|Ava Starr / Ghost (stealthyy) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2019-07-12 19:36:00
|Entry tags:||-complete, ava starr, hope van dyne, t'challa|
As soon as Ava received a message that Hope, Scott, Shuri, and T’Challa had figured out conclusive results from the project involving quantum healing particles, she was already on her way toward the lab. Ever since she knew they were all working on it, she tried to busy herself in order to avoid checking her phone over and over - both afraid that something might go wrong, and worried that it might not be possible for the healing she was experiencing currently to truly become permanent.
At least now she didn’t have to wait any longer to find out. As she walked toward the lab, Ava felt hesitantly hopeful and a little nervous - not unlike the day that Hope and Scott gathered to help retrieve the particles once she first arrived in this universe. Although her emotions that day had been much stronger - given how much pain she was in at the time.
But if this actually worked, and they figured out a way for her condition to fully stabilize permanently… there was little else that would truly hold her back, when it came to living the life she wanted to live. Something she had been fighting for since her days back at SHIELD, with their false promises to cure her.
What T’Challa and the others were doing for her was a priceless, immensely generous gift; and she still could hardly believe that all of them had gathered together to work toward this, for her. Bill would tell her it wasn’t surprising, and that she deserved it, and much more. Still, she had a little ways to go before people helping her without secret motives became the expected norm.
Right now I’m in a state of mind
I wanna be in like, all the time
This was Shuri’s current favorite song (or ‘current,’ we should say, because with the time jump it was about four years old in 2023) and she had been playing it in the lab for the past couple of hours. Hope had learned to tune it out and focus on the work - she really didn’t mind the music selection, she found it amusing (and similar to Cassie’s tastes in tunes), but T’Challa had himself a headache.
He pinched the bridge of his nose as Shuri danced and shimmied. ...picking it up, picking it up, lovin’ and livin’ now we turn it up and none of this made any sense.
“Your friend is here, brother,” she spoke up brightly after she observed a particular heat signature on her lab sensors and, thank Bast, turned the music down a notch or two. But that was probably so she could better tease T’Challa (‘if Ava looked like M’Baku in a dress, you would never have put her in charge of the War Dogs’); Hope tried not to laugh.
“I’ll go let her in,” she offered, and a chuckle slipped out anyway as she scanned her badge by the door to exit and meet Ava in the lobby.
Ava greeted Hope with a smile as she approached the lobby. “How are things looking so far?” she asked.
She was eager (as well as a little nervous) to hear about the results they had found, in addition to hopefully learning a bit more about what her upcoming duties would be when it came to the Hatut Zeraze. She was still a little shocked at the offer for such a significant position, but felt that she was ready, and couldn’t wait to have a chance to be back in the field (she really wasn’t meant to work behind a desk or a counter). And if she was lucky, she’d be working without the looming threat in the back of her mind about if and when her abilities would start to unravel.
It was an exciting prospect - fieldwork, travel, getting to lead a team dedicated to the protection of Wakanda and it’s people. With SHIELD, she hadn’t taken any joy or pride in her missions; they were a means to an end and some of them had left her with emotional scars that had yet to heal. This would be different though, she could finally feel satisfaction and pride in using her abilities; in doing something good.
“Everyone getting along ok?” She figured they all would - particularly Scott and Shuri. They shared the same youthful exuberance, regardless of their difference in age.
“Yeah, it’s been great,” Hope replied honestly - no lies detected, because she had loved working with Shuri and T’Challa. Shuri was a couple years older than Cassie (though that time jump had been one hell of a whiplash), so she found Scott’s dad humor to be actually amusing as opposed to embarrassing - and they both really did have that youthful exuberance about them. “Shuri designed the synthesizer and we all put it together - though it was mostly her and Scott, since he’s an official engineer. I know he really liked doing it.” For Scott, it had been awhile since he’d had an actual engineering job so he jumped at the chance to get back into it - Hope didn’t blame him.
She entered the lab and showed off the newly-built synthesizer with all the grace and charm of any Price is Right model. Ooooh, aaaah. “So here it is,” she introduced Ava to her new best friend. “Basically, the machine automates the assembly of particles - replicates them. We have cartridges that are the building blocks; we stored healing particles and used them for the initial input and then made a collection unit’s worth of new, replicated particles without going to the quantum realm. Now we’re ready to let you absorb the new particles and see how they take?”
