What's a Little Subterfuge Between Friends?
Roleplaying Log: What's a Little Subterfuge Between Friends?
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Eddie grossly overestimates her ability to take advantage of a friendship with Rami to carry out Seneschal's orders.

Other Characters Referenced: Roy, Coulson, Simon, The Carters
IC Date: January 26, 2019
IC Location: The Trike
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Jan 2019 19:39
Rating & Warnings: Language
NPC & GM Credits: GM - Peggy Carter
Associated Plots

Seneschal gave her a deadline of five days. Five days to officially throw her former associates into the fire of whatever he has brewing. This isn't the sort of thing you leave to the last minute. There needs to be contingency plan upon contingency plan, but Eddie is hoping her first attempt will be ultimately be a success. There's just a little matter of the execution.

Armed with two coffee cups and the thumb drive that feels like a two ton weight in her pocket, Eddie seeks out Rami at her computer station when she knows the woman will be working. She looks tired with shadows beneath her eyes that she hasn't bothered to cover up with makeup and even her smile seems weary. It's all part of the painstakingly cultivated image she presents Courtier with.

"Hey, Ramikin. You busy?" The words come out casually as one of the cups is set down on the desk, tea for the pregnant woman instead of the coffee that Eddie clutches to like a lifeline in her gloved hand.

*

Parambir looks up when Eddie arrives at her station, and the mugs are given a slightly amused flash of a smile. "You come bearing tea, asking if I'm busy… I'm going to need to seriously start posting my fees for favors soon, aren't I?" Still she picks up the mug with both hands, settling it between her palms so it warms her skin. She nods Eddie into her little cubicle space. "Unless this is something that needs the privacy of a meeting room." Which would also pique her interest.

*

"Really, the tea doesn't seal the deal?" Eddie reaches into her pocket and pulls out a package of Malteasers. And not the American bastardized version either. It gets set down on the desk, and a mock-serious glance over her shoulder to make sure no one is watching before it's slid over like they're doing an illicit deal. "How about …now?"

Eddie grins and hops up on the desk to perch, legs swinging. "Nah. I just wanted to see if you dug up anything on that Roy fellow. Because I might just have a crush." She confesses, but it's not the type of thing that would need to be squirreled away in a meeting room.

*

Rami just looks amused at the sly — or not so sly — reveal. She takes the Malteasers in a little snatching motion, turning them over in her hand a couple times to check out the label. Then she narrows her eyes slightly at her in amusement. "I'm listening."

Then Eddie is mentioning something about that Roy fellow and she actually laughs at the confession. It is a gentle, warm laugh. "Oh, darling. Really?"

*

Eddie looks mildly taken aback. "What? Just because the most serious relationship you've ever seen me in is my brief affair with being obsessed with reality TV doesn't meant I'm not capable of having interest in an actual flesh and blood man. Of course it comes with a heavy dose of paranoia that has me feeling like this is the worst idea ever." There is a sip of her coffee taken, straight from the mug which means it must be brand new for her to risk the contact. "So, show me whatcha got."

*

"Mmhmm," is Rami's only musing in response to Eddie's affront. She smiles after a time, and then sighs as if horribly put upon. She reaches across her desk for a file folder, plucking it casually from the organizer. Then she hands it over to Eddie. "All I could find on Arsenal and the Titans. I couldn't get a good enough lead on the name Roy, though I did narrow it down to twenty-seven possibles that are around the right age and match the general characteristics. Weaponist, and linked to quite a few vigilante-related murders." Beat. "Vigilante justice murders, is perhaps a bit more accurate. You've found yourself quite a fellow, Eddie."

