Lunch With The Boss
Roleplaying Log: Lunch With The Boss
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Daisy Johnson and Ulysses Arngrim find themselves thrown right into the cloak and dagger deep end when Agent Phil Coulson taps them for a mission.

Other Characters Referenced: Nick Fury, Lionel Shepherd
IC Date: January 31, 2019
IC Location: New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 01 Feb 2019 04:12
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

"You. And you."

This is how Daisy Johnson's day starts. It's also how Ulysses Arngrim's day starts.

With one Phil Coulson, looking more like rumpled accountant by his dress and like a man on a mission by his face, simply walking into wherever these two computer geniuses happened to be set up, and beckoning them to come with him. And then tapping a finger to his lips for silence.

Now he strides through the back halls, quickly swiping his elevator key card to get them right down to the parking lot level. He doesn't say a word, and he pulls up a holographic display on a wrist cuff. He grabs the security footage of them walking through the hall, and swiftly replaces it with empty hall. He grabs the security footage of them in the elevator, and swiftly replaces it with empty elevator.

It's not until they are three streets away in a rental car he walked them a block to pick up (sadly, he can't use Lola for this), and scanned four times for bugs, that he says, "Okay. You can speak freely now."

Goooooood morning SHIELD.

"Well hello to you, too," Daisy starts to respond before being given the sign to keep quiet. This only serves to turn her expression from one of minor annoyance into one of intermediate confusion. Is this normal..?

Watching the mysterious Agent cleaning up their tracks while they're in the process of leaving them gives her the answer to that initial burning question: No, this is decidedly not normal. Getting the impression that this other guy (Ulysses) is about as clueless right now as she is, Daisy gives the taller guy a puzzled glance. Maybe even a borderline worried one. What the heck is going on here?

Once finally getting to the vehicle and taking a seat she casts wide dark eyes from one person to the next then holds up her hands and gives her head a quick shake. "What is all of this? I appreciate not getting shot by another tranquilizer, that's a nice touch and all, but what's your deal? Who are you?" Aaand why did he erase all evidence of them walking out this way?

All things considered, this is highly irregular. It hadn't been that long after Ulysses had settled down at his desk with a cup of steaming coffee. His fingers had been hovering over the keyboard, ready to rattle out his password when a ghost swept by his desk.

All right, not necessarily a ghost, but there are rumors and then there's news, but neither really click until you experience it for yourself. Thankfully Agent Coulson does not require verbal response so much as immediate action, and with the man already moving, Ulysses has figured that questions and objections would be very much discouraged even if his mouth were able to get out any words at the time. Sweeping up his coffee, he trails after, his expression curious and questioning, but to his credit he remembers to keep his mouth shut, or rather to keep it busy with taking constant swigs of his coffee. He's glad he hadn't opted for decaf this morning.

To Daisy he gives a less than reassuring look, accompanied with the briefest of shrugs. It might also imply 'Really wanna ask? After you!'

Fingers drum against the side of said cup, nearly empty by the time they've left headquarters, and as though Coulson's request for silence had included not daring to breathe, Ulysses expels a sigh once they've been given clearance to speak.

"Sir..!" he blurts, simultaneously with Daisy's opening inquiry, although nothing further follows to muddy up the young woman's continuing commentary. He blinks and glances at her when he does allow the questions she'd asked to sink in, slowly starting to nod. Riiiight. Newbie. His eyes track back towards Coulson, brow arching. "Is…there something we can do for you, sir?"

"Phil. Phil Coulson. It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Johnson. I would have liked it to be a friendly meet and greet, maybe on Taco Tuesday, but there's no time. And yes, Agent Arngrim, there is, but not until I get you to a secure location. Though it's possible we might have to make a stop. I've got a thumb drive and I've got a laptop. I need one to examine one, and one to examine the other. I need it done on gear that is not SHIELD's gear, so if you need me to stop by Radio Shack or Best Buy or anything like it on the way, now's the time to tell me."

