What Do You Know About The Device?

July 13, 2016:

The compound for the Daemonites mostly works. The delivery system leaves much to be desired. Jemma and Jericho catch up to discuss some thoughts and are joined by Nathaniel who wants to talk about Kheran.

Coffee Shop - New York.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Bagalia is done. The Triskelion is cleaned out. Operations should be returning to normal and so they are. Not withstanding cleaning up ransacked workspaces.

This morning see's Jemma Simmons meeting with a demon tainted hacker, in a coffee shop some distance from The Tri. She's also expecting another visitor to show up. Which is why there's space at the table.

"So the compound I modified for the Daemonites works, after a fashion. But the delivery system … leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not ballistics expert, but your chemical rounds, they look interesting. I was wondering if they might be adapted?"

Of course, when her guest gets here, she's clearly visible.

Nathaniel is just in time, wearing a light grey suit and a blue tie. It is still looks too warm for July, but he seems alright. "Agent Simmons, good morning," he greets. He nods at Jericho, remembering him from Bagalia, although they have not been formally introduced. "A genuine coffee shop?" He seems to consider, "So I guess this is not official SHIELD business."

Jericho looks up and gives Nathaniel a nod and a greeting. He doesn't recognize the man of course. The one and only time he's seen him, Nate was wearing something that looked vaguely like a really good Iron Man imitation. Still, if he's here to see Simmons he must be okay. "Morning."

Jericho is himself dressed in his usual concealing casual - long sleeve tee, jeans and a faded grey baseball cap currently perched on one of the back posts of his chair. "The chemical rounds deliver a laser discharge, Jemma. They react, fire and then get ejected 'whole'. I don't see how you can use them to deliver anything else unless you've come up with a light based sedative." Which would be… interesting.

That discussion apparently gets tabled though so the hacker can focus on the new arrival. He nudges a chair out for the man, silent invitation to make himself comfortable.

"As official as it gets." Jemma smiles at Nathaniel "I've learned that sometimes it's better to meet like this, then trust in the security of your own organisation." After all, who would believe some of the things they discuss? Really, most of it sounds like a plot for a book or a MUSH. "Thank you, though, for agreeing to meet here. You wanted to talk to me. Oh, this is Jericho. Jericho, Nathaniel Richards."

Jericho's comments about a light based sedative gets a considering look. Interesting indeed. "I could do with some help on fixing the delivery system to penetrate their thick skins…" she murmurs.

Nathaniel offers his hand to Jericho before sitting down, shrugging to Jemma's last comment. "I thought it would be better to talk in person than on the net. I got the impression SHIELD knew very little about the Daemonites, and you needed information. Although for what I saw in Bagalia your agency has already developed detection technology, and even drugs that affect them."

Jericho shakes Mister Richards' hand readily enough. "Pleasure to meet you."

He's not wrong really about the Daemonites. For all they've discovered there's ten, twenty times more that they probably haven't. Interrogating the damn things has been near impossible so nearly everything they've picked up has been from examining their biology and their technology. And some other people's technology. The Valmorra had been rather helpful in that.

Even he's not privy, though, to SHIELD's database on Daemonites so this is really a question for Jemma to answer.

Jemma grimaces and looks to Jericho. "We know … just enough. Everything you saw in Bagalia was a result of testing and refinement that we've done. The active compound in the detectors …" she's not going to say what it is. The sample had been given to her, in trust. "… is not found on Earth and we only have limited quantity of it."

Echoing Jericho's thoughts, the biochem continues "I have samples of their tissue that I used to make the compound. The live specimens we keep deep frozen, with their telepathic ability, it's difficult to assess them and work out a lot more really."

Pulling a record up on her tablet, she hands it to Nathaniel - Very strong, dense skin, very fast, telepathic. "What I do know is that they deteriorate somewhat quickly outside a human host. Why do you ask, Mister Richards?"

To Jericho, she nods slightly "Jericho has been able to translate their language. But it's hard going." Jericho can add to that.

"Why do I ask? No, I am not asking, agent Simmons," notes Nathaniel with a faint smile. "I already know a good deal about the Daemonite biology. Daemon is a rather hellish place from human viewpoint. So they were genetically engineered to survive almost everywhere. Shapeshifting and possession of native lifeforms are two of the tools in their arsenal. As for detecting them… they will eventually adapt to your technology. Keep it out of their hands at all costs."

