R and R time notwithstanding Jericho has work to do and he is nothing if not dedicated to the mission that he has set out for himself. Sometimes that mission takes him far and wide, and sometimes that mission keeps him close to home. Today it was something that had him working quietly in one of the nicer areas of Chicago, piggybacking a wireless signal through a corporate router while he tries to break into a Russian server farm half way across the world.
The nice thing is he can do this while in a park and sipping coffee, maybe even carrying on a conversation. And it was a nice conversation too… until he’d spotted something on one of his cameras. It was hard to tell. A tear or something. A disk. He only glimpsed it for a moment but memories of Limbo surface rapidly and have him sitting up and tugging on his coat collar as he searches the cameras for a couple blocks around trying to get a fix on anything unusual.
Hrm. Nothing yet…
Kaylee is supposed to be meeting Jericho, somewhere around here. She’d been held up in the lab – an occurence that doesn’t happen often – and is hurrying along the pavement to his location.
“On my way, Jericho.” she speaks, her wearable transmitting her call. “The last of my tests got a little hairy… and I had to deal with them.” Hairy. She might mean literally, knowing what she does.
She hasn’t seen what he has, but he can see her – coat, jacket and hikers – as she heads in direction. Only a few minutes more and she’ll be with him.
Jericho stands up from his bench and starts to look around. “Sounds good.” He says distractedly. Nope. He still hasn’t seen anything. He’s positive he saw a flicker of something that didn’t look right. He might have not seen it correctly but he doesn’t make that kind of mistake often. Not often at all.
“Jericho!” That’s Kaylee’s voice. He looks over to see her waving, having taken apparently a shortcut through one of the corporate complexes. They’re not alleys per se but they’re not frequently travelled this time of day and the distance is shorter.
The hacker turns to head over that way. He’ll be well on his way by the time Kaylee arrives.
It was probably just an artifact on the lens of Jericho’s camera. The sun hitting at just the right angle or something. “You ok?” Kaylee asks as she hurries along, getting a glimpse of Jericho heading *away* from her as she arrives.
“Where the hell are you going? I told you I wasn’t far…” The biochem huffs and hurries after the Hacker. “Jericho???”
“Hey!” ‘Kaylee’ smiles at Jericho as he gets closer. “I wanted to get some coffee. Come with?”
“I could have gotten some for you by drone you know.” Jerihco says.
“I know but there’s a specific place-”
Jericho frowns as he hears his name called and half turns. That sounds like… Kaylee?
He glances back behind him as ‘Kaylee’ grabs his wrist.
“Come on. I could really use a pick me up…”
The hacker looks downward and blinks.
“What happened to your traces, Kaylee?”
His eyes are narrowed. Something is not… right…
“Jericho!” Kaylee calls out loudly now, breaking into a run towards the Hacker. “That’s … her. Krazee Kaylee…”
This is bad. They knew KK wouldn’t rest but Kaylee hadn’t expected this. This doppelganger doesn’t behave like she does. Or perhaps she does, if Kaylee was to suspend the behaviour of polite company.
“Leave him alone, Kaylee… ” She’s too far for her traces to do anything and a damn ICER pistol won’t really affect a LMD.
Krazee Kaylee jabs Jericho with something. It looks like a needle. His traces flash and then go dead. She smirks. “Come along now.”
Jericho wretches free and judo throws the LMD into the wall. Then he turns to bolt toward the actual Kaylee and make some space.
KK blinks, dazed as she’s suddenly and violently relocated.
“Well… alright then.”
“Jericho!” Kaylee reaches the Hacker as he runs towards her. She saw his traces die and KK go flying.
They’ve a slight advantage, with the mind addled LMD dazed as she is.
“What’s your status.” The biochem asks Jericho, her own traces glowing azure and a shield forming in front of them. “She wants you for some reason and that can’t be good.” With Jericho out of the line of fire, she draws her pistol. Not her ICER, the military issue one, and starts backing them up.
Back the way they had come.
“Traces are out. I only have network functions.” Jericho pulls his own weapon and begins to open fire. The coilgun rounds – little bits of ferric metal – slam into the LMD chassis at a couple of times the speed of sound but that doesn’t seem to deter KK who, despite jerking from the impacts, runs right at her fleshy counterpart.
“YOU! You should have been put to rest long ago. YOU STOLE MY BODY!”
She seems mad about that and in more than one way, swinging wildly from mood to mood. Her eyes wild, her hair disheveled and she’s bleeding from a dozen shots though Kaylee well knows the cosmetic damage is only that.
