2019-10-12 - Mad Dogs and Englishwomen


A restless night means an early morning start for Jemma. Jeriah beats her in anyway.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Oct 12 21:58:25 2019
Location: Jemma's Lab

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Theme Song



Being in Jemma's head can't be easy for Jeriah. She talks to herself *a lot* and it's normally loud - not overly so, but enough. Perhaps the most troubling, or perhaps entertaining, thing is the nightmares she's been having - the ones that make for a broken sleep.

Last nights were fantastic. Kind of a mix from a Table top RPG, werewolf supersoldiers that had been Deathlok'd and were after her.

It's early in the morning when Jemma arrives at the lab, yawning and moving about to get things started.

Jeriah is already there. Jemma knows that before she gets into her lab because she can hear the hiss of an arc welder. That means her lab is going to smell a bit like flux even with the vents running. Fortunately the ventilation is good enough that she probably doesn't need a respirator to get into her own workspace.

It's also a good thing she doesn't have any cultures growing.

"Morning Jemma. You have the worst werewolves in your dreams, by the way."

"Why are you here so early?" Jemma blinks her one good eye and peers at Jeriah. "I'm the one who can't sleep. Tea?" Whether that's 'have you made tea' or 'do you want it' isn't clear but she's moving to the kitchenette to put the kettle on anyway.

"The worst? I'm sure they could get worse but … you experienced that?" It slowly dawns on Jemma why Jeriah might be there. At least Steve hadn't come looking for her, right?

"Early to bed and early to rise and all that." Jeiah responds. There is not tea, no. There is coffee which is a far more Yankee beverage. And well brewed but probably not to Jemma's liking all the same. "I'm up for the same reason you are. Turns out you dream as loudly as you think."

"Yes I did. Good thing you don't seem to experience mine." Jeriah's dreams are of… war.

"Maybe I do and they all get jumbled up in my head. That one was particularly weird." She looks drawn and … resigned. The kettle boils allowing Jemma to pour water into her mug and breath in the steam. Jeriah can hear the thoughts of satisfaction that accompany that.

"I … dream loudly? Maybe you shouldn't be in head, Jeriah. This can't be doing you any good."

There's other thoughts there though, the Deathlok being paramount. "What is it you're working on? Did you break one of the dogs again?"

"You remember why I am in your head, right Jemma?" Jeriah says. Because she was hacked and tried to kill him. That's why. It's a thing he's not overly fond of, so he decided to accept the loud talking and bleed over of internal thoughts. Because it's better than her trying to kill him.

"Sort of. I needed an armiture to suspend some of the power core components so I can work on them. The dogs need maintenance. So it's not that I broke them, though other people might. Certainly having cat hair all over the insides is pretty far outside the specifications and not really all that good for the electronics?"

And hairballs. Ooooooh the hairballs.

"Well yes but …" Jemma swallows and turns her back on Jeriah so he can't see her face. Not that it helps, with him picking up her thoughts as easily as he does. "I know you don't like it… " She's thinking they should just deactivate her for a while.

"Weren't your dogs rated to work in extreme conditions? You've been in some of the sandiest places in the world, as well as the most humid. What's a little cat hair compared to that?"

"I … did some research on the previous Deathloks, trying to work out what might be going on…"

"Sand doesn't catch fire when it heats up." Jeriah says looking up at Jemma rather flatly. Ah. Yes. That would be something of a problem. Even smoldering cat hair could mess up circuit traces or the like.

The hacker-soldier goes back to his welding while Jemma has her back turned more or less. "No you shouldn't be deactivated. You can't deactivate a living being. That's called dying. What did you find?"

Jemma doesn't see Jeriah's look, her back is to him but she can 'feel' it. In the way his thoughts transmit to her. "I suppose you're right. What are you going to do then? Tell Kelly she can't use Brutus for her kitten anymore?"

He's just grumpy because my dreams woke him up early.

"We can't go on like this, Jeriah." Is what she says out loud. "Not a lot, unsurprisingly. However, there was a record of one of the first Deathlok's I found. It's corrupted and … well it seems there was a malfunction in them. I was hoping you might be able to help me reconstruct the record…."

It might not be possible but who knows?

"I can go on like this for quite some time." Jeriah says, continuing his work. "And I prefer to having you knife me in the back, to be perfectly honest." Or choke him. Choking is bad too.

