2019-08-27 - Bait and Switch


Clint's suspicious about Jeriah London and the fact he might have compromised Jemma. The spy isolates Jemma and gives new directives.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Aug 27 07:44:53 2019
Location: Jemma's Lab

Related Logs


Theme Song



My my
At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
Waterloo I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo knowing my fate is to be with you
Waterloo finally facing my Waterloo

That's the really peppy song blasting from Jemma's lab at the moment and echoing down the corridor along with some singing. Jemma - is singing. It's an unusual thing to happen and doesn't happen often at all.

For those who walk in, Jemma's at her workbench, the 3D holographic model spinning lazily above it. It's not clear what she's looking at but on the bench underneath it, is the arm from the Roboarcher that Jeriah bought in a week or so ago.

Strolling into that hallway from the elevator, there's the faint cling/tink of its bell signalling that it's leaving, even as Clint Barton strolls on down the hall. And whenever he comes to the lab level, he's usually eating something. This time it's Cracker Jacks(TM) and he's shaking it a little while he moves, as if something were stuck on the bottom.
He makes it to the door of Jemma's lab and sort of leans there for a time while she's singing, clearly enjoying himself. He'll wrap knuckles there on the doorjam, but then when she doesn't hear he'll walk inside a few steps. A few more.
Eventually he'll step into her peripheal line of vision and clears his throat. "Hey Simmons."

This time of the evening there are few people around The Triskellian. That might be why Jemma has her music blaring.

She doesn't hear Clint when he raps on the door, engrossed as she is in the analysis she's doing. The singing is interrupted as she frowns at the results that appear "That can't be righ—— Aaargh."

"Barton. You scared me!" She actually jumps as she catches him in her peripheral vision of her good eye and he talks.

"What what are you doing here at this time of night? Did you need me to look at something?" It's telling that she expects people to come in at all hours and just request help. She really should have left an hour or so ago.

Clint might notice the dark circles under her eyes now he's this close.

"Oh nothing," He says shaking the box. Clint looks at her sidelong with one brow raised, giving her a /look/ as if she were doing something entirely loopy. But he doesn't say anything beyond that. He does smile a little, "Just wanted to see if you had some time. You know, we never get a chance to just talk?"
He steps around the table and grabs an office chair, wheeling it along behind him as he strolls. He twists it around and drops into it, causing it to roll backwards until it hits a desk and stops rolling, then he props his feet up on another chair nearby.
"Figured we should take this time to chew the fat."

"About what?" Jemma blinks as Barton rearranges her office and makes himself comfortable. "Is everything alright? You had a bit of an experience the other day with that Archer brain." Her eyes slide to the analysis on the display over the table. "Just … this is the results from the power plant explosion the other day. There was some DNA in it that belong to any of workers and it's giving me a strange pairing." She starts recording the information, flipping windows left and right with a gesture of her hand.

"What was it you wanted to … chew the fat on?"

"Stuff, you, what life is like for you. Co-worker to co-worker." Clint pops a piece of caramel popcorn from the box and tosses it in his mouth. He keeps his legs up and looks comfortable sprawled there while he looks at her and what she's working on.
"I feel fine, by the way. Was just a little temporary moodiness." And, to be fair, the med bay gave him full clearance a day and some ago.
"But what makes you tick, Simmons? Or Jemma if we're going to be a little informal."

"Let me turn the music off then … " Jemma answers, gesturing again. The music stops but the display keeps spinning as Jemma records information she needs and programming the machine to the left of the table. After a moment of silence, another set of tests are started and the holographic display shut down.

She blinks as Clint uses her name. *No one* does that. She's always Simmons or Doc. Or, *sigh*, Jemma-of-Nine.

"You can call me Jemma." There's a frown at the question. "What makes me tick? Apart from the Death Lok protocols, you mean?" There's a self conscious glance to her cybernetic arm before she looks back to Clint. Clearly, she's flummoxed by that question.

"I know the medbay checked you are, but it doesn't hurt to ask, does it?"

Flaring his hands as if that's all the answer she deserved, his presence here, of course they checked him out. Didn't they? But yes they did. "Don't worry, Jemma. I won't make a habit of it." His smile is a little crooked as he shifts his weight to the other side and scrunches up one eye.
"Apart from what you usually tell people maybe?" He crinkles his nose as he sets the cracker jack box down to the side and looks across the way at her. "How you came here, why, what you like about working with awesome people like me."
Then he smiles as he looks toward the door, "I mean, I read the dossier. But best to hear it from the person, right?"

