2013-06-03: Books And Blood


Cloud_icon.jpg Echo_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg Travis_icon.jpg

Summary: The killer android is loose. Rashmi brings reading material, Travis tries to fix Cloud's head, and Tabitha is an incautious mechanic. What happens when you ask a soldier to heal and not harm?

Date: June 3, 2013

Log Title: Books and Blood

Rating: PG

Barnes Academy - Medical Center

The name medical 'office' rather undersells what his, in essence, a state of the art, high-tech and extremely well stocked medical bay and treatment center. There are always orderies and nurses in attendance to handle minor injuries and a doctor is always on call for more serious problems. In addition to a locked medicine storage facility, there are modules for isolating patients, a (hopefully never used) cryogenic storage and stasis module for preserving life (or bodies) when the local team can't stabilize a patient and a pair of ten bed infirmary modules attached to the main area. Each bed and exam table is equipped with the latest Stark-tech diagnostics gear.

The medical center, as usual, is not terribly busy. Staff are on hand to deal with the minor injuries that usually come from the academy's training regime. Also on hand are two armed and armored SHIELD agents, high-tech looking rifles shouldered but still within easy reach at a moment's notice. The reason? The occupied isolation cell that normally houses the captive android Echo is conspicuously open. And empty. Standing in the open door in well worn clothes with visible bullet holes here and there, the dark haired mechanical woman has her arms folded across her chest. Her body language speaks of impatience, but her facial express might as well be carved out of stone. The guards appear more visibly concerned. "Nice gun," Echo comments lightly to one of them and gets no response.

Wearing a specially designed doctor's coat for his six arms is Travis. He helps out in the medbay a few times a week with his healing abilities, it also gives him a chance to learn more about the medical field. At the moment there aren't many people in the medbay and the guards there with Echo leave him a bit nervous.

Lugging a fairly bulky and heavy canvas bag toward the Medbay, Rashmi pauses upon seeing the nervous guards, the open cell door, and the tattered clothing of its onetime occupant. "…..Uh," she begins, blinking owlishly, "so uh… D'you not want the books I got for you, Echo…?" Eyes flick toward Travis, widening in silent question, then to the guards, and back. "…I think I missed something pretty major…"

While trying out something his powers obviously aren't up for (yet anyways) Cloud has managed to procure a cut on the back of his head, so in he wanders dressed in his Barnes uniform holding a towel to his head to stop the bleeding. Before he gets a chance to look around for a Doctor he spots Echo, her entourage and Rashmi, "The robot is out, Rashmi, the robot is out, why is the morally ambiguous robot out?"

Slowly, Echo unfolds her arms to let them hang at her sides. "A momentary reprieve," she explains with a slight shrug. Her head dips in the direction of the armed guards. "And my watchers. I admit I don't understand why, but it seems counterproductive to question it." As if to prove a point, she takes a step forward to cross the threshold, fully out of the cell, then stops. The guards do not stop her, but they are keeping a very careful eye on her. She holds out a hand to Rashmi and indicates the bag with a nod. "May I?"

Travis raises his top two arms at Rashmi's question. "I missed it as well, when I got in here this is what I saw. I figured it was best not to ask questions an get to work, speaking of getting to work." He spots the bleeding Cloud and walks over to him. "Relax, I'll take care of that cut in no time." He reaches out with his bottom right arm places a hand on Cloud's head. There's a soft glow that forms around his hand and Cloud would feel a warm and tingling sensation as the cut is healed in about thirty seconds. "Feel better?" He watches Rashmi and Echo out of the corner of his eye, he's a bit curious about the prisoner.

Rashmi blinks, looking over her shoulder at Cloud, then nods to Travis as the boy passes by. "Um…. Sure Echo, no problem…" Drawing in a breath, she crosses the distance between herself and the robot, nodding slowly at the very nervous guards as if to tell them not to worry, and starts pulling thick, bulky textbooks out. "So um… Please be careful with these, because I got them on my library account and they need to be back in a couple weeks. But… I've got a couple of ethics books, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education… That's actually really good, it's a bunch of essays from national leaders and the like… There's some philosophy, and just in case you get bored, the Lord of the Rings." This last, accompanied with a quartet of smaller paperbacks. "The Hobbit is there too, it's the first… Anyway… What happened?"

