2019-06-27 - Not Coffee At The Coffee House


Jemma meets Jimmy at a coffee shop, where neither of them have coffee. But they do talk SCIENCE!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jun 27 09:03:54 2019
Location: Cafe Wha?

Related Logs


Theme Song



Jimmy's had a day. A day with explosions, screaming, rescues, and someone asking for his name, a name he still hasn't actually decided on. After that, he'd gone back to his shift volunteering at the soup kitchen; now that's finished up too.

The adrenaline has cooled, but the spike of energy is still there. He doesn't imagine he'll sleep too well tonight. So he does the Sensible Thing and heads over to Cafe Wha?, to make absolutely sure he won't sleep. Yes, this is clearly Sensible.

As he enters, he does his best to keep quiet and avoid distracting from the violinist up on the tiny stage. Spying himself in the mirror, he neatens his hair and his tan overcoat a little more. Okay, he doesn't /look/ like he was recently covered in ash, soot, and fire; that's good. He heads towards the line. With a few people ahead of him, he'll have a little extra time to decide what he wants.

Just in front of Jimmy in the line stands Jemma Simmons. She used to be such an unremarkable woman. Brown hair, brown eyes, traditional british complexion. Some might say she had a pretty smile. But that was it.

Now, people are staring at her. Her right hand in cybernetic even if most of is hidden by her sleeves. Her face … the left eye has been replaced with an occular implant and another implant sits on the right hand side of her face, spanning the cheek bone to the ear.

She's still … pretty, even if the implants mar the features.

And clearly, she's not used to the attention.

"English Breakfast Tea, please." She tells the server when she steps up to the counter. "Would you mind putting the water in the pot and leaving the tea bags on the side? No milk, either." It's a british accent, barely coloured by her time in America.

With the order placed, she moves to the side, accidently bumping Jimmy as she does so. "Oh. I'm so sorry, please excuse me. I'm off with the birds today."

Standing behind her, Jimmy doesn't have quite as clear a view. He might catch sight of the hand if he happens to glance that low, but he can't see the new eye implant. He can just tell that people are staring and not the reasons why. Not until she turns towards him.

The impact, at least, doesn't result in any spilling. He absorbs the force without rolling much. "Quite alright," he says, looking at her… and there's the eye.

The next few thoughts cross through his mind in rapid succession. Yes, her eye is different, clearly bionic. Yes, she knows about it. She likely has people asking if she's okay, or otherwise showing overblown concern, about 61 times per hour, especially from people who actually know her.

So instead, he just smiles at her neutrally, his gaze drawn to the middle, looking at both her eyes. "No harm done, see? I just— ah." No, don't hold up the line. He gives the barista a smile. "Russian caravan tea for me, thanks?" An aside to Jemma. "I probably shouldn't have anything stronger, this time of day."

Jemma sees the reaction from Jimmy. See's the way that he notices. Her emotions are loud at the moment. They're settled but only just, he might get the sense of them being regulated. How wouldn't be clear but it's like someone has a cap on them.

Then there's the gratitude that flows from him not staring or making a comment.

"I don't know. It depends if you have to work late, doesn't it? I'm needed back in the lab tonight, so the extra caffeine is appreciated." Looking for a table as they talk, it's slim pickings. There's one, just over there with two seats and that's about it it. "I didn't realise this place was so popular." Jemma murmurs. Her tea will be out in just a moment.

Jimmy pays for his order, making room for the line to keep flowing. He moves with her to the table, drawing himself into the chair opposite her. "Ah, that's different, then. Caffeine, the fuel of genius. I've finished most of my day, so this is more a wind-down than a wind-up." He glances about at the packed cafe, too. "Mm. I've noticed it when I've swung by the area a couple of times, but haven't been in before." Swung by? Careful with wording like that; someone might think you're a Spider-Man. He looks back to Jemma, his head tilted. "The lab, hm? Can I ask what kind of research?" Passions can so often claim a person's entire mood; get someone talking about their passions, and they can easily forget being Suddenly A Cyborg.

The teas come out in quick order. The cafe likes to get its clientele through. "There's a table there, we could share it, if you don't mind …" she offers, taking her chair as he takes his.

Jimmy's not built right to be Spiderman, Jemma notices these things. It's her training really, as a biochemist and as a SHIELD agent. "You've been here before. Do you work around here?"

"Lots of research, really. I'm a biochemist and I work for SHIELD. It might be easier to say what I haven't had to look into." There's a sense of humour at least. But SHIELD and she's cyborg. Was it deliberate or a lab accident.

"I'm Jemma." she introduces herself and holds her right out to shake his, looking at it when she remembers and giving him an apologetic look. She swaps to her left hand instead.

