The Workaholic's Vacation
Roleplaying Log: The Workaholic's Vacation
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Ulysses returns to Jessica Jones with leads for her case.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 21, 2019
IC Location: Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 22 May 2019 02:13
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (language)
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Jessica Jones is rarely in her office. Especially not when she has an active case that is concerning her. But even she won't surveil the same fruitless street corner in driving rain. The street corner in question being the one where her missing girl got scooped up. She has other things to do, of course, other things occupying her attention. But none of them are really great in the driving rain either.

And so she's in the office. Even Jess has paperwork to catch up on. It's just a normal part of any business, and she's working her way through it with the kind of rapid efficiency that speaks of someone who neither likes nor dislikes the task, but accepts it as part of daily life. The smell of hot coffee is thick in the air, and a cup sits by her elbow.

Up above, Grumpy Cat keeps stolid watch over the door.

***

One would think that on such a day as this, it would be a terrible time to take your dog out for a walk. Which is probably exactly why his dog decided he wanted to go out with him. In fact, Archie had been quite insistent, in that way that husky dogs can be, especially when they're restless (which they usually are) and want to be a pain in the butt.

Ulysses had meant to see if Jessica was at the office but his dog wouldn't let him even touch the door until he finally relented and brought out the leash. And a raincoat. Not that it'd stop Archie from getting soaking wet but it didn't hurt to try.

"Sit. No don't—" The voice outside the door cuts short with the sound of jingling and a sigh to follow. "Yeah don't give me that look. Next time you're staying home."

The whine in response is drowned out by the knock on the door.

***

People bring all sorts of things to her office. Jess once conducted an entire appointment with a woman who wouldn't stop hugging her highly indifferent iguana. And it could be a seeing eye dog. And she likes dogs. Better than she likes people, sometimes.

And so the detective pads over, highly professional in her tank top, jeans, and bare feet. She opens the door with her Standard Client Spiel readied, but lets it die when she sees who it is. "Come on in."

She easily holds out her hand for the dog to sniff, introducing herself, so to speak.

***

"Jess, heeeeeey," Ulysses greets once the door is open, his usual uneasy smile pulling into position across his face, the one that makes it seem like he expects something to go wrong at any minute. In a sad pile on the floor with head flopped upon forepaws, the husky looks up with bright blue eyes, tail starting to wag as Jessica holds out a hand, encouragement enough for him to get up and sniff at it. The blue raincoat worn over gray and white fur is slightly askew, likely from shaking himself off a moment before.

"This is Archie. He threatened to hold me hostage in my own home unless I brought him along," the hacker continues, fixing his dog with a 'you know what you did' kind of look.

Once Jessica's properly introduced herself to Archie, they step into the office and Ulysses slips off his coat, turning it inside out to drape over a chair before he takes a seat and rummages around his backpack. "So. Extra video footage was a no-go, but I picked up some interesting things from the laptop," he says as he brings said computer out.

***

"You can bring him anytime," Jess assures the hacker. She grabs a chair and a legal pad and gets ready to take some notes, leaning forward eagerly. It has been hard, chewing-nails hard, to wait on this information. With no other leads and the worried parents stress-eating at home. Not that she bothered Ulysses with it. She knew she'd get it sooner if she let the man work.

And now that he's getting into it, she just listens, ready and waiting to hear what he has to say. No doubt she'll have questions, but for now…

***

Ulysses sets the laptop down on the desk and pulls out a tablet, fingers swiping and tapping at the screen to pull up his own notations. Out of the corner of his eye he watches Archie as the dog sniffs around the room.

"So, for the most part, everything's normal with the laptop and Liliana's activities. But somewhere along the way, it seems she's drawn attention from someone. I found a type of virus that's managed to work its way into her software- it's a keystroke logger. Basically it logs data based on whatever was inputted through the keyboard. This one in particular was focused on her internet browsers."

***

Jessica's brow furrows down. "Someone wanted to know her search history? That's creepy. Where was it sending the data to? How did she come by the virus? What did she search that could possibly translate into 'kidnap this kid?'"

