We're Not Here For Popularity
Roleplaying Log: We're Not Here For Popularity
IC Details

In the wake of the fall of the Triskelion, three agents seek answers straight from the top.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 01, 2019
IC Location: Roosevelt Island
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 23 Apr 2019 02:59
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Fury NPC'd by Corvus
Associated Plots

Roosevelt Island.

The SHIELD base those that remain of the New York City branch of SHIELD have retreated to is not the most up to date of SHIELD branches. This one in particular was built in the late fifties and stopped being updated in the 80s. While structurally sound, it is not the most technologically advanced place SHIELD agents have ever worked. Everything is under ground. Above them is the ruins of an old smallpox hospital. The rookies, if they're skittish, wonder if the place is haunted.

Everyone is still getting a feel for the place, trying to carve out spaces and renovate. It feels almost like SHIELD is brand new again, forging their paths. Things have been cleaned by now, desks are being assigned. There is an organized chaos atmosphere here. People generally know what they are doing, but many remain shell shocked or needing moments to process.

The offices have not exactly been set up, however Nick Fury has taken over an office in the lower floors. It's rare to see him about the complex, however his presence can be felt a times. That presence is palpable now and a few people have been called to that office.

Under normal circumstances, Phil Coulson would enjoy a place like this. Its very dusty, low-tech, creepy nature would appeal to his inner history nerd. He'd be opening up boxes like a particularly inquisitive…well, under normal circumstances, Gentle Reader, one might use 'raccoon,' but in Phil's case that could be weirdly racist. Cat? We'll go with cat. Like a particularly inquisitive cat, looking for new little relics to cart off for pride of place in his office. But of course, his office is gone, as are all his relics, and the new room he's been assigned bears nothing personal in nature at all.

It barely has scraps of paper that have been written on. It has a computer, new, and a printer, which may be new but which is ornery enough to have resulted in no less than three frustrated calls to IT. It's also conveniently close to the prison section, though the total lack of any modern day supplies, like truth serum, has put a damper on Phil's ability to pursue the answers from Agent Bradbury as vigorously as he'd like to.

But she had a thumb drive in her back pocket. And quietly plugging that into a laptop and digging through it has been, at least, productive if not definitive.

His office is also not far from Fury's. And so when it is time to rendezvous with Sloane and Ulysses, he doesn't have very far to walk. In his shirt sleeves, with his hands in the pockets of his neatly pressed slacks, his lanyard carelessly around his neck, he looks more like an office worker bee today than…well. Who and what he is. But then, it's not at all uncommon for Phil to resemble the world's most forgettable person. Kind of like the opposite of the Most Interesting Guy in the World.

Ever since the Triskelion had fallen, things have passed in a haze for Ulysses Arngrim. The event itself had been surreal as it was, even though he'd been there when it all happened, had personally seen who was devoted to tearing down the building around them. He half expected that once the numbness had faded he'd finally let out all the screams he feels must have been pent up and shoved deep down inside. But the numbness has mostly faded, and no screams as of yet have surfaced.

The days to follow had been methodical. Get his mom to move to her sister's. Make sure Archie was fed. Make a list of missing equipment and items most likely hopelessly buried under debris. Mourn loss of Pulled-Pork. Pilates. Groceries. Laundry.

The world had seemed to move on, but it was still obvious that the events that happened had still left its mark, in more ways than one. Ulysses knew that if he didn't just go back, that he might never do it. And then what? The question has popped up repeatedly the past few days, and it had been disconcerting not to have any answers for it. He's not sure what he might have expected for the old base that they've slowly been reappropriating. There's a distinct lack of Everything, and with no real means to do what he usually does, he's just been helping with setting things up as he can. Anything to keep himself busy. Keeping busy is good.

