Stingray
Roleplaying Log: Stingray
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Daisy Johnson touches base with Coulson at last. Talk about getting off the bench…

Other Characters Referenced: Ulysses Arngrim, Peggy Carter, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Sloane Albright, Carol Danvers
IC Date: March 15, 2019
IC Location: An Aquarium Somewhere in NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Mar 2019 03:15
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Coulson has been back for a little over a week. Has he reviewed the folder? Tough to tell.

Indeed, she gets no news on whether her transfer has been accepted, no information at all. The gears of bureacracy grind ever onward at SHIELD, and the crises level never stops. Hurry up and wait is pretty par for the course.

But the wait comes to an end, and it happens abruptly. Phil Coulson rounds a corner, looking like a rumpled yet lantern-jawed accountant about to go to war, and possibly win it, armed only with the briefcase in his hand. He walks down the line of cubicles, doesn't even stop, just says, "Miss Johnson, you're with me," on his way down the hallway, and keeps right on going with every expectation she'll be following.

Shades of the very first time they met, in fact.

As is the oddity, because apparently he's…taking her to the aquarium? He drops his entire briefcase into a locker at a 24-hour gym next door to said aquarium, and with a few flicks of his fingers directs her to do the same, saying, "Cellphones, everything," in a low murmur, leaving Lola wedged into two hour parking beside both. At least she got to ride in Lola again? This time, though, he kept it to the ground.

Not much to be done about the bracelet, at least not yet, but at least it's not a listening device. And it would be hard for anyone to do any of that in the tunnel he chooses, which puts a thin barrier of glass around a rush of water, 360 degrees of fish zooming by beneath their feet, over their heads, to and fro side-to-side. And he apparently called in a favor, because aquarium staff closes off this particular exhibit not five minutes later, and nobody chases them out of there.

Then he gives her a slightly tired, avuncular smile. He taps the glass lightly as a particular variety swims by. "I've always liked stingrays," he comments. "They're pretty gentle. People tend to forget they're related to sharks. They're happy to eat mollusks, clams, though I guess a few like to ambush smaller fish. Still, for the most part, other than needing to eat? They don't tend to mess with anybody until something messes with them first. But if something does? That's when they let whatever it is know hey, this ray thing I'm named for? Not really just here for show."

Whether this is Phil Coulson's Mr.Magoo-like stab at small talk or some sort of oblique metaphor he's spinning is absolutely impossible to tell. It's possible he just saw the stingray and decided it was worthy of comment. Face, voice, they give nothing away. It's all mild mannered courtesy, really, less outwardly driven than the first day he showed up, collected her, and drove her off someplace weird.

* * *

Daisy had been expecting this moment for a couple of days now, though she had envisioned it playing out much differently. A call down to Coulson's office. An email, maybe. Something a little more..oh..formal? This only serves to prove once again that there's a lot left for her to learn about how these people get down to business.

It's all she can do to look up and realize that Coulson is speaking to her, something which immediately triggers a flurry of motions in logging out of her terminal and getting back onto her feet. There's some catching up involved. (Well hello to you, too. It's good to see you again. I've been fine, thanks.)

There is a lot of familiarity here compared to their first meeting. At the instruction her mouth opens then closes without a sound, a little blank in expression while she removes anything even remotely sensitive to put away into storage. Something that Carter had told her a short while back comes into focus. Something to the effect of 'Coulson' and 'rules' and the complete lack of following them.

On one hand, she's gotta hand it to the guy. The fishbowl is -way- cooler than any office the Triskelion has to offer. It's their second time out together and he continues to deliver. Not to mention she is -outside of the Triskelion.- Hopefully this outing goes better than her last solo run, she's sporting a pretty obvious gash on the left side of her forehead.

Then he's talking about stingrays. Well..alright. Here Daisy smirks and passes the man a sidelong glance. "Well of course you do, 'stingray' and 'Corvette' kinda go hand in hand," she teases. They are pretty adorable creatures, too. This thought she keeps to herself, more focused on listening. He brought her all the way out here for a reason…

A reason which he is still keeping close to the vest. Alright, she'll try taking the next step. "I take it you got my request for a transfer?" She pauses and looks around the room, even gesturing outward with her hands. "This is a good sign..right?"

* * *

"I did," Coulson says, still watching the fish. He clasps his hands behind his back.

"You ought to know I didn't read most of that massive folder. I like to get to know people the old fashioned way. By getting to know them. And perhaps by hearing here and there about things they've done. I care what you can do, so I read that part, and then I tossed it in an unmarked white filebox where I toss everything else I'd like to gather dust. What other people write about us isn't who we are. I've never put much stock in the dossier theory unless I'm reading up on someone I want to shoot."

