Chronoton Innoculations

September 01, 2016:

Tony calls Jemma and Pepper in to talk about the breakthrough he's had with protecting against TRINE

Stark Tower - New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

While identifying just who TRINE wants to murder or obliterate out of history is something of a crapshoot, between Stark's algorithms and around the clock work (from some very diligent AIs) and, well… targets TRINE keeps shooting at and harassing, they -do- have a growing list of parties to protect. The top priorities on that list, and probably not (just!) due to proximity and the logistics involved, are those closest to Tony, and at or around Stark Tower itself.

JARVIS is apologetic if he wakes either of the ladies with the late-night urgency, but he also doesn't relent until he -does-, if need be. After all, "Mr. Stark urges me to bring you to his laboratory, he has.. engineered a new defense against TRINE's attacks."

Jarvis hesitates just a moment to find the right word to replace Tony's preferred 'perfected'. Jarvis doesn't like to lie for Sir. He does helpfully, and honestly, append with some cheer, "We calculated a non-trivial percentile chance that immediate deployment could save one or more of you from erasure from the timeline!"

Late-night StarkLab is about what one would expect: Several half-finished projects, half a plate of stale finger food, and Tony manning a robotic arm that's loading injectable cannisters with something that's apparently being manufactured on the spot, by the sheer din of it all.


Unsurprisingly, Pepper is long since accustomed to getting 'come here naow' messages from Tony via JARVIS. Though at least they've been far less trivial of late. So, at the AI's apologetic words, she is up and shuffling around her room to throw together publicly acceptable attire. Which really just means she puts on a bra, an overlarge slouchy sweater, and a pair of ballet flats to complete her 'you just woke me up' ensemble of mismatched chaos, sleep-rumpled hair, and PJs. PJs that consist of red plaid flannel trousers shot through with gold metallic thread and a lurid green t-shirt with 'Don't Panic' silk-screened on it.

Pepper is having to take a taxi back to Stark Tower, so it'll take her a bit to get there.


Jemma wasn't asleep. She'd not long arrived back to her apartment in Stark Towers and was enjoying a quiet drink with her companion for the evening when JARVIS finds her. Offering the opportunity to join her, it doesn't take long for her to make her way to the lab.

She's dressed rather nicely. She must have been out.

Of course, Jemma can tell Tony at least two of the targets on TRINES list. But there will definitely be more.

"Evening, Tony. JARVIS said you had news?" she says loudly enough, as she pauses in the doorway, watching the robotic arm do the work.


When the safety goggles come off, which is naturally automated into the visor he wears, now more like two earpieces, it's clear Stark's been at this awhile. He hasn't been out on the town, and the dark around his eyes isn't courtesy of any alluring makeup. Still, he seems to be in relatively good spirits nonetheless. "Doctor. Jemma. You shouldn't have." Tony spreads his hands before him, gesturing to the well-dressed SHIELD agent as she walks in; as if she got dressed up this late just for him. The jury's still out on whether Stark actually believes it, without a telepath in the room.

"I haven't even had time to clean up yet." There's some kind of vaguely metallic grease or paint here and there that seems to shift a bit depending how one looks at it dotting flesh and the simple singlet and sweatpants he wears. "Jarvis, you didn't tell the lady this was a date, did you?" A faux-stern expression transfers from Jemma to the nearest Jarvis speaker, "Don't answer that. I can tidy up."

Tony seems obliged to get on to business (after some length, admittedly), gesturing to a piece of armor on a nearby stand and punching in a quick series of commands via holographic input, bombarding the (shielded) station with vibrantly highlighted chronitons; only for the field to abruptly short out just as quickly. "It's not that hard to modify the refractive layers that are already built into the suit to counteract chroniton radiation and trigger a chain reaction back to the source… just takes a touch more juice" The same way the device he deployed in the alley worked. The tone in his voice suggests more to the puzzle.


Pepper idly checks her emails via her tablet while the taxi conveys her to the Tower. Luckily, it's late enough at night that the traffic is actually tolerable, so soon enough she's crossing the lobby toward the elevators with an absent-minded wave toward the security guards on duty. It must say something that they don't even bat an eyelash at her attire or crooked ponytail.


At least Tony's got over calling her Doctor Agent. Or was it Agent Doctor? Doesn't matter. He's called her Jemma this time.

"I didn't." comes the flat but mildly amused reply "And no JARVIS didn't, he said you had something about TRINE." She's prompting, of course.

When the millionaire playboy gets to the point, she listens intently and watches the display. "You're talking about making your suit the weapon?" she asks carefully, frowning as she considers "Or are you talking about deploying these countermeasures elsewhere? If so? How do you do it before an attack?"


