Agent MacClain’s office is orderly. It’s down in the engineering and science section of the SHIELD office in Chicago. It’s not far from the LMD storage rooms. Storage, naturally. They don’t fabircate them on site, though they can fabricate parts. The basic chassis come from elsewhere.
What Agent McClain does is administate the files of the ones who are awakened and assist in maintaining the database of consciousnesses that are uploaded into them. He is a quiet and serious man, being an LMD himself. Not… really much of a sense of humor.
Jericho looks at the door to his office and looks to Kaylee. “You first.” He mutters.
“So gallant.” Kaylee murmurs as she leads them into the office. “Agent MacClain? Agent Cailean Simmons and Jericho Trent. We were hoping to get a moment of your time.” she asks the man who’s sitting at the desk working.
He will recognise her of course and might think she’s a LMD – he’d be forgiven for thinking so. Kaylee is a bit of an oddity when it comes to this.
“Hey you’re the agent not me.” Jericho mutters as he comes up behind her.
Agent MacClain looks up. “Agent Simmons. Kaylee. Yes. Yes.” He taps at his computer to pull up her file and frowns.
“Hrm. That’s odd. It says here that you’re an organic agent. That can’t be. Come in. Is there a problem? Why do you need a contractor here?”
Poor Agent MacClain. Kaylee smiles as she takes a chair at the desk and to further confuse the poor agent, she rolls up her sleeves, displaying the traces that form the image of valances on her arms.
“I am. I’m sure if you read the file, you’ll see that my LMD chassis malfunctioned and ‘went off the reservation’, creating this clone to download herself too.”
Confusing much? Yes, yes it is.
“That’s sort of what we want to talk about and Jericho is aiding my investigation. One the things we wanted to know is who authorised the use that particularly chassis?”
“So you’re… not Agent Cailean? Or you are? I’m not sure if I understand. If your body malfunction why are you not in it?”
Jericho takes a seat next to Kaylee while MacClain opens his files and reads more.
“I see. So you’re now in an organic body and have some… non standard modifications. Right, well. Irrgular.”
The question gets a slight frown. “Define ‘use’. Technically you were the only one authorized to ‘use’ it.”
“Yes, I’m Agent Cailean Simmons, I said that didn’t I?” She waits for him to read up before continuing.
“Not use, use.” She clarifies. “Who requisitioned the chassis? That chassis, as you’ll see from your notes, was an early version of the LMD hardware that had been refurbished. It had been placed in storage pending investigation but somehow it was used for my awakening.”
“We want to know who requisitioned the chassis and my imprint.”
“You did but what you said after still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We’ll put that aside for now.” Agent MacClain taps a few mroe ‘keys’ and frowns slightly. Well, frowns more.
“Let’s bring up your order. Let’s see. Signed. Countersigned. So, your activation was requested by division personnel with a special authorization from the New York office. That would be the main office. Huh. That’s a bit odd actually. Normally personnel requirements are handled at the sub-division level.”
“Does that mean there wasn’t a place for her to fill here?”
“Oh no, her services were defintiely required. We’re still short staffed in Sci-Tech. But the authorization for that specific chassis came from New York.”
“I’m sure it didn’t and for that I apologise.” Kaylee smiles faintly. There’s some explanation on her file and she doesn’t want to pre-empt any discussion here.
“Who in New York did the order and where was my chassis stored?” It might not have been here. There’ll be a follow up to that in a moment – Kaylee’s fairly certain that chassis had been moved around.
“Why would the authorisation have come from New York? Was I destined to fill a specific role?”
“It says your chassis came from… special containment. Huh. That is also a bit strange. The order was given by Assistant Director Wolcott…”
“Why is that strange and who is that?” Jericho asks.
MacClain looks up as if trying to figure out still what Jericho is doing here.
“Well, Mister Trent, Assistant Director Wolcott one of the station chiefs for the New York office. It’s unusual for her to be directing personnel placements here in Chicago. Not out of her scope of power, but not standard procedure. Special Containment… that is where potentially hazardous objects are stored…”
MacClain trails off before picking up. “Uh, you were to fill a researcher slot in our genetics testing group. To keep an eye on what the Corps are doing, Agent Simmons.”
Interesting. Kaylee has to wonder about that. An AD making the requisition is indeed strange. “Are there any notations as to why that chassis? I assume that it had to be shipped here. Special Containment isn’t in this facility, is it?” She pauses, knowing she’s asking lots of questions. “And what is the previous history of that chassis. It was used in the Limbo Outpost project, wasn’t it?”
A researcher slot sounds reasonable. It’s what she’s been doing since she awakened really. Except. “Was I tagged for any particular Corporation?”
“No…” MacClain sounds troubled. “And there should have been. There’s no real reason for that particular chassis to have been used. In theory they’re all the same except when the hardware is switched out and then it’s simply a matter of performance upgrades.”
