“Jericho!! It’s stuck … ” Kaylee’s voice can heard like klaxon across her lab and out into the corridor. “No, don’t move, you’ll just make it worse…”
Out in the corridor, at least one person falters in their steps and turns to look into the doorway.
‘Stuck’. Is a sensor that was supposed to go onto the base of Kaylee’s neck. Instead, somehow, the hacker has managed to get to it tangled in her pink hair and now, every movement, makes it worse.
The hacker’s audible sigh can be heard also. “And here I thought this was going to be just like the other times. Well…”
He pauses to peer at the tangled mess he’s got in front of them. “Well I can either rip the hair out or just cut it off, but if I do that it’s still gonna be inside you.”
The way he sounds so casual might cause more alarm outside the corridor. “Stop… squirming. You’re making it worse.” The hacker works to turn the sensor off. No reason to have it trying to put in random data while he’s got it tangled like this.
Given the way they’re positioned, the words and the tone might well cause concern. All that can seen is Jericho’s back as he ‘leans’ over the scientist. “I’m not squirming but you’re hurting each time you tug….” comes the british accented response.
“How on earth did you get it so tangled? We’ve done this a number of times already …” she sighs and gives him some time to see if he can disentagle the mess.
This was a test to see if she could project herself out into ‘the net’, just like Jericho had suggested a few weeks ago. She’d been working on it, quietly, since then and had asked for some help today.
There’s a knock at the door and someone coughs. “Is now a good time, Kay— um, I mean Agent Simmons.” Jericho will recognise the voice as a ‘Fitz’. He might recognise it as Cullen Fitz, but they all sound a lot the same. “… I I I have the data you asked on that device your working on, the one to take a digital construct into a framework.” He clears his throat again.
“Fitz. Good. Get over here and help.” That’s not likely to make things any easier. Especially not the way Jericho braces a hand on Kaylee’s shoulder to keep her steady as he works with something on the back of her neck. “The probe is stuck and I don’t want it to break off.” He could cut if off and get it out sure. But he’d also have to cut her hair and she would screech at him for that, he suspects.
He’s going to suggest she get it shorter anyway after this. How do LMD’s have hair? He’s got no idea. He’s a software guy.
“You You You ….” Fitz stutters and clears his throat again, moving closer anyway “… want want my help?” By the time Jericho can see Cullen, he’s blushing furiously. This … is awkward.
“Oh! It’s stuck. I see… ” That’s said so loudly, anyone can hear it. Kaylee right now is quiet. “Hold still Kayl… Agent Simmons, we’ll get this out.” Now there are two men behind the pink haired agent …
“What do you have for us, Fitz? ” Jericho’s right, Kaylee might screech if not asked first. As it stands, she’s not too pleased. But she might suggest that he cut it in a minute.
“What do I have for you? Oh well. Looking at the trace you gave me, it’s possible to build a translator… ” he gives a wary look to Jericho “Are you sure we should be discussing this now?” Kaylee hadn’t told him, clearly.
“Just do me a favor and see if you can get a hand in there, Kaylee stop moving, honestly you’re going to rip something out by the roots or snap this thing in two. Fitz, hurry up and get it out of her.” Jericho has still got a pretty solid grip on the pink haired agent’s sholder. If they can just get the right twist on it, this should come out pretty easy. If not they’re going to be filling out damaged equipement forms for the next forty minutes and thinking of ways to make this sound official.
Always a fun activity.
“Alright then…” Cullen works his hand under Kaylee’s hair, still blushing brightly. “Your hair is very soft, Kay– Agent Simmons…” he murmurs, face twisting as he works his hand in and … twists.
“There …” he says, not quite letting go of Kaylee’s hair when the probe comes free.
“I’m not moving, Jericho.” Kaylee mutters and sighs as the pressure on her hair eases. “Did you get it?” Yeah, she’s definitely getting it cut shorter. “Uh, Cullen, you can let my hair go now, I think. And yes, you can speak in front of Jericho, it’s for him.”
Cullen blushes some more and, if Jericho confirms it’s ok, releases Kaylee’s hair. “Right. Well. I can build a translator but I need to know the interface that I’ll be using. How will I access this digital consciousness?”
“You have to get her out of my head.” Yes, Jericho said her, and yes he said ‘his head’. So presumably it won’t be a strict hardware interface. The good news is that new Fitz knows that it’s a standard computer communications protocol. The bad news is that now he knows it’s a ‘her’.
The hacker steps back from Kaylee to let her up. He’s fiddling with the probe which seems… bent. He’s going to have to come up with a better interface than this. Call it an experiment, which it kind of us. Allowing an LMD to roam digitally. It’s not something the chassis was designed to accommodate. Nor the consciousness inside.
“Wot?” Cullen looks at Jericho in surprise, still holding Kaylee’s hair in his hand. “You’re … holding a digital consciousness?” Any reserve this Fitz-bot had felt with the Hacker is momentarily lost as Fitz gets lost in the science of it.
