Good Talk
Roleplaying Log: Good Talk
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Daisy has info for Coulson. Coulson has new orders for Daisy.

Other Characters Referenced: Brann Driver, Khalid Nassour
IC Date: September 09, 2019
IC Location: Garret Mountain
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Sep 2019 23:51
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

A short ways outside of New York City one can find a series of hiking trails out at Garret Mountain. The message had gone through a few days prior to try and allow Coulson some time to plan for the outing. Quake would be waiting on the Yellow and White Loop Trail this afternoon. It's rated as an easy hike, no need to complicate such a meeting any further.

With the weather starting to cool off and the sky starting to become overcast she won't look too out of place in a black biker jacket. Probably just some grunge rock lady out to commune with nature and be away from all of those annoying people.

When Phil finds the hackerette she's sitting on a fallen tree trunk overlooking a lake with the picturesque mountain range looming on the other side. The gauntlets are nowhere in sight but a keen eye might notice their outline within the bag slung over both of her shoulders.

Once noticing the senior agent's arrival she offers a sheepish smile. "Felt like getting away from the urban life for a change." It still looks like Daisy. It still sounds like Daisy. Maybe she's adjusting to this whole 'undercover operator' lifestyle.

Either that or it's been quiet. Probably more the latter.

* * *

Coulson comes up looking like an experienced outdoorsman, with waterproof hiking boots, pants made for the exercise, layers of shirts and jackets, a small pack and a hiking pole. A hat and sunglasses make him look even more non-descript than usual. But when she makes her sheepish statement, he flashes a smile.

"I'm from rural Wisconsin," he says. "You can get me away from urban life any time you like. These places make excellent meet-up choices too, for a whole host of reasons. Especially in the modern era, where very few people even think about them."

He sits down next to her on the fallen log, with every evidence of enjoying the venue. He removes his sunglasses though, folding them and slipping them into a mesh pocket on his pack. And asks the question that matters most, first:

"How are you doing, Daisy?"

* * *

Maybe it's a side effect of being a rookie but it's always nice to hear some praise. If it hadn't been for Coulson's safehouse out in the woods then she may not have ever considered a park for such clandestine arrangements.

"You definitely look like you fit in, AC."

As he comes to take a seat she unshoulders the pack and brings it around in front, resting it in her lap for the moment.

To his question she bobs her head a few times. "Not..too bad, surprisingly. My recent excitement involved a bunch of people running around Metropolis at ridiculous speeds while someone was indiscriminately shooting lightning at everything. Oh, and I swung by what's left of the Triskelion and ..taught Ulysses how to fly."

The accompanying smile is a bit more nervous and guilty than sheepish.

"How have things been at the home front? As much as I hated working in a cubicle and ..frankly I don't even -know- where you guys are all hiding now, but..I kinda miss it. A day doesn't go by where I don't question what the hell I'm doing out here."

* * *

"Questioning what the hell you're doing out there seems like a pretty normal response to what you're doing," Phil says, giving no sign whatsoever as to whether he was aware of any of these events or not. Safe money says he probably is, but sometimes he keeps his cards close to his chest even when it's not necessary, just out of habit.

He watches a baby squirrel take a flying leap, nearly miss the branch, and then scramble forward while a jay yells at it. And then he says: "I haven't been at the new office too terribly much myself. It's kind of outdated and depressing. And there's been a lot to get done. A few things which have taken me out of the country. But I have taken some time to bolster your position a great deal since last we spoke. And based on what you got about Bell…I may have more ideas on how you can help from where you are without doing anything that will threaten your assignment."

* * *

Daisy's brows rise as she bobs her head a little more. "Okay, that's a fair point."

Good talk.

The skirmish between the squirrel and jay causes a spot of commotion enough that she's soon watching the proceedings as well, though it's not long before Phil becomes more interesting than the local wildlife. "That bad, huh. And here I would have thought that 'outdated' was synonymous with 'oldschool' which would have been right up your alley. It must be -really- bad for you to call it depressing."

She's only half joking.

Hearing that Coulson already received her report on Bell is grounds for a slow exhale of relief. She won't have to dig into all of that detail a second time. Thank you, Uly.

"Speaking of threatened assignments…" she pauses while unzipping the pack and pulling out one VERY battered SHIELD issue laptop and a second, fairly pristine looking tablet. "I've actually got one for you."

The pack is set beside her then the damaged machine is very gently opened. The screen is shattered and several keys are missing but the device itself still seems to be running off of its own power somehow. "This is what I found in the ruins. They must have excavated far enough that its signal could get out. Somehow it was left logged in all of this time but I'm not able to access all of its secrets."

With the aid of some wires she hooks one machine to the other to use the tablet as a functioning screen and keyboard. One which displays the familiar SHIELD interface. Daisy's been sitting on a device with level six clearance, completely unlocked. Swiped right out from beneath the Division's nose.

