The alarm klaxon in the Institute is something that Jericho knows but has not heard often. The Chicago facility is usually pretty safe and even the students here don’t often get up to anything that requires a forceful response.
The hacker slides to a halt at the door to the danger room. Dora is leaning against it. She’s in some kind of green and yellow uniform. Which is torn along one side.
“Jericho. Thank God, I was about to call you. It’s Emily.”
Kaylee had been seeing the kids at The Institute, as she does once a month, when the alarm sounded. Making sure they were secure and safe with an Instructor she’d taken off at a run. By the time she comes to a stop behind Jericho, she’s panting a little.
“Dora? What’s happening? What’s happened to Emily?” Kaylee’s active imagination is overload.
“I don’t know. We were in a training sim and she went berserk. Started attacking the others in there. Not talking. Barely vocalizing. It’s… it’s like something triggered her somehow and she’s a hound again.”
The hacker swears. “Is anyone still in there?”
“Three from our team. It’s an urban rescue simulation. I have no idea where she’s taken them.” Danger Rooms are full holographic immersion simulators capable of giving mutants safe places to test their powers. They are incredibly lifelike and complex. It’s entirely possible that they’ve got a full living city simulated in there.
“Open the door. I’ll see if I can snap her out of it. Kaylee. Did you bring your ICER?”
He has his gun, but he’d rather not shoot Emily if it comes to it. Also, guns might not be that useful. She can be diamond when she wants.
“Can you shut the sim down?” Kaylee asks. Surely that would just leave the room for them to work in. Her brain catches up and she shakes her head quickly “Scratch that. That might make Emily worse, the shock of it and then who knows what she would do.”
Still being ready to shut it down on Jericho’s say so, probably isn’t a bad idea.
“Of course I have my ICER, Jericho. Even here in the Institute. Do you want it?” She slides the weapon from its holster and prepares to enter behind the hacker. And no, she’s not going to ask if she can go in – Jericho will have her at his back.
“Yes but it’s risky. Depending on where people are exactly they may take a bit of a tumble and… well, I don’t know where any of them are. If they’re hurt. What possition they’re in. A twenty foot fall onto your head will do for most of us…” Dora says.
Jericho eyes her uniform and side. “Lock the door behind us and get medical attention. Just make sure someone’s here to let us out when we’re done.”
In they go. Fortunately not onto a city street. This looks like the slums. The Eiffel tower in the distance says they’re in Paris.
Jericho looks around. “If she’s gone into Hound mode she’ll have tried to secure her charges. Look around. See if you see any place that would make a good spot to hole up for extraction by air…”
“Would you request a medical team be waiting, please Dora?” Kaylee asks gently. She rather suspects they’re going to need it. “And some way to restrain Emily when we bring her out.” Jericho might not like the sound of that, but if Emily has had her programming retriggered, they’re going to need it.
Following Jericho in, Kaylee frowns. This is similar to the Paris that Jemma remembers. She nods at the instruction and looks up at the Hacker “Are we seperating then? If so, try to keep your head. I don’t know if I can manage you and Emily.”
There’s a building just over there – tall and the roof looks like it might have enough space to land an air vehicle on.
“No no. We’d cover more ground but if one of us got ambushed it’s game over.” Jericho keeps looking around. “Just look ar- there. Yes.” He caught her looking at it too.
“She’ll be there. She’ll have contacted the authorities or tried to. That probably won’t work well in here and that will be making her… antsy.”
The hacker begins moving in the direction indicated. It doesn’t take long before they’re at the tumbledown brick building. It looks like it’s seen better days. A lot better days.
“Alright. With luck she’ll be preoccupied.” Jericho whispers. “So on three we’ll…”
A diamond fist comes through the wall and crumples the hacker, sending him across the alley, tumbling.
And a very sparkly Emily appears in the doorway.
Kaylee’s thankful for that. She’s not really equipped to be in the field, alone. “Just keep your head and we’ll be ok.” She murmurs, holding her ICER in a weavers grip. She actually trembles slightly – she’s so not comfortable.
Swallowing, mentally steeling herself to move when the hacker commands, she’s so not expecting what comes next. “Jericho!!!” Her cry is loud and she stumbles backwards, pointing the ICER at the diamond woman. “Em Em Emily, it’s me Kaylee … ” There’s a hum as her traces light up under her shirt. Which may or may not be such a good thing.
Emily steps through the doorway. Literally. She doesn’t bother to pull her arm out of the wall she just punched through. She simply steps through the doorway sending brickwork tumbling. Her movements are almost feline. One foot in front of the other.
And then she growls.
Kaylee’s icer doesn’t seem to faze the woman. And Jericho hasn’t gotten up from where he’s doubled over and down on his knees. It’s not clear if he’ll be able to. She might have broken his ribs.
The diamond woman reaches for Kaylee.
“Emily, it’s your friend. Kaylee. Remember me…” Kaylee is terrified which probably doesn’t help Emily’s frame of mind. She’ll be picking that up from the biochem – and in this state, who knows what it will do? Probably make her even more aggressive.
Kaylee doesn’t waste the dart from the ICER. It wouldn’t penetrate the Diamond womans skin. The buzzing lights lift from her traces and form a shield about her, just as Emily’s fingers are about to close on her.
“Emily. Please. I’m your friend and I love you …” Only Kaylee would think to use that approach, right? Pushing her terror down, the small brunette skitters backwards, focussing on how much Emily is her friend.
