2019-10-11 - Not The Matrix


Testing of the Virtual Framework reveals another glitch in Jemma's implants

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Oct 11 02:59:41 2019
Location: Lab Space

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Theme Song



"Okay. Virtual Testing And Evaluation Framework version zero point five one." Jeriah says as he stands up. "I think I've got the senses covered now except for smell which is really giving me headaches." It's so hooked into taste that it's kind of hard to separate the two. "We're running on a modified minecraft shell, I've updated the graphics for you to something a bit more photorealistic and added 'weight' to objects though you should still find everything pretty light."

They've been tinkering with this on and off for some time now. It's making surprising progress though it is of course slow going as anyone might expect a project of this scale to be. At the moment it doesn't even support more than one person properly.

"How are things on your end, Jemma?"

Jeriah is dressed today not in his usual close fitting tactical gear but in an open button up with a tee shirt underneath. And jeans. It makes him look a LOT more relaxed. Though he still snarks, as Jemma has learned sharing her lab space with him for the last few hours.

"I think you need to disable smell for a while, Jeriah. My eyes are watering here…" Jemma says. She's been trying to tell him this for several minutes. Maybe it's the headache he's mentioned that's stopped him doing that or maybe … well, he does like to troll.

"Apart from that it looks fine to me and there are no creepers to worry about at the moment." The biochem is dressed casually as well. A tank top and jeans - not so different to what she normally wears.

"Alright. Hang on…" She can hear Jeriah's voice. "There. Done." And now she can't smell anything at all. She does see a house sort of drop down from the sky though, fully formed. It's a rather nice house really. Wood cabin, two stories. Rustic. Charming.

"Alright. I've left a bunch of stuff in there. Just walk around and interact with things for a couple of minutes? I want to see if you can feel them properly and if they have weight and heft, or clunk when you knock them against things… and so on."

In the real world Jeriah is seated next to Jemma and tapping on a keyboard while mentally manipulating code in various ways. She might actually hear phantom sounds or feel the motion in the air when he twists to grab his drink.

"Oh, thank yo—— Now I can't smell anything at all…" Jemma almost huffs but she's used to this type of thing. Jeriah isn't the only one who programs like this and for many years, Jemma's learned to work with it.

"There's no legs sticking out from under the building, Jeriah. No yellow brick road. No munchkins. I think you're slipping." She says as she enters the house. It's nice in here. *Almost* like her home in Devon - she has to wonder how many of her memories he might have mined for this - even accidently.

Running her hand over a chair, there's a small laugh of delight at the texture "Texture is good. The chairs have some weight but they're not as heavy as I would think."

"What was that … there's a draft in here…"

Jeriah nods slightly though she can't see it. "I have the weight set to one fourth standard so everything should be fairly light. We'll ramp it up but I didn't want to go with full mass to start, especially while you're still getting used to moving around."

The question about a draft has Jeriah frowning to look. "No, I haven't implemented wind yet so you… oh. Wait you might be feeling things on your real body."

He pokes her arm. "Did you feel that?"

There's a glass of water on the counter and Jeriah spawns a pick next to her. And a torch.

"See if you can feel the heat from the torch too. That'd be new and… hrm. Hang on. I've got something odd on the back end. Just amuse yourself for a moment."

"Then the weight is about right, yes." Jemma moves through the cabin touching the table and photos. Her eyes get a bit misty as she realises who they're off. "Ow, Yes. Stop whatever you're doing. It's annoying…"

"What have you got, Jeriah? Jeriah? Jer— " Now she does huff, turning to the torch and waving her hand over it. "Yes, I can feel the heat fro- oh, right. You're not there."

"Jemma your implants are executing some kind of code on the system." Jeriah says again, much closer or at least much louder. "I need to pull you out. Hang on just a mo-"

His voice fades out and something else fades in. There's a 3D wireframe in front of her for a moment, humanoid. And then it fills in. It's a tall man with dark skin and VERY extensive cybernetic modifications. Modifications just like hers. A Deathlok cyborg.

But one who, probably, actually died.

The red eye swings over and fixes right on her. Then it starts to move toward her.

"Jeriah? Jeriah? I can't hear prope—-" Jemma stumbles as the humanoid fills in. "What the hell have you done?" It's all Jeriah's fault, isn't it?

