2019-10-01 - Spot! The Difference


Hank goes to visit Jemma with a peace offering - not that it was needed.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 1 20:57:39 2019
Location: Jemma's Lab

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Theme Song



In the wake of Catseye's kick in the proverbial pants, Hank got his butt in gear. First, he made something - with Cat's expert assistance - and then he he spent the better part of a day in the kitchen at the Institute baking. Granted, some of the time needed was due to random persons swinging by and absconding with part of what he's been making, and that was actually factored into his plans! Finally, when all was ready, he cleaned up after the baking marathon and drove his very not standard issue '78 Grenada and drove to New York.

Fortunately as a contractor he can park at the Triskelion, that's a very nice thing. More than a little anxious, he makes his way into the building, and is escorted to Jemma's lab. The poor guard is treated to Hank's nerves in the form or a non-stop rambling stream of consciousness attempt to be entertaining. In truth, he DOES know a lot of pretty solid jokes, also some real gut wrenchingly awful puns. Agent Forbes has never met Hank, being new, but he definitely seems to favor the puns to others.

Finally, they arrive, and Hank adjusts his tie, steels his nerves, then enters the lair of the Simmons! "Hello Jemma." He offers, assuming she's not in the midst of something potentially dangerous of course, he'll wait should that appear to be the case.

"Aconite… Silver nitrate… Dendrotoxin…" Jemma is murmuring to herself as Hank arrives. The door to the lab is open, so she can be disturbed and many of her machines are humming happily.

"Oh. Hank…" the biochem smiles as she turns to the look at tge man. "You look… good." Better than the last time she saw him. "Are you well? And have I forgotten an appointment?"

"Come in. I'll make tea."

"That's an unusual combination - a knockout agent, a mild toxin and something used most often to deal with warts or burns." Hank pauses, and then he RPG experience kicks in a bit, subconscious making connections before he's even aware of 'em. "Or…possibly a lycanthrope?" Actually, that combo might even be an effective attack against his weretigress friend.

Since there's no obvious risk, he enters the lab more fully, and that's when Jemma should see the bag in one hand, and a small package, wrapped in textured gold and green wrapping paper with a striped bow to match.

"I am much better now, thank you. Catseye administered the serum antagonist once the series three serum formula was complete." A smile, a little nervous. "I am well, and you have not forgotten, this is an unscheduled visit and absolute is /not/ related to work of any kind, mine, yours or ours."

He approaches and offers the bag. "Eclairs, and a couple tins of snickerdoodles." And then he looks Jemma in the eyes. "My other self was an ass, Jemma. I was unspeakably rude to you, cruel even, and for that I humbly beg your forgiveness." And then he offers the wrapped present.

Hank might remember that Jemma had asked about werewolves during her last 'visit' to his lab. Aconite is the scientific name for Wolfsbane or Monkshood.

"Mmmhmm. Lycanthrope knock out juice and an inhibitor. I know the aconite mix works from personal experience. So does the dendrotoxin, I'm now trying to get the formula to work together." Which means, she thinks they're going to need it.

"I'm glad she did, Hank. Did you get the data you needed though? I … would like to review what you've done, if that's ok…" She doesn't look *as* tired today, which means she's likely got some sleep. Someone might have made her, actually.

Accepting the bag, the biochem pokes her nose inside and smiles. "You didn't have to Hank. You … weren't yourself and I understand. I reacted poorly because I was so tired and stressed, I'd had a traumatic experience before our call. And .." she gestures to her implants "… they still have an impact on my emotional control."

Setting the eclairs out on plates as the kettle boils, Jemma turns her attention to the gift, unwrapping it slowly and methodically. Revealed is a small hinged box, the kind used for medium sized jewelry … which gets Hank an odd look as she opens it. "What is this, Hank?" There's a triangular device with rounded edges and thumbprint pad on it.

Oh yes, and there's also another layer - the mention of werewolves - so more than just D&D, shew! Hank's inner nerd was showing, now he can claim the excuse of prior mention.

Still a nerd though.

"If you'd like a second pair of eyes I'd be willing to take a peek." So much for nothing work related being on the table! Oh well, SCIENCE! is fun too! Only /true/ scientists realize that of course.