“The machine has remembered the structure of the particles,” Shuri piped in. “It should be exactly like absorbing healing particles straight from the quantum realm. Your body will not know the difference, or so we presume. What do you think, brother? About her body?” Har, har.
T’Challa was standing by the transference chamber. He rolled his eyes. “If you wish to try it out, Ava, we are all here,” he assured. But things would go well. The King was certain of it.
Ava was glad to hear that everything was working well. “You certainly got it all done quickly, but then again, put a bunch of geniuses in a room together,” she said with a smile and a shrug. She hadn’t expected they would have results so quickly, but truthfully; it was a great relief to her that they did. Less time to wait and wonder. “I’m sure I’ve said it before and will likely say it again a thousand times, but thank you, really,” she said emphatically just before they entered the lab. They’d all just have to deal with her profuse gratitude for a while.
Ava’s observation skills were sharp, thanks to years of being an operative; so she caught the nuance of that particular back and forth between brother and sister. But her nerves were all lit up in anticipation, so she filed it to the back of her mind for now; chalking it up to sibling related taunting. After all, Shuri was pretty relentless in that department, much to everyone’s amusement (Ava included).
“I’m ready,” she said, stepping up to the chamber. “How long will it take?” she asked, taking a certain comfort in the reassurance she saw in T’Challa’s eyes. “Not like I’m in a hurry, I just wondered if I should expect this to be similar to the first time,” she looked back toward Hope then. She’d been in a great deal of pain when they had done this before, and she remembered precisely the moment when the particles started to ease that and give her back solidity and control. But she was too stunned to really track the passage of time then, so she didn’t remember how long she’d been in the chamber.
The effect from Janet had been instantaneous, thirty seconds maybe, but it hadn’t lasted forever - this was different, it would take more time. They had more particles now - more particles meant a longer-lasting healing effect. “Give it like...thirty minutes maybe?” Hope suggested. “It’s longer than the first instance because it’s like, a triple dose. Maybe a quadruple one.” Meant to last a long, long while - and if they had to replicate more particles, they could do so quickly. But the goal was for the particles to cure Ava’s condition completely with enough exposure.
It wouldn’t overload her, that Hope was sure of - they were all sure of that. They’d tested the effect thoroughly and besides, at one point the plan had been to absorb all the quantum healing energy from Janet - which would have surely killed mom dearest, had logic and reason not intervened. If that wouldn’t cause an overload, this wouldn’t either.
“I won’t go anywhere,” T’Challa assured, as Hope slid open the door to the chamber.
“I will, I am going to get some ice cream,” Shuri announced. Bast, again? T’Challa didn’t know how his sister didn’t gain three-hundred pounds everytime she visited the United States.
Ava nodded back at Hope. “Thirty minutes, got it.” It was a pretty short amount of time, all things considered. Thirty minutes for a lifetime of never having to worry about her molecules ripping apart and stitching back together in agonizing repetition. She would have stayed in there for days, weeks even; if that was what it took to complete the process.
She held T’Challa’s gaze for a moment while Hope opened the door to the chamber, as if silently thanking him for sticking around through the process. His presence was reassuring and solid, both things she appreciated. The moment was broken by Shuri’s comment, which Ava couldn’t help but chuckle at. It helped distract her a little from the nervousness.
No point in wasting another moment, Ava took a deep breath and stepped in, nodding for Hope to close the door as she positioned herself in the center. At least this time, she hadn’t started off being in crippling pain, and she knew a little bit of what to expect.
This is going to work. It has to. It will. Over and over she told herself those words, reminded herself what Bill had said earlier that day - that if there was a chance for her to be healed permanently; it was worth the risk. Which she knew already, of course; but still it helped to hear her mentor say it as well.
Shuri had her Kimoyo beads, so she could be summoned if anything went awry - even so, T’Challa asked her not to go far. Just in case. Hope adjusted the mechanisms for the transference chamber - timing it so that the waves would begin in thirty seconds, and shut off in approximately thirty minutes. Then she took the canister of replicated particles - and said a silent prayer to the gods of quantum healing - to place them into the correct slot in the chamber.
There. Done. Now they’d see what happened.
The coils of the chamber illuminated similar to the way the storage ring had when the particles were resting - it was almost like being in a tanning booth, though these rays were far less damaging. Not damaging at all, actually - in fact, they would have the opposite effect. Those waves looked like heat on asphalt, the way they shimmered - and sunk into Ava, while she was in there to let herself be immersed.
