Technobabble

May 31, 2017:

In which Isa Reichert brings an urgent engineering quandary to Stark Industries, in the hopes of solving it.

New York City - Stark Industries

Rising high into the skyline with the name of it's Lord and Master for all to see, the Stark Industries Tower is the most visible component of the Stark Industries complex centered in Midtown Manhattan. Manufacturing, office space, power generation and even some inventory is housed in the tower and its associated subelevels. It also contains guest housing and, at the top, the penthouse suite that is the domain of the Main Man himself, at least, when he's not at his Malibu home.

Characters

NPCs:

Mentions: Melinda May, Peggy Carter, Phil Coulson, Steve Rogers

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's a cloudy evening in the city, with the promise of a thunderstorm in the air's expectant stillness. Traffic is as lively as it always is, even in the evening. A little unexpectedly, Isa had asked Rusalka Stojespal to take her to arrange an appointment for her with Stark himself, effective immediately. She hadn't said what the matter was about, but she'd said it was urgent.

Raisa Ivanovna Yakovleva makes an understated but effective entrance, sweeping past the tower's formidable front doors and into the lobby. She wears a somber black three-piece suit, a leather briefcase clutched in her left hand, and her hair drawn back into a meticulous braid. Some of her hair hangs loose from it on the right side, masking the scarred side of her face and the eyepatch.

Also, her left arm is still in a sling, the left jacket sleeve left to hang empty; and she hobbles against a cane in her right hand. Despite the fact that she's still obviously wounded, there's a confidence to her purposeful stride and a light in her blue eye that has other people subconsciously moving out of her way; a pace that probably has Rusalka half-jogging to keep up.

She's headed directly to the elevator regardless of Rusalka's success. Appointment or no appointment, this is apparently serious enough that she's going to storm Stark's office for if she has to.

Storms are always nice to see, and the cooling they bring to the City Of Humidity In Summer is always nice to feel. When asked by Isa for a favor, the Sokovian heiress had been doubly surprised - first that Isa was alive after all, and second that she's already up and around. She'd gone looking after the pilot after hearing she'd been 'released' from Medical after just a few days, and then when noone had answered room 1604…

…she'd feared the worst.

So it's with some relief that Rusalka follows her friend, long legs easily keeping up with the other woman's determined stride. Fortunately, her badge for Stark Industries opens more doors than her SHIELD badge, and it's not hard to lead Isa to the boss's office. What's going on, she has no idea…but she'll wait right next to the Russian, because something has very clearly lit a fire in her.

That and it's pretty heartwarming to see Isa up and around, especially so soon. So Sally, clad in a Queen t-shirt she'd swiped from Sloane and black jeans, sits waiting outside her boss's office, t-strap flats bobbing as she can't help nervously swinging her foot.

"Miss Reichert? Miss Stojespal?" JARVIS' voice greets them as the elevator doors close. "Shall I assume this is not simply a friendly visit and awaken Mister Stark?" The everpresent buttler AI comments as he sends the elevator up towards the dizzing heights of Stark Tower itself.

He is assuming the answer to that question is yet, as he already is awakening Mister Stark himself.

Who is not a morning person.

Not that its actually morning.

But he was napping. His hours are a bit odd truth be told, Sally might have some inkling of that. He sleeps when he feels he should and spends most of his time…well…building. Even far into the night.

Which is why when the pair of them reach the top to march off the elevator they are met by a massive, life size, Quinjet hologram. That takes up the entirety of the living space. Fully interactive of corse. Several pannels have been pulled off, floating frozen in the light of the projectors to reveal the inner workings of a half dozen systems.

Some, if not most, of which Isa wouldn't reconize. Even if outside it looks like a normal Quinjet.

Tony though? Tony is just sitting up from the couch. He's wearing loose fitting black pants, suitible for martial arts or sleep. Take your pick. No shoes. No shirt.

For someone in his thirties he's built…well…not Captain America built. But he's fit, athletic. Muscle and sinew defined under tanned skin. The most impressive piece though is of course the gleaming ring of metal mounted in the center of his chest. Humming with power and light, the revealed ARC reactor is a marvel of modern technology. A tiny window into inner workings of Stark himself.

His mouth opens in a massive yawn even as they arrive.

"I'm up! I'm up…something better be on fire…"

The pilot's head snaps up at the sound of a voice within the elevator. She's never going to get used to artificial intelligences behaving like normal sociable human beings, is she? After another half-second of eyeing the elevator, the pilot glances back to her companion.

She hasn't said much, and she's said less to Rusalka herself. It wasn't that she was angry, precisely, but she's set her teeth on the problem and determined to unravel this mystery. To that end, she's almost hyperfocused, and she has no desire to explain herself twice — so Rusalka was informed that she'd get the full story once they met up with Tony Stark.

Leaning on her cane, still clutching the briefcase, Isa turns her eye forward again. "<No,>" she says, crisply, in Russian. "<This is SHIELD business, and it is also urgent.>"

Then the elevator doors swish open. Isa is momentarily blinded by the life-size hologram of a quinjet. Momentarily dazzled and completely thrown off her determined track, Isa takes a moment to marvel at the projection, reaching out slowly as though spellbound to reach for an opened panel.

