2019-08-15 - Orient Express


Clint and Julia get called in to help do some intel gathering on the archerbots.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Aug 15 06:21:30 2019
Location: MMI Labs

Related Logs


Theme Song



//This was a triumph
I'm making a note here; "Huge success"

It's hard to overstate
My satisfaction

Aperture Science:
We do what we must
Because we can//

That's the lyrics of the song filtering from Jemma's lab out into the corridor.

The biochemist herself is inside, the workbench clean although there is a 3D model turning slowly above it, just coming out of the containment room, wearing her labcoat, googles and gloves.

It's later in the afternoon and her lab is empty, except for herself although, judging by the message she'd got a few hours ago - and ones she'd sent subsequently - she's expecting that to change. Any minute now.

The phrase for this particular song is 'ear worm.' Jeriah London is familiar with it because, well, he is. He knows where it comes from. But it IS an ear worm and like all things must be terminated with extreme prejudice. That is why the lyrics are momentarily drowned out by the sound of a seven inch grinder going to work on… something. It goes on for a solid thirty seconds before it shuts off and the door to the containment room opens again.

"That thing is gross." Jeriah grouses as he peels off the clean suit. In his hand there's what looks like a bow, but there's a half dollar sized opening in the center of the staff where one would expect a notch for arrows. And it looks kind of techy.

"This thing is interesting though." He pulls it back and energy gathers in the space between staff and string, forming into a shaft of heat and light before London relaxes his draw and the energy dissipates.

"Though if you wanted to make a plasma weapon, why you'd make it a BOW is a bit beyond me…"

A rap of knuckles are heard on the window in the door to the laboratory. Just a short tap-tap, then the door is pushed open revealing one Clinton Francis Barton who walks in, not quite the usual strolling gait he has but still reasonably at ease, even at the squeal of the tool behind the closed door in the containment room.
"Simmons," A hand lifts in a wave, offered to Jeriah, "London." He steps in stifling a yawn with the flat of one hand and pointing at Simmons… for about five seconds as that yawn gets away from him.
But once recovered he's still pointing at the scientist SHIELD agent, "Saw the email, didn't read it, just skimmed the subject line. But reminded me. Wanted to tell you about Ursula. When we get a chance…"
"Hello?" It's in that moment when the energy bow catches his attention and the exhaustion seems to fall away from him, if only in that small moment.

Julia Pennyworth hasn't had cause to come down to the labs since she was transferred over to SHIELD in New York. There were a few wrong turns involved but the mocha skinned woman's managed to find her way to Jemma's lab. It helps that it's got good signage.

Dressed in standard SHIELD field ops attire, she looks a bit severe. Her hair is braided back in twin french braids, keeping it close enough to her skull one might think she had short hair at first glance. Knocking on the doorframe as she comes in on Clint's heels, Julia Perry as she's known in SHIELD lifts the knocking hand in a wave. "Oi. I got a message to meet a Jemma Simmons?" She's looking at Jemma and nods her way. "Using my keen senses of detection, I'd wager that's you." Her BritPunk accent is a sharp contrast to Jemma's.

"Two brits? Heya Barton." Jeriah, despite the last name, is not British. He is oh so very distinctly American. He doesn't have a twang but other than that, all American. He looks at the two more action oriented agents and grins at Clint. Then he tosses the man the bow.

"Near as we can figure out it's some kind of plasma caster. Draw the string back and it gathers a bolt over the course of about half a second. Then 'foosh'. Don't, uh, do that in here though unless you want the doc to get upset."

"Jeriah London." The contractor nods to Julia by way of introduction. "That's Jemma Simmons yes. And that's Clint Barton." Just in case people didn't know eachother before hand. Which they probably don't.

"Got that out in Hong Kong. A robo-archer tried to take out one of our listening stations there."

Yes. He said a 'Robo-Archer'. In Hong Kong.

"What's left of the bot is in the containment room." And as he previously noted, it's gross.

"Of course it's gross." Jemma answers London, casting the man a look and turning the music down. "That's a real damn Android." There's stuff all over their clean suits but it doesn't seem to phase the biochemist. "Agent Barton. Of course you didn't read the email. That's why I put the subject line like that. Don't worry, Mister Lon—-" Well, he's seen the bow, that's something.

"What's the deal with you and Ursula? Did she run out on you one time?" Oh, she went there.

Julia's arrival has Jemma turning and smiling. "I could say I'm London and he's Simmons… but I'm Jemma, yes. And you are?" Julia must be new. Jemma's not met her. Not that the biochem gets to meet everyone, of course but eventually, most agents filter through her lab.

