Who: Team Science (Jane, Scott, Tony) What: quantum particle talk! When: prior to the warnings being lifted
Tony hadn't really left his home lab since the first evening, after a talk with Asgard's Valkyrie. He wasn't being characteristically hyperverbal. The green smoothie he just finished had the distinct aroma of vodka to it. So did Tony. This is because he ran out of scotch, and that unfiltered (probably illegal) 'rocket fuel' he made for Asgardian constitutions would cause liver failure in a matter of days.
Luckily for everyone involved, Tony considered himself a 'functional' alcoholic. He was social drinker when the times were good. When times weren't so good? A different story. Hello darkness, my old friend.
Times weren't so good right now. It was sinking in just how many people he lost over the course of his life. Parents, mentors, people who helped him, Pepper and their child. Sleep wasn't easy to find. Pepper wasn't there to rein him in or get him to focus on anything else, other than work. Other people's problems and hitting the lab to brainstorm was how he kept moving one step forward rather than crumbling. Like everyone around him was trying to do.
When he worked, he facerolled right into it. Including finishing a crash course in quantum physics. Ever since Hope and Scott showed up, ever since he got wind of the sort of nanotech coming out of Wakanda, Tony was interested in tiny tinkering while making things go BOOM, big time.
Speaking of boom? That was the sound of his brain exploding after looking at their latest quantum mechanical model tests. They were all seeing just how bendy they could get with the math and modifying the test equipment, then matching it up with the data he and Banner had gotten off the scepter, before the Mind Stone was removed and ended up in Vision's forehead.
"I need more coffee," Tony suddenly said out loud, shaking his head to clear it. "Anyone want some espresso? I can roll out an eye-vee. Tap into a good vein. We'll be golden."
The last place on Earth Scott would ever think to find himself spending a never ending assortment of restless days and nights would be with Tony Stark. Yet the last place on Earth could be just about anywhere if you really thought about it for any one of them. Scott didn’t want to think about who else he’d lost. He hadn’t bothered to try and call Maggie or Cassie because he didn’t want an answer. And he hadn’t gotten any calls asking…
So he focused on what was important. Jane Foster, Tony Stark and he had at least one very great thing in common--a work ethic.
They could put the world and everyone else aside to collaborate their skills and minds to do what they could. Right now, that was using the Quantum Particles he’d collected as an energy source. Everything else didn’t really matter. Others coped in their own way, lashing out and taking their pain out on others while everyone was experiencing loss. But that just wasn’t productive at all. Not to stop Thanos, not to protect what was left of the world, or anything.
It was nice and stereotypical that the science-minded could just come together and collectively work around the clock. Coffee, snacks, tea, unwarranted naps on top of their desks, and the random breakthrough discussions as each person worked on their part.
Quantum Energy was extremely powerful and untreated territory. Which was good and bad. With the Pym and Van Dyne’s notes they had help.
Scott was busy recording the data from their test and working on statistics for how much energy could be pulled from each particle, what it would amount to, for how long, and how it could be dispersed without ripping a hole in Earth’s molecular structure. “I never used drugs but even the guys in prison were very particular about not sharing needles.” He blinked tiredly, looking over his shoulder at Tony. “We should probably eat something first or we’ll be doing more work over the toilet seat...When was the last time we ate a thing? Jane? We ate today, right?”
At least they could all coexist peacefully through their pain under wit, poor jokes, and keeping each other alive. Mostly. Delerium really brought people together.
“You’re asking me?” Jane had been wearing the same T-shirt for the last two days and there was still a crease on her cheek from her last nap on the couch. Like the rest of what was left of Team Science, Jane had been almost locked in the lab since everything. Tony and Scott had lost the people they loved most in the world. Unlike the two of the two, the person Jane loved most in the world occasionally turned up to fetch coffee or perform manual labor. It was the least she could do.
(And a good distraction from thinking about how Jane’s mom wasn’t answering her calls).
“I dunno.” She tapped a few keys. “Tony, can you check this for me? The coefficients are making me crosseyed.” Jane was a physicist but her specialty was much larger bodies than the Pym particles they dealing with. She might be a genius but she was the kind that had to work for it. Tony was a savant and this was too important to get wrong.
"I'm on a liquid diet," Tony said as he walked over, cup of coffee in hand. That wasn't entirely true. He was picking at fruit, nut, and coconut trail mix for hours. Pizza boxes were piled up. He was grazing in small doses between microsleep naps, trying to stave off grieving, and set his sights on how to stop Thanos. In retrospect, it was a good thing he started going into nanotech too, because all the tiny stuff wasn't smashing his brain to pieces just yet. He was currently down to a dull headache.
A quick look at all the numbers and Tony nodded, "Looks good. We've done our best to account for any particle degradation while we get the functional renormalization results charted. Good news is we can probably see how it reacts with the Mind Stone that Shuri is trying to get out of Vision's head."
Tony winced. Not only were they going to take Vision offline, but they were going to need more samples. They needed to get a better idea of how to aim the particles at a precise pinpoint location, and ways to manipulate them to the same vibrational frequencies as the Mind Stone. Based on the dreams, they had to find a different solution now that Wanda was dead. And that reminded him that Pep was dead, and he couldn't think about that.
Lucky for them. Tony expected that the shelter order would be lifted any time now. There were no new cases of anyone turning to dust since the event.
In the meantime, they had discussed various applications. They ranged from how to manipulate energy patterns, molecular vibrational frequencies associated with that, space-time manipulation, quantum energy application, time vortexes and other things from the notes Hope and Scott had on the Quantum Tunnel runs. Speaking of which?
"Here's the bad news. We're gonna need more particles soon," he told Scott. "I hope you're up for another tunnel run? That order's gonna be lifted soon. We can hightail it back to the S.I. building then and prep you to go in."
Scott could only give a delirious huff and an almost smile to the liquid diet response. As he said before, going that route would end up in a ‘liquid’ end. Yay, potty jokes to ease the pain. Blinking down at his notes while Jane and Tony conversed, he made sure his data correlated with what she had. One single miscalculation could destroy...god knew what at a molecular level. Which probably didn’t help that they all were so tired and restless. Maybe they could eat something, take a twenty--no that was too long--a fifteen minute nap, and feel a small sprinkle of energy.
Scott deflated as Tony explained the need for more particles, letting his head fall into his hands and pressing tightly to his pressure points. “Yeah, I had a feeling we would. We’ve got to be careful, taking so much energy from the Quantum plane and bringing it here. If we get more, the amount needs to be precise. And we need to store them separately.” Hank probably would be highly against all of this but...Scott wanted to think that it was all for the cause of protecting what was left from Earth. “Alright. But no texting or playing Candy Crush while I’m in there. I don’t wanna get stuck for the third time.”
"Whoa now. It's Bubble Witch and I kick ass at it, because it's all based on trajectories," Tony said, while he finally took some Science Team advice and attempted to eat some....uhh? He checked the bag. Granola clusters. Right. There's some fiber to add to the potty jokes. It does help when dealing with the pain. A little bit. Even if the pain didn't go away.
"I'll get the molecular storage set up in the basement below the Tunnel," Tony said. "Once we're entirely out of particles, we can get it cranked up. We'll Shrinky Dink you. Gather some particles. Don't get you stuck in there. Continue. We got this."
He hoped they had it. They had to have something to use to blow up an Infinity Stone, and then deal with Thanos and his cronies.