2020-01-07 - Don't Pass Go, Don't Collect $200


Jeriah finally gets a trace on who's been accessing Jemma's implants. They need to speak to May about the B word.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jan 7 06:24:49 2020
Location: Jemma's Lab

Related Logs


Theme Song



Jeriah has been working for hours in a rather sedately animated way for a good three or four hours now. Some of it has been clearly in AR and some of it at a workstation. There's been a lot of typing. Some very emphatic return hitting. And finally a very satisfied 'Got you, you bastard.'

He sounds happy. He feels happy. "Jemma. I've got something."

"A disease? Some form of cyst? Something else that is interesting and unusual?" comes the tart response from the british born biochem. "I can tell you're pleased with yourself. Did you just beat your highest score in Call of Duty or something?"

Jemma looks up from the results she's interpreting, glancing in Jeriah's direction. "Or was it some other game and you managed to corner your opponent?"

"Better. I caught our infiltrator out and I have a hit on his terminal. I know who it is." Jeriah turns his screen so Jemma can see. It's got a profile on it. A mid level intel analyst named Marvin Flumm. He's flagged as a 'special resource' which means he has some kind of power. In this case, mutant telepathy.

"The attacks on your hardware have used HIS access code. Even the ones that came in from the outside used his access code to get into the network. I'm pretty certain that this is our guy."

"You did?" Jemma moves to stand near Jeriah peering at the screen as he talks. "Flumm. Special resource." It doesn't make sense, Jeriah can literally see Jemma running the possibilities, finding the links and trying to make sense of them.

"Him. Or his access code. Why would he be trying to access me? He's an analyst - what else can you find about him?" Is he working on a project or what?

"He's an analyst. Mid level. Does a lot of work focused on the Africa and Middle Eastern areas. And… he was used to consult in some capacity with the Deathlok project." Which means he had access to project resources and project personnel. AND he's a telepath. It's not a slam dunk but it is all circumstantially very convincing.

"No indication as to why he might be trying to access you but we can watch him for odd communications now. I don't have access to the personnel files. Do you think you might be able to…"

Showing Jeriah the man's file is a bit not kosher but Jemma may have access to it with her medical code. Or at least to part of it.

"Huh. He did." Jemma frowns and leans over to enter her code into the computer, bringing up the files that Jeriah was looking for. "I'm going to have to apply for higher clearance for you. You're in my head enough that you're seeing things you probably shouldn't as it is."

It takes her a moment before she processes how that might sound, her cheeks standing to colour when she does.

"It says here his last assignment with the Deathlok project was a mission in the Middle East. He was recalled and reassigned … " There's not a lot on that mission but one thing is notable by its absence. The mission report that all analysts and agents are meant to submit.

"Yeah but they don't need to know that. Also it can't be helped." Jeriah says with a wink as he leans back in his chair. "This mission report must be classified at a very high level…" He says looking at the data.

"Wait no. It's been removed. I can see the records where it was deleted. Someone did a pretty good job of trying to hide it. You wouldn't know it was gone unless you were looking right at it. But… yeah. Someone has deleted this mission report."

There's a short pause and Jeriah manipulates the data a bit more. "Mmmmm. Someone with director level clearance has been accessing this."

"It won't be long and it can be helped, right?" Jemma looks at Jeriah. Whilst she'd been happy that he had a solution, the thought of loosing his presence hadn't thrilled her. It still doesn't. "Besides, you help me enough, I can probably get your clearance upgraded."

"If the mission report was classified, there would be a re——" Jeriah's already onto that and Jemma nods in agreement. "Why try to hide it? Wait, what? Director level? Like Director Fury?"

"Well, if you can it would be… rather… good." Jeriah sounds a bit distracted because he is. He's looking at the data and trying to work out the answer to Jemma's question. After a moment he shakes his head. "Someone below Director Fury's level. One of the assistant directors or divisional directors." But still rather high up officials.

"They haven't done the deletion though. That was done without an access code which… shouldn't be possible. Let me see if I can…"

The hacker tries for a few moments to recover the lost data. Bits and patches of it come up. It's an incomplete text but some details can be picked out.

"Okay. He was sent into Bahrain around the same time as another incident involving… huh. Melinda May. He was there to apprehend… P. N. Ebersol. Not quite sure who that is but he's a HYDRA agent. I don't have the part of the text that says if the mission was successful."

