GAARD
Roleplaying Log: GAARD
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Babs installs Frank's new security system, and he meets his own AI — GAARD.

Other Characters Referenced: Dinah Lance, Tony Stark
IC Date: June 14, 2019
IC Location: Punisher Keep, Jersey City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 12 Jun 2019 16:30
Rating & Warnings: PG-13, some suggestive content
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It wasn't two days — it was almost a week. A few text message exchanges and one tired phone call at 4 AM after a long night on patrol, and Babs finally arrives back at Frank's new home, this time in what looks like a rented van. She had given Frank some schematics so he could spend his time building the actual station for the computers — metal tables, wire fencing to protect the computers, and other pieces and parts to make it a bonafide research station that will withstand most of whatever Frank might throw at it.

Babs rolls back the garage door just long enough to get the van in, and then rolls it back into place. When she gets out of the van's driver's seat, she's moving not as gingerly as she had been. In fact, her gait is almost smooth save for a little tenderness when she puts weight through her heel. She's in canvas cargo pants and a fit t-shirt that encourages readers to 'SURVIVE LIKE A TARDIGRADE' with a water bear victoriously swimming across the oatmeal-colored cotton.

Frank isn't an engineer, he isn't a welder, but he is a handyman, so he's got the station put together, along one wall, with some serious scrap metal plating behind it so that a stray round from outside won't damage anything inside it. Yes, he's planning for stray rounds from outside. She said it was in Falcone's territory. When the van rolls up, he's ready for it. He might actually have tin cans on string with rocks in them scattered around the area. He checks the driver's seat from the window, spots the appropriate redhead, then hauls the garage door up, standing aside so that she can drive in. Max comes padding out of his little bed in the back corner, whuffing warily at the unfamiliar vehicle as Frank rolls down the garage door again. Studying her closely as she descends from the van, he nods, "Good. You managed to stay off it." There's a little hesitancy around him, for all the check-ins and the phone call, but he comes to meet her at the driver's side door, one hand lifting to brush his thumb over her cheek. "Hey Red." There's a moment's pause, "What the hell's a tardigrade?"

Once 'strange van' morphs into 'red-haired human who gives me love,' Max's whuffing turns joyful, and he comes in at speed, aiming to bump into her knees — not knowing about the injury — and present himself for appropriate loving-on. The warehouse hasn't been transformed, exactly, but at least Frank's moved into it. He installed a couple of battered cabinets over the kitchen area, set out his much-reduced firearms collection on the wire racks, and moved the bedroom furniture to one of the upstairs rooms.

"That's what you think," Babs chimes back with a bit of sheepish look. "I hit the streets again after three days, but I did try not to go rooftop jumping." That little bit of hesitancy is met with her own smile that carries a nervous edge, but soon melts away once he comes to greet her and his thumb brushes up across one smooth, freckled cheek. "Hey." The word is warm, and almost murmured. Then she's looking down as Max comes at full force at her, and she twists away just enough so he can still greet her, but he doesn't barrel into her injured let. "Hey Max!" He gets a joyful greeting, and she's ruffling up his ears affectionately. "You held down the fort while we were away?" Then she glances down at her shirt before looking up to Frank's dark eyes. "A nearly indestructible microorganism that can live in extreme temperatures and is extremely hard to kill." Beat. "Kind of like you."

Babs looks up to take stock of the warehouse, and then she's smiling over to Frank. "It's looking nice, Frank. Better than that shitty apartment in Hell's Kitchen." Though there's fond memories there — Christmas dinner, sleeping on the couch with Max. She turns toward the van. "Everything's in the back. You get everything put together?" Only then does she spot the station, and she grins warmer. "Looks like you did."