An inquisitive stare is passed over to Coulson. "Think you could help a lady out?"

* * *

Daisy's quip produces one of his more genuine smiles. "There is a difference between 'interesting', 'antique', 'historical,' and 'time tested' and 'what the actual hell?', young padawan."

But Coulson's eyes widen at the device, a little (or a lot) alarmed. Hazel eyes flick to her, and he murmurs, "Going in after old equipment was so dangerous that it didn't seem high priority, but it seems I was wrong."

He narrows his eyes, making a decision, and then swiftly types in an authorization code.

The level 10 code Fury gave him, in fact, that nobody knows he has. And he makes an effort to make sure nobody knows now, taking all the normal precautions people take when they type in passcodes and such. Still, if this thing has secrets, he figures one might as well get at all of them.

"Was that what you were there to do?" he asks. "Look for old machinery like this? Why did you end up back at the ruins? That much was a bit unclear to me."

* * *

Daisy has to chuckle at the correction regarding historical interests. "Learning new things about old things all the time."

As far as the damaged machine goes, she suggests "I'm not even sure they knew what they had down there. It sounded like they only first realized something was running by the time I had already showed up, which I thiiink is why Uly and I bumped into each other."

Also holy hell but she would just LOVE to have known what Coulson did to get level TEN clearance. To have access to SHIELD's vast and immesurable amount of secrets, to be able to know her way inside and out of every system that they have…

Phil's secret remains safe..for now. With the laptop effectively unlocked for the plundering of digital treasures she neatly plucks the tablet back and starts rapidly diving into its contents.

"Part trying to keep tabs on you guys, part dumb luck. I was already looking for any random noise, a place like the Trisket was just -loaded- with hardware. It stood to reason that if anything survived there would be a way to discover it. As they say, you can't stop the signal," she suggests with a half grin.

"But yah, this is what brought me back. Turns out it holds some records on known Brotherhood locations, and -I-..have an idea."

Here she looks away from the tablet long enough to meet Phil's gaze, already expecting it to be one half curious and one half suspicious.

"They made off with some of that 'Terrigen' stuff, right? What if I was able to find it?"

* * *

Phil raises an eyebrow thoughtfully. "What would you do once you found it?" He asks, gently inviting her to reveal her whole plan before he commits to any of it. Whether or not putting terrigen back into play on the strange game board that's been set up depends largely on what the benefit would be, after all.

But he certainly doesn't shoot it down, and he adds: "Does this mean you think all those old Brotherhood locations are still active and viable? Or even most of them?"

But that's the only insert he makes, this pair of salient questions.

* * *

To Daisy it's a question which need never be asked, but considering what's at stake she can't blame Phil for wanting it plainly spelled out. She sets the tablet down across her legs and drapes both arms over it, seeming perhaps a little possessive of the device now. If Coulson wants an honest answer then she'll give it to him, complete with offering the senior agent her full, undivided attention.

"I'd give it back to SHIELD."

"I had my reservations before but you had explained what they were doing with the stuff. And from what -I- know it's -way- too dangerous to be floating around out there, let alone in the possession of a mutant terrorist organization. There's only one place I can think to take it that's safe." Her head ducks slightly. "That's with you."

Regarding the Brotherhood locations, she lightly rolls her shoulders. "Only one way to find out, right? I doubt all of them are still active but I can guarantee you that they would want to know what's on this drive."

"Plus, even if they were closed there's something to be gained from this data. Map out the addresses and figure out where else there is left for them to go. There's only so much city to go around."

She's looking rather pleased with herself.

* * *

"This is incredible work," Phil agrees thoughtfully, the praise given in earnest even as he concentrates. He taps his fingers lightly against his knee, trying to make some decisions. Giving it to him might be okay, if only so he can pass it on to better parties, but SHIELD is still full of people Coulson does not trust. And there's the matter of these locations.

"Which ones do you think have the samples?" He asks, frowning at the maps, trying to determine what might have, say, a lab or some other suitable facility in it. "Most of these places I think I'd put under surveillance for awhile to discover their status, but we won't want to surveil the ones most likely to have terrigen gas in them, as we will not want to tip them off. And I don't think you should go after them at all, not physically. I think it would be better for me to lead a small team of high-trust individuals to retrieve it so we're absolutely sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands afterward, and so we avoid having you take an action which could seriously destroy your cover."

* * *

Today Daisy has earned her gold star, and boy does she ever look proud for a moment.

Following this she shakes her head. "I don't know. I'll get this," she taps the tablet, "back to my place and compare what I already have to what's on it. It'll give me an idea of how long each place has been known of and what SHIELD was able to discover. Then since I have all of these addresses I can do a deep dive on the web and see what pops up. It's not an immediate solution," she admits.