He switches lanes, keeping an eye out. The man looks like he's watching for tails, and watching close.

"Sorry for the ultra-dramatic spy opener, guys. It was necessary."

By comparison to the other two Daisy is so green that she probably survives more on photosynthesis than caffeine. Her involvement with the Division can be measured better in hours rather than days and the fancy silver bracelet on her left wrist is far too new to have gathered so much as a speck of dust upon it. She's spent more time mapping out the restrooms at the Triskelion than getting any actual work done!

To have suddenly been picked out and led out here at some expense is more than a little peculiar. Exciting, no doubt, but still peculiar.

When Ulysses blurts out a formal greeting Daisy releases a gentle sigh. "You two know each other. Because I love being the odd one out," she grumbles while belting herself in.

With the introduction and a rapid-fire gameplan out of the way Daisy sneaks another glance toward -Agent- Arngrim, just in case she wasn't feeling left out enough with her probationary newbie status. Though hearing what they'll be tasked with she holds up her arm, giving the bracelet a quick wiggle. "Does Best Buy have anything with SHIELD kill-joy protection? I can barely wash my hands without this thing bricking the automated towel dispensers."

"Oh, that's all right sir. Nothing like an adrenaline rush to get your day jumpstarted." His smile is tight but more sincere than not, perhaps helping at least a little in softening the slight sarcasm in his words.

"Not…exclusively," Ulysses says, glancing at Daisy with a faint smile. "Agent Coulson's kind of like a household name in SHIELD. First time I've actually met him face to face." For a lot of reasons, actually, but he's pretty sure that Coulson would rather not go into such complicated matters. Ulysses is however trying not to feel too giddy about being personally asked by the man to help him out on something.

A frown furrowing his brow as it tugs down at his lips, Ulysses takes a moment as he soaks in what Coulson has to say. The request is pretty sobering, implying all sorts of not very good things. He pauses long enough to swallow the last of his coffee.

"That's…very specific. Also, I don't think Radio Shack exists anymore, so we might have to go with Best Buy."

Coulson seems to notice the bracelet for the first time, and he scowls faintly. "Ulysses, check to see if there's a tracking device in that thing too. If so, we're really going to have to improvise here. And…well. It tells me, Miss Johnson, that you're on thumb drive duty while Ulysses here is on compromised computer duty."

He makes a swift turn in a direction he was not originally going to turn in. The nauseating way he jerks his passengers around is proof enough of that. He was apparently not privvy to any conversations involving that bracelet.

And then, mild as milkwater, he adds:

"You can both call me Phil."

Daisy can't help but notice a little 'something extra' in Ulysses' voice as he talks about Coulson, prompting one more glance from her toward the man seated behind the wheel. As if what Coulson is tasking them both with isn't a big enough flag, to think that they had both been hand-selected from a 'household name' is ..well, it's a little flattering.

Or, maybe Coulson just needed some sacrificial lambs for this operation. People who wouldn't be missed if things got interesting.

At the sudden turn she's quick to sound out a "Hey—!" and make a mad grab for the door for support. She's not used to these spy games yet! Outside of a city bus she's also not used to someone else doing the driving.

Another quick headshake gets her thoughts realigned. Tracker..on her arm… "They've already invaded every other inch of personal space, it wouldn't surprise me if it could grow legs and walk me home. Look..Phil, someone's going to know something's up if you start messing around with it. That much they made very clear."

He looks around for a place to wedge his empty coffee cup before adjusting his glasses as he shifts in his seat to better face Daisy. With Coulson's sudden turn, Ulysses finds himself thrown against the door looking slightly peeved for the lack of warning. He however calmly resettles himself after tugging the seatbelt strap from cutting into his neck.

