The SHIELD Chicago facility is impressive. It’s big, for one thing. And it’s varied for another. Within the SHIELD complex are holding cells, research labs, PR departments, military armories, machine shops and pretty much anything else one cares to name. SHIELD is after all one of the most important institutions in the Coalition and in Chicago in particular it has the duty of playing police to the Corporations who otherwise run the city. Making sure they continue to act in the interests of the nation and not overstepping their bounds.
Of course there are many other things going on at that time and at the moment, one of them is in Kaylee Simmon’s lab. Jericho is wearing… a bunch of goop that had previously been in a glass beaker. Which had exploded. After being exposed to some anomalous radio waves.
“Yuck. Tell me that’s not going to start eating my flesh, Kaylee.” Jericho says, shaking himself. “Good thing Ian wasn’t here for that. Where is he, by the way?”
Is Kaylee expecting visitors any time soon?
There’s a dollop of iridescent green goo dripping from Kaylee’s hair and slowly running down her cheek and her shoulder. She’s just sort of blinking at the carnage that has befallen before she manages to focus fully on Jericho.
“Well, it shouldn’t. I mean, it was inert when I tested it…” The words are delivered with a deadpan look and tone and if Jericho didn’t know better, he’d think she was serious. She’s not. She’s teasing. “If Ian were here though, it probably turn that way…”
The poor Librarian has a way of attracting trouble.
“I … don’t know actually. I was expecting him. Maybe he’s stopped to get me tea.”
After leaving the young man at her flat once again — though this time with an adequately stocked kitchen — Samantha went back to SHIELD do to some more work and to arrange for an interview for him. No, not for a job. A non-interrogation to find out why he left Paris and make sure he’s as innocent as Sam’s intuition says he is.
She stops back by the flat after giving Adrien a chance to settle in and realize he’s not being held prisoner in any way, and asks if he’d like to see the SHIELD facility.
Now, as she’s giving the mutant a VERY limited tour of the facility while they wait for the interview time, she leads him to Kaylee’s lab just in time to see both current occupants standing all covered with goo. Her first reaction, of course, is concern.
“Are you two all right?”
Adrien’s reaction is wide-eyed, humor-filled, concern.
“And is Slimer okay?” Because that movie is a classic! …Was a classic? Look. He saw it when he was younger… it was one of the many silly movies he watched to keep himself occupied, and because English.
He’s peering over Sam’s shoulder, brows lifted.
If it weren’t for the fact that by now Ian’s practically a familiar face around the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, he might have easily been mistaken for an intern or something, gone to fetch drinks for an office. He certainly looks the part as he navigates the halls carrying a cupholder laden with hot-labeled cups of beverages.
“Hey…” he starts, pausing once he’s stepped into the lab.
“…I come at a bad time?”
“I’m fine. What’s a slimer?” The movie might be a classic but it’s also almost seventy years old. It might not be surprising that it’s, er ,effect on those born and raised in the present day has faded a little.
“Kaylee was testing a… what was it again Kaylee? Aqueous solution of vibranium based compounds? Something we recovered from our last HYDRA raid.” Beat. “It’s clearly not a skin toxin. We know that much…”
“No worse than usual Ian…” Jericho waves the librarian in. Carefully. He remembers how Ian, er, reacted.
“I take it, Captain, that he didn’t run away this time?”
The hacker fetches two towels and tosses one to Kaylee. Then begins mopping his face and shit off.
“He was pink …” Kaylee says vaguely as she tries to wipe the goo from her cheek and succeeds only in smearing it across her skin and ear and into her hair. Now her hair is starting to ‘dreadlock’ as the goo slowly dries. She looks a fright. “It’s an old movie, Jericho. Popular in Jemma’s time…”
Poor Adrien is going to be so confused the way Kaylee does that.
