Scale It Up, Fitz

April 29, 2015:

May and Jericho brief FitzSimmons on the issues with the power grid, Fitz gets his orders

The Triskelian - New York


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's not that unusual for May to ask Simmons and Fitz to briefings when she wants their knowledge and expertise on some upcoming mission or other. This briefing, however, promises to be one of the more unique ones. Displayed over the conference room table is a 3-D holographic image of … something. It resembles either an oddly angular spiderweb, or someone's Etch-a-Sketch art, or maybe some kind of overly intricate civil engineering drawing.

May is standing on the far side of the table from the door leading into the conference room, studying the image as if trying to determine something.

"I'm just saying, there's no way to gauge the results unless you factor in for things like, oh, I dunno, inertia?" Fitz is kind of mean sometimes. He's been arguing with Simmons the whole way here, though people who know them understand that 'arguing' really means 'whittling down impossibilities until something fantastic can be built'.

Still, the moment they come into the room, he shuts right up. "Agent May."

Like a well-trained puppy, for Pete's sake.

Simmons rolls her eyes to herself as Fitz babbles on "Yes, but Fitz…" She starts as she finally manages to get a word in edgewise, just as they enter the conference room. Letting her thoughts fade off, she looks up at the image and then back to May "Agent May, we came as soon as we can."

Jericho is not normally… in on these kinds of things. There's a lot of history with him and this building and most of it's bad, so getting him here for briefings can be a trick and a half. Unless he wants to be there. Or knows he needs to be.

The culmination of a group hacking effort and a dangerous raid on Bahrain has been a lot of intel that both he and SHIELD have had to go through. Both have and while the hacker isn't sure what conclusions SHIELD has reached, he knows the ones he's reached have been pretty sobering. As Fitz and Simmons filter in he levers up from leaning on the 'inside' wall, where the door swings, and emerges into view. He'd been doing his 'staring into space' thing while accessing some (non SHIELD) networks and the hacker had wanted to let May focus. "That everyone?"

Melinda May nods to Jericho, figuring that Coulson will be arriving late if at all — he's got other things taking his time, after all. "Simmons. Fitz. How much do you know about the electrical grid in Metropolis?" So that explains the bizarre 3D holo-art, right? Maybe? "Or alternately, magical ley lines." It's here where she's expecting Simmons to pull a full Hermione and pop her arm into the air Arnold Horshack.

"Absolutely nothing," answers Fitz honestly. "But, electrical grids aren't complicated." He approaches the 3D map, already studying it and trying to make sense of it. In short, it won't take him long to figure out the pattern, however archaic it may be, of the Metropolis power grid, assuming that's what they're looking at.

However, when May mentions magical ley lines, he draws a blank. "Um… ley lines?"

A look to Simmons that reads, 'help?'

Well, Simmons knows a fair bit actually. She was the one that got the briefing from Mr Jim Reha at Stark Industries after all. "Leylines are like magical conduits" she starts, looking a Fitz as she speaks "They connect points of … interest or natural monuments together. Apparently it's how the worlds magic flows or something like that."

Nodding to the map that's displayed, the biochemist goes on to explain the overlap of the power grids and the Leylines, how Metropolis' were nearly a 1:1 match and the other two cities less, but still significant.

Hermione Granger, indeed.

Jericho has some inkling about what this is about, but May seems to have more to share. He's got another piece to this puzzle, one that May knows but hasn't seen the… let's just say she hasn't looked it in it's ugly face. "Our latest intel from HYDRA indicates that they are, indeed, targeting Metropolis as opposed to the other two cities in the area." He nods to May again to continue.

"This is going to require a coordinated effort, and it will go way beyond SHIELD. I'm going to need both of you to get Fitz's Portal Buster technology scaled up by at least a factor of ten, and find a way to eliminate or at least reduce the feedback on the systems." Yes, May very much remembers Fitz getting knocked back on his arse when they went to take the helicarrier back from HYDRA. "A team I've been assisting has managed to close a handful of other portals so far, but the scale that this is on is far beyond what any one person or team can handle."

A worried look comes over Fitz's face, not only in regard to what heinous plan HYDRA seems to have hatched, but at the prospect of scaling up his fringe tech. That worried look goes straight to Simmons next, before he looks back to Jericho and May.

"We've, uh, been working on scaling the tech up already," he answers. "Something Director Fury, well, the whole point was to develop something that could protect a space as large as the Triskelion. This…" He points to the map. "This is much, much bigger."

He looks to Simmons again, chewing at his lower lip before looking back toward May. "To do this, we'll… need to… harvest psionic energy. From someone with telepathic capabilities."

"With the overlay of the grid and Leylines so high in Metropolis, that's unsurprising Mr Trent." Simmons responds quietly.