Echo's single grey eye flicks to Travis and Cloud, as if she can feel them sneaking peeks at her, then back to Rashmi as the girl starts to unload the canvas bag full of books. She takes the first of them and studies its cover. "I'm making you nervous," the android comments as lightly as if talking about the weather. Without looking up from the book, she adds, "I understand that SHIELD is calling an outside consultant. I was given my clothes back for that reason." Though strangely, the laces of her combat boots are missing. "And I can only assume that this is all a test of my 'morally ambiguous' nature."

Travis isn't surprised to hear Rashmi's choice of books for Echo and once Cloud is healed he looks towards the two. He's never heard of Echo or even known that she was being held captive here. "I don't know if it's you I'm nervous about or the guards with guns." It's more than likely the guards. "So…you sure you don't want different clothes…ones with less holes in them?"

"It's hard to blame them, really," Rashmi notes as Echo starts to sort through the books. "I mean, it's hard to feel perfectly secure around someone who has, in turn, confessed to multiple murder, been imprisoned long enough to be bored, and is on record as placing the value of her own life above peace… So it's hard to say whether or not you'll try anything at any given moment, y'know?" And while the redhead does, herself, look equally concerned… Heavy books were indeed just handed over, the total contents of the bag weighing a good thirty pounds. "But Travis is right, did you want intact clothes?"

"Yes, you're right to be cautious. Twenty-seven murders, to be precise," Echo says, deadpan and unrepentant. The android pulls at the hem of her tanktop, poking fingers through two obvious bullet holes just below her left armpit. However many times she appears to have been shot hasn't adversely affected her, it seems. "They don't bother me. But do you think it would be advantageous? I have no other clothes. Not here, at least." She roots through the bag some more, stacking the books as she pulls them out one by one.

"You know," Rashmi notes, gesturing Travis over, "you keep mentioning it… Are you proud, or something? Because, um… I think that also has kind of a lot to do with why you make people nervous, just to note…"

Travis looks at Echo as she confesses to twenty-seven murders. "Why, why did you kill that many people?" He doesn't act like he's scared of her but he's more curious. He walks over towards Rashmi and stands next to her then offers one of his hands to Echo. "I'm Travis by the way, Travis Smith."

"It's a fact. There's no reason to dispute or try to hide it." Having ransacked and catalogued the bag of books, Echo starts to put them back. She pauses as Travis approaches. The guards tense visibly. She looks Travis over carefully, a calculating, measuring look. "They were all self-defense," she finally answers, straightening up and taking the offered hand. "Mobile Anti-Personnel System, Model Echo, Unit Six," she introduces herself. A pause. "Echo, please."

Rashmi slips an arm around behind Travis' back, squeezing his uppermost shoulder. "I can understand that," she says, nose wrinkling. "…But still. It's just… one of those things. You tell someone you've killed a large, precise number of people, their first thought tends to be 'She's a killer, and she has no remorse, therefore she's dangerous and not to be trusted.' So that makes it hard for them to interact with you, generally, and makes it hard for SHIELD security to relax when you're talking with a trio of students under their care."

"I think it's also the way you say it, like you have to make sure we know the exact number…it's like you're keeping a tally." Travis says but then she doesn't seem to be your normal type of person. "So, are you not…..uh…human? You said you were Model Echo and an anti-personnel system?"

Cloud frowns as his head starts tingling and rubs the back of his head when Travis is done, "Thanks, I think you saved me some stitches there". He raises an eyebrow at Rashmi, "Rashmi you're good at what you do and all but The Hobbit?, I get the rest but fantasy seems a little beyond a mechanical mind, not that she won't understand but she's kinda fact orientated right?". His eyes flick to Echo, "Nope not making me nervous, make a move and I'll see how quickly I can shut you down". Listening to more of the following conversation something occurs to him, "Aren't there rules with robots, the non-killy kind, three or something?"

"The people most in danger are those two over there, should they try anything," the android says, indicating the guards who look none too pleased at the veiled threat. However, she narrows her eye at Cloud, lips pressed to a thin line. "And I *am* keeping a tally," Echo replies matter-of-factly without looking away. "Mobile anti-personnel system. It's why I was built."