“We’re ok, Agent Carter. Just a small mishap but Jericho has it right, of course. A solution containing vibranium based materials that we collected from a HYDRA base a few days ago. I was trying to discover what else was laced with it and well …. ” she gestures, managing to drip a little more across the countertop.
“Ooooh Ian, you’re a life saver. Thank you. I’d say you came at just the right time. Come in, come in…” He’ll have to find somewhere to put the drinks down.
“And hello…” That’s to Adrien. “… we’ve not been properly introduced. I’m Kaylee Simmons.” All she knows is what she’s skimmed from Sam’s reports.
Samantha steps out of the doorway, leading Adrien to move clear as well, then pings the drone access systems to inform them that a non-hazardous spill has occurred in Simmons’ lab. It’s likely a request that gets put through at least once a week.
“As long as there’s no lasting harm, I suppose. Kaylee, Mr. Trent, this is Adrien. Adrien, this is Dr. Simmons and Mr. Trent. Oh, and here is Mr. Owenshire now.” She offers Ian a smile hello.
Adrien follows Sam out of the doorway, staying near her like a kitten attached to the only friendly people in the room. He flicks his gaze over Ian as the man moves in, remembering he had had some issue with the hissing when they first ‘met’. Adrien resolves to not let the Chat out if at all possible around him. Introduced, the green eyes blond turns back to the others, giving a nod.
“Hello,” says Adrien politely, having told Sam his first name only and confirmed that he did in fact live in Paris. He seems to start to move to shake her hand, but… goo stops him. He just nods to each in turn, seeming much more reserved that the hissing had indicated and certainly much more than Sam had gotten from him on their first encounter.
“A pleasure to meet all of you,” he adds, Parisian accent on clear display. “My… apologies for my behavior at our first encounter…”
By the looks of things, Ian’s glad he’d missed whatever had just happened. He smiles crookedly, then looks around as he carefully makes his way into the lab proper.
“Vibranium-based..? But why’s it goo?” he asks as he steps over a suspicious puddle, finally finding a relatively clean space to set the drinks down. “Agent Carter,” he greets once he’s no longer multitasking, nodding at her before his pale eyes shift towards the familiar guest accompanying her. “Ah, I didn’t know we had an extra body here.”
He shakes his head, pushing away the awkward turn of events from that evening, only glad that it hadn’t gotten violent. “Adrien. Nice to meet you. I think we were all a little off on the wrong foot then. …how do you feel about coffee?” he asks, gesturing to the four cups, two marked tea.
“Ask Kaylee. All I got was something, something aqueous solution with plant based elements.” Jericho says to Kaylee. “And then she hit it with a radio burst and it exploded.” Not quite like that. There had been more steps and some precuations involved.
“Don’t worry about it too much Adrien. Just, uh, try not to growl around Ian. He’s… allergic to it.”
For some definitions of ‘allergic’.
“I’m glad you’re all here though. I was just telling Kaylee I had a rather disturbing lead on our escaped HYDRA prisoners. What do you know about ‘The Hive?'”
Depending on how thorough Adrien’s simulation of Paris was, he may know a bit about HYDRA. HYDRA presently runs much of Eastern Europe openly and their western European allies see a lot of them though the leadership is often… shadowy.
“Vibranium laced solution…” Kaylee starts but manages to catch herself before launching off into a spiel. “The liquid we found reacted to the radio waves I tested with it and …” she gestures. There’s still flecks of goo on her cheeks and her hair … it needs a good wash at the very least.
She’s still scrubbing at her cheek when Jericho drops the name. ‘The Hive’.
Kaylee goes stock still and there’s a faint ‘hum’ as lines of cyan light glow from under her clothes.
