Cross Reference
Roleplaying Log: Cross Reference
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Daisy's got codework that Ulysses needs, and both have secrets neither wants.

Other Characters Referenced: Phil Coulson
IC Date: March 08, 2019
IC Location: Triskelion
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 09 Mar 2019 05:23
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The situation has been getting tense around the Triskelion lately, though not all of it has to do with the impending Registration ordeal. There's always something to be nervous about, something to try and keep a secret. Trying to keep secrets in a major spy organization is a full time job. For the less experienced it can also lead to the addition of undesired tells.

Daisy is still around the Trisket. She's been getting some training, she's still wearing the gauntlets which keep her powers subdued, and she's still spending plenty of time at a desk staring at a screen in one of the labs. What differs is that in the last few days she's become quite withdrawn. More so than usual.

Some food had been brought in at some point but it appears to have been mostly forgotten about as she distractedly pokes at the keyboard and digs into whatever it is that she's been tasked with tonight.


Keeping secrets in S.H.I.E.L.D.? One would have thought that was practically expected in a place like this. Keeping secrets from S.H.I.E.L.D. while still working in it? Sure, it's not something Ulysses had ever thought impossible, but he'd also never thought that he'd be one of those doing so.

Much of his routine involves sitting at his desk in front of a computer, which isn't really the problem until he's actually got to move away from it to do something or find someone. He can't cheat and use his drone, leaning on the excuse of running simulations like he did the other day, not with people possibly well aware of a fresh 'warning' from Phil Coulson about it. Eh well. People say exercise is good for you.

He realizes how sad a thing it is when you don't know where people are located in work, even when they might have the same skillset as you. His first guess is a cubicle or something, so he tries not to look too lost as he goes wandering in his search for Daisy Johnson, an empty mug held in hand almost absently as he figures he may as well grab a refill of coffee from the breakroom while he's up.


Coffee. Caffeine, specifically. One of the universe's unifying elements. Staring at a screen all day does get tiring and there's a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of screen-staring around this place. The coffee's been good. The tea's been good.

And Daisy is fresh out of both.

This discovery along with an ornery sound of resignation is all that it takes for the hackerette to log out and secure the terminal, tossing the empty cup into the garbage on her quest for additional refreshment. Caffeine breaks transcend all known barriers.

While it might be possible to use a terminal to locate another terminal via login information, such an attempt might also be logged. It's nicer for everyone involved when it sort of happens on its own, as if such a meeting is destined to occur. Sometimes? The stars do align.

As Daisy steps into the breakroom she comes to an abrupt stop and does a double-take seeing Ulysses already there. Had..had he planned this somehow..? They haven't spoken much but he's one of a very few familiar faces to her in the entire building.

Besides, she has her reasons for increased levels of paranoia.

"Hey there, stranger…"


If only he were so good at planning. Ulysses pulls a double-take of his own when he sees who steps in, and he pauses in his coffee pouring to avoid a potential mess, not to mention burned fingers.

"Hey yourself," he replies, his smile cringing slightly at the edges at how cheesy that sounded to him, but he shrugs it off and resumes filling his cup.

Well, this certainly makes things easier for him. Now he just has to figure out how to work his way into the subject he wants to bring up without directly bringing it up. Setting the pot back into place, he walks his mug over to where the cream and sugar is kept, adding a dollop of the former and ripping open several packs at once of the latter.

"So um. How's life?"

Good start. Solid.


Daisy is definitely going with the tea this time, if for no other reason than to seem like she isn't copying Ulysses in everything that he's doing. A mug from here, hot water from there, now where did they hide the — there they are. Stay focused. Stay on point. Just —

Question.

Daisy hesitates just long enough for the moment to feel awkward while figuring out what the heck to say. "Been interesting," she admits in a similarly lame attempt at conversation.

Immediately afterward her expression sort of lights up as if her finding something of interest to share is suddenly the highlight of her year. "Oh, I'm being transferred. In..in a sense…I'll still be working here, just…under Coulson." Whom she hasn't actually heard from yet. "He's probably still picking apart my file," she sheepishly adds. "Kind of …a lot… to look through," is also admitted with a slight scrunching of her face.

Too much talking about herself, however! Turning back to Ulysses, she asks "How about you, settling in with the Division alright?"


