2019-08-20 - Dangerous Minds


Barton's brain is used to help test an AIM robot. What could possibly go wrong?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Aug 20 08:00:50 2019
Location: Testing Range

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Theme Song



The Exotic Devices Testing Range in the Triskelion is an armored bunker attached to the main three-spire hub of the headquarters via an underground passage. It's built not to withstand a blast from outside but to contain blasts within it. This is the place that agents go to test something that MIGHT go boom in a big way or otherwise cause problems.

Unless they're WAND. Then they use a seventh dimensional space off one of the broom closets for that.

Jeriah London is just finishing up closing a panel on the newly reconstructed robo archer. The team examining it - himself, Jemma and Kelly DeHaven - have come to a point where to really further their knowledge they have to see it in action. Unfortunately since it is remote controlled that is not quite as simple as just turning it on. They need something to hook it up to. Someone with knowledge of, well, how to be an archer.

Unfortunately the obvious choice for Kelly is a bit indisposed. So, a call was put in to Agent Barton.

"Alright. It's all set. The bot will 'shadow' Barton and do whatever he does. That should give us enough data without having to try to shunt Barton out of his own body and into this one. He's still got to be connected to it though, so it can pick up inputs from his brain signals."

There's a short pause. "Remind me again…" Jeriah says as he shuts a panel and looks at the currently motionless robo archer… "How we plan to hook Agent Barton up to this thing? Also where is Agent Barton? And did someone tell him to bring that Plasma Bow?"

"I swear, no one knows what it is I *do* around here some days." Kelly grouses as she starts to pull a complicated array of metal plates and wires from a hardcase with padding inside. "I don't just plug cybernetics into people and cross my fingers that it's not going to fry their brain. I need to prep the hardware off of each unique person. It's too bulky for cybernetics or field application, but fine for what we're doing here."

The PhD is in sneakers and jeans beneath a long-sleeved shirt despite it being summer outside of the AC, gloves, and her labcoat that says 'DeHaven' on it with her ID clipped to the pocket.

Jemma was a little late making it to the range. She's had one of those days and her last 'appointment' ran later than expected. When she does arrive, she's slightly out of sorts. Not that Jeriah will think that's anything unusual - she often is when he's around.

The biochem is in a long sleeved T-Shirt and jeans and is reviewing the data output as Kelly works. "Mister London is a little like that, Kelly. Likes to state the bleeding obvious." Jemma murmurs. "And yes, London. I sent a message to Barton telling him to bring the bow."

That Plasma Bow had been checked out earlier in the day after Agent Barton had a brief meeting with a curious conundrum. It was only for a bit of time on the range, with a energy limiter and a deadman switch set to the feed of the weapon. But he'd taken several shots at various distances, gotten a feel for the new bow and after a period of a half hour, a voice on the comms had asked him.
"So what's the verdict, Barton?"
And Clint had looked back up to the observation booth, gave the OK sign and said, "I hate it."
That was a few hours ago, before the text crossed his digital assistant. And just now another message was likely sent that may well show up on the data units of the people assembled here.
« I'm still here. You know one day when I take off early, you guys are gonna be grumpy. »
But that day has not yet arrived. For it's only a minute or two behind that he pushes open the double doors into the testing area. The archer is wearing his black combat uniform with the reinforced armor plates and the sensor apparatus connected to it. He's got the Energy Bow over his shoulder as he shows up, walks in. Takes off his sunglasses. "Peeps."

"Speaking of brain frying…" Jeriah starts but when Clint arrives he shelves the topic. There was some brain frying going on earlier and he'd very much appreciate knowing more but that's for later.

"Not until we get near Easter again." Jeriah grins referring to the sugar colored marshmallow birds. He steps back and gestures dramatically to a beige humanoid robot with blank features.

"Behold. Clint 2.0. It's a bit lacking in the charisma and personality department I will grant you and it could use a wardrobe upgrade. This is the thing we recovered wielding the weapon in your hand and since you haven't been blown up by it yet I'll take it that it's more or less safe to operate?"