For a little bit Clint is lost in his own little world after he catches that tossed bow and holds it light in one hand. He casually spins it around a little as if testing the weight and then brings two fingertips to where the bow should be, getting it to show just a smidge of its flickering energy string.
His lips purse and his eyebrows come together as he lifts it up, but at least doesn't fire it. Over his shoulder at the introductions he tells Julia a perfunctory, "Yeah, hi, how are ya?"
And then it's back to the bow. But after a few more moments he announces to the room. "I feel the memories of my ex-wife slipping away, being replaced with tender images of this beautiful bow."
But then he shakes his head and sets it down, pushing it away as if it were a dime ball of cocaine in front of an addict. "This… is lovely." He points at it and then looks at the other agents. As if only seeing Julia then, "Oh hey, I don't know you."
But then back to Jemma, "Ursula, yeah. And har-de-har-har. But… yeah run down on that is elaborate. We got time or you got other stuff on your agenda?" He looks to the others.

Julia Pennyworth comes into the room as introductions are going around, shaking hands with an easy grip. "Julia Perry. Hong Kong, eh? That why I get called in?" Most of her assignments for the SRR put her in East Asia.

Dark brows go up a bit as Jemma and Clint banter a bit back and forth, lips quirking a bit. "I feel like I'm walkin' in on a fam'ly squabble." She says, smirk pulling back into a friendly grin.

"You kind of are." Jeriah says as he takes a seat. He's not aware of an Ursula but Clint and Jemma can work that out either now or at such a time as is more convenient to them. Lovers tiff for the two of them, possibly? Maybe scientists have a thing for archers around here, who knows? Size of the bow and all that…

"But yes, Perry, that is why you got called in. Barton too." Barton's expertise is less East Asia specific and more just being a veteran operative with a lot of contacts.

"Careful though, Barton, it was made by AIM." Which means it might blow up at some point. AIM is not well known for caring about side effects or quality control.

"So to get the background out of the way the bot is a techno-organic organism that seems to be remotely controlled by an advanced and very weird computer that has a THING for a bow wielding contractor and archers in general. I'll let Simmons explain that bit of it."

He pauses to let them catch up with that data dump.

"The juicy part is that after this last attack I've got some evidence that SPEAR is involved."

SPEAR. Everyone present should know that name. It's the Chinese national equivalent of SHIELD.

"Only your ex wife, Barton?" Jemma is having way too much fun poking fun at Clint. He can blame London for that, the Contractor has been getting under Jemma's skin. "And don't arm that weapon in here, unless you expect to spend your next four weekends, cleaning up my lab."

Yes, the Doc will get a bit upset.

"Oh. Sorry. We've worked together for a while and SHIELD can often feel like that. Family." Jemma holds her hand out to the other brit "Welcome, Julia Perry. And yes. You've been called in for the Hong Kong / Asia connections I believe."

If Jemma knew what London was thinking, she might kick him.

"Ursula was a contact of Bartons. She had information on how might be contracting the bio-phage, actually. Share away Barton, and show your working for the rest of the class." Jemma encourages.

Jeriah gets a sour look at the mention of the computer though. "I don't have all the details on the 'brain' but it seems to be related to the same sort of system that caused the bio-weapon to go off when we raided that facility."

She touches her cybernetic eye "The weapon that nearly killed me and necessitated this. The computer is some advanced neural network."

"Yeah, she's just jealous I got all the looks in the family." Clint says, though he does stifle another yawn, rejoinder clearly on autopilot. Though he does look over at Julia and furrows his brow a little, as if something about her was slightly off. But he doesn't bring it up.
Instead he looks toward Jemma, "But Ursula. The intel from her is gonna check out, it'll look clean, nice and straight forward. But if we have other angles, other resources we can work on it, I'd say get them going overtime. Pay the extra money if it comes to it. She has a tendency to…" Clint sort of looks back and forth as if trying to find the exactly right word.
"Decide for herself what the narrative should be. Picks the facts that fit it, hides the bits that don't." That said he leans back on the edge of one of the tables, hands flat and supporting his weight. "What she gives will be good, but if there's any interpretation to be done, we should just recognize that the easiest and most direct interpretation is what she wants us to see."
Then he blinks and claps his hands in front of his face, forcing his eyes wider as he focuses fully on Jeriah. "Right. SPEAR. Got it." Ok maybe he missed some of it. Then again maybe not.

