Security Breach: The Prototype

January 25, 2015:

Tasked with the important Operation: Wand, Fitz calls in a few favors.

R&D Lab, Triskelion, New York City

Dr. Fitz's playground.

Characters

NPCs: SHIELD R&D interns

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Triskelion is a mess. SHIELD seems to be primarily focused on the security of the place, which leaves it's 'redecorating', as Fury so eloquently put it, to the interns.

The same can be said of Leopold Fitz's R&D lab, though he all but demanded at least two people dedicated to cleaning up the lab and putting it into working order. Frankly, right now, he probably has the authority and clout to demand a whole lot more, but he's a nice guy.

Of the team Fitz intends to put together, two of them were in the operation to the Arctic Circle. They've been notified that they are needed at his lab immediately upon return, and the requisition was signed by Veronica, secretary to Director Fury. Like we said, Fitz just became pretty damned important on the SHIELD totem pole. He's also expecting a video call from Virginia "Pepper" Potts, though with her important work in Metropolis, it's hard to say when she'll be able to phone over. So, while the interns continue cleaning up the mess, Fitz is hard at work in one of his lab rooms. 'Take Me To Church' by Hozier is playing over a set of speakers; he's build a Spotify playlist for the occasion, in an attempt to connect with his utterly lacking spiritual side. Also on the playlist is 'Faith' by George Michael, 'Ghostbusters' by Ray Parker Jr., and 'Home By the Sea' by Genesis, both parts one and two.

*

At precisely three minutes before the time that Fitz had requested Pepper call to be conferenced in, the scientist's phone rings with a caller ID of "Stark Industries". When the call is answere it's Pepper, who is happy to wait for whatever needs to happen to set up the call with a video component. Once that's working, she can be seen sitting in… not Stark Tower. A smallish room with natural wood paneling and honest to god book shelves set into the walls. With paper books on them.

*

The demand for his attendance rather caught him by surprise. Dr. Hank McCoy was barely back from the trip to the Arctic when he received the summons and rather than have SHIELD track him down, he took his serum and made his way to the Triskelion as soon as he could. Imagine his surprise when he was brought right into R&D…a place he wasn't allowed when he spoke with Simmons.

Dr. Hank McCoy…not at all blue now…steps in, pauses, and looks around. "Good gracious…what happened here?"

*

The last thing you want to hear after you get back from a failed mission (where you were ambushed) is that your headquarters were attacked. Argyle is usually a pretty cheerful guy, but it's sort of hard to be lighthearted when you're stepping around repair crews and passing blood-splattered walls.

Still, there's a job to be done, and an agent with ten years of experience knows how to suck it up and get on with it. He's got cuts on his forehead sporting butterfly bandages, and he's limping ever so slightly. That's the problem with being a squishy human. "Yo, FitzRoy. You called?" Hank gets a nod and a little bit of a grin. He has sneaking suspicion they just came from the same place.

*

Fitz looks up when Hank is brought in, a bit surprised by the man's appearance. Off come his goggles, and he makes his way out of the clean room and into the lab proper. "We were attacked," he answers. Indeed, it's revealed that the left side of Leo's face is bruised and swollen, and after taking the goggles off, he replaced a medical patch over his left eye. See, nobody wants to see the nastiness of a healing retina except, perhaps, Jemma Simmons. She's fascinated by that crap. His right arm is also in a sling. Poor guy must have taken a really bad hit.

"Emmett," he says, nodding his head curtly. "Yeah. You'll have to forgive me for the state of this lab. It's bloody filthy, and out of order, but right now I don't have the damn time to do anything about it. Hold on." Out comes his phone, and he looks at it for a moment before smirking. "Oh, that's great timing! At least something is going right around here!"

The call is connected. "Hello, this is Doctor Fitz. — Yes, hello, Miss Potts! Thanks for calling. Give me a moment, I'm going to set you up for video conference."

A few moments later, Fitz has directed the visitors to the lab where he was working before - his one clean space - and a large panel where Pepper's feed has been connected.

*

Hank McCoy is quite glad that he took the serum now that there's another involved…one that he's heard of, but not met. "Have you had someone look you over? That doesn't look very good…" and he does have some medical knowledge. Dr. Argyle is given a smirk and a nod, "Good to see you again," he's neither confirming nor denying anything until directly addressed.

