2020-04-17 - The Worlds Worst Sandpit


Jemma gets news on AIM and the bioweapon.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Apr 17 07:59:51 2020
Location: The Triskelian

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Theme Song



Jemma got some news not too long ago. Jeriah knew that from the spike in her thoughts. There's an undercurrent of excitement and some anticipation … as well as fleeting images of maps and formulas for reverbium.

Where is Jemma now? In her lab, reviewing some data on that 3D display above her workbench.

There's a map that looks like it's in Afghanistan.

It doesn't take Jeriah too long to find her. He is in black tactical gear as often he is and has two dogs trailing behind him which is slightly more unusual. The contractor takes a good long look at what she's got on the screen and then clears his throat.

"You… were thinking of the worlds worst sandbox." Unspoken: Why?

Jeriah can see the data as Jemma flicks through it. She's rather intent on the data, Jeriah's words taken her by surprise. "Were you training?" She asks, looking at the dogs as they follow him. "And what? Sandbox? Oh! Afghanistan?"

Jemma turns and brings up a report. "The Middle East desk got a break. It's possible we found the source lab for the processing of Reverbium."

"I am usually training but yes today I was. Coordinating with the dogs. Mental gymnastics can't be done on command if you don't practice them and the pain tolerance to the headache it gives me… also benefits from practice."

"Oh. Did you now? Well that was considerate of them. What do they have?" The soldier picks it up and looks over the report, combing it for relevant details. "And what were you thinking on doing about it?"

"You know, I can help you with the mental gymnastics. I can flood your thoughts with chemical formulae when you're training." It's the cheekiest of smiles that Jeriah has ever seen Jemma give but he manages to distract her back to the topic at hand. Well, almost "Headaches?"

Jeriah can flip through the report on the screen and take it directly from Jemma's mind if he wants. "They've been monitoring it for a while. AIM have been sending shipments into Karim Daad for months now - it seemed strange, so they've been tracking them. They've been coming from research facilities around the world. It's possible, this is the facility where they actually assemble the majority of the reverbium bio-weapon."

As to what she's thinking, Jemma goes quiet and watches Jeriah. "If we were to take it out … don't you think that would slow them down, considerably?"

"You can try but you might not like the return traffic." He'll start sending her the formula for transparent aluminum. And it will be ALUMINUM. Not aluminium. Which his spell checker doesn't even recognize as a word, it must be noted.

"Yeah. My implants are made to handle ONE dog. I slaved twelve when I decided to shoot up the AIM research center and my old unit. Most of them were wrecked in the fight but it's not at this point like I can shut them down or do without them. Anyway, operating more than a couple at a time gives me nasty headaches."

Jeriah leans over to read what Jemma has on her screen and think about the question she's posed. "Mmmm. Possibly. I can't imagine there are very MANY facilities making this stuff, given how AIM works. Part terrorist cell, part cut throat competitive science fair. We'd need to go after anyone who had a stockpile after that, but taking out the production facility would go a long way toward denting the supply. Especially if we could kill or capture the scientists involved."

Yes, kill or capture. Because Jeriah is a soldier and the notion of them just being offed during a firefight is totally on the table with him.

Jemma watches Jeriah carefully, not trying to send him noise yet. That will come later, when he's least expecting it. It's aluminium - he can see the squiggly red lines in Jemma's internal markups, each time the word appears.

"Would you consider looking into that problem and extending them?" She's serious. This is … sort of what she does.

Attention drawn back to the report though, Jemma nods. "We know that various components are produced in seperate locations and shipped somewhere to be constructed. This must be it, or one of them."

"We'll capture the scientists, if we can." There's a long deep breath as the biochem considers it. They'll kill them if they have to - she just hopes they won't. It's hard not to put herself in their shoes.

"I was thinking of getting May to run the mission for this." Jeriah knows that, Jemma thinks he and she will be going along.

"Maybe, but it's not like I haven't considered the problem already. You can take the data I already have but my implants can't come out without killing me and modifying them… that might be possible but I'm not keen to have my skull opened up again unless it is for a very good cause."

Jeriah looks at Jemma for the moment and doesn't press the matter. This is why she isn't field personnel. That hint of pity or mercy or empathy can get you killed. The battlefield is a place of cold calculations about what who and what you need to break to come home alive. Being willing to do anything less than kill absolutely anyone who gets in your way sends people home in body bags.

"May's a good choice. Thinking of taking anyone else? Backup on something like this would be good since you presumably don't mean to simply bomb the place."

"We should look at it. Maybe we'll find something to ease the headaches, at least. I'm not wanting to crack your skull, really. Unless you keep calling it aluminum." Jemma returns the look, holding Jeriahs gaze with her one good eye. "Not a 'real' field agent you mean …"

She picked that thought up easily enough.

Turning back to the report, she lets it go. Someone has to have compassion somewhere - and that's her.

"Steve and Bucky, Agent Petrovna, Kwabena and the new agent, Agent Powell. I'm sure we won't get all of them, but they all have experience and a unique set of skills."

