Advanced Cybernetic Defenders

October 11, 2015:

Simmons debriefs with War Machine and Jericho and brings in a new potential contractor

The Triskelian - New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Jemma has promised a number of people updates on the 084 issue that's been plagueing New York. Yes, she's written reports and passed them through to the JL:A and others… but she's also aware that not everyone reads them. Sometimes it's just better to speak to people to impart the information - not particularly efficient, but far more effective. Which is why, Jemmas arranged a little meeting.

Seconding a conference room within The Triskelian, she's arranged some light refreshments and sent out invitations to people to attend. Realising they may need some specialised help, she's gone through the SHIELD databases and come up with an interesting addition and realising SHIELDs' reputation, Simmons has asked Jericho to extend that invitation.

When her guests arrive, they'll be escorted straight away to the conference room - where Simmons is waiting.


Rhodey is not specifically attached to SHIELD in any way aside from loose association on classified missions where even their clandestine means are not enough and bringing in more recognizable heroes would be determental.

In essense, James Rhodes is very much still an operator for the government at large. Sent into military hot zones where his unique talents and weaponry make him an effective platform for plausable deniablity as a Force Multiplier.

So the only real reason he's here at the Triskelian is that he nearly had a heart attack because of whatever that object they required was and he's been remanded to medical until staff can make absolutely certain that there's no lasting psychological issues. A man in an armored suit capable of topling most world nations running around with psychosis is exactly the thing SHIELD is meant to prevent right?

So he's a little confused when he receives an invitation to the Q&A session. He is neither an agent nor a scientist, but he doesn't refuse and shows up wearing a pair of black sweatpants, tennis shoes, and a USAF t-shirt. Having been using the gym to keep up his training regeme. The dude is a machine..

A War Machine.

YEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH


Jericho's list of contacts is different than SHIELD's but it's not deeper. Still he knows of one or two people that might be interested in knowing this. One of them is a mutant that used to work with X-Red before going her own way. Without other ways to get ahold of her (she likes her privacy and he can't really blame her for that) he'd left a message there before coming on down to this particular meeting.

"You know, maybe we should have had this at a Starbucks or something." The hacker says as he's shown in by building security. His steadfast refusal to give SHIELD the information it'd need to issue him an ID means that despite his status as a contract agent he still has to get verified and escorted every time he comes in. He's been busy handling other things but since he's got a lot of time in dealing with these particular odd objects, the request for him to be here made sense.

So here he is.


Audrey was extremely wary of an invitation to SHIELD. For all her talk about not wanting to hide anymore, she still keeps her private life very private, and in some aspects, that involves things that even SHIELD doesn't know about. But she's worked a few missions with Captain America, and if he's still willing to maintain ties with the organization, then it can't be a complete loss.

That doesn't mean she came unprepared. She had to leave an entire security bucket worth of weapons at the door when she came in, and it means she looks both guilty and uncomfortable when she's shown to the conference room, wearing a plain black t-shirt and BDU pants, her hair in a braid. She's young, and she looks it, but she moves like someone who knows what they're doing.


Jemma's dressed casually, jeans and button shirt, hair pulled back in a pony tail. She's even eschewed her lab coat for this meeting… "I could have, Mr Trent. But there are things that … are better off not shared in public at the moment. And besides, Starbucks doesn't have the holo projection tech we do … I'd be quite lost, I'm sure."

As James comes in, Simmons nods and gives the man a careful once over "I thought you might like to know more about that device from yesterday. And why it might have affected you as it did." and then there's Audrey, looking worried and uncomfortable "Ms Wallace, thank you for coming. X-Red, Captain America and Mr Trent all speak very highly of you. I'm Jemma Simmons." Offering the young woman a hand "Please be seated and we'll get this show on the road, shall we?"

Once everyone is seated, Simmons looks around the group "Mr Trent is aware of the … incidents we've been experiencing but let me quickly explain…" And as succinctly as possible she outlines the 084 devices that have been turning up, the food court incident, the street riot, culminating in War Machines near heart attack. "With Mr Trents assistance, we believe that these devices are manipulating people physchically… causing discontent in the population. The last two devices we recovered… differ from the others… but they're the ones we've managed to decode, were malfunctioning - which is how we found them. The one yesterday, was causing people to experience anger, which is why we think it affected you more" She nods to Rhodey there and pauses for a moment to let that sink in, Jericho can add to that the rest.


James mms quietly and settles into one of the seats around the holoprojection tables, listening to the report on each incident with the same intensity he's given every mission briefing he's ever attended. His posture is straight, but relaxed and his stare the same, processing what he's being told in the same quiet manner he usually operates when not being manipulated by external forces. "Yeah." It's as close t an apology as he can muster.

War Machine doesn't do ''sorry'' very well.

"How much have you been able to figure out from the devices you've recovered? Is there a way to create some kind of shield against the psychic effect?" He's not sure whether he'll be assigned to another detail around one of these things, but if he is, he'd prefer not to lose his shit again. Or have a heart attack. Neither is a particularly pleasant eventuality.