The call to Fury's office must have been inevitable in his mind for the calmness that he finds himself feeling once actually receiving it. It certainly helps that he's not going in alone, and amongst familiar faces. He's realized he hasn't spoken very much to anyone after the incident, and it's just some great relief seeing Agent Coulson's still with them, and it might show on his face, if briefly.

If one's called into the Lion's Den then you wanted solid people to be right there with you.

When the elevator doors to the surface creak open, Sloane wonders for a moment if she's going to step off into rusty grates and a dude in a leather apron walking out of the dark with a giant knife. She'd never heard of or been to the Roosevelt Island base before, and the way in through the old hospital didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in the agent.

Sloane is dressed casual rather than professional; a red denim jacket over a black dress that hems at mid-thigh with the collar left unbuttoned, dark tights, and cherry red running sneakers, hair worn loose and a pair of decidedly vintage horn rim sunglasses sitting on her face, solid replacements for the aviators that were destroyed weeks ago. With the lanyard hanging around her neck, she does not look to be entirely thrilled with being here — but she came.

She came, because Phil called. She came because she needs answers.

Striding up to the agent and the tech nerd — the guy she carried out? — Sloane slides her hands into her jacket pockets. Falling into step with Coulson and Ulysses, the inhuman sighs, sharpened canines bared for a brief flash. "Hope you guys have been staying out of trouble," she says — in truth, not quite sure how to deal with them, with the location, or … any of it.

The door to Fury's office is cracked open. There's no secretary outside or anyone to stop or usher those gathered into his place.

They've been told to report here, so they can assume they are invited. It's one thing to stand on ceremony. "Come in," he calls out as he hears people outside. Fury is standing behind his desk, most likely for this assortment of people to gather.

"I'm sure you have questions."

"Hey, guys," Phil says with a flash of a small smile of his own. "Oh, well, does prepping for trouble count as staying out of it?"

But he pushes the door to Fury's office open.

And steps inside.

'I'm sure you have questions,' the leader of SHIELD asks, and something in Phil's gaze flattens. He keeps his hands in his pockets and says, at last, "The research."

He just throws it out there. Two words. A cast net to see what will be brought back in terms of answers. He looks to the other two, who may have other questions. About other issues. Or more specific, less circumspect ones about this one.

Sloane breaks the ice for them, and even Coulson's response helps to dismiss any further notions that Ulysses might just be dreaming here. Sloane also might not be the only one paranoid about creepy elevators and dark halls. Thankfully nothing around here seems rusted over, but all the same, Ulysses has tried very hard not to get hung up on the whole background of the place having once been a smallpox ward.

"Heh," is all he manages, a breathless laugh that reveals whatever tension he's been keeping back with the wry, uncertain expression he usually wears. Further words will have to wait as they all enter. He inhales slowly as they set foot into Fury's office, and it's a slight effort to make sure he's not hiding behind Phil once they're inside.

Questions? He looks like he's about to frame a word, maybe to echo just that, somewhat thrown off by the casual statement. As if they wouldn't have any questions!

Coulson beats him to anything, thankfully, which allows him to save face for the moment. Yes. The research. That's an excellent way to frame it.

The call comes for them to all enter. Sloane shoots a quick glance to Ulysses; her eyes drop to his lanyard — she had forgotten to ask for his name — and the sunglasses help cover up her social faux pas.

"Relax, Arngrim," she says, right before they head inside.

Standing in the much less modern but still fairly impressive office of Nick Fury, Sloane actually does take off her sunglasses now; the lighting of the underground office causing her irises to wobble between narrow and wide slits before they settle.

The second Phil is done asking his question, she adds in a rather irritated tone of voice, "Terrigen exposure is lethal to the X-gene and you just kept it in the basement?"