She's almost about to 'touch' it before she jerks her hand back as though her fingertips had been burnt, shaking her head. No. She wasn't lying when she said the matter was urgent.

Surprisingly, aside from a cursory study, ice-blue eye raking over the current leader of Stark Industries, Isa doesn't seem terribly transfixed. Her interests run elsewhere — a secret only she knows. No, her interest is much more scientific, gaze lingering on the disc of metal over the centre of his chest. So that's the technology he had shown her, briefly. She has vague memories of seeing that design. Unfortunately, when he had shown her, she had also been drugged out of her mind, and only remembers brief impressions.

And right now, she's on a mission.

"<Mister Stark.>" She speaks Russian, because it is the most efficient for her at the moment. Isa sets her briefcase down on the nearest table, thumbing the latches with her right hand; first one, then the other. "<Nothing is on fire, yet, but it will be if we do not act. I am here on SHIELD business, Mister Stark; urgent SHIELD business. If you require an authorisation in that regard, then you may speak with Agent Phillip Coulson.>"

Several sets of papers are pulled from the briefcase, and offered to Stark, levelled in Tony's direction with a crisp papery sound.

Schematics. They're full of schematics, printed from a computer engineering program of some kind, with hand-drawn corrections and hand-written annotations. It's an aircraft, but it's a very strange-looking aircraft. The basic shape is like a Russian attack bomber, but the sweep of its wings and the streamlining of its body is all wrong. The cockpit is bizarrely hunchbacked, with a great deal of room left behind for some kind of machinery. Despite its attack-dog appearance, there is too much reinforcement around the wing's control surfaces and points of aerodynamic stress for it to be an actual attacker. It's reinforced in a way that suggests it's made for dogfighting, not the straight linear paths of an attack run.

A second set of the same schematics is slapped towards Rusalka once Tony takes his.

Isa's eye is intense as a raptor's, nervous energy through all the lines of her body as she waits for a response from either Tony or the Sokovian heiress.

JARVIS' question gets a glance from Sally to Isa. "Please," she confirms to the AI. Though, matters of import - and the reason for their visit she still doesn't know. Instead she waits by Isa's side, watching the floors tick off - and then can't help a nervous chuckle. "I've…never been to these floors, before. Ah, personal levels, and his private work area…"

It's a little like peeking behind the altar in church.

Isa growls out 'SHIELD business' in Russian, and Sally understand a little. Urgent? Something very important. And, something way over her head. Sally makes a note to excuse herself once they arrive, since she's no SHIELD agent. True, neither is Stark, but there's a special relationship there that she knows of already.

When they arrive, the fullsize hologram of a Quinjet takes her breath away - and distracts her from her thoughts of leaving. She can't help but walk a little closer to it, entranced - she's never seen the things in person, only the occasional photo from Isa. Or at a very far distance on the runway at SHIELD. Up close and personal? It's amazing. There's also the fact she's never seen a hologram system this big or detailed, as well - it's distracting enough that she doesn't notice her boss at first.

Once those blue eyes can be torn away from the hologram, they go running right back in embarrassment. "Mr. Stark, you, ah…your shirt…" Doesn't exist? The Sokovian accented stammer is a little thicker than usual from surprise, and Sally keeps her back to him for the moment. Mostly to keep him from seeing her blush, in all honesty.

Just the tiniest bit of slightly so that she doesn't stare at the reactor in his chest. Or the rest of his chest, for that matter. Oh, right, she was going to leave, the secret business -

- practically slapped down in front of her before she gets the chance. And the design gets a gasp of surprise, and a question. "Is it…it is alright, that I see this? I'm only…" Only an intern, and not part of SHIELD at all…yet. But then she starts looking at it…really looking at the design, seeing it. She may only be a junior engineer, but aerodynamics was the first thing she'd learned as a child. It comes with spending far too much time on-base, even for a kid.

And these aerodynamics are incredible, as her hands start flowing over the shape of the thing.

Stark stretches slowly as he looks towards the angry russian lady. No. No not angry. Excited. There is something she's found out, like a hound on the hunt. Now she wants the target. The inventor peers towards the files before waving a hand at them.

"JARVIS do something with those."

As he says it he turns to the Quinjet and raises his hands. His fingertips glow for a moment as the holofield paints them as he forms an open cage with his fingers and slowly collapses the cage.

The Quinjet projection shrinks at the manipulation of Stark himself until its only the size of a end table. The hands move again as he slides the image into the corner. Something to look at later.

Light from a scanner paints the documents as JARVIS commits them to memory.

"Build me a 3D model from those schemtics and project." He adds as he sits up and climbs to his feet. "…where did I put a shirt…"

"I believe you have one at the workbench, sir."

Tony stumbles over towards the workbench as the projectors begin to build a full 3D model of the mystery jet in place of the Quinjet that was once there.

The internals are still unfinished of course, but the outside seems entirely correct from the schematics.

"No, Bunny. You stay!" Struggling into one arm of a shirt the inventor thrusts out his free one to point towards Sally. "You have a dregree in aerodynamics and you're good with out-of-the-box thrust to weight. Might be familiar with the materials side as well." He shouts towards her as he fights with his shirt.

Towards Isa though he waves a hand. "Eh you're word is good enough for me. Besides JARVIS is already contacting Phil I'm sure."

