Hero by Design

February 22, 2015: Argyle's initial powered armor design is ready to be put through its paces.

The Triskelion

It's a really big building in NYC, and SHIELD's headquarters.



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Mood Music:

It's back again to that secret testing range deep in the bowels of the Triskelion, away from prying eyes. Argyle sent word via sneaky note again, informing Maria that the 'Eagle has landed.'

For a spy, he's not the best at the spy stuff. He's more of a point and shoot kind of guy.

He's there and waiting, standing over a table full of gear, running last-minute calibrations.


The message isn't difficult to decrypt. In this case the 'Eagle' could have represented anything. Hill only tasked Argyle with one project. Ergo, it's -that- project.

Finding the time to return to the lower levels is easier now that all of this frantic running about is over with. For the moment. Mockingbird appears to be taking to the treatment well, Maria's been getting hourly updates on that situation. No exceptions.

As she steps back into the testing room she does so with a slight limp. Either it's nothing too serious or she completely wrote off any doctor's suggestion of using a crutch for the next couple of days. She won't say a word until the room is sealed up and she's standing across from the weapons designer at the table, her hands resting upon the edge.

"What am I looking at today?"


"You're looking at your new persona," says Argyle. He motions to the table full of gear. "We've got yer tactical underlayer, SHIELD-quality materials, but no identifying markings. Worst case scenario, someone assumes you got it off a dead agent. It'll do everything your field uniform does."

Then, he points to interlocking body armour that looks a bit rough. It's been painted silver and red, but has been scuffed to indicate possible previous battle damage. "This looks like lightweight riot gear, but it's twice as strong. This'll stop bullets, cushion concussion blasts and protect you from bladed weapons, falls and punches. But all that's just the base layer. The fun part comes next. Suit up." He's grinning brightly. There's a flash in his eyes. Geeks are all the same, even the jock ones who like to blow things up.


"Oh, when you put it like that…" Hill replies with a humorless smirk. Don't mind her, she's grumpy. Like this is anything new around here.

Now, the surprising part isn't that Argyle managed to cram so many baseline features into the armor with such short notice. No, the part that surprises her is that he already went through the trouble of both painting it -and- giving it 'tactical wear and tear.' He didn't just make the gear, he really did create her entire persona.

Someone's getting a cookie later.

"Gosh, Doc, does this mean I'll walk again?" she dryly kids while swapping parts of her standard uniform in favor of the man's creation. It feels a bit silly, she's not going to lie here. But, as he had said before, it's a bear suit for dealing with super powered individuals. It's going to look a little silly, there's no way around it.

"Okay, what does what and how do I keep from killing myself in here?"


Socks politely turns his back while Maria changes. He doesn't even do that one little sneak-look, cause, c'mon, he's not an asshole. When he's sure she's decent, he turns back around and then reaches out to snug up the armour in a few places. It fits like a glove and is streamlined as it can possibly be, given its protective abilities. Hooray for laser scans!

"All right, that looks good. How's it feel? Move okay?" Only when he's sure she's not pinching in any weird spots does he go for the piece de resistance. He opens a hard-sided black container and reveals a pair of bracers. They are considerably less bulky than the initial prototype, but she'll note the functionality is the same.

"So, here we go. They're a lil heavy, but you'll get used to it. You should be able to clip 'em on and off yourself without too much problem." He helps her with the first time though, showing her how the safety clasps secure to her wrists. Once they're locked on, a red indicator light glows on both wrists. It's the same shade of red as the paint job. Superheroes pay attention to those kinds of details!

"So. Power supply's here, and here," he touches her hips through the armour. "So uh, try not to get hit there. There's not really any good place to put a power pack, but that was the best place to do it without being too vulnerable or restricting mobility too much. They're super-slim, state of the art power packs. So don't let anyone get a look at 'im or they're gonna be suspicious."


"Feel like I'm prepping for my first HALO," Hill idly comments while all of the adjustments are made. Now that she gets to see just how involved everything is she's glad to have let Argyle get those scans of her dimensions, too! The alternative seems like a most disagreeable prospect.

With the questions raised she does the usual basic mobility checks. Any minor annoyance is worked out easily enough. "It's like a new pair of boots, just gotta break 'em in."

Then the bracers are revealed. There's just something empowering about laying hands on a brand new weapon, even if it's something a million other people already happen to own. It's a personal experience.

If she can clip them on herself then that's just what she's going to do. Best to learn how to do all of the work herself while she can. "Not any worse than lugging around full combat gear. Think my issued rifle clocked in higher than these." Matching colors, very nice…

"No hits below the belt, gotcha." ..Wait. Super-slim power packs which are sensitive to impact. "How hot are these packs going to run?" she pointedly asks, looking perhaps slightly concerned. "I'm not into the 'fusion of melted plastic and skin' look."


"Don't worry, don't worry," says Argyle in the way that scientists usually do. "It's got backup cooling systems that runs on a separate power source, plus heat-dispersing materials in both layers. Just don't go fighting crime for 12 hour marathons and you'll be fine. Even if they did overheat, you're not going to be more than slightly uncomfortable." Scout's honour.

