2019-08-18 - Come Into My Parlour


An attempt on Kelly's psi-steel brings her 'network' to its knees.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Aug 18 23:58:26 2019
Location: 58 Water Street - Apt 501

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Theme Song



It is as normal a day at SHIELD as it is possible to be in the Mind Machine Labs. There's been a lot of stuff going on in that field lately, a lot of it involving a theoretical computer that might be a huge brain, a robot archer and a plasma bow. Of which there are two copies now. Clint Barton took one to test. The other has been hanging around the lab spaces in SHIELD.

All of that to say that there have been lots of reasons for Jemma Simmons, Roy Harper and Kelly DeHaven to be in close quarters and none of them bad. Things are all, after all, moving along in mostly positive directions despite all the weirdness.

Jeriah London is around somewhere today near the MMI lab or at least the sound of him working on one of his dogs very much suggests that he is.

"Okay. One A… Cold. One B… Hot. One C… Cold. One D…" ZAP! Clatter. Clang.

"Ow. Really hot."

Jemma rubs her temples as she goes over the data that was collected on the robo-archer. Not having a physical speciman of the brain is limiting, but SHIELDS imaging and modelling systems are second to none and she can make a lot of assumptions.

Um. Conjectures. That hopefully won't get them killed if she's wrong.

"Really Mister London, I though you knew what you were doing." The biochem mutters. "You don't test the circuits by touching them."

Kelly Dehaven looks up from where she's got Roy sitting on a stool next to a table that his cybernetic arm rests on. Said arm is half disassembled but could Roy just take it off and do something more interesting? Nope. Kelly insisted she needed it to stay hooked up so she could run the diagnostics.

"What is..?" The redheaded scientist frowns and then all of a sudden music starts *blaring* out of Roy's arm at maximum volume.

Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Kelly flails in surprise a bit and then slaps around at things to finally turn it off. She fixes Roy with a Look. "Really?"

Roy could be off having a cheeseburger. Or a beer. Or two cheeseburgers. "Hey, did you know without that arm, I'd have to win fights… single-handedly?" he asks Kelly as she's working.

And then the music goes off, and 'Shake it off' comes blaring across the lab.

"It's psycological warfare?" he asks her with a shrug of his shoulders. "I mean, it could be taylor made for me to arrive swiftly." he points out to Kelly, beaming her a smile before the sparks go off and he glances over. And then nudges her gently.

"Is it just me or sparks flying between them?"

"I wasn't touching them until Fido here twitched, Simmons. It shouldn't be doing that though. Someone would have to be physically manipulating the actuator circuit for it to-" Mew.

Jeriah stares at his drone. It just mewed.

"Is there a kitten in my canine death machine?" The follow up to that question would be WHY is there a kitten in his canine death machine.

He is slightly distracted though by the Taylor Swift coming from Roy's arm and…

"Hang on." He pokes his head out looking at Roy, and Kelly, and Jemma.

"That's an ARM. Why does it have SPEAKERS?!"

He might not get a chance to get that question answered though. Because there's a sudden itch at the back of all three of their neck's. And then… intrusion. Kelly's felt this before. Recently, even. But it's a lot more widespread and powerful than it was the last time.

"Your dogs *always* twitch when you're working on them on, London." Jemma grumbles again, casting Roy the flatest look she can. Sparks indeed.

The music just adds to the headache that's developing. A headache that's developing due to lack of sleep and the long hours she's been putting in the lab and the range.

"Ow. What was that. Are you trying to hack me again, London?"

"It's not a canine death machine while it's in base. While it's in base, it's a Kitten Sitter." Kelly informs London while getting out a pair of tools to tweak a few things on Roy's arm.

As to why it has speakers? "Well, there was all this extra space and speakers are pretty small these days. Phones have speakers you know, and I just tried to make sure it was at least as useful.." Kelly trails off as one hand flies to her head. She sucks a breath in between her teeth as she senses that mental intrusion that feels like it's *inside* her shields. Because it's riding a psisteel link.

Kelly grabs hold of the table to keep her feet under her as she tries to lock down that point of access like she would close the door to Jemma or Roy.