Hopefully. "Anyway. Doc K and Doc J here both want to get a closer look at how this thing operates, and to do that we need to install BartonOS. I'll let them explain as the neuroscience and biochemistry is a bit above my paygrade."

Snark though. Snark is absolutely at his paygrade. He is, in fact, a subject matter expert.

"Doc? And Doc?" He refrains at the moment from making the 'pair-of-docs' joke. He suspects that'd get him sedated and committed.

Kelly Dehaven's mouth presses into a thin line at the mention of brain frying. Yeah, she needs to bring everyone up to speed and see if Jemma can help her with that little loophole, but right now they're on another task. Always another task to deal with at SHIELD. Yaaay.

When Barton comes in, Kelly gives a sigh of relief. Maybe now London will be quiet. A grumpy sort of thought that Jemma is likely to pick up on despite the mental shields since they're in close proximity. Kelly holds up the… contraption. "Over here, Agent Barton, if you please." She has a chair for Clint to sit in as well, since the hookup will take a few minutes.

Also? Clint is damned tall and she didn't want to bring a stool that she might possibly fall off of. "I'm just going to put the halo on you so the bot can mirror your actions."

«If you're still here, why aren't here?» Goes the text message back to Barton. «I'm already grumpy, anyway.»

"What's not available till Easter?" Jemma sounds genuinely confused. Even after ten years in the US, there are some references that still elude her.

"I think Mister London, for your health you might want to refrain from too many puns and jokes at our expense." the biochem says primly, moving out of the way to let Clint past. Yes, she does have her ICER and she might well use it on Jeriah if he needles her too far today.

A smirk is sent Jeriah's way, but Clint then spreads his arms. "Alright guys, do with me as you will. Get me hooked up on the information super highway." And as he says that he strolls over toward Kelly giving her a nod as she motions for him to join her.
Once he espies the chair he settles onto it, extending the Energy Bow to Jeriah in case the man wanted to make any last minute adjustments before they get to work on things. But when Kelly tells him about the halo he gives a nod. "Alright. Any precautions I should know or did you guys get it failsafed and set?"
But then he'll answer Jemma's question, "Peeps. Lil marshmallow chicks? For Easter. Pure sugar and food colouring. Delicious." He turns to Jeriah, "You've had peeps." Since he made the joke, he points at Kelly, "You've had peeps, haven't you Dehaven?"
Clint Barton, asking the questions that matter.

Sounds like doctor's orders. Jeriah does become a little bit more serious. It's hard to tell if that's because things are more serious and he's done joking around or if he just doesn't want to get iced today. Probably a bit of both?

"It should be all set but the fact of the matter is we don't know what this stuff does so there is a possibility for catastrophic weirdness."

That is partly why Jeriah is here. The other reason is that he is a hardware expert. Where as Jemma deals with bodies and Kelly deals with the interface between mind and machine, Jeriah deals with machines straight out. So the bot is very much in his wheelhouse even if hooking Clint up to it is not.

"Alright, looks like you've got a signal, Doctor DeHaven. Doctor Simmons do you have vitals? As soon as she confirms you can start shooting targets Clint."

Jeriah flips the telemetry switch to send data to both Kelly and Jemma as things get started. And everything looks normal… for about twenty five seconds. Then neruochemical activity and brain-machine traffic SPIKE for no obvious reason.

Though Clint doesn't feel a thing. Well, maybe little bit of tingling on the back of his neck.

"If you think about Jemma naked, it'll fry your brain." Kelly says very seriously as she sets the rig over his noggin' and starts to apply the leads. "No, it should be perfectly safe." Famous last words. "It's strictly there to gather the data. The system it relays to does the processing and then relaying to, in this case, the bot."

The Important Question about peeps gets the redhead wrinkling her nose. "Eww. Marshmallows. No. I'll accept them in hot chocolate. LITTLE ones. That's it."