"Oh, actually, I very much did. I consider you a dear friend, and even under such… rarified… circumstances there's no excuse for what greylien me said." A smile. "Of course I'll show you the data, and I'll need your help with the series three formula, there's some /significant/ alterations, he was right…had we continued down the path we'd followed it would have been very bad." As in 'high chance of mortality' bad.

He will help with the setting up of the tea and snacks. "I thought you might want to share the cookies with your colleagues, so that's why I made so many."

He grins when she asks what it is. "Well, place your organic thumb on the bio-metric sensor, you're the only one it works for by the by, and find out."

"I would yes. I have some blood samples we can test on, too." She what? Has lycanthrope blood samples? What the hell has Jemma been into now? "We can do that after tea and eclairs."

Hank won't miss the shimmer in Jemma's eye as he tells her she's his friend and turns to the kettle, pouring water into the mugs and letting the tea steep. "I would love to share them with my colleagues. It … is a lovely gesture, Hank, thank you."

After a moment, she turns back to the gift on the counter and takes the triangle device out. Is that a brooch pin on the back that she sees?

"So … like this …" When her thumb touches the device, it chimes very softly in a sound that's familiar to the biochem. "Wrong franchise, Hank…" the faint smile grows when a holographic image of a cat appears. "Spot! That's Spot, Data's cat…" Jemma just stares for such a long time before reaching out to try and scritch behind the creatures ears.

"The perfect gift for Jemma of Nine."

"Then I'll be happy to help with the testing and the analysis, of course." Hank DOES peer at her closely. "YOU weren't bitten, were you? Because I can't imagine being a were-cyborg could possibly be comfortable." Oh dear LORD that would be -awful-. It is a logical ask though considering the blood samples.

No, he won't miss the shimmer, but neither will he make any mention of it either. Jemma's a very reserved person in a lot of ways, even offering a handkerchief — and he always has one — would make Jemma uncomfortable, so…nope, no mention. "You're most welcome, Jemma."

On the back there is in fact a brooch pin. He nods approval when she places her thumb. "Well…yes, I went with Spot's series even though the EMH and the mobile emitter were from Voyager."

A grin. "The energy cell charges off ambient wifi, and also body heat, so if you wear it, it will charge even in a faraday cage. In theory it should last…decades? I warn you though, this Spot has /you/ as her favorite person, meaning she will be a little snarky to others, Jemma of Nine."

Spot graciously allows the scritching, and even pads over to try and claim Jemma's lap if it is there, because…CLEARLY that's /Spot's/ place!

"It's … wonderful." The cat is solid to Jemma's touch, just like the holographic emitters in Hanks lab. "It's so lifelike and responds just like I'd expect to. I've always a wanted a pet but I work so much …" Holding her finger out, the cat moves it head to rub it's muzzle along the digit, making Jemma laugh in response, before it settles in her lap.

"Oh, will it? I'll have to be sure to show Jeriah, then…" The shimmer is still there and Jemma dashes her hand across her face, reaching around to pull the tea over and hand a mug to Hank.

"I wasn't bitten, no. It … was touch and go for a bit though. I mixed up some aconite and silver nitrate and got the person to drink it - it gave them enough to bring the urge under control." Which means whatever happened, happened … here, in this lab.


"Well, the bulk of that - ESPecially the behavior, is largely due to Catseye. She's VERY good at such, for deeply personal reasons." Hank sighs a bit, sad and there's a little bit of a growl as he adds. "She was thrown out as an infant by her birth mother, just…tossed in the trash when she was obviously mutant." Yes, Hank's just a LITTLE wroth, still. "She was raised by actual feral cats, and later helped by a powerful telepath, or she wouldn't be able to speak, or use tools, or…"

A moment to get a grip, and then he smiles. "In any case, her insights are literally unique, I don't think that /anyone/ could have come up with more realistic." Hank grins. "That means Spot will have moods, will react to stimuli and everything - just like a real cat would. Of course she doesn't need to eat, nor will she need a litter box, or shed." She can definitely purr, however! Once she's in lap, Jemma's treated on a lovely purr.

When he sees that lingering shimmer, Hank does offer his handkerchief, fine linen, monogrammed with HPM in one corner.

"I'm sure he'll think I'm barmy for doing it, but who can say."

He relaxes considerably as Jemma confirms she was /not/ bitten, and then tenses. "So…who here DID get bitten?"