Frank rolls his eyes at her sheepish response, "Well, at least you lasted the couple of days you promised," or that he charged her with. Maybe she didn't promise. The soft, warm word causes him to nod, a flash of a little smile twitching up one corner of his mouth. His hand slips away again and he looks down as Max comes barrelling in, "Hey," he protests to the dog, "watch the leg, drool-y." Max doesn't even notice the shift, because he's getting ruffles and kind words, and he whuffs his approval at whatever the hell redheaded human just said. The response to his question draws Frank's brows up, and he grunts thoughtfully, then flashes the boyishly-crooked smile, "Jokes on you. I hate the heat." He heads around the back of the van, nodding, "Hey, that apartment had everything I needed." He relents though, nodding up toward where the second-floor rooms protrude into the larger warehouse area, "But I can make this one a lot more fun for unwelcome visitors." As he starts hauling gear out of the back of the van and over to where his 5-year-old laptop sits next to the station he put together at her directions, he gripes, "You're not gonna keep sending me stuff to build, are you? I'm gonna need a printer if you do that, and screw that. Everything stay quiet enough while you were gone, Red? I didn't really get a chance to ask." Okay, so he asked twice in text.

Max gets a few more affectionate ruffles and pets, and even a kiss to his head. Then Barbara is heading for where Frank set up the station, and she's smiling over her shoulder at him with that warm, summery heat in her blue eyes. "You grew up in New York City — famous for kids breaking the heads off of fire hydrants. How do you hate the heat?" There's a little laugh to those words before she's organizing the gear he hauls up to the station. First comes foam-wrapped monitors — two of them. They are heavy and industrial-looking. They are probably military grade — or at least as military grade as Stark's access can get her. Then there's all the other hardware — a keyboard, the towers, and various cords and wires and other strange-looking bits of tech that Frank might not recognize at all unless he's been paying attention to ALTHENE's setup in the Belfry. She looks up from her work at his question, and she smiles a bit. "As quiet as it ever gets. I got thrown off a building two nights ago," the long night that had an exhausted Babs almost falling asleep on the phone as she tried to tell Frank about it all, but just ended up asking him to read her some of his book aloud. "Some guy dressed like a Wall Street businessman just picked me up and chucked me. I grappled to the roof edge, but it wasn't a good feeling." Almost dislocating both shoulders rarely is.

"Just because breaking the head off a fire hydrant is fun as hell doesn't mean you should have to do it to stay cool." Frank was the kind of kid who broke them and then left. He starts to shuttle back and forth between the van and the workstation, "Two monitors? What am I, a hacker?" Max follows back and forth as well for a few repetitions, and then goes over to lap up some water from his bowl by the kitchen, circle his bed a few times, and then plop down and just watch. "Yeah, you mentioned that. He just threw you off the roof? Gotham, man." Frank absolutely doesn't know what some of the bits and bobs he's hauling are, but at least he can recognize most of the cameras and the coils of wire. "He wasn't all blue-eyes, was he? That shit's still keeping quiet?" Looking over the collection of tech, he shakes his head bemusedly, "Yeah. This is way over my paygrade. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna end up cooking while you do most of this." Looking over to Babs, he narrows his eyes, "Or are you gonna try to teach me how to computer, Red?"

"Two monitors let you multitask. One monitor will have all your camera feeds, the other can be used for whatever you need." Then Barbara's tone dries, and she gives him a critiquing look. "Try not to use it for porn." Being Dinah's roommate has lasting effects. Then she starts to get things organized. Those little cubbies and slots that she had Frank measure before building become home to the main hardware of the computers, and other mainframe parts. She's moving quickly and efficiently in just getting it all put together. "No. I didn't see the blue eyes. But that stuff is still on the streets, just rare. This guy — I don't know. I can't explain it." Which is a hardship for Babs. When he asks about if she will be helping him computer, she laughs — amused. "I figure I'll put it together, and you can make dinner, and then maybe tonight or tomorrow I can walk you through how to use GAARD." Look how she slips the idea of maybe her staying the night in there. It's so casual, it might go unnoticed. "So, go. Make dinner. I won't be long. Maybe an hour?"