He does turn at the gesture to the large screen, "Miss Potts…Stark's Miss Potts?"

*

Pepper Potts offers a smile to the three men in the lab and answers Dr. McCoy's question so Fitz doesn't have to. "Yes. Hello." Her eyes flick from one man to the next alertly, even though her polite demeanor remains. "May I asked which of you is Dr. Fitz?" She doesn't have the luxury of JARVIS to help her right now, and she is sorely missing the AI in so many ways. Not the least of which is his ever so beautifully timed snark.

*

"Jesus Christ, man. You all right?" There's concern in Argyle's voice when he sees the state of Fitz. Not that he's doing much better. There's a visible wince as he moves further into the lab. The appearance of Pepper on the screen makes his eyebrows arch, but he doesn't ask any questions. He trust that all will be revealed in due time. When Pepper asks who's who, he thumbs towards the young Scot. "Hi there, Miss Potts. I'm Agent Argyle."

*

"Yes, of course it's been looked at," comes a hasty reply. "SHIELD medical. And these… bloody things are a real pain in the arse too. Clearly they don't realize that I need both eyes and both hands!" Fitz turns to the video feed, suddenly realizing that Pepper would have seen his outburst. His face runs red.

"Ah, yes, Miss Potts. That would be me, I'm Doctor Fitz." After Argyle introduces himself, Fitz adds, "He's one of our weapons specialists. And this is B…"

Damnit.

"Doctor Hank McCoy." Fitz smiles a forced smile, though his face is still a bit flushed, especially after that near miss. "Thanks for returning my call, we've got some pretty big problems here. I'll understand if you have your hands full in Metropolis, so, I'll try to keep from boring you with too much technobabble."

*

Hank McCoy offers a nod to Fitz…so be it. He glances at Argyle, as if acknowledging what they both know before he looks back to Miss Potts. "A pleasure to meet you, even if it's only virtually." Fitz gets another look, "Go with the technobabble. What's so pressing that SHIELD is inviting outsiders into its most private of chambers?"

*

Pepper Potts nods to each in turnas they introduce themselves. "I've got this call being recorded, so any technobabble I don't catch I'll ask to have translated later. Don't dumb things down too much on my account." She pulls a pad of paper and a fountian pen into the line of sight of whatever device she's using for the video conferenced. "So, how may Stark Industries assist, Dr. Fitz?"

*

Argyle settles his arms across his chest and gives Hank a grin with an accompanying quirk of his brow. He won't say anything. Then he returns his attention to Fitz and the situation at hand. "And I totally won't be insulted if I'm just here to be a pair of hands, Fitz. Y'know, seein' as you're down one."

*

"I appreciate that, Emmett, I'll need it." Fitz looks over toward Hank with a grin, before turning around and retrieving the item he was working on. It doesn't appear to be anything too terribly special, resembling a very basic wireless internet router, complete with two antennae. He holds it up for all to see.

"This… is a prototype trans-dimensional barrier reinforcement amplifier. A colleague of mine was working on this three years ago, but the project was scrapped when it lost its funding. Theoretically, it is capable of vibrating matter at the subatomic level, based on a series of frequencies that would reinforce the barrier between our dimension and, well, other dimensions."

He offers the device first to Hank, trusting that it will end up in Argyle's hands. "Now, trans-dimensional theory is just that, a theory. To my knowledge, we've yet to prove, using the scientific method, that alternate dimensions or timelines actually exist. However, there is working theory that crossing the trans-dimensional barrier is possible. This device was initially in development as a way to stabilize the trans-dimensional barrier, in tandem with research efforts designed to break, and ultimately cross it."

He pauses for a moment, giving everyone a chance to digest the information..

"It's my intention to modify the device, creating a network of emitters that should be able to reinforce the barrier on a larger scale. This would prevent any hostile forces from breaking the barrier, and 'portalling' into our little flat on the space-time continuum. Thing is, I'm facing a number of challenges with it." He turns to face Pepper on the video link. "Primarily, I need it to be capable of harnessing various sources of energy, ranging from typical electrical current — of which it would require a high level of amperage — to, uh, more 'diverse' forms of energy."

