2019-10-06 - Borg Not Android


Lunch in the cafeteria has Jemma blushing. Again.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Oct 6 06:16:53 2019
Location: SHIELD Cafeteria

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Theme Song



The Cafeteria at The Triskelian is usually busy at lunch time and Jemma often tells herself that's why she avoids it at that time. The problem is - she usually avoids it, in that she forgets to eat.

Which is why her appearance there today as the lunchtime crowd is starting to wane is a bit of a surprise.

Of more surprise as she collects her food on a tray, is the orange tabby cat that's wound itself around her shoulders.

Jeriah is eating. Unlike Jemma he has a very finely tuned sense of when to eat. He's a soldier after all. Knowing when chow time is was paramount. Because food is fuel and you need fuel to keep fighting.

He also knows pretty generally where Jemma is. The fact that she's just shown up isn't a surprise. The fact that she's got a cat on her shoulders is. Jeriah stares as she gathers her food, then a text appears in the lower right hand corner of her vision.

What. The. Fuck.

Jeriah will know of the scares that Jemma has had in the last few days. He'll have flashes of werewolves and naked men, not to mention the general feeling of unease whenever Steve's around.

Jemma too doesn't think on the thought that Chicken Florentine sounds good about now. Not that the cafeteria has that.

She's already heading in his direction as the message appears in her hud. She arrives at his table in time to respond "Something wrong, Jeriah?" Oh, she knows what it is.

The orange tabby looks up, and lazily moves from her shoulder to the table, looking at the hacker soldier with baleful eyes.

And hisses.

The dog laying down at Jeriah's side sits up. It is, of course, massive for a dog. And it growls. Jeriah backhands it, not that it can feel that. "Hey. Knock that off."

It's not a dog, it's a robot…

The hacker stares at Jemma for a long moment and then cants his head. "It doesn't have a thermal signature, and it weights less than it should. And also pets are against policy. What the HELL is that on your shoulder and why is it there, Jemma?"

"Spot. It's ok…" Jemma strokes the cat to get it to settle, placing her tray on the table and sitting down. "… Jeriah's a friend." The cat sits on the table, tail swishing back and forwards. When the dog sits up, it peers at the thing, growling a little. "Stop that, it's Shep. And she's a friend too."

Poor Jeriah. That's a dog to Jemma.

"It's not on my shoulder now, is it?" The biochem says. "It was a gift from Hank. He gave it to me the other day. She keeps me company."

The cat, still eyeing Jeriah and Shep, nudges Jemma's plate "Alright, alright, I'm eating …"

Jeriah may well recognise the cat as Data's from Star Trek:TNG.

"Spot?" Jeriah quirks a brow and then rolls his eyes. "You're borg, not an android, Jemma."

That may or may not be a compliment? Maybe Jeriah just prefers Jeri Ryan to Brent Spiner. Seems a perfectly logical decision all things considered.

"You needed a fake cat to keep you company?" He doesn't know HOW it's fake, just that it is. TOo many little things about it are off.

The dog keeps growling. And eyeing the cat. It could easily bowl Jemma over to get to it if it wanted.

There's a brooch on Jemma's jacket. It's triangular in shape with rounded edges. That should look familiar, actually.

"I'm not either, actually … " It's a little terse, the way she responds to that, picking at the food on the plate. "And you shouldn't hit your dogs. They're just looking after you, like Spot is looking after me."

The cat keeps giving Shep the eye but once Jemma is eating it stalks to the edge of the table, tail hitting Jeriah in the face as it passes. It *feels* solid enough. Then the damn thing jumps onto the dogs back and starts kneading.

"Not need, no. It was a gift, like I said. Hank uses holo emitters and decided to make something we'd both get a kick out of."

Jemma gets stared at. Jeriah sighs. "Nerrrrrrrd." He said that before and he's clearly as much of one as she since he gets all these references. Which means he's seen all of this.

The dog's turret deploys and Jeriah has to override it. That's not good. People start to stare and he waves them off. Nothing to see here.

"So Hank used advanced holo emitters to make you a virtual pet? Which… looks after you how now?"

"You keep calling me that …" Jemma smirks "… but you know what I'm talking about, so that makes you one too." She points out. It truly is a hologram, Jeriah can see that and that's some programming. That cat is incredibly cat like.

With the turret down, Spot turns in a circle and curls up, still watching the hacker-soldier as he speaks to Jemma.

"It's a bit of extra programming that Hank did, I suppose. I haven't asked him, but when she's active she gets very meowy around meal times. Won't leave me alone till I eat."

"You can do that with a phone you know." Jeriah snorts and moves to bat the holo-cat off the back of his combat machine. He's already let ONE cat take over one of his drones he's not letting a second one get appropriated as a kitten carrier or kitten bed or what have you. Besides, the dog is still growling and it might deploy that turret again. Which would be bad.

