Holo-Mario Brothers 3

March 28, 2015:

Fitz and Skye bond over a holographic game of Super Mario Bros 3.

SHIELD R&D - The Triskelion - New York City

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

They say that SHIELD never sleeps, but that simply isn't true. Like any major organization, government or otherwise, there are always 9-5'ers. and they punch out on Friday like anyone else.

That being said, the halls of the Triskelion run quieter after five, but there's always something going on. At the moment, there is only one occupant inside SHIELD R&D; Fitz is seated at his holotable, staring at an impossible number of mathematic equations. Each of them are 'attached' to different points upon a spiral, and a hot mug of coffee is the only thing to accompany his intense thoughts.


She had stayed late too. SHIELD never does sleep, and Skye as well has been putting in some pretty late evenings. She would never let anyone know, but she has been quite overwhelemd with the number of things she has been juggling; one of which has been stonewalling the hacker. A break. That is what she needs, and after a bit of wondering find herself leaning tiredly against the doorway of R&D, her head tilted to the frame.

SHe watches Fitz work for a moment undetected due to his intense focus. A soft word is spoken as not to startle the scientist, "Do you ever go home?"


"… with the second denominator in flux, so the actual nature of 'Z' becomes the lesser of 'd' to the seventh pow —" Fitz looks over to Skye, blinking drearily for a moment before he just stares at her,nonplussed.

"Yes. On Saturday. For a few hours, perhaps, unless some bawbag is trying to blow up the continent or something."

Fitz rubs at his face before standing, looking hesitantly at the hologram before turning away. "Coffee? I put a fresh pot on an hour ago." He jerks a thumb toward Mr. Coffee. "… or was it two hours ago?"


At first she does not move, finding the doorway quite comfortable. However after a moment she pushes herself upright and walks slowly into the room, her eyes looking quickly at what Fitz is working on before making her way to the coffee. She pour herself half of a cup and then adds some cream, stirring it slowly, "You know the longer I sit here, the dumber I am going to feel when I leave." She offers a tired smile and plops herself down on a wheeled office chair, scooting herself over closer to him.

"You know. Sometimes it helps to simply look at it a different way." She slowly stands and sets her coffe down on the edge of the workbench, walking up behind him and placing her hands over his eyes, "Now. Just relax. Clear your head. This works for me all the time, or at least I think it does." She stops her self-conversation and then adds, "Head clear?"


A slow drink is taken, during which Fitz observes how Skye takes her coffee. Those little things can be so telling. He's a black cup kind of guy himself, at least where coffee is concerned.

"I doubt that," he answers. "I've read your file. It takes a smart brain to be one of the best hackers in the world."

As she walks over, Leo looks back to his immense problem. This gives Skye the perfect opportunity to catch him off guard, and when his eyes are covered, he starts a little. "Oy, you got a bloody cheek!" he protests, before huffing and slouching a little. "Awright. Fine. Yeah, head's clear." Yeah, he's scowling. Just a bit.


"There are different types of intelligence Fitz. What I see before me makes no sense to me at all, but it does to you." She then responds to his complaining, a smile on her face as she does so, "You'll thank me after Fitz." She does not remove her hands and conitnues to speak.

"Now, in my world. They expect you to come at them straight-forward. They frontload their security. So, I simply go in backwards. Your slamming your head against a locked door Fitz. Go around back. Look at it that way. Work backwards." Her voice is soft spoken, not loud at all, almost a whisper, "Now, when I remove my hands…I want you to go around back. Look at it differently. Are you ready? 1…2…" She removes her hands and steps back, truly unsure if it will work at all, "Well? Anything?" Her expresssion is one of somewhat optimistic hope.


When his eyes are released, the scientist is frowning. He leans forward, squints at the equations, then leans back and let's his hands dangle in the air, motioning from spot to spot while his lips mouth silent mutterings. After a few moments, however, he slumps his shoulders again and lets loose a sigh.

"This stuff is supposed to be straight forward. But, there's no clear beginning or end point. I can't find a front door or a back door." Fitz snatches up the coffee and stands up, turning his back on the project for a moment. "Oh, and don't get me started on the side doors. It's like… like trying to guess which mushroom is gonna spit out ten one-ups. What I need is a break."

He finds himself over at Mr. Coffee once more, refilling his cup of black.


Well she tried. Truth be told, she had no idea if it would work at all. She looks at the equations and she sees no doors at all. Hell, she does not even see a formula. She picks up her own coffee and takes a small sip, settling back into her wheeled chair and pulls her feet up off the floor to kind of sit indian style, "I understand. Well I understand that you would need a break. I have no idea about spitting mushrooms." Her next words are said softer, "Good luck with those. They sound disgusting." There is another sip taken from the coffe and then she inquires with a peering over the rim, "So what do you do when you need to take a break? "


"Don't tell me you never played Mario Bros," Leo quips, before finding a seat nearby and properly sprawling.