Jimmy nods to the question. "In the area. I'm interning at Doctor Yendez's practice. Ah, that's a mental health practice, not medical." She may or may not have heard of him, if she's a SHIELD agent and SHIELD recommends him… but it's not like SHIELD is all one person. He smiles at her offering, and his own hand snaps out too quickly for her to change her mind. Yes, he shakes the right hand. It's still a hand, right. "A pleasure, Jemma. I'm Jimmy. Have you been in America long? You still have quite the accent."

It quickly becomes clear why Jemma had tried to swap hands. When Jimmy takes the right one, Jemma squeezes rather tightly. The biochem looks mortified as she checks if Jimmy is alright. "It's new and I'm still getting used to it." she finally says. New? That has to be very new.

Once she's assured that Jimmy won't be jeopardising his career, Jemma lets out a sigh and picks up on the rest. "Doctor Yendez? I hear such good things about him and those that work with him." SHIELD is aware of the good doctor, he's one of the ones that they refer people to. He deals with interesting cases. "Interning, hmm? Just starting or are you some way through? And there a particular discipline you're interested in?"

The comment on her accent, gets the faintest of blushes. "People are often saying that, Jimmy. I've been her several years now. Seven or eight. I guess you can take the girl out of Devon but not Devon out of the girl."

Jimmy frowns with surprise, but not with pain. Perhaps there's a brief shine to his skin as reflex brings his strength in, perhaps he matches the squeeze — but then he's back to normla. Probably just a sensor glitch. The hand and eye are both very new, after all.

Handshake done, he brings his hands back to his side. "I'm perfectly fine. See?" He spreads his hand, wiggling his fingers. "A few months in now, but it takes time to get the clinic hours up. I'm most interested in plain mental-health-support counselling, not the specialisations." He grins. "I think the accent's good. Like holding onto a piece of home even if you've been here a while." He's completely naturalised, himself; there's not even a trace of Russian accent anymore.

Jemmas eyes drop to where there was a brief shine on Jimmys hand and her brow rises slightly. Her right one only, of course. Trained observation - not just for her research but because she's an agent as well.

"So I see and I'm rather grateful. I'm having a devil of time adjusting to doing things left handed. You don't realise how autonomic actions are until something goes wrong. I managed to toss one of the agents across the room the other day." No, she's not joking - Jimmy can tell that by the way her emotions support her words. Sadness and maybe a tinge of self deprecating humour. She's also starting to relax.

"I think the same, about my accent. I'm not sad it's proved stubborn to go." There's a moment where Jemma goes to pick her mug up with her right hand and decides against it.

"Your accent sounds pure New York, but I shouldn't make assumptions. Did you grow up here, or elsewhere in America?"

It wouldn't do to go crushing the cafe's cup, no. Jimmy's eyebrows lift, a look of empathy, when she talks about throwing the agent. But that's not the part he focuses on. "And even if you were left-handed to start with, it's really a right-hander's world, isn't it? A left-handed friend of mine pointed out that everything's made for righties. Even butter knives — the serrated edge just tears up the bread if you spread left-handed." He draws his own cup closer on his side, both hands folded around it. "Here in New York, yes. I moved around a lot when I was small, but it's been all New York ever since then. It's… quite a city, isn't it?" What with all the flying and magic.

Jimmy has successfully managed to distract Jemma from her self consciousness. She actually smiles, the action transforming her face. "Oh, indeed yes. I'm just glad we're mostly computerised. I couldn't imagine trying to make my notes now. Smudging the ink as I try to angle my hand to not do so. There was one or two at the Academy who had those problems."

"I lived in Devon right up to the age of sixteen. Then SHIELD offered me a scholarship to come and study College here. I couldn't get over the differences when I got here." she shakes her head as she remembers. That was so long ago. "Quite the city indeed. It keeps us busy, even us dusty scientists. With registration ending just a couple of years ago, we're discovering more and more things that were kept hidden."

Jimmy smiles back. Hey, it's nice to draw a smile out of someone who'd been having trouble doing so. He leans over the table slightly, scooting in closer for clearer, more engaged conversation. "Oh yes. Can you type okay? I suppose there'd be dictation at the very least." He tilts his head. "Oh? Things kept secret even with registration? Ah, though I understand if it's classified."

Jemma takes a sip from her mug and considers the question. "Normally I would say voice recognition and VI's. But with this …" she taps the right hand side implant that has a flat metal disc over it "… I can just think it, it translates and then I interface with a network to download it." She's blushing again as she talks.

"But I'm not a bad hunt and peck typer left handed." she offers.