Oh. Well at least Ulysses doesn't have to feel bad at being awkward at conversation, not alone, anyway. He nods as he stirs his sugary concoction.

"Good. Maybe. I mean, I guess. Interesting's…interesting."

Thankfully Daisy's following up before he can dig his awkward hole any further. "Transferred? Oh yeah? Hey, that's great," he says, smiling like he means it because he does. Even with the name drop, the oh-so-familiar-by-now name drop, more familiar than he'd ever think it to be — okay stop it already. "Sounds good. Hope it works out. Ah…he actually just got back in from a field mission or something, this week, so I'd give it some time."

This is Ulysses trying to be reassuring. Is it working?

Oh no, his turn.

"Settling? Oh, yeah, yeah. Thing's have been great. Or as great as can be. I mean, it's hectic, 'specially with things that're supposed to happen this month and all…" He lifts his coffee for a sip. Ah, just right.


Oh! Coulson was out on assignment? That's strangely reassuring for Daisy as it means that he hasn't yet had a chance to dig into that giant folder that is her entire life's history. She gets really cranky when anyone else starts rooting around in there. Frankly it makes her really cranky knowing that it exists at all. So, that's a little something.

"Yah, that…" she meekly adds in regarding things happening this month. Her arms fold together while she hovers around the steaming mug of tea, not willing to let it out of her sight but also not willing to pick it up and carry it with her yet.

"Hey, uh…" she starts in with a quick glance around the room and a lowering of her voice. "We never really talked about this, but, are you — if it's okay to ask, I know it's like super personal, but… Does the Registration thing ..y'know. Affect you?"

Short version: Are you a meta?


It's one of those topics that one can't quite avoid and yet it's just always floating around within reach these days. Ulysses hated bringing it up but it always wanted to be the topic of discussion every chance it got. And considering where they work? Not something so easily avoided.

He arches a brow at Daisy as she works around the question she means to ask, sipping at his coffee. It's an easy question to answer, but at the same time it seems complicated. Probably if you let yourself think about it too much, he figures.

"Not directly?" he replies, lowering his mug. "I mean, let's be real. It's probably going to be a mess for everyone once it does finally get kicked into gear."


"Thaaaat is the understatement of the year," Daisy mutters while looking down at the counter. "At least you won't have to go through the process, yourself."

It isn't the subject itself which had caused her to ask. She was fishing, wondering if maybe they might share something else in common aside from what could very well be an unhealthy attraction to digital code.

At least they'd both be working for the same guy, maybe? If being honest with herself that time they all went out for 'lunch' had been pretty darned fun. Rather than admit to any of this she turns her downcast stare back to the tea, as if willing it to hurry up and be ready.

Oh screw it, she can take it with her. Arms finally unfold and seek out the mug like a pair of guided rockets. "I should probably … It was good catching up," is decided with a glance to Ulysses and a slight nod. If only she knew that there was more he wanted to talk about! When it comes to revealing big secrets she's so not volunteering to go first.


Ulysses winces at that. He'd more or less heard some things concerning how Daisy had been brought to the fold, so to speak, but he certainly can't blame her for that sort of sentiment.

And so the conversation kind of hits a wall, although even as he seems to be standing there more or less placidly, he's internally grasping about for some kind of a thing to say. But all the things he might have to say that would be somewhat related are all things he can't tell anyone. It's not that he doesn't trust Daisy, but right now, he'd rather not pull her into…whatever he's gotten double-pulled into with Coulson.

But he does still need to say something

"Huh??"

He almost sounds startled, but then he kind of is, right out of his thoughts when Daisy announces then that she's going to take her leave. And why shouldn't she? It's a breakroom, not a conference room. "Ah…" he starts, willing words to come out and only finding filler. "-I have a thing, a favor, I need to ask yoooou." Yes, good. Okay. Go on. Don't be suspicious!

"You know the little…" He holds up his free hand pinching his thumb and pointer finger together with juust enough space between them that might equal the rough size of a thumbdrive. "Ahem. I'm doing some codey things and was wondering iiiif you could give me a copy."

Probably not of the dancing elf.


So close, and yet so far! These two may not make Spy of the Year anytime soon but Ulysses does manage to halt the retreating Daisy before she makes it to the door. Though while she does stop hurrying 'back to work' she doesn't exactly turn around to look back to the other hacker in the same motion. That takes her a little longer. Hopefully he won't see the look of dread flickering across her face before then.