“It looks good so far, yes?” T’Challa asked, sliding toward Hope who was manning the controls and observing Ava’s vitals - heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
“So far, so good,” she agreed.
It felt similar to the last time she had been in the chamber, but with some subtle differences. It was not as dramatic as the first time, where she had felt the healing particles stitching her molecules together bit by bit; resulting in a gradual lessening of the pain she’d felt her whole life. That had felt like finally being able to breathe again.
This time it was as if the particles were settling into her molecules almost heavily; but not in a way that caused pain or alarm in her. It felt odd, but she trusted that it was nothing to be concerned over. Her feet were rooted to the floor of the chamber, and she tried her best to simply focus on breathing in and out as the waves washed over her; repeating her little reminders in her head that things would work out, and she’d be alright. Better than alright, in fact.
She glanced out at the lab, seeing Hope and T’Challa monitoring the controls. Their expressions were neutral, which was a good sign. No panic or hurrying about to change anything; which meant things were going according to what they had expected. All that was left to do was wait.
The allotted time passed quickly - before Hope knew it, she was opening the door to the chamber (and eagerly awaiting to hear how Ava was feeling). The scientist in her was absolutely giddy with the idea of learning more about how these created-in-a-lab particles actually worked, but overall, the parts of her that were actually compassionate (did those truly exist?) was happy with the thought of easing the suffering of someone she’d come to call a friend.
“Okay, here we go - “ The door slid open and Hope went to assess their molecularly stable friend. Fingers crossed. “How are you feeling, Ava?”
Shuri returned to the lab then, ice cream cone in hand. “Oh, it worked! That’s good, but I knew it would.”
“You are ridiculous,” T’Challa told her, but he too was curious about Ava’s general state right now.
“Good so far,” she answered, a little light headed and giddy - but that didn’t have anything to do with the procedure, it was more so the result of her own excitement, and the sensation she had running through her body - that things felt like they worked better. Her limbs could move fluidly without a hint of instability or a flicker of pain. She didn’t know how to explain it. “I feel… stronger, more solid,” she answered. Normally, her abilities gave her enhanced strength, but this was different.
Before, that strength was hard to get a sense of when her body was so rarely stable for more than a few moments without flickering apart. Now, when she breathed in and out, she could actually feel it in a way she hadn’t before.
She moved about the room a little bit, doing a quick test of her abilities just to make sure - flickering and going entirely invisible for a few moments, then returning to normal. She was able to phase through the nearest solid surface with ease, and when she willed herself to regain solidity - it worked, without a hitch. Her face lit up with a hopeful smile, filled with joy as she rejoined her companions.
“I think it worked,” she breathed, eyes shining; about to practically bounce off the walls with happiness.
She wasn’t faking that - Hope could tell. Not that she was concerned about deception involving Ava’s condition, but she wanted to be extra sure that the replicated particles did their job. This seemed to confirm just that. “That’s so great - I’m really glad,” she breathed a sigh of relief, feeling some tension dissipate from her bones.
But then Shuri pointed something out. Ever the scientist as well, this one. “We will have to test essentially every scenario - what I mean is, we want to make sure your body holds together even in times of duress and great exertion,” she said.
“A jog in the park?” T’Challa suggested.
“Some sparring, pushing your abilities to their limits, running, and you could have sex,” Shuri added. Everyone stared at her. “I am being serious!”
“I guess that’s a good point,” Hope acquiesced.
Leave it to Shuri to keep things blunt. Ava wasn’t entirely taken aback by what she’d said, because it did make sense. She needed to push herself and her abilities, see if anything would go awry. And yes, obviously, sex was a more pleasant way of exerting oneself rather than going for a run or sparring. Actually, sparring was a close second to sex. A combination of the two would be most preferred, but she was getting ahead of herself.
“It’s a shame you’re engaged,” she said to Hope, flashing a wink. Only teasing, of course. She liked women as well as men, but Hope and Scott were strictly friends to her. T’Challa, on the other hand, she might have let her gaze settle on him just a touch longer than necessary.
Ava had a few short lived flings over the past few years, nothing that lasted because her life was too hectic and her focus elsewhere. Now though, especially since she had more control over her abilities and was able to reliably touch without phasing; the suggestion of Shuri’s did make her consider a few things.