"Well, usually I'll put on some music and tinker with something. You know, mindless stuff. Tonight?" He leans over to find a control panel of some sort, and after a few taps on a touchscreen, Pink Floyd starts to play from some speakers somewhere. Shine on You Crazy Diamond, to be precise. "Just music."

Now focusing upon Skye, Fitz seems fit to drill her. "So, what are you doing at HQ this time of night? Don't tell me I'm the only nerd around here with a dysfunctional social life."


"They had video games at the orphanages, but I was not one who usually go to play such. The boys tended to monopolize." She shrugs carelessly, "A few of the foster homes did. I was pretty good at Mario Brothers actually. " It is then that the mushroom reference seems to make sense to her now, "Ahhh…mushrooms." She smiles and lowewrs her feet, scooting herself closer.

"What am I doing here this late?" Her coffee is lowered to her lap, "I have been busy. You know. A lot of stuff to do. Multi-tasking, and one project imparticular is spitting mushrooms." She sheepishly laughs and then admits, "Sometimes I want something different than a pint of Ben and Jerry's and Sci-fy original movies on a Friday night. So I work late." Another smile slowly appears, " I would not say my social life is dysfuntional…it's more like." She seems to be struggling for the words, "I think it has to exist to be dysfunctional."


"See?" Fitz answers, grinning widely. "Mario Brothers. Three was the best, by far."

He settles in to listen, sipping at his hot and (not at all) fresh cup of coffee. "Oy. Tell me about it. The last time I went for drinks with the boys, the first of those… bloody portals opened up in a speakeasy."

Setting the coffee down, he nudges Skye's chair with his shoe. "Come on." Standing, he goes back to the holotable, clearing his work into a saved bin. Then, he starts digging through the database. "I got something better than SyFy," he murmurs.

Suddenly, the Super Mario Bros. 3 title screen pops up, in glorious 8-bit 3D. Two holographic controllers form.

"Bet you never played it like this, Skye."


Wide eyed like a small child at Christmas, Skye stares at the Mario Bros. 3 title screen in all its 3D glory, "Whoa. Seriously? Not even close to this." She takes the controller in her hand and moves to set her coffee aside, "Never like this. " For the first time since her arrival she actually seems fully happy and content.

"It's been so long. Are we on the same team? I can't remember." She looks over to Fitz and then asks the serious question, "So the real question is…Mario or Luigi?"

"This so beats developing tracking algorythms with re-routing encoded encryption with internal subnet masking."


"Of course we are!" Fitz answers. "Bowser's going down."

The holographic controllers? Totally electro-static interface sprites. Once 'grabbed', they move with their hands and interact with skin.

Fitz looks over toward Skye as she asks that pivotal question. He grins knowingly, and a blippy noise comes from the game as Mario is selected. "It's a dog-eat-dog world, Skye. Hope you enjoy wearing green."

As the game gets rolling, Fitz takes the first turn. The graphics have been tweaked, making it a true first person 3D adventure, but otherwise, the levels remain painstakingly identical, down to the timing and placement of mean mushrooms and Koopa Troopers. "So that's what's for you all tossed up?" he asks. "Encoded… subnet bollocks?"


"So cool!" She truly is elated as she waits for her turn. This certainly beats a pint of ice-cream and some low budget film in an empty apartment, "I actually look pretty good in green. I mean when I wear it; which is not very often actually."

"I'll be sure to pick up your slack." She is back to pulling her feet off the floor and getting comfy to play the game, "Well, Friday night and I have accepted this is the closet I am going to get to a Fun-guy." She hand gestures to one of the Koopa mushrooms."

Fitz's question is met with a cadsual shrug and a hand raised to tuck a stand of hair back from her face and behind her ear, "More or less. Jemma and I am going to be working on a biogentic /thing/" She truly has no idea what type of thing, "That will be encrypted with my tracking algorythm and provided to HYDRA. Basically, we are giving them what they want…and it's my job to make sure we can track it's movement without being detected and eventually destroyed….whoa look out!"


BAM! Dead. The appropriate music plays and Fitz flicks his fingers forward to release the holographic controller. "Bollucks, he came out of nowhere!" He takes a step back. "Awright? You're up."

"Bio… genetic… thing? That's positively creepy. Like something out of a bad, pseudo-Orwellian B-reel."


There is a learning curve for Skye, or perhaps it is the fact she has not played this game for a while. However, when she does start playing it is clear she is one of those active players. You know the type. The ones that move the controller when the jump or lean in there chair because they think it will actually effect the game. Ghost movers. Skye is one of those and she all but falls out of her chair as she plays, "Die die die." She takes this a little seriously.