"Yeah, fun stuff," he comments dryly as he holds a hand out towards Daisy. "Pretty sure Miss Johnson's right on the money though. I mean, you of all people know how SHIELD can be…"

He shifts in his seat again, pulling out his cellphone and switching off the wifi before sliding it onto airplane mode. "Let's see…" he mutters, swiping and tapping through a few things after checking to make sure the bluetooth is on. "Mmmm…yep. Think that's about the right signal. Tracker."

First name basis with Agent Coulson? "Cool." Aw yeah. Okay, so Ulysses is pretty sure he's just saying it more for ease of awkwardness and this highly unusual excursion than them being all buddy-buddy, but it's a nice thought.

"Yeah. You're right," Phil tells Daisy. "Well, that's ok. I have a workaround."

The workaround proves to be an abandoned Chinese restaurant next to a thriving Mexican restaurant about five blocks from the Trisket. He parks and grabs a duffle from the back. Then? He simply breaks them in to the locked building, deft hands picking the lock as if it's virtually nothing. Which, to him, it isn't, in particular.

He hands them each a computer so new it's probably going to want them to enter their name and preferences before it lets them get anywhere. Despite the joke about Best Buy, it seems he's already been once today. There's a little Geek Squad promotional sticker on Daisy's.

Then he hands her a thumb drive, and Ulysses the older computer that is obviously far more high-tech, and SHIELD issued.

"I'm not kidding about getting you any tech you need," he says. "Not long ago a double agent plugged that thumb drive into Agent Parambir Kaur Ghai's laptop. That one. All we know about it is that it brought up file after file, password requests flipped on and off on the screen, and it did it all rapid fire. The double agent dropped the thumb drive into Rami's tea, so it's damaged and a mess. We don't see anything overtly wrong with the computer, and none of our internal servers seem to be doing anything strange. Nobody's found the obvious. No viruses or worms or anything that we can identify. I need you two to get whatever you can off these two pieces of evidence. I understand it might be scant-to-nonexistent, but if you're as good as I think you both are then what you can get is more than what anyone else could."

With the motion given Daisy holds her hand out for Ulysses to get a better look at the oh so fancy and fashionable piece of tech locked about her wrist. What's the worst that could happen, she loses what little clearance they had given her and cast her back out onto the street? That device hasn't been there more than a day or two and it's already severely cramping her style.

Besides, here she's practically getting a first-hand tutorial on how to alter the device's operation using nothing more than a phone. This is useful information! There is a very likely chance that she could do everything that Ulysses does by herself if she had a phone that wouldn't immediately lock down on her. Whatever he's now doing, she's paying attention to it.

They stop, they're out, and they're breaking into an empty building. Cool. Because she doesn't have -any- prior experience with that part. Next comes a shiny new system, complete with sticker. "Quaint," she mutters while automatically checking out its specs.

Once they finally get to the real meat of the situation Daisy's face scrunches up slightly at the thought of data recovery after a warm tea dip, bringing it closer to her nose to sniff at it a little.

"What do you mean, the devices were scattershotting encrypted files at you without any input on your end?" Not a virus, though it sure SOUNDS like virus behavior. Curious. She definitely has to see this for herself, popping open the laptop's screen and bringing it to life.

"If there's nothing but cat pictures on it I'm going to be a little disappointed."

Daisy will have to be slightly disappointed as Ulysses is only managing to match specific signals more than attempt to block or deactivate the thing. "If I try anything more it'll be more likely to ring alarm bells," he says, glancing between her and Coulson. Maybe with more of a head's up he could have rigged something up, but right now, it seems better to leave things be. But at least Coulson seems prepared. Pff, what's he even talking about? Of course Phil Coulson is prepared.

Watching the scenery roll by out the window, a brief smile lights Ulysses face. "Oh hey. I've always been meaning to try that place," he remarks as they pass the Mexican restaurant and pull in by the abandoned establishment beside it. It's too early for that kind of food though, not that he feels particularly hungry at the moment. He'd had a donut for breakfast. Cake donut with sprinkles and icing. That'll keep him going until lunch.

