Odd Energies

Summary:
March 14 2015: Jericho stops by the Baxter Building to be scanned and check on progress for the core.

Baxter Building

The Lab in the Baxter Building is one of the most advanced there is, and it looks it.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho's back at the Baxter Building, just approaching it from the sidewalk. He does tend to walk a lot in New York. Drive a lot too but parking's just kind of awful and sometimes the best way to get somewhere is to cover the last mile or so on foot. Not that he minds. Gives him a chance to think as he comes over.

The Fantastic Four have been the computer core from the Insight and he hopes they've made some progress. He also knows that Sue had expressed some interest in, er, a more indepth study of his person. So he figured a combination check up and check in might be in order. He did call ahead, so hopefully security's expecting him.

***

Johnny has returned to the Baxter Building! And he has laundry! Is anyone surprised? He's just in the middle of handing it off to HERBIE (and since nobody's looking, thanking the butler-drone, because Reed thinks it's weird for him to anthropomorphise the computer system, even though it does act more human than some people Johnny knows.) He's not wearing his usual Reed-designed uniform with its built-in biometric and area scanner. He is wearing unstable molecule treated cut-off sweat-pants and a similarly treated tee-shirt with Godzilla on it, playing a guitar made from a power tower and flaming his audience, who are all throwing horns. It is an awesome shirt.

"Mister Trent has arrived, HERBIE says, and Johnny stops and says, "Who?"

***

Security is indeed expecting Jericho. They don't even seem too worried. Then again, the Fantastic Four live here. If he's secretly planning villainy, they're probably prepared. Upstairs, Sue has commandeered the big screen television in the lounge to replay footage of the Atlantean invasion. "It's fascinating," she narrates. "Look at the environmental systems they had. I cut off their air, Johnny, even if they were using gills, the lack of oxygen should have had an effect." In jeans and a t-shirt, with her hair in a messy ponytail, she looks more like…well, someone's big sister than the Invisible Woman. "We were very lucky things worked out the way they did."

When Jericho's arrival is announced, she pauses the playback, standing up. "He's a SHIELD liaison," she explains to Johnny. "Who also has a fascinating series of implants. Welcome back," she adds, smile flashing.

***

SHIELD Liason in the most technical sense of the word. Jericho keeps out of the Tri as much as he can, even though he has a handler and everything these days. Then again, he kind of has for a while and it just got made official. "Hello Miss Storm. Mister Storm." He says as he arrives. Johnny is fairly unmistakable both from his prior exploits and his racing career. His attention is diverted to the screen.

"Ah. The twenty three minute war, as they're calling it." It had been bad business, but over so quickly that there'd been nearly no response mounted. The defense establishment had gotten put into a tailspin though, he hears, trying to come up with countermeasures for the future. It's a bit uncomfortable when you realize there's a hyper advanced civilization 'somewhere out there'. Makes him wonder what's coming down the pipe, really.

"Just thought I'd check in, see how things were going, offer any support you might need." He's not at all sure what that'd be. Reed is a genius and so is Sue. Johnny and Ben Grimm and America are all powerhouses at or above his level (mostly above). But it's nice to offer.

***

"Thanks, man. You hungry? It's pi day, I made sure we'd have pumpkin, cherry, and those little beef pie things," Johnny offers. "I'd offer you a beer but all I saw when I looked was that stuff Ben drinks. We have soda. Moxie?"

He glances back to Sue. "Not ignoring you. Thinking."

He returns from the small kitchen area with a carafe with coffee (hot of course) and a cherry pie, one slice already gone. And plates.

"So, they're gonna have that whole 'adapted to low oxygen' thing going where they have hyper-oxygenated blood, right? So they'd ignore that for a while. Did you try making little force spheres inside their body and expanding them a bit? Because nobody sane would train for that pain."

He smiles and stars cutting pie.

***

"I was holding off on that," Sue wrinkles her nose at Johnny. "If I could stop them without killing swathes of them, it was preferred. But…" She trails off, fast-forwarding to where Orm pauses, blood coming out of his mouth. "I tried. I'm not sure if it was a failure of biology in where I was placing it, or if he was that hardy. And then he returned the favor," she adds with a grimace. "Apparently he controls water. That was not ideal."