"I can try. You might be a contractor but you're a good asset." Jemma smirks at Jeriah knowing how that sounds. "There's a number of those types of Directors. If you can find the code for them, that will help."

It's amazing how quickly Jeriah can work and whilst what he recovers isn't a full record, it's still good information.

"Ebersol. Not a name I'm familiar with but Bahrain? You might not want to mention that to May, that operation is one she doesn't talk about."

Jemma lets out a long breath. Someone is going to have to talk to May. Yay?

"Or we might want to mention it to May." Jeriah says quietly. "She might remember what else was going on around the area at the time." She's not going to want to talk about it but Jeriah is about ready to accuse this guy of being some kind of outside asset or traitor so it's pretty damn serious. That deleted mission report could be the key to understanding what is going on.

"Either way this isn't good. I don't see Ebersol's name in any of SHIELD's threat databases that I have access to, but SOMEONE must have known about him to send an agent after him."

"Bahrain?" Jemma shakes her head and Jeriah can 'see' clearly the images of Mays reaction to other mentions of the mission. It's no wonder the biochem isn't keen on this.

"We don't scrub names from the threat database, Jeriah. They're a threat until they're not and then the reason they're not is noted. Either they're terminated or turned. What the hell is going on here?"

The biochem just glares at the screen as if it's to blame for the lack of information. "I don't suppose you can find any pointers that indicated deleted data?"

"May might know. At worst she might know which other Agents were involved and we can ask them…." Yeah, this is *not* something that Jemma wants to do. "Let me rephrase that. *You* can ask May about it."

"Well someone did, or alternately he was identified as a threat and never put into the database." Jeriah is still working. "I don't see any deletion logs so that's a possibility. Or they could have just hidden their tampering really, really well." Either is a disturbing possibility.

"Something's rotten here, Jemma. Someone is manipulating the databases at the very least and we can't be sure what else has been manipulated. And we don't know how high up either. Or who else knows. Or who else might be investigating." He sighs.

"Fine, but you have to be in the room. Standing next to me. While I access your implants and make you ask."

"That's possible, I suppose. Though it doesn't make sense why he would be listed in a mission report and not listed." The biochem frowns "We can go with that assumption for now but it's not one I'd put a lot of stock in. Given someone with clearance is accessing my implants remotely, it's more likely they've been scrubbed but with no sign of that…."

It's worrying and for a moment, Jemma feels quite isolated within an Organisation she's come to think of as 'home'.

"So we keep this to ourselves for now, then. I'd say we could take this to Fury but …" she sighs again and just glares at Jeriah "You will not. If you do, I'll give you nightmares for weeks."

"I'm messenging May. We need to talk about this right now." Jeriah says as his hands move over the keyboard. The message says 'Agent May. Need to talk to you about an old mission. Lab space.'

Short. To the point. And not 'meow meow meow meow meow meow' which he WAS admittedly a little bit tempted to do.

"Otherwise, yes. We keep this to ourselves. I think May can be discrete. I mean hell. She could strictly speaking TALK at all for the last few weeks. Hard to beat that for secrecy."

It's a good thing she's not in here as he says that.

Having just returned from a simple enough quinjet flight, Agent May receives the message, spends about a half second wondering about the terse nature of the summons, then (unusual for her) hands off the post flight checks to her copilot to complete.

A few minutes after the message was sent, she enters the lab space, still wearing her usual duty uniform which include its normal full complement of concealed and no-so-concealed weaponry. She looks from Jeriah to Jemma and back, and privately glad that she doesn't immediately see one of those dog-like robots. "Which mission did you want to talk about?"

"Don't you dare use my implants to make me ask …" Jemma gives Jeriah a *look* before going through the data again. There's nothing more here that makes any sense.

Shep is over in the corner, near where Jemma had been working. When May comes in, the metal monstrosity lifts it head and peers at her. "Oh. Hello Agent May, you were quick. Shall I make tea?" It's not like Jemma to be evasive, but she is… and she slants Jeriah a side long look.

Moving to the kitchenette, the biochem puts the jug on to boil and sets out mugs. "Jeriah seems to have found the person that's been accessing my implants. Or, at least, the person who's code has been used to do so. Marvin Flumm is a midlevel intel analyst, telepath and he was assigned to work on the Deathlok project. His last mission with that project was in the Middle East but the mission report is missing."

Middle East. That's what Jemma said. She leaves the rest for Jeriah to fill in.