Julia Pennyworth finds a spot where she can lean a hip against one of the work benches, arms crossing before her as she listens. Her head turns slightly, tracking each in turn as they speak. She gives a slight nod as they confirm why she's been asked to join them.

The dark skinned woman gives a slight frown. "SPEAR, AIM, got any other unlikely acronyms to throw into this kettle o' fish? You lookin' to know if I've heard anything about advanced computers then?"

"What's got you so knackered, Barton? Someone keep you up late?" It sounds like it should be innuendo, but doesn't really have the tone for it. Given that Julia's just meeting them, it might be a bit early for innuendo.

"Or if you know where to look. I'm not entirely certain WHO is controlling this particular computer but the files on the last time it was encountered suggest that it's smart at least at a VI level. That makes it difficult to know who, if anyone, is pulling the strings."

London pauses and gives a somewhat wry smile. "But there can't be that many places that have the capacity to vat-grow a brain and program it to run Windows."

It's not running windows. Probably. If it were Jeriah would have figured out a way to hack it long ago.

"I'm also curious if either of you have any insight as to why these things are ONLY appearing in East Asia. Is there something there someone doesn't want SHIELD to see? The attacks seem random but no one spends this much money and effort to just putter around knocking over listening posts."

Robots and plasma bows. These are not tinker toys, after all.

Clint's news on Ursula has Jeriah glancing to Jemma. "Do I need to know about your triangle with Clint and his contact, here?"

Yes, he'll needle her on that, even here.

"At least a dozen, Miss Perry." Jemma smirks. "We can start with WAND and SWORD and work up to the rest. Oh, I forgot ULTIMATUM as well." Jemma's teasing but those are real names.

"I expect everyone to give the 'easiest' interpretation, Agent Barton. Particularly contacts that seem to have been active during the cold war and before. I'd recommend you see Lady Sif from the Asgardian Embassy and speak to her. She seemed less than impressed with the mention of the name 'Sindr' and may be able to give you angles we'll never think of. Right now though, I have other fish to fry."

Jeriah's needling gets a sour look today. "Another angle on the biophage we're working on. Ursula is a contact of Bartons. I tagged along the other day when he went to see. I *suppose* apart from snide comments about threesomes, you're going to tell me that my place is in the lab." She's blushing though, as he knew she would.

"At least a VI level, yes and if what we experienced previously is correct, it mimics human brain patterns extremely well. Makes hacking the things damned difficult and, excuse the pun, they have a mind of their own."

Back to Barton though "You spent some time in Asia, didn't you? Come across anything like this?"

It's in the middle of stifling another yawn when Clint's features are all scrunched up that he hears Julia and he opens one eye to just sort of look at her. It's a tell-tale glance that gauges her as if asking himself the question he hears in his mind most parts of the day, 'Are they messin with me?'
But she doesn't /look/ like she's messing with him. And indeed, it is too early for her to be giving him grief. Usually it takes five to ten more minutes or so before people feel comfortable with giving Barton the business. So his lip twists up and he says, "Been pulling long hours." Then he looks to the side at the other agents and shakes his head sadly as he adds, "Someone's gotta take up the slack around here."
Yet he presses on to address Jeriah as he says, "Just if you get a brief and it has her or her codenames as a source… but you aren't doin' analytics for us. I don't think?" He looks over to Jemma as if for confirmation.
Of course it might be interesting for Julia to observe that when Jemma bristles she gets paid attention to and clear answers from Barton. He's able to be professional, s'truth. "Nothing like that. My times back there in the field working for the old agencies things were more… mundane."
He does take a moment though to rub at the back of his neck, "But. The Avengers though, yeah. A few things. I'll grab the intel and provide it for comparitive study."

"So most o' my work in that area had to do with the organized crime groups, not keepin' watch on the lawful type authorities, yeah? But you can't deal with the one without bumpin' into the other." Julia comments as she settles into a relaxed lean. Like Barton, she's been pulling some long hours but her SHIELD timecard won't show it. In fact, for someone that's had the drive to work through the ranks, if anyone looks to close it might be odd that she just puts in the time needed. No above-and-beyond the call.

Julia tilts her head side to side a bit as she thinks. "The Chinese are pretty set on the idea of organic tech, quantum computing. They've worked with AIM in the past, so it's right likely the buggers took SPEAR for everything they could learn and the Chinese are gettin' too much out of it to break things off. Some of SPEAR's brass was havin' a meetup with one of AIM's folk by the name of Finesse just recently in Madripoor."