Then he goes for another container. A pair of boots, not unlike snowboarding boots are set on the table. They have a similar colour scheme. He's positively beaming. "These'll let you jump about…" he makes a sucking sound through his teeth. "…twice as high as normal. Just…whatever you do, don't fire the concussive blasts while you're in the air. There's no thrusters to stabilize you. You can't do what Iron Man does with his repulsors. You gotta be feet on the ground before you can blast anyone."


Somehow..Hill's not sure just how confident she should be with Argyle's answer. If she starts to feel the heat then he's sure as hell going to hear about it at her earliest convenience.

Twice as high, this will do… Every little bit helps. Much higher and she would risk snapping her own legs off. "That whole 'Third Law' thing," she says in agreement. "Though I bet I could do some killer backflips if I timed it right. Does this mean I need to fully brace myself before using the arm projectors?" she inquires while settling into the boots.

It doesn't take long for her to get a better look at herself with so many various pieces now in place. "I look like I belong on the Sci-Fi channel. Maybe I can get Fury to play the part of Godzilla for next week's episode."


Socks snorts at that mental image. "That'd be one hell of a big eyepatch," he drawls. "Yeah, sorry 'bout that. Sorta hard to make something look like it's made from available parts without it looking a lil Starship Troopers."

He nods to her query. "Yup. Brace yourself. The boots will automatically help with stabilization when it senses you're about to fire, but still best to pretend you're about to fire an uzi. Brace appropriately. Though you can handle it at the lower power levels on the fly. Just don't try a Hulkbustin' blast without making sure you're well and truly planted."

Then he reaches for the last piece - a helmet. It completes the urban warrior look, with visor and face protector. It's painted silver with red detailing. He hands it out to her. "This is fully ventillated and includes a radio and a very rudimentary HUD with scanning features. S'actually a prototype I've been working on, but no one's seen it yet."


"I get it," Hill replies. "That is what I had requested. It's just..do people really go running around looking like this?" she finally asks. "And they can still take themselves seriously?"

This whole 'superhero' thing is unfamiliar territory for her.

Then Emmett's bringing up Uzis again. This time Hill cants her head as she regards the other agent. "You've got a soft spot for those, don't you?" She remembers the last time they were out at the pole, back then he had one that shot explosive rounds of some fashion after Romanoff had tagget his targets. "Big boom, big brace," she concludes.

Oh..wait, there's one more piece left. Hill takes the helmet with a flatly delivered "Thanks, Dad" before she plunks it onto her noggin. "How rudimentary are we talking, like 'power levels and caller ID' rudimentary?"


She'll see soon enough. Before the HUD engages though, there's that thin, wet cloth on face sensation of a SHIELD holo mask engaging. It doesn't change her appearance, though. He wouldn't presume to program her secret identity. "Now, you probably felt that," says Socks. "If you want the mask to remain in place with your helmet off, just hold here and here…" he indicates small, flat panels on the underside of the mask, "when you're taking it off."

He motions to a button on her left bracer and indicates that she press it. When she does, the HUD engages. Outside temperature, windspeed, and system status are all displayed. "There's a few more things I can program in, but that'd take a bit more time."


Bleugh… "Yep. Still don't like that part," Hill grumbles. It'll be no problem at all to copy over her other persona. Just when she's wondering of losing the helmet would mean having her face literally ripped off, Emmett is there to explain this isn't necessarily the case. Where he indicates she feels around for so she knows where to look for it later. "You've just thought of everything here."

With the HUD active, as simple as it is, the Assistant Director can't help but smirk. It's a complete reversal… The more the pieces together as a coherent system, the less awkward she feels. "Okay, now this is feeling kinda cool. A compass and GPS coordinates would be useful. This getup doesn't seem like it would make quick navigation any easier." What with the loss of peripheral vision and the added weight.


"The helmet's actually modular. You can remove any part of it fairly easily." Socks directs her to a few simple clips that will disengage the visor or the face mask. If the visor is off though, it disables the HUD. "Already loaded in. Just not active. I didn't wanna clutter up the display too much."

He steps back, claps, then extends his arms. "And 'at's it. I could build in all sorts of gizmos, but I wanted to get you the basic functionality. Plus, every bell or whistle I add is one more thing to go wrong."


"Well alright then," Hill somewhat absently replies. It's like the Swiss Army Knife of armor, already! "I shall be amused for many hours."

With the mention of extra gizmos she says "I'm not looking to copy Iron Man here. It more than met the project goals already. If I encounter any problems you'll be hearing about them."

Now she just..what, has to run some laps to get used to it? Well, she does have to find a way to carry everything out of the building and stash it somewhere safe. Problems for her to worry about now. For the time Emmett's off the hook.

"Thanks, Socks."


"Have fun, boss. Lemme know if anything goes wrong. I'd suggest blastin' some targets and leaping around a bit. But nothing'll beat a real city test drive." He picks up three cases and leaves them on the table. Each has thick grooves cut into foam to secure the boots, the helmet and the bracers. There's a gear bag for the armour itself.

Yeah, it may be tricky to get it out - but that's the good thing about being the boss. She can order people to look the other way.

That settled, he backs up out the door and tosses her a salute. He whistles a cheery tune as he retreats.

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