accident for her parents, ruined her career and sabotaged her aircraft- which led to a bad accident…"

He scowls at the computer, tapping intently on the keyboard- as cool as holographic ones are, he likes the feel and sound of actual physical ones. "Icky's been sneaky about things, that's for sure. They're a quiet, neat little company on the exterior, but do some digging… They've got operations between Denmark and Russia, focus- AI, cybernetics, robotics, and get this- interfacing the previously mentioned with human physiology into some kind of…man-machine interface." The agent shivers.

"Yeah, that made no sense to me. She's not a meta. There's a human limit on good pilots. There's a handful of pilots that will be as good as she is no matter how good she is. But money at least makes some sense."

But it's the rest of this that is more interesting, and Phil's eyebrows lift. "So they want…to make plane-cyborgs? Like Anne McCaffery ghost-ships? Do they have a target buyer for that kind of tech?"

"I…never actually read McCaffery," Ulysses admits, leaning over his keyboard as though having his face closer to the screen will make things come up faster. "But yeah, sounds like some crazy stuff. I'm trying to see what I can get by way of details- not that I'm sure I want them…" It's amazing his fingers haven't tied themselves in knots for how fast they seem to be hammering keys.

"Mm…these two places they have in Russia with letters that have no business being next to each other are…interestingly hidden. Novaya Zem…liya? Lyah? Is it like a mya? How do you Russian…" Scowling, he just highlights the two names for Phil - Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya. "Anyway these two- these ones are apparently underground so they don't register by satellite. Supply trucks and ships have to travel somewhere though, so that's the only reason any hint of them pops up. And the earlier crazy cyborg-plane stuff? That research is being done in their two Denmark facilities."

He pulls himself back from the screen to sit against his chair and take another couple swallows of coffee. "Buyers- nnnno. They don't have a specific target buyer so much as they just want to make some of these nasty things and sell it to someone. World military power, whoever's got the money."

"Mmm," Coulson opines, which could mean anything at all. He frowns thoughtfully. "It's certainly not great. I'm not sure that makes it Priority One. Registration's been a thing so long that it seems to me like the worst of the tensions are cooling down, but it still rearranged all the priorities. One more psycho company working on one more psycho weapons improvement seems like a situation to keep an eye on, not a situation to act on. Not unless they're very close indeed and not unless there's a specific threat that tech is creating. There are still dozens of metas, some of them in our employ, that could run circles around any tech they put out."

He tilts his head to the side and admits, "Still, there are a few exceptions that might make it worth limited resources. Look for signs that they're using alien tech or research in their work, and look for signs that they're close to finishing. I feel for the people they're experimenting on, but so far what I'm seeing is intel worth passing on to other entities in the intelligence community and not a threat SHIELD needs to be handling directly."

Mug set back on the desk, Ulysses nods and resumes his keyboard dance. "Understood," he murmurs, copying information here and there, creating a personal file of black secrets that he names 'ICKY.'

With a few less windows clogging up his screen, he starts skimming for anything that might ping Coulson's specific points.

"…I'm not getting hints of anything alien from what I can find… but in regards to them being close to finishing, looks like there've been less shipments for milled parts and metal loads to the Zem… the Russian facilities lately. More activity seems to be in funding the Danish ones…" He taps his fingers more out of anxiousness than any deliberate keystrokes. "There's a biochemical firm in Norway getting some of that extra funding. Neurology study focus. Anyway, not sure if that just means they're getting close and refining things because of it or…" A shrug.

Coulson nods thoughtfully and says, "Alright. I'm going to pass it on to those authorities and see if we can't get them dealt with simply by having them raided for violating ethical experimentation laws on humans. Easy, straightforward. We'll monitor it after that and see what shakes out from there. Forward all that to my inbox please? I'll make the calls. They must not know Isa's in SHIELD yet or they'd be moving like a kicked anthill. No reason not to take advantage of the fact that they're not."

He grimaces.

Contrary to his businesslike tone, he doesn't love taking a pass on something like this. But it only takes one look at their current, much-reduced facilities to remind him why he can't just move SHIELD resources around every time they find something untoward. As it is, moving too much too fast is a good way to ensure Hydra takes an interest, given the plants he's still sure are in their midst. "Thanks, Uly. I appreciate the help."

"Yessir," Ulysses says, nodding. He's still looking at his computer, grabbing and copying what info he can. Phil will get a copy of that ICKY folder later.

The words that come next aren't orders for more info digging, but a thanks, and it's reason enough to pry his attention from his computer to look at the senior agent. He smiles crookedly. "You're welcome, sir. It's what I'm here for." Part of why he's there for, but he likes hacking over IT set up any day. "There anything else you need?"

Coulson gives a faint smile and shakes his head. "No. Keep up the good work."

And then he turns to head to his office, making good on his word to start putting in those calls.

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