He looks at her at last, and says, "But there are a few things I know about you, via the old fashioned way. And it's important that we discuss them."

Back to the fish, adding, "You're already on my team. I've accepted your transfer. So before we get deep into any kind of conversation, I'd like to know if there's anything you'd like to tell me."

* * *

"That's..really kind of a relief," Daisy admits with a clear look of relief. It is a lot to read and a lot of it is quite dull. "Honestly, I think having a second chance is something that I could use."

Hearing all of this from Coulson also has her in a better mindset overall. Like maybe this had been the right call. A chance worth taking. Hopefully..an opportunity to move ahead.

Though somehow she had a feeling that it was going to take a turn. And it does. Removing all of their electronics save for her gauntlets, the secluded environment, the fact that she hasn't seen another person in a while now…

When she looks back to Phil there's a heavy weight in her eyes. The look of someone who had just committed some horrible act, such as wrapping Lola around a tree because she had a little too much fun doing burnouts.

Frankly she should be thanking him for giving her this opportunity. It's been weighing heavily on her mind for over a week. Maybe she hasn't agreed with every decision SHIELD has made on her behalf but they -did- take her in despite all of that colorful and unpleasant history. Daisy isn't going to get another chance like this to come clean.

"When you first pulled me out of the lab you had placed a lot of trust in me without knowing who I was. I think..it's my turn to do the same."

Her arms fold together in a defensive posture as she looks back to the fish swimming past them both. It's a curious reminder. It had been a fish-like meta whom had led her to this moment.

"The program you had me investigating on that USB drive… That was one of mine. I wrote the code."

Her jawline tightens, suddenly feeling the need to suppress a surge of emotions which seem like equal parts hopelessness and regret. "I -didn't- know he was going to use it to attack SHIELD. It's a common practice on the dark web, specialized programs for payment. Happens all the time."

* * *

"I believe you," Coulson says. "And I appreciate your honesty."

Now he turns to look at her fully. "You weren't a member of SHIELD at that point, and frankly you've been treated abominably here from Day 1, so I can't say I'd have blamed you if you had known. And I'm going to do something about that," he tips a finger at that bracelet of hers, "in just a minute. But…to me the fact that you programmed it is actually almost serendipitous. It's not clear to me whether it was meant to mine data or to plant data that wasn't there before. And I really need to know which it was. And…I need to know everything you do know about the buyer."

* * *

Daisy hangs her head and blinks a few times before turning her focus back to Coulson, along with the addition of surprise in her demeanor. That's..getting off SUPER freaking light, right here. Sympathy is the last feeling she would have expected to see from the man! And regarding the bracelet, now built into the inhibitor gauntlets since the last tracker kinda sorta got fried during an 'accident' with Agent Drew…

This is totally the right path for her to be on.

"I've rebuilt the program," is admitted next. "I have a copy. Ulyssus does, as well. He doesn't know I'm behind it, only that I filled in the gaps from what was left."

As for the buyer…

"Guy's name was 'Marshall.' Fancy dresser. British sounding accent. It's -extremely- unusual to do an in person transfer of the program. Normally this is all handled online, the most identification anyone gets is a fake IP address. He was looking around, asking for a specialized trojan virus. Most turned him down because of the code requirements, it needed to be run from a USB drive formatted specifically for it. But my rent was due, and…"

She's getting off target.

A long breath is drawn in and released. "This was ..months ago. He probably sat on it for a while before putting it to use. It's how I would have done it. We met at Central Park, I don't know if there'd be any evidence on camera somewhere. We were only there for a couple of minutes to make the exchange. I never saw him again."

* * *

Coulson grimaces faintly. "Damnit," he says. "I'd hoped he'd be a little less careful. A dim hope, that. He's ex-SHIELD, Daisy. His name is Benjamin Palmer and he's exceptionally dangerous. In fact? Whatever security measures you're taking to keep yourself safe in your off hours? Triple them. If he knows you're here he might decide you're a threat. Or he might decide he can exploit it in some way."

Still, in her surprise she's gotten off tangent. "You rebuilt the program, and that might come in handy," he agrees. "But I really need to know whether it was supposed to mine the data or plant new data that wasn't there before. It's vital to knowing what to do next, Daisy. To trying to piece together his ultimate aim. Whatever his plan is, it's been twenty years in the making and we're all behind the eight ball."