"No, because she won't listen. I simply have to do a lot more maintenance and a lot more extensive maintenance than I did before. Hence the need for the armiture. I need to be able to lift the whole power core out so I can work on it. Because it has cat hair all over it."

Just… really.

"I can help you with that yes. Do you have it with you?" By which he means probably in her head. Storing that on SHIELD systems sounds dangerous.

"I know you don't like it." They really need to fix that so he can disconnect. What must he have thought yesterday when Steve wolf'd out? Again.

"Teach me to do it. I … would like to help." Jemma isn't an engineer but she's got skills.

"I do, you can find in the file system. The Deathlok was a gentleman named Gerard from what I can make out. His … revival wasn't easy. Something about the length of time between his death and receiving the centipede formula …"

The file is certainly there and Jeriah is going to have to do some work to recover it.

Jeriah thought Jemma hit five shots from extreme range. They were good shots. If only she hadn't done quite so much screaming in the inbetween.

The hacker blinks and takes a look at what Jemma has. It's a mess. It's corrupted and it might also be fragmentary. So there's no guarantee that they'll get everything that was in the file. Hopefully what is in it will be useful.

"You want to learn how to… weld? Or something else?" He can't teach her how to weld, that takes too long. He might be able to teach her how to help though.

Jemma did hit five shots from extreme range. And she didn't scream in between. She did channel another British SSR agent though - which gives her a thought for later.

Jeriah will absolutely get the image of her petting a blonde werewolf. Like that's going to happen but she's thinking on it.

The data file is a mess and as Jeriah investigates that file he might suspect that it was deliberately corrupted. "I know it's a mess, Jeriah but it's all I could find. Anything you get should be helpful."

"Weld? I know you can't teach me that but I can help with the other stuff, right? It's not all about joining things together with heat." That she's answering his thoughts without even thinking might be a problem.

"That's disturbing." Jeriah says as he looks up from both his work and the file he's still poking at. The armiture he's working on is mostly assembled and she can see the welds on it. They're rather nice, actually. Clearly he's had some practice at it.

"Well no. There's a lot that it involves. Mostly what I'm talking about is robotic maintenance and that's a lot easier to teach. Also… I didn't say that." He points out. He knows she's mostly just responding to information she already has but the fact that she's getting it cyber-psychically means that she does sound like she's talking to voices in her head a little bit.

"What's disturbing?" Jemma blinks not quite following the comment. "Is there something wrong with what you've done?" She's got her tea now and is sipping it as she moves closer. "The welds look good. I know people in the Engineering lab that are just ham-fisted. Most of them don't try to do this type of work, though."

"Didn't say what?" She might sound like she's talking to the voices in her head but to her, they have Jeriah's voice and it's natural.

"I'm a dab hand you know, when I know what to do. When I did my first doctorate, I had to do some of my maintenance. It was a requirement."

"I didn't say I couldn't teach you how to weld. I just thought it." Jeriah says finally putting down his tools and standing up. He moves over to the weld machine and turns it off. No reason to have that many amps just laying around.

"Well, if you think you can help me scrub a power core I'll show you." It's new technology so it's not like anyone ELSE knows what to do with it either, really.

"Now, what's going on with you and blonde werewolves?"

"I know that." Jemma looks up to Jeriah over the rim of her mug. "But it sounded like you were talking to me." She sort of likes it, the way he sounds and the fact there's 'someone' around. All thoughts he gets very clearly from her.

"Do you want me to stop? Try to filter you out?"

"I'll help you scrub the power core. Will I need ajax or sugar soap to do that?" She's teasing but she is waiting for him to show what her to do. "Something like this might help me think on the other things I have to do."

The repair of the file is taking a while. Jeriah can start making out some of the details though. Gerard Walsh, 37. He'd been dead more than a week before they'd Deathlok'd him. At first it seemed like it had worked without a hitch. Then things started to go wrong around him - things that he couldn't remember happening.

There's a blush at the mention of blonde werewolfs. "Oh, just … well, Steve had a friend in the 40's. She was british like me and when I speak sternly, he seems to respond. I was thinking …. "

That she might be able to get him to come to her, if she's careful.

"I don't think you can but feel free to try." If Jeriah can't code a way around it, and he's tried, then it's not likely Jemma can simply because Jeriah is a much better coder.