“Then it’s a good thing you’re a trained soldier…” Kaylee quips opening up herself on her counterpart. The bullets won’t do much, unless they get lucky and hit one of the vital pieces of machinery. Where’s a fire axe when you need one?
“How many times do I have to tell you?” The biochem says patiently “You were stealing my mind. Besides, ownership is nine tenths of the law.”
She’s goading her, trying to keep the LMD off balance.
“What *were* you going to do if you’d been successful?” She can try again, at least. “I’ll try to slow her down and you get out of here.” She says to Jericho. He knows that means she’s going to have to drop that shield in the next few seconds and use the other function of her tracers.
“And outrun an LMD how?” Jericho is well aware of what LMD’s can do and highly trained, highly fit solider or not he is not going to be able to outrun Kaylee. Well, the robot, insane version of her.
Instead as KK lunges at the real thing he fades off to the side and pulls a knife. Gun and knife. It’s a particular style of close quarters combat he’s trained in. If he can get the blade between the C4 and 5 vertebrae on the robotic skeleton…
KK for her part slams into the shield, pushes through it when Kaylee drops it and to get a good enough grip for a throw.
“I’d hold her …” Kaylee knows it’s desperate but she won’t let the LMD have Jericho.The shield drops allowing KK to lunge forward. She’ll act as the distraction then – KK clearly isn’t going to answer any questions, is she?
Stumbling back, the swarm of light lifts from her traces and starts buzz about the LMD, etching tiny symbols on her skin. Kaylee has to struggle to stay upgright and keep KK’s grip from her. How long she’ll avoid that is any guess but all she has to do is keep her focussed and start to disable her.
KK is much stronger than Kaylee, full stop but that’s not surprising. She’s much stronger than any human unaugmented and it looks like she’s overriden some of the safety features on her frame. Or maybe they were damaged when she got disabled the first time.
Jericho doesn’t take long to strike. He spins in and plants the knife with expert precision. KK jerks back then falls forward putting her full limp weight onto Kaylee.
Jericho… might have been right about her being heavy when she was an LMD.
They’re… in a public area. With a woman. With a knife sticking out of her. They need to clean this up and quick.
Kaylee is well aware that KK is stronger and faster and … better … than her and she moves to avoid her, not trying to engage her.
With the weight of the disabled LMD on her, Kaylee squeaks a bit. Jericho hadn’t been lying about the weight. “Can can you get her off of me?” She’s thinking. “I’ll call a SHIELD team in to retrieve us…” For now though, there’s an alcove just over there where they can drag KK. It will seem less suspcious or obvious, at least.
“Search her. Find what she stuck you with, I’ll want to analyse it. How are you feeling, by the way?”
Jericho digs in the LMD’s pockets to find a syringe. “Here you go. I’m okay but I’m still on adrenaline. Ask me in a few minutes…”
The hacker gets his hands under KK’s arms to drag her and is just starting this process when the LMD’s eyes snap back open. Her hand shoots out, grabs Jericho by the throat and slams him into her… own forehead. Which is of course made of metal. And knocks him out cold.
“Rebooting. Processes online. Did you really think that was going to take me out, Kaylee?”
Kaylee pockets the syringe and turns to help Jericho, just in time to see the Hacker drop. “Ack!” That had been too easy, hadn’t it? “Jericho…” Her eyes dart to the Hacker and then back to KK. There’s a transport incoming, it shouldn’t take *too* long to get here.
“Would you believe me if I said yes, I did? You’re a bit of a pushover, really…” this might not be her best idea, but it’s all she’s got at the moment as she circles slowly, trying to make it difficult for KK to get her.
“Well if you did think that, I suppose it’s good for me.” Kaylee pats Jericho’s cheek and pushes him away. He rolls to the side limp as the LMD executes a martial arts style instant stand and pulls the knife out of the back of her neck. The hole sparks. There is defintiely some damaged electronics.
“You don’t have to stay you know. He’s coming with me, but you can go on your little way. Play with the other fake simmonses. The copies of copies of copies. Little puppets, content with their strings.”
Pinoccio reference. Of course.
It crosses Kaylee’s mind to wonder if that’s why she’d been so … unhappy … as a LMD. KK’s influence had exerted itself from the outset.
Seeing the damage in the neck, Kaylee does a visual and mental catalogue. There’s the junction box on the corner of the building, she just has to get that open – or overload it and shove the LMD against it.