*

"He's not mine yet. Trust me, I'll figure out seven ways to Sunday to screw this up before it even gets out of the gate. And of course if what he says checks out, he's a little too good for me, don't you think." Eddie eyes the folder, not immediately taking it. Her eyes stay glued to it though, continuing talking like she's just talking to talk. "And by that I usually gravitate towards men that are bad for me not righteous vigi…look we can pretend I'm normal and do things like take paper copies, but really, Rami?" Eddie sighs as she removes a SHIELD branded thumbdrive from her jacket and leans over to plug it into Rami's computer. "Digital or die."

*

"You're self-confidence is overwhelming, Eddie." The dryness in those words are met with a slight tilt of her head. Then she softens a bit. "If you like him, darling, you really shouldn't have me poking around his files. I would think that perhaps just telling him you're interested in a date would be far more straightforward, hm?" Then she shakes her head slightly, sighing a breath. "Paper is easier to destroy." She shakes her head. "Alright." Then she turns slightly in her seat, unlocking her computer so she can drag and drop the digital file onto the woman's thumb drive. "You truly are a pain in the ass."

*

Eddie sucks her bottom lip into her mouth, giving a little shake of her head about asking him for a 'date'. How did something conventional like that get so far off her radar of what's normal anymore. "You're the only one I even talk to about stupid shit like this." Which also makes it a double edged sword. She's the only person Eddie confides to, and yet Eddie's only using the confession as a distraction. And she still has about four more minutes to buy. The mental clock is ticking painfully slow. "Hey." Her booted foot catches the arm of Rami's chair and gives it a little nudge so that Parambir has to spin away from the drag and drop file transfer. "We both know that I can't walk into anything blind. So yes, a pain in the ass, but I'm a cautious pain in the ass, which saves you trouble later on. Speaking of trouble…how is your little kumquat sized one?"

*

"Oh darling, I know… but you see, what always interests me is how there are those of you spy-types who so easily come my way to tell me about the woes of your heart, and no one actually takes my advice. So, if you actually do like this fellow, perhaps you could be a bit more conventional in your approach, hm?" She is about to finish her file drop, and then she crosses her arms at her chest as she is pivoted away from her work. She smirks wryly at the woman. "And yet, the rest of us just go ahead and jump head-first and hope that we don't smash our head on the rocks in the shallows. You spy-types are quite impossible." The question about her kumquat has her laughing lightly, and she shrugs. "Well, I can finally smell cooking meat and not throw up, so that's a bonus, yes?"

*

"Well, when you can't afford to trust…" There is a dismissive shrug, "Which is why it's extremely rare that two people in the Company get together." Eddie says barely above her breath, "Making all of us spies jealous. Well, at least when it becomes more public knowledge." She jabs a finger at the ceiling to indicate the unspoken question as to whether or not the relationship - and the subsequent arrival of a child - has been disclosed yet. "Let's just hope he's a good babysitter, because when you're ready to pump and dump, we're so going to go out and get blitzed. "

*

"Don't be jealous, darling… because when Simon and I started dating, we told each other all the Company lies. Honesty became something almost a requirement, because we started our relationship with lies." Then the spy starts to pivot back toward her computer, giving Eddie a meaningful look. "Fathers are not babysitters." She shakes her head. "And you know better."

*

Just as Rami starts to turn towards her computer a prompt props up as if there is supposed to be a password entered. Eddie catches it out of the corner of her eye and immediately hops down off the desk and grabs Rami's chair to force her to pivot her back to the computer as the prompt disappears. This all under the guise of falling to her knees in front of the Handler to get closer to her stomach. "So do you feel anything yet? When do you get to find out if it's a boy or a girl? How much longer do you think you can wait to tell the people upstairs?"

*

Paranoia is a thing with spies. It's a really strong thing. Eddie tries to pull this all off as some weird exchange, but you know what really sets Rami's suspicion off? The fact that Eddie is getting so incredibly close to her physically. "Eddie. You better tell me what the fuck you're doing to my computer." Her words are level, sharp, but quiet.