"Terrigen was an 0-8-4 that was discovered decades ago. No one knew what it was or what it did and it stayed in a crate for years. When more metahumans without the X=Gene started to pop up and with signatures of that crystal, we started to look into it more. That's when we found out what it could do to mutants. It was put away and the only thing that was let out was a few vials of incredibly diluted Terrigen that could be studied without harm. We weren't trying to create weapons, we were trying to figure out a way to protect mutants from it. Would you have preferred us to publish it? Let the entire agency know we had a natural substance that could kill a mutant? There's a goddamn reason it was supposed to be Level 10 clearance only. It's a rare substance, but there's clearly more of it out there." He looks directly at Sloane as he says that last part.

With a sigh, he looks to each of them. "The only way to find out how to neutralize it is to study it. The only reason we're having this conversation at all is because the Brotherhood got some clearly biased research."

"They got it from a man who is supposed to be dead," Phil, a man who is supposed to be dead, says with a humorless smile.

But something in his gaze softens. Something in his eyes does too. Something in the set of his shoulders relaxes. Until this moment he hadn't been sure of Fury anymore. But he believes him. The entire shift in his stance says he does.

That is the SHIELD he knew. That's the SHIELD he loved. Loves.

And so he takes the thumb drive he took from Silo out of his pocket and lays it on his desk. "It might help," he says mildly, "for the unbiased truth to get out. If I were able to take the evidence of the rest of the story somewhere productive."

There's a slight, very fast glance at Sloane, for some reason, at the end there.

From where he stands on the opposite side of Phil, Ulysses flicks a glance towards Sloane at her addition to Phil's two-word prompt. His eyes then shift back towards the director, both uncertain and yet wanting very much to know the explanation for the terrible things he'd unearthed even before the Brotherhood had struck.

Holding his breath, he listens to every word that Fury says, swallowing a little at the mention of such level clearance, but at the end Ulysses slowly exhales. He is beyond relieved, but he displays it much more obviously than Phil. Not having to undermine your own superiors and the place you work is definitely a load off of his shoulders.

"Thank goodness," he sighs. "…I mean." He frowns. "See, this is why communication is important. I mean, I can understand why something like that would be better off kept under wraps, but now we've got other things to fix."

Is that too much? He knows he's got a tendency to ramble when he's nervous so he closes his mouth as Phil sets the thumb drive down and waits.

Fury locks eyes with her — and even with as mad as she is, her gaze is the one that breaks first, going down and to the side. Waking up in the lab, having more blood drawn than Dracula gone starving — things start socketing together pretty quickly. The Inhuman folds one arm, the other lifting to pinch the bridge of her nose as she remains deep in thought.

"Shit," she murmurs to herself. "But it was just a trigger, right? If it were something I carried around, there'd be a lot more people with the X-gene sick."

Data. Sloane's gaze drifts to Ulysses, figuring he was involved in that side of things; the hand at her face dropping to join the other folded arm — and he confirms that much, at least, leading her to nod at him.

Her eyes turn back to Phil. "If you mean who I think you mean, our community's a mess right now with it being 'Papers Please' for every meta out there. I don't know how trusting they'll be of SHIELD."

Fury watches everyone's reactions to his statement. This is rather open for Fury, however at the same time the secret of Terrigen is now very much blown. His stance nor look does not change. For a long moment he keeps Sloane's gaze, knowing just how angry she has been at SHIELD and everything it has done lately. When she is the first to break the look, he keeps his eye on her for a moment before looking over to Ulysses.

'Communication is important' he says and Fury quirks an eyebrow in either amusement or questioning. "I'd have preferred it to stay under wraps until we figured out how to fix it. Now everyone knows and there will be people who are going to want to weaponize it. Some of them may still work in this building. The attack on the Triskelion wasn't entirely an outside job. No one should have been able to see that Terrigen research, someone declassified it just enough. Communication isn't our problem, Arngrim. Traitors are."

Then, he turns his attention back to Sloane and shakes his head. "I honestly don't know how Terrigen works. The samples were diluted enough for mutants to be able to handle them. I could only assume your blood does the same, but I'm not a scientist. This is why we were researching it."