"I am sir." Comes the slightly amused voice.

"So this is our mystery plane?"

Fortunately, the papers are too much of a distraction, and they prevent Rusalka Stojespal from taking her leave of the meeting. Also so does the hand that falls on her shoulder, heavy as a lead weight, grip like iron. That'll probably get more of a visceral reaction. No escape!

"<No. You stay,>" Isa warns, that piercing blue eye settling on Rusalka for a moment. "<You are here because I have permission to show you this. That permission comes directly from Agent Phillip Coulson.>"

In other words, it's pretty high on the totem pole. He is a Level Eight Agent, although Rusalka might not know that, or grasp the distinction.

Turning, Isa looks up as Stark summons the image to the room's holographic display. She doesn't even blink as he stretches; indeed, she's not even looking at him. Her eye is riveted on the growing design that practically fills the room. That eye slowly narrows.

"<You traitorous son of a bitch,>" she murmurs, mostly to herself; lost in thought. "<How in the Hell did you do it?>"

But then her attention is startled back to reality at the sound of JARVIS' proper British-accented voice.

Isa nods mostly to herself as she reviews the image. Everything looks correct to the limitations of her own schematics, recreated from the memory of what she'd seen. There's a lot missing, particularly the power plant, the complete extent of the internal reinforcement, and several other critical systems, including the communications gear.

"<Yes. This is our mystery plane. I have orders directly from Agent Phillip Coulson to find out how this schematic can outperform the best aircraft SHIELD had deployed on nearly every level.>" Isa jabs a finger at the display. "<I want to know how this son of a bitch managed to shoot down a quinjet and then escape the operational area at three times the velocity of an interceptor jet at a dead run.>"

She turns, sweeping a pen, stylus, or something similar off the nearest desk or workbench to jab toward the aircraft's hunchback, and menacing, low-slung turbines, and the monstrous air intakes.

"<This is your homework, Mister Stark; Sally Petrovna. I need to know what the power plant is. What the fuel system would be. The afterburners looked normal, but that tells me nothing. More importantly, I want to know how to stop it in aircraft that will be outperformed by this monstrosity every step of the way…>" Isa turns to eye both Stark and Stojespal, something deadly in her eye. "<I want to know how to break it. And I want to know if we can design one of our own.>"

Isa stares up at the holoprojection. Her expression is stony. "<I know that the company that made this is Icarus Dynamics. They appear to be a private corporation, possibly with independent backing, that operates out of Russia. Any information you can find on them would also be of use to SHIELD. Icarus has made themselves a priority when they shot down a SHIELD agent… and if they are doing what I think they are doing with this schematic…>" Trailing off, Isa shakes her head. "<The longer we delay in stopping this project from completing, the worse the outcome is going to be — for everyone.>"

Excited, certainly. A bit scary in her drive and determination, totally. Then again it's kind of cool for Rusalka to see the fires really lit for Isa, compared to the hell she'd been through and the confusion. If this has her going, if…if this was why she decided to get better that much faster? Very cool to see.

Also very cool to see JARVIS look over the designs and come up with a full projection, just as big - bigger, even - than the Quinjet that stood there before. She's about to retreat to the elevator when she's called out by Tony and clamped on by Isa. Rusalka can't help a tiny jump of surprise, followed by a "Yes sir. Ma'am." This startled hop, of course, has sealed her nickname as a permanent thing.

Her aerodynamics knowledge doesn't quite have a degree, but now's not the time to correct Stark. Knowing him, he'd just slap an honorary one on her so that he'd have been retroactively correct anyway - she's learned to anticipate such things in her short tenure here. At least Stark's fully clothed now, and she is safe to look upon him.

"Alright…then. The shape…" Sally thinks back to what Isa had said before about its sudden burst of speed. She can see there's a problem, and cobalt blue eyes give the thing a piercing stare before she starts walking around it, looking at the nose and the wingtips. There's something bothering her intuitively, but she can't see the math on it just yet. Only the shape, that something is…off.

Something Isa said finally strikes home. AGENT COULSON said she could be here? Maybe he's forgiven her. That helps get a little more determination, and a little less skittishly she nods. "<Yes. Let's see…>" She switches back to english, that being the language she's done much of her engineering classwork in. Isa goes on about the corporate side of things, which Rusalka tunes out. Instead she just looks at the airplane, before finally settling on something.

"This could not travel as fast as you say. The supersonic shockwave at that speed, ah…JARVIS, please? A little drawing?" She raises a finger, tracing the flow of air around the nose and wingtips. "In this shape, at that speed, it would tear its own wingtips off. There has to be a way for it to shift, but. These are not swing wings, or…or there's not even flaps. It has to have some sort…" Damn. It's a word she hasn't run into properly in English, so she switches instantly. "<There must be a skin elasticity and a flexible framework underneath, like the bones and skin of a bird. It needs some way to shift the shape of its wings slightly…and its body. Here, and here.>"

"…well if they are orders direct from Phil, I'm tempted to put them off considering he shot me. But you know, I'm in a curious mood so I guess I'll take a look at it." The Avenger rattles off as he starts to pace around the plane. His eyes flick from one area to the next as he goes. The bulky reinforcement. The odd sway-back to the plane. The bomber-like structure by the fighter-like manuvers.