After May speaks, the young biochem watches Fitz looking at everyone. This is stuff he doesn't speak to her about, doesn't breathe a word… he's asked her to trust him and she does. "Harvest psionic energy, Fitz? Is that even possible?"

Jericho leaves that one alone for now. They'll need a telepath which means… probably a mutant. Which might be hard, unless they find a Psyborg they can tap between now and whenever HYDRA kicks this off. Which will be soon. "This intel also makes this message fairly chilling…"

The hacker raises his arm and projects the image of what looks like a horse faced demon above it. "This is N'astirh. He's a demon of Limbo and a fairly powerful one. More than that, he's lives outside Illyana's rule. A lot of demons do really, but this one is particularly troublesome. We found a message from him at a HYDRA camp some months ago but it's only recently we've had context for it."

The demon starts to speak. "The pact is sealed and executed. Your magi now have everything they need to know to enact your dimensional transposition. All you will need is a power source. I shall provide you with that final key to the puzzle once payment is recieved in full." The demon grins widely. "It has been a pleasure doing business with you."

Melinda May watches that and… well, if she has a reaction it isn't a visible one. "Fitz, I don't so much want the anti-teleportation fields so much as the devices you used on the helicarrier to force a portal closed. We've had a magic user doing this job so far, and the last one we closed was nearly fatal. I will not risk anyone that way if there's an alternative." Apparently, the same goes for anyone that's psionic. "Trent, is there anyway to off this demon's head at the pass and keep him from giving that 'final key' to HYDRA?"

Simmons watches the image, her eyebrows rising as she does. "What do you think they meant by power source, Mr Trent? It would seem that it differs to the power grids, would I be right in conjecturing that?"

"I'd like to, believe me." Jericho fairly growls. "But he's hiding out in the fringe kingdoms beyond central Limbo and I've not found him yet. Not for lack of trying. As for the key, HYDRA may already have it. That message was weeks old when we found it and it's been some time since then. I have a feeling that whatever deal they made is long since done."

Jericho glances to May when Simmons mentions a power source. "Could be the Metro Grid. I'm told by others that ley lines and confluences spike when certain astronomical events occur and that the grid seems to have been designed to get around that. It can put out a lot of power if tapped."

Melinda May nods to Jericho. "That's the biggest problem I forsee. It sounds like Metropolis is ground zero for far more magically accessible power than we've even imagined. The scale of whatever HYDRA is planning is bigger than anything I've heard of before, including anything the Red Skull tried to put together during World War II."

Something buzzes on Fitz's tablet and before anyone can say anything, he's up and out the conference room without a word of goodbye.

Simmons watches him go, sighing a little "That will be some results he's been waiting for." she explains.

Turing her attention back to the current issue, she quiets and frowns as she looks at the map. "Why psionic energy, for the Portal Buster? Fitz has kept this one so close to his chest." worrying her bottom lip "If you think HYDRA is going to use the grid, why can't we?" wrinkling her nose "I would suggest that we simply turn the grid off… when we need to. But if we can use it, shouldn't we?"

Jericho glances to May to make sure it's okay to tell Simmons before he takes a deep breath. "Because Fitz' power source is based off some extra dimensional tech I helped SHIELD recover. It runs on psychic energy, but there's no way to replicate it. Or at least he hasn't figured out how yet."

"I have no idea what would happen if we just shut the grid down," May admits, though she can't help but think at least the weather this time of year would make it easier on the citizens. "But I suspect it wouldn't be anything good." And then at Simmons' question about tapping the grid energy themselves, she can answer that a little more easily. "On the last couple of portals we shut down, our magic user mentioned that they ley lines felt tainted. If that was the case with the smaller portals, then a system as large as Metropolis would be proportionally worse. And I would be leery of using tainted magical energy. We might end up feeding their side instead of the opposite."

"Oh, it that what he used that for." Simmons was there when they recovered that device. But… well.. secret project and all. Nodding to May and Jericho, Simmons considers "So, Fitz needs to adapt his Portal technology to cover a wider area." She glances the way he just left. "and consideration needs to be given to this power source and the final key."

"Or giving them converts." Jericho grimaces. "They've been trying to swap out people we know for versions of them that are loyal to HYDRA. May was targeted. So were a number of other SHIELD agents and SHIELD friendly metas." Curiously they never tried Jericho. Maybe they just want him dead at this point.

"And whether or not they already have both… I'll keep you posted as best I can."

Melinda May nods to Jericho, then looks at Simmons as she keys the holoimage to disappear. "Simmons, go check on Fitz, see if he has any suggestions for alternatives to psionic energy." She then looks at Trent again to see if he's ready to escape the Triskelion.

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