Jericho had just been mentioning, not that long ago, that he was starting to feel like humans got the short end of the evolutionary lottery. Those who believe mutants to be an evolution of humankind may well disagree but the fact is that mutants are a small proportion of the population and most of the other alien races he's aware of seem…

Well their average citizens seem much hardier, that's for sure.

The 'agent' gets a wry smile "The correct title is Doctor. I might be field approved, but I'm still more on the theoretical side than anything." Jericho might disagree but that's how she sees it "but please … call me Jemma."

"Genetically engineered? Well now, that makes some sense." the biochem nods as she thinks about how highly adaptable the Daemonites are. Just … not quite adaptable enough. "Jericho and I have been discussing how Earth seems to have got the short end of the stick in the evolutionary stakes. You seem to know a lot about them and you recognised … something about that device we recovered."

Jericho gets a look from the biochem "If you've any thoughts on ways to make our darts penetrate better, I'm willing to listen."

"I am sorry, doc… Jemma. Well, call me Nathaniel then, please," the next statements deserve some consideration, but he is trying to be as helpful as possible. "Humans are just starting as a civilized race. No, we are not genetically inferior at all. Once the human meta gen and the X-factor are decoded, humans could potentially become a race so powerful that the Kryptonians would look puny in comparison. Consider that most spacefaring races have had thousands of years to improve themselves."

"As for the device. Yes, well." Another pause con consider his answer. "A brief scan of my armor sensors gave me the impression it was Kheran in origin, not Daemonite."

"Interesting. That name has come up several times." Jericho finally offers to the conversation. "In fact we're given to believe that the Kherans, whomever they are, have operatives on this world and may have had for some time though it seems also as if some of those operatives worked for an extremely long period without the direction of any kind of central authority."

Certainly Jericho had been under the impression that there had been some kind of standing conflict between the two, given how invested 'Leonidas' had been in building infrastructure to fight the Daemonites.

"Keran's?" Jemma perks up at that name, she knows it of course and she looks at Jericho as he speaks. "They are guardians, for want of a better word of Earth. They've been here since the '70s at least and … we're not sure if there are any left." Of course, she's not mentioning the signal they intercepted a number of months. But she might have somewhere to start looking, when she decides to.

"Who are the Kherans', Nathaniel? What we've found isn't very definitive."

A nod to Jericho. "Daemon and Khera have been in war for five, maybe six thousand years. That the conflict has spread to Earth wouldn't be surprising," states Nathaniel, leaning forward. "Khera was… is, an ancient civilization. Dominant superpower in the Milky Way for hundreds of thousands of years. But they are almost extinct due to several devastating war with other galactic powers, a very low reproductive rate and constant fratricide conflicts between internal power groups. They are a culturally decadent, but incredibly advanced race of nearly immortal humanoids."

He frowns, "it would be easy to think Kherans are the good guys and Daemonites the evil ones. But that would be a major mistake. For the typical Kheran humans are as interesting as ugly, dumb monkeys. As a race they are arrogant, merciless, intolerant, warmongering and self-absorbed. Which is why they have warred against anyone that looked vaguely offensive to them, and why they are going to be extinct soon. Meanwhile the Daemonites you know are probably soldiers that consider humans little more than collateral damage for their plans, possibly even an extremist faction akin to what Hydra is in Earth. And then, the Daemonite High Lords that lead their people have some infamous monsters among them."

"So the best we can hope for is to play them off against eachother and hope they don't blow up anything important." Like humanity's one and only planet.

Nice as it would be to play them off against one another Jericho knows full well that matters are supremely unlikely to work out that cleanly. At some point he might be interested in knowing just how Nathaniel knows all this, but for now the hacker knows two things. One, Nathaniel doesn't appear to have a reason to lie to them and what he's saying squares with what they already know, so it's probably true. Two, now is probobly not the time to ask questions like 'how'.

"Well, let me know if there's more I can do to help with them." Jericho knows they're cleared from SHIELD, but they're definitely still out there. "I'll be in touch. Nice to meet you Nathaniel."

And with that the hacker rises, leaves some money on the table and makes his exit. He's got a few things to follow up on before he gets back to this. He only hopes it doesn't explode before he does.

"High …Lords?" Jemma siiiiighs. They know so little about the Daemonites. And know there's Kherans and what seems like a civil war.

"Thank you, Jericho and you know I will…" the biochem waves to the hacker as he departs.