"Whatever I need, like biometric isolating multi-spectral," Frank's just stringing words together, and he runs out of steam, especially when she goes straight to porn. He gives her a shocked look, then shakes his head, "I've got a laptop, Red." And no real drive to look at porn for the better part of a year. "Why, you gonna be logging keystrokes on that thing?" He watches her for a moment, pressing his knuckles into the opposite hand, then steps back, "So probably just a meta? Or Gotham weird?" He shrugs it off. Frank likes things to fit into neat little boxes, but once they do, he doesn't always care why they fit into those boxes. "Guard?" It's difficult to hear an acronym. "You named my security system Guard?" Frank chuckles softly, stepping back up to her and, with a little hesitation, presses a kiss to the top of her head as she leans over her work. "I'll get dinner going. And yeah," there's amusement in his voice as he crosses the warehouse over toward the kitchen, "you can definitely stay over if Gotham can spare ya."

Then the redhead is laughing at his response to her accusation, and she shakes her head. "I'm not going to judge you," she says, in response to the porn comment. Then she shrugs her shoulders. "Probably either. They come in all shapes, sizes, and income-levels these days." Her smile redoubles at his light criticism of the name she's chosen. "GAARD. G-A-A-R-D." Now she starts to beam with dimples. "Guardian Aegis for Assistance, Research, and Defense." Beat. "Look, this is half the fun." Then he's kissing the top of her head, and her eyes close briefly. He's starting to walk away, but he's stymied from leaving with her fingers closing around his. She steps up into him until she can press the softest of kisses to his lips. "Need to make new habits," she explains quietly as she looks up at him with warm blue eyes. "Now you're dismissed." Her smile arches higher into her cheeks before she lets him go to the kitchen, and she starts her work.

The acronym draws a chuckle to Frank's lips alongside that crooked smile of his. "You really had fun with that, didn't you?" He's caught up, spinning easily back to her in time to get kissed. His hands curl up into the front of her shirt at her abdomen, holding her close for a moment. "New habits," he murmurs, nodding slowly, "I like that habit." When he's dismissed, he looses her shirt, smoothing down the wrinkles he pressed into the cloth, nods, "Yes ma'am," and then steps back and heads over to the kitchen. Evidently, he hasn't gone for anything complex like Christmas, just a simple… is that salmon being marinaded? Yes, he's making her fish after that discussion in the covered bridge.


It takes Barbara about 70 minutes to get done, and the station is complete set up with two military-grade monitors, wires all tucked and secured with steel tubes so it's harder to destroy them, and a keyboard and what might be the simplest mouse she could find. She had ducked outside for about thirty minutes to install the cameras — she had already staked out their placement and prepped their mounts when she first scouted out the warehouse. Everything has been ran across the ceiling into a central shaft that also looks mostly indestructible. The last ten minutes of work is turning everything on, running a quick diagnostics, and installing the GAARD mainframe. The first monitor comes to life with ten camera feeds from all around the warehouse, but one is just a black rectangle — the feed hasn't been activated yet. The second monitor is running strings of cyan code across an abyssal black background. She's smiling, only a bit sweaty, and there's just two fingers wrapped in gauze from where she cut herself on metal. She rests her hands on her low back as she looks over the station, satisfied.

She steps back from the station, starting to turn toward Frank and the kitchen. She had kept him updated on her progress so he didn't fall out of sync with dinner. Now she's striding toward him, speaking as she nears, "All set. It will take GAARD a few hours to fully install." Then she starts to peek curiously.