"Cloud," Rashmi says, a quelling note in her voice, "overreacting is what causes firefights. And *yes,* Lord of the Rings, because if she's an artificial sentience, which is what I'm hoping to get her reclassified as, it won't be a problem at all. That, and I'm hoping some of the concepts in the books will shore up what the philosophy and ethics stuff talks about. But um… *why* are you keeping tally, Echo? I mean I could think of some reasons, but…"

Travis looks over a Cloud. "Why shouldn't she enjoy some Fantasy, just cause she's an…uh…anti-personnel system doesn't mean she can't enjoy a good epic." He looks over at Echo and smiles. "Lord of the Rings is pretty awesome, Rashmi made me read them I really like those books." Rashmi asks the questions that Travis was curious about so he waits to hear what her answer is.

"Because I can't forget," says Echo. "I'm designed to deliver detailed status reports after a mission. I can tell you exactly how many times I've discharged a firearm, or taken fire in return. It's only information. I'm not proud of it, nor am I ashamed. It just is." Once the books are back in the bag, Echo lifts it easily by the strap, thirty pounds or not. "And seeing as I have not tried to kill any of you or been shot by these gentlemen, I think I'm handling myself quite well, thank you."

"And I'd agree," Rashmi says, nodding slowly. "And, y'know, thanks for not trying, too. But I hope you enjoy those books… The law stuff is a little more complicated, mostly because, well… Most law offices need entire rooms of books on hand as a reference library. If you ever get network access, though, you should be able to find them online."

Cloud shrugs and gives Rashmi a look of 'what?' at her disapproving tone, "Well she says she only kills in self-defense, maybe you can show her the other options or otherwise when she gets bored she can go back in a case", he leans against the wall, "Careful Rashmi, you can only help people who want it, you're good at that but she might not be able to want it".

Travis looks over at Cloud and gives him an irritated look. "Dude, quit being an ass. You know, if Echo doesn't want to read them, she won't, and if she does, she will. What's your problem?" He can't believe what just came out of Cloud's mouth. "Anyway Echo, just read what you like. I'd share what I read but I don't know if you wanna read old issues of Sports Illustrated. You can recite numbers and facts but what about more personal information, do you have like, a favourite food?"

"I do appreciate the books. It will help to pass the time." Echo gives Travis an odd look at the question about her favorite food. It takes her a moment of consideration before answering. "I suppose my 'favorite' is distilled water. I don't need food, but I have internal reservoirs that need refreshing for coolant and keeping my eyes free of dust. That and a steady supply of electricity are all I need."

"I'm not being an ass I'm being cautious for a change, I get you guys wanna help and that's great but even if you can help her there's a lot of 'kill kill kill' to get past", Cloud nods to Echo, "No offence but you said yourself, do it if that the logical thing right?"

Rashmi looks over her shoulder, giving Cloud a pained, patient stare for a moment, then sighs. "Its also important," she says gently, "to know when to extend trust, Cloud. The door is open, she has a bludgeon in her hands that could break any bone she could choose, and gunfire doesn't seem to hurt her much at all. So, we extend *trust,*" she says, turning back, "because it hasn't been ignored that she hasn't even made a single move to hurt anyone yet, and hope that she'll continue to do so." Pausing, she tilts her head, brow furrowing. "*Can* you eat, though? I mean, would food have any kind of benefit?"

"Okay then, favourite colour." Travis says with a grin. He puts an arm around Rashmi's shoulders and gives it a light squeeze. He's about to say something to Cloud but just at that moment one of the staff rushes in with a student who looks to be seriously injured. "Mr. Smith we need you now!" Travis looks over and winces. "Sorry, I'm needed." He gives Rashmi a quick kiss on the cheek and gives a wave to Echo and Cloud. "See you all later!" And he rushes into room of the medical bay to help the doctor out with healing the injured student.