"You were thinking of using yourself as bait. For a werewolf. Which is really weird to say since werewolves aren't supposed to be real but here we are an Captain America is one of them." Beat. "That's a terrible idea. At best it doesn't work. At worst he kills you and most likely you wind up bit and a Werewolf Cyborg. Which also sounds like a terrible idea."

"I wasn't talking about coding…" Jemma says quietly letting out a sigh. Maybe she'll go and look at the results of the tests she was running last night. They won't sass her. "… I was talking about trying to mentally filter it. It is possible. I'm sure you do that to my voice, anyway."

There's a shake of her head. "Not really bait but he does respond to me … and I know it's a bad idea but I really hate that we have to ICER him everytime he turns. And now … he's on the loose."

That's probably news. "Didn't you see anything supernatural in time on tour? Many Agents I've spoken with say they do …"

She's still considering it, working through the possibilities that present themselves and discarding them as the risk profile is too high.

"So, sugar soap or ajax to scrub your core?" Yes. She says it just like that.

"What were you saying?" Jeriah smirks at her. Yes he heard her but she was talking about filtering her voice and well, it's amusing. Well… it's amusing to him at any rate.

"SHIELD has a voodoo division doesn't it? Surely they have a cure to what ails the Cap? And if they don't, what are you payin' 'em for?"

Jemma knows some of the folks in the 'voodoo' division. It's probably not a good idea to not pay them. They might get… bitey.

"You're hilarious. When I say scrub I don't mean clean. Well I do mean clean but not like that. We'll need a set of precision tools and a needlegun. Small kind, if we can get one. The big ones will punch holes the containment and you don't want that."

Jemma just sighs as Jeriah smirks. "You're a comedian." There's a faint smile though as he acts true to nature. "WAND. As far as their specialist knows the only way to free Steve is to kill the one who bit him. That's something their investigating but I'm looking at it from a biochemistry point of view. Lycanthropy seems to be a virus and should be able to be treated as one."

It's *not* that simple but she's going to try, dammit.

"I know you didn't mean that type of clean but I have your attention now, don't I. Precision tools? Like these …" Jemma pulls a set out of a drawer in the worktable. "And there should be a needlegun in the drawers behind you." Why they are there is a very good question.

Jeriah pulls out the drawer and lo and behold, there is indeed a needle gun. Electric powered, which makes sense. There's no air hose hookups here for him to use the pneumatic ones. Ditto for the grinders. Which is fine though the pneumatic ones are mechanically simpler since they don't need a motor.

"How many viruses have you seen before that can cause their hosts to violate the law of conservation of mass-energy?" It may well behave like a virus but Jeriah is pointing out it still does things that no natural phenomena can do. And if there IS a scientific explanation to all this, it's beyond present science to grasp.

"Well, are you going to show me?" More of the file unwravels as Jeriah works on it.

The reports in the file indicate that Gerard often acted out violently or maliciously. When questioned he seemed genuinely confused about it - so much so the psychologists believed that he experiencing side effects from his resurrection. It's the next bit that might gets Jeriah's attention. Gerard had been a known to have mental issues before he died - the rest is still corrupted for the moment.

"How many have you? You sound like you don't think I can do it." Jemma's a little bit miffed, he can tell. "I've seen many things, working here Jeriah. People who transform and perform feats of superhumans - those all break particular laws as well. Or, men with tiny powercells implanted in their backbones."

"And can you explain how any of it works?" Jeriah says, sticking his tongue out a little as he kneels down and starts to show her at least on a model. He doesn't have one of the dogs in here at the moment after all. He hasn't finished the armiture yet. She came in while he was doing that. But he can call up an AR model.

That she can't break if she makes a mistake, thank goodness.

"I'm not doubting your qualifications or experience Jemma. I'm doubting the science. Do we, as a species, know enough about how ANY of this works to be engineering a cure to lycanthropy?"

"Well no. And I never said I could." Jemma answers back. "We're still working on it, but the fact is it does and that's something we have to live with." In response to the poked out tongue, there's a comical image of Jemma catching it and streeeeetching it out.

"And no we don't but does that mean we shouldn't try, Jeriah? If that's the case, we wouldn't have many of the cures we have today."