Jemma shakes her head at the handkerchief "Thank you, I'm … ok. It's just been a fraught couple of days. I blubbered all over Kelly the other night and now this. Thankfully she's able to regulate my emotions remotely." That might be news to Hank, Jemma hasn't spoken much about the side effects of her operation.

Petting the cat, Jemma takes a sip of her tea, chuckling a little as the purr starts up. "I'm not sure I'll get any work done now…" but this might do her good - whilst not flesh and blood, it *is* a companion.

She stills at the question and looks at Hank. "I … It's rather confidential, actually, but one of own. I … would like to check if they will allow me to share that information." This is the problem of working with the agency - there are secrets and secrets are on a need to know basis. "Once I do that, I'll even introduce you to them." beat "They were jumped a couple of weeks back and only came to see in the last few days, as the moon was full. Another agent triggered the predator response and they changed here in the lab, which was fine. With the people around, we were able to restrain."

Still petting that cat, it looks like she's forgotten she's doing it, Jemma looks a little sheepish. "It was the next morning. I was rather foolish really and had them here with me while I was running some tests. Security was outside but … they said they scented me and … then started to change."

"You're allowed." Hank says earnestly, and then will pour the tea as it's probably been steeping long enough! Jemma's first, of course. "Wait, you have a co-worker who can regulate your emotional state?" Why, YES, Hank /does/ sound a bit dubious about that concept. More than a bit. "And can do so remotely?"

Honestly, the cat feels real, it smells real, it sounds real, it acts real and it remembers and adapts - it IS a cat, just not one made of flesh and blood. Fortunately he didn't even CONSIDER weaponizing it! Well, not for long, anyway. Spot does still have her claws though! She'll be /death incarnate/ if there's any vermin around.

He listens to the explanation about why she can't reveal the victim (victimS?), and he nods. "Oh, quite understandable. If I'm not cleared, then I'm not cleared. I will simply accept that you have things in hand and will help with whatever I can, fair enough? No pressure."

"I … uh… yes." Jemma flushes a little. "It's … not something I speak on a lot. But the conversion was done as I was … dying. The original Deathlok protocols were for dead agents - they bought them back and augmented them."

Spot might detect some of Jemma's discomfit and starts to knead her lap as she purrs, getting Jemma petting again.

"When I woke from the operation I was … a monster. Angry, so angry I didn't know who I was. Kelly managed to connect with me and … created a scenario that helped bring out. Since then, she's got a link to me and devotes some of the processing to regulating my emotions. She's been working overtime lately."

Is it any wonder that Jeriah calls Jemma of Nine?

"Well, I would love another set of eyes on what I'm doing here. And I'll work on getting you that clearance. So far, we only know of one victim in New York but maybe I should check the hospitals for reports of unusual animal bites." They can do that testing soon, though.

"I really think I need to learn more about this cyber-necromantic Deathlok technology. I assume you'd need to request more clearances for me there there, correct?" Hank nods, rather firmly - his formidable jawline set and determined. "If so, add that to the list of 'clearances to get for Hank', please." No, not really a question — more of a demand in question format!

Spot - zero actual mass, but tons of supportive! She's a good cat. Probably won't bite the hell out of anyone, well, maybe Jeriah…though much like the TV Spot she might just add him or someone else to the 'acceptable' list like she did with Reginald Barclay in TNG. Maybe.

Because: Cat.

"Anger issues is something I can relate to, but I would still like to check things out for myself, if you don't mind."

And no, no wonder at all - but does that make Kelly the Borg Queen?

He smiles at the promise to get him at least some of the clearances, if she can. "Oh, good idea about the animal bites. Perhaps filter for bites that healed remarkably fast."

"Yes, but I'd started that when you asked the first time. You should also meet Doctor Dehaven, as well. She's the one that's been helping me." Jemma smiles sheepishily. "I … with everything else, those issues seem minimal in comparison."

"I've got some documentation on them here …" Jemma hands over a data stick to Hank. Sometimes physical security it best. "And it's emotional regulation, really, anger is always the easiest emotion - it masks so many others doesn't it? But it is why I've been a bit teary since the other that. That and lack of sleep."

Jemma might laugh is Spot bit Jeriah. But only for a short bit. Who knows who the holographic critter might accept?

The biochem would also snort to know that Hank just thought of Kelly as the Borg Queen - cause that's totally what Jeriah had called her the other day.

Alice Krige was amazing!