"That part confuses me too. Oh you little bastard." A mushroom guy pops up out of nowhere and her turn ends after a little, "HYDRA is doing something in the city with biogenetics. So, we are going to give them something. That part is not up to me. I just have to make sure it can be tracked and not figured out. No pressure..really." She rolls her eyes, "Welcome to the Tri Skye."


"Oh, busted!" Leo grabs his controllerafter sucking down some coffee, then gets to work at completing his level. "When isn't HYDRA doing something somewhere with something." The engineer is feeling a bit salty about all of that. "If it's not… kidnapping mutants, it's witchcraft and magic, now biogenetics. Simmons must be having a day with this."

He completes his level with a smirk, which means, of course, that it's Skye's turn. Mario 3 was awesome like that.

"You know I had to take a step out of science and logic to build magitech? I don't even believe in that stuff, but there it is, in my bloody face, and it works. Even though the laws of physics declare that it shouldn't work." He glanced toward Skye, eyes wide. "Let me tell you, if you've ever wanted to meet Director Fury… rethink that desire, Skye."


Controller in hand, Skye gets to work on her own level. This time she is up from her chair and still moving her body and arms with every jump and weave that Luigi does. It is often more amusing to watch her than the game itself. Is she working up a sweat even, "Ha ha. Gotcha." She focuses on the game at hand, responds to Fitz, "I suspect there is going to be a lot of things I don't understand. Seen a lot…" She gets through a difficult spot and then adds, "…already."

"You know…I have never real given that much thought. Seeing Director Fury that is. I guess I just think I am not at the level where I would ever need to..you know?" A glance over to Fitz and it is all it takes before something on the screen gets her, "Are you trying to fluster me?" She laughs lightly and rleases her controller, wiping her brow.


"Wot? No, I play fair, I'm not the bloody Irish!"

Snatching up his holo-controller, he goes back to work. "Well. Same here. That's what I thought. Until HYDRA managed to attack every corner of this place using arcane teleportation, and Director Fury demanded I come up with a way to stop it." He manages to find a secret pass through in the clouds above the playing field, and smirks as the coins come rolling in. "He's… intense."


"So I have heard. I am kind of curious tho. I guess being a SHIELD agent and all one cannot help but want to at leats see what he is like first hand at least once in their careers." As he finds the hidden cloud area and the coins come falling she sighs with a smirk, "I was hoping I would have been the one to find that." She has since settled back down into her chair and reached for her coffee, sipping it.

"They expect a lot of you from you and Simmons huh? I am finding out exactly how much is going to be expected of me. I hope I can meet their expectations."


"Hey, you wanted me to tell you what I do with my down time." Fitz glances back toward Skye with a grin, only to turn back around and find himself running smack into one of the Hammer Brothers.

Gruff. "Rubbish!" He discards the controller, then discards the game entirely. Grabbing the coffee, he sits down and leans forward, eyes on Skye. "If you ever end up in Fury's office, it's the end of life as you know it. I've never put more work into anything than I have with Project… oh, what the hell did he call it… bah. With developing my Portal Busters. I've made calls, been in the field, broken rules, even disobeyed orders and gone behind my friends' backs to make this thing happen." He shakes his head, feeling a little sick. "You… have no idea."

Lifting his eyes then, he half broods, half smirks at Skye. "Now, what's this about Cricket? What did she tell you?"


Game over. It was fun, and she certainly enjoyed it. However, the turn of the conversation to a more serious nature regarding FUry nd what it is ike to be calle dto his office certainly put the nature of her job in perspective, "Oh I have broken rules. Hell, I hacked SHIELD and then they hired me. I think more or less to keep an eye on me." She shrugs and gets comfortable in her chair once more, removing her outer sweatshirt jacket.

"Cricket? Who is Cri…oh…." She smiles and shakes her head, " I've never met this Cricket person tht you speak of. I was somply giving you a hard time to what I percieved as a pontential…how should I put this: Cure for a dysfunctional social life." She winks and sips her coffee, "But you have piqued my curiosity Agent Fitz…so why don't you tell me about her and I will judge how much your face turns red."


A knowing smirk. "What possessed you to hack SHIELD, anyway?" Fitz shakes his head. She's probably right; this is as much about making her an asset as it is keeping tabs on her.

But then, the conversation turns. "Oh. Well, she's…" Fitz awkwardly scratches his head. "I mean, brilliant, of course. And, interested. In me. Aaahhhh, in my, uh, talents. Engineering talents, not… other… talents."

Keep digging, Fitz. Keep digging.

"That is, she wants to meet, asked me to call her but, I haven't. You know. Been busy, and… stuff." There's a beat, and yeah, his face is red. Then, he leans forward, squinting. "She's a cybernetic, Skye."