Clint can see the confusion in Jemma's good eye, that cybernetic one remaining dull. People don't come by just to shoot the breeze and ask about her. She's 'Doc' and 'Simmons', biochemist extraordinaire but woman? Person? May might be the closest to her and even then …

"Well, you know I grew in Devon, right? As a child I had rather bad sclerosis and Dad put my bed in the garden one night so I could see the stars. We went through all the constellations and I was hooked from then. I wanted to be a Scientist and learn all about them." There's another look at the Archer and a shrug. "From there it's pretty much as you read. Accelerated learning saw me get my first phD at sixteen, to be quickly recruited to SHIELD and put into the Academy."

But that's not all, is it? Clint knows that. How many *scientists* want to leave labs and be assigned to a field team?

"Are you concerned about my psychological condition, Agent Barton?"

"No, ma'am." He says as he looks to her, Clint's smile a little sad as he tries to see beyond that dead eye, his thoughts drifting for a moment. But then he says, "My bio isn't very exciting reading. The parts that aren't classified. Wasn't until I became an Avenger that the world opened up. "Before that… just some guy who didn't miss much."
Quite the admission there.
Then he stands up and frowns. "Ok, will you do me a small favor, Jemma?" He motions towards what she's working on, "Mind saving what you're working on? I'd hate for you to lose any data."
A curious thing to say, but he seems serious.

Honestly after all Jemma has been through it would be reasonable for Clint to be concerned. "I'm sure the bits that are classified are fascinating." Clint can see the assessing look in Jemma's eye, she's considering if she needs to intervene again. He did leave medbay against the orders the other day, after all.

"What? It's saved. What do you mean you'd hate for me to lose any data…" It's laughable as the biochem puts herself bodily in Clints way to protect her equipment. "I don't need to call security, do I Agent Barton?" Already her implant is connecting to the WiFi in the laboratory, ready to send an alert if she needs to.

"Nope," Clint says as he tilts the cracker jack box on its side and the last few kernels fall out, as well as a small silver device that he keys to life with a faint flicker of red LEDs. It's at that moment that he meets her eyes and says levelly to her, "I already called them."
He holds up a hand as if to try and talk her down from whatever fear or panic might move her to do. He says quietly. "We're just going to talk, five minutes. That's it. No signals can get in or get out. Do you feel any different, Jemma? I need you to be very honest with me here. This might be one of the most important conversations of your life."

"What?" Jemma frowns as her connection to the WiFi dies and she can't access the network. "What are you doing…?" Her hand draws her ICER and she levels it at Clint. "I'm warning you, don't come any closer. What are you? Shape Shifter? Mage? Techonology suit?" He probably hadn't expected that level of paranoia.

But maybe he should have.

Jemma is a trained Field Agent even if that's her primary focus, she's still got the basics and with what she's working on, being accosted is a huge possibility.

Carefully the biochem starts to move, trying to angle herself so her backs facing the door. She'll run if she has to - after shooting this man. A man she's convinced is not Clint Barton.

He might need to prove that he is.

"Why on earth would I feel any different?" She's terrified, so yes - she feels different - but she's not admitting that. Except there's one thing about Jemma - she's a terrible liar.

She also hasn't said anything about losing that connection yet.

"Who the hell are you?"

Poor Clint.

"What we are doing here is exploring the possibility that Jeriah London might be an AIM operative. He has successfully hacked you before, he might have had you under a control signal and if it has a keep alive you might feel compelled to attack me right now. I hope you don't, please please really hope you don't."
He holds up both hands as if trying to just calm her down almost as if she were a skittish horse kicking at its stall. "If you don't feel differently then you might not be compromised. But also I think it's important that we talk about Jeriah. It's been coincidental that each mission he's been on has had a sharp twist and a dropped ball. Also we need some redundancy on the data acquisition efforts. If he's the only one to touch the data upon first contact, we don't know how he is manipulating it entirely. So there are going to be a few changes. Right? Nothing horrible. Just security to make sure everything is good."
He ticks off a few things on his hand, "Our next operations, he gets told the wrong locations, we travel to an equi-distant alternate location. Next operations he does not touch the data first, we do a raw total pull with a data extraction device, then let him delve."
"I know, this sucks Jemma, but this is part of the thing we've signed on for. And it's important we know he's on the side of the angels. Alright?"

"The only reason I'd attack you is because you have me isolated here and are acting out of character, *Agent Barton*." Jemma answers, still holding the ICER up and trained on him. "Are you absolutely kidding me? EVERY MISSION we've done has had a sharp twist and a dropped ball, starting with the one that nearly KILLED me."

It's all in the files for Clint to review.