When she does turn around she's all bright-eyed and attention-focused to the point of the expression being comical.

"The— Yah! That…thing," she quickly stumbles to finish his sentence. "Ah…" Just a copy, right? Juuuust a copy. She's already verified that there's no identifying code in there, no damning evidence which could cause everything to go way out of order. Just a copy of —

"How..did you know I had finished reconstructing it..?" she suddenly presses with a suspicious narrowing of her eyes.

The poor girl doesn't even stop to consider that he might not have any clue at all. He's probably asking for a copy of the fragmented version which had originally been given to her.

Oops?


As it seems Daisy latches on to what he's asking for Ulysses laughs, grinning in a completely casual manner (meaning not really) as he nods.

And then he blinks, his awkward smile frozen on his face as though she'd just hit the pause button at a bad time. He opens his mouth in the beginnings of a question that he hasn't completely formed in his mind as he furiously processes what she'd just asked, shaking his head. In that moment Daisy might realize instantly that he absolutely had no idea, even before he confirms (?) it with words.

"How who what now…?"

Did he hear right? He hopes he had. This just…it will make things a zillion times easier for him except not really but kind of.

"Ohhhh my gosh, did you- did you actually?"


Daisy's suspicion sloooowly melts away into what can best be described as a wince. "He didn't know about that, Skye," she mutters to herself right through her teeth while looking at Ulysses. She must be super off of her game to have slipped so epically!

"Ah..well..I meant to say that…" she bites off her words while ducking her head and scratching at the back of her neck. "In order to figure out all of the..and what it was trying to..I might have filled in a couple of blanks here and there," comes her trainwreck of a conclusion.

Just don't ask how she was so familiar with the program. Please don't ask that…

With a rather polite clearing of the throat and a desperate attempt to regain lost composure, she smiles a teensy bit and regains proper eye contact while asking, perfectly nonchalantly, "What do you need it for?"


"That's great..! Even better, that- Not to say that I am lazy or anything, but it does save me some effort," Ulysses rambles, seeming to at least be mindful enough to try keeping his voice down. "Did you find anything interesting? Should I even be asking? I am terrible at this," he continues, smiling all the while before he stops and runs his hand over his face.

Clearing his throat, he holds up a finger for a moment as he drinks his coffee, which at this point he figures he may as well finish as much as he can so he can refill before the trek back to the desk.

What does he need it for. Of course she'd ask him, so of course he'd prepared to answer that. Mostly. It sounded better rehearsing to himself. In his head.

"Reference. Cross…reference," he explains through his teeth, halfway between a cringe as that was super-truncated from whatever cool response he'd originally had in mind but all things considered, Daisy at least would probably know what he was talking about, since, you know, no one else was supposed to.


"Yah probably not," comes Daisy's quick response to 'should I even be asking.' Though she does offer "Nothing quite like what I had been looking for," as it can be said without her having to lie any. It's true! What she had been originally searching for wasn't to be found anywhere within the code. Rewriting lost parts of it hasn't changed that fact.

Cross reference… Yeah. You know what, she's going to go with that because seeing Ulysses get similarly awkward about the ordeal also serves as a reminder that he also cannot openly discuss the subject at hand.

"How does anyone get anything done around here, right?" she asks out of the blue with a cheesy looking smile.

"So..crazy idea. How about..if I bring a copy back to you..and we can collaborate on this a little? I know how the program works and you know what you're looking for, we're basically our own specialists here."

Coulson did have them working on it side by side before. Why couldn't it happen again?


He's so glad that he doesn't have to try explaining further. This is like playing charades or any number of those party games where one person has to guess the answer that everyone else seems to know.

…he hates those games.

"Right? It's ridiculous," Ulysses blurts, on cue, no less awkward, matching cheesy smile for cheesy smile. He's terribly good at those.

His mouth opens again, even before she gets past 'crazy idea', but he refrains from saying anything as she continues with her thought. "Collaborate, huh?" he finally says, as though buffering had finally finished and let the audio catch up with the rest of things. "Yeah, that's—"

A terrible, terrible idea.

"—a great idea, sure..!" he says, inwardly feeling like his mouth's betrayed him but wondering that some additional incite might not be a bad thing. And so long as he doesn't let Daisy know what he's really going to do with that codework, they'll still be getting work done on both ends. Yes. Excellent. This'll work. This can in no way go horribly, horribly wrong, only that it has and not in the way anyone wants to acknowledge.


