It’s been a few days since Jericho put Anastasia back in her body and a few days since Kaylee has spoken to him. That doesn’t mean the biochem hasn’t been trying to watch him. The transfer – well – they hadn’t discussed when it was done.
Tonight, the seafoam coloured haired woman had arrived at Jericho’s door with Pizzas’ and Vodka and box full of stuff. She’d said they had things they needed to look at.
Jericho might be forgiven for thinking she’s checking up on him.
Jericho has been feaverishly hunting for any sign of his sister and not finding much he can act on. He hadn’t wanted to talk about it. What he’d wanted was something he could solve. To that end he’s been working on Kaylee’s ‘interface’. It’s just about ready for testing. So it’s coincidence that she shows up now with food.
“Hey there Kaylee. Uh, was just thinking about you. Come on in.”
Jericho might have told Kaylee that, which is why she has the box with her. These are the bits that he needed to finish it, at least that what she thinks.
“You were, huh?” Kaylee smiles as she enters the apartment, looking around to get a feel for his mindset. “I bought food and the bits that you emailed me about. And Vodka. I thought you might like it.” Setting the pizza boxes down on the coffee table, she makes herself at home getting plates from the kitchen, tumblers and ice.
Finally settling herself on the couch, taking her shoes off so she can curl her legs under her, she looks at the Hacker. “How are you feeling without your systems being bogged down?”
“Better, I suppose. A bit… hollow. Got used to being cramped so having space is a bit odd.” Jericho takes the box and sets it down on his work table, while the pizza and vodka go on the table-table. He takes a slice and then goes back to his bench.
“I almost have this ready. Just give me a few minutes.” What he doesn’t say is that he’s not seen Anastasia since then. She just… vanished into Limbo.
“Suppose.” Kaylee murmurs, watching the Hacker. “I suppose it does feel a bit hollow.” And precisely because he hasn’t said anything about Anastasia, Kaylee pokes that bear. “And how is Anastastia? I haven’t seen since the other … day. The Institute would have liked to ensure she was well…”
“Speaking of check ups, I’d like to check you too. That was a burden to your systems and we don’t know enough about how your implants work.” she sighs and takes a piece of pizza, still watching as he works. “I just want to be sure …” that he really is ok.
“I… don’t know. She vanished after I finished the upload and she wasn’t in great condition when I sent her on her way.” She’d been… fading. Becoming lethargic. Dying, in every way that matters. They’d evacuated her just in time but now, much like Gabby, he doesn’t know.
“Do you know enough to run the check?” She might. She might have access to the documents she needs but Jericho’s tech is rather unusual and she would indeed need to have read up on it to make sense of what it’s doing.
“You mean her program? Consciousness?” Kaylee hadn’t asked Jericho about Nastya, as much because the woman might have been listening as anything. “I can’t imagine what it was like, I was in your head for only minutes and it was … off putting.”
The biochem sips her vodka and leans back in the couch, legs curled beneath her like a cat. “I know enough to check you physically and I had Cullen go through the specs that we could find. I can run some basic checks here, he put together something for me to use, but any more, I’ll need you in my lab. But … we can check basic functions and you can set my mind at rest.”
Maybe. If there’s nothing wrong with the stress his systems been under that might not be situation.
“You’re worried about her, aren’t you? What’s … the connection between you?”
“No, her program was fine. That was the worrying thing. Her code was intact but her mind was degrading.” The hacker shakes his head and finishes with the soldering iron. “Anyway it’s done now.”
The follow up question has him looking over his shoulder at Kaylee. “She helped me and got in trouble for it. We’ve known eachother for a while. She was one of my rescues. Sort of. Long story there. Anyway I think I’m finished with this if you want to give it a try. The probe shouldn’t break off, anyway.”
“It’s interesting you split the two out.” Kaylee puts the tumbler on the table and sits forward as Jericho speaks “You know LMD’s have similar problems – some of our copies just can’t cope. And Anastasia wasn’t designed as a copy and you’re not a synthetic body, no matter how much tech you have in you. Will you let me check you out?”
The two might have known each for a while, but to Kaylee’s eye there seems … more … between them. Perhaps she’s wrong and see’s what she feels is missing in her life. The LMD that wants to be a ‘real girl’. “How did she help you? I’m … interested.”