"The person was assigned to an operation in the area of one of yours." Jeriah says. "But the mission report is missing. There's evidence that it has been deleted in the database. And someone either failed to file the target in the threat database or deleted that as well."

That's actually rather alarming. They just need to narrow down the time frame.

"Do you know who else was operating in Bahrain when you went in? And what their missions were? I'm looking for something that Agent Flumm was in on."

May seems genuinely a bit concerned when they say that mission report they're seeing is gone… right up until they name the location. That's when her expression goes into complete lockdown and she promptly turns to leave again. "You don't have the clearance. Talk to Fury."

She's done here.

Jemma just sighs. At least May didn't punch Jeriah? She supposes that's something. "The mission report was deleted by someone with Director level clearance. It might be an AD or similar, but it might be Fury as well." She says quietly.

"And if it's Fury, then I'm not keen to let slip that I know who's messing with me. We came to you because we don't know who we can trust."

"Can't. Fury might be the problem." Jeriah says, folding his arms. "Someone directorial access has been messing with the files. Either Fury himself or possibly at his direction as Jemma said. If any of the Directorial group is compromised, that means Internal Affairs is possibly compromised as well. And whomever is doing this is ransacking SHIELD for classified data and attempting to compromise Jemma's implants."

So SHIELD has a mole, they're very well placed and the link to it is an Agent named Marvin Flumm and a mission in Bahrain that happened within hours of May's mission, if not at the same time.

"There was a lot going on the ground that day I know that much. But I've only been able to recover a partial file. Without details we have no hope of catching whomever is doing this and they're going to continue to compromise SHIELD secrets and agents."

The hacker-soldier folds his arms as May goes on lockdown. Not good.

It's the agent's name that stops May. He wasn't part of HER team in Bahrain. They're asking about a different mission, clearly. It takes her a moment to get past that initial kneejerk reaction and turn back to look at the pair again.

Sharks have warmer expressions.

"Let me see the partial file."

Jemma continues to make the tea, working steadily as they talk. When the mugs are steeped she hands one to May and one to Jeriah. Jeriah can pull up the record as Jemma continues to explain.

"All we can find is that he was sent into Bahrain around the same time as another incident involving yourself. From what we can see, he was there to apprehend a P. N. Ebersol, supposedly a HYDRA agent. There's nothing indicating whether the mission was a success or not."

Jemma nods to Jeriah to add the rest - about there being no more records.

"Do you recognise the name, Agent May?"

|ROLL| Melinda May +rolls 1d10 for: 3

Jeriah pulls up the file, two files actually, and passes them to May. One is a file on Agent Flumm. An intel analyst with a specialty in Africa and the Mideast, several clearances and tagged as a 'special asset'. Meaning he has powers. Meaning in this case that he's a telepath. Mutant type.

The other file is a very fragmentary mission report. It describes Agent Flumm being deployed into Bahrain on the same day - within an hour - of May's deployment and within several miles of the site. He was with a team though the team's numbers and members are not in the recovered parts of the file. The target was, indeed, P. N. Ebersol. Who that is is not mentioned. The mission appears to have run into some resistance but the outcome is also not in the recovered parts of the file. There are a couple of mentions of events that May is more familiar with, but in an oblique and indirect kind of way.

They did go in by Quinnjet by the time May was already on the ground. Did she notice or hear the comms?

May accepts the tea and takes a sip before taking the files and spending the next several long and awkward minutes silently looking through them both from front to back. Finally, she comments quietly without looking up from the documents.

"Agent Flumm didn't interact with other agents often, he'd get overwhelmed quickly. I wasn't on this mission with him." She refuses to elaborate further on THAT other than to say, "Different missions don't share frequencies, and… I'd taken my comm out."

"And the name Ebersol? Does that mean anything? He's not listed as a threat in our database and we can't find any marker that he ever was." Which is a real conundrum. If Flumm was sent in to get Ebersol, he should be in the database - with a status. Not missing entirely.

"So there were two missions to Bahrain at the same time." Which is unusual, as far as Jemma knows. May taking her comms out gets a quirked eyebrow - that too is unusual.

"Why would they have run two operations at the same time?"

"Target of opportunity?" Jeriah muses to Jemma. "Overwhelmed. Hrm. Can you remember anything else from that day, May? Anything that might be relevant? Or can you think of anything that might cause someone at a high level to want to hide what was going on?" There's a short, hesitant pause. "Is anyone currently at director level involved with whatever went down there?" Sounds, at least from the way May is talking, like the mission went horribly wrong.