The android shoulders the canvas bag easily. "No, I don't blame him for being cautious, Rashmi. This is the first time I've been allowed outside the cell while awake. It certainly could be a trick. I could simply be waiting for the right opportunity. You have to consider it as a possibility." Echo turns her head slightly to the side to focus her good (read: only) eye on the redhead. "I don't think eating would be a wise decision. It would clog up my air intakes, there is nowhere for it to go internally, and… I have no sense of taste or smell." She is about to answer Travis' question before he is quickly called away. "My favorite color…" she repeats softly, mulling it over. "Favorite color."

"Ok, I'll trust her not to try anything and she can trust me not to drain her, trust on both sides", Cloud looks to Rashmi, "I know you like to go softly with these things but she should know we're on equal footing, if she knows we're just as capable as she is it takes the fight off the table, no logic in it right now, makes it easier to talk on the same level", "Do you agree Echo? and in the interests of talking while you're thinking of your answer, mine's red".

"It's a good question," Rashmi says, bobbing her head. "…Also since you didn't say you don't have a sense of touch, you might actually *like* picking out clothes. All kinds of different textures and weights, you might enjoy it." As Cloud speaks, she draws in a slow breath, blowing it out in a slightly aggrieved puff. It's not logic she can fault, clearly, but the delivery isn't pleasing. "Personally," she says, picking up the thread where Cloud left it, "I like earth tones, myself… Greens, browns, that kind of thing… though I like red for my room, it makes it feel warm and summery, kind of."

"I'm not entirely sure we *are* on equal footing," the android replies vaguely, but does not clarify further. Pursing her lips slightly, Echo fingers the hem of her robin's egg blue tanktop. "I suppose… this could be my favorite color." It's more of a question than a statement. It's the only color in her outfit. Black pants, black boots, and a black jacket resting on the examination table inside the cell. Very drab, very para-military. "I have shopped for clothes before, though I had assistance. They're buried in several concealed caches around the city. For emergencies."

"Surprisingly more tranquil than I expected but cool progress", Cloud crosses his arms, "Now see I'm no expert on robotics but a simple machine shouldn't be able to pick a favorite colour", he nods at Rashmi, "Guess you were right, sounds like a sign of sentient AI and not the creepy Haley Joel Osment kind". "Jot down the locations and I could get to them pretty quickly if I use my powers".

"Well, here's hoping the, um, independent contractor… I'm guessing Mr. Stark, by the way? Say hi for me, if it is… anyway, that he'll be able to verify that, Cloud, but I don't see the harm in treating her like a person anyway." Looking down at the hem of Echo's tanktop, she tilts her head. "Is it? Would you choose that color again, if you had the option?"

"What model of android is Haley Joel Osment? I've never heard of it before." Leaning briefly inside the cell, the android puts the bag of books down behind the open door. "Speaking of trust, I'm wary of telling you where my stashes are and what they contain. It would be all too easy for you to turn to SHIELD and betray me." Echo turns her eye on Rashmi, unblinking, but there is a faint questioning tilt of an eyebrow. How likely is that outcome? "I don't know who the consultant is. If you're correct, I'll pass on your greeting." Her eye wanders down to the blue tanktop. "I don't know," she replies honestly. "This is the shirt I was wearing when I was deployed. Is it a good color?"

"Oh, it's a David model, compact and pretty annoying", Cloud grins, "Fair point, I'm not gonna agree to keep a weapons stash secret when grabbing clothing", he rashes an eyebrow at Rashmi, "Stark is fixing her? Only met him a couple of times, one of his dates thought I was a stripper".

"Cloud, don't confuse her, huh? If she's not actually seen the movie, she won't have any idea *what* you're talking about." Shaking her head, she shrugs. "It's a fair assumption, I mean… I can only think of two people who'd know what they're doing, taking a look at her, and one of them already teaches science here… So he wouldn't be an independent contractor, y'know?" Tugging her braid over her shoulder, she gives the top a second look. "Well *I* think it's nice, but it's not really to my preference. That's a personal opinion, though, not objective fact."

Echo nods at Cloud somewhat appreciatively. At least they've reached a mutual understanding. "As I thought. I'd prefer to keep them secret, then, even if it means wearing damaged clothes." No hard feelings, it seems. "I've memorized the names of all the staff who have examined me. I don't know anyone named Stark, so it's possible he's the outside consultant." An expression crosses the android's face, a displeased frown. "I'd welcome your advice on what to wear, then. Inconspicuous but hard-wearing. I assume body armor is out of the question."

"Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow." Tabitha, clad in a recently oil-stained tank-top plus damaged and similarly stained jeans, repeats the single-syllable word as she walks at a decent clip into the medical center; the fact that she has a formerly white towel soaked a crimson color wrapped around her right hand might have something to do with it, though the rat girl looks to be more frustrated and embarrassed than in any great distress. She glances about, looking for some actual medical staff; seeing only the small gathering, she decides to approach that instead. "Hey there, Cloud, Rashmi, Echo," she greets, waving her un-injured hand, and seeming entirely unperturbed by the fact that Echo is out of her cell. "Any doctors or nurses still about or did they all turn in?"

Cloud rolls his eyes as Rashmi spoils his fun but stops none the less before shaking his head at Echo, "Body armor is conspicuous, maybe Kevlar at most but basic bullets and that's about it", to be fair he's never really thought of body armor, he has the luck of being a mutant when it come to that, to Tabitha, "Errm yeah they're about somewhere, you ok?"

"Not for everyday wear," Rashmi agrees. "Really there's all sorts of work clothes you could wear, denim jeans are pretty rugged. It's the color theory you really need to be careful about, I'm pretty sure my roommate has a book he could let me loan you for awhi— Tabitha, what *happened?*" she says, completely switching tracks as the rat pains her way into Medbay, "did your bike *fall* on you or something?"

The two armed guards turn sharply as the doors to the medical center open, but they're composed enough not to point their weapons at the rat girl. They do seem to be a bit on edge, though. Echo, meanwhile, narrows her one remaining eye at Tabitha, silent processes running. She makes a move toward the girl, but THAT prompts the guards to react, stepping back slightly and looking ready. Echo freezes in place, perfectly still. "I know her," the android says as if to placate them, slowly raising her hands, palms out. "It's alright."

Tabitha shakes her head, "Yeah, I'm fine," she replies, "I'm just bleeding like a stuck pig because I was in the middle of doing a head job on my car for the fifth time, which probably should be telling me something, and some of the head bolts weren't coming out, so I tried to force them and the next thing I know I've got a cut straight from Texas to Nevada up and down my arm. Good job, Tabitha. *So* graceful." She perks her ears up, and both looks and sniffs about this way and that. "I think the doc on duty's in the washroom," she adds. "Anyone got a really big bandaid? She pauses, watching the guards move in reaction to Echo's advance. She pauses a moment, running a brief calculation of her own, before waving her good hand. "It's cool, I *do* know her," she adds. "We have an understanding."

"The doctor's got Travis assisting with a pretty bad injury," Rashmi says, crossing the room in search of a minor triage kit. Finding it, she waves Tabitha over. "C'mere. I'll take care of that, and then the doctor can do a better job when he's free. Echo, would you like to help, if it's okay with the guards?"

"I have no medical training, but I have a working knowledge of anatomy," Echo says with a nod. Why would she have a knowledge of anatomy? Oh. Right. Killer android. She glances to the armed SHIELD agents who seem concerned but willing to let things play out as far as they must. With care but little concern for Tabitha's pain, Echo takes the rat girl's arm in hand and flexes it out. "Nothing is broken," she observes helpfully.

"O-*OW*," Tabitha complains, ears laying flat against her head as Echo abruptly pulls on her arm. "Uhm, a little more careful is traditional," she points out, as she pulls the towel away to reveal a laceration that runs from the base of her palm to halfway up her arm. It's not terribly deep, but still bleeding quite impressively. "But I'm glad nothing is broken. And, thanks, Rashmi, I appreciate that." She pauses, and turns her gaze back towards Echo, before reaching out with her good hand to give the 'droid a friendly swat on the shoulder. "So, how're you holding up in here?"