As Fitz leans forward, SKye flashes a wide smile at his awekwardness and excitment, "A cybernetic? Like a robot? So cool. Does she have feelings? Wait, of course she has feelings. She must have feelings." She asks again, "She has feelings right?"

"She grips her coffee in both hands and proceeds to press the conversation at hand, "You are a man of many talents Fitz. Many talents. I am sure many girls find your talents…well interesting." She says off to the side, "Don't ask me to name any." A smile flashed back to him and she continues, "So why have you not called her? What are you afraid of? I mean with your engineering talents, I am sure you could treat her like nobody else ever has." She pauses a moment and realizes what she said, "I mean..like in a friend sort of way. You know." Shut up SKye.

It is quite clear she dodged the "hack SHIELD" question.


"I… guess?" Fitz shakes his head. "I mean, she's programmed to feel. AI has come so far in the past decade, but, to what degree is her programming self-aware?" He shrugs. "I've… incorporated AI into my tech. It would be… sort of… like… I dunnae, going on a 'date' with my bloody Portal Buster."

That remark about his talents earns Skye a cross look.

"I guess, I just… she's quite pretty and fun to talk with, it's just… weird. I think I'd be more interested in taking her apart than buying her ice cream."

As for why Skye hacked SHIELD? He'll let that one fly. After all, Skye may not see it, but he's dodging the real reason why he hasn't called Cricket.


"Take her apart? Literally take her apart?" Skye let's that one slide as well and exhales softly, "You know Fitz, a phone call does not mean you will end up getting married and having little cyber babies." Her brwo quirks, "Is that even possible?" She once again dismisses it.

This time it is Skye that leans forward, still clutching the coffee mug in both hands, "You enjoy talking to her Fitz, you said it yourself. That's all a phone call is. You talk." She smiles and after a moment plainly says, "SHIELD had information I wanted. Information they wantd nobody to have access to; especially me."

Her voice becomes a bit softer, a lighter tone, "Just call her Fitz. You have nothing to lose."


"No. It's not possible." Fitz scowls, but he doesn't argue any further. He's… well, let's just say it's complicated. There are plenty of reasons why he's always tinkering.

Again, he doesn't say anything about her hacking SHIELD. It's clearly beyond his business. He merely nods; that sort of thing he could understand. After all, had he not gone behind Maria Hill's back out of his loyalty to Agent May?

"Yeah." He nods. "Guess you're right." Then he glowers a bit. "First person who makes some kind of joke is gonna get a wallop on the nose."


Sky is genuine despite her sarcasm, so eventhough her next words are somewhat on the borderof sarcasm, there is a tone of affection and honest friendship, "If you break her heart, you can always fix it." She quickly raisesa hand in her defense, "Kidding."

She leans back in her chair and takes a small sip of the coffee, peering back at him from over the rim of the mug, "You can never have to many friends Fitz. Especially those who you can count as true friends. It's a lonely world. Trust me; I know."


Halfway through drinking his coffee, Fitz snorts and nearly chokes! The mug is set down, and some coffee dribbles from his mouth and into his hand. "That!" he blurts out, before laughing. "That was completely off sides, not to mention absolutely true."

A Kleenex is snatched up from somewhere and used to wipe his mouth. "Well, that's just it, isn't it? Who can we really trust?"


Mission accomplished. Fitz laughed. I mean she almost killed him in the process, but he laughed. Skye is forced to set down her own coffee as she too starts laughing at Fitz's ability to keep a perculated bevarage within the confines of his mouth, "Would you like a straw?"

The moment passes and Fitz's other question is addressed, this one with another shrug and the young girl reaching back to put her hair into a pony-tail with a hairband that has been around her wrist, "I don't trust many. I've been lied to my entire life. I've come to accept it tho. Tends to happen when the lies all blend together for solong you slowly start to believe them."


"Yeah." Fitz shrugs. "Up until, I dunnae, something like five months ago? I mean, Simmons and I went through the training. We're registered to work in the field. Just never thought the field would be so… intense? The last few months though." He shakes his head. "When HYDRA attacked SHIELD. You'd think some of the higher ups had lost their haggis. I can't say I've been lied to all my life, but you start to wonder who you can trust. They seem to be everywhere, Skye. What if they have someone inside of SHIELD? I mean, anything's possible, right?"


Skye nods slowly, pondering his words with what is apparent deep thought. She lowers her head a moment before slowly raising it back up to look him directly in the eye, "Anything is possible Fitz. Anything. Power severs a lot of loyalties and no matter what side someone is on; deep down the only side they truly are on is their own.

She slowly stands from her chair and walks over to where Fitz is sitting, placing a hand on his shoulder, "You should make that call Fitz." She removes her hand and starts to walk for the doorway, pausing to loo over her shoulder and adding, "Trust me." And with that Skye exits.

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