Beat.

"Such as… metaphysical energy, psychic energy, and, uh, well…" Spit it out, Fitz. "I need it to be compatible with magic energy."

Yeah, it hurt to say that.

*

Hank McCoy looks at the device as it's brought out and he listens, quietly, as the device is explained. The more Fitz explains, the deeper his brow furrows until there's a pause and he's able to ask, "How…far would this go? Would you be trying to place this barrier across our entire…" how to explain this, "Planet? Plane of existence?"

*

Argyle lets out a low whistle. As a man of science, he isn't very big on the whole magic energy thing either. But, it is a reality, like it or not. "Well, that sounds ambitious. I take it that's how the party got crashed? Dimensional portals? Man. So basically, this…" he points to the device, "…is a trans-dimensional security system? Nii-iice." He leans against a workbench and clears his throat. "Just a question, and you've probably thought of this - but could we rig up some kind of scattering field, too? I mean, it'd probably take a lot more time to develop, but if you could set this thing up to vibrate at a state that stops the portal from stabilizing in the first place, while simultaneously thickening the barrier, well, that might just be a double-whammy." He scratches his forehead. "But you know, I'm just a gunsmith. This high level science ain't really my strong suit." Maybe not, but he does have a knack for is getting disparate types of technologyto play nice together.

As far as the problem itself, he considers it. "If it were me, I'd get me a magic-user who'd let me measure their energy. See if it even twigs to anything we could callibrate our equipment to take in. Magic don't play well with physics in my experience. Also, yeah," he thumbs towards Hank. "How big we talkin', here? We trying to cover the Triskelion, the whole city, everythin'?"

*

Pepper Potts listens to everything quietly, apparently taking notes as she does so. "Well, I'm not sure how I'll be able to help with the magical component of that," and wow she said that way more calmly than Fitz did, "but if Tony or one of our electrical engineers can help with the normal electrical current part of it, I'm sure we can come to some sort of agreement."

*

Hank poses a very good question. Fitz turns to him and chuckles. "Christ! No, I'm not that bloody ambitious. I can't see a way to possibly generate a field that large, but, if I network the devices together, I'd be able to protect something as large as the Triskelion. Each emitter can cover a fifteen cubic meter field. Also…" He looks to Argyle and then Pepper. "I'd need to fashion portable emitters. Something we can take into the field, to protect our field agents."

He nods to Argyle. "Yeah… and the top dogs are awfully cross about it." He snaps his fingers twice toward Argyle. "Yeah, and yeah. I'm already working to contact some experts in the occult, but, you know, any leads or connections would be helpful. There's got to be a way."

He turns at last to Pepper. "I know you guys have your hands full, but, Stark Industries has done some impressive work in clean energy. Any help you can give would be splendid."

He looks back to the others. "HYDRA is, apparently, dealing in the occult now. So, we've got our work cut out for us."

*

"The size of the Triskelion, I would be willing to help with. However, anything larger…to cover anything outside, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to be a part of this. In fact, I would have to dissuade you from seeking any larger coverage." He's not entirely sure if he should say this, but he removes his spectacles and cleans them off on his shirt, "I know a few who travel dimensionally and I would rather not be the cause of their travel being limited." There, that's innocuous, right?

"So you're looking to run this on clean energy yet it will block occult, dimensional transfer? I'm…well…I'm not sure how occult energy is even measured." He nods to Emmett, "I agree that you should find a magic user and try to figure out how to capture and measure their dimensional energy. That's quite the tall order…I understand the other sort of energy…" but measuring occult energy? That's getting very…voo-doo science for him.

*

Pepper Potts looks from Hank to Fitz as they discuss measuring dimensional energy while Argyle gets engrossed at poking at the little LAN router looking device. "What manner of dimensional travel are you referring to? And as long as the measurement techniques are not invasive or dangerous, I might know one or two people to ask about possibly volunteering." Wait. Pepper knows dimensional travellers as well?