*

Tick. Tick. Tick. Behind Rami little files are quickly popping up and disappearing. .exe copying themselves over to SHIELD's mainframe in nanoseconds. Seneschal better have been accurate about that five minute window, because time is up. "God, Rami." Eddie's hands still on the arms of her chair so she can't just turn around, and Morales gets to her feet quickly and reaches past Rami's shoulder to yank the drive out of the computer. "It was just some stupid surprise for you to cheer you up, but forget it." The drive is shoved deep in her pocket, where fingers deftly switch it out for another identical Company one.

*

"Eddie. That's not…" Courtier's mouth tightens into a hard frown. The behavior is odd, off-putting, and her instincts are blazing with warning. "Stop." The word is clear, firm. The woman slowly stands, dark eyes darting around the room before she steps closer toward Eddie. "Don't do this to me, Eddie. SHIELD only just started to trust me." The betrayer, or the betrayed. That's who she is. "Whatever just happened… you're a fool to think I wouldn't recognize it, a fool to think I don't have my own safeguards. Give me the drive. If the drive has Roy's files on it, the files I moved to it… then we're fine." She holds out her hand expectantly, dark eyes serious.

*

Eddie holds up the drive as requested. "And I was dumb enough to think that if you could get past the paranoia and lies with Simon, then maybe you'd be willing to do the same with me. Coulson was right. This place is infested." Unceremoniously, Morales drops the drive into the cup of tea she brought for Rami. "Enjoy your maternity leave. I just hope it doesn't start sooner than you wished."

*

The drop of the drive into the tea was perhaps the final kick to Rami's paranoia. She would have told Michael to do that if he was caught. Drop it somewhere that could compromise the drive, make it harder to recover, make it work for someone to prove that you did something you shouldn't have. So, she stands, slowly. "Morales." The name is said in the same tone she would use over the earbuds. The kind that is meant to grab the spy's attention. Her dark eyes are serious. "Sit."

*

With a casual shrug, Eddie flops into the vacated seat, tucking up a foot beneath her and using the other to lazily spin. "It was just a Jibjab video where I took Coulson's face and plastered it on an Elf doing the hustle. I know how much all these secrets you've been keeping must be wearing on you. Wanted to do something to lighten the mood. Look, if you don't trust me, I get it. But there is a copy of it in my pocket if you still want to see the video. I was going to give it to Phil, he's been feeling the pressure lately too."

*

"Yeah, you send that bloody shit to my phone." Rami's too defensive now, too dialed up to 11. She doesn't go for the drive floating in her tea. "Tell me… when I run my diagnostics, the safeguards I coded into this computer… what am I going to find? What am I going to have to explain to Coulson, to Carter when the security videos see me putting a drive you handed me into my computer?" Rami's anger is kept careful beneath the surface. "You did everything I would have told Brit to do. Distract me with an innocent job, hand me the device, distract me with a personal topic." Her full lips tighten. "You tell me what I'm supposed to believe, Morales."

*

Eddie's expression goes from slightly put-off to sternly offended. "I don't know what you'll find. The video didn't have time to load or it would have auto played and I was going to spin you around to a cartoon hip-thrusting. Seriously, run your diagnostics. I have nothing to hide."

Her jaw sets, and when she feels her eyes well up with tears, she jerks her gaze away. "This is why I left SHIELD. All the mistrust. Add to that I'll always be the girl who can see too much. I was better off working alone." Trying to blink back the moisture, she only causes a tear to be shed and it goes dripping off her dark eyelashes and bouncing down her cheek. An irritated hand wipes it away before she starts turning out her pockets. The other thumb drive is tossed onto the desk, and then a little rectangular velvet box joins it. She leaves the white of her pockets turned out so that Rami can see they are empty.

"That's for the baby. Might as well give it to you now, as I doubt I'll be coming to the shower."