"JARVIS factor in minimum av-gas needed for this kind of interception, minimum computer equipment for drone control, fly-by-wire systems and give me a thrust-to-weight for the kind of speed it was going." He snaps out as he reaches out to grab the image and twist it to get a better look at the areas Sally is pointing out.

"Good catch," He adds towards Sally, though his eyes don't leave the projection. "Icarus Dynamics put it together, but that doesn't mean they made everything in-house. Can't be that many places in the world you can get the kind of tech for this…and you're in one of them." He twitches the image back to its starting position as he flicks his gaze up towards Isa. "…so. What you think they are doing? Come on Redbird, don't keep me in suspence."

A smirk at that before he looks back to the picture. "There are only a handful of places they could make engines this advanced, and the air-frame alone is light-years ahead of most companies."

A pause again before he reaches out though the air, not even looking towards Isa and seems to pluck a new screen out that he flicks so it slides over to end up between Isa and Sally.

"Already working on countering. First I'm rebuilding a Quinjet from scratch, look the same on the outside but not on the inside…second." He indicates the file floating in the air. "Airburst EMP missiles. Unless its fully shielded, and its not if this speed is right…should knock out all the electronic systems onboard at least for a few seconds. Which should be enough, ejction systems are analog so they wouldn't be affected."

There's a flicker of subtle amusement as the girl tries to decide what title to call her by, but it isn't enough to distract the pilot from the problem in front of her. Isa glances to Stark, frowning. "May I smoke?" she asks, in English. It's either that, or she drinks coffee, or she paces. Actually, she's going to start pacing anyway.

Ordinarily she might fold her hands behind her back, but with what's left of her injuries, the cane is a necessity. She hobbles her way from the aft of the holographic aircraft toward the nose, not quite scowling as she watches Rusalka puzzle her way through it. There's no mistaking the recognition in the girl's eyes.

"<Agent Coulson,>" Isa confirms, to Rusalka. So get to work, is the unspoken rest of that statement.

It's a thundercloud expression that Isa wears when Rusalka implies the aircraft couldn't go as fast as described. "<If I saw this without having seen it for myself, I would say the same thing. The aerodynamics are all wrong.>" Isa jabs a finger at the floating design. "<But I have seen this thing fly, Sally Petrovna, because this is the thing that put me in the hospital the Friday before last.>"

Then Stark says he's tempted to put off the case because it's a direct order from Coulson. The look Isa gives him is one that promises she does in fact have the capacity to commit murder, and will do so if he actually does shrug it off. It's no mere hot temper. There's something deadly serious behind that wrath, and that wrath doesn't burn quite so bright until he specifically mentions not doing it because it's an order from Coulson.

One has to wonder what in the hell Agent Coulson did to earn her loyalty so completely. She takes his orders with far more gravity than she does anyone else's in SHIELD, although she takes them all quite seriously.

That murderous intent only faes when it's clear that he's going to do the work after all. She doesn't much care what his actual motivations are; what matters to her is that he does the work. This is something she can't do on her own. She's already exhausted her own possibilities.

Doesn't seem like she has a whole lot of sympathy over Tony having been shot by Coulson. She might have been quietly cheering Coulson on a little once she was lucid enough to understand what had happened.

"Chances are good that they did not make any of it in-house." Isa switches to English, all business once more, animosity forgotten. Her voice carries none of the usual gruff, gravelly tone; the accent is somewhat lessened as she focuses wholly on the work. She points at the turbines, and the fan-like protrusions made to diffuse the monstrous heat from them. "Agent Phillip Coulson wants to know if there are any special alloys that a design like this would demand. And I am also curious. If there is something whose purchases and commission can be tracked, that would be another clue in our favour."

Frowning, Isa studies the thing dubiously, the light of it reflected in her eye and on her solemn, scarred face. "I think they are designing a fighter to end all fighters. I think that the son of a bitch I was married to" What? "has managed to loose Pandora's Box on all of us. And I think that if Icarus Dynamics manages to complete this prototype, there are a lot of people who are going to lose their lives. It wil be sold to the highest bidder. And since when have you seen world leaders play nicely with one another? It will be war on a global scale, won by the highest bidder who can afford something like this."

Leaning on her cane, Isa scowls. "Tell me something I do not already know, Stark. I have been spending days with this." So many days, in fact, that Phil had to drop by and tell her to remember to sleep once in a while, because she looked as ragged as he sometimes does. So many days, in fact, that she can see bits and pieces of this schematic when she closes her eye. Come to think of it, her eye does look a bit red-rimmed; a bit bloodshot. "I cannot answer the questions I am asking you, or I would not be asking them."

"EMP?" Isa raises her red brow. "That is true, but there is another aspect. This appears to be a squadron leader, and the rest of its 'wingmen' are drones. They are fully functional, full-size fighter jets. Check your files. The second half details those. They are not manned, and they are more manoeuvrable than anything that a human can pilot. I think maybe the two are related, somehow — not in function, not as one controlling the other… but I have the sense, almost, that a blend of these two is what Icarus is after."

