Ian Owenshire is, it goes without saying, a mutant. He’s a mutant who has had a rather eventful life in the last couple of years. What he thinks of that at this point who knows but it’s definitely been an adventure. And like all adventures, that means it’s occasionally terrifying.
He’s had a break though for the last little bit. It’s unclear when Jericho asks to meet for crepes with Kaylee near SHIELD if that break is going to be ending. Jericho likes to meet over food. But he doesn’t often seem to have good news. Maybe that’s how it is or maybe that’s just Ian’s luck but either way…
The hacker is sitting when the others arrive, at a metal table. He’s got a plate in front of him. Chicken florentine. One of his favorites and one of this place’s specialties.
Some might find the semblance of a routine to settle into too good to be true, and to be fair, Ian did have such sentiments. When one worked on a campus full of mutants then one definitely had to reconsider what normal encompassed, but indeed, that’s what it had become. The librarian figured he could either spend each day anxiously waiting for the other boot to drop or enjoy things as they lasted. It’s not too difficult to guess which option he’d gone with.
The invitation from the hacker isn’t completely surprising, although while the trend for such instances usually gave way to something less than pleasant, Ian nevertheless goes without any expectations, except for crepes, of course, although sometimes even that might be too much to hope for.
The days are warmer, more humid if not wet for passing showers and storms, a true sign of summer’s arrival, or near presence. Ian wears a long but light coat over a collared shirt and slacks, dark blue in color, his hands tucked into its voluminous pockets. It’s been months since he’d last worn glasses when out, but he reserves those for whenever he’s in and the day is done, not quite sold on the idea of getting laser correction despite Bastion’s jeering.
Seeing Jericho, he raises a hand to wave as he makes his approach.
Ian will know of the attempt on Kaylee by KK. That the biochem spent some time in the Med facility and has been a bit skittish since then. Not that it’s affected her work – but it has left more tired and drawn than she usually is.
“Jericho…” The biochem says as she enters the crepe place, placing her order with the server as she passes it. She takes a seat next to hacker and smiles as Ian joins them. “Ian, it’s been awhile. I’ve been a bad friend. Are you well?”
“Hello Ian. Order a crepe and pull up a chair. It’s been a little while as she says. Hello Kaylee.” She’s already ordered, so she doesn’t get told to.
“Is everything going well at the school? Nano-Steve has been asking about you, I hear.” Oh he’s heard. Nano-Steve is a subject of great interest to SHIELD so he’s often in the labs, occasionally in his bucket. Which causes Jericho to call him ‘Odo’ for some reason.
“No surprise visits from crazed LMDs or men with red skulls instead of heads and faces?”
With something of a shrug, Ian heads over to the order window to make his selection, glad he’d come with an appetite. And a taste for ham and cheese. That done, he heads back to the table that Jericho had already staked out for them, settling into a seat while he keeps an ear out for his order number.
“Hey Kaylee,” he finally greets once he can do so properly. “I’ve been fine. Things have been…nice, one could even say,” he says, looking between the two, his friends. It really has been a while, now that he thinks about it. Quiet. Maybe even dull, but monotony has never been something he’d ever complained about when he’d worked an office and a library job. Then again, that was before he knew better. Or of worse?
Jericho’s pointed question prompts an arch of a brow from him. “I’m sure if I had then I wouldn’t be sitting here waiting for my crepe order to be called.”
Kaylee’s sort of well trained now. She knows better than to wait for food. Who knows when the restaurant you’re in is going to get blown up, or crazy LMD’s crash your party? Eat when can – it’s a good rule.
“Well that’s good, how’s Gnosis? I’ve been so busy in my lab and stuff that …” Well she’s said it. She’s been a bad friend.
The librarian’s answer makes her chuckle though. “But I am, Ian. And exactly that has happened to me, recently.”
“Well I hope they stay nice but I wanted to share some news. HYDRA has been working on a plant based version of my traces and we think they gave it to one of their operatives in the area. You’ve been a target before so you should be on guard. But the security at the Institute is pretty good these days so there’s that too.”
The food arrives before long and the hacker takes another few bites from his.
“Gnosis… that reminds me. She’s been emailing and asking about network upgrades. She wants to be able to explore the world but, well, it’s a big bad internet out there… she might need some supervision.”
Ian just gives Kaylee a pointed look. This is the woman who always insists on jumping in front of him whenever a threat does rear its head. She’s got much more of a mind for dealing with such things, even though sometimes it seems she forgets she’s no longer in an LMD body and rather something more squishable.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” he says. “As for Gnosis, she’s been fine. Restless since that outing at the art festival, perhaps, but I guess once you experience something like freedom then being confined to where she is just becomes all the more apparent.”