"I will. I think I could filter those too to ones done a few days before and after a full moon. I know there's going to be task to hunt for the perpetrator, maybe I can get you included in that."

"I would like that very much, actually." Hank says with that formidable stubborn relenting a bit when he learns she's already gotten him the Deathlok clearances. "Jemma Simmons, stop right there. If YOU have a problem, then it might compromise you. If you're compromised then the work you do doesn't get done right, possibly not at all. Therefore it is incontestable fact that YOUR problems are -not- minimally important. Dominoes, dear lady. Dominoes."

Hank's massive paw accepts the data-stick, and tucks it away for later, they're having tea right here! It is pretty clear that Spot is working as intended, however, and that makes the big blue fella smile.

"Oh, yes, definitely put me in for part of the task force to deal with this if there's a need. I would very much like to assist."

"I'll let people know of course and Hank, we're dealing with the biggest issue I have…" Jemma taps her head. "We're dealing with the person who's hacking me, first. Kelly is managing the other issue as we work things out and you're looking at the system is appreciated."

"The protocols were more than just the implants, there was a serum, Hank. The Deathloks, not that we've had many, are noted to have some emotional trouble. And what was done to me, what I agreed to, was experi-tech."

She'll take the chastisment though.

"So tell me what it was like as Grey Hank."

"Fair enough." Hank allows, and then he nods. "I am DEFINITELY on board for the hacker take down." Hank promises. "I'll study the data and let you know what I think about the implants, the bio agents, the protocols. The whole kit n'kaboodle." Yup, he actually said that.

When she accepts the chastisement he briefly squeezes Jemma's shoulder if permitted, and then she asks about the greylien.

He is silent a long few moments, clearly gathering his thoughts.

"It was…heady." Hank admits. "My thoughts were FOCUSED. I cannot even begin to describe the sheer power of that mind, it was humbling. Speed. Clarity. Pattern Recognition. Layers upon layers upon layers - but so cold." A faint grimace. "Emotionally crippled, zero empathy or nearly so. Greylien Hank didn't see the value in emotional ties, he was polite not because it was right, but because it was what was needed to achieve his goals when forced to interact with others. He was…he was a monster."

A faint sigh. "That version of me was monstrous." And the obvious corollary - HE has the potential to be every bit as bad.

"Soon, I think. Jeriah has the address for that signal …" Jemma just hopes this isn't a sting or something. When Hank squeezes her shoulder, she pats his before going back to petting the cat that's happily settled on her lap. This might make it make it difficult for Jemma to work in a moment.

"The eclairs are delicious by the way. I take it you … made them? Pastry is so hard to get right."

She listens though as he speaks on the greylien, nodding slowly. "It's interesting that it happened. You're such a warm and compassionate person, I wouldn't have thought it possible but your brain definitely reconfigured, we saw that. The areas that are devoted to those sorts of processes seemed to decrease and the hormone imbalance wouldn't have helped either."

"Good." Yup, Hank wants to punch himself a hacker right in the schnoz. Hank's squeeze was very brief, he doesn't take liberties with people considering his size and appearance, that he's comfortable enough to do so with Jemma is pretty significant. He smiles when she pats, and then broader when she gets back to the serious business of Spot scritching.

"Thank you." Hank says with a still wider smile. "Yes, I did." He confirms. "In fact I made lot more, but being as how I -live- at a school, well, as expected a good amount of my work was absconded with." A nod. "As expected." He chuckles softly. "I'm glad you like them. I rather enjoy cooking…chemistry, for the hungry."

When Jemma comments on the greylien, he looks up, and then nods. "Yes. It was definitely interesting, and it was not supposed to happen at all. Fortunately I've been reviewing the serum /he/ came up with…I think it might be the real fix." He produces a thumbdrive of his own, and offers it to her. "I have a batch in the works right now, should be ready in the next day or so, assuming no mishaps."

Jemma lets it go by that Hank lives at a school. The X-Men, she knows, are protective of their secrets - and rightly so. It's why she's not permitted to be in Hanks lab in person. "Oh, I can imagine. Mum used to complain when she baked too." Jemma so rarely shares anything so personal.

Taking the thumbdrive, the biochem slides into the system and brings it up on her display - not moving cause that would upset Spot.

"Summarise it for me? I can the changes here and here…" A one handed gesture marks the relevant area's. "What did we miss the last time?"