Turning back to Jericho, she smiles politely. "Come on in, Mister Trent. Reed's still going through the calculations on the drive, I'm afraid. I found a few interesting things. Mostly exterior, though, and I'm not sure how they happened."

***

"Pie'd be great, and soda's fine. I shouldn't particularly be drinking right now anyway." Jericho grins over at Johnny, those amber eyes gleaming a bit as he makes his way from the elevator door over toward the couch.

"No, not ideal at all I should say. That looks like that was… all kinds of rough." He watches the screen for a few minues more and then looks over to Sue. "External changes? Interesting. Do you have them documented? If you can send me an e-mail I or something I can look at it." He's not about to ask to connect to their systems. Security precautions for them and all.

***

"Sis. You should've done the neck tourniquet," Johnny says. "I know you don't like going lethal, but when you have the enemy general and he's right there in the middle of the fight — who does that any more anyway? — you don't just let him keep commanding his army. Put the man to sleep, stop the blood."

Yes, little brother has been actually fighting and learning how to do it. Which, considering he uses constructs made out of fire is probably not pleasant to over-think.

"Soda it is," Johnny says, fetching a Moxie from the kitchenette. He pulls out a couple of those single-serving ice-creams as well, since Sue has been known to ice-cream on her pie… And he completely ignores the discussion of the drive, which he has not hooked up to BEN's playstation. That's because it isn't in the same room with the television that gets to be played on. That would be tragically careless.

***

"I was a little distracted trying to keep parents from getting shot in front of their children, Johnny," Sue points out. "Besides, we don't even know if Atlanteans transport oxygen to their brains through arteries in their necks. For all we know, they store it in interstitial spaces. Actually, considering they don't routinely float to the top of the ocean, I'd imagine they have different ways of processing those needs," she muses, momentarily distracted again. "I did, however, think that anything in the chest would be some sort of vital structure."

Clearing her throat, she waves a hand. "Hopefully, it's a moot point. Though I did let Aquaman know that we'd be happy to work with the Atlanteans on engineering solutions to the problems that spurred them into war."

***

"Hopefully that'll help." Jericho isn't clear on what spurred them to war to begin with beyond a vague sentiment of having misused the ocean. Which he's prepared to agree with though the leap from there to Xenocidal War makes him feel like there's something he's missing somehow.

As the ice cream comes out, so does the ice cream fiend. There's a little hissing sound and something skitters across the floor to leap and perch on Jericho's shoulder, peering at Johhny, or more accurately, the ice cream near him. Sue's seen K'nert before. Jericho rolls his eyes and says something to the reptilian creature in another language.

***

"Can't be TOO different from us," Johnny says, "given that not just one but two of their princes are half-human."

Then again, Johnny catches fire and doesn't actually get burned, or suffocate. How does that work? Then something unearthly skitters by.

"What the … " Johnny looks at K'nert then at Jeri. "Dude, you have a special effect from Gremlins on your shoulder."

He squints at the little monster and says, "It's craving my ice-cream. What the he… ck." He tosses the little frozen lump of rocky road in its little personal-sized container to the beast. He has chocolate in the freezer still, which doesn't go well with the cherry pie.

***

"Well I'd love to know for sure, but I doubt any of them are going to be volunteering for full-body scans," Sue smiles ruefully back at Johnny. "Considering where we were just a week ago. Though perhaps if we work together on other projects long enough, they may come to trust us. At which point I'd hope that knowledge of their biology for the purpose of combat would be…unnecessary." She eyes K'nert for another moment - it's probably not reassuring for the little creature. That's definitely a science look.

***

K'nert might show gratitude… if he weren't a demon. As it is he catches the ice cream and literally stuffs his scaley face. "Trust is hard to establish. Believe me I know." He's been on both ends of the not trusting equation. "But I wish you the best of luck. Speaking of full body scans…" The hacker takes some of that pie and digs in. "I thought I'd offer, if you were ready. Not sure it'd be much fun for Johnny but you never know…"

***

"What are you talking about?" Johnny says, completely the picture of suspicious … "Sis? Don't be letting the man get naked in here. We have a lab with a robot scanner with tentacles and everything for that kinda stuff."