"That's what it is called." Jeriah says blandly and then shakes his head a little bit. "You're as real as any other field agent, but you know my thoughts about SHIELD sending non combat personnel into tactical situations. Being a soldier is a special skill set. But SHIELD isn't an army and it doesn't operate like one. I think sometimes they lose sight of exactly what they're sending people into."

Agent May, for example. Would she be as badly messed up about Bahrain as she is if she'd been dedicated combat personnel? Maybe. Maybe. But Jeriah thinks there's a better chance that she wouldn't be.

"All good ideas. I'll see what I can do to coordinate that. What else did you get in the report? I see you've got some pretty detailed readouts here and… some chemical formulae that are making my head spin. I can't even google these, what is this stuff?"

"Only in the US." Jemma retorts. Back still to Jeriah as she reviews the report. "Are you suggesting then, that SHIELD send military in to do this? Or that we have a standing military force?" The field agents are generally well trained and it's not like they do this sort of thing … too often.

"If you would, I would appreciate it. Coordinate with the Middle East desk too, they're still pulling intel in." The other question gets a small smile. "That, Mister London, is the analysis of the contents of the last shipment we intercepted. And before you ask, no we didn't stop it, it went through - after we'd taken a sample."

Jemma pulls up one of the formulas "This is the part of the formula that causes the reverbium to bind to a carrier."

"More that SHIELD should decide what it wants to be. With helicarriers and a virtual air force, it's pretty damn close to being a military already. But it is still RUN like an Intel agency. The overlap isn't a particularly good one. It results in sending scientists in to do soldiers work and expecting soldiers to know enough about super science to be able to deal with non-combat applications of it. A bit more organizational discipline would solve that, don't you think?"

Jeriah IS after all an American. The idea of a Transnational military force is not really one that he trusts very much. Too many competing visions for what it is supposed to do. And if its allegiance is ever seriously put to the test he suspects that things will get genuinely ugly.

But today is not that day.

"Alright. So this is how they use reverbium to carry things into biological chemical structures. Probably related to that genetically tailored weapon they were using. What are they doing with it now?"

Jeriah has a point and Jemma can't argue with that. If the organisation was ever to become so militarised though, she might consider leaving … perhaps. It's a conundrum for the biochem. "You may be right. I'm sorry …" She's big enough to admit when she's wronged him.

"I'm sure it is. And I'm sure this is destined for a location where they are constructing those bioweapons as we speak. What are they doing? Have a look this. This is the other piece of chatter the desk found."

This time it's part of a communication that's been decrypted. This one has numbers associated with it. "What do this remind you of?" to Jemma it looks like a bid sheet.

"Mmmmm. Looks financial. I'd say it's either sales or offers. The accounts are all numbered and in anonymous banking jurisdictions so getting who is behind them will be near impossible. However if we can trace them then we can seize or freeze the money all the same and that'll make a lot of people very unhappy." Which might make Jeriah's day.

"It also suggests that they either are making or are about to make another big sale. Which means we should disrupt this as soon as possible or we're going to see another rash of bioweapon attacks." And who knows who will be hit last time. For all the people sickened and killed they're lucky a world leader hasn't died yet.

"That's what I was thinking. We wondered what AIM were doing with this - they haven't deployed the weapon in any real way since we heard of it." Which was about the time of Jemma's accident. "What if they're fundraising, though. That fits really."

It does make her wonder what the other attacks were but she has inkling of an idea that Jeriah will pick up clearly enough. Proof of Concept.

"I concur. I was about to call you when you came in. Why did you come in, by the way?"

"That would fit yes. AIM is not above selling off its creations and they mostly don't care who gets them as long as they're well paid." To be sure AIM has its own goals and occasionally tries to take over the world in the same way that HYDRA does albeit with gadgets and a lot less focus. One can only expect so much of researchers who are running the proverbial asylum.

"Because I saw the map in your head and recognized where it was. Also I felt you get excited in that 'work has just given me something interesting' kind of way. That usually means you're going to try to hop a flight to a hot zone."

With Jeriah's agreement and a plan in agreement, Jemma starts to shut the displays down.

"So you didn't come to see me for me? You thought to stop me being … reckless?" She's teasing, of course and it's like Jemma feels a weight has lifted.

"I wouldn't hop a flight to a hot zone today. You promised to take me dancing tonight, didn't you?"

"I did, didn't I?" Jeriah chuckles. "And yes. You are well known for being reckless after all. Have a reputation and all that." So they'll hop a flight to a hot zone tomorrow. Tonight there is dancing. Though he does have some more work to do.

"I'll talk to your Mideast Desk and then we can go, if you've nothing else that's pressing."

"Do I now?" Jemma raises a brow and sniffs a little. Tomorrow or the next day. They've got a team to put together. "And I wouldn't dare go anywhere without my meatshield, now. He tends to get a bit put out if I'm injured and he's not there."

"I should be ready to go when you are. I've got some experiments to prep to run over night and that's about it."

"Alright. See you in twenty minutes then." Jeriah leans over, kisses Jemma on the cheek mostly because he knows she'll blush and possibly splutter and then heads on out. He has some work to do and then they'll go dancing.

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