She might not have thought about it yet, but Spot represents some of the very best tech Hank's produced for his team, that he's given her a sample of that tech? Not a trivial thing. She /could/ reverse engineer it, were she so minded but he trusts she won't unless she must, and that's also non-trivial. "Teenagers are hormonal appetites with legs, I figured on about sixty percent take-age." Like breakage, only more thefty! "I was close, it was only forty seven percent." Yes, that lip quiver - he's DEFINITELY teasing.

As the lady biochem pulls up the file, he mms. "Apparently the reverbium's mutagenic properties, are less stable than we thought, but grey me figured out an algorithm to compensate." He taps the relevant formula on the read out, highlighting it. "I don't know if that will be a factor with the other uses for the material, but it could be helpful with the necrotoxin research, I think."

It's likely crossed Jemma's mind but she's not the engineer, so reverse engineering it won't occur to her for a little while. Mind you, Hanks distracted her well with pettings and pastries, not to mention the lovely SCIENCE! he's just bought up.

"Not as popular as you'd hoped?" Jemma teases back, still looking at the model and considering.

"I'd agree with that. Reverbium in general isn't stable and it might explain why AIM are doing so much testing with this. And why we've not seen a widespread usage." It's no good releasing a necrotoxin if you're going to kill your client, is it?

Taking a moment to look at the changes the greylien made, Jemma nods slowly. "We have seen that eventually, but it would have been by process of elimination. It *might* help with the work I'm doing on replicating the material. I'll try it. "

"Cat had a reasonable idea, you know. Using tissue samples to do some testing before we proceed. It's not going to tell us much, but it will tell us *something*. How do you feel about adding that to our battery of tests before you proceed?"

Hank can be quite insidiously clever at times! Sometimes FAR too clever for his own good…alright… usually too clever for his own good.

"Alas, no. My last project was a full EIGHT percent more popular, apparently caramel apples are rather a favorite in Westchester." Again, clearly Hank is just being silly, though the smile is a real enough even if the numbers are purely being produced from thin air.

He gets back on track with the talk about Reverbium. "It explains a lot, but thanks to this algorithm we have a leg up on them now. At least I think we do, their work is proceeding 'brute force' via trial and error, we can build better predictive models, that /may/ just give us the ability to catch up."

Hank sighs very faintly. "Eventually might have been too late." He admits. "I'd like to think we'd have caught on, but there's a very real chance we would not have." That she might be able to use it on her attempts to synthesize her own Reverbrium draws a huge smile.

"Oh, I think that Cat has a lot of good ideas, that's one of the reasons I offered her the position as my assistant. The girl has a VERY good brain in that head of hers. Her memory is absolutely astounding." A firm nod. "Adding cultured tissue tests will slow us down a bit, but the added data points may very well make all the difference. We should and will add them." A faux-sigh. "Which means a lot of tissue biopsies in my future."

"I'd say Cat is a little to cautious but she's not. You should have heard the discussion I had with Jeriah about self experimentation." Jemma smirks. Hank might imagine it from the trollish engineer.

"Until we got to talking about another project and he needs to test something … offered himself up as the test subject, right quick. It was … delicious irony right there. I'd say schadenfreude but he hasn't had any misfortune."

"If you like, we can get some of those samples before you go."

"No, she's not. And I /know/ the self-experimentation is dangerous, I just don't have any other test subject to work on with this. It is literally the only option since it depends on my specific DNA and biochemical makeup." And then Hank laughs softly. "I'm sure that Jeriah's observations were insightful, accurate and cutting and it does not in the least bit surprise me he went right to volunteering like that. He's like me in that regard, willing to risk himself before he'd think of risking others."

Hank grins. "Well, we can ARRANGE some misfortune, nothing…damaging of course. I think we both owe him some payback for the remote control stunt he pulled."

A smirk. "You sure you want to disturb your new hard-light overlord?" He rises then, and surely seems willing.

"Oh, I'm sure we'll get payback on Jeriah in the scheme of things. I might commandeer another of his Dogs as a steed for Spot. But anything else we might find, could be entertaining."

Carefully picking up the holographic cat and putting her on the workbench, Jemma nods. "Come on then, let's get to it. We can get the testing starting when you've got the serum done. The sooner the better, right?"

Catseye might disagree with that.

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