“Focus Fitz, and you can let my hair go now …” Kaylee mutters, straightening and looking at the probe that Jericho has. “Did we damage it?” She asks, thinking along the same lines as him. For the moment, she doesn’t share her thoughts aloud. She … doesn’t want to Fitz to know what she’s considering. But this test has been failure.
“Wot? Oh yeah, right.” Fitz lets the hair run through his fingers and focusses on Jericho “It’s possible then and easier than I anticipated, sort of. Kaylee said that the consciousness was actually running which means, we’ll need to buffer the transfer and you’ll have to hold … her … until we’re sure we have running copy.” Jericho should get the implication of that.
“You won’t be able to copy her and her runtime environment is very delicate.” The hacker says with a shake of his head. “If you try to use a digital clone her body will reject it. We have to take the file and reintegrate it with her body.” The hacker sighs. “Which… isn’t a robot. It’s, you know, a regular body.”
He’s rather giving away the game, that what he has is the digitized intelligence of a person that he’s trying to put back in it’s original body. It’s a bit more complicated than ‘agent recovery’. Jemma Simmons and Leopold Fitz never actually left their bodies. They were just backed up. This… is a new manner of thing.
“You probably should let her hair go though.” The smirk in the hacker’s voice is audible.
Kaylee hasn’t moved, she really doesn’t want to put Cullen off but she really would like her hair back. “I think I said that, Cullen, in my brief to you.” Of course, Kaylee hadn’t committed it to paper. “We need your help to take the consciousness and put it back in her body. Just assume that the Framework in which they were training failed…”
Fitz colours at Jericho smirk and lets Kaylee go rather quickly. Of course, it tangle with his finger and he has to spend a moment fixing that. Which makes him even more stuttery and unsure.
“Right. then. I’m surprised we don’t have protocol for this. I mean … frameworks must have failed in past.” He winces then, thinking on the implications of that. A number of consciousness had to have been lost. “So, I need to find a way to keep the transfer slow enough to let the consciousness reintegrate with the body and … not overload your systems. How … are you still operating?”
“Fitz!!” Kaylee sighs and gives Jericho an apologetic look.
“Sorry, sorry.” Cullen mutters. “It’s possible, Trent. And given we know your specs, slightly easier. I’ll keep working on it.” He looks at Kaylee. “I’ve got the latest translations for that journal, I just sent them to you.”
Kaylee’s quick to speak now, fearing what might come next “Thank you. I’ll check them over. Your help is appreciated. If there’s anything you need from me, work wise … you just have to ask.” Qualified! “Is there anything else you need to ask Jericho?”
Fitz looks a little downcast and sighs before looking back to the Hacker “How long do we have for this translator?” Once he gets that answer, he’ll be out here.
“As soon as possible.” He doesn’t answer how he’s still operating but the answer is ‘barely’. It’s been rather dangerous truth be told and he’s got the scars to prove it. “I won’t keep Kaylee too long. I know you two have dinner coming up.”
Needling the pink hair-ed biochem a bit more? Possibly. She did mention though that Fitz had been asking. He’s pretty sure at some point she said she accepted?
Maybe he’s not remembering that right. Either way he grins.
For now though, Cullen will have to go. Once he is the hacker turns to the biochem. “Did you want a look at those journal entries before I left?”
“We do?” Cullen looks a bit surprised and looks at Kaylee who shakes her head. “Not tonight…” she hedges and ushers the Fitz-bot out the door.
“If you want help, you have to stop doing that. I’m not going on a date with Cullen.” she sighs as the door closes behind him.
She might have to at some point, the Fitz LMD has been exceptionally helpful and clearly likes Kaylee in a way she doesn’t return.
“I do… and I don’t…” the pinkhaired scientist murmurs, tapping at the keys and bringing the entries up, displaying them on the holo screen above the work table.
These entries are about a year after Jemma started encoding her diary. The word ‘unresolved’ still appears and this time, he can see that she’s replaced the original word.
//They need my help in Unresolved, on the ground. But there’s concerns about my physical safety. They’re going to take a back up of my mind and download it to one of the new Android chassis. Noone at the outpost will know it’s not me, the technology is that good. I just hope it’s enough to help them. There’s been several injuries already and no one really knows what they’re dealing with.//
“Mmmm. So the Jemma that went to Unresolved wasn’t Jemma at all.” Jericho has is left arm braced on the table. He’s favoring his right arm quite a bit. “And they felt it necessary not to let anyone know. I wonder…”
That does mean that Jemma herself would not have had any memories of any of the incidents at this station.
“That… does imply that you’re not a direct copy of Jemma Simmons. You might be a copy of a copy.” Or… well, it’s possible she’s the original copy. It’s hard to say. The SHIELD data stamps are difficult to read on purpose less in the ‘encrypted’ way and more in the ‘obtuse’ way.
“It can’t really hurt to throw him a bone, Kaylee. I’m not saying lead the man on. But if he understands that you don’t have any intentions, what can a date by way of saying thanks for the help hurt?”