He eagerly digs into his meal once it’s come, perhaps still harboring some small paranoia about the area being attacked and someone smashing the crepe truck again. Nothing interrupts his first bite and for that he’s happy enough. Here’s to a second. What an optimist!
“Why just limit her to internet? She…what was it, interfaced, I suppose? Borrowed Agent Carter’s eyes? Would it be possible to just set her up with a robotic body or something that she can control remotely?”
“It wasn’t my fault.” Kaylee is quick to protest at the pointed look Ian gives her. “KK just walked into SHIELD pretending she was a Simmons LMD. She …” Kaylee shudders and instinctively moves closer to Jericho. She’s not really thinking about that – but forgetting what KK had done, just isn’t possible.
“As for the other, I was helping Jericho …”
Which might explain just as much.
“She does, does she.” Kaylee ponders Gnosis’ desire to explore the world a bit. She can’t really fault the AI for that. “Ians got a good idea. We’ve a few models of androids. Not LMDS, she doesn’t need one of those.”
“She kind of is a Simmons?” Jericho points out. “But yes. Just blew right past security. I guess when you’re an ex employee who looks exactly like a current employee you can do that. SHIELD’s beefed up its security though.”
He looks interested when Ian suggests giving Gnosis a body, or at least a drone. “She’d REALLY need supervision then. There are a lot of things that sitting on the far side of a computer screen don’t tell you. Especially if you’ve never been human to begin with.”
“I didn’t say it was your fault,” Ian says, head tilting at her as though her abrupt protest could almost suggest otherwise if she thought about it, but he knows Kaylee’d rather have nothing to do with her evil twin. He has another bite of crepe. A bit heavy on the cheese, but not too bad, he decides.
“I’m surprised SHIELD hasn’t considered that complication earlier. Maybe they’ll work on better security from this oversight,” he suggests before letting his thoughts turn to Jericho’s concerns about giving Gnosis more freedom.
“True enough. It’d be like taking care of a child, the way she’d have to go about learning things. But at least she wouldn’t be directly open to harm in some kind of body than she would being allowed to roam the internet. Not that there aren’t plenty of other things to be mindful of, as you say.”
“Well yes, Jericho. That’s how she got in, isn’t it?” Kaylee sighs. The security protocols are a bear to deal with because of that and it’s not made life easy for any of them. And still, Kaylee doesn’t feel safe.
That much is obvious by Kaylee’s posture.
“No, you didn’t… ” that’s to Ian, a concession and an almost apology. “I’m just on edge.” She listens about Gnosis, watching Ian and considering how far the young man has come.
“Would you be interested in doing that type of work, Ian?”
“Well, depending on the body you gave her it could be a bit more complex. If you gave her an industrial bot chassis for example, she’d be a child who could bench press a bus.” Hopefully Gnosis knows better than to do that but it’s just one example.
“Where would we get a body for her anyway? Kaylee does SHIELD have something or…”
She’d mentioned SHIELD android chassis but he’d not been clear if she was offering one.
Ian glances wryly at Kaylee. “I don’t know. I’m not sure how well I’d play at babysitting…” he admits with a wince. The wince is more for the example Jericho provides.
“Hey, I was just throwing out an idea. I’m hardly an expert in androids and that sort of thing.” Much less how they work. He only vaguely knows how things have worked with the LMDs, and as had been mentioned earlier, one of those didn’t seem necessary.
“I think it would be good for Gnosis, Ian.” And an experience for Ian. “Imagine being able to take her out to see something she’s interested in. If that’s a concern, Jericho, there’s the drone that I used to use to accompany you.”
A flying disc really, fitted with visual and audio receptors.
“She couldn’t get up to much trouble with that, surely?” beat “And it’s a good idea, Ian. We just need to throw some ideas around.”
Jericho just quirks a brow when Kaylee asks ‘how bad could it be?’ That is always a bad question to ask because the answer is always ‘worse’. He doesn’t say anything more about not doing it though. It’s Gnosis. Gnosis has been helpful and supportive. She deserves this chance.
“If you think you can get her one and find a way for her to link and upload into it that’s a fine idea. If not… there are… sort of house androids that we could probably get and modify. I’d be happy to help with that modification, if you want to go that route.”
The librarian busies himself with another bite of his crepe, of the same mind as Jericho when it comes to reflecting on the question Kaylee poses. He’d rather not let himself think too much on what sort of trouble could happen. That’s just another way to stoke paranoia, and then he’d probably end up regretting even making the suggestion in the first place.