*

Parambir's emotions war between guilt and paranoia-induced anger. There are so few she trusts, so few she holds close. The Carters and Simon. But that does not mean she does not care for those who are not in that sacred inner circle. She can see the pain, see the frustration, but she also isn't sure how much she can believe. She can't decide if she should feel used, or if she should feel bad for accusing Eddie. She presses her fingertip on the drive, and scoots it in toward her. She then looks at the velvet box, her expression a bit uncertain.

"You know this has nothing to do about who you are," Rami says in a firm note. She looks seriously at the woman. "I will apologize, and seek your forgiveness if I'm wrong, but you have no idea what I have gone through this last year, darling."

*

"It doesn't? Because ever since I've gotten here, it's like people are looking at me as if I have three heads. You ever talk to Dani Moonstar? It's like being interrogated. All get and no give." Eddie's foot paddles her swivel slightly, back and forth while she swallows thickly and tries to dry her eyes by opening them wider and exposing the retina to more air. "You know, I'd know if you would tell me. I'm not about to go honestly violating your privacy by …touching about." She lurches forward, grabbing the box, "Not going to open it? Here." She'll do it for Rami. Inside is a silver pendant with a relief of Saint Nicholas on the medallion, the chain small as if for a child.

*

"Well. You do have three heads, darling. I'm surprised you haven't noticed." Rami's words are not as humored as she would like. She sighs softly as she plucks the box of tissues at her desk and hands them over toward Eddie. "I'm only in SHIELD because they promised me asylum after I betrayed MI-6.5 in order to perhaps find out who killed Coulson, who betrayed Michael Carter, and who was poised to betray me." Her eyes are steady on the woman. Then she looks at the box when it opens, and she gently takes the velvet box back to look at the medallion. "St. Nicholas. I'm unfamiliar with who he is beyond recognizing his relief." She's Sikh, after all.

*

"The Patron Saint of children." Eddie mutters as she takes the box of tissues and tucks it in the crook of her lap, taking the first one out of the box and wadding it up to lob at the trash before using the second to actually dab at the end of her nose. "I'm sorry you had to go through that." There is genuine sympathy there, but typically any mention of Coulson seems to hit a soft spot for Morales. "That all sounds…very complicated. So I get it. I do. Do whatever you have to do so you can sleep tonight. But if you don't mind, have security escort me to Phil's office. I'll ride it out there." Her foot plops back to the floor from its birdlike tuck beneath her.

*

"I will take whatever Saint I can to look after my child." Then she closes the box, and offers a faint nod. "Thank you, Eddie." It's genuine. Spies compartmentalize. She can appreciate this, while also preparing herself for what comes next. She nods slightly before she reaches for the phone at her desk. She pings security without saying more than a simple acknowledgement that she needs them. "As you wish," she says simply before she finally slides the drive back over toward her to place it on the other side of her keyboard.

*

Eddie? Doesn't compartmentalize shit, it seems. The thank you gets nothing more than a turn of Morales' head away as she slips out of the chair and away from the desk, waiting for security to show up as she makes sure her pants are tucked into her socks, her cuffs into her gloves, and her collar as high as she can make it. Here's to hoping a nice soak in that tea, and Seneschal's own fail-safes, keep her out of the hottest of waters, even as she grits her teeth against the sacrifice of friendship for her end goal.

*

Security shows, and Parambir plucks the first drive from the tea. She is careful as she sets it aside, placing it on napkins. Then she reaches into her desk drawer, and removes what appears to be a thermos. She opens the cylinder, and places the first drive within it where a desiccant will help suck and sap the liquid from the drive. The second drive is placed in a bag, and carefully sealed. She looks after Eddie briefly, and then she breathes out a slow exhale as she moves her mouse to a small corner of her monitor where she can log into her own security mainframe, and begin to run a diagnostics on her harddrive, and also prepare the report of her own safeguards — including a constantly running screen-recording application. Like having a security camera locked always on your monitor. She doesn't look at anything yet, but waits for Eddie to be escorted before she begins her new self-appointed assignment.

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