He takes a bite of cherry pie. "Mf. Zo good. Alzo note led the gremlin get naked…er." (swallow)

***

"I doubt you'd protest if he was a swimsuit model with implants," Sue teases Johnny, rolling her eyes fondly. "But no, naked is hardly necessary. The scanner can look at organs, a t-shirt is hardly going to interfere. Mister Trent has some very interesting enhancements, though," she adds, checking the scheduler on her phone to make sure the scanner is free.

***

"I hadn't planned on getting naked, to be sure." Jericho says around his pie, then swallows. "K'nert here more or less comes like this all the time."

There's some hissing from Jericho's left shoulder and the hacker rolls his eyes, responding in that other language again. K'enrt does understand English but Jericho prefers not to use it when he's telling the imp that no, the scanner won't be messing with anything that belongs to someone else.

"Not a swimsuit model." He grins to Johnny. "Sorry. Though the enhancements might be interesting to you." There's a brief flare of amber in circuit like patterns along his arms, chest and back (can't see the legs through the pants) and a pair of amber wings appear briefly, wave at Johnny and vanish.

***

"NOT a fan of body-mods," Johnny says, smirking at Sue, "as you well know."

Johnny had a tattoo once. A small thing that he did in highschool. It's gone now; it burned away when he flamed on the first time. Also, he discovered that his thermal-sensitive vision can SEE the lines left after bad plastic surgery, which means sometimes, beach time is like 'Lookit My SCARS' time… so very not worth it. And it's hard NOT to see that in the bright light at the beach. Not so bad here at home; Reed and Sue have chosen full-spectrum lights, but they're not so bright in the thermal wavelengths that they overpower. So he hasn't been reduced to wondering who cut the circuit board into Jericho Trent … until just now when the guy FLASHED them and now that's all he can see.

"OK, that's entirely too much cutting and stuff. I hope they gave you the good drugs."

***

"You should've seen your face the first time," Sue laughs at Johnny's protests. "I wish I'd had a camera." Chuckling at the memory, she turns to start down the hall toward the scanner room, expecting the men to follow. "The drugs part is part of what I'm curious about, actually. I would imagine they'd need you to have been awake for at least part of the procedure, to confirm a proper neural link."

***

Jericho chuckles, keeping K'nert close as they begin to walk and follow Sue. "The implantation surgery was actually fairly minimal. The only thing they put in me were about a dozen quarter sized nodes. The projection matrix grew over the next couple of months. Not agonizing but definitely painful." He's not talked about this with many people and the documentation on it is classified. "Sorta like going through puberty again. Growing pains."

***

"Puberty for you was having wires shoved along your body? That'd put me off of the whole thing," Johnny says.

He ambles along behind, leaving the food where it was. Other than demon monster gremlin things, which may or may not be chewing on wrappers to get all the flavor out, nobody is allowed to eat in the labs, because who knows what Reed or Sue have been working on. The very least that could happen: Hair Tongue.

***

"Says the man whose second puberty involved catching on fire," Sue calls back to her brother with a flash of a smile. "Interesting, though. Some sort of nanotech. What a programming nightmare. Reed would probably love it." She takes a look at everyone else before she opens up the room, stepping inside and punching in a few codes to start warming up the machinery.

***

"Something else." Jericho notes, stepping inside and moving out of the way to make room for Johnny. He plucks K'nert off his shoulder and says something to him that sounds rather serious and severe before straightening back up. "I've only had a look at part of the development documents once. They're classified and I'll be honest, they're a bit beyond me. But something about a new biological energy source."

The machinery hums to live and the hacker watches with interest. "Miss Storm tells me that you guys use this on yourselves." He asides to Johnny. "From what I've heard you can really turn up the heat when you're trying. Must be a hell of a machine."

