2020-04-11 - Reheated Chinese


A decision is made about the mods to Jemma's implants

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Apr 11 09:46:16 2020
Location: 58 Water Street - Apt 404

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"Well… what do you think?" Jeriah and Jemma have been going over the documents provided for the 'security patch' for a little while now. It's late and they've been parsing technical language and examining the inner workings of her implants for at least the last hour. Jeriah is convinced it will work and relatively certain that it won't do any harm but he's also certain the only way to really test that is to install the damn thing. There are only so many ways they can simulate this.

Jemma rubs her eye and stretches. It's been longer than an hour, she's sure. Or maybe it's that she was at work before daybreak and it's now … what time is it anyway? Late enough for it to be dark out and her to be hungry enough to eat.

"I think I don't really have a choice, do I? This needs to be fixed and this is the only option we've been given." beat "What I don't like is that we're missing something about my implants."

It's more than just this is experimental tech, she's sure. What though, Jemma can't put her finger on.

"Do we have any left over take out?"

"Do you like Chinese?" That's a trick question. Jemma will eat anything when she's hungry which is just as well. It makes feeding her easy. Jeriah is already getting the takeout out of the refrigerator when she asks. Soon it's on plates and in the microwave.

"You mean your mysterious ghost in the machine yes?" They do have some technical documents on the implants themselves but even with Jeriah's workman's background in cybernetics it's beyond him. A lot of it is probably beyond Jemma too but he hasn't asked. Nothing in it seems to suggest even the possibility of such a ghost though.

Not quite anything, but Jeriah is right. She's certainly not fussy when it comes to it. Comes from working long hours and forgetting to eat, a lot. "Chinese is good. Of course. Shall I make tea, then?"

That's a trick question. Of course she will. As Jeriah organises the food, she puts the kettle on and sets cups out.

"Yes. The ghost in the machine that surfaces at inopportune times and I'm still having those really strange dreams." Jeriah is aware of them - he gets flashes at time. They're … disturbing.

"It really feels like I'm living someone elses life…"

"Given that we know that these implants can be reused the most likely explanation is that it's something from one of the previous users but that just doesn't seem possible." Of course it clearly IS possible. It's happening. But HOW it is happening is utterly unclear.

"Are those getting more frequent?" He does get flashes but doesn't the full thing and that means he really doesn't know how long they go on for or QUITE how often they come. "Are they getting more intense?"

"It's an interesting concept, isn't it?" Jemma says as she pours water into the mugs. "What you're suggesting can't be possible is that a persons memories can be implanted or imbued into the tech …" Because of cours Jemma would think that way. Not to more things more spiritual or esoteric.

"And nothing you've found or I've found will account for it but it *is* happening. Or something like that." Casting Jeriah a look the biochem nods slowly. "Intense would be right. I wouldn't frequent but the duration and … there are nights I swear I can smell cordite and ozone. Feel the heat of an explosion. Hear skin being sliced by a knife. Sometimes I'm sure I can feel it."

"No, what I'm suggesting is that a person's memories shouldn't be capable of independent action within that tech. I can record your memories. Hell I can record mine. But if I were to put them on a hard drive I wouldn't expect to see them actively writing code. They SHOULD be just data." There shouldn't be anything animating them. No will behind them.

"Your skin? Or…" Someone else's? Is she remembering combat? Or is she remembering being killed? Both are pretty intense memories but very different.

"Right. Yes." Write code. That's what this … thing is doing. "They're not just data, Jeriah. It's like … there's someone there." It sounds fanciful and Jemma knows it. Pushing her hair back from her face, the biochem sighs.

""Someone elses, I think. It's like I can feel the knife sliding in. I wake up in a cold sweat sometimes, it's so real. Maybe it's just my imagination that's driving it."

The biochem finishes making the tea and hands a mug to the solder-hacker. It looks like the food has a few minutes more.

"Sounds like a soldier. Or, well, the worst kind of criminal. But probably a soldier. Which makes sense given what we know of the history of the hardware. Sadly there really isn't any way to know what this software update will do to that problem. We just don't understand enough about why it is happening. I can't even find what parts of the machine are generating it."

He has suspicions but so far as he is able to tell everything is checking out as it should. And the worrying thing is… that may be correct. He can't rule out the possibility that it was designed to do this.

"So… what do you want to do?"

Jemma nods. She understands all of it but it doesn't help. The dreams are worrying and …. "An Agent. The ones who were given these implants were Agents in life." then they died and SHIELD … bought them back. It sounds like a horror movie really.