“Hounds have no friends!” She snarls as she tries to strangle the biochemist. The shield is holding her at by. Out of the corner of her eye Kaylee can see Jericho stagger up and his traces flush blue. He grabs a brick and hurls it hard enough to powder it on the diamond woman’s back.
That too fails to break her skin but it does send her stumbling and tumbling off Kaylee. The laws of physics still very much apply in here.
“Emily … listen to me …” Kaylee backs herself up, hitting the wall behind her as she does. “You do indeed have a friend, it’s me and I love you….” Seeing Jericho move fills her with mixed feelings. She’s relieved he’s alright but she really wishes he wouldn’t do …
The brick disintegrates against the womans back.
Knocked into the wall, enough to dent and crack it and cause brick powder to coat her, Kaylee grunts. That //hurts// and she’s winded and now she has the diamond skinned woman nearly on top of her. “Emily. Please. Don’t make me …” The shield drops, this is dangerous but Kaylee has an opening here. The swarm of nanites stream out from her traces and surround Emily, etching symbols on her diamond skin, reconfiguring it. “… this.”
Emily grabs at Kaylee’s throat again but her hands aren’t diamond hard this time. She looks… angry. Confused and also angry.
“You’re lying. No one loves me.” She snarls.
And that of course is when a very, very angry Jericho comes up behind her and puts her in a choke hold. His eyes are, if possible, even more terrifying than Emily’s right now.
So angry. Kaylee’s heart nearly breaks for the blonde. Emily’s been used and abused and just when she thinks she’s free of it, she tumbles again. “Emily …” Even without being diamond, Emily is strong and her fingers wrap around the biochems throat, squeezing. Kaylee coughs, trying to breath. “… read my mind. You can do it. Jericho …. no…”
Oh heavens, now Kaylee has two of them to deal with right now.
“Emily, I love you.” Kaylee gasps as the blondes hand is dragged from her throat, leaving bloody gouges from her nails “And I’m sorry.”
Her hands come up, shaking as she points her ICER and squeezes the trigger. She might hit Jericho the way things are going.
Emily struggles. She is not going down easily and she drives her elbow into Jericho’s ribs several times. Hard. The hacker keeps his grip though and keeps choking her. Kaylee can tell it’s not working quite as intended though because she’s still struggling after about ten seconds or so.
And that’s when her weapon goes off.
Emily slumps and Jericho just lets her go. He stands there. Facing Kaylee. Eyes wide and wild.
Yeah he looks hurt. And mad.
Kaylee shakes. The adrenal surge was enough to do that, but there’s fear and worry that’s adding to it. She doesn’t move as she sits there, on the ground, she doesn’t lower her weapon either.
Though what good her ICER will do against the hacker, she doesn’t know.
“Come to me, Jericho …” she croaks around, not a little bit scared of what he might do. She needs to check on Emily but first … she needs to make sure that the other threat is removed.
The ICER might put him down if she can hit him before he gets his armor up. But he’s an experienced fighter and he might slip her shot. What he does instead is advance a few steps on her and kneel down. Well, crouch down, not kneel.
“Are you going to shoot?” It’s a growled question. It’s spoken almost like a dare. “You put her down. Took you a few though. She was going to do to you what I was doing to her. Only she was going to hang you up by your heels afterwards.”
Kaylee’s not that well trained and she knows it. She has to rely on her wits and ingenuity. When Jericho crouches in front of her, she comes up onto her knees – she’s still smaller than him, even like this. “Do I have to?”
It’s quiet as she looks in his eyes, almost matching the dare that he gives her.
“She might not have, if she had read my mind and read the truth.” The biochem doesn’t try to prevaricate on the issue, Jericho’s right. Emily would have killed her if that had failed.
Kaylee puts her palm to Jericho’s cheek, still trembling a little “Are you with me, Jericho?” They need to see to Emily and get out of here, but she’ll take a few minutes to bring … her … hacker back.
Jericho growls a bit when he’s touched and his eyes narrow. He takes a deep breath and lets it out.
“You’re concerned that I’m going off the deep end.” She’s got very good reason to be concerned for that. Because he might be. This is getting very dicy at the moment.
“Well. Are you just going to sit there, Kaylee?”
He’s focused at the moment. In ‘fight or flight’ mode and for Jericho that often means ‘fight’. He’s not completely back which means he remains something of a risk.
“Focus, Jericho …” Kaylee’s voice shakes. She’s seen Jericho when he’s loosing it. “I’m concerned, of course, I am….”
She actually flinches from the harshness of his words. “No, I’m not. Can you carry her? We’ll get out of here…”
Jericho looks for a moment like he’s going to leave Emily where she is. His face twists in an unpleasant way. But after that moment he bends down to pick her up. “The others should be inside. Let’s check and see if they need medical help.”
The moment he bends though she can see him wince. She might have actually done something significant hitting him. And it’s possible she psychically attacked him as well. Having been so close to him… she’d know right where to hit him.
But the threat is neutralized for the moment. Now Kaylee just has to worry about the fallout. And… what triggered this in Emily in the first place. Does it have anything to do with the hounds they so recently caught?
Something goes wrong in a Danger Room exercise with Emily. Jericho and Kaylee have to go in and sort it out.
April 05, 2052
The Institute - Chicago