***

"Biological energy source?" Johnny doesn't like the sound of that, really. He goes inside, letting the door seal itself behind them to prevent anyone else from following.

"You find yourself eating a lot more food than you used to? Because I do. And a lot more, uhm. Efficiently. If I go without flaming on for a week, but I don't cut back on food, I start having hot flashes, by which I mean, things I touch catch fire."

He watches the little gremlin, and its attitude as Jericho walks toward the scanner, and says, "Oh, you're HIS baby-sitter. Well, that thing won't hurt him." Much. Probably.

***

"The human body can actually produce a respectable amount of energy. Just your cells-" Sue cuts herself off, clearing her throat with an apologetic smile before she pulls a Reed. "The key has always been harnessing energy, honestly." Stepping over to a console, she taps in a few commands, and the lights around the round base of the machine start to hum. "Are you more comfortable standing, Mister Trent, or should I add the chair?"

***

"Not particularly." Jericho answers Johnny's question about food. Which may provide a clue, actually. "When I get hungry I just get hungry." He thinks. "I do have some… side effects when other things happen." He'll explain those later, though. If they become relevant.

"I can stand, Miss Storm. Will you need me to power up for this?" There's varying levels of that. Runing power through his traces is one thing. Actually projecting with them another. Either way he steps over to the platform where the machine does it's work while K'nert eyes Johnny and Sue and watches.

***

Johnny watches the screens … he's seen this particular machine scanning Ben, Reed, Sue, and himself. So far, America Chavez has not offered to be scanned, not by the deep-scan system anyway. But Johnny knows what the results are supposed to look like, and he's also trying to remember what it is that the little gremlin reminds him of. It was when Sue and Reed were gone before. Something about dinner being interrupted.

***

"Let's just start with a baseline reading," Sue smiles up at Jericho before she fires up the machine. There's not much to see at first, but after a moment, there's a faint, blue-white glow of light that forms a dome around the platform. It isn't Sue - just the field the machine uses to scan. "Fascinating," she murmurs as the screen lights up with a diagram of what it's finding. "Look at this, Johnny. It's entirely integrated with the neural network. That material is…" She pauses, blinking. "Unknown?"

***

"Huh?" Eloquent Jericho is eloquent. He'd known it was a combination of metals (and even knew what some were - silver among them - which accounts for some of its esoteric conductivity) but the news that there is an element that is unknown to SUE STORM is kind of big news. The little imp has sidled over toward Johnny and after a moment, tries to scrabble up onto one of the control housings so he can peer at the monitor with the other two. "Is that… good or bad?" He's got no idea, eyes flicking between brother and sister.

***

Johnny moves slightly to the side and pulls up a stool so the creature can have a better view.

"No idea. Just new," Johnny says. "Not like it's something mankind was not meant to know or anything."

He's still trying to … oh. Huh. That thing that possessed Chadley Rooseveldt last year. It had the same kind of spikes as this little guy. MUCH bigger, and this one's not slavering acid drool everywhere. OK. This will be good to talk about later.

"Sue, remember the scans I got last summer, that one thing with the guy and the Rooseveldt spawn and when you got mad at Reed for wiring up our suits without telling you? Cross-reference it with those, could you?"

***

"Without taking a closer look at its structure, I really couldn't say," Sue shakes her head to Jericho's question. "But it's possible it could be extraterrestrial, or extra dimensional. I'd be very interested to know where they found it, though. And how much testing went into it. That could be a source of your unexpected side effects." She reaches out to scroll a finger down the screen, brows rising slightly. "Those readings, though, I'm familiar with. They've appeared in Johnny and my own readings. I wonder if that means you've been exposed to cosmic rays, or if it's contamination from us or the machine."

***

"Couldn't say… Never been exposed to cosmic radiation that I'm aware of…" The hacker murmurs. "Though I wonder…" He thinks. "If I can get the original development documents on these… would you be inerested in looking at them. Caveat: They're classified so my having them wouldn't be, er, at all legal…"

There's a pause and Johnny's words sink in. "Wait, wait, you've seen something like K'nert before?"