Pause for one second..two seconds.."Great!" Daisy mirrors Uly's response with what could be taken as enthusiasm showing bright and clear upon her features.

"Sooo…" Another pause, a shake of head and rolling of shoulders. "Where should I find you? Coulson doesn't have you coding in the basement, does he?" she teases without having the slightest idea what might really be happening in the basement of the Triskelion. Or if it has a basement. Surely it has a basement! That's like the best place to hide things in a building!

Then she remembers something else. The reconstruction is effectively done. She had already cleared out all of the sensitive data trails from the terminal. The only copy of that program hasn't left her person ever since.

"You know what… I'm an idiot," is claimed with a rolling of large, dark eyes. "I've already got it right here. So." Wide gesture with arm toward door. "Lead on?"

Maybe by working together she can find some way to salvage her own side of this mess before Coulson gets back into the thick of things. It's not like she has anything more to lose…


"…you know what, I don't even think I know what's in the basement, let alone been there," Ulysses laughs. He might have. Maybe even by accident and not been aware of it. Sometimes the place is like one big maze.

He's saved the trouble of describing the route to his desk when Daisy remembers that she's got the item in question on her. "Oh. Well then. Right this way," he says before halting after one step. "Actually hang on a sec—"

Because yes he's topping off his coffee and adding more cream and sugar as appropriate. "Okay, now we can right this way."

If he'd known her train of thought then he might've laughed. It would have been a sad, 'we're all gonna die' laugh. Because so far as he's concerned? They're already in the thick of things.


Sometime in the future this scene may well be recreated on Seconds from Disaster. At least their jobs are exciting! As Ulysses tops off his coffee Daisy removes the tea bag from her mug and drops it into the garbage. Then it's off to quite possibly breaking one or more laws together right inside the belly of the proverbial beast.

Never mind that Daisy is about to hand Ulysses a copy of a program which is built to do some very, very bad things and they may well be executing it right inside of SHIELD's headquarters. But Uly needs it for something, doesn't he? 'Cross-reference.' Seems legit.

While they're heading to Uly's workstation she has some time to do a little 'interrogating' of her own. Keeping her voice pitched low between the two, "So you know what's new on my end. Did you find anything interesting-slash-useful on yours? Whatever had been targeted by it must have been really important."

If Ulysses wants to work with this program he's going to have to jump through some more hoops.


Truth be told, he'll probably be doing something people might consider very, very bad in its own right, but only to certain people. Certain people who unfortunately might happen to run this place.

Ulysses sweeps through the halls and the mini-maze of cubicles easily, because if it's one place he's come to learn how to get around, it's from his desk to the breakroom and back. He can do it in his sleep. Unless the mail's coming through, then it'd get messy.

"Huh? Oh, well…" Yeah, he figured this'd be a bit of give and take. Ugh. "It had to be a pretty subtle piece of work. I mean, no one else caught anything, and whatever it was targeting had to be something in a way that wouldn't draw attention."


Finding the break room is often easier than finding one's way back to their desk. Uly here's got it worked down to perfection. This is all fine and good with Daisy, the sooner they get back to his station the sooner they can get this done with and part ways before anyone starts asking questions.

"Subtle enough that I didn't see anything in the executable regarding key words or phrases. It must have relied on some other reference point. Or..or maybe I missed something during the rebuild."

Once they do make it back to his station Daisy casually sets the USB drive on the desk beside the keyboard then drifts back half of a step to take a sip of tea.

"Just..be really certain that your OS isn't configured to autorun or we're going to have a serious crisis on our hands," she mutters to Ulysses. "Full quarantine if you can. It's a lively one, alright."

And she is not wanting to be in any way responsible if it gets loose across the servers here!


It's a good thing Ulysses is leading the way, his back to Daisy as his nose wrinkles slightly at the mention of keywords and phrases. "Huh. Maybe. That's interesting. Whoever coded this thing is good."

Meaning that recoding this sucker isn't going to be so simple as replacing a few commands. He's just glad that he hadn't gotten his hopes up.

Once at his desk he sets his coffee down and opens a side drawer, pulling out a slim laptop. He smiles at Daisy, holding it up as he points out the disabled wireless and bluetooth lights once it's booted up.