"You were here during Registration, yes?" that's a genuine question. "People registered because they had to. But there was a percentage that just disappeared or hid their ability. It's not particularly classified. You can check the statistics in a number of places." beat "Now we're seeing new genes and mutations. It's kind of fascinating, really."

"Are you going to the Mental Health Symposium that's being held here next month?" Jemma enquires. "Or did you pull the short straw and have to man the office."

Jimmy's eyebrows lift when she tells about the implant, the neural interface. "That's /amazing/. And think of the accessibility possibilities, just in general. People with all kinds of disabilities…" Ah, but that's not the focus of their conversation. He nods; yes, he was here during registration. (It's even still on record, but he's not going to go blabbing that in random places.) "New mutations? That sounds incredible. And right up your field." His lips purse at the last question. "That's still up in the air. Doctor Yendez says I /might/ get to go, if my work's exceptional over the next couple of weeks. No guarantees."

Jemma blushes as Jimmy gushes. "That's not all they did when they installed it. It gives me a processing boost too which would be totally amazing except for the head aches I get. Cybernetics are astounding and we've come so far, but we're still tinkering, I guess with the tech / organic interfaces. Something like the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak…"

It's a loose analogy but a not bad one, she thinks.

"I'm meant to presenting a keynote on the biochemical impact on mental health. It's kind of dry and dusty but I hope some will find it interesting." beat "Maybe I'll see you there, if your work is exceptional." Oh yes, Jemma is teasing, just a little.

Jimmy winces when she mentions headaches. There are always drawbacks to implants like those, aren't there? Will they even iron out the kinks in the next three hundred years, or will 24th-century VISOR implants still cause headaches? "It's well worthwhile to keep at it, I'd say."

He pokes his tongue out at her teasing. "I'll have to make sure it is. Pharmacology is important. It's like… the brain is an organ too, right? You'll take heart medication if your heart is somehow weak; you'll take vitamin and mineral supplements if you're not getting enough of them. How is it any different for the brain, for brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, hormone balances? That's part of why I'm going to med school too; can't be a full psychiatrist without the MD."

"Oh absolutely and we'll keep on working on my implants. It's a tweak here and there and letting things settle. I've heard people say that when they get a new eyeglass perscription, it takes up to a couple of weeks for their eyes to adjust. I don't think this is much different. The brain is a muscle and I'm just exercising a little harder."

That causes Jemma to blush when she realises she's babbling. Jemma-babble they call in the Triskelion.

"Pharmacology yes absolutely. There's also understanding the effects that trauma can have. Or, in my case, exposure to rare and exotic substances." Is that what happened to her?

"The big thing is there's so much we don't know and the variations across human species is incredibly wide. What affects me adversely might not affect you at all and then when we factor in mutations and super powers … " the biochem gives a lift of her shoulder. "Interning and med school. I didn't go the MD route but I hear it's gruelling. What are you finding the most fascinating at the moment?"

Jimmy nods. "That makes sense. The brain needs time for its plasticity to do its work, for it to adjust to this new variable." His head tilts briefly, curiosity showing when she mentions exotic substances. It's not a question he asks aloud, though the interest is there. For one, she's already asked him another question. "It's tough to balance, yes. But the thing I find most fascinating is actually from the interning, rather than the study. Resilience. Always, resilience. No matter what someone goes through, there are some people who can just bounce back from it. And with the right time, support, and resources, people can recover from just about /anything/."

Nodding at the head tilt, Jemma adds "SHIELDs mandate is really quite wide and we're called in to look at all sorts things. There are things that have been around for years but we're only just now developing the technology to detect them. Can you imagine that?"

In a way it's like Civilization VI - you can't see some of the resources until you research the right tech!

There's an air to the biochem as Jimmy talks to her. She listens and processes, interested in what he has to say. "Resilience is a good term for it, I think. Would you say there's a high percentage that bounces back with seemingly little support? Or is it the exception rather than rule?" beat "Time, support and resources isn't something that everyone has. Nor is the willingness to get help when you need it. Many of the chances we refer to Doctor Yendez won't make the call to schedule an appoitment and it's those that often need the help the most. But you can't force them, can you?"

Jimmy mms, nodding his head. "I could see that. I mean, it was only in the last century and change that we learned how to detect radioactive materials, and how they're used, and how they /shouldn't be/ used, and so on, right? So who knows how many more mysteries there still are that we don't know about?" Beat. "Well the answer'd have to be nobody, or they wouldn't be things we don't know about, would they?" Jimmy knocks himself on the side of the head.