Still, he gestures for her to hold out the gauntlet with the problematic bracelet part, even as he takes a small device out of his pocket that didn't go into the briefcase and the attending locker. But it doesn't seem to have any wireless communication component, which may be why. Indeed, it looks like he's about to plug up the two devices via a USB cable instead.

* * *

That last deep breath isn't going to cut it. Daisy closes her eyes and tries the exercise once more. "Sooo not what I needed to hear…" is darkly muttered. Her apartment isn't exactly brimming with security. She can't afford it! On top of that she hasn't been able to access any of her own techie toys in over a month. The list of unread emails is probably enough to choke half of the internet as she knows it.

-Twenty years- in the making?! So even if that whole 'power manifestation' thing hadn't kicked off and gotten her involved with SHIELD then she would have gotten caught up with them because of -this- mess.

"Are you familiar with the Rising Tide?" she asks out of the blue. "Short answer, the goal is to uncover the secrets others are trying to keep from the world and make them publically available. It's a data miner, and that's what I -thought- the program was going to be used for. Finding the truth, not ..all of this…"

At the gesture she holds out one of her arms, curious now as she watches what he's working with instead of keeping her eyes upon the aquatic life surrounding them both.

Something that Jen had told her the other day now comes to mind. "Is there..maybe..somewhere I could stay at the Triskelion? Until this whole matter is taken care of?"

* * *

"The last place you want to stay is at the Triskelion," Coulson says grimly, even as he plugs the little USB in. He starts typing into the device, a quick hunt-n-peck which has more to do with the size of the thing than anything else. Coulson can likely type as fast as the next guy, but his texting speed has got to be awful. Any younger man would use thumbs. Still, he executes three or four commands with what look like access codes, altering things within that bracelet's parameters. "I'll get you set up with a safehouse. One of my personal ones."

The device beeps, and he says, "There. If someone checks your bracelet it will seem to be functioning the way Shepherd wanted it to. But you shouldn't set off any device that isn't classifed at SHIELD level 7 or above. You should be able to use any other electronic device with ease now, and you'll have a lot more freedom within SHIELD if you don't tip it off."

A pause. "It found the truth. I don't think telling the truth to the whole world in this case will do anything but set the world on fire, but it did find it. And I intend to do something about it found. I intend to break a whole lot of laws and rules doing it. And if you've reconstructed the program…that means you can get me everything Palmer's now got, instead of a bunch of vague fragments. Right?"

* * *

Well. Knowing that Daisy shouldn't stay at the Trisket makes a bad situation seem a whole lot worse. Even now that they're getting caught up with the situation, to think that their very headquarters is so unsafe? Unnerving, and then some. All she can do is nod at the offer of a safehouse, muttering a "Thanks."

This is feeling way too much like she had unknowingly planted a giant freaking bomb in the middle of the Triskelion. The fewer people who know she had -any- hand in this, the better.

Enter the silver lining. The adjustment to the tracker isn't what she's expecting but the results have her nearly elated. "Are you -serious?- Holy shit, Coulson… I—" Am being trusted a whole hell of a lot? "I won't be stupid about this." Play it safe. No more jumping back into hacking ATM's or anything.

The following admission has the hackerette feeling rather stunned. Have things gotten so bad that he feels the need to go that far off the rails to recover from it? While he speaks she's gnawing at the corner of a lip, though a confirming nod is given in regards to having rewritten the program. "I think so. If Palmer is ex-SHIELD then he might have the skills to have fine-tuned some of it. What I have should get us into the right ballpark at least."

"Listen, AC. I know there's a lot happening right now, you've got a ..-hell- of a lot to concentrate on, but aren't you at all curious why I wanted to be transferred?"

* * *

He blinks at her a few times as if this last question has thrown him for a bit of a loop. "Well, I am now," he admits. She is right in that he was concentrating on so many other things that a basic question like that hadn't really made it into his mind. It got buried somewhere beneath 'I'm contemplating treason' and 'stingrays,' apparently.

But now she has his full attention, intense hazel eyes studying her as his head cocks to one side, eyebrows lifted just so. Just a little. He's stopped everything else, pulled the little cord on his train of thought so he can focus here.

* * *

"Because Sloane told me that you were one of the good ones," Daisy announces. "She thought you could be trusted. So, wherever this hunt happens to take us? I'm with you."