Seeing Ian talking to him and not upset by his behavior, the blond smiles, warm and bright and relieved. The relief grows when Jericho mentions that Ian’s allergic to the growling, since Adrien’s cheeks had paled and worry
“I do like coffee,” he says to Ian just before the serious conversation takes off. None of what they are talking abuot it familiar. They simply didn’t have any of those things, that he knew of… which is so so odd since the world seems to have changed in a heartbeat. His gaze drops, mind goign back to when he woke up, and found himself in this very weird and possibly alien alternate dimension. it was that or he time traveled in his sleep? Which made no sense unless that time-travelling akuma got re-infected and figured out who he was and then snuck in and-
Adrien frowns, a hand coming to his forehead as it all starts to give him a headache.
The mention of a radio burst gets a frown, if not perhaps a cautious look from the librarian. He pointedly says nothing regarding ‘allergies’ to Adrien’s growling. It was certainly something new to be disturbed about.
“Escaped prisoners?” Ian asks, brow arching. “Ah, you mean the odd pair that disappeared somewhere in the Sprawl a few months back?” Or was this something else entirely? The Hive?
He’d been about to pull cups loose from the cardboard holder, deciding to wait until Kaylee’s gotten cleaned up before offering her the tea. He does hold out the cup of coffee to Adrien, apparently not minding at all in giving up his own.
The faint glow from the biochem draws his attention over towards her, a frown pulling at brow and lips as he notices how still she’s gone. That wouldn’t have been completely strange if she were still an LMD but…
“Kaylee…?” he starts, casting a look towards Jericho and then towards Adrien but it seems something else has bothered the blond. Or was it the same?
“Adrien has volunteered to come in and speak with us about why he left Paris,” Samantha informs the others, letting them all claim beverages. Of all of them, she is the last one to NEED a beverage. At Jericho’s mention of the Hive, she realizes that this will likely qualify as Adrien’s ‘interview’, and mentally starts recording everything and logging it in the SHIELD computer systems.
Well, until Kaylee’s traces light up, and then she’s looking at the biochem in clear concern for a moment before looking at Trent. He deals with similar, he should know what to do.
Kaylee gets a look from Jericho. “Clearly someone knows the name. I’m going to guess from Jemma’s days in the service. Kaylee? You there?”
She’s not a robot anymore so she can’t be having hardware trouble, at least not quite in that manner. But Jericho is still going to do this very carefully. Kaylee has a superweapon implanted in her and it’s rather important that it not go off…
He looks to the other two. “I’m guessing this is less in your baliwick?”
The look Kaylee turns on the remaining three is … a mix of pain and fear and it ravages her face as she swallows and tries to contain herself. “I’m … here.” she says hoarsely.
She doesn’t even notice Adrien being led out by the Coulson LMD for an interview.
“The Hive … Jemma knew him. It. It was evil beyond any belief and it was that that killed Will …” The traces hum and pulse as the biochem speaks, clearly this is something that she remembers intimately.
Samantha offers Adrien a reassuring smile as he’s led off to his interview, but is immediately concerned again by Kaylee. Her eyebrows draw together in a faint frown at the name ‘Will’, and she starts searching SHIELD’s archives about Jemma Simmons to get more information about that name. It’s not one she’s instantly familiar with.
And by the small headshake she offers Jericho, this is very much out of her element.
“Hive is such a vague term that the only things that I can think of are mostly literary,” Ian says, shaking his head as well. He’s still watching Kaylee, only minutely relieved as she at least manages to speak.
“Kaylee? Take it easy. You’re here, not there or then…”
He has no idea who Will is, casting a glance towards Samantha as she goes to investigate. Ian looks towards Jericho as though silently asking if there’s anything he should try doing to help with Kaylee.
Samantha gets a reference to an Air Force pilot turned NASA explorer. Listed deceased after in one of Jemma’s own reports. Something about portals and something else. Looks weird but a lot of the reporting from that unit in that period of time does.
“The Hive is one of the leaders of HYDRA. Like all of them very seldom sighted. Rumor has it that he has some kind of ability to exert control over biological forms, hence the name. Well, his name came up last night in HYDRA chatter connected to those prisoners who broke out. They’re in contact with him or at least someone claiming to be him. The message was requesting… support for an operation intended to disrupt the presidential conference coming up next month. Ian was… mentioned by name.”