Finally, he looks at the drive that is put on his desk. There's a long moment and then his eye flicks up toward Phil. "I'm not in the business of giving out information like this to the population at large. What they have right now is biased, but incomplete. I'm not about to give this out to the population at large and let some asshole start trying to fabricate their own version of this. The less they know about it, the longer it will take them to construct anything useful. The Brotherhood wiped any trace of this from our system. Let it stay that way for now."

Phil spreads his hands and scoops the thumb drive back up. "I wasn't suggesting sharing the research," he says. "I was suggesting we tell people what we were doing with it."

But he's not arguing in particular. Keeping information close is what SHIELD does, and it's possible any attempts to clear the story after-the-fact will look like revisionist history, increasing public backlash rather than reducing it. Instead he asks what may be a more salient question. Or two.

First: "So now that we're here, regrouping, in light of everything, what are the next steps?"

And, then, bluntly: "I've got reason to believe at least one of the most dangerous traitors is one of the Level 9s. The only one who I've managed to rule out is Hand. I haven't managed to pin down firm evidence on any of the others."

A sort of 'do with this what you will' statement.

"Communication isn't our problem, Arngrim. Traitors are."

Ulysses swallows, hoping he doesn't look nearly as guilty as he feels. He forces himself to keep his eyes forward rather than steal a look towards Phil as he reminds himself to breathe. They hadn't completely crossed the line in plotting traitorous things, and really at the time they'd thought that they were the ones being betrayed so those cancel out and everything's in the clear. Good. Yeah. That sounds good. He feels a tiny bit better already.

Just so long as no one ever finds the codework he'd been reworking, condemning in its own right. It seems the Brotherhood's already done just what that code would have been intended to do anyway, which Ulysses isn't sure how to feel about now that he's heard it. That day when they'd attacked, the thought of executing that data virus himself had crossed his mind, even before they'd found out who was responsible for the assault. Would it have made things any different? Either way it would have been a big setback, and the way he sees it, it seems pointless to extrapolate when things have already happened. He's not one to waste the effort in thinking of what-if's and could-have's.

So with that aside, the most obvious question lies in what their next course of action will be. He's glad that Phil voices that question, and seeing no reason to echo it he merely nods, looking back at the eye-patched director quietly.

Watching Coulson from the corner of her eye, Sloane's arms fold tightly even while Fury's gaze lingers on her for a few moments longer — while he confesses that he doesn't know how Terrigen works, himself.

She just remembers it: 'I don't want you anywhere near that pit of vipers.'

His support for her wanting to leave, and — the ideal of SHIELD, rather than the realities of it. Eyes lowering again, as Coulson clarifies himself, Sloane exhales quietly. "Oh. Right."

The idea of the Brotherhood wiping any and all data from SHIELD on Terrigen leaves a bit of a bad taste in her mouth; her thumb lifts to bite down on the nail, though she does not chew it; the discomfort visible on her face.

"With this blow I believe the Brotherhood is done with SHIELD for the foreseeable future. What's next is finding out who amongst us are a liability or working against us and stopping them."

Fury straightens and crosses his arms. "If people hate us? That's okay for now. We're not here for popularity. The more we talk about the Terrigen the more it's in the public eye. The sooner it's forgotten, the better."

He looks at the others in turn. "We need to figure out who was involved in the Triskelion attack. I believe we have some leads on that. That's where we focus."

If Coulson is not entirely satisfied with that answer— and he is not— he nevertheless doesn't argue with it. Given he's already got all the fishing lines he can put in the water bobbing along in response to that and everything leading up to it, he also says but little. He takes a step back, as if giving psychic space to Ulysses and Sloane to make sure they can register what they might want to say or ask on the matter, all without withdrawing his support to either one of them.

No sense outlining what he's been up to: Fury knows. No sense outlining what's causing delays and issues. Fury knows that, too.