She actually looks troubled; her expression is haggard for a moment in the bright light of the holoprojection. "<That son of a bitch I was married to said he wanted to fix me,>" she growls, tone one of tightly-controlled rage. "<That I could fly all of the time, forever. I do not know what he had in mind, but it sounded sinister then, and it sounds sinister now.>" Her expression shifts into one of cold anger. "<I need to know what Icarus is doing so SHIELD can put a stop to it. And I need to know yesterday. If Hydra learns of them, or if Icarus learns of Hydra…>"

Her head shakes, and the stress lines under her eye are a little more pronounced for a moment. "<It would be a disaster on so very many levels.>"

"<I do not know if EMP would be enough, but I can tell you that Agent May was able to scramble the communication between the manned fighter and the drones. I do not know what frequency she was using; I would need to retrieve that information from her. I was somewhat busy trying not to die at the time.>"

Gulp. "Sir, in fairness, that was my fault…" The Supernanny marathon, though, that's totally Coulson. And then Stark goes into analysis, and Rusalka steps back to watch. And she reminds herself - think faster. Take a lesson from Tony. She watches as he gives JARVIS instructions, looking closer as the AI fills in the various most likely components.

To Isa, she nods. "I believe you. Then, clearly, it has to have some sort of, ah…" Pause. "Adaptive-elastic wing design, and even some of the body. So it maneuvers well at low and high speed…but." She looks over the hologram again, noting the size of everything.

And like Tony's final employment test for her… "It doesn't fit. If the engines are that powerful, and the airframe is that way, then…where is the fuel? If it has fuel and engines, it has no computers." She looks over at the wings; they're almost razor thin and flexible at the edges. "It could have some…but then it can't fly that long, can it? Only a few minutes." But it had enough fuel, clearly. "The engines have to be smaller somehow. And the heat from moving that fast, against the skin of the plane."

Isa's on the right track, definitely. "It would be a skin temperature, ah…at a guess, perhaps two hundred, two hundred fifty degrees. …Celsius." Twice the temperature of boiling water, and hot enough to cause it to glow, if it were steel. "Titanium alloys? A cooling system?" But then that wouldn't fit!

She diverts her attention, finally, and starts looking over the screen floating between herself and Isa. An EMP-based missile system, ingenious. "<So small. Yet, ah…>" She's not sure of the electrical capability, but she can at least say that on its face it should work. She's not going to question Tony about that, of course. "The pulse would also jam, or even damage, the radio system - its drone communications. Suddenly…" Her fingers flutter away.

Her fingers promptly freeze, as she realizes she's missed something, and Sally whips her attention back to the plane. Laser focused; he tunes out the conversation completely for a few moments. Materials. Heat. Engines. Blink. "Mr. Stark. May I?"

Tony waves a hand at Rusalka. "Feel free," He says as he pauses in his pacing. "Can I get you two coffee, tea, something stronger than coffee or tea?" He asks. "Smoking on patio only, otherwise Pepper shouts at me for awhile and then gives me this look where…" A pause. "…well its a bad look. Lets just say that."

"Bunny is right though," Stark replies with a nod. "No place for fuel. No place for the fly-by-wire systems. The place should be much bigger, and the heat-damage it would cause could be going close to reentry speeds. Cause I'm going to assume you're saying this thing is moving on the bleeding edge of hypersonic speeds."

A glance up towards the two of them. "I have one suit that could match that speed, and it took me a month to figure out how to wire the thing."

…but he did figure it out.

"Superlight and superstrong alloys. Some kind of composite. Energy shield system maybe…" A tilt of his head as he looks towards Sally a moment before focusing back towards the angry Isa.

…because she does sure look angry.

Eyes narrow slightly. "…thats what he said? 'You could fly forever.'…" A glance. "…JARVIS. Project the drone combat data from the drones to the combat data from what remote control, or advanced VI could do."

Numbers and flightpaths start to scroll across the screen as his eyes flick back and forth, trying to take in the information on the screen.

"Dammit, thats what I thought and I don't like it." Stark finally says. "Human-machine interfaces of some sort is what I'm guessing here. I'm guessing not volenteers." A flick of his gaze back to the plane. "Its gotta have some kind of system of control there, even as small as it is. With everything else…I'm guessing alien tech of some kind. Which is just what I love dealing with. Because people find it then apply it, then have no idea what its actually doing. Then it blows up, and gets out, and becomes sentiant and eats a city or something."

He takes a deep breath.

"Its happened before." He adds before looking back up towards Isa. "…the materials are gonna be costly and specific. Tracking them once we figure it out won't be too much of an issue. Oh and when you see May? Tell her I have a new Quinjet to approve."

While the others sort out the problem, the red-headed pilot leans on her cane, studying the schematic that she had put together. The additions and modifications are eyed carefully. Everything the others have done makes sense. That's why she wanted to bring it to them; why Coulson gave his sanction for her to do so despite the operational sensitivity of this thing.

She's furious, that much is a given, but she's showing a lot more restraint than she usually does when something has her livid. That fury is being directed and channeled very carefully.

At this point she's made no attempt to disguise the vitriol she's directed at her former husband, the man who had been piloting the bizarre-looking aircraft.

"So no moving parts, but an entire part of a fuselage that changes itself to suit." Isa frowns, ice-blue eye fixing on the hunchback fighter's wings. "I was not able to get a close look at the fuselage. You might ask Agent May, although I think she was busy fighting off the drones."