"Still, Hank knows you get a bit bad about remembering to eat so I suppose that's good. Is that what brought you down here today?"

This is what Jeriah gets for having squints in his life. The cat hisses as the hacker soldier, jumps off the dog and then jumps back on, turning in a circle to lay down again. "It's alright Shep. You can be friends can't you?" The biochem says, holding her meat-hand out to the robo-dog so she can pat it.

"It's controlled through this." Jemma gestures to the brooch. "Look, it was a gift to say sorry and I'm sure he thought while he was at it, he'd make it functional too. How many times have you come and rousted me from my lab?"

"And yes, that's why I'm here. Spot kept prowling around my workbench and nearly knocked things off."

"I'm glad I've found you, though. I want you to look at something, if you could. There's a file labeled Project Clockwork in my memory, can you find it?"

Jeriah reaches for the reconfigurable plasma weapon nearby and looks very meaningfully at Jemma. Cat. Off. The. Dog. Before he finds out if hardlight projections can be disrupted by ionized gasses.

"Ah. Sorry for turning into a raging jerk when he took his serum?" The hacker-soldier had spoken to Jemma about that. She'd been slightly disconsolate.

The request though has him blinking and looking. "Alright, yes. I see it. What is it?" He's not opening it until he knows what it is and if it's supposed to be there.

"Why? She's comfortable and Shep will get used to her. Besides, it's not like she's going to do a whoopsie in the … whatever you call it." Still, the biochem gathers the cat and it curls in her lap while she eats. "But yes. He was very upset when he came in the other day. Drop by the lab and try some of the snickerdoodle's he made."

"That's weird. I can feel you rifling through the files when you do that."

The file is a report on the clockwork monstronsities that were defeated the other week. Rumour has it that a number of agents had been replaced by the biomechs, Jeriah had heard something about this from Jemma. The report confirms that.

"The composition of the devices etc. That's what I wanted to check with you."

Jeriah takes a look over the files and cants his head slightly. "This material doesn't exist. And it violates about six laws of physics and chemistry and several principles of metallurgy. Are you SURE that this report is accurate and hasn't been modified in some way?"

The hacker looks very seriously at Jemma. What she's talking about here isn't so much super science as it is flouting it's laws with a rather cheeky flagrancy.

"Very much. I've seen it, in fact. I have samples in my lab that I've been working on. If my own analysis is right and I'm not an engineer, so there's that, but it looks like this material can store mechanical energy nearly perfectly…"

There's more than that in the report, too.

"Pull up the video file, in that folder. It's a replay of the Harma-bot that we bought down. Look at the way the explosions go off." The video shows May stabbing Agent Harman, tearing the womans chest open while Jemma reaches inside and takes the heart out, crushing it but it still looks like it's going to explode. May deals with that by punting it.

It looks like there might be a secondary explosion but the footage breaks up - like it's getting some form of interference.

Jeriah looks at the footage and then at the report again. "Alright so follow me on this. This is a form of brass. Chemically it's copper and zinc. But it's ability to store mechanical energy is something akin to Vibranium except instead of dampening everything this seems to just keep the energy storied when properly coiled. Hence, compression and torsion springs. It's the clockwork equivalent of a superconductor."

He holds up a finger. "But. It's impossible. It shouldn't do it. The tensile strength bears no relation to it's chemical composition and it's just outright ignoring laws of entropy that say at least SOME of that energy should be wasted as heat. So whatever has made this metal, it your garden variety science."

It's either super science or supernatural. It has to be. Nothing else makes sense.

"Which, just … right, you said it. Not possible. So super science or something they've treated the copper with to do this. You haven't seen anything like this in your travels? I know I haven't. But I'm not the jetsetting mercenary."

Spot stirs, eyeing Shep and slinks off Jemma's lap to try and curl on the robo-dogs back again.

"One of the things I've been to do is come up with ways to counter it. Well, not me personally - but you know…"

"Hose it off with ammonia? That corrodes brass pretty well. You'd need to arc a current through it though to supercharge the process and at that point you might as well just be carbon arcing it." Jeriah points out. "But no I've never seen anything like this before. Without understanding HOW it works, finding ways to counter it is going to be tricky at best."

"Is there a problem with just shooting them. Bullets and explosives are good all purpose countermeasures I have found."

Jeriah does not notice the cat, but when he does…

"Well, yes and no. Those constructs were pretty strong and when they're destroyed they explode. I'll have the reports for that, if you want them. And I've samples of this stuff in the lab so we can test." We, yes Jemma said 'we'. It's likely to be a backburner project but it's another thing she's working on.