See? The questions are there, coming rapid-fire, now. Jessica is writing rapid-fire too, her pen scratching on her page as she writes the word 'key logger - browser.' "Or were they after her passwords?" She remembers a split second later the other things people type into browsers. Well and emails. And…

"Jesus Christ, I will never pause the update on my phone ever again." That is where the rabbit trail has briefly gone.

***

At least he anticipates the questions, even though he knows he may not have all the answers. "There are some creepy, dangerous people out there," Ulysses agrees. "It's hard to pinpoint where she picked the virus up. I had to do things in a round-about way because of that logger, and I'm not sure what would have happened if I had it connected to the internet in the first place." He's been thankful that he starts offline out of habit these days. No point in letting someone know they might have drawn someone else's attention.

"Anyway, I did find out that the data was being sent to Europe. Whoever did this is good. The data bounces around a bunch of servers in eastern Europe so it's difficult to find the end point."

With a flick of his finger he scrolls his tablet screen up, shaking his head at Jessica's inquiry about whether they were after the girl's passwords. "Don't think it was passwords. Most of her activity online was typical student stuff. There are some Facebook connections you might be interested in though. There are correspondences with several friends for setting up a get-together that day, but the location for it had been changed a few times before they'd decided on a place across from that bodega you talked about."

***

Jessica lights a cigarette, frowning. "Europe," she mutters. She inhales and pulls over an ash tray, cracking a window so the second-hand smoke can roll out rather than affecting man or dog too much. Not that they're not already breathing New York smog.

"Who were the friends? I only had that initial one and she didn't know jack shit about shit. Nor did she really tell me much about anyone else Liliana might have been associated with. Did they say why they changed the location?"

***

Archie wanders over by Jessica's desk, sitting on his haunches a bit so he can put his head on the edge of the desktop. Ulysses gives him a look, but the dog stays there a moment more before dropping back down to resume inspections. He pauses by the shelf, challenging the plush cat to a staring contest.

"There's a Gigi Albescu, Anna Connors, and Rosie Acosta." Ulysses helpfully spells out the names for her. "Typical reasons, nothing that would seem amiss, but with what's happened I don't believe in coincidences. Aside from that, Liliana had been researching her mutation. Incognito mode, but with that virus it probably rigged it pointless. See, this is why you don't use McAfee."

Leaning back in his seat, Ulysses, goes over his own information, the illuminated screen reflecting off his glasses. "She found a support group in Mutant Town, but I couldn't find any names associated with it. Did get an address for a conference room they rent out in Brooklyn though. They meet once a month on the first Thursday of the month."

***

"Gigi was the one I knew," Jess murmurs, spelling out the names on her pad of paper. But…why would the friends know anything? It's the meeting that snaps her head up like she is the dog, instead of Archie.

"Is it telepaths only? Or all-metas-welcome?"

No question about it, Jess is going. The only real question is whether she's going to be smart enough to bring back-up, which she is about 30% of the time, or whether she's going to just stride in there by herself, which is the other 70%. That is the best lead, so far, out of what Ulysses has brought her. Everything else gets a back burner. She can hardly go scour 'all of Europe' unless this turns out to be some sort of international trafficking thing, and even then if that's the step she'll certainly be doing it on more leads than 'that's where the data bounced.'

***

"General gathering so far as I can tell." Ulysses hadn't doubted that that would be a good place to start sniffing things out. He passes Jess the address of the place. "Aside from that, Liliana had been keeping up to date on the registration law and went through the process of registration. She'd spoke with a DPS agent about the paperwork but it all seems pretty cut and dry. The agent she had correspondence with is Agent Sean Flannery."

He waves a hand at Archie who begrudgingly acknowledges Grumpy Cat as the victor of their match, stepping back over to Ulysses' seat to flop down beside it. Ulysses pulls out the file that Jessica had given him, slipping out a packet of printouts and sliding it towards her on the desk.