*

Voo-doo science is right on the money. "I'm not even sure it's possible," he agrees. "But, I've got to try." He cocks his head slightly at Hank's concern. It's noted, even appreciated, but Fitz is between a rock and a hard place on that one. So, he simply nods his head in acknowledgement. "I also need to assure that the energy output isn't, you know, dangerous to biomatter." It would be one thing to kill all of the potted plants in the Triskelion, but causing cancer would also be a bad note on his service record.

Back to Pepper he looks. "Portals. Breaks between our plane and others. In the case of yesterday's attack, I understand that these were portals from, as they put it, 'one of the dimensions of hell'. The device isn't designed for that sort of protection, but, I hope to modify it."

*

"Retroactively?" Hank asks, "I mean, sure, preventing it from happening again is one thing. I can certainly try to talk to someone who might knowabout dimensions of Hell, but…I think that in order to catch HYDRA, we need to think ahead of them. Not behind them. Not that I don't think this is a good idea, because I can see how it would be useful. I'm just not too sure that it's what will move us back into the race right now."

*

Pepper Potts knows exactly what they're talking about now, even if she's not seen it in person herself. "Summoning portals. Let me guess, disgorging demons." She sighs and rubs at her forehead briefly. "I know a group of people already working on this same problem from a different angle, and something of them value confidentiality very highly, so I'm not going to divulge who they are. But, if you want me to get a message to them asking if they'd be willing to combine their efforts with yours, I can certainly do that." She looks from one scientist to the other. "Dr. McCoy is correct. This whole situation, it seems like the good guys are scrambling to catch up with these HYDRA people. We really need something to get ahead of them." She irrationally wonders if the Fae realm has some way of detecting the misuse of occult energies and turning it back on itself. Though, if that were the case, Rune would likely have already mentioned it by now.

*

Hank certainly has Fitz thinking, now. Defense is good, but it doesn't mean progress. He'll have to bring this up with Director Fury, a daunting task to say the least. However, he's soon turning back toward Pepper with the full weight of his attention when she speaks with such knowledge. "Yes," he answers, impressed. "Exactly."

He rubs at the back of his head, fighting off that sense of being overwhelmed. "Miss Potts, I understand that completely. We all have our secrets. Any message you can pass along though, well." He smiles winningly. "The United States will be in your debt."

*

"I think that this goes beyond the United States," Hank points out. "If they're doing what we think they're doing, well…it would amp up the threat that HYDRA already is." For whatever that means. Scrubbing at his face he gives a sigh, "I'm not entirely sure we can catch them before they do what they are intending. However, we can be ready for it and stop it before it gets very far." After all, they have reports from the 1940's that should prove useful. They also have the institutional knowledge in Captain America.

*

Pepper Potts nods to Fitz. "I can certainly do that, then. And my sources would agree with Dr. McCoy again. This is far more widespread than just the US. Will this continue to be a good number for y…" She pauses as a cell phone text alert pings nearby, and picks up her phone from just off to the side of the camera's field of view. "Sorry, let me just…" She taps at her phone's screen, and then her browfurrows. Then she pushes the pad of paper and pen aside to set her phone down again, and start typing on the wooden surface of the desk she's seated at. She types fast. "All right, sorry about that. If you can make sure I have good contact information for you, I will be sure to keep you in the loop as my sources discover anything useful."

*

"You have my direct number, Miss Potts." Fitz bows his head to her and says, "Don't let us keep you any longer. I hope to hear from you soon."

As soon as the connection is cut, Fitz turns to look toward Hank and Argyle. "Okay. So… I've got a few more calls to make, and some people to see. Emmett, I'll expect you here in the morning. I've got to get this prototype operational at the very least. Doctor McCoy?" He hands the man his card. "My direct number. Any help you can offer…"

*

"I look forward to working with you, Miss Potts," Hank offers before the connection is cut. He then turns to Fitz and accepts the card, "Thank you. I'm happy to help, of course…this isn't my area of expertise, but I'll help as best I can," even if it means that he has to poll some mutants who use dimensional travel.

There's a brief pause as he glances about the lab before he offers, "If you see Dr. Simmons, please give her my regards." No doubt she's been kept busy. At least, that's his hope. "I'm sure we'll be in touch, Dr. Fitz." A nod is given to Emmett, "Dr. Argyle. Good day to you both."

He might be able to find his way out.

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