It is a perplexing dilemma, however. What would the Brotherhood do with something like Terrigen? If it really is fatal to them, then "My suspicion is that they'll have it buried somewhere. Somewhere quiet. They seemed more intent on making a statement than trying to learn about what makes it work for themselves. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. They just don't strike me as the scientifically-inclined sorts."

Then she reaches a rather sobering conclusion. "Coulson..I think this will seriously risk my cover -regardless- of how we approach it. This might be my final act here. Before..coming back to SHIELD, I don't mean..that in like an 'I'm going to die' sort of way," she lamely adds.

* * *

Coulson considers that for awhile and says, "Let's do this. I need you to get visual confirmation of where the stuff is before we start moving any pieces around the chessboard. I'll tell you that I'm considering either accompanying X-Men in or sending X-Men in, and giving it to them so they can use it for the purpose SHIELD meant to use it for, thus ensuring it doesn't get back to the bad actors at SHIELD. Given that, tell me exactly how you think this will get you made so we can properly assess the risk."

This is more than just a series of orders or declaratives. It's a walk through how Phil thinks, through what kinds of assessments he makes before he starts building plans, the kinds of feedback he seeks so he can adjust plans already starting to form in the orderly yet labrynthine recesses of his mind.

* * *

Oh..-wow.- Okay! The idea that Daisy is now formulating a plan which could potentially be carried out by the -freaking X-Men- is the sort of fictional fangirl scenario she could have only dreamed about! Even if she isn't a part of the ground team!

This is just so..So..SO..COOL!

It's also going to take a whole lot of preparation. Good thing it's been pretty quiet on the Brotherhood front, she should have the time to spare to bring these pieces together.

Nevermind the gleeful glint in her eyes. How would she be at risk? "If the Terrigen suddenly disappears, who do you think they'll blame first? If I was looking for someone to point the finger at after losing a crucial possession I'd go straight for the new girl who used to play for the opposition. They still only trust me with so much, AC."

* * *

"This is very true," Phil murmurs, turning the problem over in his mind. Hazel eyes sparkle and a slight smile crosses his features as he catches that little glint of glee, but he leaves it unaddressed.

"So one real question becomes whether the value of other intelligence you could gather outweighs the value of getting the protective research done, especially if the Brotherhood isn't doing it themselves. We surely can't bank on nobody else having any terrigen, that's for sure. It does need to happen. Sending the X-Men means they will know that at the very least, the people who have it now aren't out to kill any mutants with it, which should prevent them from going on the warpath. And keeping everyone off the warpath is now the mission."

He shakes his head, though, and realizes he's putting the cart before the horse. This all culminates in the only plan that matters right now: "Get visual confirmation. Once we have that we can make decisions. Without that, we're spinning our wheels to no good purpose."

He gives a slight, rueful smile. "That's the frustrating thing about intelligence work. It's like tracking puzzle pieces across a dirty house. Every piece of the puzzle that you find is a win, but you still have to get a few more before you can put the whole thing together."

* * *

It is an important question, and the ultimate mission couldn't be any more clear. "That's..really clever," Daisy agrees to the idea of letting the X-Men handle it. The Brotherhood still wouldn't be happy but it would be a completely different situation if SHIELD made themselves into a prime target all over again.

And, of course, (again…) Coulson is right. All Daisy can do is nod and promise "I'll dig up whatever I can." This could be a really big play, it's going to take more than one person.

Regarding picking up puzzle pieces the hackerette wildly rolls her eyes. "Yah, no kidding. I've already had to replace two keyboards."

The tablet is lifted up again to see confirmation that the file transfer is complete, prompting a disconnection of the wires so everything can get tucked back into her bag.

"Thanks, AC. I'll tread lightly. Soon as I have something good I'll let you know."

* * *

"While you're looking for that, I want you to start working on viruses that could impact Sentinels. Ones with multiple impacts, that will offer a whole array of tools to use. If the Brotherhood hasn't acquired at least one Sentinel head to work with yet I'd be very surprised. This should also keep you out of the field, and will give us vital tools that we need. I'd like to see one that could shut them down. We'll talk about other asks for viruses when you're off this assignment, because of the risk of them getting and using any work you do on this."

It's the same strategy that was meant to keep Daisy out of the field as much as possible before, leaning on her hacking, but it has a few secondary purposes.

"You and Ulysses did good work with Bell. I just haven't worked out how to use it yet. But based on what another agent brought me, it might be wise to have a way to intervene with those things if necessary."

* * *

And here Daisy thought that this meeting is about to wrap up. She's putting her things away when Phil hits her out of nowhere with one of the single most ambitious sounding coding projects she had never considered since the hack on the Registration database.