"I'll have to see what I can find about the metal as well. Someone might have published somewhere - scientists do like to brag, after all."

Maybe exploding these things from a distance is possible.

Spot curls up on Sheps back, unnoticed by Jeriah but Jemma smirks a bit.

"Have you and Kelly interfaced yet?"

"No not yet. We will we can. If you happen to be available when we do that'd be good. Since if not I'll have to come interface with you later." This project needs all three of their expertise on it so it's rather understandable that Jeriah prefers for the three of them to do it at once if practical.

"Possibly but I think that if someone doing regular scientific work had made this then we'd know about it Jemma. This feels more like something developed in a weapons lab and kept very hush hush so that no one can react to it until it's too late."

And he knows a thing or two about labs like that, as it happens.

"Trust me, Jeriah. The squints working on this are bragging *somewhere*. Maybe not in the periodicals and publications that *I* read but on forums and message boards. I guess I can go surfing, check the deep web and the dark web. Maybe I'll find more mention of who's using reverbium."

"I must have been more tired than I thought. I thought I heard you two say you'd do that while I slept." That should be done soon though. Kelly's problems are as bad as Jemma's.

The biochem takes a long look at the hacker-soldier, considering something, opening her mouth and pausing before continuing….

Jeriah shakes his head. "No we hadn't agreed to that. Only that we'd do it soon since it is a priority." Jemma's not wrong in that Kelly's problems are nearly as bad. "I can take a look and see if anyone is talking about stuff like this but if they're smart - and they might not be - whomever is handling those squints will have them tamped down tight."

There's another short pause. "What?"

"Alright then, I'll see if I can set that up." They're all so ridiculously busy. "And if you would, that would be great."

"Hmmm. Oh well. You're in my head at the moment and I've had a few fraught days. I was wondering …" The blush is ever so real, that anyone watching the pair might think Jeriah was flirting with her. "… how much of my thoughts you're actually getting." Because you know … Steve in the park the other night, among other things.

"Enough to know that you're in entirely too many projects." Jeriah says as he settles down to continue his meal. "I've seen Captain America and know there's something weird with him and also that you've seen him nude but didn't like it and boy is that ever a confusing set of thoughts."

That should tell her pretty well exactly how much he's getting. And probably make her blush all the more.

"I didn't say I didn't lik——" Jemma actually glares Jeriah for that. "Seeing Steve like that in the park …" she just gives up with frustrated sigh. Jeriah should be snickering about now for the confusion he's caused.

"Well, I asked I suppose. I apologise for that. I'll try to shield my thoughts better." The things he must be seeing … makes her mind boggle. "Can we talk to each, like that?"

"Sure." Jeriah says, taking a bite of his sandwich and in her head she hears. Omnomnomnomnom. It's just a matter of thinking aloud. You tend to do it all the time and I hear it. Usually while you're science-ing but occasionally while you're looking at someone's backside.

Oh lord if he has access to her internal monologue or if she really thinks that loud he's got material on her for weeks if not months.

For a moment it looks like Jemma might bolt. Grab that cat and head to the door of the cafeteria. The blush gets brighter as she catalogues all her internal discussions - that she can remember.

There's the one about eye colour and how that ended up with her thinking how much she liked Jeriah's eyes. The one were she was thinking about the dancing they'd done and how good it felt when he held her. And the one where she'd been considering a report on AIM and how she'd have the share with him - and that she was looking forward to that. There'd been others of course, about formula and chemical reactions - but those all were all rather mundane.

"How many times have you trolled me, then, with that? I wouldn't put it past you to think something that I might think just to confuse me."

Jeriah watches her over his drink. He can tell, probably, that she's right about ready to bolt. He doesn't say anything, just watches.

Would I do that? Yes, he would. It's more a question of 'could he do that'? Could he really think in such a way that she wouldn't know the thought came from outside. That's much less clear.

"I don't think I ever have. If I did, it was just accidental bleedover. And I should point out that if it wasn't anything you wouldn't have thought yourself, is it really trolling?"

Yes, you would and you know it. You wouldn't even have to think like me, just pick something and inserted a word or thought to direct my thoughts. You controlled my arm after all. Jemma sighs, still blushing at least he hasn't responded to her thoughts.

"I … don't know. I think so, if you did it deliberately. Or directed my thoughts in that direction."

Controlling your arm and implanting thoughts are different though. When I stop controlling your arm, it stops. When I stop implanting a thought in your head, the thought stays there. I have limits, Jemma. He has limits? Jemma hasn't seen him really exercise any. Definitely not on the battlefield when it's victory at any cost. Well, nearly any cost.

"Anyway what would I direct your thoughts TO?"