"Well." Jemma seems to grasp the conundrum. Stark takes a dramatic breath, "I'm talking about making sure Iron Man doesn't get wiped from time and space." The same reason he has some measures in place against getting disintegrated by a particle beam, and the like. Just slightly less timey-wimey. "But you're right. That's the real issue. We can't put everyone in Iron Man suits; I have a trademark to protect." And maybe people have lives to lead; yadda yadda, mostly semantics.

"What we /can/ do is innoculate known and high-value targets against chroniton strike. Maybe give these strikes some failure rate, give us more time to respond." Stark has a method to see -where- TRINE is active, now; but it's hard to get there in time when your enemy just wants to blow something or someone up. The homicidal intelligence does seem to have a favored weaponset, though. He picks up one of the auto-syringes and tosses it to Simmons.

"The nanite swarm enters the bloodstream and uses hive processing to augment and maintain your body's natural electrical field. Radiation hits it…" Tony's hands, and cheeks, make a little explodey motion.

"It utilizes a modulated pulse at the exact moment of exposure to neutralize ionized particles at their specific inversion point." Jarvis pipes in helpfully. By its very nature adapting to the specific future-schmuture particle weaponry TRINE is using.


Pepper enters the workshop in time to hear the thing about the nanite swarm, and without pausing on her way to what looks like might be a coffee station says toward Tony, "You are not injecting me with nanites, Tony. We've had this discussion before."


"No, we can't put everyone in Iron Man suits." Jemma agrees, considering Tony and then the auto syringe he tosses to her. "Innoculation though… with nanites. I'm not su—-"

Peppers exclamation has Jemma looking at the redheaded CEO and nodding slowly "It's likely to get that sort of response…" Even Jemma doesn't look too keen on the idea, but she's not adverse to it. "Hello Pepper."

Looking back to Tony, she continues "Aside from who you choose, you're going to have to convince them." This is a role that Jemma excels at. Working with Fitz has taught her much.

"What testing have you done on live subjects? And I don't mean people…" She grimaces a little "We'd want to be sure it does respond in a similar fasion on living tissue."


Tony glances over as Pepper makes her way in, smirking at her dress and bearing. "See, Pepper knows what kind of party this is." Her refusal to partake of his miraculous invention? That's more disappointing, but it doesn't seem to surprise him… for long. "You've seen what that thing is blasting everyone with, right?" One expressive brow arches expressively. "These little guys won't hurt you twelve percent as bad. Less. Let's go six. Four." The math is never super reliable on these things; Jarvis is all the time bitching about odds.

Simmons' initial reply is a proud display of his own puncture mark is either a brand of confidence or recklessness— or a solid mixture thereof. "It's not our first foray into bloodstream nanotechnology. Next few years, medical tech is just going to keep leaping ahead…" But Jemma isn't here for a lecture on prototype R&D that she's likely already read about. Or done.

"The trick was containing the kind of potential energy you need for the reaction. It's not a longterm fix for that reason." Let's face it, getting everyone to install a full-on arc reactor to keep things running indefinitely? Even harder. As to that PR puzzle? "I was thinking we just dart 'em. Maybe affix a radio collar at the same time."


Pepper Potts lets the mug she just pulled out of a cupboard clunk onto the counter as she turns an exasperated look at Tony. But before she can say something in response to that, she stops herself and turns back to trying to convince the coffee monstrosity on the counter into letting her brew some tea. "I really don't see anyone finding that to be in any way reassuring. You don't have any other alternatives, Tony?" She would have expected him to have at least four different deployment options by this point, considering the sheer enormity of the bags under his eyes.


"You did what?" Jemma nearly snatches Tony's arm into her hands to inspect the puncture wounds. "I know about bloodstream nanotech, Tony and just how dangerous it can b—-" Giving the man an exasperated look, that doesn't come near to echoing Peppers though, she shakes her head "And you blasted yourself with radiation to test them…"

Almost as bad as trying to access the central processor of an alientech robot out in the field. She really doesn't have room to talk.

"Well, given you've done that, we can test their half life at least. Well, we can if you can get reading from them." Blinking at his suggestions on how to 'adminster' the nanites, she shakes her head again "Uh, no. I don't think just darting people would be appropriate. Still it's a conunudrum."

Looking at Pepper as she tries to get tea, Jemma sighs "As it goes, Pepper. It's not a bad solution and it's better than getting blasted from the timestream."


Tony gives Pepper a frankly smug look as the 'sane' 'rational' scientist backs him up on this. Mostly. "Please. I'm not reckless." Beat. "I blasted other things with radiation to test them." This doesn't -really- exonerate Stark as much as he appears to feel it really should.