"Not my primary lane, no." Jeriah confirms for Clint. He CAN do analytics but he's not an analyst. He's a soldier. A door kicker. A grunt. A grunt who just happens to have a background in cybernetics and hacking. He's had a somewhat eventful career as it turns out.

Jemma's counter gets a look from Jeriah but no comment beyond a slight smirk. They've had the conversation about SHIELD sending non-combatants into combat situations before but Jemma is rather stubborn and the situation so far as SHIELD's protocols is what it is. London is merely a contractor so he'll work with what he has.

"Finesse…" Jeriah mutters. "I know that name. Assassin. Pretty acrobatic. Nasty right hook." Given what Jeriah's disruption fields can absorb she must have gotten a really good knock in for him to say that. Or caught him flat footed.

"That makes things a bit more complicated. Any chance you can follow up on that Perry? Don't have to actually GO there but if you have contacts there that might give us some specifics that'd be helpful for sure. Barton, Jemma was talking about having you do a full workup on that weapon. How good it is. What it's flaws are, if any. That's the second one we've seen so odds are good we'll be seeing more. You're an expert on bows after all and that thing… mostly qualifies."

Jemma can follow up with more commentary to either of the field agents, of course. Contacting them in the first place was her idea, and Jeriah has to admit it was rather a good one.

"Madripoor?" Jemma looks even more sour at that but Jeriah's muttering seems to perk her up a bit. "Another woman you annoyed, Mister London? Should have zagged when you zigged? But you've come across her before?" It's the small things in life that seem to keep Jemma going.

"Take what you can to the Avengers, Barton. Let me know if you need anything more on that, particularly the Science. And yes, give the bow a work up. Just be careful you don't blow a wall out - what we've been able to get from that is kind of horrifying."

"It's possible we're going to want to eyes on the field, if these things are only active in Asia. Either to close them down or steal the tech. The squints are going to be working on countermeasures - particularly with those brains."

"Yeah?" Clint looks over at the plasma bow and tilts his head, "Well, twist my arm if you have to. I suppose I can wrangle up some data on it." He crosses his arms over his chest and smiles a little as he glances over at Julia and gives her a nod. He's clearly pleased with that particular assignment.
Once Jemma starts doling out her expectations for action, Clint gives a nod and pushes himself to his feet. "Alright, I'll get on that. Though I'm gonna need some bunk time soon. I'll send word to the others and hopefully when I wake up I'll have something to show for it."
Then he takes a deep breath and rubs the back of his neck. "Are we cool?" A look is given to each in turn and if there are no objections he starts to turn away. "Alright. Good to meet you, Perry."

Julia Pennyworth gives Jeriah a nod. "Will do. There's only two Chinese Bio-Tech companies that could have sorted this lot, and SPEAR ain't gonna be going outside t' have this kind of work done. I'll do some pokin' at that and see what it gets me."

As Clint makes his goodbyes, Julia gives him a polite nod in return. With her intelligence background there's no way she doesn't recognize him from the Avengers, but she doesn't go fangirling at poor Hawkeye. Maybe she's not impressed by archers! "I've got to get goin' as well but I'll see what I can dig up." She gives her own nods to the others before she'll follow Clint out. Kind of like she arrived. Hmm.

"As a cucumber, Barton." Jeriah chuckles. "Presuming it's refrigerated. Otherwise, bad example."

"You know most women don't find me annoying at all, Doc. I don't know why. Odd thing, I guess." Most women don't get hacked by him - literally - by way of their first meeting either so there's that for sure. And most women don't get called 'Jemma-of-Nine' either.

"Thanks Perry. Barton."

That's sorted and it's one less thing that he has to attend to. He'll wait on the reports for that. In the mean time.

"Alright, Simmons. Let's go take a look at that thing's chest cavity. Just give me a moment to go find a carbide disk. I don't think anything else is going to open it up."

And with that he goes to the supply cabinet.

That bot, seriously, is really gross. Especially when you have to grind it's chest open.

"We're good, Barton." Jemma answers, finally taking a good look at the man. She's making a note to check on him, later, see if he's sleeping. It's not unusual for SHIELD agents to have issues like that. "Get some sleep and let us know." beat "Nice to meet you, Miss Perry. Don't be a stranger if you need anything."

As the two leave, they'll hear Jemma address Jeriah "I find that hard to believe, Mister London. I find you exceedingly annoying and everyone knows that I'm a paragon of patience."

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