A Deathlok. She recognises the form at least, but not which one. It's likely there were others in SHIELD that weren't known.

"What do you want?" Jemma asks it, stepping backwards and bumping into a chair. Is this simulation still in Creative Mode?

It is, but does it matter? Whatever has manifested is outside the simulation's purview. It might not obey the rules. Whatever it is, it doesn't answer Jemma. Just extends an augmented hand toward her and keeps walking. Steady. Maybe a bit like the Cybermen from Doctor Who.

"Hang on Jemma…" She suddenly finds herself armored and with a diamond sword in her hand. Thank goodness for creative mode but does she REALLY want to fight this thing? Or is running a better option?

Jemma tries to the creative mode interface and is scrolling through options as armour and a sword appear in her hand. "I like my humanity, thank you very much." She tells the Deathlok, primly. Yes, very much like a cyberman and she's not sure what he'll, it, will do to her if it catches her.

"Jeriah, get me out of here or get rid of that thing. Why on earth did you program that to begin with?"

Running sounds good. Jemma skirts the chair and breaks for the door, sprinting through it and dragging it closed behind her.

"I didn't. I told you, your implants are running this code. They're overwriting the system and projecting that into it. I really don't suggest letting it catch you…" As she begins to run he nods. That's probably sensible. Jeriah has no idea what this thing can do and he goes back to trying to get her out.

"I'm trying to disconnect you but your implants are holding the connection open. Working on it."

Behind Jemma the wall of the house explodes and the Deathlok projection breaks into a run, chasing her. It's much faster than she is and it looks like it might catch her until…

London. Modern day. Pulled from Jemma's memories no doubt. Jeriah has changed the scenery and now she's on a crowded street in the early afternoon. Her clothes might have changed also.

"Hide, if you can. I'm going to try to keep it off balance."

"That's not possible…" Jemma pants, though there's a slight tremble in her voice like she's wanting to cry. "I don't want it to catch me. It looks menacing. Holding the connection open? What if you reboot me?"

That's probably a terrible idea, there's no guarantee the simulation will actually stop and Jeriah might lose his connection with it.

"Ack!" Jemma stumbles over a 8-bit piece of grass just as the city of London manifests about her. Over her tank top is a warm jumper and her shoes are heavy doc martens. "I don't know I can hide from it. It seems to be able to sense me…"

Still, she ducks down an alley way with brightly coloured doors on either side. It's not a dead end, and empties out into yet another small narrow street.

It doesn't take her too long to see a ripple in the crowd. The Deathlok projection is moving through it, pushing past people like a Terminator. It isn't making directly for her. Like it knows where she is but not EXACTLY where.

"I'm working on it, Jemma. Just hold on."

It's going to be in a position to spot her in about a minute. She could slip out the other end but then she WOULD lose sight of it. That may or may not be a good thing. Or does she want to risk another foot chase?

The world glitches around her, briefly becoming green ones and zeroes before turning back.

"The hell? What is it doing?"

"Why can't you put me on beach in Rio or something, next time? It's always creepers, skeletons, witches and Deathloks…" Yes, yes, she knows Jeriah isn't responsible for the last one but she's scared and the snarking is helping.

"Maybe I should just face it, Jeriah. If I lose sight of it, it will have the advant——"

"No! No Matrix, you hear me? No red pill. No blue pill. Just get me out of here."

Making a decision Jemma hits some stairs that lead up to next storey of a building and starts climbing. She wants to try and get above this thing.

Unfortunately climbing will eventually expose her more to vision and that is what happens. She spots the Deathlok and it spots her. It starts pushing it's way through the crowd, which Jeriah keeps making thicker. She's nearly at the top when it finally reaches the bottom of the stairs.

There's another shift in scenery and now Jemma is on a tree platform. Deathlok is at the bottom of the tree and there are a number of rope bridges and platforms that lead further away. Like some kind of… tree city?

Oh. And she has pointed ears. And boots. Tooled leather boots. Like some kind of fantasy elf.

And a bow.

"Just a few more seconds Jemma…"

It starts climbing at her. Impossibly fast.

Climbing at least gives her a small advantage. Not much, but it's more than she had. "Go away … " the biochem makes shooing gestures at the Deathlok … and then waves a bow at him …

"What th—— Jeriah! Did you do that? Why the hell am I fantasy elf?" In a flowing gown …. to run over those bridges and avoid the cyborg.