Frank has checked in a couple of times during the process to get the timing right, and also to watch Babs doing what she does. It's actually fascinating, even if he has no idea what the hell she's doing half of the time. He's just pulling a tray of roasted carrots and sweet potatoes out of the oven, dripping with butter (and honey-garlic for the carrots), while green beans sizzle with spices in a skillet. "Salmon'll be out in just a minute." He points out the cabinet with the plates, "You can start dishing up with this and the slaw," peanut cabbage coleslaw, in fact. He shuffles cooking trays and skillets around, then looks over to her, "That's nerdy-hot, right? The little shine of sweat, the hair," he uses one hand to demonstrate the flyaways, "and even the spots you cut yourself." He shakes his head in amusement at that. "Seriously, Red? You can take down a thug without a scratch, but installing computers? We can take the food over there, by the way, so you can show off. Even if one of the cameras looks like it's broken." He spotted the black rectangle on one of his trips over to check on her.

Frank always fascinates her. The cooking, the state of the kitchen, the scents that almost tickle her tongue — she has no idea how he does it. That reminds her of how little she knows about Castle beyond the things that brought them together — dead wife, dead kids, thirst for revenge. She makes quiet note to ask him about it all some day soon. For now, she is stepping up to the cabinet to get a plate just before Frank compliments her, and then criticizes her with his own humorous way. "I don't know. Do you find it nerdy-hot?" Then she snorts out a breath. "We all have our flaws." Then she's starting to dish-up on the sides, licking her thumb when she gets a bit of the honey-sweet garlic on it. She turns toward him when he points out the salmon is almost out, and she peeks curiously over his shoulder at what he's looking at. Then she's stepping back, and smiling. "Got anything to drink with this meal of yours?" She keeps the black rectangle on the screen a mystery.

Frank looks down at her question, but doesn't avoid it, shifting his feet and then looking back up to her, "Yeah." Then she's back to dishing up, and he can check the salmon one last time, then pull it too out of the oven. It's foil-wrapped, but when he opens the container, the scent of citrus and garlic wafting up, joining with the other dinner smells, "Oh, shit, yeah. Sorry." He points over to the fridge as he settles the last details of the salmon steaks and sides, "Some good wheat beer," evidently he did a little research, given his stated non-preference for beer on the road, "water, OJ." Coffee is a given, of course. When they both have plates, silverware, and glasses, he nods over toward the workstation, "Okay. So tell me all about GAARD? Don't worry, you can brag your ass off."

"Good." Barbara is beaming despite all attempts to be casual about Frank's appreciation of her nerdy-hotness. Then she's finishing dishing up, and she pulls out two beers from the fridge. It's an off duty night. She is then handing him a bottle of beer as well as getting two waters; she heads for the station now that they are all outfitted. She got Frank a good chair — comfortable, simple. The computer mainframe has finished booting, and — she debated this for a long time — his desktop display has the Punisher logo as its background. She sets down her plate, starting in several bites — and those bites turn into more bites. It's good. Then she clears her throat, washing down the food with a pull from the bottle. "It's voice activated, but always passively taking in information. It will let you know if sensors have been tripped, or if it's detecting anything odd that I've written into its system. You can ask it questions, and it will pull information from databases — both public and private. It also is good at filtering out fake or inaccurate information."

She gestures Frank into the chair, and smiles. "GAARD, time to wake up."

It took a lot of thought to decide on who GAARD will be — ultimately, Babs went with what made sense. The AI boots up, and her voice is gentle, calm. "I'm awake," she says.

Babs smiles to Frank. "I kept it simple, so it can grow and change with you and become what you need. It will adapt and take on its own personality based on what you give it."

Frank settles into the chair, cradling his plate in one hand and working his fork with the other. The appearance of the Punisher logo on the desktop causes him to laugh, covering his mouth with the back of his fork-hand, "Shit, Red. There goes any chance of me bringing anyone else over." There's a little wariness at the suggestion that the system is voice activated, even though he's seen her control her own version that way. "So it's listening to everything that happens in here?" He pokes at some carrots, his frown deepening, "It's not stored anywhere, is it? 'Cause that could be a problem. Don't really want anything that could incriminate me if someone gets a hold of it." He lets out a little breath, then spears some more food, "I'm sure you've got real good security on it though." The gentle voice lifts his brows, "Okay." There's a pause, and then he looks over to Babs, "I'm gonna spend a lot of time in here talking to it, aren't I, Red?" There's a pause, and then a grin quirks up one corner of his lips, "You've got access to all the files, don't you?"

