It hadn’t taken all that long to transport Jericho and Kaylee to the medbay. Jericho had been scanned and checked and placed observation. He hasn’t woken up yet.
Kaylee had been badly burned and had needed treatment and antibiotics. There’s little more to do for her but give her pain killers, keep her quiet and watch her as well. She’s wearing a gown – that covers her well enough and sitting in a chair next to Jericho’s bed, dozing a little with a tablet resting in her lap.
Jericho opens his eyes and blinks a couple of times. Kaylee can hear the change in the rhythem of the heart monitor. That will tell her that he’s awake. As well the ‘owwww…’.
“I have the world’s most massive headache…” He turns to look at Kaylee and frowns at the gown. “You had time to get changed? How long have I been out?”
Rousing herself, Kaylee opens her eyes and nearly drops the tablet on the floor. The act of moving so quickly pulls the burns and she winces herself. “Jericho …” Tablet put aside, she moves to his bed and smooths his hair back from his forehead. “Long enough. Several hours. The scans we did said she hadn’t done any permanent damage but … head injuries are tricky.”
“Let me get you something for the headache … and check you over.” There’ll be a SHIELD MD along any moment now, but that’s not going stop Kaylee.
“What do you remember?”
“Uh…” Jericho thinks. “Waiting for you. KK showing up. We fought. I stabbed her. She grabbed me and…”
Well that’s not too bad. He frowns, not sure quite how he’d wound up out of it. “I’m guessing she smacked me in the head for how bad it hurts. You must have dealt wit her alone then.”
The hacker lets out a quiet sigh. “Thank you. That can’t have been esay.” He knows better than most that her powers aren’t well suited to direct combat and she’s not trained for it anyway.
“Did anything… I should know about happen?”
“She grabbed you and neutralised your traces. I’m analysing the syringe that we found. Do you want pills or intravenous drugs for the pain?” He’s probably going to say nothing, but she’ll override that. He can have the chance to do the right thing.
“She played possum, I think.” Kaylee murmurs. “When you were moving her, she hit you. Drove your head into the wall. She wants you, Jericho and she was prepared to do away with me to get you.” Which is interesting. Kaylee has the clone body and traces.
“It was easier than you might think, in a way. I just had to get her into a position so I could electrocute her.” She winces as she moves, pausing to let the pain pass “And in others, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Anything you should know about? How about she just dissolved in a arcane fizzle when I beat her?”
“Any idea how she managed that?” Jericho tries to sit up but then thinks better of it. He still feels a little woozy and the scans by the MD later will confirm that he has a concussion.
Disconnecting Jericho from his traces would be… difficult. The logical place to start would be at the interface between man and machine in his brain but exactly how that might work… well. Good thing she’s a biochemist.
“So….. from that I take it to mean we don’t have a body and I should keep looking over my shoulder…”
He sighs. “What about me is so interesting?”
Kaylee helps Jericho to sit, setting the machine to adminster some painkillers. He’ll feel the effect of those in a moment. It’s possible that the wooziness is amplified by those, too. But concussion is definitely there. “You’re lucky you have such hard head. She might have seriously injured you, otherwise.”
“I don’t know, but it looked like transporter tech. A bit like Star Trek but with purple lights in the shape of arcane symbols.”
Because it can’t a mutant ability. Nor can it be magic, can it?
“She seems to think you’re going to burn yourself out and wanted to save you from that.” the biochem answers quietly, sitting on the edge of Jericho’s bed, watching him. “She really wasn’t making a lot of sense and I was a bit preoccupied with trying to get you back.”
“I’d suspect it was magic personally. She’s connected to a demon. I’d have to ask Anastasia, since I’ve never actually seen anyone but her do magic but her but… that sounds like what it might be.”
This is not something Kaylee wil lwant to hear but… you know.
“She… wanted to save me… by injecting me with something to remove my ability to control my traces and then presumably abducting me?” The hacker looks at Kaylee. “It’s a little difficult to believe you two used to be the same person’
“It can’t be magic, Jericho. That doesn’t exist…” Kaylee dismisses that notion in a way that says she believes him but doesn’t want to. “But maybe you should ask Anastasia anyway…” He can do that. Kaylee is uneasy around the blonde.
“I’m sure she thinks she’s doing the right thing by her standards … I just can’t seem what her standards are. She’s like the complete opposite to me, in everything.” And that there, might be a small clue about the LMD. “I’m concerned she disabled your traces so easily. Nothing in the research that I’ve read has said anything about that. No one thought it was possible.”