She's paying attention though as he demonstrates, watching as he opens the AR dog up and starts to disassemble it.

"Sure. But it also means you probably won't cure Steve. How many people did it take to come up with those cures from history? And how long? And that was just boring old regular science. You've got to figure out what the science of something that breaks all your rules is, Jemma."

And to be honest Jeriah isn't sure it exists. Jemma may think that magic is just science we haven't explained yet but Jeriah is much less certain of that. There may be some things that are part of nature and yet operating by an entirely different set of rules. Like Quantum Mechanics. Only… weirder.

If possible.

"Maybe I won't but I doubt I'll make it worse, Jeriah." Jemma's quiet as she watches but he can 'hear' her thinking. See the possibilities as they tick through her mind. Solutions thought of and discarded just as quickly.

"There's no guarantee that killing the one that bit him will cure him either. That's a 'story' that's been perpetuated but, unsurprisingly, there's nothing really documented about it."

"We managed to get the laws of Quantum Mechanics, why *not* magic?" It's a little petulant as she addresses his unsaid statement. "Do you want to just stop trying?"

"No, but I'm also not an absolutist. Just because there's a question doesn't mean there's an answer and if you go digging into the supernatural I think you need to be prepared for the idea that there isn't an answer. Not one you're going to understand anyway."

Jeriah points at a connection to see if she can get it cleaned up or if she's going to puncture the housing. Because when they do this for real she really needs to not do that.

"It's Science! Jeriah. Sometimes we don't understand for years or … we think we understand and then work out that way we thought it worked really isn't how it works at all." Jemma looks up, holding Jeriah's eyes with her one good eye.

"Do you really think I'm absolutist, Jeriah?" beat "And I know I'm not to puncture the housing. I have a steady hand, you know."

It might surprise him, how the trouble magnet scientist actually manages that needlegun with ease and precision. She doesn't rush, taking her time and moving slowly.

"Well I don't know Jemma. Are you telling me you're certain that what you're looking at is understandable?" Jeriah says looking at that good eye. He looks back down at the training model and nods in approval.

"Very good. I guess you have the hands of surgeon?" That's a bit of a joke. She is of course Doctor Jemma Simmons but not in an MD kind of fashion though she has a fair amount of medical knowledge. No her doctorate is more… science-y. Which makes sense given what she's expounding to him about.

"I don't see why it won't be, eventually. At the very least, we can develop some rules that it works by. They might be wrong but we'll work that out. Maybe it won't be done in my lifetime or many lifetimes but I think eventually, we'll get something."

"And yes, the hands of a surgeon and someone who's had to work on her own equipment before. Maybe one day you'll get to experience them." Is … she flirting? or just teasing?

The rest of the file is hard to clean up but Jeriah can make out that Gerard had gone rogue before his death, killing several people and when he'd Deathlok'd, that had transferred over. The end of the file says he was 'deactivate' some time ago. What had become of the implants he'd been given?

"Maybe one day if I'm very lucky? Or very unlucky and need an operation?" Jeriah snorts. "Well you can keep looking at your lycanthropic virus, Jemma but I'm warning you. There are things out there that lie beyond the purview of science. The rules by which they operate simply are. They're not really understandable." Spoken like someone with some experience in the matter.

"This file is a bit terrifying. Looks like not all of the Deathlok project's subjects have been well controlled. We're going to want to look into it. I'm sending it back to you." It's not especially likely the same implants had been used on Jemma, they'd have had to have been melted down and recast. However the same protocols, the same serum and so on. That's a distinct possibility. Possibly some of the same electronic components. Which raises the uncomfortable possibility of ghosts in the machine.

"No comment on it, then?" Jemma waits for the file to be transferred and skims it, paling slightly as she does. "I … think you're right Jeriah, we need to find out what happened to other Deathloks. Well, I do. Not all of them seem to be a success." She does wonder what the success rate is now. She'd not been in a state to ask when they decided to do the transformation.

Was it worth it, she wonders. Not for the first time. To still be here. Had she lost her humanity in all of this?

"Did you think I would stop looking into a vaccine?" There's a frown as she looks up at the hacker-soldier again. "Do you think I don't that? What … are you so concerned about?" As to how lucky he might be, Jemma manages a smirk. "Maybe I wasn't thinking about it being for an operation."