Jemma has her suspicions as well but she's a scientist and there's no way she could even utter her thoughts.

"Do?" She blinks at Jeriah, lost in her thoughts for a moment. "You mean about the upgrades? I said, I think, I don't really have a choice. You can't find anything to be concerned about and the data checks out. I don't like the idea of having more surgery but there it is."

"At least the surgery is minor and they want me there for it. I'll inspect the tech before we put it in just to make sure there aren't any surprises in it. But assuming that is the case then it should actually help. And it'll make you close to impossible to hack, at least in the way that they've been doing before. No more puppeting your arm for example. Someone might still be able to ride your senses but that's a more manageable problem."

Jeriah leans back and shakes his head a little. The fact that the tech in her is so badly cludged is annoying to him. Something with the resources of SHIELD SHOULD be able to do better. They got caught out and it shows.

"This is true. And I'm relieved … you're going to be there. You mean you won't be able to make me pet Hank, again?" Jemma remembers when she went under the first time. She had resigned herself to the fact she was dying but they had insisted and ….

She looks as Jeriah shakes his head. "I know it's frustrating Jeriah. I know it seems slipshod to you." She's reading his thoughts again, just as easily as she usually does. "I sometimes wish …. " It's Jemma's turn to shake her head and turn her back on him for the moment.

"You wish you had died?" Jeriah says quietly, still leaned back in the chair. It's not a horribly uncommon sentiment for soldiers who have augmentics installed after an injury. At some point something happens and they start wondering if it was really worth it in the first place. They wonder if they wouldn't in fact have been better off dead. He's seen it happen to a dozen or more people. It's never easy.

"Do you really wonder that? Or do you just regret all the trouble that's come along since then?" Because they're not really quite the same thing, are they?

Jemma nods. It's the first time she's admitted to it and said it out loud. Well, not really out loud but Jeriah had.

"More the latter than the former." the biochem says quietly. "I was ready to die. As ready as I could be. I knew that my body was going to fail. But I wanted to live. Now though, it's all such a mess. I can barely control my emotions and … all this."

"We shouldn't be wasting time on fixing my problems. We've enough to focus on don't we?"

"We should be spending time fixing your problems if doing that makes us more able to fix other problems." Or prevents other problems from happening. Like her trying to stab him unwillingly.

"Changes happen Jemma. Granted not all of them involve nearly dying and coming back with a half cybernetic body but still. It isn't the strangest thing you have to have heard of."

It's just the strangest thing that's happened to her. Well. Probably. She IS SHIELD so maybe not. They get into some weird stuff.

"That's not what I meant and you know it…" Jemma answers with a sigh. "I meant … it's just such a drain on our resources." She doesn't disagree that they need to fix her - she wants that. Wants to be as normal as she can be.

"It's amongst the strangest but you're right, it's not the strangest I've heard of." Turning to look at Jeriah, leaning back in that chair. "I'm being maudlin, I'm … sorry. We'll do this and fix that problem and then we'll go after Flumm."

"Yes." Jeriah sits up now. "That's going to be tricky but one thing at a time. Someone had inside information on the US Marshal's movements and that's more than a little worrying. Not surprising, he must have had contacts and possibly even an outside handler, but definitely worrying."

This was a man who was apparently dead set on stealing secrets from SHIELD and one does not do that without a plan and a whole lot of gumption.

"And at least when we do you won't be vulnerable to him. Or… no more so than anyone else."

"It's possible he's got contacts within SHIELD too, don't forget." Jemma answers, moving over to lean on the table in front of Jeriah. "Tell me the food will be ready soon and that you're staying the night …"

"At least he won't be able to weaponise me against you, you mean. That in itself is a relief." the biochem offers a wan smile at that "I mean there are times that I might to throttle you. But I'd prefer that I do that myself."

"So we'll take May and ourselves to track Flumm. Is there anyone else you think we should bring in?"

"It's possible that's how all this started but they must have been selling to the outside and that means some dangerous people are involved…" Jeriah thinks about that for a moment. AIM. HYDRA. There are lots of people who stand to benefit from something like this.

"Not off the top of my head but if we run into someone we can be sure of in terms of not being compromised we should probably bring them in. This'll get nasty before it gets better."

"Well alright then." Jemma lets out a long breath as the microwave dings. "Let me get the food and then I'll let the good Doctor know that she can schedule the surgery."

After that. There's reports that Jemma has to review.

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