From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

B, Bruce, Flicker, Regan, Tony Stark, Yuehai

End of January, 2016

"{... Have you maybe. Consider. Slowing /down/?}"


<NYC> Bruce's Lab - Stark Tower - Midtown East

This capacious room contains gleaming expanses of lab bench framed with a backdrop of work stations, fume hoods, spectrometers, centrifuges, and other, more arcane research equipment. Also, an extremely advanced coffee machine that the unobservant might easily mistake for research equipment. Holographic interfaces hover over some of the computer terminals, displaying charts and spreadsheets and diagrams. A reinforced isolation chamber occupies one corner, its softly lit interior--visible through a window that stretches across one entire wall--contains a folding cot.

An expansive 3D holographic display above one of the workstations shows a flow chart linking a number of matrices, each labeled with a different upper limb motion: "index finger flexion", "wrist adduction", "elbow extension", and so on. Perched on a lab bench below this dizzying spread, Bruce wears a maroon shirt with the top button undone, dark gray slacks, and black Oxfords. He has shucked his labcoat and draped it over the back of a nearby chair, and has his thick, black-rimmed glasses in his hands. "{So, I've finally finished compiling the immense amount of data we gathered on Mister Allred's ah...unique neurobiology,}" he gestures at the flow chart over his head and explains in smooth, Quebecois French. A disembodied computerized voice repeats his words in somewhat stiff but technically accurate Spanish. "{With the bioinformatics in hand, we've got a shot at creating a custom prosthetic control program...which will require a processor able to keep up with. All of that.}"

"{Keep up with /him/. Huh. No pressure though?}" B's stilted Spanish at least sounds cheerful about the prospect of this challenge, admittedly. Lying on her stomach atop a workstation, legs crossed at the ankles and knees crooked up behind her, she has her chin propped in one hand -- her other is flicking claws to scroll thoughtfully through Bruce's display. "{I can work with this...}" Though as her black eyes slant sidelong towards their subject her smile slants juuust a little sideway. "{... Have you maybe. Consider. Slowing /down/?}"

At the moment, Flicker doesn't look particularly overclocked at all. Slouching into a chair not far from B where he's recently returned from retrieving food for the others. Just kind of lazily draped into the seat, one leg tucked up beneath himself, busily peeling the foil back from a falafel wrap. His brow quirks up at B's request. He eyes Bruce's data curiously. Flicks bright green eyes back to B. Turns one hand over, ve-e-ery slowly, in a shrug.

The fact that by the time his shrug is actually completed, a neatly wrapped lamb shwarma pita has found its way from the bag of food to be dropped off in front of B -- well. /He/ barely looks like he's even moved.

Regan is dressed in scrubs, still, long blond hair tied back in a serviceable ponytail, Mount Sinai ID clipped to a pocket, plain sneakers. Armed with a very large cup of coffee, she sits in front of a holo-station. Though undoubtedly it's completely unnecessary for there to /be/ any noise, her fingers still click rapidly as they move against the keys of a holographic keyboard. "That's oddly satisfying."

"It's why we kept the noise." Tony is watching Regan -- partly. Watching the output -- partly, as the display shifts as it adapts to the newly installed chip. "Some people deal better with -- it shouldn't be doing that. That's -- well." His brows lift. Lips press together. One forefinger taps against the crook of his arm. He glances from the terminal to Regan. Back to the terminal. "-- Better it does it to /that/ than the man's brain. Small blessings, huh?"

Regan is wincing. Rubbing knuckles against her eyes as she leans back in her seat, reaches -- with some small measure of resignation -- for her coffee. "... small blessings."

It's late and Bruce's lab is a mess. Discarded lab coats, empty takeout containers, napkins used and unused, mugs, tablets, and styluses litter the glossy countertops. The only table clear of such mundane detritus is cluttered with a sinuous train of two dozen metallic cylinders ranging from five to two inches in diameter, strung together with wires and actuators of every descript, still partially exploded.

Bruce is collapsed in a chair, having slid down until the base of his skull rests against the back of it. His glasses lie on the desk before him and his hair falls across his eyes as he rubs them. He wears a pink pinpoint shirt, the top button undone and the cuffs rolled up less-than-neatly over his forearms, charcoal slacks, and scuffed black oxfords. Pushing his hair back from his face, he looks up at the screen in front of him: rows upon rows of numbers labelled 'Nerve impulse simulation 4661.'

Somewhere behind Bruce, B looks far more energetic, a sort of wired-manic energy to hir pacing that maaay have something to do with the enormous coffee she's been plowing through (the latest of Many.) Her heavy clunky boots make a constant thud on the ground, albeit less so than might be imagined from their significant heft. One hand toys restlessly with the hem of her skirt -- the other is tapping clawed fingers, lightly, in midair, along the holographic display that is tracking along with her as she moves. "Oh! Oh-oh-oh there it --" For a moment there's excitement in hir voice, hir steps hitching -- though this fades a moment later, hir eyes narrowing again. "... oh. Nevermind." Tap, tap, tap.