* * *

He smiles, and it's almost a fond father's smile for Sloane. "Sloane is one of the good ones herself," he says. "But I've put her way off this for the time being. Carol's stupidity has her way too exposed, and she was never built for covert work." He wants that explained, because he's definitely throwing Daisy and Ulysses into the frying pan with him. And it doesn't seem fair to spare Sloane without explaining why.

He leans against the railing now, folding one arm over the other, a pose that is almost casual except that it seems like he can never quite get all the way there. He says: "I have Ulysses altering his copy of the program to erase all the data it was supposed to find. But some of it is locked behind an access firewall. Level 9 or above only. I intend first to find out what all the information is, then to find out where else it could be, then to have it erased, completely wiped out, from every source I can find. I intend to try to figure out how to steal Level 10 access so we can get at the rest of it. Because what that program found is absolutely abhorrent to me just from the scraps we do have, and unless what you find when you run the program again and get the whole picture for me is just chock full of mitigating facts, doing everything in our power to eliminate it is the only just action. And to figure out who will want to reconstruct what we've eliminated so we can shut them right down. Failing that, the fact that you might be able to get me all the unadulterated evidence gives us options if something goes wrong. So that is your first and most important assignment. The moment you have it, I want you to tell me so we can grab Ulysseys and go through it all together, to make absolutely sure we understand exactly what we're looking at. Then we finalize it."

A pause. "If you get into any trouble, if you start to think you're about to get burned beyond belief, go straight to Tony Stark. Tell him I sent you. He will protect you. I will speak to him so that he knows to let you right through the moment you show up. If anyone can do it, he can."

* * *

It's someone else Daisy had only met twice before, that meta named Sloane. Even stuck in a medical bed with some truly horrific injuries, all hopped up on meds, Daisy had a good feeling about her. Enough to have used SHIELD's digital resources to track her down and pay her a visit, right at an address which Stark himself seemed to have provided. It all led to this moment.

It's also why she had to tell Coulson the truth about the program's origins. Before any accusations could be made.

It isn't long before she's also hanging onto the railing, though in her case it's more for balance due to the string of information Coulson relays involving level -ten- measures. Uly's involved with the operation, that's good. He's an awkward sort but Daisy has worked well with him in the past. Knowing he's on the team is a bit comforting.

"When you say that you want to wipe out all of this data..are you also including the SHIELD server? Like 'nuke it from existence' sort of wipe?" Because that would be all sorts of drastic. If the suspect information is so powerful that Coulson doesn't trust SHIELD to have access to it…

..Okay, wait. Wait wait wait. Daisy is left staring at Phil for a while, right past the mention of none other than Tony Stark. "Am I hearing this right..?" she cautiously inquires. "Are you -seriously- wanting me to plug the drive into a terminal at the Triskelion and watch what it does? You DID say 'when I run the program again' and 'get the whole picture' in the same sentence back there, so just so we're both absolutely one hundred percent on the same page here…"

* * *

"Yes," Coulson says.

He looks at her and says, "When you wrote the program did you write it up as a data miner that let the user, Palmer, plug in what he wanted to find? Or did you give it the search terms? Because if you gave it the search terms, you ought to know very well why I think we need to nuke what it found from existence so nobody can use it. If you left it to him though…brace yourself, because I'm going to tell you what even the partial picture looks like."

He quirks a smile, faintly. "She told you I was one of the good ones. I guess you probably didn't know that might mean 'brace yourself, let's get on the wrong side of the law together.' But the wrong side of the law happens to be the right side of 'right,' so."

* * *

Daisy takes a moment to collect herself after that initial 'yes' from Coulson. It's followed with a breathless "Holy shit."

Then she's looking back at him. When she had been talking to Carter about wanting to do more than 'warm a bench' at the Trisket this isn't exactly what she had in mind! Next her head is shaking, "The framework had been built in that he could specify what to have it search for. I honestly don't know what was being targeted. Which..makes sense, the guy was SHIELD. He would cover his tracks better than most."

At the 'brace yourself' a spark of confidence returns to her dark eyes, enough that she breaks into a thin smirk. "If you had read even a -little- of that giant folder with my name printed on it you would know that being on the wrong side of the law is not exactly new territory for me. Granted this is, like, WAY bigger profile than anything I've done before, but the motions are basically the same." This is said with a partial shrug.

"Let's hear it, Coulson. Lay it on me." What is this huge terrible secret which they have to silence?

* * *

And for the second time in as many days, Coulson finds himself speaking these words.

"Palmer told it to look for evidence of certain kinds of research and tests on metahuman and mutant genetics. To see if anyone at SHIELD was trying to figure out how to edit out or overwrite the genes that make metahumanity possible. To turn them off. Or to use genetics to create target kill weapons. The fragmets Ulysses got back from me indicates there was evidence for him to find."