Once Kelly is happy with the readings she's getting from the halo, she gives Jeriah a thumbs-up and turns her attention down to her datapad which gives her readings on the data coming from Barton.

As the readings start to spike, Kelly frowns. "That's not normal…" She looks over at Clint. "What are you doing?" Obviously, it's his fault.

"Oh, those things." Jemma sniffs. "English marshmallows are far superior." Are they or she just saying that. Peeps are kinda awful though. She colours though at Kelly's words. Barton wouldn't would he? Then again, now Kelly's said it …

Watching the data as it flows, Jemma is silent, the frown starting as the readings spike. "Barton. What's going on. London? You getting anything?"

Weirdly enough for now Clint is on his fairly highly professional setting. When he hears Jeriah's words about shooting the targets he replies in that dead level comms voice, "Roger that."
But he stays still for the most part, letting the good doctors do their work. His eyes distance for a time and his gaze flits to the side as Kelly is working, his blue irises following her movements. The only hint to the tension in the archer is the slight drying of his lips and when he moistens them.
When the connection is established, Kelly might get a feel for Clint's mind and beneath all the surface noise she might get a read on simply two words that he's turning over and over in his mind as if it might be the key to something, that seem unconnected to anyone here. 'Daddy Issues'.
Then, however, she mentions Jemma in a perhaps embarrassed state of undress and the archer can't help but glance over and get a small wry smirk. Before he clears his throat, straightens up, and to his credit thinks of a polar bear in a snowstorm.
It's when people start to get tense about the readings that Clint sits up a little. "Guys? Everything ok? We're not gonna go all Scanners here or whatever?"

"Uploading targeting files." A mechanical voice says in Clint's head. "Assessing. Scanning for Harper, Roy. Scan negative. Detecting presence of archer. Scanning. Unknown inferior archer detected. Analyzing."

Inferior archer? That's just rude.

"There's a lot of traffic TO Clint from the bot. It's like it's unzipping a file. I don't think it's dangerous but I'm not sure…"

"Identify target: Simmons, J. Identify target: DeHaven, K. Priority extraction authorized. Maximum force authorized. Querying combat protocols."

Fortunately the bot can't MAKE Clint do anything other than, well, very seriously think about attacking Kelly and Jemma and taking them to a set of coordinates near the Great Lakes.

Kelly Dehaven has trace amounts of psisteel in the halo. Something she's forgotten as she hasn't had to pull the halo out since getting Roy's baseline down for his arm. When Kelly picks up on Clint's thoughts, there's a brief 'whoops' that Jemma might catch the edge of.

Any further commentary on that is put aside though as she not only picks up on the Bot *downloading* to Barton, but catches the voice in his head. She looks over to Jeriah with a flash of panic. "Shut it down! Shut the bot down!" She's reaching for the halo to try to disconnect it from Barton's head. She's likely going to need to go in after and try to isolate that programming though.

Jemma blushes bright red as she catches the edge of Clints thoughts. The poor biochem is going to die of mortification. At least the polar bear in a snow storm is nice?

"It's unzipping a file?" Jemma's voice rises as she *stares* at Barton. "Turn the damn thing off…" beat "It's talking to him… " She's *this close* to ripping the halo from Bartons head - the only thing that stops her is she isn't sure what it would do to the inferior archer.

As the robot recites its orders inside Clint's head they can clearly see his features twist with annoyance, and not just at the words of the thing but the intrusiveness of it all. He shakes his head and scowls, sliding up and off the chair while rolling his shoulders through their range of motion and adjusting his grip on the weapon. He flexes his fingers into a fist several times rapidly until there's a short rapid-fire crackle from them.
But then he looks up and he glares across the way at Jemma and Kelly, his jaw setting sharply and severely. A deep breath is taken, held, released sloooowly. But he doesn't attack, doesn't act on those desires or move beyond that as he says. "S'ok. I got it." Though he doesn't move to stop anyone from disconnecting him either.

"With the spike in activity that might blue screen of death him in very short order." Jeriah points out as he works on taking the robot offline despite the warning he just gave. Maybe Clint can recover from it. Though if they had another option that'd be great.