Jericho just looks at Kaylee with a look that says ‘Suuuuuuuuuure.’ She’s seen magic. She knows there are things out there she can’t understand. But he gets not wanting to… confront that.
“She’s need a detailed, indeed intimate understanding of how they work to pull that off. And I hope it’s permanent. But… perhaps she’s accessed something of Jemma’s memories that you haven’t, or you don’t have for some reason. There has to be a reason that she’s so interested in my traces.”
His traces. Not him. That’s it, right?
Kaylee returns Jericho look with beatific one. Let her have her fantasies.
“Maybe she has something that I don’t remember, but I’ve got that serum and that should tell us much. I’ll go through Jemma’s notes and journal again, see what I can find.”
It’s possible that Jemma had found stuff after Kaylee’s imprint was taken. More likely though, like the other memories – they’ve been locked away.
“She’s interested in you, Jericho. She wasn’t talking about your traces or what you could do. She wasn’t interested in my traces or want to know where Gabrielle was. She … wanted you. To ‘save’ you.”
“Save me, eh? One one wonders exactly how.” Jericho doesn’t really want to delve into that too much. KK is crazy and the things she wants are not necessarily driven by any logic but her own.
“Well. She is sure to be back. She seems to have a a way of getting to places she really shouldnt. What is SHIELD doing about her? Or… does SHIELD really know about the threat she poses?”
“SHIELD knows enough …” Kaylee answers, wincing again as she goes to run her hand through her hair. “… they know all of it, before you ask but I doubt they truly grasp the importance of it. I … didn’t understand about Limbo, even though I’d read about it.”
Well read Jemma’s notes on it. Those she could decrypt at least.
“She’s going to take you with her … to Limbo, I suspect, if that’s where N’astirh resides. I think she thinks she’ll save you from yourself.” Jericho might well question why Kaylee thinks that.
“I won’t suggest we give you a SHIELD detail. If you want one though, I will…”
That finally has Jericho. smirking a bit. “SHIELD cant keep up with me for the most part. I’d have to protect them more than they protect me, unless they want to assign me an Avenger Unit. And they dont. Its not like those grow on trees.”
“N’astirh seems really interested in the traces and I am not sure I understand why. He’s almost obsessed though. I wouldn’t put it past himm to deccide that I am too difficult a target and start looking at you or Gabby.” Gabby is probably also a diffficult target truth be told.
The hacker scrubs his face. “There is just too much we don’t know. We need to find another source of information on this. Were you the only Simmons from your imprint?”
“I know and I really wouldn’t want to torment our Agents like that. It’s bad enough for me…” she’s teasing a bit. “N’astirh is though. I’ve been thinking about that and I can’t extrapolate why. If he wanted to exert the control that Anastasia has, he could just do that.The problem is we’ve not seen where his interest fixes … and I’m not complaining about that.”
She looks concerned that the demon might come after her but there’s not a lot she can do about it, except becareful. Right?
“I … believe so. I was one of the first, really. But what are you thinking? My copy must in the databanks somewhere…”
Jericho is silent on that for a few mintues as he turns possilities over in his head. “Unless… he can’t. Its possible tht Anastasia’s control is unique to her or at least…something endemic to Rasputina clones. There aren’t that many so it is hard to test but it certainly is a possibility.” Does that help them at all?
“I was thinking that yes. There must be a master file from which you were uploaded. It is a bit tricky but it is possible we might be able to detect hidden memories by taking a scan of you and comparing it to that master file. That is… assuming it doesnt blow up in our faces.”
“We’ve not asked her directly …” she looks at Jericho. He might have to do that or at least facilitate it, Kaylee is skittish about the blonde. “We’ve the Rasputin consciounesses in the frameworks, maybe we could test with them? But what if they needed to have been to Limbo to … I don’t know, activate it?”
“Everything about my imprint seems to be a ticking bomb.” Kaylee sighs, turning to the look out the window of his room. It only shows the rest of the med bay but it gives her time to think. “Could we run the scan up in a framework? Would that help us?”
“There are an awful lot of secrets attached to you…” Jericho muses and seems to get another idea. “I wonder. Can we find out who has been administering the Agent Recovery Program? There’s so many coincidences here I find it hard to believe that they could have happened without someone knowing about it.”
Surely over the course of 50 odd years the administrators have changed but there also can’t have been that many of them. Can there?
“We can run the scan in a framework yes. That might be the safest thing to do. I certainly wouldn’t want to bring another Simmons online just to use her as a guinea pig.” Her. To use her. Different than how Jericho would have reacted to Simmons a year ago.
Jericho Trent has partially disconnected.