What Nathaniel doesn't realise, is that the 'Kherans' that have been on Earth until very recently are descendants. Diluted blood and then some, even purely human recruits for Leonidas' network. Pure blood Kherans? No one's seen then yet.

"Good to meet you, Jericho," states Nathaniel, standing up while the hacker leaves. Then he sit down again. "High Lords. Daemonites are very long lived, and they are led by ancient, extremely competent elders. As you have seen they all have extraordinary abilities. But not every Daemonite is a talented shapeshifter, also able to possess anyone instantly and with great telepathic might. It takes time as well as a base of natural talent to become really good at those abilities. Elder Daemonites are very formidable indeed. And so they lead the race. And some are monsters, like Lord Helspont, a creature who could teach the Red Skull a few things about being a murderous maniac."

"Helspont. That's not the first time I've heard that name." Jemma murmurs. "When I did, it was spoken with hate and vitriol. I would say that the Daemonites we've encountered can't possess anyone instantly, it certainly requires work on their part. I've also noted that a Daemonite in it's true form seems to deterioate more quickly."

Blowing out a deep breath the SHIELD biochem considers "The human hosts suffer malnutrition when possesed, which indicates that the Daemonites draw on them deeply … perhaps there is something in our environment that affects them." The simple fact is that they are too powerful to assess … except in bits.

Nathaniel frowns visibly when he hears Helspont is involved in something on Earth right now. That is a part of his historical files he would have preferred to be completely wrong. But if Jemma has heard the name… "if you know the name, most likely he is the Daemonite leader behind whatever is going on. As for their being unable to adapt to the relatively benign environment of Earth without relying into possession. That is very interesting, definitely something worth investigating. Although I advise caution at trying to find a single, specific weakness to a race of shapeshifters. The problem might be limited to some Daemonites, which might come from a planet where after several generations they came to rely into some element Earth lacks. Changing subject, has SHIELD been able to learn the purpose of the alien device recovered?"

"No, no…" Jemma is quick to clarify "The source of that information was … extra terrestrial and historical." Nathaniel might guess at it, but Jemma's not telling. "There's not one single weakness and what we're finding is the size of the creature is synonymous with it's resilience. The smaller beasts, ten feet tall ones, are more susceptible to magic than the taller for example." She, and the WAND team, have done a lot work with the small resources they had.

When Nathaniel asks about the device they recovered she shakes her head "Not yet. It's in secure containment and we will assess it when we can." the biochem sighs again "There have been … other considerations." Like removing the Daemonite infestation from SHIELD. "Why do you ask?"

"I do not think the Daemonite's plan for Earth is going to be good for humans," states Nathaniel. "Collateral damage in their war with Khera, at the very least. I want to help SHIELD to stop them, force them out of Earth is possible. I also want to help SHIELD with other problems that are coming. For which I might want to talk with you in the future. For now, ah… my suggest is you destroy the device. Or at least make everyone think it has been destroyed. If they needed it, they might have to cancel their plans. Otherwise they will try to recover it, and if they can bring enough of their soldiers SHIELD will not be able to stop them."

"We will not destroy the device, Nathaniel." Jemma says quietly "but we can make it seem like we have done so." She intends to examine and research it, soon (ish), "Honestly, the Daemonites have been here for so long, we've only the slightest inkling about what they want …"

"I would recommend speaking with Agent May if you wish to work with us although I'd be happy to speak with you. We just need to make sure you have the appropriate clearances." the biochem pauses for a moment "I don't know if it will be possible to rout them entirely from Earth. But we can at least keep an eye on them."

With that Jemma gathers up her tablet and paraphenalia "Is there anything else I might do for, Nathaniel? I must be getting back soon."

Nathaniel nods. Nick Fury might be better, but he can hardly ask for an interview, right? "Yes, please. I would like to talk with a senior agent. As for now… ah, if you do not have more questions, I think that was all. Let me know if I can be of more assistance to solve this problem. Either for information or as muscle" He stands up, "have a nice day, Jemma."

Not even Jemma, with all her threads of investigation gets to talk to Nick. A fact for which she is eternally grateful. "I'll let May know and give her your details." Goodness, has Jericho spoken Fury? Jemma isn't sure, but the hacker been a more than helpful a time or two.

"Thank you, Nathaniel and I will." If he knows anything, it will be that he'll hear from her again. With a nod, the biochem stand and moves away, thinking about the next project that affects her.

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