"Okay. I've got it. The thing has a storage file of it's last orders. That's what Clint is getting. I'm taking the internal storage offline. That should stop it from whispering sweet murderous nothings into his brain."

It does thankfully. But Clint is left with detailed profiles on Roy, Jemma and Kelly. Nothing on Jeriah curiously.

Someone or something has them at the very, very top of it's hit list and Clint has the phone records from the last hit ordered, as it were.

Slowly Clint's brain functions return to normal though his endocrine system is all kinds of fucked up right now.

The halo is taken off with much less care than it was put on, because when it comes down to people or stuff, Kelly will choose people. Every time. Dumping that off to the side, she eyes Clint as he stands up. "I'm not sure if you want to do that yet…" Of course, with the halo off of him, she can't pick up on his thoughts anymore.

"It's not supposed to be able to do that. It's not supposed to have the relays for that…" Worrying her lower lip, Kelly glances over to Jeriah, but she's keeping a careful eye on Clint. "I think there's still some stuff stuck in hsi head…"

Jemma sees the glare and fingers the ICER at her hip. She's possibly a little more gung-ho than she used to be. Maybe. "Do you, Barton? The look you're giving us isn't good."

"It just tried to program him didn't it? What did it give you, Barton?" Jemma isn't happy and she casts a look to Jeriah "Can you *read* the file that's in the storage?"

Agent Barton shifts his weight to the other boot, his brow still furrowed even though the thing isn't feeding him anymore information. He says with a low growl, "S'good way to convey info. I got a big feed fast." He takes a moment to look at Kelly and he can likely see the information brought up before him, almost picture perfect recollection.
Then he turns his attention to Jemma and gets a similar look, his jaw setting as he grinds his teeth a little. Then he gives a slow nod. "I got intel on Jemma, Kelly, and that Harper kid. Top three on the robot hit list. Meant to be brought back to a set of coordinates near the Great Lakes. Not a good thing."
He shifts his weight to the side and turns to look over at Jeriah. "Nothing on you though, London, did you scrub the data already? Weren't you with them when the apprehension went down? Why's it got nothin' on you?"

"Sort of." Jeriah says. "It tried to upload it's last orders to it's controller and query for an update. Any compulsion Clint was feeling would have been a result of doing that to an unmodified human brain and not a computer designed to handle that type of data." The fact that Clint could interpret it at all is somewhat amazing.

"I'm really good at keeping a low profile Barton and a religiously scrub my presence from any online files. There might be less of me to find." He pauses. "Or, amazing as this sounds, it could be that I just haven't pissed it off enough."

Jeriah bends over his work station again and taps a few keys. "Anything still in his head is a bit invisible to me now, DeHaven." He glances up. "Though I'm sure you could read it." Because, well, she did SOMETHING to him a little bit ago, didn't she?

Granted that was kind of an emergency too.

"Yes, Simmons, I can. But it's more or less what Barton said it is. Dossiers on you, Harper and DeHaven here, along with orders to bring you in alive if possible, dead if not." The coordinates are interesting.

"Coordinates match a location between Chicago and Milwaukee. Odd place. We might want to check it out." Or Barton might want to do that.

"I think the question IS why this machine, which was taken down in Malaysia, would have the orders. The only reason I can think of is that they were distributed network wide. Which means…"

He'll let the others follow that thought. It strongly suggests there are other Robo-Archers IN the States. Possibly IN New York.

Beat. "Did it really call you an inferior archer?"

Cause… that's kind of funny. Not that he's going to laugh now but…

"Most people can't deal with datapackets like that." Kelly muses. That's how she's managed to chase off her own telepathic hacker. "I didn't see any history of working with augmentation in your file, Agent Barton. Is it perhaps something being kept off-books?" She won't ask for details, of course, but it would maybe explain it? Or.. was it because she was part of the interface? Hurm.