***

"Pretty sure it was only a surface resemblance. Spines and things. It was about fifteen feet tall, possessed a guy I knew — someone found a book with the wrong thing in it I guess. Reed doesn't believe that part. Anyway, it was huge, wings, spines, acid drool, uglier than the ugly tree. Fenris Wolf and the Roman god of Terror took it apart and I burned it down. Nova flame," Johnny says, absently polishing a nail, "is hotter than hell, apparently."

Yeah, he's probably gonna owe the swear jar.

***

"Very funny, Johnny," Sue murmurs at the pun with a smirk. She's occupied with the readouts, though, scrolling through them and tapping into submenus on the program. "This is…some very high level work, Mister Trent," she muses. "I wouldn't mind seeing the original documents. Something tells me the people who were conducting this experiment weren't entirely on the up and up in the first place."

***

"I'll see what I can do, then." Which is to say, he shall try to steal them. Jericho does not say this in front of possibly two. of the most upright people he has ever met.He is occasinally intelligent.

There is one other odd thing. A faint pattern of modulated energy on his back, Very odd, very abstract.

"Is there anything I can do to return the favors?"

***

"What's that stuff there?" Johnny says, using his vast mastery of technical jargon. "The thingy on his back?"

He taps a button to split the screen, pulling up a second control so he can focus in on the modulation. "Spirograph or fractal?"

He tells the machine to do a second scan of that area and use it to enhance. This being how they normally look at weird stuff that happens to him. Or Ben. Sometimes it's Ben.

***

"Wait, we're doing you a favor?" Sue looks up from the screen with a flash of a smile. "Please, mister Trent, I assure you, getting a chance to look at something this unique is more than its own reward." At Johnny's question, she leans back toward the screen, putting in a few different filters. "Mister Trent, would you mind powering up?" she asks. "I'd like to see if the reading changes, and how."

***

Jericho flashes a smile back and there is a faint harmonic hum as his traces glow blue before the man standing in the scanner is replaced by a seven and a half foot tall wolf thing with spines and a long reptilian tail. Like a demonic werewolf. On closer inspection, Jericho is still there, just obscured by the glowing, near opaque field of blue shaped light.

The readings on the screen flicker. That odd power output briefly fades to nonexistant and then flares to much more powerful than before, almost as if it was behind insultion before and now it isnt. Johnnys requested second scan gets a shape, traced out in energy on the mans back. Its… odd. Abstract. Vaugely… sword shaped? Or…. maybe a surfboard.

***

"That a weapon maybe? Howcome it was showing even when it wasn't there?" the blond young man asks. This may be non-technical-ese for 'was that thing just powered down, or was it in a different dimensional space?

"That's really cool, man," Johnny says. "I should figure out how to do that."

Immediately he's trying to figure out how to make a fire sword. This is good, right?

***

"No clue," Sue murmurs, looking between Jericho and the screens. "Mister Trent, is there something you carry on your back? Something that might be…questionably located in this reality? Maybe it's a resonance of some sort," she muses to Johnny, brows furrowing as she rotates the image to see another angle.

***

"Nooooooo…." Its the sound of someone whos thinking. Oddly, while it is still Jericho's voice, the wolf things muzzle moves. "Left my usual gear at home, and it doesnt vanish… thats whats ususally hang… oh!" The hacker's traces depower, leaving him to drop lightly onto the platform. He turns and pulls his shirt part of the way up. "You, uh, must mean this. Its the only thing I can think of anyway." There is a black design on his back in the exact shape and location Johnny and Sue have noted.

***

"OK, what the heck," Johnny says. This is beyond his area of expertise. You'd think being the younger, wilder, race-car-driveriest one of the FF, he'd be the one who would know about tattoos, but this one? He's pretty sure they simply don't produce solid-energy structures when they're scanned.

"Is that part of your cyber or is it something else?" Johnny asks, not wanting to touch it. Is it even normal ink? That would be a pretty horrifying mole.