“I’m not opposed to the idea,” she answered. “Probably best to start with sparring for now.” There, that ought to kill some of the rising tension in the room, or was that just her imagination?
Aw. Hope found herself slightly flustered at that comment - she wasn’t quasi-propositioned (even teasingly) by women very often (or men, for that matter - it was like years of being an ice princess permanently stamped a ‘don’t fuck with me’ sign on her forehead and, really, hit on her at your own peril). As a general rule she preferred the D, but had her curious moments at boarding school.
Though she noticed where Ava’s actual interest was, and she wanted more detail about that later. Gossip - it was the universal uniter, wasn’t it?
“Perhaps,” T’Challa agreed about the sparring, because he wasn’t about to admit out loud that he would jump to have sex with Ava for...science. To test the effectiveness of the particles. And at his sister’s suggestion. “I may have an opportunity for that, actually. A War Dog assignment.”
“We’ll leave you be, then,” Hope declared. “Hey Shuri, so...maybe a hot dog to wash down that ice cream?”
And that was all she needed to say.
Honestly, the ‘don’t fuck with me’ was more of Ava’s speed than wholesome and cheery, and she did grin a bit at Hope’s moment of being flustered. Harmless flirtation was good for the soul ok.
It was probably why she liked T’Challa as well - there was clearly a vibe of ‘don’t fuck with me’, but beneath that was a man she’d come to know as considerate and caring, both of his country and other people. This entire experience today with the chamber was evidence of that. He was hard not to like. And, because she had eyes; she was well aware of the fact that he was also very good looking. So that both did and did not help right now.
“Have fun,” Ava smiled as the two women departed, thanking them both once more. Then it was just herself and T’Challa in the lab, and boy that tension was hard to set aside. She was convinced she wasn’t purely imagining it at this point, but he’d mentioned a mission so her head went back to business rather than other less appropriate thoughts.
“What is the assignment?”
T’Challa needed to re-focus as well; he could just hear Okoye and Shuri telling him don’t freeze (or do something else considered embarrassing) and he attempted to follow that advice best he could. Did it work? Well, he hoped so.
Anyway, yes, the assignment. “Kalik Bay Harbour,” he started. “In South Africa - it is a very quaint sort of place, a small fishing village. There are rumors a relic of some sort washed ashore after one of the undersea quakes we’ve been monitoring and studying. It caused a flurry of activity, but my spies were not able to deduce what exactly the relic was or why it was picked up so quickly - I can only guess because it is something powerful, something that should not fall into the wrong hands.”
Which of course meant it very likely did already. And they’d have to deal with the fallout - but first, he wanted to know what they were dealing with. “Travel to Kalik Bay, see what you can find out. Does that sound feasible?”
“Of course,” she responded, both eager to get back into the field to test out her abilities, and because she needed to burn off a bit of this excess energy and tension. From the look on Hope’s face just before she’d left; Ava had a feeling there would be a chat about all of this in the future. Which was good actually; Ava was in need of a second (and feminine) perspective when it came to this particular situation.
“I’ll be in and out without being seen,” she reassured. Unless she needed to interact with the locals, of course. But most of the reconnaissance work she did was best completed via the use of her abilities. For something like that to wash up on the shore of a small fishing village was unusual, but it was definitely best to investigate as soon as possible, especially if it was responsible for the earthquakes.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go a couple rounds?” Of …sparring. Yep, only that. There was a brief suggestive smirk before she slipped back into professional mode. “I can head out to Kalik Bay. Where should I report once the job is done?”
“Tempting,” T’Challa replied smoothly, with a half-smile, and he meant what he said - it was tempting, but Ava ought to focus on the mission first and foremost. He did not have a great feeling about anything that could potentially wash ashore after a bout of powerful quakes. “Just come by the penthouse. The top floor of 30 Warren.”
She could report there and also...spar with him there. Or further test the limits of those healing particles. That way she would get the full scope of information, yes. This was to help her during her healing process, nothing more.
Ava nodded. “I’ll be back in New York in a few days,” she said, then took her leave.
So it was to be business first, and ill-advised flirting later. A solid plan. Really though, she shouldn’t be flirting with him at all, even though it was fairly harmless at the moment. The potential for things to go badly was there, considering they worked together. But she’d worry about all that later.
Her thoughts might stray to the tilt of his barely there smile once or twice on the flight to South Africa. It couldn’t be helped.