Kelly's not paying any attention to her datapad now, even if she's got it cradled against her chest. The redhead glances to Jemma, looking confused. "Why would it be after *us*? We're just science types."

Jeriah gets a followup glance as he mentions that she could read it, and she gestures back to the chair. "If you could sit down, Agent Barton, I can try to get a better look at what might have 'stuck around'?"

Jemma goes very, very pale as Clint speaks. In fact, she's probably turning a shade of green. "Just us three?" She asks. "Not London at all…" She might be trembling a little. She could snark at London that not pissing people off isn't in his skillset, but she doesn't - a telling fact after all.

"I knew I recognised those brain patterns when we first saw them." She looks to Kelly. "When we raided that facility and this happened … do you remember the computer?" Kelly should. It had actively fought her.

"This … is a neural network."

Does that mean AIM have a contract on the three of them?

As Jeriah is talking things are a bit blurry, Clint's gaze is distanced as he looks at Kelly and Jemma, back and forth between them. He raises his eyebrows and says quietly, "Guys, I need you to tell me if I need to beat the shit out of London right now or not? Cuz I can't make heads or tails outta somea this junk."
Inside his mind it's like his tinnitus has blown up, and everything is accompanied with a steady droning imbalanced sound and when he looks over at Jeriah it's just a sort of talking thing with teeth and hair.
But then he looks back to the others and holds up a hand. "I'll be alright, just gimme a lil bit." It's only then that he nods and does as Kelly says, settling back on the chair.

"Oh, I think according to those two I generally need the shit beaten out of me. But it'd make a mess. May I advise waiting until we're near a latrine?" When spooked or concerned Jeriah defaults to snark even if this is milder snark than usual. Of course when amused or annoyed he also defaults to snark. It makes it a little bit difficult to gage his mood.

"Are you suggesting, Simmons, that AIM has more than one giant brain computers?" As if just one of the damn things weren't enough. Or is she perhaps suggesting that the one brain has formed an external neural network, possibly using the bots as nodes?

"What'cha got there, DeHaven?" Clint's brain is a bit scrambled right now as might be understandable. The upload left digital-mental 'fingerprints' all over him. He's got some pretty extensive 'memories' of surveillance on Roy and Kelly and Jemma. Including some, uh, sort of personal moments.

Which while potentially blush worthy ALSO suggests a much more urgent problem.

"How many fingers am I holding up, Clint?" Jeriah says as he comes over and crouches down to hold up two. "You look like ten miles of bad road. In Afghanistan. In the summer. On the Pakistan Border."

So bad. What he's saying is Clint looks rough.

As Clint sits down, Kelly comes up beside him. She's stripped off her gloves, leaving her hands all chrome-shiny and she reaches out to touch them to Clint's temple while looking down at her datapad. Not that she needs to see anything, but it gives her something to focus on.

The link between Jemma and Kelly opens enough that Jemma can 'see' what Kelly is picking up on. Well. Except for the parts that Kelly *ahem* edits out. Since London isn't linked into her, he can't get quite the up-close-and-personal. At least until Kelly passes the soldier her datapad where she's mapping out the filestructure it's imprinted on Clint's grey matter.

The redhead looks between the pair of them. "Is it OK to remove them? I don't usually mess with someone's mind, I just run the data back and forth."

Jeriah can link to Jemma, easily, and pick up that feed. What else he might pick up - well the biochem alternates between pale and bright red - he won't know what's causing the discomfit in particular.

"I don't know, London. I doubt it's more than one computer but it's possible that there's only one that's formed a network out of the bots. But the patterns are too similar and it's only us three - the three that raided the facility and shut down the first weapon." Kelly can feel the unease, the panic, that Jemma's feeling and the struggle the woman is having trying to control it.

"Barton? It's ok. I might want you to beat London later, alright?"