***

"That would be exactly what we're looking at over here, yes," Sue agrees. Johnny's question is exactly what she's wondering, though. "Oh, and you're welcome to power down, if you prefer," she adds with a small smile. Generally she's the more personable member of the team, but at the moment the unusual readings seem to have fully caught her attention.

***

Jericho does so though he remains on the scanner just in case they need it. "That's a…" He rubs the back of his neck as he thinks how to explain. There easiest explanation is the one that probably will get the most amount of questions. Because it touches on things that aren't scientific. "That's a mark that represents a link to someone else. It's not part of my implants thoug hit is kind of connected to them. I'm kind of curious about why your scanners were able to pick it up."

***

"Energy is energy, man," Johnny says. "It's got some kind of a surf-sword-looking structure. It opened up when you turned on the wolf-suit."

Of course, now that he knows it's not actually a weapon, he's thinking about some OTHER way to make a sword out of fire. Trouble is, fire's not solid, so it wouldn't cut, it would just burn and catch on fire.

***

"When people speak about auras, it isn't entirely made up," Sue nods to Johnny's explanation. "We have a certain field around all of us. The interesting part is how you seem to have managed to link yours with this other person's." She taps a few more buttons, then shakes her head as she looks up. "This is going to keep me busy for weeks," she admits with a wry smile. "But I've gotten everything I need."

***

"Glad it was of interest." Jericho says with a grin as he tucks his shirt back in. "I'll find those design documents for you somehow and get you a copy." He figures that there's no need to urge caution. Sue's a scientist and Johnny is a race car driver. Both know about risk/reward kind of thinking. "Mmmm, showed up then… could be because…" Jerihco trails off musing. After a moment he realises he's done it.

"I've been exposed to some odd energies before. My cybrnetics eat certain kinds of it. It's had some odd side effects."

Johnny looks like he's thinking. "Everything okay there?"

***

"Huh? Oh yeah, I'm just messing around with fire," Johnny says, holding a hand out in a grasping position and closing his fingers. A wash of flame appears, confined into the shape of one of those piratical swords with the odd diamond shaped back and weirdly curved blades. It feels very faintly warm. In fact, it's barely warm enough to be fire, which is so he won't burn anything by mistake. And it's absolutely not solid.

"I can make the shapes, visible, but you can't touch 'em. Sue can make the shapes invisible, and you can touch them. Weird huh?"

***

"Really, Johnny?" Sue smiles faintly over at her brother, shaking her head. "You might be able to condense enough flame and heat into a confined space to burn with it, I suppose. But honestly, Johnny, you seem to have burning things down." She saves the readings, then starts to shut the machine down. "If you have a connection that's drawing energy from somewhere else, it would seem logical that the traces might draw it from there as well."

***

"Makes sense to me. And they seem to be hungry. I can… explain more to you later but for now I think I'll just work on finding you those notes." Jericho steps down off the platform. "Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help with the core… and be careful you two. I don't think HYDRA is dumb enough to try to hit you here, or even hit you directly at all, but if they find out what you're doing they're sure to try something." With that, and a wave, he starts down the hall back to the main room and the exit.

***

Johnny grins at Sue. "It's NOT burning them down that's the thing, Sis. I mean, I can flame on and sit next to someone without letting the heat reach them, but I couldn't pick up a suitcase with it."

Well, not without making a tornado or something. He's surprised when the Trent guy takes off suddenly, and looks around for the little monster he brought with him, but the beast has disappeared.

"Uh, sure," Johnny says, looking back to his sister.

***

"Take care, mister Trent. We'll be in touch regarding the core," Sue calls after Jericho, turning a small smile on Johnny. "You do some incredible things, Johnny," she assures her brother, reaching up to give his shoulder a squeeze. "How was your trip, by the way? It's good to see you back again."

***

"Well, we managed to win three of the five races, but we still didn't make the finals. But this summer, we'll be back on," Johnny says. "And I need to hire another driver. Maybe two. Rico is not doing as well as he should be, and I want to have a backup."

He dissipates the fake fire-sword and stretches. "So have you proposed to Reed yet?"

Because Little Brother is pretty sure that Big Sis is going to have to ask. Reed will just get distracted.


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