Kaylee’s silent for a long time, green goop drying on her cheek and in her hair, cyan lines glowing so clearly under her clothing. “I … know, Ian. I … just…” she swallows and with great effort the lines slowly fade, the hum along with them.
“Will … it’s a long story. He was special to Jemma for a while until he died. Until Hive took over his body and killed him.” That’s probably not reassuring to anyone, particularly with the news that Jericho just delivered.
“We have to stop him.”
While she can’t fully parse the report from Jemma back when the incident Kaylee remembered happened, she gets enough of a gist to realize that’s why the biochem reacted so strongly. That The Hive is still here and still active is just as disturbing as Hydra making incursions into Chicago.
“We will do everything we can, Kaylee. I refuse to consider otherwise.” She then carefully pulls one of the two cups of tea Ian brought and carries it over to press into the younger woman’s hands as a silent order to drink.
His arms folded tightly in front of him, Ian finds himself frowning again with the explanation about the Hive. The very thought of someone able to do such a thing is chilling, and the fact that he’s a recent mention in whatever’s stirred up, concerning to say the least.
The further news that’s particularly relevant to him has him go very still for a moment. He forces a slow breath out and in, finally lifting his eyes to the others in the room, a grim look on his face.
No, Kaylee’s input regarding her distant relationship, if through Jemma’s experience, does not make him feel any more at ease, but he can agree with the sentiment. Even if he weren’t specifically named, someone like that out there?
Jericho waits for a moment to make sure everyone is following. The fact that they’re disturbed really just means that they’re paying attention. “Ian wasn’t the only person mentioned by name which is why I’m bringing it to your attention. Well, Ian would be reason enough but your former HYDRA friend. Scott. The uh, Rodgers clone. He was mentioned by name as well and what’s worse it sounds like wherever you guys are keeping him, they think they know how to get to him.”
Now Jericho looks squarely at Ian. “I’ve let the Institute know that there may be an unusual threat to you but, uh, have you possibly considered some training on your specific ability?”
Kaylee may be able to follow that. Ian, of all people, may be able to defend himself if he can learn how.
“Thank you Agent Carter and I apologise for my outburst.” Ever so British is Kaylee, even now. That Scott is targetted as well just has her sighing. That should have been expected, really.
Sam knows where Scott is. Kaylee hasn’t really been across that.
“I thought that Dora and the others were working with you, Ian?” That’s what she’d heard at any rate.
They’re targeting Scott also? She’d like to see them try. “Mr. Trent, if I share with you where Scott is currently, can you help him relocate to somewhere NOT known by SHIELD but easy for you to monitor? I want to be sure that they’re not getting that location from a SHIELD mole.” And if they’re not… Scott’s at even greater risk that she thought.
At the mention of Ian training with his ability, she glances over at him and mentally resolves to make sure he’s as Hydra-proof as she can make him. Hopefully that will help on top of any training he’s getting besides.
Ian drags in a long breath before breathing out a heavy sigh. He brings a hand up to pinch at the bridge of his nose as he lets all this information process. That even Scott’s being targeted is a real problem, especially if there’s chatter about it. “Anything you catch on that end about the how’s of getting to Scott? Either way he should probably be informed, as well as those he’s with.”
He lifts his head, meeting Jericho’s look, though nodding at Kaylee’s prompt. “Yeah, I’ve been. I think I’m a little better at getting things to trigger. It’s easier for trying to shut someone down. Copying someone’s ability’s a little trickier, still working my way around that one. Ah…” He scratches his head. “I uh…also found out there’s a chance I can…amplify someone else’s power too.”
If Samantha were to offer he probably wouldn’t turn her down for physical training. He’d asked about it once, if on the premise of learning how to survive like a field agent even though he wasn’t officially one.