He grips the railing suddenly, his knuckles going white. "I want to double and triple check before I start doing crazy things on the assumption that some portion of SHIELD is gearing up for genocide. Is already performing tests. Especially since you've now given me the means to perform that check-up. But if they are? Destroying that data will set the research back, figuring out where else it's gone will do the same. It's not a permanent solution, but it will buy time to come up with one. Or to win our little internal war so that sane people have their hands on the wheel again."

* * *

It's something of a slow burn, this piece of information. It takes some time for Daisy's mind to correctly process each small piece of the story. Much like her rebuilding the code from scrap, certain gaps need to be filled in by the addition of new data.

Sloane leaving the Division.

The timing of the Registration act.

Peggy Carter showing a recent lack of trust in Coulson.

Daisy having given the labs everything they could possibly want about her.

Telling Jen that these people could be trusted when her fears had all been shockingly legitimate.

The possibility of SHIELD making metahumans into weapons, or..or outright -killing- them simply based upon their genetics.

"Oh my god" hardly sums it up sufficiently enough.

The call to triple check everything -before- making any major moves has Daisy absently nodding in total agreement. Once again Sloane's words play back through her mind: 'He's one of the good ones. Honestly, like -good.-' Hearing that this kind of information exists at all leaves a pit in her stomach, but hearing that he wants to eliminate any and every trace of it gives her some of that hope back.

"This is awful. We are so far beyond 'trainwreck' levels of awful." But the gears, they are a'turning. "Okay… Okay, I can run the program and watch what it does. Without having the pointer that Palmer used I won't have direct access to the same memory bank that he had accessed but it should narrow down the search. We'd either need to know exactly which 'key' he used to pinpoint the data and bypass the firewall, or..rely upon brute force methods to try and find it on our own."

She's not looking terribly hopeful with that second part.

* * *

Coulson clears his throat. "Daisy? Once you got to 'pointer' I stopped understanding what you were saying. I assume Ulysseys will understand, and it sounds like you understand what I want out of this. So I am going to leave you to point and click and key and bypass to your heart's content. I don't have to understand how the job gets done to trust you can do it. I know how to use programs I've been taught to use. I don't try to do anything with the guts of said programs any more than I try to open my wall and to see what I can do with the pretty wires."

His tone is both dry and amused, a slight smile playing about his lips. Half self-depricating, half tolerant. He knows he sounds like a dinosaur. He's not convinced he's not a dinosaur.

He takes an envelope out of his pocket. Inside is a key, an address, and $10,000 cash. "That's the safehouse address. The cash is if even Tony can't help you and you need to run. I don't think I have to tell you that there's even odds we get thrown into a deep dark hole rather than saving the day. Or at least, inspire people to want to throw us into a deep dark hole. Ulysseys is already working on the deletion program, but I told him not to trigger it just yet. This final check, then we come up with a plan to get at the rest of the data. Then we move."

* * *

"Ah, sorry," Daisy says sheepishly with an errant gesturing of a hand. "I'll just..go do that thing with the stuff then." Quite possibly with Uly working nearby. They can work this out together, can't they? Two techs are better than one!

The envelope is unexpected so of course she has to take a peek inside. Seeing the cash is almost enough to leave her making a mad grab for the railing again. THIS is some serious business, right here. Knowing that she now has the means to go to ground both gives her a much needed Plan B while simultaneously putting their situation further into perspective.

This is some -very- serious business, and she's now holding proof of such.

"I still can't believe that -the- Tony Stark is involved, in any fashion. Seems kinda high profile for this super spy stuff. Okay! So. I'm not even gonna try to keep track of how many laws I'm about to break but I'll hopefully see you on the other side. We can hit up Taco Tuesday again when this is all over," she suggests with a thin smile.

"And when we're done doing the impossible? We're going to talk about these," she points to the power inhibitor gauntlets, "and how I can actually -use- what I have instead of simply be protected from it."

The other night at the docks would have gone much differently if she had a means of defending herself. Then again, it also probably would have made the morning news.

* * *

"Ah. Yes. That reminds me. Let's not do anything else like that dock stunt, please. Right now it's not a good idea to draw attention to yourself. And, well. Tony's…Tony. The key to Tony is telling him just enough to get his help, recognizing he, too, is one of the good ones, and trying not to get too exasperated. Don't ever treat him like 'the' Tony Stark. He likes people who push back, who challenge him, who call him on his crap."