“Does it pain you?” Kaylee is observant and notices things. With Jericho, it’s fairly obvious and it makes her frown. “Can … I do anything.” she smirks “A massage perhaps?” Despite the smirk, there’s a degree of seriousness behind that last comment.
“But you’re correct, it doesn’t seem like Jemma went to Unresolved herself, they sent … a LMD. Which might or might not have been me.” She looks at Jericho then, frowing some more. “Let’s assume I’m a copy of copy, even the original copy … why can’t I remember it?”
There’s more entries though, about another month on from the last one.
//So many dead and injured. The survivors are mentally scarred for life. They keep babbling about ‘demonic hoardes’ and creatures that attacked them. The vivid descriptions are enough to make my skin creep – barbed tails, pointed ears and so very, very strong. My android self is no help. She got as many out as she could, but something got her before she got to the portal and now she is broken. We’re trying to distill her program to capture whatever we can.//
Kaylee sighs at Jericho’s comment and shakes her head “Because it doesn’t work like that, Jericho …” She’s from a different era – perhaps her experience is different. “If I can convince him it’s not a date, I might. But I don’t want there to be any mistake about it.”
“Bullet holes usually do.” The hacker murmurs. He’s no stranger to being shot but it doesn’t hurt any less each time. If anything it hurts more. A LOT more. He’s not old, really, but he’s certainly not as young as he used to be.
“The outpost was abandoned it sounds like and in a hurry. Under attack. Demonic hordes…” He knows of one place that certainly has demons. Might it be the same? It doesn’t really occur to him that it might be another? How many places like that can there be?
“Alright, so more clues. A program like that will have left records, somewhere. If SHIELD purged theirs, maybe we can pick some up from another source. Sounds like it was a joint effort.”
“You got shot?” That’s news to Kaylee and she’s tugging at Jericho’s shirt. He can either roll his sleeve up or take it off, she doesn’t care but she wants to look at the wound. “She’s been quiet …” Anastasia she means “… no more thin lipped looks at me, at least.”
“There was that requisition order, remember? The one I found with the same encryption. I’ll track it through there – that equipment went to Limbo. Do you think … ” she shakes her head. Maybe. But no use jumping to conclusions, yet. “There’s only a few places that SHIELD would have teamed with at the time. Defence. Maybe a Government Science Directorate. I … can’t think of anything of others.”
“DARPA, likely, but there may have been interantional partners.” Jericho says. “I’ll see what I can find out. Sneaking around government computer systems is dangerous and they don’t like it but I have some contacts that might tell me a few things.” He retired with honors after all, there are some advantages to that.
The hacker rolls his eyes and rolls his sleeve up. His shoulder is bandaged. Beneath the bandage there’s a slowly healing gunshot wound right through the meat. Missed his bone by milimeters.
“So will I.” Poking around the SHIELD computer systems might actually get her in trouble, but that’s something Kaylee will deal with. “Never know what big brother has hidden.” It still doesn’t answer why she can’t remember it – unless she’s not a copy of that copy.
As the sleeve is rolled up, Kaylee watches and ‘tsks’ “Don’t you roll your eyes at me, Jericho. When I got shot, it was because you pushed me infront of the bullet.” No, she’s not forgotten. Still, she takes her time to examine it and nods slowly “Whoever did this, did an ok job. Maybe … you should limit your time in the field until your other issue is resolved.”
“Yeah. And you were fine the next day, which is why I did. Us poor creatures made of meat have to deal with actually healing.” Jeriicho mutters, wincing as the Biochem examines him.
“I’ll try but events are moving quickly and we have to as well. Don’t worry, I know how this works. It’s not the first time that I’ve worked injured.”
Usually he recovers faster but that’s not an option at the moment.
“Well, I think I can fix this thing. Might take me a couple hours. Do you want to give it another go or do you want to go get a haircut?”
“I was not. It take a couple of days to fix my chassis, thank you.” Kaylee’s snarking and she knows it. She doesn’t like being reminded she’s a machine – most times she just forgets.
“Next time, come and see me. Wake me up if you have to – you know where I live. I’ll make sure there won’t be any lasting injury.”
“We can try again, if you’re careful. I was thinking of something other than the probe though. What about sensors on the points on of the skull? Then I could make a ‘hat’.” She looks at him, snorting softly “And I’ll get haircut anyway. That … was uncomfortable.”
And when she gets looks in the corridors, awkward.
“That’d probably work. Just need sensors sensitive enough. I’ll probably have to take apart another EEG.” Or they can get Fitz to do it but Kaylee proooobably doesn’t want to do that.
Jericho nods. “I will. If there’s time.” Sometimes there isn’t, but then she’s seen the kind of work he gets into. And at the moment he’s a lot less mobile than he used to be. “Why don’t you go get that taken care of. I should be ready to try again by the time you’re back.”
“You do that.” Kaylee has access to transport too and if he called, she’d be there. And no, she’s not asking Cullen for anymore favours.
Funny she’d rather owe Jericho, isn’t it?
“Alright, I will. See you in a bit.” Making sure her workstation is locked down, the biochem grabs her jacket. Heavens knows what her hair will look like when she gets back.