“I could, sure, Sam.” Jericho nods. He’s got the resources for that at least. And he can keep eyes on people… better than most would be comfortable with if they really thought about it. Most don’t. Most don’t even know to.
There’s another short pause as Jericho looks to Kaylee like he’s hesitant to say something. Ian getting additional training on top of what he’s getting from the Institute would be good. However… this…
“Do you guys remember they… insane version of Kaylee we run into a while back? The one we dropped a building on top of?” Beat. “She’s back.”
Kaylee can… explain. Maybe. Sort of.
Kaylee looks at Jericho as he delivers that news and just siiiighs. “Krazee Kaylee and she’s as crazy as ever. She’s fixated on Jericho for some reason. Tried to the gas the pair of us in that HYDRA building that we found the goop in.” The goop that is covering her hair at the moment.
It’s all the report she filed when they got back to the lab.
“I don’t think she’s involved in this thing with the Presidents but I wouldn’t put it past her to try … something anyway.”
Like she said. Crazy.
The wicked Simmons of the East? Oh, that’s just wonderful. It’s likely a very good thing that Adrien isn’t here to hear this conversation. “I get the impression that I will need to be the one to deal with that rogue LMD.” She looks from Jericho to Kaylee. “You won’t be offended if I choose to deal with her directly, I hope?”
She makes a mental note to start Ian through full SHIELD field agent training, as well as working with him on the fighting techniques Peggy picked up over many years of being underestimated as a ‘weak female’. That should stand him in good stead regardless of the situation.
“How can I forget?” Ian groans. “Typical, when it rains, it pours.”
Checking to make sure that the counter’s clean behind him, the librarian leans back against it, once again folding his arms. “So is she working with them or is she still with that demon thing?”
“Well the last time I did we put a fire axe in her head and it didn’t work. So by all means, deal with her as directly as you like.” Jericho says wryly.
“Not clear. She released a gas in the building that proved just as problematic for the HYDRA agents as it would have for us if we’d caught a whiff of it. So I’m going to guess that she’s independent. Ish. A wild card when we don’t really need a wild card but that’s kind of how it is. As Kaylee says. Krazee.”
The door opens and a drone floats in bearing a number of… gift bags?
“Now on the good news front… I finally cracked my mother’s caramel recipe…”
It’s not MUCH in the way of good news but… hey. Caramels anyone?
Kaylee sips the drink that Sam gives her and shakes her head at Jericho. Caramels? Really?
“If you’ll all excuse me, I think I need to shower and try to save my hair before this goo … sets. ” She sort of wants some time alone, anyway.
The news that The Hive is still active hasn’t done anything for equilibrium.
“I’ll … catch you all later.”
“Let me know if you need assistance with your hair, Kaylee,” Samantha offers. She doesn’t press, though. She can tell the biochem is wanting time to process everything. She nods to Jericho at his stating she can deal with the rogue LMD as she pleases. Because she has a few things she’d like to try on the lunatic automaton. Including decapitation by reverbium.
And then, there’s caramel. “Wait, honestly?” She’s not had a proper caramel… ever. And Peggy hasn’t since before The War.
Ian just shakes his head. Perhaps it’s but a small relief that the two problems aren’t on a united front. That still means twice as much trouble for them in any case, but… He sighs and slips out the remaining coffee cup and tea to hand over to Jericho and Samantha respectively. Hopefully they haven’t gotten too cool while they’d all been talking.
“Caramel? Talk about a non-sequitur.” It’s so random that the librarian has to laugh, if briefly. Well, it’s something, and maybe sweets will help take their mind off of the other matters if for the moment.
The drone drops one bag off in Sam’s arms, another for Ian and leaves the last on Kaylee’s desk. He knows that the biochemist needs some space and… he needs to change his shirt.
“I’ll keep you appraised of any changes. Send me Scott’s info and I’ll get him moved.” The hacker waves to the others. He’ll check in on Kaylee later.
Jericho's always the bearer of such wonderful news...
January 05, 2052