His lips quirk, just so.

"As for using your powers, I agree. We used to train kids with abilities when they'd agree to be trained, give them options, help them manage themselves safely. I didn't even know those things were a thing till recently. They must be new. Needless to say I think it's ridiculous. And leaves exploitable vulnerabilities."

* * *

Once more that sheepish smile works its way upon Daisy's face. "You heard about that," is quietly stated while she bobs her head and looks down at the floor. "I could go on a mini rant about wanting to be where the action is and going off to prove that I could handle myself but things kinda got a little sideways, and anything which I could have done pales in comparison to our talk here, so..it's kinda irrelevant now." TL;DR: She'll behave better going forward.

As for Tony, "Yah, I think I can do that."

In regards to her powers and what's currently blocking them she passes a glance down at her hands before gently correcting Coulson, "'New' as in 'over a month ago.' Some wacko guy somehow got into my head and made me go all crazy on the side of a city street. Lots of property damage. Some bystanders injured. It was kind of the nail in that coffin. But Carter did promise that I would get help in controlling what I have. She's just paranoid about another 'episode,' especially with this Registration mess, so it's all been pushed aside for now."

* * *

Coulson smirks. "I hear about a lot. But, as we've just demonstrated, not everything. I am certain there are some facts nobody's in a hurry to put on my desk right now. I did not exactly act in line with my super-spy training when I had a shouting match with Danvers in a public conference room."

He pushes off the rails. "I don't think it's at all fair to call it an episode when somebody used mind control on you," he grumbles. "We had a whole trial about that, for Christ's sake. Do you know who it was? The whacko? If SHIELD's not already going after him or her then I need to slip a tip to someone who I think might. I might do it anyway."

* * *

A shouting match with Danvers? Daisy chuckles softly, though the look that she's now giving Coulson is more born of respect. "No wonder Carter doesn't trust you lately. She's so 'by the books' that the books are probably feeling inadequate."

As Phil pushes away from the railing Daisy turns to lean back against it, finally acting more like her normal casual self. That secret about the program had been taking its toll lately. Having it lifted from her shoulders has clearly helped, among the other points of discussion.

"Not one hundred percent, but I do have a pretty good idea," she admits. "Back in February there was something in the Daily Bugle about some guy named 'Al Kraven' who was reported as taking over a number of metahumans to trigger a riot. This wasn't very long after what had happened to me. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put the two together. Whether or not anyone is following up on that I don't know but I'm not a real big fan of being punished for something that was completely outside of my control." It's easier to speak of it with confidence now that it seems like Phil is on her side.

* * *

"Nor should you be."

He exhales softly. What to do, what to do, what to do. "Sending SHIELD after him at this point," he says at last, "might just put this guy at the disposal of people who would want to use him, rather than bringing him to justice or keeping him off the streets. But he does need to be stopped. No, here's what you do. If you happen to run into Bucky Barnes or Dr. Jane Foster, I want you to take a moment to gripe about it and I specifically want you to mention the mind control issue. I don't know what kind of terms I'm on with either one of them right now, or I'd just bring it straight to them. All the same, you get that information into their hands, the problem will get handled."

Maybe with extreme predjudice, but Phil honestly has no problem with that.

"They may have missed the article; there's a lot going on."

* * *

Once again Daisy sits still and listens. Well, she leans back in the railing and listens. One thing about Coulson, time spent in his company is never dull. Never boring. It's actually pretty fascinating to watch him work. There's a lot of pieces for him to link together as two more names are dropped in conjunction with a possible fix for what ailes her.

Now if she only had any idea who either of these people are or where they could be found she'd be right in business. Perhaps a search in the ol' SHIELD database would help get her moving in the proper direction. -That- is something she can do.

"I'll add that to the agenda..thanks."

If they're really lucky this plan won't backfire horribly upon them all, she still doesn't have much control of her power. For all she knows an extra hit of caffeine could result in her leveling half of Manhattan, so 'fast and loose' it is.

"At the risk of putting myself into total overload..is there anything else?"

* * *

The older agent shakes his head. "No. I think we've covered all the ground we can cover today. Let us hope no new problems or surprises emerge to complicate what is already a complicated situation."

Lo and behold the workers are opening up the exhibit again.

And just as if they hadn't had this whole conversation, just as if he were a dippy professor instead of who he is, Coulson smiles.

"In the next room, we can pet them! Stingrays, I mean. I love that."

And yes, he's going to do that before he leads them out of here. Because. C'mon.

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