"Don't *move* yet," Rashmi chides, taking hold of Tabitha's wrist and wincing deeply, just at the look of the wound alone, passing the kit to the robot. "Okay… Echo, what I want you to do is to get the little squeeze tube of Neosporin that's in there, and some of the sterile pads. Only unwrap them one at a time, they're not sterile anymore when they're exposed to air, and while Tabitha may have pretty good healing powers, I'd really rather not test them." For her own part, she tears one of the sterile packages open with her teeth, plucking the pad out and blotting away the blood, as gently as she can manage given the ragged gouge she's working with."

"I'm doing well enough. Better than you, it seems," the android replies deadpan. She rummages around in the first aid kit, readying the supplies seconds before Rashmi needs them and no sooner. "My hands should be relatively sterile. My skin is impregnated with an anti-bacterial agent for easy clean-up." She uncaps the tube of Neosporin and holds it out ready for when it's needed. "You have a healing power? That must be very useful. I have no such routines." Hence why she's been bumming around Barnes for the better half of a year without an eye.

The rat girl shrugs lightly, and obediently keeps her hand as still as she can manage. "I do have a healing power," she replies, "But it doesn't kick in until my injuries reach a certain threshold, which I'm not exactly sure where it is." She wiggles her fingertips, and sighs softly. "Sorry to interrupt what was probably a pleasant conversation by showing up with blood and injury, by the way." She watches things going on with the Neosporin, and brushes her fingertips on her free hand through her hair. "Oh well, could've been worse."

Once the blood is blotted away, Rashmi sets the small pile of used pads aside, opening another and squeezing a healthy dollop of the paste onto one corner. "Okay… Now, Echo, watch carefully, all right?" And for the thumblength closest to Tabitha's wrist, she smears the ointment into the wound, taking care not to rub the gauze against the ragged edges as she possibly can. "You see what I'm doing, here? It could be more efficient just to press it all in as much as possible, but, there's a lot of nerves in the skin, and it'd be like flooding your brain with all kinds of critical-error messages all at once. So, usually best to be gentle as possible."

"Critical error messages," Echo repeats. "Pain." She observes carefully, unblinking, recording. Returning to the first aid kit, she pulls out a rolled bandage and a number of small butterfly bandages. "A needle and thread would be more useful than these," she says disparagingly of the little bowtie-shaped adhesives. "If you can find one, sewing the skin together will cover the wound."

Tabitha ehs, "I think my healing might deal with that while I'm asleep," she muses, "So a needle and thread might not be needed. I dunno though… sometimes things heal up, sometimes they're not serious enough." She winces as the ointment is being applied to her wound, but keeps her hand still, other than involuntary flexing of her fingers. "Are you sure you don't want to be a doctor, Rashmi?" she jokes, "You're really good at that," she adds, in a more serious tone.

Rashmi snorts. "This is basic first aid," she says with a soft chuckle. "It's enough to get the job done, but I'm too deep into law school to swap over to Medical… and I never really had the head for science, y'know? Anyway… Echo, now that you've had a look, I'd like you to take over for me while I get ready for the next step. Just make sure enough gets into the wound to coat it, almost fill it up, and once you've used up all four corners of that pad, get a fresh one." As she lets Echo take over, she gets out the large roll of gauze, and several more sterile pads.

The android frowns and hesitates. "I… don't have enough data." Her hands pause before taking over the cleanup duty, suddenly looking unsure and… nervous? "Please hold still or this will hurt more than necessary." Echo's fingers are strong and apply too much pressure at first, smearing the antiseptic gel over the wound carefully. Too carefully, like a perfectionist unhappy with their work. At this rate, it'll take minutes more to finish. She follows the instructions to the letter though, so at least the job is thorough.

The rat girl smiles softly. "I was joking, Rashmi," she murmurs. "I wasn't seriously suggesting you give up all the work you've put in and start over." She glances at Echo, and bobs her head once. "Don't worry, I'm keeping still," she adds. "Not keen on unnecessary pain."

Once the antiseptic is laid in, Rashmi moves in behind Echo's work, to start placing rolls of padding atop the cut, and winding the long bandage around at the wrist, first, then carefully upward. "Once you're done with that, Echo… I'd like you to take over for me here, please. And when you're finished, I'll give you the pins to hold it in place, okay? Also, look! You're learning how to *fix* people, now," she notes, positively beaming at the robot woman.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License