Turn It Inside Out

May 17, 2017:

Rusalka gets some inspiration from Dummy on a project she's working on for Tony Stark…who isn't the only one benefiting from her research.

//Stark Industries //

Characters

NPCs: Dummy, JARVIS

Mentions: Tony Stark, Sloane Albright

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's another day at Stark Industries. At least he hadn't held getting shot completely against her, especially after winning the wager and splitting it between the three of them. Tony did hold Supernanny against her, though, but Sally's admission she hates it too had helped…a little. So the Sokovian girl is doing the only thing she can to make amends to her boss: making him something cool.

Or at least trying to. Rusalka looks over the various components scattered on the table, holograms and notepads linking things together with a combination of light, ink, sketches, and mathematics, and she sighs. A small turbine engine, a spare repulsor from Stark, a number of electronic control components, and power transmission for it all…none of it worth it. She shifts into English, just for the practice. "Alright, fine. It won't work, I get it. Damn." Her current project lies dead on the table; the attempt at invention turning into a technological autopsy.

"Personal notes, uh…entry sixty three. There's just not enough power output from a turbine engine to give a repulsorlift thrust. A turbine-powered hybrid design, maybe, but the energy density simply isn't there. Shaft output's less than half what's required, for starters." She continues, making technical notes here and there about the various components. It comes down to a simple thing - repulsors work best with the specific flavor of Arc reactor energy, as near as she can see.

"JARVIS, can you please have a cup of…coffee sent up?" Her nose wrinkles in distaste; she hates the bitter brew but acknowledges its utility. "I'm going to need to start all over again." And with a wide swipe of both hands, all of the holographics disappear, joining the great dustbin in the sky of ideas that never panned out.

"Yes ma'am," the British-voiced AI answers. "May I suggest that you have spent enough time today working on this, and that you take a break? It's been nearly sixteen hours, and you have three messages waiting on your phone."

Hmpf. Sloane's been up in Boston, meeting her parents. A glance…no, they're nothing important. She does like the new phone, at least, though she's still at a loss as to how her old one ended up underfoot and jamming the accelerator and brake in the Lotus, sending it careening through New York. Black cats. Black cats that have funky mismatched eyes, black cats that Phil Coulson wants stungunned and captured for being a threat.

Normally she'd just laugh off such a superstitious thing, except for the minor fact of an Aztec demigod tucked down in the basement somewhere. That and Tony Stark's personal assurance - not a prank, not teasing the new girl - that magic and gods and whatnot exist. Maybe her great-grandmother was right, after all -

A mechanical burble breaks her reverie as her assistant steps in - picking up the repulsor thruster in front of her and moving it out of the way. "Dummy wait no put it down! No, just - oh. Thanks." Her coffee gets placed where the unit was, though…the poor machine can't help getting the sugar on the saucer alone. "It's alright. Thank you, Dummy." At least the coffee's hot, and it's easy to slide the sugar in. One long drink, the bitterness and dislike doing more to wake her up and stimulate her brain than the caffeine.

And then she sees what Dummy has done - putting the repulsor in front of the engine, and Sally chokes a laugh. "No, that would be bad. It'd put so much pressure on the engine you'd blow the compressor fans into the turbine. Nice try, though." She gives the robot arm an affectionate pat on the head and a smile…then freezes.

In an instant, a whole new concept springs to her mind, a swirling vortex of air and fuel that's shaped and compressed within the turbine engine - not by the blades of a multi-stage compressor, but by a shaped set of micro-repulsors in just the right places. It would need an Arc reactor, or even her sketches of a capacitor to work, but it would turn a basic turbine engine into something like a high-powered ramjet. The coffee cup gets set aside immediately, forgotten faster than her previous failures.

"JARVIS! New project, new theory. Give me a turbofan, something basic. Like a private jet. Now. Here - a ring of repulsors, putting out…" She comes up with a figure off the top of her head, just for a starting point. "Align them into a vortex state and then reach in and squeeze the core of the mix, and then a second ring at the back. Like a repulsor-afterburner."

The AI complies quickly, holograms springing into life. "Miss Stojespal, you would need a separate power supply for those repulsors. A full Arc reactor, twenty percent larger than Mr. Stark uses as standard."

"That's fine. Here - at the point of ignition, bring in…blyad." She reaches both hands into the hologram, 'grasping' the shape of the engine as it combusts and twisting it into a shape that intuitively seems elegant as far as an engineering standpoint. "Alright, now…can you run this as a simulation? How does it perform?"

"Applying standardized airflow simulation." She watches as the hologram springs to life, the AI conducting the hologram as if it were an orchestra, studying every single moment as the engine ingests air, combusts it with fuel, and spits it out - with pressures like a ramjet, instead of a typical aircraft engine. The afterburner blends red diamond-shaped shockwaves with a gold streak, both of which brighten as the hybrid engine runs up in thrust. "Achieving one hundred percent thrust. One hundred twenty."

"Higher. Bring it up to full throttle as far as the jet knows."

"Yes ma'am. Engine output passing one hundred seventy percent at eighty percent throttle." Several extra windows pop up, bright red with warnings - structural strength members reaching limits, as well as overheating. "//One hundred percent throttle. One hundred eighty percent thrust. Powerplant overheating will reach failure levels within fifteen seconds."

She lets it run. Barely thirteen seconds later, less than a minute after the simulation had started, the exceptionally hot turbine engine suddenly eats itself and digests everything in a cloud of shrapnel. JARVIS, for all his artificial nature, can't help a sympathetic gesture. "Simulation complete, Miss Stojespal. I am sorry."

But Sally's eyes, an hour ago dull with tiredness, are alight with promise. "I could -" Oh the hell with it. She plants a kiss on Dummy, then tugs her coat on. "That was for the both of you. Thank you! Send everything to Mr. Stark, call it…" Stark's the guy that came up with 'Badassium' for a name. She grins. "Call it a turbo-repulsor. Send copies of the design to my tablet as well."

"Yes ma'am. He will like the name, I believe. Design being sent now."

Rusalka grabs the last of her things, then goes hunting for Tony himself. She's on a roll, mentally, and makes sure to grab her tablet with the specs. Tackling the structural problem is easy; the heat problem will take a little more work but is almost as easy.

Tackling the problem that Rusalka and Tony aren't the only ones who end up with the data…is a problem none of them are aware of just yet.

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