Kaylee gives Jericho a look. It’s hard to read it but it might be a mix of fear and hurt. “I suppose there are. I wonder what Jemma knew that she wasn’t saying.” There’s still her journal but that’s proving extremely reluctant to give up its messages.
“The current administrator is Agent Samuel McLain. A LMD, actually who’s been in the same role for several years. We can go and talk to him, if you think it would help?” What would they ask him though? //Do you know of any anomalies with Kaylee’s imprint?//
“Then we’ll use the Framework to do that.” Kaylee notes the difference in how Jericho speaks of the LMD’s “I doubt they’ll give me another chassis, anyway.”
Jericho cantsh is head at the look. He hadn’t meant that personally but he and Kaylee have known for some time that there had to be some manner of ulterior motive in waking her up. There are too many variables in play and it’s been too strange and detrimental as a whole. The hacker is still operating under the theory that there’s something in her head that they need.
But that’s mostly because he doesn’t like the other theory: That N’astirh or some other outside power is calling the shots. That… deserves a look probably, though.
“It might help but I think we want to do some research too.” Jericho pauses and frowns a bit though. “Whose imprint is Agent McLain, though?”
Kaylee gives Jericho a faint smile at the cant. She knows the reality of her existence but still. Jericho’s right though, there’s something about Kaylee that’s of interest.
“Agent McLain is an imprint Alistair McLain one of the original SHIELD researchers on Adamantium, actually. They’ve been administering the Agent Recovery Program for the last thirty years, if my information is correct.”
“Ah. I thought, perhaps, that SHIELD had somehow gotten a copy of the most famous cop who never was.” He means John McLean but you know. Yippee-Kai-Yay?
“Interesting that one person should have been overseeing the program for so long. And an LMD no less. Though… even taking it back thirty years, that’s probably still not around when your imprint would have been taken. Was it?” How old had Jemma been when that happened? Jericho doesn’t know but he’d gotten the impression that she’d been younger. Or well, around the same age as Kaylee is now, biologically.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t ask. Were you hurt during your fight with KK? You look… burned.”
“Who?” Kaylee blinks clearly not thinking about Die Hard. It has to be a leap of logic, doesn’t it?
“No, he wasn’t. He’d be the third director of that program. His progenitor being the second, the first was Doctor Holden Radcliffe. The man who created them to begin with.” beat “It would have been Doctor Holden who took my imprint, I believe.”
Jemma had certainly been younger at the time, about Kaylee’s apparent age now. “Maclain probably has a lot of the history though.”
The question has her looking at him and nodding slowly. “Uh. Yeah. When I electrocuted KK, I had to overload a power box and direct the surge into her. I … used my traces.” Pulling her sleeve back a bit, Jericho can see the red skin and associated blisters. No, that can’t be comfortable.
“Officer John McLane, NYPD.” Jericho says as though the man were a real person. He isn’t but one might be forgiven for thinking that the way the hacker is talking.
He winces when he sees the injuries she took. “Short circuited her after we’d punctured her faraday cage though. Clever.” Did she have to use her body as a conductor though? Strictly speaking probably not but she really hasn’t learned how to do otherwise yet.
“Do you trust the man?” That Jericho will ask is telling. SHIELD agents should be above reproach but… well, he’s paranoid like that. It doesn’t help that he’s been right about being paranoid before.
“John … McLane …” Kaylee frowns “I didn’t think you knew anyone in New Yor— ” The frown deepens and she levels a look at the hacker “You’re talking about a cop from a movie?” She sounds a little outraged.
“She was going to disable me, possibly kill me and take you and I couldn’t have that. I just didn’t know what else to do. Even with my traces, I’m not really a fighter. Defensively I might have held out but I needed to stop her and fast. It was all I could think to do and I couldn’t see how I get a circuit. It’s not like I could push her onto it.”
“Do I trust Agent Maclain? As much as I trust anyone, Jericho. There are days now though, that I don’t even trust myself…” beat “We should talk to him but not let everything slip.”
“Only the greatest cop ever to live.” Jericho says with equal but quite fake outrage. He knows what he’s done and no, he’s not sorry. He’s smirking just a little bit.
“Well I very much appreciate you not letting her. That would have been bad for both of us. I’m not sure for whom it would have been worse but it hardly matters I think.” He takes a breath.
“We’ll talk to MacLaine. But in the meantime I think… unfortunately… we need to get ahold of a Fitz…”
“Jericho. He’s a fictional character … and I think Martin Riggs is far better.” Kaylee quips.