"You breaking, Jemma. I don't know how firm your belief in science is but the last thing we need is you going off the deep end because nothing makes sense." Aaaaah. Yes given Jeriah's background with AIM scientist him being worried about someone who firmly believes in the ability of the Scientific Method to conquer all things. AIM is the definition of off the deep end after all.

"Oh? Something less emergent?" That has Jeriah smirking back. It's almost infectious, that smirk.

"Jeriah. I work for SHIELD and I'm on call with WAND. I work with mutants and people with abilities that we simply can't explain. I might be vexed that I can't explain but trust me, that's not going to break me. What will break me is these dreams and thinking that I might kill you or betray SHIELD because of my implants."

He just concerned that it will affect his work and he should be, Jemma thinks.

"You never know do you?" Jemma snorts a little at the smirk, he must be have been a terrible teenager, and tries to turn her attention back to her task. That's difficult though because the image in her mind is her rubbing his shoulders … and she's not masking it all.

Jeriah looks up after a couple of minutes and narrows his eyes. "You are terrible." He is too and that's evidenced by him reversing the image. Now he's thinking of rubbing her shoulders. On the couch. After a long day at work. There. Take that.

"The thing that's going to break you is what happens if we puncture a power core. Do you think you can concentrate on that?" Now that he's making it REALLY difficult to do so. Troll Jeriah and he trolls harder.

"I'm what?" Jemma *tries* to look innocent, but she really can't. Her cheeks flame again as the image is reversed but she doesn't back down. "Are you offering, Mister London? I might be inclined to take you up on that."

The blush gets worse. This is certainly not Jemma's strong point.

"Do you think I can't?" He can feel her mind focus on the needlegun and the AR model as she tries to clean the tracks he's laid out.

"I don't know? Can you?" Jeriah folds his arms and watches Jemma work. Just as she gets to a very delicate and critical point he changes the mental image by changing the setting. Now she's on a balcony in a Regency Style dress in a castle with a lot of hubbub going on behind her. Still having her shoulders rubbed.

Yes. Jeriah can troll. And be distracting.

Jemma's hand trembles as Jeriah changes the scene. "That's… playing dirty." She mutters as she focusses. It's difficult and there might be some tracks scrubbed off before she settles. "You have to use some of my favourite things against me?"

At least she's not thinking about those nightmares, right?

The image changes for Jeriah though. Jemma takes that and morphs it. They're in futuristic style clothing now - Jeriah without a shirt and little else, Jemma is a nice flowy gown. "Can you …"

"Oh you like the regency do you?" He knows damn well that she does. Jeriah has after all been in her head and she thinks very loudly. When the images change he snorts. "Well I will admit that is a bit distracting but I'm not the one who needs to manage a needle gun. And I'm also not the one…"

And again. Image change. Still no shirt. But a kilt. And a castle in the background.

"… who likes Braveheart."

"You know that very well…" Jemma answers primly, her cheeks flaming as tries to beat to Jeriah at his game and still manage that needle gun.

"You don't play fair…" the biochem grumbles, as the gun does slip this time. "… and you've been listening to my thoughts. A lot. It seems." beat "You forgot the field of heather …" the image changes as the needle gun punctures the AR image.

"Ooops. There goes the power core. And anything within six feet of it." Jeriah says with a smirk. "But I had to resort to kilts to get you to do that so I suppose that I can say you're qualified as long as we're not in Scotland."

In reality she is qualified. How distracted could she possibly be while doing something like that? That is if Jeriah is not deliberately trying to trip her up. Which he was. Which she is very well aware.

"If we're ever in Scotland, Jeriah, I won't be asking to help scrub your dogs." Jemma sniffs, turning her head up to look at the hacker-soldier. She's blushing something furious and her thoughts are a jumble, her own images fled now.

"Well, now you know I can do it, let me know when you want help. It will be nice doing something different for a little bit…." She goes to move, still holding the gun quite tightly. "… but for now, I have other things to see to."

"Mmmm? Like the novel in the top left corner of your desk?" Jeriah teases. She DOES actually have one there, he knows. "I'll let you know though. When I'm done welding this armiture I'm going to need it." Well not 'need' but he's certainly going to want it. Otherwise he has to spend hours doing this himself and to be perfectly honest… he'd much rather be doing other things. Really, almost anything else.

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