"I mean, if you have a mechanical arm, why not upgrade it?" Roy asks. "I thought about adding some sweet LEDs and maybe a gaming linnn—" the rest of it's lost as he feels that sudden pain in the back of his head, and his hand reaches out to grab Kelly's hand.

It's not just to steady himself, he knows he needs it, but to offer his support to Kelly, because he knows just a hint of what the woman is going through at the moment, and he needs to be ready to catch her if she falls.

The only person here not suffering psychic migraines is Jeriah who looks at the three with sudden concern. "Harper? DeHaven? Jemma-of-Nine?" He looks between the three. "Is the mothership calling?"

It's snark, yes but the way it's delivered he's worried. "No I'm not trying to hack you, Simmons."

Can they even hear him? Or is the other voice too loud?

Well now? What have we here? Some kind of… huh. This is strange. The Psi-Steel link is somehow accessing Kelly, Jemma and Roy at the same time and whomever is intruding is trying to figure out how they are. Going for the memories, of which the strongest are probably going to surface first. And that means… yeah, the traumatic ones.

The speaker on Roy's arm stutters and then starts blaring. Cause baby now we've got bad blood! You know it used to be mad love! So take a look what you've done! Cause baby now we've got bad blood!

Jeriah will now something is wrong when there's no snarky response to his name for Jemma. The edge of the table twists where the biochems cybernetic hand grips it. "Ngggghhhh" It's all she can say as the pain spikes in her head. It might not have been so bad if she didn't already have a headache.

"London. Something … accessing …" It's all she can get out as the most *recent* traumatic event surfaces for her. She's in that containment room again, the weapon goes off … then she's in the medbay … dying. All over again.

It's not the only one that is found though. Jemma's a few to chose from. Though hers might be childs play compared to the others.

Kelly Dehaven certainly doesn't hear, or at least doesn't *notice* Jeriah's questions. It's a good thing that Roy's getting ready to catch her as Kelly's legs give out, hands clutching at her head as she feels that other presence crawling through the small network of minds she's got in her head.

The redheaded doctor's own store of traumas is much lighter than Jemma or Roy's, which means having them dredged up is less incapacitating. Recalling how she was able to eject the intruder last time, Kelly taps into Roy's arm and Jemma's implants and floods their minds with the chatter of the machine language.

Oh hell, take your pick. There's a whole treasure trove of bad juju here in Roy Harper's Memory Emporium. Where do you want to start? We got the tried and trues:

Father running into a fire to save others only to die himself? Just 4.99!
Anger issues and the need to prove himself after being cheated? That one's half price today!

But no, no, this is a thing of discerning taste. Lets go down that rabbit hole. The drugs, the unprotected sex with a villain. The child way out of wedlock. The failures of the single father. The spiral out of control. Lian's death. The loss of his arm. The tug of wanting to take some of that Thunderbolt himself to be the hero he never was and never will be.

While Kelly, who is currently catching as he detaches from his arm and falling to the floor, may be the current anchor point in his life, he's pretty sure he's going to screw that up at some point too.

They probably don't hear the alarm blare, probably don't notice Jeriah putting the lab into security lockdown mode or telling the security office that they've got a major breach here. But all of that is happening. The lab is sealed, down to the air supply. Large blast shutters come down over the doors and windows. The computers are isolated from the main network.

"Oh wow. You're fucked up. Or is it you're all kind of fucked up? There's… more than one of you here. Now that's just weird. Okay. Time to set up some failsafes and contro- what the hell?!"

When Kelly starts to flood all three of their minds with machine language the rummaging through their memories slows quite a bit.

"Oh no. I remember that. I've got something for you…" Kelly works primarily with machines. But she, Roy and Jemma are all very, very biological. And the intruding mind goes right for the endocrine system. Fight and flight. With their most traumatic memories coming up it shouldn't be too hard to trigger at least in theory. "Let's see you do that when you're in an abject panic."

It's just one intruder. Just one. Can Roy and Jemma give Kelly enough support that she can evict the intruder (again)? Or are they all going to fall to panic separately and be at his mercy?

In Jemma's head there's a second, more subtle intrusion. Jeriah is kneeling down next to her and checking her pulse as he kicks the door down to her implants.

"Alright. The fuck is this?" That's not the intruder's voice. That's Jeriah's. Though it's possible it's tough to hear.