Protecting people from advanced technological manipulation is Jemma's field. Jericho once did a 'jamming' improvisation using a theta wave burst but surely the biochemist can come up with something else. Besides, concentrated theta waves can make you pass out.

"We've run into instances of this technology before. It's highly advanced and of unknown - possibly extra dimensional - provenance." The hacker raises his arm and under his shirt sleeve blue circuit traces glow, projecting a small 'keyboard' above his arm which he taps at to cause a map of the tri-city area to appear. Above his arm.

"After we opened up the last one we discovered that it was linked to a regional network of devices concentrated on the Tri-City area and focused very heavily on the diplomatic quarter and the UN. What we don't know is 'why'. Given the situation the best course of action may be to just start taking apart the network but that poses challenges. The devices themselves have defensive systems - emotional manipulation and some kind of gravitational manipulation that resembles telekenises - but a bit more troublesome are the fact that they sometimes portal in advanced cybernetic defenders." Which means it's not just a matter of sending out 'techs' to turn them off and bring them in. Sometimes you need a tac team.

"Obviously, Colonel Rhodes…" He was briefed, and the man's a fellow veteran… well, Airman currently serving. "… you've seen these things recently. Audrey honestly I don't know if this is in your line but I've seen you work and you were one of the first people I thought of when it came to tactical situations and the possible need for stealth."


"What's an 084?" Audrey asks, stepping inside to get a better look at the projector. She doesn't sit, instead favoring a stiff at ease posture by the wall. That question goes by the wayside, though, as Jericho says a certain word. She's already upright, but she takes a step forward, tensing. "Cybernetics?" She looks between the others, lips pursing. "We've been chasing a group using some illegal cybernetics lately. A mutant-hating group. I know mutants who can manipulate emotions."


Simmons wasn't expecting an apology from James and she gives him another careful look. He'd been affected by the device, as had others… but if she can help alleviate that, she will.

"A 084, Ms Wallace, is SHIELD fancy talk for an identified object." Simmons seems mildly amused. Fancy talk for saying 'we have no idea what this does'!

"We've been discussing creating a psychic shield, Colonel Rhodes." Simmons directs her attention to him now "It's certainly something I'm looking into, I've something that Fitz created several months ago that I believe we can modify. But.. it might take us longer than we have." Simmons is used to working agains the clock, but she prefers to have contingencies if she can.

As Jericho mentions the advanced cybernetic defenders, Simmons brings up the footage of the foodcourt incident, displaying the four 'men' that appeared, the first TAC team dropping within a shot fired on either side and then the energy swords that appear. "These are the cybernetic defenders, that Mr Trent was referring to." They are different to the Reavers that Audrey was recently hunting with X-Red.

"I'm seeking options, Ms Wallace, Colonel Rhodes. Options that will give us the best opportunity to take this network down." she cuts her eyes to Jericho for a moment "And perhaps draw out those who have built it."


"If you can give me a target I can take a small team in to dismantle their network, but as I'm understanding it, we don't really ''have'' a target?" Rhodey glances up thoughtfully, rubbing at his clean shaven jaw. Military man… he found a razor somewhere. "Neither do I have a lot of experience with mutant genetics or cyber technology, but I can't help seeing how these two events are somehow connected?" Motioning between Jericho and Aubrey questioningly.

Usually this is Tony's department, while Rhodey handles the heavy lifting, but time really isn't on their side and nobody likes being in a reactionary position to a situation like this. "Alright…" Working through what is infront of him, attacking the problem like he would any mission, "Does the device work on some kind of wave length that we can isolate? Use my suits internal arc reactor as as.. reverse magnet.. reverse the polarity, create a null space around me that allows us to get, at least, get near the thing without being affected?"


"I can give you about five dozen targets." Jericho says somewhat dryly. "Machines just like the one we encountered the other day that are projecting a field to make people discontent and emotional. Why they're doing it is unclear but I don't think any of us here would argue that the long term emotional manipulation of a population is something we just want to let happen. So yes, take the machines out. If they bring in defenders take those out too. Doctor Simmons here needs things to interrogate and study." Truth is the emotional manipulation can sometimes be powered through. It's not insurmountable. Rhodie might just need more exposure. Which… could be dangerous.

"Mutant hating Cyborgs?" Jericho isn't so quick to dismiss the connection. He knows who the Reavers are in general terms and he specifically knows that no one knows quite where all of their tech came from. If these Psyborgs are engaged in a long term project to disrupt society, there are few better ways than empowering hate groups. "Worth looking into. Would you be willing to show me what you have on it? I might be of some help." If not, he understands. Some groups like to keep certain information out of the hands of those not directly affiliated.


"Some people have natural psychic shields," Audrey notes, watching the video carefully. "And others can be trained to resist influence, though that takes time. Still, if you've got personnel you want to handle it, either the X-Men or X-Red could probably help you test for it. That's all just a holding measure, though." She looks over to Jericho at his question, nodding slowly. "Could probably share some. These don't look like the Reavers we've been going after, though. Just the next round of people trying to make super people," she grimaces.