"Closed system," Babs reassures him. "It's only connected to whatever other systems we integrate into it. Like your phone upgrade." Her brow arches just slightly with a little smile. "Which we will get to later." Then she settles down beside him, hip resting on the desk so she can easily look at him. Her knee nudges against him lightly. "I'll make sure it's all secure." Then she smiles slowly, and she shrugs. "Depends on you. Some talk a lot, some only talk when they need the AI. The more you talk to it, the better it will be, and more attuned to you it will become."

Frank slouches back in the office chair, setting down his fork only to take a few sips of the beer — and to dig out his old phone when she mentions the phone upgrade. The narrow-eyed suspicion he directs up at her is tight enough that it has to be put on for effect, especially since it fades away again, "Kicking and screaming into the twenty-second century." Even if it's only the twenty-first. He finishes up his food, tucking the plate up onto the table, and collects his beer, grinning a little at the nudge of her knee to his, "If it's damn near a blank slate, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to work with it a whole lot to whip it into shape." He's still looking at it as a fresh Second Lieutenant who needs to be molded into a passable officer. He chuckles wryly, shaking his head and then nudging his knee back against hers, "You're just tryin' to get me to talk more, aren't you? This part of some come-outta-your-shell plan, Red?"

"Hey — I'm just following your lead. I actually think you're smart enough to make most technology work the way you need it to." Barbara eats through more of her meal, enjoying it immensely. It even takes her a while to actually speak again, though she does nudge closer to him with her butt braced against the table. "I like talking to ALTHENE. She's started to know what I need, can provide information more quickly… she can even detect when I'm tired and snappy, and is more patient with my requests. AIs are artificial, but part of that intelligence is being adaptable and flexible. It will learn from you." She sets down her mostly cleaned plate before she takes a drink of beer; then she rolls the bottle slowly between her palms. "But — okay, if I'm being honest — I do want to make sure you have someone to talk to when I'm not around, or you're not working at Luke's. I'll be in Gotham a lot, and you have a lot here." She looks down a bit. "And as much as I want to be here all the time, it isn't… reasonable." Now she looks up at him, expression tight with uncertainty.

Frank looks up at her from his seat in the desk chair, forearms resting atop the arms of the chair and the neck of the beer bottle cradled between the fingers of his left hand. When she nudges closer, a grin flickers across his lips, but her confession draws a chuckle and a slow shake of his head, "You already got me out of New York and into Jersey, Red. Pretty sure that's the closest we're gonna get both of us to livin' close enough for you to be here all the time." He shifts in his seat slightly, "It's alright though. I don't mind the quiet. I play with Max, read, clean my weapons… I got work to do on this place. Plus tryin' to figure out who the hell these assholes after me are. I got plenty on my plate. I'm not gonna be bored." Leaning forward just a little, he gives her good knee a nudge with his knuckles, "So. That a better fish experience? And you gonna tell me what's with the black box at some point?"

Frank's list of things he's got going on does not exactly satisfy. But she lets it go, the conversation falling away as she picks up threads about fish dinners and the black box on his monitor. She smiles at the nearly empty plate, and she nods. "It was good. When did you learn to cook like that?" Maybe she asked him that question before, but this is different. He made her dinner because she made some throw-away comment on the road. When he mentions the box, she scoots along the table to be more in his way, but also to let him see the full monitor. She's turned so she's occupying the desk in front of him, but not exactly trying to do more than that. "One more camera I have to install." Now she's almost blushing with those words. "Monitor upstairs." Beat. "So you know if anyone's hiding out up there."