"Harper? DeHaven? Simmons? You guys in he- why do I smell smoke and hear a kid crying?"

That'll be Roy's memories he's sensing.

Jemma crumples to the floor as her implants are flooded and make so much noise in her mind. The workbench is a mess as her fingers finally let go - that's going to have to be repaired when they're done.

Hitting her endocrine system, triggering fight or flight is a good idea. Jeriah's not wrong that she's not got the training for the field - but she's got a lot of experiences to draw from and if anything Jemma is stubborn.

Put them in the box, honey. Jeriah hears the male voice. He's heard that before. Roy's *been* that voice before.

Put your fears in the box and lock them away. You can deal with them later.

The image of a small jewellery box with a ballerina that twirls to music floats through Jemma's mind just as the lid is slammed tight and the fear pushed back. Jemma chooses to fight and leans into the presence, the pain through her implants spiking as she strains them.

Detecting Jeriah, her system reaches for him and tries to draw on his as well, diffusing the attack and bolstering her own mind.

And of course there's nothing to *fight* and nowhere to *run*. At least, not in the real world. The addition of Jeriah's voice while Kelly is in a panic doesn't help her to settle. The last time they met up in Jemma's head there was a fight going on.

Kelly's arms wrap tight around Roy, fingertips digging in painfully to his flesh in her panic. A physical pain that echoes from Roy to Kelly and ripples out to the others.

The lockdown of the lab cuts off some of the resources Kelly was using to try to knock the intruder out of the system. But the blaring and shutters crashing down also startles the kitten, a tinny 'Mew!' sounding amidst the chaos.

Kelly looks over to the Canine Death Machine. Then she pushes up to her feet in a scramble, using Roy to help her keep her footing as she heads over to Jemma and Jeriah. "« Hold on! »"

Kelly reaches out, grabbing Jeriah's head and while Jemma is trying to pull Jeriah in through the hacked link he has into her systems, Kelly pulls his mind in telepathically as well. Which gives her access to his dogs. "« Sic 'em, Brutus. »"

In truth, Roy wishes he could stand up to things like this. That he had the mental fortitude of a Batman. The sheer deterimination of a Wolverine. When it comes down to it though? He's just a dumbass with a bow as someone put it.

Sitting in the middle of his memories, losing his daughter yet again. Helpless to do a damn thing about it, he just can stand there, in shock, even as Kelly is drawing blood from his arm with the way that she anchors herself to him. He doesn't know what to do. He just clings to whatever is offered to him and wants it to end and stop. He's the weakest link here. Behind all the snark, all the humor, there's that emptiness. That drug-addled corpse of what he once was, and what he's trying to crawl back from.

And whatever is that's attacking Kelly is welcome to it. And /everything/ that comes with it.

Or is he? "Ow! Hey! What the hell are you-!" The addition of Jeriah - an unfirewalled Jeriah - to the mental network is a bit abrupt but it gives the hacker-soldier a MUCH more complete picture of what's going on. His eyes glint a bright, mechanical orange as he processes.

"Roy! Hey! Roy! I need you to keep them calm! Keep their bodies from taking their minds out of the fight!" He can see now, in flashes of memory, that Roy has been key to that before. Anchoring Kelly even as Kelly anchors him. Calming Jemma by taking the role of her father in her memories. The biological attack doesn't let up but Kelly's counter attack now has the processing power of Jeriah's combat drones behind them.

And then… Chinese.

It starts like a murmur but swells to a chorus. A hundred thousand devices - dvd players, smart TV's, light fixtures - all of them directing traffic toward the intruder. In electornic mandarin. What's your IP, buddy?

"Simmons, DeHaven. Focus on Harper.

Is Roy the weak link? Or is he the lynchpin?

The hacker blinks as he's emeshed again in the network, this time by open connections to Jemma. Well okay. She wants to offer that? He'll just borrow the processing power of her eye and her hand and…

"Harper, I'm gonna need your arm for a sec. Just focus on keeping them in this fight."

And Jemmas mind. Those neural implants boost that brain of hers and it's all open for Jeriah to draw from.

Of course. It opens up all of her memories, which flicker through the link like a flip book. Her entire life is there to see in small flashes. If Jemma remembers any of this, she's going to blush for a year.