Simmons considers Audrey's words for a moment and pulls up images of the devices they've found so far. There's the three gray/black cubes, a black cylinder, two gray/black prisms … plus the two silver cylinders they'd been working. They're all different … "Maybe they're also different variants, Ms Wallace. As you can see, we've a number of different 084's all collected in the last few weeks." It's just something else to consider.

"As Mr Trent say, Colonel Rhodes, we know where multiple units are. The more samples of the devices and the cyborgs we collect, the more information we can gather." His idea though, is interesting "Would you be willing to work with us to test that idea about your suit?" she smiles faintly "If it helps, I could call Miss Potts and explain the situation."

A look back to Audrey "Natural pyschic shields - we think that's how yesterdays device was found. The police officer who noticed it was the only one who did and they had a dreadful time convicing others." nodding at the offer "We've limited contact with the X-Men, as I'm sure you're aware. Would you be able to act as liaison, Ms Wallace? Would you be willing?"


"These things represent a clear and present threat." Rhodes says quietly, having seen what they're capable of first hand. Both with the mass of rioters as well as in his own emotional level, "If I can help take them down permanently, count me in." He takes a breath and runs a hand along the back of his neck. "I'll unlock the War Machine armor to your tech guys, but they don't change anything…" Because he's got it just the way he wants it, finally.

"I'll run through some of the diagnostic data I've got from Stark Industries and bounce simulations off Tony, maybe we can come up with something." Though he's much more interested in the idea of going in and breaking things on a physical level, "Until then, if we can get a psionic mutant in a squad that can provide a field capable of protecting me… I'll start taking down targets. At least we're not completely on the defensive and can punch holes in their network."


"If we can get Stark Industries involved that might be for the best. They have a lot of good people and due respect to Doctor Simmons here but some extra minds wouldn't be bad to have on it either. I'm field personnel when you get down to it I just have a few tricks." The question of whether or not Audrey would be willing to interface with the X-Men is a good one. Either way… "We'll talk later too Audrey, go over the data you already have and see how it compares to what I've collected." And see what she's able and willing to do. He's more than willing to believe she's got issues of her own but this seems important to him.


"I can talk to them," Audrey nods to Simmons. "I can't make any promises about what they will and won't do," she adds quickly. "There's still a lot of caution. But if these people are engaging in psychic attacks, there's a good chance they've either got a mutant on their team, or have one they've been using under coercion. And that's an argument that's likely to hold some water."


Jemma actually looks relieved. With Fitz away so much, she's been soloing a lot of the research … having people to help will spread the effort and speed things up for the bio chem. Afterall, she's not the tech genius of the SHIELD Power Twins. "That would be wonderful, Colonel Rhodes" Jemma beams "And I'll be sure to tell them, not to change anything." Nodding to Audrey "I've met Cyclops and another one of the X-Team, Ms Wallace, I know they protect they're own - and rightly so." Jemma doesn't blame them a bit.

Looking round the table, she gives a little shrug "Do you have any more questions? It seems we have a way forward. I really appreciate your assistance."


Rhodes has also met some of the X-Men, but he doesn't know they were the X-Men. He does, however, have a strong connection to Stark Industries, "I'll get Tony onboard. Stress the importance of figuring this out. If anyone can figure out how to turn the suit into a walking null field, he can." James has a lot of faith in his friends technical wizardry.

"Until then, if you can get the higher ups to assign me a tac team, we can start running training exercises." A nod to Trent, "If you'd like to come along? Could use your abilities on the field and a second set of expert eyes is invaluable."


"I'll be along when I can." Jericho tends to get around quite a bit but yes, he's on board with making sure that whatever is going on gets shut down pronto. "I'm sure you can get May to assign you a tac team. She's as annoyed with this as anyone." And you wouldn't like May when she's annoyed.

"Good point on the psychic coersion…" Jericho has wondered how tech could replicate that. Maybe its time they started looking at missing mutant reports. Or perhaps the X-ers have a lead on it. If nothing else people skilled at dealing with psychics may know how to track more of this mess down. "Alright, I think that's about it on my end. Anyone need anything from me before I head out?"


"Can I get a copy of any reports you have of what the psychic interference felt like?" Audrey asks, looking to Jemma. "Anything that might help clear things up for the psychics on our end. And I'll see if anyone with the X-Men is willing to help. I'm betting someone will be."


"Full copies of reports, Ms Wallace. I'll pass them through to you." Jemma smiles at the serious young woman. "And I'll ask Agent May for a team, Colonel Rhodes. I doubt there will be any issue."

Closing down the projection, Simmons nods to Jericho "I don't need anything else, Mr Trent. But thank you for asking Ms Wallace along. If you're all ready, security can escort you out." She fixes Rhodey with a look though "Except you - back to the infirmary, I'd like to run some more tests, if you don't mind."


Rhodey nods to the affirmation that he'll likely be assigned a tac team to work with and pushes back from the holograph table. Even while fixed with Simmons stare, he offers only muted resistance and a clipped nod, "Copy that, Doc." Stepping up from his chair and heading off in the direction of the infirmary after giving the pair of Aubrey and Trent a parting nod.

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