"This…doesn't look like a Radio Shack or a Best Buy," he notes, perfectly aware that he's stating the obvious once they exit. He watches as Coulson grabs what he needs from the back before following after the man to the building, wincing a little at their less than legal entry but hey. These people do what they gotta do, right?

Glancing around the old restaurant, Ulysses permits himself to look vaguely surprised when they're presented with computers. Even before Coulson begins explaining the particulars of their assignments he's already gone through the motions of starting up the computer and getting the basics set up. Faster they get it ready, faster they can dive into things. As it's booting with the finalized settings, Ulysses pulls over the more familiar laptop to power that on as well.

"Well that sounds pleasant," he murmurs, still listening to Coulson even though his eyes are fixed to the screen, the light reflecting off of his glasses. "Nothing's done without reason though. I mean, for all we know, it could be like a decoy, a diversion, if there's really nothing that comes up. I'll assume that it was hooked up to the network at the time?" he asks as his fingers start tapping at keys.

In answer to Daisy's question, Coulson brings up that holographic display on wrist display. What comes up is an over-the shoulder display with a lot of it blocked by Rami's frame. But a few things are visible. A prompt pops up like someone is supposed to be entering a password, then disappears. Other little files pop up and disappear. Some of them are .exe files.

"This started the moment the double agent put the thumb drive into Rami's computer."

He nods to Ulysses. "It was. I think whatever happened was meant to get into our system. The guy this agent was working for doesn't play small. As for the restaurant…"

He gives a faint, Cheshire Cat's smile. "I'm going to go over and get you both food in just a moment. Your cover is that I took you both out for lunch. Innocent stuff, should anyone check the tracker. You might as well both go back with to-go bags. And…"

Troubled hazel eyes flick between them. "You can't talk to anyone about this. Not Fury himself, not anyone."

Whatever Phil is rocking on his own arm, it's really frickin' sweet. The holographic projection and a seamless refresh rate and the ..it's just SO COOL! Daisy wants one. Preferrably one which doesn't lock her out within half of a second of getting within three feet of it. Though seeing for herself what the issue is actually..has her smirking a little…

"Looks like the prank I used to play on the library network. Instead of logging in it just opened another login window." Pause. "Wasn't my loophole," she adds with a half-shrug.

But it sure was fun to exploit!

To everything else she quietly nods her head. Out for lunch, what happens at the Chinese restaurant stays at the Chinese restaurant. However, once some real momentum is ready to begin she is looking somewhat apprehensive.

Here is a computer for her to use. There's also a piece of hardware for her to look into. But that featherweight metal band on her wrist has her wondering if at any moment the entire system is going to lock up with a screen that is quickly becoming all too familiar to her.

"Are you sure about this, Coulson..? All it takes is one wrong move."

Ulysses breaks his eye-contact from the computer to look over as Coulson pulls up the holodisplay, squinting. He frowns, head turning back towards the laptop in front of him. If the thing's already been given a thorough look over then he wonders what more he can possibly pull up, but Coulson's asking them, so he's got to try, and he's going to give it his best.

He opens up the system files and another window to open up the command prompt as he skims over the lines that go scrolling past. "Login-ception, nice," he comments as he listens to Daisy, allowing a quiet chuckle. Although that does open up another angle to look into, and so he pulls up another window while pulling the new laptop over to bring up a few things.

Coulson's follow-up to this secretive side mission has Ulysses lift his head to look over at the veteran agent. "Now we're talking. In the few months I have been here no one has ever treated me to lunch." He sounds highly offended by that, but that might also just be how he usually sounds. It's the warning that follows that makes Ulysses shudder as he gets back to work.

"No offense to Fury but I would not want to have to talk to the man if I can avoid it. He scares me. But you got it, Phil. My lips are sealed. Except when you bring us some green enchiladas."