Stark Industries is a designated no-smoking area. Isa almost looks like she's going to say something about that, but she settles for clenching her hand around the cane. Although her knuckles are white from the scarring, the sound of them creaking is enough to suggest she's holding it very tightly.

The more she thinks about it, the more horrifying it really is. That insane lunatic didn't just want to siphon off her skills for these drones; he wanted to stuff her into a computer, and it's probably a permanent, one-way trip. Something like that had probably been his plan all along. Even Agent Carter had said as much, and Isa is inclined to give Agent Carter's opinion a great deal of weight.

"That is the problem. The power plant and fuel, they are mysteries to me. No physics on this earth can tell me what it is doing, because I do not know of anything that should be able to survive such fatigue and heat stress." Isa gestures toward the shielding around the turbines. "It is formidable at both speeds. I saw both."

It's tempting to pace, but her arm and her leg both ache. She shifts her weight against the cane uncomfortably. "Two hundred and fifty degrees?" Isa swivels her head to stare at Rusalka. "The heat generation, it must be insane."

Coffee, tea, or something stronger? Isa shakes her head. "No. Thank you. It is too late for coffee or tea. I do not drink very much alcohol any more. Two years was enough for me," she adds, bluntly. "I will not do it any more without a very good reason. Water, if you have it, I think."

Her attention turns back to the holoprojection. "Da. I am thinking it is on the bleeding edge of hypersonic speeds because I saw it do that." She frowns, though, as Stark suggests how hard it is to design a thing that wouldn't rip itself apart at those speeds. That's exactly her problem, and that's exactly why she brought it to Stark and Stojespal.

"Da," Isa says, tightly, as Stark reviews the scrolling data. If he should look over to her, he might note that her face is absolutely white with rage, even though (shockingly) she isn't yelling or otherwise making any sort of scene. "I do not know what they are doing, but whatever it is, it is not good, and it must be stopped." In fact, her voice is pretty level, even if her hands would be shaking if they weren't clamped over the cane.

She glances back to Stark. May? "I will see her when I go back to Triskelion. I am… staying with her, for the time being." There's a short pause. "Sort of."

Technically she's staying on the Bus at May's invitation, and working herself into exhaustion, but that's not really important. What's important right now is science! Also, answers, because Coulson wants them and so does Isa.

Her fingers creak over the curved handle of the cane. "I will not deny that the chance to bloody my former husband's nose is one I would relish. But this is much bigger than him. Much bigger than any of us. If Icarus is doing what I think they are doing… they are trying to build an AI that can pilot with more skill than any human being, subject to none of the physical limitations of the human body." Her eye locks onto the design, glaring. "And he wants to use me to do that, or more realistically, anything that will give him the advantage. And so do his private investors."

"Can you imagine what would happen if such a thing were released into the global black market? It would be unstoppable, except by those with powers. And even then I do not know how much they could do. The armies of the world would be brought to their knees, especially if it were adapted to have different systems of weapons. Say, a chemical weapons platform." Isa can't help a shudder of repulsion. "It would be a disaster."

She can't help an angry snarl. "I cannot believe I married that son of a bitch…!"

Permission given, Rusalka nods and then looks upwards a little bit. Just a momentary prayer winged to whomever might be listening, because of course she exists, before Sally stares back into the jet and walks around to the rear. "JARVIS? Please open my work files, and load, ah. Osevaya ottalkivayushchaya szhataya turbina. Current revision, and…calculate engine size for equal thrust levels."

A moment later a hologram appears, showing a very curious design for a turbine - from the outside it almost looks normal, but inside…there's tiny discs of energy lacing the inside of it. Very familiar ones, to Tony. It's thin, slim, barely half the width of the engines shown in the hologram…but too long to fit. "Mr. Stark, I was going to save this for a better…version, I suppose, but. This is an engine design I came up with to maximize power density. I showed Isa the concept a little while ago, but I've refined it a lot."

She gestures to the concept. "It uses repulsors to provide extra compression to the fuel-air mixture, and shapes it into an even more efficient and powerful flow. I was calling it the Turbo-Repulsor, or the 'Axial Repulsor Compression' turbine, since…" She looks at the beshirted Avenger, and gestures to his chest. "It needs an ARC reactor to work. This Tchernobog could not have such a thing. And these engines would provide the same performance, but." Her hand cuts off about a foot short of the end of the powerplant. "They're too long. But it would provide extra fuel room, and even coolant for the engine. Something this powerful…"

Shrug. "It runs destructively hot. If they are getting a power density to match this, or even do better…they cannot simply be using standard jet engines of any kind. Not…like this, at least. Yet it takes in so much air, with those intakes, and the skin…it has to have fuel of some kind. if it does shift its shape, it can enlarge or shrink those intakes to help cool itself, perhaps. Sorry." She takes a deep breath, then starts speaking almost as fast as he does.

"This won't work. It's too long. But it could be a counter, perhaps. Something to provide equal performance, to whatever they use for an engine. Maybe." She glances back at the Quinjet hologram, floating in the corner. Its engine pods, at least, are large enough for such a thing. A finger points back at her engine design. "At least, it has to have this level of power density, at least…two, two and a half times more than regular jet fuel. That allows a small engine. Larger fuel tanks. More room for avionics. Control computer. …Energy shield, perhaps," she concedes.