"I screen-capped and printed some of the Facebook conversations and the email, but for the most part it's basically what I've told you. I was thinking of setting up a dummy computer by copying over Liliana's and seeing if I could either trace the keystroke logger's path somehow, but it could be risky, depending on how whoever's on the other end might take a fresh wave of information."

Setting his tablet in his lap, he shrugs, gesturing loosely with a hand. "And that's about all I got from my end otherwise."

***

Jessica taps her fingers on the desk. "What would make it less risky? I think it's a good move."

Jess makes a note to go talk to DPS Agent Flannery, too. If only so he won't report her for missing her check-ins. But Flannery might know more than he thinks he does. And might even be a good ally in the quest to find her.

In the meantime, she reads through the print-outs quickly, a practiced eye noting what Ulysses has already basically told her…if there's an answer here, it's not obvious and is so well-cyphered she might never find it. So she focuses on this, the third potential plan for shaking out more leads.

***

Tilting his head, Ulysses rests his chin in hand, tapping a finger against his lips as he thinks. Archie wedges his head under his free hand, Ulysses' thoughtful expression momentarily replaced by a wrinkled nose of disgust as he feels a wet nose and damp fur slide under his palm. He obliges the dog with a head-scratching.

"I'd have to work out something to input that would make it seem typical to come from the laptop of a missing girl that may have been their target, general enough that it won't raise any flags if anyone's monitoring that sort of thing so closely, but still specific enough that it will register on their logger as something worth passing on. But before that I'll needa tweak some coding to see if I can't work out a way to also leave a trail of some kind we can follow back to them."

He scowls, and not entirely because Archie's licked his hand. "This is going to be a headache. I'll see what I can do though. Something else came across my desk on SHIELD end recently that's been a headache in itself, so I just wanted to make sure I got this stuff to you before I get swallowed up or something."

***

Jessica taps her fingers thoughtfully against the desk. "SHIELD does more than have its own problems. If you think of something awesome, let's do it. If not, let's not worry about it. I've got two solid leads out of this and that's more than I started with. I really appreciate you for making it a priority though."

It's evenly spoken, no gushing, around a mouthful of cigarette, but it's heartfelt. Jess will tell you exactly what she thinks. And that's not always bad. Sometimes what she thinks is 'you're awesome.'

"Besides," she says, inhaling and puffing out a ring. "After I get some attendee names it might be useful to see if they, too, have keyloggers, if nothing better swings out of going to that meeting."

***

Ulysses can live with this. He likes being told he's awesome. He grins. "I'll poke around with it. But hey, glad to be of assistance. I didn't mind doing it, it's like…I don't know, a weird kind of break from work? Even though it's work? Does that just make me weird? …don't answer that."

With one hand tapping his tablet off to slip back into his backpack, he ruffles the playful husky with the other hand before moving to put his file folder away too. "Cool. Hope you get some good bites on your end with that. And if anything else comes up that might need my-" He lifts his hands and wiggles his fingers about, "Mad skills, just let me know."

***

Jessica…

Gets it perfectly. "Yep. Some work is so stressful or shitty, even when you love it, that when you get to do stuff in that neighborhood that is different in whatever way, it's like a fucking vacation. And I absolutely will let you know."

For now though, she's picking up the phone already, figuring he's on the way out anyway. She's got a DPS agent's voicemail to talk to. She'll tell you exactly what's what…but sometimes her grasp of basic etiquette is not great.

***

It's nice to be understood.

And speaking of which, Ulysses doesn't take offense as Jessica starts to get right down to her next line of business. Zipping his pack closed, he gets to his feet and grabs his coat, slipping it on before pulling the strap of his bag over a shoulder. Maybe it's just as well that Jess has her attention elsewhere as he has to chase Archie a bit before managing to grab a hold of the dog's leash.

Tossing a wave in the woman's direction, Ulysses gently tugs his dog towards the door, a yelp heard just after it's closed behind them as it seems Archie's all set for walkies again.

Dogs.

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