Daisy does have some valid concerns however, and when she speaks them Ulysses does have to pause and look between them both before his eyes settle upon Coulson.

Coulson's eyes crinkle at the corners, well-worn laugh lines cutting deep into his flesh. Hazel eyes spark with a bit of weary humor.

"Agent Johnson," he says softly. "One wrong move is all it ever takes. The thumb drive came from the enemy and the computer is new. Your new jewelry shouldn't impact it at all."

He looks between them and says gently, "I wouldn't have you here if I didn't think you both could handle it. Let's do it, guys. We only have an hour, maybe two, before the lunch alibi starts to wear really thin."

He peeks out the windows without getting close to them, just to make sure no trouble is coming. None is, the wary stance is hard to miss.

That answer is good enough for Daisy. She's only following orders, right? Turning back to the screen with the corner of a lip caught between her teeth she takes a deep breath..and away she goes.

Her own approach can be a little unorthodox. The USB drive itself is given a thorough looking over. She tinkers around with BIOS and voltage settings. A program or two is downloaded from sites which are probably questionable at best. Now that she's begun she seems fully committed to getting to the bottom of whatever that tiny drive contains.

"There is some very..odd stuff at play, here…" seems to be the best Coulson's going to get from her initial assessment. "It's like those desktop rigs with the turbo button, hitting that can cause stability problems with programs that aren't meant to run at that clock speed." Another pause is followed with "Retro hardware is cool."

"There is definitely some file corruption heeere… Maybe..forty percent. Guess you could say it had a sugar crash. Just..hang on, I think I'm getting somewhere here—dammit!"

Fingertips run through her hair once, passing a glance back to Coulson. "Maybe next time suggest water instead of tea, it tends to clean up better."

Ulysses nods solemnly at the response that Coulson gives Daisy, the both of them, really. It's along the same lines as every other disclaimer that he's been given ever since he joined the organization, once you boiled it down. He just never thought that he'd be working this sort of angle, and even without some kind of tracking bracelet, the position they're in seems like a precarious one. "You can't talk to anyone about this. Not Fury himself, not anyone." The words earlier spoken still circle in his head. Just what are they getting themselves into???

He pushes it aside, perhaps all too easily, but if there's one thing that Ulysses is good at aside from computers, it's focus. Daisy sounds like she's got her side covered, and he trusts Coulson's judgment more than his own when it comes to the newbie, but he's willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

While he doesn't completely shut out the world around him he treats it specifically as background as he delves into what the screen in front of him pulls up at each keystroke. His eyes narrow as though in reading the lines of text and file titles that he's trying to make out an otherwise invisible image like one of those 'Magic Eye' pictures that were apparently at one time all the rage in the early 90s. You just had to look at the right angle.

"I think…" he begins to say, trailing off as his fingers do the talking, his brows knitting in concentration. He frowns, goes through a repeat of the same commands, then again, this time hitting shortcut keys. "I found the angle." Not that it makes much sense given no one else was plugged into his line of thinking, but he continues to do much the same for a few more instances.

"I'll throw the screen grabs onto this side," he says, patting the fresh laptop with a hand, still looking at the S.H.I.E.L.D. one. "It comes up quick, but it shows that as soon as that got plugged in, there was a beeline right for SHIELD's internal server and lasted about as long as the drive had been connected."

"I will definitely make sure all double agents destroy the evidence in ways that are convenient for me and my team from now on," Coulson says, with a hint of understated snark and a flicker of a smile.

The drive really is hella damaged, but as Daisy looks she'll find there's the tail end of an execution code that seems focused on the USB itself. It looks like putting it in the tea stopped the tail end of what looks to be an internal trigger meant to erase the USB key. It was just about done when the double agent dumped it, but wasn't quite done yet. Unfortunately, that execution code is all that's left.