As he gestures to what he’s working on, the LMD nods “Of course. Where do you want me? I cut my hair so you couldn’t the probes tangled …”
“Sit on the couch. I’ll need access to the back of your neck and you’ll want to be comfortable for this.” Once seated, Kaylee can feel Jericho attaching a metal ‘band’ to the back of her neck. It’s not unlike those around the neck and over the shoulders sound systems people used to wear for old portable phones. When cellular phones were still a thing.
“I went looking for Gabrielle. Someone was waiting for us and we got caught out. I made it away, she didn’t.” And then he’d had to go back for her. What Kaylee was brought in on was the tail end of a week long and fairly arduous process both mentally pand physically.
“You can check me out when we’re done here. Now, hold on. I’m initializing this thing. If it works you should connect to the local network I have set up here. Might feel odd.”
Kaylee’s already seated on the couch, just perched on the edge at the moment, so she turns and presents the back of her neck to Jericho. Shivering slightly as the metal touches her skin, the LMD listens as he talks.
That’s not what she had meant by there being more between them but she nods as the story unfolds. “They set a trap for you.” She’ll get back to that in a minute, maybe. “The cuff on Anastasia’s arm, that’s from your traces isn’t it? She was the one that damaged you…”
As the band initialises, Kaylee falls silent, blinking a lot. “Oh… ” she breathes “There’s so much noise here … what is that? Bob Dylan?”
“Mmmhmmm. And it reacts oddly to them.” What exactly he means by that he doesn’t clarify, probably because he’s finalizing the upload. “Okay. Step one. You should see an augmented reality grid on the floor that I’m projecting from the systems in here. And you should, yes, hear Bob Dylan and smell cookies. That’s how I know it’s operating and interfacing properly with you.”
The Bob Dylan may have been a bit of a troll move on his part. Jericho is of course well known for trolling Kaylee.
“What reacts to them? And how?” Kaylee clarifies, screwing her face up as Jericho finishes the upload. Blinking some more as the grid flickers into view.
“I can smell the cookies, yes. It’s conflicting with the pizza and Dylan? You couldn’t have given me Billy Joel or Queen?” It’s a troll, she knows that but this is far too exciting to be upset.
“Alright, so I’m seeing the grid. Is this what I’ll see when I project out into the net as a whole?” Talk about disorienting, she’s getting a little vertigo.
“I could have yes. But I didn’t.” Give her Queen. Or something other than Bob Dylan. The hacker shakes his head. “Later Kaylee. If I tell you you’ll focus on that and not what you’re doing now and what you’re doing now will take focus. This isn’t going to be what it’s like when you use this, I just wanted to check it’s function.”
He comes around the couch so she can see him. “Now, I’m opening a connection. You should feel something sort of in the back of your head. I want you to follow that feeling. It’s going to take you out onto the local network. Nothing too overwhelming but you’re going to sense the machines and so forth.”
“You will tell me though?” Kaylee asks. She’d come here to give him a check up and now he’s distracted her. It’s a good distraction too and the biochem nearly bounces in her seat as she realises how close they are to giving her … some freedom.
As the connection opens, she frowns and screws her face up as she concentrates. “Alright. I can feel things out there. What’s this … is that a computer and your coffee machine… ” she’s talking to Jericho as she ‘walks’ through the network. There’s other things too – the TV and the fridge.
But she can only sense them at the moment, not ‘see’ them. Reigning in her excitement she looks at Jericho, and smiles brightly.
“Later. Not now. Focus.” Jericho wonders why Kaylee is so interested sometimes. It could be because that’s how she is. His personality has always been a bit more reserved, especially as the mental wear and grind from war and o ther things set in.
“Okay. Just take a few minutes to orient yourself. I’m going to get the machines going. It’s going to be a fair amount of information flying around. Not as much as a live network node but you need to get used to the sensation and I need to be sure that you won’t go catatonic doing it.”
True to his word soon the machines start communicating. It’s a little bit like being in a crowded restaurant with a lot of conversations going on at once except those conversations are being shouted over your head by distant partners. And this is only the contents of one apartment. A well wired apartment with a lot of smart machines but still…
Kaylee’s a scientist. Well, a copy of a very gifted scientist and curiousity about things is just how she is. And Anastasia’s cuff and Jericho’s traces are near to her heart. She knows that Jemma had something to do with that project.
