Jemma’s spine stiffens, though she’s already sitting so straight there’s little change in her posture. She knew she shouldn’t, but she can’t help but take the comment as criticism. “We’re attempting to reprogram the human body from the inside, ma’am, and it doesn’t want to be changed.” Jemma scooted forward a bit in her chair. “Take autoimmune diseases for example. There are dozens of ways a body tears itself apart due to just a perceived threat and no outside influence.”

“And what we’re doing is invasive and pervasive, one wrong detail and the consequences could be disastrous, like internal combustion. That being said, we’ve had a breakthrough.” She can’t help but smile, undeniably proud of their success. “It looks like the overheating issue has been resolved, meaning testing may begin in earnest in the near future.”

           “But you could read that in the reports…I…” She looks down at her hands before continuing, wondering momentarily if it’s too early to voice her concerns. Though her resolve steels when she remembers that this type of thing is her job, her responsibility, as much as the science. “I needed to come to you in-person because I’m starting to get worried. I’ve been sifting through the data and some of the results are strikingly reminiscent of the Centipede project and Mike Peterson.” She shook her head. “I can’t tell if the others have seen the same potential in what we’re doing, but it is buried in minutia. I would have missed it if I hadn’t seen something similar.”  

          It’s as though she’d been waiting for this- for permission to proceed, the information dancing at the tip of her tongue before it spilled outward. Maria frowns, but the expression isn’t for Jemma, it’s for the implication of the intelligence she’s sharing. This doesn’t sound good- she doesn’t have to be a biochemist to know that. Reprogramming the body, that in itself makes sense. They could eradicate the world of cancer in a heartbeat, of inherited defects in another. People would live longer, live healthier, achieve more.

Internal combustion. This garners a quick flashing gaze, locked onto Jemma’s with her eyebrows near her hairline. Of course there would be risk, but was this one they wanted to pursue? No human would agree to be the test subject for something like this, and there’s no way they’d get an FDA approval for that. Jemma’s certainty sounds a bit too apprehensive for her taste, and that also earns a frown ( more at the fact that she thinks that testing could be in their future ). The biochemist hesitates, then continues. Straight-spined, Maria allows herself to inch forward slightly, drawn in by the weight of the admission. She was right- this was definitely a PROBLEM.

          “I’m sure you have, but I have to address it- were these concerns brought to the attention of the others? Stark, Osborn?” She folds her hands atop the desk, eyes narrowed slightly. There’s a muscle jumping in her jaw, frustration apparent. “Are the benefits of the project really worth such an extreme side-effect?” The Director’s just thinking aloud now, attempting to keep her flaring temper at bay. “Agent Simmons.” Maria levels her gaze. “Do you think that this information was purposely swept beneath the rug?”


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