As Ulysses shows them what he's found, the older man furrows his brow. And he looks between them. Daisy's bracelet makes it hard for her to do anything directly, but…

"What kind of access what I have to give you, Ulysses, for you to be able to try digging around in the internal server to see what the Hell this thing did?"

And, a baffled question for them both.

"For that matter, what could be done in that tiny amount of time?"

"Someone gave this code an extra shot of espresso, alright," Daisy softly agrees with Ulysses' assessment. "Quite the lively little guy." Then to Coulson's promise she simply holds a single thumb up in his direction without looking away from the screen.

Before their hour is up her furious poking at the keys starts to wind down. She isn't looking terribly thrilled. "Got a ..bit of a setback here..AC."

Daisy leans away from the screen and looks back to Coulson. "The forty percent corruption, that's just physical. Nothing's coming back from those sectors. While the rest of the sectors are -technically- intact, they've been scrubbed clean. Like..totally clean. There's nothing left to recover."

"Your friend's stunt with the drink might have shorted out its last virtual keystroke before it had the chance to write itself out of existence. All that's left is the kill command. I could try to dig into it further but that's going to take more time. If we're lucky there'll be some evidence of a 'maker's mark' in there, something that could be traced. Though whoever wrote this program? They knew what they were doing. Very specific, very targeted, and very efficient code. We're fortunate to have this much left over," she suggests with a partial shrug and a somewhat helpless expression. "In a short amount of time, I'm willing to bet that it could have done way more than you'd be happy with."

With her assessment out of the way she just can't help but lean over and check out the rest of Ulysses' work. "How's it lookin,' big guy?"

"It's a stretch, but who knows," Ulysses nods, glancing over at Daisy. "I mean, even the kill command could have a certain coding profile to it. Like you said, a maker's mark, or some kind of signature. If it's a custom job then someone's bound to drop some credit for themselves. Programmers are full of themselves like that. …not…that I would know."

Taking a break from staring at the screen once he's delivered his initial findings, Ulysses slips his glasses off to rub at his eyes. He rolls his neck and then his shoulders back before stretching out his arms and shaking out his hands. Then he folds his arms in front of his chest, looking at the screen captures on the fresh laptop along with Coulson.

"Honestly Phil, I'd assume that it'd have to be some pretty high clearance. Not that I've ever dreamed of trying to snoop around SHIELD's server…well okay that's a tiny lie but I've never done anything of that sort because why would I- but all things considered and in the time it took to do…whatever it is it wanted to do? Easier to shoot high and make a drop off than start at the bottom and bounce around for angles- and that's only if nothing else was preset or if they knew what they could use to piggyback into whatever they wanted to get into." He sighs, fingering his chin.

"In regards to time, I dunno. It's not actually all that short an amount of time depending on how you look at it. Think of animation- you have to do twenty-four images to make up one second of movement. Here we're dealing with numbers and computer processing- and with SHIELD's system and hardware? Topspeed, easy information transfer." Pause. "Actually it's kind of scary to consider what could be done in a few minutes."

"Finding a maker's mark would be fantastic," Phil says, looking over to Daisy. "Just remember not to go looking while logged on at SHIELD. For one thing, I'm going to have one more bit of subterfuge for you two to pull off, and that thumb drive resurfacing ever again where SHIELD or anyone else can see it or find it would undermine it and put an agent's life at risk."

But Ulysses' words are not at all good news. Something grim settles into the lines of his mouth and jaw, and he nods. Then he reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a microUSB. He holds it out to Ulysses. "Misuse this and I will have to shoot you," he says, with no hint of any of his customary humor. "But if you put it into a burner phone it should give you the access codes you need. If Level 8 access isn't high enough to do what you need to do, let me know."

He checks his watch, far too aware of time ticking away. And brings out a second, water logged thumb drive. "Trade," he says simply, to Daisy. "You are the brilliant hacker who Ulysses, the senior agent here, assigned to figure out the contents of the thumb drive. You are also the brilliant hacker who managed to reconstruct, despite heavy damage, the simply hilarious jib-jab video of my face on a dancing elf. I would like very much for you to show it all around the building, and snicker at it at length."