"For quick coverage, the quietest way is probably piggybacking on everybody's corporate healthcare, make it all look routine." No, Pepper, he hadn't given it any thought and was definitely not being a smartass about the safari. But doesn't that seem more fun? After all, Tony hasn't exactly come up with a more -ethical- solution, has he?

"They should have plenty of standby time, considering we need to take the fight to this thing yesterday— sustained use is where I really have no faith at all. Pulse or two, especially at high ends like some of the weapons TRINE is fielding… going to be useless after that." The folly is implied with subtle whimsy and a bit of a shrug. It's better than getting blasted from the timestream.


Pepper Potts finally does manage to get her tea and shuffles over to the other two. "Nice outfit, Jemma. Tony, what you're suggesting is crazy. There's no way to piggy back something like this through corporate health care. Are you planning to have every employee at Stark Industries subjected to nanties?" She just… can't comprehend the possible ethical ramifications if anyone were to find out.


"Thank you, Pepper. I was out to dinner." Jemma responds "It's worse than that I think. He's suggesting we 'innoculate' several high profile people that might be targetted by TRINE." If she's understood that correctly, there may be Stark employees in that list but there will be others.

"Is that right, Tony?"

"Have you thought that we might try talking to them?" Jemma's absolutely serious. Have their merry bunch arrive and say Hi. We think you might be the target of some futuristic AI assassin and we'd like to innoculate. Really, it sounds the plot to a movie.

As Tony mentions the 'standby' time, Jemma frowns again. "So what you're saying is it's a one shot solution…."


"No, no." Tony reassures Pepper, pausing to append, "Not yet." The future is not yet. That's a bad motto, but. "And I mean, sure, you can…" Try talking to them. "It just takes a lot more time, and they may call you mean names or, you know. Freak out." Which just makes everything more complicated. Is it clear this isn't his area of expertise?

"What I'm saying…" Stark notes, taking another injector from the rack, "Is people like you should carry a spare."


Pepper would facepalm here, but instead just siighs. She shuffles some stuff around to claim a seat for herself, sitting cross-legged in a chair clearly not designed for that and hunching over her tea. Terrible posture. "There are so many things wrong with this idea, Tony. So many." And yet, it's the only solution they've found so far to being blasted by time-particles or whatever they are.


It's not really Jemma's area of expertise either, but she's more aware of the … nicieties, it seems. "Let's start with us, to begin with. I'll speak with The Marshal about his too." With Thomas' own set of issues, she's not sure how these nanites are likely to react. Or how the man himself will respond.

"Do you have a notion of who you would give these too, Tony? Apart from us, I mean." the biochem is thinking furiously "If not, that's where we start. By quantifying the problem before we go further. I'm used to people freaking out and calling me names. I work for SHIELD." As if that says it all, right there.

Pepper gets an apologetic look, one that sort of says welcome to my world.


"When you count them all up, you get a lot more in the 'right' column, though." Tony adamantly asserts, passing a device towards Pepper with renewed imploring on his face. "Anything goes wrong, I can fix it." Now -that's- a mantra, a motto worth living by. He's kind of earned it, too.

"Not so much with the time obliteration thing where I forget you were here." Like… that one guy. The one who swiped his ID all over the place before vanishing in a beam of radioactive subatomic light atop this very tower.

"Jim and Jarvis have been working on narrowing down likely targets. The problem is a lot of the people TRINE seems to be after are nobody, just now. So far there's not a clear connection between them. Maybe you'll stumble on something they're missing." And he's missing. Three problems at a time, though.


Pepper Potts accepts the device though it's done with an air of long-suffering tolerance for Tony. "I have to agree with Jemma. We should at least try to warn people first. Not tell them that there's an AI from the future out to kill them," that just smacks of an 80s sci-fi movie, "but that someone is. Maybe list this as a preventative against a possible chemical agent being used to target people." That still has a lot of problems, though.


Aaaaaand that's why the scientists need Pepper Potts! Jemma looks at Pepper approvingly for that particular approach. "That might just work, Pepper. Maybe I can use SHIELD to make the approaches. Give it some gravitas, so to speak." She's wondering if she needs to seek permission first, or forgiveness later. "It's still not ideal, but a damn sight better than what I had and far more believable."

"If Jim or JARVIS would like any assistance, I'd be glad to help when I can." She doesn't need to sleep, does she? Then she looks to Pepper "Which reminds me, Pepper. Did you have any success in finding out about the Fujikawa employees that were found dead?" Because, you know… Jemma and Thomas found a Stark-Fujikawa phone.

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