That confirms what Jericho had theorized nicely.
“No special containment is it’s own highly secure facility. And yes, your former chassis was tagged as having been used in Project Outlands. Which makes it actually quite old.” There’s an anomaly here and clearly MacClain doesn’t like it.
“There isn’t any indication in the file why your chassis had been flagged as hazardous in the first place, but I can see that the flag was removed by Assistant Director Wolcott two days before your request was processed.”
“Do you have the upgrades / refurbishment history for it?” Kaylee asks quietly. “I take it there were others chassis available at the time.” It seems they’re going to have to ask about this AD, but MacClain might be the person for that.
“Two days before? Is that standard operating procedure, Agent MacClain?” The biochem looks to Jericho, she really, really doesn’t like how this is looking.
“Yes I do.” Agent MacClain pulls the file together and passes it to Kaylee’s wearable. It looks pretty normal at the beginning. There’s a lot of routine upgrades and services. Then, after she returns from Limbo there are two major overhauls before the unit is deactivated. After that there are periodic ‘services’ but that’s strange considering the unit wasn’t ever actually operational during that time period.
“No, it is very much not standard procedure, Agent Simmons. And given what you’ve told me of your body ‘going off the reservation’ I do have to wonder at the connection.”
Jericho leans back and considers. “Was AD Wolcott connected in any way to Project Outlands?”
“No, that project was not operational during her tenure with us. And she came to us from outside. Department of Defense. I believe she’d worked with SHIELD on a project code named Prometheus.”
Taking her time to review “Is it usual for mothballed chassis to receive that type of maintenance, Sir?” Kaylee knows she’s pressing the friendship, but this is important. At his admission though, the biochem nods “We agree, which is why we’re investigating it. The chassis is currently ‘in the wild’ with a … fragment personality occupying it, we believe.”
That’s not quite correct but it’s all that Kaylee is willing to say.
“Prometheus? Was she now. And how long has she been working with SHIELD?”
Kaylee wonders if Jericho has heard the name.
“Close to ten years now. Quite some time.” Agent MacClaine says. “If that Chassis is operating on it’s own then it is important that it be recovered and quite possibly destroyed. The fact that it even CAN do that is reason enough to eliminate the risk. And we need to learn everything about what has happened here to prevent it from happening in other instances.
All of that is true. But all easier said than done too.
Jericho shakes his head. He has not heard the name but Wolcott isn’t a common one. He can ask his DoD friends and see if he can dig up some information on the woman.
“It is not common for a mothballed chassis to recieve that kind of maintenance no. I can only assume that they were looking at something very… specific.”
Ten years is a long time and Kaylee makes a note to investigate the AD. This has just got very, very difficult. One does not just investigate an Acting Director.
“It’s my highest priorty, Agent MacClain. Believe me when I say I know how dangerous she is.” Whether the chassis can be destroyed is a very good question but Kaylee doesn’t say that aloud.
“I would agree that they were. I don’t suppose the results of that maintenance is recorded?” If things continue the way they’ve gone so far – the results certainly won’t be there.
“Not in the files I have here.” MacClaine says. “It’s likely that it was recorded in Special Containment’s logs but those logs are kept in hardened, offline systems on site. They’re not accessable from any other point.”
Which means to see them Kaylee would have to gain access to the facility. Wherever it is. It’s probably highly classified and probably also pretty horrifyingly secure.
“Sounds sensible.” Jericho sounds put out that they were so sensible. Usually he can count on a little bit of stupidity helping him out.
“I’ll request access then to Special Containment. Where is that exactly?” Kaylee might as well try. If worse comes to worse, she’ll break in. Maybe. Maybe she’s been hanging around Jericho too much.
“I think that’s all we had, isn’t it Jericho? Thank you for time, Agent MacClain.” Kaylee stands and offers her hand to the Agent, the patterns the traces make still visible.
Agent MacClaine smiles and shakes his head. “Sorry, Agent. You’ll have to get the cleance first. You know the location is classified.” Or if she didn’t it wouldn’t have been hard for her to guess.
Jericho nods. “That’s more than enough for now I think.” All of the answers were disturbing but these are the risks you run when you ask disturbing questions. He gets up and waits for Kaylee to get herself ready to go.
MacClaine shakes Kaylee’s hand. “You’ll have to tell me about those markings one day. I assume it’s related to your… adventure with your body.”
“Maybe one day I will, Agent.” Kaylee answers quietly. “It’s a long story, really. Thank you again for your time and … if you don’t need to, it’s probably best you don’t mention that we were asking about this.”
She doesn’t give him to respond, retrieving her hand and heading on it.
This is far, far worse than she anticipated.
A visit to the Agent who adminsters the LMD program leaves Kaylee and Jericho perplexed.
February 17, 2052
Shield - Chicago