He looks between the two of them and says, "I am putting a lot of faith in you both. A lot of trust. Many good people could die if this trust is misplaced. Please don't let me down."

With this realization Daisy sloooowly looks back to the somewhat drowned USB stick hanging off of the side of her shiny new laptop. To think that someone's very life is attached to that sad little piece of storage device… It serves as a reality check, she's not poking around for bank records or personal memos here. This is a whole new level of hackery.

At the go-ahead to dig further she absently nods but is somewhat distracted by what is being handed over to Ulysses soon after. Her jaw about hits the floor. "Level -eight?-" she repeats with eyes gone wide. She's been around juuust long enough to get an inkling of how Freaking Big of a matter this is!

With the associated threat she's also feeling quite relieved that the pressure isn't on -her- shoulders. Because Yikes.

Back to her end of the ordeal, "Yah..sure, I can keep working on it but all of this limited access dancing is going to slow me down." Just in case he might be able to do something about that bracelet of hers… Maybe? Hopeful eyes.

At the next order given she pops the one drive out and passes it back to Phil, taking the next one and plugging it in without another thought. It comes with a thin smirk. "Ridiculous dancing elf, annoying the hell out of other Agents. Check."

Oh, and that one agent's life being on the line? Multiply that a couple of times. The weight of this mission is real and Daisy's amusement quickly vacates the area. Unsure of what to say in a situation like this, she once more nods in silence.

Even after making his very vague but no less concerning surmise of the potential damage done by the brief mystery code, Ulysses is still trying to think of a more specific angle. It's really too broad a scope to consider. He has no idea where the drive came from, but then he supposes that's part of why they needed to figure out what had been done. Working backwards to uncover reasons…

Ulysses looks at Coulson, extracting a hand from its folded position to take the microUSB out of reflex as it's offered.

"Misuse this and I will have to shoot you."

There's an audible gulp from the agent, his finger and thumb secured around the tiny drive but not yet withdrawing with it as he meets Coulson's gaze. His eyes go slightly wide at the level clearance Coulson is pretty much handing over to him, nearly dropping the microUSB as though just realizing the figurative weight he's to carry. Concentrating on keeping his hand from shaking, he makes it to his blazer's inner pocket, slipping the thing into a more secure place of holding than his fingers.

As Coulson gives Daisy her charge Ulysses arches a brow but nods and suddenly decides that he'd rather be poking around high security than the more direct subterfuge that the new recruit's been given. It's definitely not his style anyway, and she's the lesser known.

With their tasks assigned, he sucks in a slow breath as Coulson, while not in great detail, still manages to translate the direness of the situation that they're involved in. His expression wavers, not quite a smile, but something understandably concerned.

"No pressure," he mutters, but he meets the senior agent's eye again, nodding once.

"Agent Shepherd put that thing on your wrist," Phil says regretfully. "He outranks me, so there's not much I can do. I'd take it off right now if I could, Daisy. I don't agree with the move. But it's not my call."

Something flickers across his face. Something that seems to be on the tip of his tongue, but which isn't allowed out into the open air.

And at last he says, "If you want my professional advice on getting it removed sooner? Don't ever volunteer any information you don't have to. God knows how a member of the old guard like him will read it, or take it. The last thing you want to do is ramp up his paranoia."

Ulysses gives his little mutter, and he quirks a half a smile. It's little more than the barest twitch of his lips. And though the twinkle in his eye is muted, it's nevertheless there.

"Not really a glorified office job after all, is it?"

He gestures for them to get packed up. "Let's go eat. There's still time."

And then, suddenly, he lets out a laugh. It's really little more than a soundless chuff of air, but— like the muted twinkle— it is there.

"Taco Thursday. It's almost as good as Taco Tuesday, right?"

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