Clint's got it together, held tight. In his mind he's repeating a saying over and over, 'You step out there, and you got this.' There's a flicker of imagery in his mind, an explosion, people hurled bodily in the air to land in sand and gravel, a face of someone who had been alive but seconds ago now very dead in front of him. 'You step out there, and you got this.' Cartel enforcer standing limned against a doorway with a heavy hammer and a bike chain in hand, the feeling of electricity and the tang of copper. 'You step out there, and you got this.' A burning flame that seems to climb up the back, crawling and sizzling through armor and cloth even as it's frantically trying to be pulled off. And through it all, bits and pieces of that intel, entwined with some of those memories.
"If I'm… I got this."
He looks up, features haggard and grim. He gives a nod… and then puts a hand on Jeriah's face as if to slooowly push him to the side and away out of his line of sight. "I'm alright. Just… just get outta my face, man."
As for Simmons, he doesn't seem to hear her at all.

Jeriah COULD hack Jemma again yes. But instead he just takes the tablet. After all she's not been keen on having him in her head before. The hacker-soldier frowns as he looks over the file structure. When Clint pushes him back he rocks a little with it and steps to the side.

"Yeah you should be okay to get rid of that." He glances down at Barton for a long moment and then looks up. "In fact you should probably hurry."

In all seriousness it's probably better that this was Clint and not Roy. Jeriah's totally non-professional read is that this archer is better mentally put together than the other. Hopefully that remains the case.

"Simmons does this look like a synaptic pattern to you?" Memories are encoded in very specific ways and the data pattern and file structure seems to mimic those. It's really information dense. There might be some interesting applications to that for Jemma's own work.

"Hang on Clint. You've got this, yeah." And Kelly and Jemma will have him right as rain in a few moments. Hopefully.

Kelly Dehaven's eyes have closed, not even putting up the pretense that she's using some special piece of hardware for this. On occasion she twitches a bit as Clint's memories bubble to the surface. If she didn't have the experience with Roy's own traumas she likely would have pulled out to get away from it all. Discussion of the AIM computer is put on hold for now.

As Clint pushes London out of the way, Kelly shifts behind him, both hands coming up now, covering either side of his head. The surface of her 'skin' ripples and warps as she reaches into try to carefully, delicately, delete those files. Because she's used to dealing with machines, and that's what she sees memories are. Files. Data.

Kelly doesn't try to leave Clint with some of it. He can physically read the files if he wants to know the details. Though some of that information has become some of his own as he's looked at it, so pieces will linger, but they'll be all his own. Hopefully, by pulling that free, the impulse to act on the information will go away on its own.

There really isn't much that Jemma can do at the moment except lend Kelly her processing power. "You got this, Barton." She says rather lamely as she stands there.

"What London?" She'd been lost in her mind for a moment there - she's been getting the edges of Clints memory and that's not pleasant at all. Still, Jeriah called back "You know it does. If this is a neural network like I think it is, how do you think they're going to get data around? It's not 1's and 0's like it is for a computer."

Are there potential applications for her work? Maybe. The biochem is having trouble focussing on that. "Will you upload that to my server so I can review it? I'm sure it's useful… "

The discussion between her and Jeriah is quiet, Jemma not wanting to disrupt Kelly's concentration.

Is it done?

For Kelly it's likely a palpable feeling as Clint indeed gets a more firm grip on the situation. Those memories are shunted around, pushed out of the way, some suppressed, others ignored. But in the end it amounts to what is needed for the moment.
Externally Clint looks between the people there, then smirks a little bit and gives Jeriah a small thump on the arm as if to make sure it's all alright. He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his left ear, scowling for a moment then he says. "Alright, we good?"
His blue eyes flit from person to person to person, "Figure we got some more testing to do." That's right, the bow.

Jeriah returns the thumbs up. "We do yes." The bow. It'd be good for the two scientists here to watch that too and gather data. For Jeriah's part he's going to take the bot off to the side and open it back up to see if he can figure out WHY it did what it did and what otehr secrets it might be hiding.

There'll need to be a report on this later. He just knows it.


That's a small kitten and it's at Clint's leg. Jeriah glances at it but for once decides not to comment.

At least it's not curled up inside his dog's grenade launcher.

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