There’s her weapon and a tazer.
“You’re not taking Jericho, you know that.” the biochem says quietly, turning slowly enough to get KK to follow her. She might be able to set that box off – she’ll just have to hope that Jericho will be ok.
“Oh? Why do you care? It’s not like he’s going to do anything other than eventually kill himself.” Kaylee circles the other one and when her fleshy counterpart starts to withdraw, follows warily at a distance.
“He doesn’t value his own life, you know that. If ever there were a man in need of a psychiatrist, it’s him. He’ll destroy himself for his cause. Run himself into the ground, hollow himself out. He’ll be an empty shell of pain and loss far before the mercy of his death. Why would you wish that on him?”
The LMD flips the knife in it’s hand to hold it blade first. Perfect for throwing…
“And what, you’ll take him to do what?” Kaylee answers, edging slowly around, drawing the LMD away from the downed Hacker towards the junction box. The knife has nervous though – Kaylee isn’t a action hero by any stretch of the imagination and KK is LMD with all the associated benefits.
“To answer your question though, he doesn’t have to be like that and we’ll get him help, are getting him help… ” beat “… I think there’s something you aren’t saying though…” beat “He’s very good looking, isn’t he?” Please, please don’t wake up and hear her saying this.
Just a few steps more and hopefully, her traces will help create the circuit she needs.
“Mmmmmhmmmm.” Kaylee takes another step forward and flips the knife again. The bot is looking her over like she’s trying to decide something. “Of course you’d notice that. And you’re right. You’re right to notice that. Of course I know you. You miss… Will. Don’t you. You think about him every night. And how he was taken by that creature and worn as a skin. The Hive. You’d give anything to go back and change that, wouldn’t you…”
She’s close enough to carry the charge now but… it’s probably going ot hurt.
Kaylee can’t help the wince and recoil as Will is mentioned. “I …I would do things differently if I was in the same situation again.” That’s not the same as going back and changing things but KK might not get the nuance. Kaylee can’t help the shine in her eyes as memories of the NASA astronaut are bought to mind.
Not that it distracts her too much, and perhaps there’s a touch of malevolance in her next actions. The swarm streams out from her traces and hits the junction box and then swarms into that hole in the back of the LMD’s neck.
Oh man is this going to hurt.
The current has to go through her own traces – through her body – and yes it hurts. The shock though arcs into the unprotected frame of the LMD and courses up the spinal area, overloading critical components. KK spasms and jerks like a real human would and then collapses backward, smoking. Seconds after she hits the ground, spidery glowing runes manifest on her skin and she simply fades out of existance.
She’s… gone? Probably?
Kaylee screams as the electricity arcs through her and the smell of charring flesh fills the air. Hers or KK’s, she can’t tell. Gritting her teeth she holds the electricity flow – goodness knows what this will do to her but it has to be done.
When the LMD collapses, she still holds the flow – wanting to be sure that this time the creature is out properly.
The scream becomes one mingled with frustration as the LMD disappears. Kaylee collapses to the ground, the glowing swarm retracting into her traces – faints sparks playing over the lines as her breathing heaves.
“Jericho …” she grits out, almost crawling to where he lays. “This is Agent Simmons. I have two injured agents, I need a priority pickup at my location.” That’s into her comms.
“Roger that Agent Simmons. We are two mintues out. Are you mobile?” If not the agents are going to have to haul her and Jericho into the Quinnjet. The good news is the hacker is breathing. Which makes sense. KK seemed to want him alive. What for is still a rather disturbing question.
In the distance Kaylee can hear the whine of the jet engine. They might have been overestimating when they said two minutes.
Kaylee pulls herself against the wall, crying out in pain again as the burns grate against the brickwork. She manages to pull Jericho’s head into her lap and smooth his hair back, reassuring herself he’s alright. “We are not. Extent of our injuries are unknown. Glitch is out, suspected head trauma. I have extensive burns over my body – degree and extent unknown. Log a sighting for the rogue the Simmons LMD chassis and locate Warwitch, have her meet us when we land.”
“Hold on Jericho, we’ll be in med bay soon enough.”
The voice on her comm acknowledges her instructions and soon enough she can hear voices. SHIELD agents. Everything is going to be okay. For now. But Kaylee has to know that her crazed self will be back. And what it is she wants?
It’s possible even she doesn’t know.
Waylaid, hijacked. Jericho and Kaylee come face to face with Krazee Kaylee. She only wants a coffee...
January 27, 2052