"And he's not. You're impugning my own procedures, *Agent Barton*." Jemma's not only terrified, she's also insulted. "He's passed all the vetting, has the necessary clearances and he's the *only* one who's able to help me. In case you haven't noticed, it's not like we're overflowing with squints here."

Not since Jemma's friend from the academy left on mission several months ago.

"We're on the clock here, we can't do this… we just can't."

"These are small things, Jemma. And we need to do them. I know, you think you got everything under control. But this is how it kinda needs to be. We do this, and he gets clear, easy to apologize. He'll probably be pissed off. You're free to do what you want, but people are watching, Jemma."
He gives a nod, "Now we got four minutes left, I recommend you check your systems and run what diagnostics you can. Because after the time is over what you do is going to be very important."
Of course that's the moment when around the corner two agents arrive looking concerned, though not holding weapons yet. Clint turns to them and holds his hands up, "Whoa whoa, be cool guys, be cool. We got this." And then he starts to turn back towards Simmons and says, "Ain't that right, Jemma?"

"Of course I don't have everything under control. Anyone who thinks that is lying to themselves." Jemma spits, backing slowly to the door, getting ready to bolt.

When the two security agents arrive, Jemma breathes a sigh of relief "Thoms, Harris. Take Agent Barton into custody, I have reason to believe he's compromised." It's probably amusing as hell to the senior agent that Jemma is responding as she is and not cowering under desk.

"Well? I said now." she says to the agents. Fully confident in her position within SHIELD.

"Doctor Simmons. This is cleared with security. Please put down your weapon and comply with Agent Bartons request." Harris answers.

Jemma scowls "Agent Simmons." She corrects, clearly perturbed by all of this. Could it be that all of them are compromised? She's not sure but a plan hatches as she thinks. That can't be a good thing. Slowly her weapons lowers and the british born biochem marches to her workstation.

Connecting a USB cable to the port in her temple, she brings up the diagnostic system. "Run diagnostics." she mutters.

Clint can see the system check. She's a clean as a whistle.

"Happy now? There is nothing wrong with Jeriah London and you're costing us valuable time with this charade."

"Alright, and you don't feel any different now? Now that no signals can reach you?" He asks her this with such calm and comforting tone, that it does seem entirely different than the happy go lucky fellow who usually works with her. But that may be the reason for that. "Please answer truthfully just for your own sake."
There'll be a small pause, "If you feel you're clear then the other option is for us to clear London, right? So those things I told you before, you remember them? Tell them back to me so I know you remember them." It's all so steady and attempting to be reasonable and calm. "We're only wasting five minutes, and we have to. Jemma. We have to."
The guards look between themselves then across the way toward Clint as if looking for some kind of signal. But it's one they don't receive. Because there are more than just the two options he's mentioned here. Either she's being manipulated, she's innocent…
Or she's going along with it willingly.

"I said I didn't and I don't lie, Agent Barton." Jemma answers. "Look at the diagnostics, they don't lie." She's a loyal SHIELD agent. There's no way she'd do anything knowingly to compromise the agency.

""Our next operations, he gets told the wrong locations, we travel to an equi-distant alternate location. Next operations he does not touch the data first, we do a raw total pull with a data extraction device, then let him delve." It's almost verbatim to how he told it to her. "No, Agent Barton, it's not just five minutes. It's several operations where we hit suboptimal targets. Lives are in the balance to deal with your paranoia."

She's so upset.

"If you want me to comply, take it to Agent May and have her issue the orders." The small womans chin tilt defiantly.

"No Jemma, we hit the optimal targets, we take extra coverage, we just tell him something different." He takes up the small device as it begins to flash a little and he checks it on the side, then pockets it. "That's all, agent Simmons." There's a faint whirrrr as the device winds down and the connections are reestablished, security feeds having broadcast looped data, and multiple application processes fired off to simulate what must have been interrupted.
The end result, this outage will seem like nothing more than a slight error in two timestamps. He starts to walk toward the door and gives a nod to the soldiers. "If you don't comply, that'll be enough of an answer. But I'll see if I can get May to swing by."
He turns back and after a few more steps he's out of view.

"No *Agent Barton*, if I don't compy it's because I don't *trust* you." Jemma mutters to his back. She can't fault his concern but London had checked out, hadn't he? SHIELD wouldn't have messed up that badly?

With the Agents gone, Jemma shuts and locks her lab door - no one will get in until she releases it. Sinking to the floor, the biochem pulls her knees up to chin and hugs her legs, sobbing softly.

She has *no idea* who trust at the moment.

Maybe she'll go and see May instead. It's times like this she misses Coulson.

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