"Noted," he says as he settles into his chair and reaches over for the drive to pop it in. "I've got it configured so that it should open up any windows if something tries to run."


"Perfect," Daisy says with a slight grin upon seeing an isolated machine to plug the drive into. "Normally it would have started running as soon as it was plugged in but I've disabled that command, should make it a little easier to work with."

If Ulysses feels like there's eyes looking over his shoulder then he wouldn't be mistaken. Daisy is both very curious about what he's aiming to do here and equally very curious about what he had found ever since they had each been given their designated tasks several weeks ago. If she can learn anything at all then this experiment may well be worth the risk.

At least that's what she's hoping for. On the upside the program won't brick his device. It shouldn't even erase itself since it cannot first access the network to copy what it's meant to locate.


"Nice. Anything to make my work easier," Ulysses grins, glancing over his shoulder at her. He's not too surprised to find her watching, which is just as well he only means to copy the thing over for the time being. This doesn't look like something he'd be wanting to delve into right now anyway. It's going to take time, and he'd rather familiarize himself with the lines of code before then.

"All right, let's just…"

With the run commands disabled, he doesn't have to deal with extra windows as he goes right over to the one containing the program executor. He pulls up a folder, names it 'NAUGHTY' and copies the thing on over. "How long did it take you to patch it back together? And you still said there wasn't any mark, right? Unless it's something less obvious. Oooor the code itself?" As things copy over, Ulysses drums his fingers on the desk thoughtfully.


..Setback. Daisy had been hoping that Ulysses was going to poke at the drive some then hand it back to her, not make a copy of the program. Now it's lurking in two locations, one of which she does not have easy access to.

Although if she pays attention she can remember where his workstation is, and she watched him pull out the laptop… Worst case scenario she -should- be able to come back here and find it.

Wow. Paranoid much?

To cover any such worries she smirks and teases "Subtle" at the directory name. As for how long? "I've been picking at it ever since we got back." From lunch, what feels like it had been ages ago to her.

"No," she shakes her head, "nothing obvious. Whoever wrote it either didn't have a very healthy ego or..knew better than to be so blatant about it." But the code itself being something of a mark, that…

That hits uncomfortably close to home.

"Huuuh," comes a somewhat cautious response. "That's..an interesting theory. But then to get a proper ID we'd have to find something else they had created, break them both down and start comparing them line by line."

Sure they have access to programs which would run the comparison for them within minutes but she's still hoping that it'll seem like more trouble than it'd be worth.


Ulysses isn't paying much attention to Daisy as he watches the file progress before closing windows up and popping the drive free. He holds it out to her from over his shoulder.

"Hey, it's for my reference," he snorts when she teases him at the name. He's not throwing this bad boy on S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment. Which…might have Daisy have to rethink her options if she tries looking for the laptop. Ulysses sure isn't going to try doing any heavy recoding here.

He opens up another window to show the codework he'd just copied over, fingering his chin as his eyes gloss over the lines.

"Yeah, that'd be the problem. Of course with the equipment SHIELD has, it'd still be doable, and if they have a will, they definitely have a way…" he mutters, somewhat distracted as he skims the program code.

"Wouldn't be surprised if Agent Coulson suggested going for it, once you give him an update on things."


Ulysses wouldn't always have this device with him, would he? He'd leave it behind in this drawer when he goes for coffee, wouldn't he? Grasping at straws, maybe, but Daisy knows a little something about this project which has her feeling mighty protective over where it goes and what it does.

If she had to get into a hack throwdown with Uly over it at some point then that's exactly what she would do. For now she takes the drive back and slips it into a pocket.

"No doubt," is agreed in a low tone. And she just rebuilt the program which would make any such searches be infinitely more effectiiive…

Ah, frack.

"Coulson and I will definitely have some things to talk about," Daisy mutters with what might be a hint of dread. "Good luck with your cross-referencing. I should go."


Maybe he's not as paranoid as he should be to think that Daisy of all people is considering how to sneak for his extra laptop. Well, it'll be one more thing to learn if that happens~

Ulysses finally breaks his stare from the screen to look back at Daisy as she suggests being on her way. "Oh, yeah. Definitely know how that is." His half smile is hardly convincing, if it can even be called a smile. "Thanks," he nods, offering her a two-fingered salute before turning back to the computers, muttering under his breath.

"I'm sooo going to need it."

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