It's not exactly a satisfying answer for Ulysses either, and a flicker of that might surface on his face. He can't help but worry that the Brotherhood is something to be completely dismissed. Did you forget the part where they destroyed our headquarters and killed other agents? he wants to say, but manages to keep his mouth shut. It's not like he has any suggestions to follow that up for what they might do about the Brotherhood in that case.

They've been knocked off their feet and had enough to worry about. So begrudgingly, Ulysses would have to admit that in line of priority, the outlined plan of action makes sense.

He still doesn't like it, not very much.

With no one speaking up immediately in the wake of Fury's proclamation, Ulysses finally does shift a glance between the others, panic briefly crossing his face for a split-second as Coulson steps back, but he doesn't let himself linger too long with staring. That's only because they're in the room with Fury, and it's something one can't quite forget nor dismiss so easily. It's not a position he's ever thought to be in. He regrets not having a desk to hide behind at this moment.

"…okay…" someone says in the most unconvincing tone possible, and inwardly he's horrified to realize that it's his voice starting things off that way. He's looking at the director again, if after an uncertain glance at Sloane now that Coulson's no longer between them. "So…are there any suggestions where to start in that, sir?" Because he honestly is not sure where to even start. Fury says there are leads. Coulson's got some hunches. "Or I guess, I'm wondering where I need to…apply myself, seeing as how most of our equipment got crushed under our building."

He winces a little at the sound of his own tone, which he realizes may sound a little too…dry- but he's being absolutely serious and hopes that those here know that. Maybe less so if they don't know him too well.

'The sooner it's forgotten, the better,' he says. Sloane frowns, recent events settling heavily in the back of her mind. What could distract and misdirect most people living their day to day lives from something as important as a chemical that could potentially harm or kill a specific sub-section of metahumanity?

Registration's a good start, the inhuman figures to herself; the moment of reflection at first praised for it's tactical nature — but then just as quickly swallowed back into the pit of her stomach, trying so hard to look like someone that Doesn't Have An Opinion in front of a man like Nick Fury.

SHIELD's plan: Find who was involved in the attack. Ulysses offers some input, though he expresses a lack of resources.

For her part, with irritation still bristling under her scales, the ginger young woman frowns. "I don't know how I'm going to be able to help chase down a lot of Brotherhood leads— I'm burned. Danvers made sure of that with her TV spot. The Brotherhood is probably keeping an eye on what I do and who I talk to, and Registration," she says, very nearly literally spitting the word, "is sending anyone else I know up the Raft, out of state, or hiding."

Sloane doesn't bring up her accommodations in Westchester, of course.

Fury didn't get to be the spy he is by not being able to read the obvious signs in the room. Generally, those are things to file away for later. In this meeting, though, the eyebrow raises as he watches all three people he's brought into the room bristle about his plan.

"I'm not in habit of people raising their hands when they have a problem. You got one? Speak up. This is the time for it; later you all can hold your peace."

As for Ulysses' question, he nods. "Start building up the lab, then. We've got the space and we've got a government contract. Let's get it to use and start putting together what we need. "The Brotherhood got what they wanted as far as I can tell, I'm more worried about what we've got in our yard than what's outside the walls. We need to find out more about this dead man and who his allies are inside. Find anyone he worked a case with when he was in SHIELD and shake them down. Then, find all their contacts."

"Well. I won't say no to having access to all those files. There were some involving old 084 cases I couldn't touch. But if you're going to open them up to me now…."

Coulson spreads his hands.

"I'm not looking for a promotion," he adds. He likes his job at the level it's at. "But given what I do know, special access, level 9 access, wouldn't go amiss. There are things I need to know that keep ending up behind an access firewall."

He's not raising his hand for that, certainly. Just plows right in there.