"I didn't need to do that. You were already pretty tired. I just had to convince you to stop working. That's granted pretty difficult sometimes but it doesn't require me to hack you." Jeriah smirks. "Besides the first time we went dancing I wasn't in your head."

That's true. Or is it? He wasn't in her head as far as she knows but that might be a VERY different animal than whether or not he actually was.

Yes, you would and you know it. You wouldn't even have to think like me, just pick something and inserted a word or thought to direct my thoughts. You controlled my arm after all. Jemma sighs, still blushing at least he hasn't responded to her thoughts.

"I … don't know. I think so, if you did it deliberately. Or directed my thoughts in that direction."

It is true. Jemma's blush just gets worse. Jeriah is the worst at picking signals, which is amusing.

"Then maybe you'd convince me to ask you to dinner. Or decide that short skirt was in order …" she sighs, knowing she can't troll or joke around like others do. "I'm… maybe I should go …"

Was he in her head then? She doesn't think so and strangely enough, she trusts the hacker-soldier enough to believe that he wasn't.

"I don't know. Do you think I should try?" Jeriah sticks his tongue out even as he takes another bite of his food. "I don't know that I'd decide on a short skirt for you anyway. Knee length, maybe. You strike me as someone who would rather do more traditional fashions."

Knee length WAS short… for a certain period of time. Jeriah HAS to have observed what she likes to wear. And they had that whole conversation about Empire style dresses.

"Or maybe just a blue-silver body suit."

"I … I think that would be a bad idea, Jeriah." Jemma snorts softly and shakes her head. If he's heard those conversations then he's had to have 'seen' her dressing … and the fact she goes for functional - jeans and t-shirts.

"That's me. Traditional." and uninteresting. She can't stop that thought bleeding through, though anything else following absolutely is.

The blush rises again at the mention of the body suit, this time the biochem collects Spot from the back of the dog and settles the cat on her shoulder.

"You seem fixated on that body suit, Jeriah. Maybe I should be concerned about that." Would he convince her to wear it? She wouldn't put it past him - for halloween or something like that.

"What? You are borg. And you don't look half bad in it." Jeriah chuckles. "Are you telling me that you DON'T want to wear it?"

Maybe he slides a thought of herself putting on the suit and looking at herself admiringly in the mirror with it on but she would SURELY know that's from him. Right? Right?

It really doesn't seem her thing though. 40's wartime styles maybe but not that.

"Traditional is not uninteresting, surely you know that."

"I'm not borg and …" Jemma sighs, the cat settling in on her shoulder. If Jemma was going to go, Jeriah's waylaid her. "Only not half bad, I suppose that's something. Would you stop that!" Yes, she knows that's from him but he might get echoes of it from her anyway.

40's wartime is a favourite, among other fashions. But yes, the Andrews Sisters and all that.

"Maybe. It's … you heard that didn't you?"

"Yeah." Jeriah is actually laughing a little now. They're drawing stares after her saying 'would you stop that'.

"Look, Jemma you don't think quietly and you talk to yourself a lot. It bleeds over. It's been very enlightening." And now she's getting pictures of herself dressed like the Andrews Sisters. And then the Haynes Sisters from White Christmas. He's got a BIG film library he can draw on for this stuff.

They've been drawing looks for a while, with the way she's been blushing. Seeing the open stares, the blush just deepens.

"Of course I talk to myself a lot. It's the only intelligent conversation I get…" She doesn't add particularly when you're around, that's too rude for Jemma.

"I'll endeavour to be more disciplined then." The biochem does stand now and just *stares* at Jeriah "I'd look lovely in a blue with a feather fan." Oh, she heard that.

"You would." Jeriah chuckles. "The question is would you be Rosemary Clooney or Vera-Ellen? Also, do you have a sister?"

Now the Hacker is just goading her and taking a great delight in doing so. He knows she can hear him and he's caught off guard by it… less. Not 'never' but definitely less.

In return, as Jemma turns to walk off, Jeriahs treated to the image of him. A 40's suit, the trousers legs rolled up, the garters for his socks visible. His face is done in makeup, he's holding one of those blue fans coquettishly. Strains of 'Sisters' being hummed can be heard as Jemma walks off.

If I had a sister, would you ask her out? beat Rosemary Clooney of course.

Well at the very least I'd need to go find a Danny Kaye. That means he considers himself Bing Crosby. Jeriah… might be that? He's a bit snarky though. Maybe HE is the Danny.

Also are you saying that I'd look good in blue with a feather fan? Jeriah will keep eating. But now that Jemma knows they can talk like this it hardly matters where he is, does it? He's in her head as long as he's got an internet connection for as long as it takes until they can close out this vulnerability so she isn't made to choke him again. Or Worse.

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