Instead he likes to maintain the outlook of it as helping a friend. Ian nods, glancing from Jericho to Kaylee. Because really, he hasn’t the slightest clue where one would go about obtaining any sort of android- it’s not exactly something he’s shopped for.
“Use my drone. I can assign it to you, Ian.” Kaylee gives Jericho a flat look at the arched brow. “You and she should be able to interface to it. If you need help, then there’s us. And if you can’t use it, there’s the small drones.”
She still thinks it would be good for Ian. It will definitely be good for Gnosis. “If we don’t give her the opportunity to explore, she might decide to try on her own – I know which of those two scenarios I’d rather.”
A rogue AI or an inquisitive one?
“Are you settling in at the Institute, Ian?”
“Or she’ll grow resentful for not having the opportunity. She’s alive. We need to treat her as though she is. It’s just also that she’s horrifyingly powerful. Or at least… potentially so.”
But then, she’s in good company isn’t she? Among the mutants.
“Not getting too lonely down there in the stacks, are you? Folks are treating you okay? The mutants there are decent people but they get a bit… caught up in their powers sometimes.”
A drone sounds manageable. “At least I’m sure Gnosis would be able to figure it out. She managed to do it the last time, after all.” Which leads to the following. “Ah, she already did try, remember?” Ian points out.
When inquiries are turned towards him again he laughs as he sets his fork down beside an empty plate. “If I haven’t by now then I think I should have looked for a different job,” he smirks. “For the most part things are about as one expects for working in such a department. I think I’ve already experienced the worst by way of people making use of their abilities on a whim when in there- you might remember that, Kaylee.” He shrugs. When you’re working on a campus with mutants learning to make use of such, it can’t be helped, after all. “But no one’s been hurt and no terrible damage done.”
“She did yes and it was fortunate that you and Agent Carter were there.” Kaylee agrees. “Imagine what would have happened if she’d been left to explore alone?” There’s an old computer game that Kaylee remembers, well Jemma remembers, with a thing called a ‘curiosity cube’. She rather imagines Gnosis might be like that.
“Have they stopped pulling pranks on you yet, Ian?” Oh Kaylee remembers. She also remembers the telepaths being annoyed they couldn’t read her LMD brain.
They could read her mind now, though who knows if they’d actually want to do that. Getting into someone’s head is very much a two edged sword. You might find out a lot of things about them. Or they might break you, if they’re strong willed or sufficiently insane.
“We’ll get it arranged then.” Jericho smiles. “Oh that reminds me. Archimedes, the headmaster there. He mentioned to me that he’s interested in personally taking up your training.”
“If I’ve been pranked then I guess I never caught onto them as such,” Ian says, smiling crookedly. Generally it’s not a good idea to prank someone that you’re inclined to be asking for assistance, after all.
But things are settled regarding Gnosis for the moment, it seems. From Kaylee, the librarian looks back at Jericho, head tilting. “Oh?”
“I see…” Kaylee murmurs, looking to Jericho as he mentions Archimedes.
“Wasn’t Dora handling your training, Ian?” She asks quietly. “It must be very well if Archimedes is taking an interest.” Jericho gets a quizzical look from the scientist. Does this have anything to do with the things they’re investigating.
“Mmmhmm. Something about your potential and power level. I didn’t quite get the full story but I imagine you’ll want to see him at some point. That or he’ll come see you. Or just poke into your head while you’re working.”
Jericho has commented before on the manners of telepaths. They can be quite… intrusive.
“Well, I’m going to get a dessert crepe. Anyone want to split a cinnamon and sugar one with me?”
Does this have anything to do with their investigation? Hard to say. It’s never easy to know with Archimedes.
Ian nods at Kaylee. “Yeah. I guess things haven’t been bad, anyway.” He knows he’s progressed a lot since he’d first started out, at least.
“Hm.” He makes just the slightest face at the suggested possibility. No, having someone pop into your mind is something you just never get used to. “Well, I guess we’ll see.” He can’t help but be curious about this bit of news, after all.
There’s a thoughtful glance back towards the crepe truck at Jericho’s declaration of dessert. “I wouldn’t mind it. Something sweet might be good to counter things. I think my crepe was a bit heavy on the cheese.”
“I don’t want to split one. I want one of my own, please Jericho.” At least Kaylee is eating, despite her drawn looks. “And a chocolate thickshake, please.” That gets the Hacker batted eyelids.
“Go and see him, Ian. It will be good, I’m sure.”
“And a chocolate shake.” Jericho laughs. And off he goes to get food. And nothing awful has happened yet.
Will wonders never cease?
Jericho invites Kaylee and Ian to join him for crepes again, as well as a chance to catch up on things while tempting fate and Murphy's Law.
June 03, 2052
The usual crepe truck