“I told you it was loud.” She murmurs, screwing her face up again as the machines come on line. She’s silent as she lets the ‘noise’ wash over her – Jericho might be forgiven for thinking that she is going catatonic, she’s so still and quiet for the longest of times.
“Your coffee machine needs washing.” she finally says. “You were supposed to do that twenty coffees ago. And you’re washing machine is due for a service as well.” More silence, her eyes closing as she concentrates, separating out the different strains and organsing them.
All of a sudden, Jericho’s TV blazes to life – the volume cranked right up.
Kaylee might see Jericho jerk as he’s startled. He hadn’t expected her to do that. Or to be able to do that. She will definitely ‘hear’ his digital voice crack across the network with the precision of a well wielded whip and turn the TV back off. Like many other things about the hacker, precise controlled and powerful. Or at least that’s how it seems in this controlled environment.
“Right, yes. That was the next step. Good job though. Do you think you can do that again without the volume being at ear-bleed levels?” At least they know the speaker system on that thing works. And how does it work.
Kaylee does see Jericho jump, as she jumps as well and his microwave beeps as the time resets. Ooops. She slipped in her startlement.
Then it’s quiet again and the LMD blushes “I’m sorry, Jericho. I … was just experimenting.” she says quietly but she settles again, controlling her breathing and he can hear her commands as they filter through the network. Precise, almost as precise as his, but not the whipcrack of command. It’s a … very polite, very british request to //please turn on, low volume//.
“We’ll work on that.” Jericho says. The machines are ‘smart’ machines so they’re used to responding to voice commands and people do say things like ‘please’ so over the network it translates close to the same. But a command ability on better than ‘user’ level needs a touch that recognizes that machines are just that. Machines.
The TV turns on though. Low volume. Kaylee can ‘hear’ it talking to things outside the house, getting it’s programming from the network outside.
“Which bit…” Kaylee asks and the lights in Jericho apartment flicker. She might have a quantum brain that perform calculations quicker than many things but control … well that’s something that’s learned. “Uh, sorry. Hold on …” she falls silent again and the lights flick off and then on again.
But so does the TV and then it’s back on again.
“Fascinating. You do this … so easily …” she murmurs, canting her head as she listens to the TV talk. “There’s a rerun of NCIS at 10pm, I might just have to stay here. Mark Harmon was always one of my favourite actors.” she teases.
Slowly the volume of the TV creeps up and then back down again, but the lights go out as it does.
“I’ve been doing it for years and I’ve had a lot of practice.” Jericho says, watching his lights flicker and his apartment appliances turn off and on as if influenced by the world’s most indecisive poltergeist.
“Looks like you’re getting the hang of it but you’re still talking to big chunks of the network at once. Which will be a problem if you’re ever doing this to a room you can’t actually see.” Lessons on how to break into those rooms can wait for another day. Crawl before walk before run after all.
“Well there’s no accounting for taste.” Jericho smirks. NCIS is not one of his shows. CSI New York is much better in his opinion.
“Okay. Can you ‘feel’ the internet router? Try following it outside.”
“I don’t know what there isn’t there isn’t to like? Men in uniforms and Leroy Jethro Gibbs.” Kaylee smiles back “And you didn’t say which year of CSI New York.” She’s learned that the CSI franchises just kept … growing. Eventually the lights settle, the microwave stops beeping and the washing machine stops filling as Kaylee starts to exert better control.
“I can feel it, yes. It sort of feels like the turnstyles on the subway in New York. Just beyond are all the trains…” It’s a poor analogy but perhaps not too inaccurate. She’s quiet again, and if Jericho’s ‘watching’ the network he’ll see the tendrils of Kaylee’s digital presences ‘nudge’ at a door and step through. “It’s even louder here but … it’s organised. Lots of lanes of traffic. Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular.” Jericho says quietly. “Well, just down to the local data exchange to get you used to things. Later I’ll show you how to do things like ride drone cameras or break into badly secured systems. Might be useful with field teams. And people like… Ian.”
It means Kaylee doesn’t have to be physically present. If she can get the hang of it. There are risks, but not as many as there might be with conventional hacking.
“Now. Come on. We’re going to the Google Exchange. I like it. They don’t let Stark Fujikawa or Alechmax snoop too much.” Time to hop on one of those ‘highways’. This won’t take too long provided Kaylee doesn’t get too distracted. And if she does, well, Jericho can always unplug her.