"You want me to —" she blurts out before catching herself and the volume of her voice. It gets reeled in fast to a hiss of air between teeth, leaning toward Coulson to ask again. "You want me to -hack a Sentinel??-"

Not that she's feeling like it's outside of her abilities, but holy crap! She doesn't know how to react to the order! A couple of rapid blinks, some twitching of the head, mouth opening and closing as she struggles to find the words. "I..can -try- to..I mean I get why you'd want..oh my god, Coulson. Yah, so..I'll just..keep an eye out for severed Sentinel heads then see if I can plug it into the wall, or..whatever."

One thing is certain: This would look INCREDIBLE on her resume.

"Maybe while I'm working on that I'll find a solution to climate change," she rebounds with a joke.

The intel on Bell is a more down to Earth subject, one which she seems relieved to be transitioning to. "Yah, it's a tricky one. If anyone can figure out where to put those puzzle pieces, it's you."

* * *

"You can do it," Phil says, a statement that is delivered with nothing but iron-firm belief.

And then to what is probably an even more down-to-earth subject.

"I've another asset trying to get into the Brotherhood so you won't be all alone in there. His name is Brann Driver, a highly unconventional pyromancer who I chose precisely because he's the exact opposite of what anyone would look for in an agent. I've also sent a third party watcher in to keep an eye on you two."

He pulls out photographs, and says, "That's your watcher. Khalid Nassour. If you get into more trouble than you can handle, know you're about to get made, can't get in touch with me…signal him. His job is to alert me, and if he can't find me, to help you get the Hell out and get to safety. It's not perfect, because he of course can't follow you around everywhere, but he'll be hanging around that nightclub you found for us."

Because that's information she dearly needs, especially if they really do move on the terrigen. But between now and then there are enough steps between that Coulson is more than happy to have this infrastructure of support firmly in place.

Shaky though it may be. But shaky's as good as it gets on undercover assignments.

* * *

Do it or die trying? Daisy may look overwhelmed by the idea but she's not saying 'no' or 'it can't be done.' It won't be easy but she's willing to make the effort.

In fact, this could be a lot easier with the Brotherhood's help. They'd be interested in a remote kill switch for those machines, too.

The name Brann Driver doesn't mean anything to her at first. It's when Phil offers a picture of each individual that she pauses on his image. "I've bumped into him once before. He was involved with one of those unscheduled Metropolis street battles. If he recognized me he did a great job of not showing it."

The other one, Khalid, is perhaps of more importance. They've never met one another but now he's effectively serving as her lifeline. It's a marginally concerning thought.

"Are they both agents?" she inquires. More people working undercover, or outside assets with fewer ties to 'the enemy?' Such information could prove important.

* * *

"No. Neither of them are," Coulson murmurs. "I couldn't risk sending anyone with any ties. Brann was on one of our indexing agreements, back when they were relevant. Khalid is just a good guy with abilities who recently helped shut down a meta-human trafficking ring. One is impulsive, the other is underconfident. Brann had some training but I declined to offer him a trainee position when it was done. Khalid just happened to be the right person for the job, checking all the boxes on a difficult list."

He smiles a little bit at Brann doing a good job. "He doesn't know who you are, or even that you're there," he says. "You're the Agent, so you get to know him. He's the hothead CI, so he doesn't get to know you."

* * *

Another nod. Daisy has to agree with Phil's thoughts on the matter. It's a -little- more troubling to hear about their particular character flaws, but hey. It's better to know them than to not, right? She's far from perfect, herself.

Cripes, what would her psych profile look like to someone like Coulson? He never did read through her entire file, did he? Daisy kiiind of hopes not…

Hearing how the 'rules' work has her looking momentarily blank, muttering a "Huh." This is a new approach for her! It'll take some getting used to. "Alright, so I have a bug-out plan, some literal fire support, and some -seriously- ambitious goals to pursue. Never a dull moment with you, Coulson," she states with a smile.

* * *

Coulson stands up with one of those smiles he gives that's not at all Cheshire-Cat like. Instead it maybe resembles Mr. Magoo's smile, or the smile anime characters give when they're being kawaii. On the matter of 'never a dull moment,' apparently:

"You say the nicest things."

But he soon sobers. "Be careful out there, Daisy. I have plenty of confidence in you, but I also know I'm not exactly asking anything of you that's easy. Then again, the initative you showed made a lot of that possible. You take good, calculated risks, and you're an incredible agent. Make sure I don't lose you. That's an order."

* * *

Daisy beams a smile right back at Coulson. "You got it, boss."

* * *

He puts his sunglasses back on and whistles his way down the walk.

And about halfway there, he pulls up the display on his watch and quickly alters the credentials on the code he just put in. His money is on Daisy being unable to resist trying to find out what they were.

And if his first-step verification password is now "NiceTryKidd0?"

Leave an old man to his amusements.

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