Fast-scuffing footfalls precede a slender young woman into the room. She's dressed in a lilac tunic with dark purple trim and broad-legged black trousers, black-rimmed cateye glasses perched low on her nose and her glossy black hair bound in a loose braid. She clutches a standard issue Stark notebook computer to her chest, her head bobbing birdlike, as if she would hide behind the device. "Excuse me!" Her voice isn't nearly as quiet as one might expect from her body language, and it carries a very strong Mandarin accent. "Doctor Banner? Her light brown eyes dart between B and Bruce, lingering on the first but settling on the latter. "Excuse me to interrupt." She lowers her voice a little, though she doesn't look very self-conscious. "I have, from Nanomaterials, this --" She holds out the computer with both hands long before she is near enough to actually deliver it. "-- for the, eh, collaboration? On biocompatibility." Approaching Bruce, she presents the computer, but aborts a bow half-way through the movement because her eyes have landed on the numbers on the holodisplay. Her head tilts to one side slightly, like a dog who's just heard something interesting, and she starts humming quietly under his breath.

Bruce sits up a little straighter when B speaks, blinking his eyes clear. He subsides again, sighing. "Maybe we should take a break. Order more food. Look at this with fresh eyes after." Though he does not sound excessively enthusiastic about the prospect, thought. "Hunting for bugs in normal software is difficult enough. /This.../" He straightens up again when Yuehai enters, slipping his glasses back on. "Ah, thank you..." His eyes skip down to her badge. "...Ms. Lin." He rises to meet her, but his thick black brows wrinkle at the computer she holds out. "Hardly seems necessary to send anything by sneakernet in a building like this." His gaze follows her up to the display--the information there altogether abstracted and no risk to anyone's privacy. "...Is something wrong?"

"Nanomaterials has...defense contracts," Yuehai explains with a deeply apologetic bow as she hands over the computer. "Everything need to use the hardware encryption." Her eyes flick up to the chart again. "Apologies, it's not my business but, your numbers are broken, maybe?" She shuffles forward and stretches out a hand as if she would touch the display. "Those are outputs from a series of algorithm," her hand sweeps along the columns, then down the row, "when you enter a series of values. But /this/ set is not compute correct..." She rises up onto her toes to indicate a row of numbers, wobbling there for a moment and then catching herself on the table with one hand -- managing to stay upright, but also to knock over Bruce's coffee. "Aaaaah {sorry!}" comes out in panicky Mandarin.

B's eyes open wider, huge and startled, a sudden flutter rustling along hir gills. She's not paying any mind to the spilled coffee, though, ignoring /that/ as it sloshes over the workstation. Instead, just bouncing on hir toes, suddenly animated hirself as ze hurries to Yuehai's side, reaching for the display as well, tweaking at the numbers. "/Oh/! Oh /brilliant/. We've been staring at this for hours and couldn't -- okay if we fix the range here then -- hey," she's looking up to Yuehai suddenly, brows lifted, "I don't suppose you like Vietnamese? We might be here a while. I'm buying."

"Thank you, I'll have a look at it later, of course." Bruce accepts the computer and promptly sets it aside. His eyes follow Yuehai's hand, and he tilts his head. "Ah!" Like B, he devotes exactly zero attention to the coffee spreading across the countertop. He re-seats his glasses on his nose, staring at the numbers. "That's--yes, that's exactly it." He's /laughing/ aloud now, scrubbing the side of his face with one hand. "How completely obvious it seems now."

Yuehai is making a feeble attempt to mop up the coffee with some napkins which seem to just disappear into the lake of brown liquid rather than soaking any of it up (it probably doesn't help that she's trying to keep her fingers out of it). She stops abruptly when B addresses her, though, as though it were the last thing that she expected. "Me?" Her eyes are huge and perplexed behind her glasses. "Yery much so. I love to have the pho." Though now her gaze is straying again to the newly adjusted numbers, her hand reaching for the display again. "Oh, and if you do this, perhaps..."

The coffee is a mainstay, by now. Tall and dark and half-empty -- though this time Regan has let the rest of her cup grow quite cold, most of her attention split between her display and the patient in front of her. Her finger is tapping slowly against her knee, eyes scanning the output on the screen.

Opposite her, Flicker is far less fidgety. Very still, really. Watching her face. Watching the numbers. Silently, his brows lift. Worried? Questioning? The segmented prosthetic that drapes across his arm sits -- kind of noodly. Kind of still. Kind of lifeless.

Regan shakes her head, frowning at the holodisplay. Lifting her hand, she taps quickly at her keyboard. "Again."

Flicker closes his eyes. Breathes deep. Exhales slow, relaxing in his seat. His eyes open, fingers gradually flexing and curling in again.

At the end of his other arm, the jointed end of the prosthetic flexes. Just a hair, its clawed fingers twitching -- fractionally more open.