She shudders at the idea. A machine, locking someone into a computer - that's a terrifying thought. Belatedly, she finally raises her hand - "Ah…yes, tea please. Like Miss Potts prefers, if…that'd be alright?" No matter what, he's still Tony 'F.' Stark, as Sloane would say. And her boss. And perhaps in some ways a personal hero, at least as far as being an engineer. At least she's gotten over the nerves enough to ask!

Isa admits she's been staying with Agent May, and Sally laughs. "I had wondered where you had gone to, actually. When you stopped being at-home, noone else would say where you were…and the last I saw you, you were in about five pieces and Captain America was about to say your funeral rites!" Exaggerating, sure. Sorta. And maybe trying to take a little levity against Isa's angry tirade…what happened between her and her husband? Back from the dead, and…ugh. It's something she just pushes out of her mind for now…and remembering a name she'd heard them bring up. Sally then blinks innocently, glancing between the two of them. "Ah…what is 'Hydra?'"

Teenagers these days.

"She makes me go though her to OK any Quinjet redesigns," Stark explains as he turns the problems over in his mind. "…and I'm talking human-machine hybrid. Espicially if he's talking about you specificly. These ships don't fly as an AI would, even with the best AIs, no offence JARVIS. There is a matter of pure logic, these fly like humans. So I'm guessing personalities ripped out of a host. Either cyberneticly tethered or some mind of mind-transfer system into a computer system. So then you have personality of an ace pilot mated with the pure logic and ability to ignore physical stresses of an AI."

He taps the plane before he flicks a glance up towards Isa. "He is rally a fucking bastard if he's wanting to do this sort of thing."

Then back to the planes. "It would be a disaster of global porportions. I'm tempted to just call the Avengers and see if we can flatten the base. Short answer we could. Longer answer people might get away because we are usually pretty loud when we come in. Talk to Cap and Bucky maybe, they are better at quiet."

He waves a hand again and a tiny drone hovers out of nowhere, one cup of steaming tea for Sally and a glass of water for Isa.

A deep breath again as he glances towards Sally's details. "Extrapolate the power source is equivelent to an ARC reactor. Consider it something offworld, that allows it to survive the stress. If its something that can be reproduced then they can sell that as propritary tech and control the market entirely. I'll ask around and see if Asgard or any other place is missing something power sourcey."

They love to leave them around.

"And Hydra are nazis." A pause. "Its not nice to call them that, but they totally are. But anyway, short answer is they are jerks that want to 'save' the world by controling it and they really like to ruin my day so I return the favor."

A pause.

"Nice engine design by the way. I'll see if I can tweak it and fit it into the Quinjet. Modify it for repulsor systems and I'll see if I can figure a temporary ARC system to go in."

Isa keeps her single eye fixed on the design as Rusalka has her way with it, loading other schematics and incorporating them into the hypothetical schematic that the red-headed pilot had brought with her. Both of her hands remain settled onto the head of the cane, and she rests her weight slightly towards her right side.

She'd crashed a quinjet and lived. Then, SHIELD had regrown her shattered limbs. How on earth do they manage that? If she had gone to a conventional hospital, it would have been the end of her. She wouldn't have gotten out for a month of Sundays and they would have told her she'd never fly again… and that prognosis would have stuck, this time.

As it is, two weeks after her fall over St. Petersburg, she's on her own two feet. True, she has to use a cane, and her formerly shattered limbs ache fiercely from time to time, but she's whole again.

She listens with rapt interest as Rusalka describes a turbine driven by repulsors; a turbine that can shape its output for incredible control and power. It's a bold idea, but apparently the pilot sees some merit in it, by the way she's frowning to herself and nodding faintly. Her eye is unfocused, but her mind is whirling at the implications of an engine like this.

"<They would have all the power they need,>" she comments in Russian, "<and even if the engine does run hot, they have the means to dump any waste heat that might threaten the turbines. Ingenious, if that is indeed what they are using.>"

Her eye narrows, before her brow arches again, shrugging at Rusalka. "<Yes. Well, no. It is not exactly staying with Agent May. More staying in a place that falls within Agent May's domain." She gestures to indicate the schematics. "As soon as I can get you the proper security clearance, I will show it to you, because I will need more of your help with this.>"

Almost mechanically she takes the glass of water and takes a long draw of it, swallowing — and almost choking on it. Funeral rites? "<What? No! He was merely introducing himself to me.>"

What? Agent May vets all the quinjet designs? That draws a smile out of the red-headed pilot. That makes a lot of sense, too. She's the one who's likely to be flying them the most, aside from Isa, and May has exactly the sort of no-nonsense personality to deal with Stark.

The smile fades, replaced with that thundercloud expression again.

"<Yes, he is. It disgusts me to think I was married to him, however short. That I shared my life with him.>" Isa's expression is one of pure vitriol. "<Him, and his investors. I do not think he is actually so high up in the corporation, unless he has even more secrets than I had thought. But if he were so high in its echelon, I do not think they would have him piloting. Test pilots, we are expendable, to a certain extent. You never know what will happen.>"

Shifting her weight somewhat uncomfortably, she leans her cane against her thigh, reaching up with her right hand to rubs at her face. She looks a little smaller after her tirade; a little more weary than she usually does. It's a little demoralising to know that the last thirteen years of her life were utterly without meaning; that the last five, the absolute worst of them, were in a way for nothing.