Loosing two arrows, inexpertly, at the thing - Roy and Clint would be horrified if they saw that - Jemma takes off over the rope bridge. At the end, several feet away is a large platform that surrounds a large tree. She *should* be able to make that, without falling and before the Cyborg gets its foot on the start of it.

"Because that's what the art set is for!" Jeriah snaps back. "Keep going. It's coming up beh- oh shit!"

As Jemma makes the other tree she is suddenly confronted by the Deathlok. It's just… there. Appears right in front of her, grabs her by the throat and lifts.

"Interfacing…" It says. And Jemma can feel things start to go… cold.

Jemma nearly cries when Jeriah snaps. There's no question that emotionally she's compromised and this is stressful. "I'm not //stoppin—- Arrrrrgh." That might pierce the soldier hackers ears when the Deathlok apparates in front of her.

"Please … please don't…." Her cybernetic hand closes around over his and she tries to squeeze. "Wh wha what do you wan-" she's shivering. Even her body, sitting beside Jeriah, starts to shiver. How long before it starts to fail?

Everything gets cold. Her heart beats slower. Her vision starts to go dark. She can feel something invading her. Spreading through her mind. "Activating Primary Protcols." The Deathlok says. It's grip on her remains solid. She can't get it off.

And then her eyes snap open. She's in the lab. Jeriah is sitting next to her furiously manipulating data.

"I've got you Jemma. I've got you. Just hang on I'm doing a soft reboot of your system."

That feels WEIRD. But it also doesn't take long and warmth starts to return to her.

"Get out of me…." Jemma's legs kick as she held by the Deathlok. Primary Protocols? What the hell… not that she can think on it at the moment.

She screams.

She's screaming when her eyes snap open, though that stops quickly as the reboot takes effect. The warmth might be spreading through her, but she's shaking.

And crying. Again.

"Hey. Hey." Jeriah turns in his seat and hugs Jemma. "I've got you. You're okay."

He thinks. Whatever that was it came from deep within her own systems and while he has it shut down he's not at all sure what it was or what it was trying to do. It shouldn't have activated in a simple virtual sim like that. There wasn't anything to interact with it. Unless it had been waiting, somehow.

"You're okay…"

Jemma sobs on Jeriah's shoulder, shaking still. "No, no I'm not. It was trying to activate something inside me. Do a scan, Jeriah. It said 'Activating Primary Protocols' and I felt it start it." It might not make any sense to him, but it doesn't to her either.

He's going to find it hard to do anything. Jemma is clinging to him, unwilling to let go at the moment.

"I already did, Jemma. There's nothing acting on you right now. There wasn't when it was happening so I'm not sure how it was doing it." Jeriah says. He can't move. She's got most of her weight on his shoulder and his shirt gathered up in two bunches in her hand. He can tell that she's not going to let him move.

Well he could move but that'd likely make things worse. He'd have to dump her on the floor to do it.

"It was activating something, Jeriah. I felt it, invade me. I …." The sobbing starts to slow, but Jemma's a mess. "I… hate this. I hate …" she stops the words, but he gets them anyway.

I hate my life.

Does she really mean that? It's possible she does. She had been dying, she should have but they saved her at the last moment. And now … she's like this.

"What what am I going to do?"

"Just breathe…" Jeriah says gently. "Just breathe. Whatever it was, it's gone for now and I'm still in your head so I can still keep you safe."

Does she really hate her life? He hopes not. It'd be a shame if she did. She does, indeed, still have a lot to live for.

Though she IS snotting up his shirt.

"I I am breathing …" Jemma answers "It's an automatic biological reflex. Did you know, if you hold your breath till you pass out, you'll just start breathing again?" Maybe she's starting to feel a little better. She sits up at any rate, not letting Jeriah go but not sobbing on his shoulder anymore.

"You can't stay in my head, Jeriah and … you couldn't stop that code executing." Again, he gets the echo of her thoughts. You're weak, Simmons. You should be able to deal with troubles.

"What do I have to live for, really?"

"I did know that, yes." Jeriah says. He lets her sit up. He had been hugging her but as she creates separation he loosens his grip. "I would have had more options had you not been in a sim at the time. And no, you're not weak."

Yes, he heard that.