There's a discipline to Jemma's mind though - the discipline that had a sixteen year old completing her first phD - and the biochem draws on that and sets her focus on Roy. I'm here.

That's all she can be. Kelly and Jeriah have this fight. Jemma … well, she's more of a lover than a fighter, right?

As Jeriah directs Jemma and Kelly at Roy, Kelly is only too glad to do the mental equivalent of pulling Roy's mind around her like a favorite blanket. Physically, she needs to keep hold of Jeriah to maintain the connection for her telepathy.

Kelly has seen those dark places in Roy. They're not a surprise. But he's still here. That takes a special kind of strength. One that Kelly leans on. She needs him. And she knows he'll give everything he has if she needs it. Trusting Roy to have her back, she pulls the four of them tight together and narrows her focus on that Other presence.

"Want my ATM Pin and PornHub password while you're at it?" Even if it's been 75+ days since his last log in. That's a lecture that Roy had no plans to sit through again. But he surrenders the arm as he feels Kelly pull him in and uses him to lock herself and Jemma down. His mind is full of those dark pools. Some created from circumstance, most from circumstance of his own choosing.

Yet he's still here.

The interface with his arm is surprisingly simple. So easy a caveman can use it was what the scientist had told him.

"I'll take your ATM Pin and PornHub Password." The Intruder says, though it sounds strained and garbled. "And also your name and social security number and while I'm at it how about your whole mind…"

"Is this guy ever obnoxious…" Jeriah's one to talk, right? He focuses the external portion of the traffic in the same direction that Kelly is focusing the rest of them - himself included - and… it's kind of like aiming a firehose of data at someone.

There's an almost physical sensation of relief when the telepathic attack stops. The intruder has been evicted once more.

Jeriah sags a little bit though he can't sag much. Kelly's still got his head.

"So that was interesting… is there anything you folks want to tell me?"

He's not sure honestly if 'yes' or 'no' is the more terrifying answer.

"Good job Harper. Simmons, DeHaven? You with us?"

Jeriah's mind is… hard. Like stone. All business. It's the mindset of someone who has been at war his entire adult life. The mindset of someone who has seen - and possibly done - some pretty awful things. It's not an especially pleasant place to be, unfortunately for, er, everyone.

Mew. "What have you done with my dog."

It's like fire in Jemma's mind at the moment. Her implants are working overtime with Jeriah and Kelly drawing on them. Her vision is spotty, bright lights dancing in front of her eyes. "I… am… but I don't want to be. I …." Oh lord, she's going to be sick, she's sure.

"What what was that? That wasn't an attempt on me …" beat "Tell you what?" It's not Jemma's secret to share. "Than Thank you though, Mister London. Whatever you did…" Nope, she's still going to be sick.

Kelly Dehaven's brain is on fire, being the channel of all that data, of the strange mind's intrusion. She works to gently re-close the doors to the minds she's connected to. Not only to give them their privacy but to spare them her pain.

Well, except Roy. She always keeps that door propped open a bit.

Even once the intruder is gone, Kelly's hands stay clasped around Jeriah's head. Because she's afraid he'll poke back in. That fear and the remnants of inflicted panic has her trembling while trying to stay conscious. "I think a telepath has some of my psisteel and is using it to get past the usual mental shields I'd have against them." The words come a bit shakily. She's going to be crashing hard here in a moment.

Or, as her eyes start to roll back and her hands drop away from Jeriah's head, now.

She gets caught this time not by anyone in front of her - Jeriah isn't actually expecting her to crash and Jemma is in no condition to move quickly - but by Brutus. The dog actually jumps up to cushion her fall - as best as a dog made of inconel and alloy steel can - and bring her to the ground without a head injury.

"MMI Lab. This is security. What's your status?"

The hacker soldier pushes himself to his feet, rubbing the back of his neck. His head huts a bit too though not as much as the two scientists.

"I've got it. See to her and Roy, Doc."

He walks over to the comm panel and flicks it.

"Everyone is fine here. We're all fine, thank you. How are you?"

Well, he'll have that handled surely. And the doors and computers will be unlocked… momentarily. Just another normal day in the lab, right?

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