She's been trying very hard not to think about that emotional landmine, and to date, Coulson's kept her busy enough with case work to avoid it.

"<Good. I will bring this information back to Agent Phillip Coulson, and if there is anything more that he would like to find, I will pass it along, if he does not do that himself.>" Isa tilts her head. "<Keep that schematic, if you want it. I have another copy of my own.>"

She drains her glass of water, setting it aside and turning for the doorway. "<I should go. It is late, and I am tired, and I am in pain. I will return to the Triskelion for now. Contact me if you discover anything else. I would like for you to come as close as you can to building this thing, but do not prototype it just yet. I will wait, and ask for permission from Agent Phillip Coulson.>" She looks back to the other two, blue eye lingering on each in turn.

"<You understand why this must be stopped as soon as possible.>" It's unleaded nightmare fuel, the kinds of things that could happen with an aircraft like this in the wrong hands. "<To date, we do not think that Hydra and Icarus Dynamics are working together yet. It is possible they are snapping at each other, and it is possible they are playing us, too. We simply do not have any information… if you should happen to find anything out, Tony Stark, please do not hesitate to let us know at SHIELD. Or to tell me, personally, or Agent Phillip Coulson.>"

Shifting her weight, she starts slowly for the elevator. Her movements are stiff and slow, with a deliberation that suggests pain. "<For now I must return and rest. Thank you for hearing me out, and thank you for the effort you have put in so far.>" A half-smile is spared for both. "<Sally Petrovna, if I could impose upon you for one last ride for the evening?>"

With that, provided neither has any good, compelling reason to stop her, the red-headed pilot slowly makes her way toward the elevator and down to the street, where Rusalka's beloved Lotus is waiting.

Personalities…people…ripped into a machine. "It's like a living coffin…" There's a shudder from the girl as Tony elaborates, though she nods entirely in agreement at Tony's description of Isa's husband. That agreement is still buried in confusion - she'd thought he was dead, and had been a loving, gentle person. Now…he's alive, and someone like this? It's a bit to take in.

The drone appears, bearing tea, and it's gratefully accepted with a long, slow sniff and an equally slow sip. It's a measure of how shaken she is by the idea, and the talk of flattening the base and destroying Icarus utterly, that she slips back into her homeland Ukrainian for a moment. "Dyakuyu…er, t-thanks."

To Isa's explanation, Sally gives a nod and a little bit of a laugh. Russian, again, for the pilot - she knows Tony's fluent. "<I see. I saw him, actually, as he left your room. I stayed that day and watched over you. Just in case, you know. He is a good man, Captain America.> Right?" The last at her mentor.

Tony speaks of the strange. Offworld. Aliens…and gods, and magic, and now the fashysty returned - her own great grandmother's nemesis. She hunches down a moment, squatting and looking up at the airplane just to get a different view of it, from below. It gives her a moment to think, as she takes another drink of the tea. Hydra. A very active Hydra, apparently, one Tony has fought before. Sally's eyes settle on Isa, after a moment, recalling a conversation they'd had and certain opinions of the Stojespal family.

"Old war," she finally says to the pilot.

Then her attention turns back to Tony, and she nods - blushing a little. "Thank you, sir. I meant to show it to you at a better time, but. You understand. It was Dummy's idea, really." Nervous now, she's babbling a little. "I was just working on your car project, and well…one thing led to another, you see."

Isa gets ready to leave, and Sally stands promptly, finishing the tea. "Sir, thank you for the tea. I'm her ride, so." She looks back at the plane, at the EMP missile, the Quinjet, everything. "I…if I can help, I will. I'll put together everything we have tomorrow morning, and take it to Agent Coulson, if you want." You know, so that you don't have to go there and Rusalka does something to get him shot again, her eyes say. "But…"

And with this her eyes are honest, that deep blue gaze staring into his own. "Thank you…for every opportunity you have blessed me with. My oath remains always, Mr. Stark." If he has an answer, probably something flippant, she'll wait long enough to hear - then dash off, before Isa decides to do something rash like hire a taxi because she took too long.

Oh, will she have questions for Isa on the way home.

"Steve? He's a stick in the mud. A home grown wet blanket! The American Milk Toast!" Tony replies at the question of Steve comes up. Then a pause. "But yeah. He's a good guy. If you like good guys. Which most girls don't. Which is why it took him nearly a centuary to get a damn date. But yeah. He's a good guy. And if you tell him I said that I'll revoke your security clerance."

A smirk towards Sally as he spouts that off, then a flippant wave towards Isa as his eyes stray back to the design for the superfighter.

"And don't worry, Bunny. You'll live to regret that oath eventually." He adds as they step into the elevator for the quick ride down to the bottom.

Both gone the inventor stares at the image for a moment. His head cants slightly to the side. A shadow of a frown takes form for a moment.

"JARVIS. Brew me up a pot of my special coffee." He finally states as he lets his eyes fix on the fighter. "…they built you pretty good…" He mutters to himself before his eyes stray towards the Quinjet design in the corner. Those eyes brighten just slightly. A wide slash of a smile replaces the shadow on his face.

"…but I can do better."

…oh Isa. What have you done.

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