"Really? Are things really so bad that you've got absolutely nothing to live for, Jemma? I mean… honestly?"

"Did it start because I was in the SIM?" Jemma's brain slowly comes back online as she calms. Without thinking, her hands slide down Jeriahs arms to take his hands - she's not ready to lose the human contact just yet.

"You shouldn't have to protect me like this, Jeriah. I … I'm not supposed to exist, am I?" Clearly she'd heard him think she had so much to live for, as well.

It's going to get awkward if they keep picking up each others thoughts. And it seems to be getting worse.

"No, that's not true and I know it." At least she can be honest. "I have my work. I have Spot, now. People rely on me. And we have to stop AIM before they do to others what they did to me."

"It may have. I'm not sure. I'm not entirely certain where it came from but trust me, I'll look." Which means poking around in her head but he's there already. When she takes his hands, well, he notices but doesn't say anything about it. Instead he just gives her hands a squeeze. To let her know he's still there.

"Whether or not anyone thinks you're supposed to, you do Jemma. And that's a good thing. Because you have things to do, don't you?" He might, holding her hands, have his mind wandering to their last dance a little. And the dress she wore.

"I know you will, it was just frightening. I don't even know if it was real or if that was me responding to the scare." Was the Deathlok really doing anything to her or was it just Jemma's imagination coming to life?

It had certainly felt real enough.

"I do, yes. I just told you that…" The blush is there as his thoughts start to turn. She can't help but echo them, the way it felt to be in his arms as they danced. "The … elf … was interesting."

Jeriah coughs. He can feel the thoughts sort of feedback-ing on themselves as one directs another and it's really, really hard to control when they do that. And yes, the elf was interesting.

"Glad you liked it. It was just a fantasy skin I had updated. I was going to tease you with it later." Presumably during testing and doing something productive but he does indeed like to tease her. She knows that much.

"You started it…" Jemma murmurs when Jeriah coughs, the pink tingeing her cheeks and their thoughts … spiralling. Jemma tries to control the thoughts, but it's difficult - with one thought triggering another. "Maybe you should take me dancing again."

"You teased me with it. Just not the way the way you wanted to. Did you make yourself a skin or was it just me? Something like Galadriel, I suppose."

"Maybe I should…" Jeriah says. They could do that tonight. Or you know knock off work early and do it now. She'll hear that of course. And then see an Elf image that looks like a proud and rugged ranger.

"Um, yes. I might have done. Something else I was going to tease you with a bit when I got the second person interactivity online." They hadn't gotten there yet, after all. But if he really could put her in a fantasy world, what else could he do? The potential seems nearly unlimited.

"We can't finish up now, we need to complete this testing, first." Jemma says quietly. She heard that and she looks up at Jeriah "I … we don't have to go dancing, but I'd like to do something. I … don't want to be alone for a while."

The image of the ranger gets a chortle, Jemma immediately editing to have ebony coloured skin, lavendar eyes and a shock of white hair. Definitely a Drow, but does Jeriah realise which one?

"There were a few glitches in the elf world that I noted, but we'll save them till you're ready."

"I am not Drizzt." Jeriah snorts and takes a deep breath. "Well, I'll stay of course." He's got work to do if she's going to remain here. And they do need to complete the testing but he's not sending her back in until he's relatively confident he can prevent whatever happened today from happening again which means he's going to need at minimum a few hours.

"And I'll stay after, if you'd like." After, if she still doesn't want to be alone.

"Tortured, handsome, good fighter. Are you not?" Jemma teases, feeling a little better than she did a few minutes ago. Jeriah can feel the turmoil in her mind, it's still there as is the fear but she's able to deal with it a little better.

"I think I would like that…" Which one? He can tell. "Thank you, Jeriah. For … being there."

"Tortured? Moi?" Jeriah can tell she's feeling a bit better. If she's teasing back she's most definitely feeling better.

"You're welcome." She's going to need to give him his hands back if she wants to do any more work. Or perhaps more importantly, if she wants HIM to do any more work.

"Very tortured…" The blush flares as Jemma catches that last thought.

Squeezing his hands, the biochem finally lets them slip slowly from hers. Then she's turning to her own work, at least for a little while.

Jeriah might find it a little difficult to focus, as Jemma starts cataloguing the dresses she might wear to go out.

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