Oh, right. That's an excellent suggestion. Practical, even. Ulysses releases the breath he'd not realized he'd been holding as he awaited Fury's response, offering his own nod as he mentally starts to consider what steps needed to be done in getting the lab, and everything he'd usually need to do his job, set up. Make lists of equipment, figure out how power and network connections were- did they even have the latter in this old spooky place? Maybe they used radiowaves back then. Ugh. Another thing to check out with the right people.

"Ah, yes sir," he belatedly replies, in case Fury was waiting for verbal confirmation. It's a vague direction but it's still a direction to start.

As Phil speaks up, Ulysses glances over at him, reminded of those tricky rankings, briefly wondering if he'd have any trouble trying to get anything done that he needed with his own. Well, he supposes if things are practical enough no one should argue. His mouth opens and shuts as he decides to leave Phil's requests separate from his own, figuring that if the man still needs him for anything he'll get swept up one way or another.

They have to start looking for dead men and their allies. Mouth pressing into a line, there's a period of consideration before her hand lifts to pinch at the bridge of her nose, looking somewhat irritated.

Her face scrunches a bit harder before her head picks back up. "I — … I'll try. I can work whatever contacts I have left. See if I can pull any favors." Sloane says with a sigh, looking toward Coulson.

"I can't make promises, though."

"Well well." Fury almost gives Coulson a smile at his insistence on more clearance. The most that happens is that a corner of his lip quirks upward and then returns to its neutral and surveying expression, however it's enough to show that he's pleased at the question. "You'll have - for now - Level 9 clearance, Coulson. We'll see what you do with it. That's classified information, though. Don't want anyone else getting any ideas." Nor does he want to alert others of this change of status.

As Ulysses responds, he nods. "Good. When can you get a lab up and running? One that is, hopefully, less hackable than previously done?"

To Sloane, he gives her a look. "This isn't an extra credit assignment, Albright. I'm not a cheerleader, I haven't got the legs for the mini-skirt. If you don't want in, there's a door. If you've got a problem, air it. I have no way to go back in time and fix things, what we have is what we have."

That suits Coulson just fine. It's what he wanted. If the Level 9s don't know he has the clearance to start keeping an eye on them, they're more likely to slip up. He's more likely to be able to identify the traitorous son of a bitch that remains. He nods to Fury with a slight smile of his own. With his trust in Fury restored, he hardly needs level 10 clearance, so at this point, he literally has all he needs to pursue his goals. He has what he needs to delve into Palmer, too.

And true to Ulysses' prediction…

"I'll need your help with some things. Come see me when you're done getting those labs to your liking."

He looks over at Sloane. "As for you, I still don't want you in the viper's nest. I want you up with the X-Men. Right now, that's where you're going to do the most good. I'll give you some further orders in that direction later, when I've had some time to think about it, alright?"

Everyone knows Sloane is lousy at covert work, but that's not what Coulson ever recruited her for.

Ulysses flicks a look towards Sloane out of the corner of his eye. He's still surprised that she's come back at all, not that he isn't grateful for her being there when she was. Nor does he suppose it's odd for her to be here now in search of answers like the rest of them. Still, the deference she seems to show towards Coulson is… All right, it's largely unsurprising. If Agent Coulson were a spider he'd have his webs stuck everywh- okay no that's a gross analogy.

That Fury grants Coulson temporary level 9 clearance is a little surprising, although Ulysses finds himself feeling less surprised at that. They've got a lot to do and little enough resources, and less knowledge of who all they can immediately trust. He tries not to think too much about that. Focus on what you can do, first. Then you don't freak out as much.

"Er? Oh, um. Well, depends on how big and functional, and how quick we can get equipment in order and if there's sufficient power- that alone might take a few days, but at least if we're practically starting from scratch, it'll be easier to monitor connections and everything. I can run some tests once that's done. We get that stuff nailed down solid and building on won't be too difficult so long as we keep a close eye on things." The confident look that had slid its way across his face as he laid out what he had in mind falters slightly. "Granted people will listen to me, of course." He's never suddenly been in charge of things like this, but then everyone in this room has been with S.H.I.E.L.D. much longer than he has.