Well, HER mission went horribly wrong, to the point that she's made a concerted effort to block it out of her memory. But, the name Ebersol. She tries to dredge up memories from around that time and NOT trip over what exactly happened on HER mission, looking through both files again slowly until she lands on the name Eberson again and gives it a long moment of consideration.

"Almuthabat. The Fixer. This name, Eberson, I remember it had something to do with someone known as 'The Fixer'. Maybe that's still in the database." The name makes sense too, if she remembers right. His speciality is mechanics.

"It doesn't make sense, Jeriah. It's not SOP to have two teams in the one area and NOT be coordinated. It's too easy for them to trip over each other and ruin the other operation. Someone *has* to know of the operation. Who was the lead agent for your mission, Agent May?"

It's a digression and something they'll have to worry about later, Jemma frowns as she checks the database. "Fixer is there … but it's incomplete. Jeriah, can you see if it's manipulated?"

Why that's the case, she's not sure but this whole thing seems fishy.

"It was. Deleted. By someone with directorial access." Jeriah says, frowning. "This one wasn't hidden nearly as well. The manipulations all over the board. It's like several people were messing with the file."

He sighs. "We need to figure out what happened with Fixer and to do that we need to find someone who knew of both your mission, May, AND this one. Any ideas on who that might be?" Because if not…

"The only other option is to try our… VR framework, Jemma."

May pauses and looks at the pair as they debate, inwardly wishing that she were anywhere but here. She'd ALMOST be okay with being a cat again for another day rather than have to answer these questions. But, finally, she takes a silent breath and offers the name of the agent in charge of the mission she'd been on. Before the whole thing went somewhere in a hand basket and she'd been forced to go off script.

"Wait. VR framework?" That she already REALLY doesn't like, and she's only heard the name.

"Of course it's deleted. No one knows what was done with implants or where they came from. And now people who are accessing them are more like Ghosts in the Machine." Jemma is actually grumbling as the information comes out.

"Who else was on the mission with you, Agent May?" Maybe they're more likely to want to discuss it. Perhaps.

"The framework? Do you think you could program it to work like that, Jeriah?" That's a good idea if they could. "It's something we've been working on, Agent May. A way to put someone physically into an environment without being lethal. Good for training and, perhaps, good for jogging memories about what might have happened."

"We've got most of the pieces we need. Scanning memories is tricky but we can make a go of it. I'm not sure entirely it would work but it's sort of like evoking a dream that we can watch. It's just getting the right dream to come up might take some doing."

"We initially needed it to be able to safely simulate very dangerous situations but the hardware we have could in theory be adapted to reviewing memories." Jeriah does not add 'I think' because that's pretty outside his area of expertise and he'd definitely need help and some fiddling to have a shot at making it work. Fortunately, SHIELD does have that.

May comes THIS close to snapping at Jemma that she doesn't WANT those memories jogged, but instead she closes the files with sternly controlled gentleness, then begins naming the various agents that had been involved, starting with her partner at the time. There are many more names than would seem reasonable for a single mission, then she notes which names arrived together prior to her and her partner's arrival. It's possibly a helpful paper trail that could possibly have gone undisturbed.

"Maybe those other mission files will help narrow down the missing pieces surrounding Almuthabat." One thing's for damned sure, she does NOT want some machine digging into memories that she's spent over a decade trying to lock away.

"Alright then." Jemma answers taking the tablet back from May and turning back to her workbench. "We'll look into those cases." Yes, she knows that May wanted to snap at her.

"Thank you for coming in to talk to us, Agent May. Most of these names are currently away on mission, the few that are here I'll speak to." There's not much more for her to say on the matter. Someone's screwing with her and it's a problem - she has to fix it.

"We'll look into those. Thank you May." Jeriah nods. He glances at Jemma. They may need to come back to this but there's no sense in pressing it now. He's thinking tranq darts next time. Of course he'll have to do it from a hidden perch because otherwise he is only delaying his ass kicking.

"Let's see if we can get a quiet talk with some of these." He murmurs as they move out.

May waits for the other two to move on about their business, then leaves as briskly as will appear normal to passersby. She heads to her quarters, straight to quarters, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Already, she can tell the rest of today is going to be bad so she notifies Ops to take her off of duty rotation for the next two days.

Jemma owes her tea. Seriously.

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