He forgets to actually have any of his tea while he's talking; it's going to go cold before too long. "That kind of bouncing back is, sadly, the exception. It's only /some/ people who can put themselves back otgether, whic his why it's so important to work at that stigma of seeking and getting help. Again, it's trauma and illness like any other. How many people would still try to 'tough out', say, a broken leg?" Oh come on, Jimmy, you're one of those people. Though you do have especial reason why you can. "You really can't, no. It's like the old joke. How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, but it has to /want to/ change."

Jemma nods quite emphatically. It's been a little while since she's done this, just … kicked back. Well, this is kicking back for her at least. "That's entirely correct and we seem to be discovering more and more as things move on. It's one of the reasons I love what I do." She seems to have forgotten the implants at least. It hasn't stopped people staring at her but at least Jemma doesn't seem so self conscious.

"You should drink your tea before it gets cold, Jimmy" There's another Jemma smile that accompanies that. "We're taught from such a young age to be strong and self sufficient that impacts on us when the ailment isn't visible." She does laugh though at the example Jimmy gives "I work for SHIELD, I couldn't tell you how many agents try to 'walk off' that sort of injury. Of course, some can …"

The joke gets another laugh and Jemma sits back to sip her tea. It's nearly cold as well.

Jimmy jerks upright at the reminder of his tea. "Oh!" He finally does take a few sips. It's a smooth kind of blend, light and just a little bit smoky, so it goes down easily. He laughs at the mention of those strong-headed agents. "Okay, maybe that's a bad example. But the point is, people /shouldn't/ try to just shoulder through ailments like those. Ailments, that's a good word. Makes me think of video games, getting poisoned or something." But with a smile, he returns to an earlier comment. "Mm. Being with SHIELD especially, that'd put you right at the forefront, wouldn't it? Exposure to all the very newest."

"Ailments is an old word, I guess." It's probably very British. "And I totally agree. They shouldn't - or they should at least temper the tendency. Getting aid early makes healing quicker." Jemma nods again as Jimmy returns to SHIELD "Oh absolutely. And it's not just that someone might be exposed to one new thing, it's often the hits just keep coming. Like … let me think …"

"Yes. Let's say an Agent discovers a weapon in the field that in itself is new and exotic. They might need to learn how to use it or defend against it. Then I examine and discover a biological compound that's actually quite dangerous. So we have to deal with that. Which then leads to an investigation into who's creating it and why - which can be a completely kettle of fish in the long run. And it's not just one case we deal with like that. It's multiple at the same time."

There's that self deprecating smile from Jemma again "Sometimes we like a good riot because someones annoyed at the Governer. They're simple." beat "But that's why we keep people like Doctor Yendez on our books. His experience with that level of complexity is invaluable."

Jimmy whistles, eyes widening as he considers the sheer extent of workload and complexity. "Though peaceful protests are obviously /preferred/, at least they're not going to go exploding out of buildings and into the sky and leave the building on fire behind them." That happened. Earlier today, in fact. He smiles, setting down his emptied teacup. "Mm. It's why I'm glad I got the internship with /his/ practice; a world like this could use therapists that know how to navigate the complexities our world has, and I can learn from him. Though he keeps on insisting that it's all just experience, and treating people 'like people'."

It's kind of amazing that SHIELD doesn't burn more people out, really. "This is true. Peaceful protests are always preferred. They're just not the ones you call SHIELD into." Jemma tries to wink and fails spectacularly. Jemma hasn't seen that report yet. Undoubtedly she will along with a request to test everything.

"Well, I'd say providence has smiled on you, Jimmy. You've got a good doctor to be interning with. It might all be experience, he's right about that, it's what you do with that experience that matters."

She too sets her cup and seems to 'vague' out for a fraction of a moment. "It's been lovely, speaking with you. Thank you for treating me 'like people'." There's that smile again as she considers and reaches into her bag. "This is my card in case I might be of help."

"I hope to see you at the Symposium." This time, the biochem deliberately offers her right hand to Jimmy.

Jimmy smiles, proud to have such a mentor. "I'll do my best to make sure the doctor's experience rubs off. Or to put it another way, that I 'catch wisdom'." Assuming Doctor Yendez is at an infectious stage. He smiles back at her. "Any time. People /are/ people. Whatever the race, whatever the species, whatever medical technologies they use, people are people." As he puts her card away, he steels himself more, and this time makes sure to only use /normal/ strength when he grips her hand. Hopefully, she does the same.

It takes Jemma a bit of concentration but she manages to shake Jimmy's hand just fine. Maybe next time she goes to help Agent Turner up, she won't toss the injured man into the ceiling.

"See you later, Jimmy." She says as she shoulders her bag and heads to the door. Slightly more relaxed and just a little more confident than she'd been in the line. It's been a good break.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License