“Of course. She wasn’t going to have you, Jericho. You’re my … ” she pauses for a moment, colouring slightly “… friend. And friends don’t let that happen to one another.”
“Why unfortunately and why speak to Fitz? Ioan and Cullen are still … well, they’ve forgiven me.”
“Well unfortunately because I think you’re going to have to sweet talk them a bit.” Jericho rubs the back of his neck in the way he does when he’s thinking through something the implications of which might be slightly uncomfortable.
“Fitz because he’s good with the mechanics of things and I want to go over my recordings of your LMD body and compare it to what the specs say it should be. I think it’s past time we really, really looked at what secrets your, er, former shell might have been hiding. We know there were odd things about it but I never thought to do a… detailed mechanical analysis. Seemed… rude.”
Now he’s coloring.
“I //always// have to sweet talk them, Jericho…” Kaylee answers with a sigh. She hadn’t expected anything else. Cullen at least had forgiven her for kidnapping him. Or for KK kidnapping him. And both the Fitz-bots still seem to have ideas about her.
“You didn’t want to inspect my body, Jericho?” the biochem teases lightly, seeing him colour and colouring herself. “It’s SCIENCE! It’s the right thing to do. I can’t believe that I didn’t think of it myself…”
Why hadn’t she.
“We can do that when they release us from here.”
“Well I’m certainly not going to be the one sweet talking them.” Jericho points out. The Fitzes haven’t trusted him ever since he beat one of them into inoperability with a pipe wrench. It’s… hard to blame them for that really? But it makes things difficult.
Jericho swallows and coughs. “Not while you were still inhabiting it. Hi. I’d like to open up your frame and look for defects. If that isn’t the world’s worst pickup line it might also be a bit insulting on top of that.”
“And I will and I’ll probably go out with them to make them happy…” No the Fitzes hadn’t trusted Jericho since he beat Arthur senseless but they had seen how he treated Kaylee. That … goes some way, at least.
“You weren’t trying to pick me up, Jericho. It was a SCIENCE! and if you’d suggested it, I would have agreed.” Still Kaylee colours as she glances at him. “You’re right though. I wouldn’t recommend using that on another woman. You’re likely to get punched. But we have the scans and the blueprints. We might find something that way.”
“Er, no. I wouldn’t even use that on another LMD.” Because it might get him punched. Or worse it might get him, er, accepted. Punched would probably be worse though. Metal hands and all.
“I’ll try to find us some place to do this away from prying eyes. Probably at an Institute facility. We posssssibly don’t want SHIELD to know we’re doing this.”
“Appreciate you taking one for the team though.” That is, taking a Fitz out on a date. Jericho is not a woman but Gabby had authoritatively told him that Fitzes talked waaaay too much.
Kaylee snorts softly, her eyes showing the painkillers are slowly wearing off. “I don’t mind the Fitz’s. After all Jemma did marry Leo, eventually….” It had just not worked out that way for Kaylee.
Doctor Gilderoy enters at that moment and looks at the pair of them. “Jericho, you have a concussion, we’ll want to monitor you for a little while longer. If you don’t show any more signs in the next four hours, I’ll release you. Agent Simmons, you’re on light duties till those burns heal. I’ve got painkillers and antibiotics for you.” He lets out a sigh “Am I going to have any trouble keeping you here?”
That’s more to Jericho than Kaylee.
“You might if I thought I could stand.” Jericho says as he leans back. “As it is I think I’ll skip the trouble today unless I find the jell-o unsatisfactory. Tell me they have a flavor other than lime.” The hacker glances to Kaylee and closes his eyes smirking.
Doctor Gilderoy likely knows he’s joking but he can be such a little pain sometimes.
“That’s good. It would be awkward to have to restrain you…” Gilderoy answers, rolling his eyes just a little. Jericho has a reputation, that’s for sure. “And yes indeedy we do. There’s lime and there’s lime and if you’re a very good boy, there’s orange as well…”
“Agent Simmons, take your meds – you will be experiencing pain as your wounds heal and you don’t need to.” It seems he might know Kaylee, just a little. “Now, if neither of you have any questions, I have other patients to see…”
Kaylee shakes her head and settles on a chair next to Jericho’s bed – she might have perched up next to him but it really does hurt to touch anyone. “No Doctor, thank you. We’ll just … watch something and be quiet for a bit.”
“Die Hard.” Jericho says without opening his eyes. And if the hospital holo vid doesn’t get it… he can fix that. Kaylee is going to be educated about the greatest police officer who ever lived.
“And take your meds, Kaylee.” Jericho says, mimicking the doctor as he leaves.