Frank looks behind him, toward the kitchen, at her question about the food, shrugging and then looking back, "I mean, that was just following directions. I Googled a recipe and suggested side dishes." There's a little chuckle there, "But you learn what flavors work well and what don't when you're eating shit food and trying to doctor it so it tastes okay. And I dunno. I just kind of like cooking. Kind of a waste of effort when it's just me though." When she sidles closer, he chuckles, craning his head around her at the monitor and then looking back to her, "You know, you make a better door than a window, Red. Real nice door, very pretty, but still not a window." He shakes his head in amusement and reaches out to take her hand and draw her away from the desk, "You should take some weight off that knee." He gathers himself to stand and let her have the chair, adding in, "Two, actually. Two rooms up there. One's gonna be a last ditch redoubt if I need it."

To admit that she kept on the desk edge to make sure she wasn't putting weight on her foot would probably be redundant. Frank is pulling her off the desk, and she's taking care to get to her feet while he also stands. There's a bump of bodies, and then she's laughing awkwardly before she looks up at him, not sitting yet. "Well." Now her smile softens into something that takes on an almost coy, but still slightly mischievous look. "Figured I would install it when you eventually took me upstairs." Now her eyes lift to meet his before they drop away, and she adds, perhaps hedging her bets, "Sleep, I mean to sleep." Then she skates on past, asking, "Do you want me to put a camera in the redoubt, too?"

They both stand in too narrow a space, but Frank doesn't back up, instead shifting his hand around to the small of her back to brace her on her feet. The beer bottle goes onto the empty plate on the tabletop, and he starts to duck his head. But he catches that mischievous look, and his eyes never drop away from hers, "Yeah?" He starts to shift his feet, and then she hedges her bets, "You know, we can go up there and not go to sleep." He shrugs a little, "I mean, install the camera. Whatever comes up." The words are quiet, even if there's very little soft about the rasp of his voice. "And yeah. Definitely a camera up there. And eventually a repeater, if you can do that. So I can watch everything from up there." His eyes trail away to the stairs, then back to her, "And definitely some way to turn off the cameras one at a time." He clears his throat a little, "If I've got people staying over, I don't want them to think I'm spyin' on them."

Her own bottle is set down with his, and then she's looking up at him in this quiet, narrow space. "Yeah." Her lips fold together with a brief little smile, and then she nods a little. "Whatever comes up." There's a quiet moment that fills the space, and she looks like she's just about to ask a question before he's talking shop — repeaters and turning off the cameras. She steps up closer to him, and her fingers curl lazily into his shirt. "Already on the todo list." Then she steps in a bit closer. "Should we go now? Upstairs, that is."

Frank's newly-empty hand catches up hers, fingers brushing over her palm to catch on the knife-edge of her hand. His other hand rises up to brush at her cheek, exerting just a little pressure to turn her lips up to his. It's a slow, soft kiss, even if it's warmed by the oblique suggestions they've each been dancing around. He lifts up once more, smiling that crooked, boyish smile. "I should really put away the rest of the food." He makes no move toward the kitchen. "I'd like to go. Upstairs." Simple clarification. "You got everything you need?" He slowly steps around her so that his back is toward the stairs, the hand at her cheek slipping back to the nape of her neck so that the soft pressure there and at her sacrum can lead her after him in a slow procession toward the stairs, hesitating only to make sure she has anything she's going to bring up there.

The kiss tilts her chin up to meet it, and she is breathing softly through her nose as she engages with his lips — soft, warm, and just a bit needy. Her hands slide from his shirt to tuck lazily around his belt. He lifts away, and she settles back, and her brows arch slightly at his words. "Oh, if — " But then he's clarifying through words that he doesn't need to actually put the food away right this second. Then there's a bit of laughter with her smile before she nods. He's guiding her forward, and she pauses just long enough to grab a camera — small, about the size of her palm. She's forgetting something, but Castle is insistent, and so is that little need inside her belly. So, she just presses forward, nestling in near him with her lips touching his gently as he guides her back toward the stairs.

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