And then as the director turns to address Sloane his train of thought is rudely thrown off its tracks by the sudden imagery of Fury in a mini-skirt with pompoms, augh, why, sir?! The most junior agent of the trio makes a slight face, giving a quick shake of his head as though the action might dislodge the thought from his mind.

He abruptly freezes when he realizes Coulson's talking to him, turning his head awkwardly towards the man with a blink. "O-oh. Um, yeah. Okay, I'll do that," he nods.

Nick Fury opens the floodgates. This crazy old man with an eyepatch, this man that she physically carried out of a collapsing skyscraper, this old codger that is at the head of the spy games that she's come to hate playing. Sloane's eyes go a little wide and her mouth opens.

It's the reckoning of the Rebellious Youth and the Authority.


With a hint of bared canines, with her fiery orange, nigh-glowing eyes fierce, she's about to speak all of her mind MAYBE BECAUSE HE MIGHT JUMP THE TABLE AND SHOOT HER IN THE FACE but then —

— Coulson steps in with a hit of logic and a continuation of her orders.

Eyes flicking toward Phil, her mouth closes with the slowness of an old creaky door hinging shut.

"All right. I can do that."

Fury gives Coulson a bit of a head tilt as he starts to give orders to Sloane in his office. There's an incredulous look and pause as he lets that all sink in and just keeps looking at Coulson for a few moments. There's an expression that's hard to read. Is that bemused indignation? Is that pride? Is that indigestion? It could be any of those things. "Until further notice," he adds to end of Coulson giving her additional orders.

"Kick your Level Clearance up to 5. That should clear some ways. Get that lab up as soon as possible. We don't have time to waste on any of this. We're still SHIELD and we have to prove it."

Turning his attention to Sloane, he watches all the different colors of emotion wash over her. The widened eyes, the open mouth, the fury, the bared teeth. And then it all clamps shut. At that, there is something of a smirk. "Yes, that does seem the best play for now. Any other questions? Concerns?"

Coulson, ever helpful, offers Fury a Tums from a slightly rumpled package in the pocket of his slacks. "No sir. For my part, I'm good to get a move on."

Cheshire Cat Smile.

If he weren't standing a pace away from Sloane, he'd be sorely tempted to take a few more steps back. As it is, Ulysses can just imagine he can feel that anger radiating off of her. Compared to Fury's expression Ulysses' is almost comical in reaction to Coulson's casual taking of command and Sloane as she draws it all back in, just like that.

He almost misses his abrupt promotion, which, when it does sink in, has him looking no better as he gapes a bit like a fish out of water. No offense to present company. After a moment he manages to pull himself together (somewhat), nodding.

"Right," he not quite squeaks before clearing his throat to try again. "I'll get right on it, sir."

Ulysses hesitates, mind quickly running through things at Fury's final prompting, but he can't think of anything to say, nothing that hasn't been covered. His eyes go very wide however as Coulson responds as he will. The legend continues… He can't think of very many people that would have the guts to pull that off. He's also getting a little worried that staying in this room any longer might start to be hazardous to his health. Not that working for S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn't already been proving as such.

Coulson keeps the situation from going too far; her eyes lid halfway as the scaled metahuman collects herself.

"No," Sloane simply says, arms uncrossing and hands at her sides.

She's bristling, she's angry, but — she keeps it under control, for now, for the sakes of Coulson, let alone Ulysses. Lord knows what kind of argument could start if the ginger actually spoke all of her mind, and … honestly, Coulson saying 'the den of vipers' in front of Fury gives her a little bit of reassurance that he's still wary of SHIELD and the state of things.

Coulson holds out Tums and Fury looks to him. Then, he holds out the flash drive with a thin line on his face. "Then get to work." He looks to Ulysses and Sloane and doesn't change his expression. This is an order.

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