15426/Reubinations on matters of science.

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Reubinations on matters of science.
Date of Scene: 04 August 2023
Location: David's Brisket House in Brooklyn
Synopsis: Gwen takes a break from patrol to have sandwiches with Nadia. They talk super suit design and a possible GIRL project. It also turns out wasps are hard to train.
Cast of Characters: Ghost Spider, Wasp (Pym)

Ghost Spider has posed:

Swinging through Manhattan in the evening in her increasingly recognizable, hooded black-white-pink-and-blue costume with a khaki backpack slung over her shoulders, Ghost-Spider flips gracefully to the rhythm of "Life is Fun" by Boyinaband and TheOdd1sOut playing through the bluetooth comms in her hood.

We are young!
(Not for long)
Life is fun
(It only goes downhill)
We gotta make the most of it! Make the most of it!
(Or you'll regret it)

Which, for some inexplicable reason, has her pulling out her phone once the song is over, swiping through a few names, and then...


...hitting the call button. It wasn't THAT late. Maybe Nadia wasn't asleep yet! She probably stayed up all night working on freaky mind-bending tech, anyway.
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
Is it night? Is it day? It's really hard to tell when you're small enough to exist between the spaces between solid matter. Her crystal castle lab has an artificial day/night cycle thanks to her own pocket Sun (it's not really a Sun but it carries out the same function) but time flows weirdly when you're pretty much sub-atomic. Nadia Pym probably doesn't even know which day or month it is. Never mind what time it is.

But that's beside the point. Since returning to the normal world after three years locked away doing research she's taken special precautions to ensure she doesn't wind up lost in her work. Or as lost anyway. One of which is a quantum entangled phone repeater that lets people ring her even when she's tinkering with something in her lab!

"Hey Gwen," she says as the system brings up a caller ID and activates the hands free so Nadia can keep working while she talks. "What's up?" There's a slight pause. "You're not ringing to make sure I'm not genetically engineering a rat hunting monster are you? Because I promised no genetically enhanced super predators. And I really am not working on any!"

Not yet anyway.

"I've just been working on a way to train wasps to construct the GIRL HQ." Okay so giant wasps able to move the steel beams used for construction work probably do qualify as an enhanced super predator. But they're not intended to hunt rats. So that's perfectly fine.
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Okay, but when you /lead/ with that, it makes me think you definitely /are/..."

There's humor in Gwen's voice, and faintly in the background are the sounds of New York. Car horns. Sirens. A particularly loud sound system is audible for just a moment before it fades out again. She's on the move.


"It's like me saying I promise not to be late to my next band practice."

Which she definitely was. She knew she was, and it wasn't even until tomorrow. At this point, she was pretty sure they just kept her around for the sheer irony of having a drummer that was never on time. That's some indy band edge for you.

/I've just been working on a way to train wasps.../

"And /there/ it is."


"I was thinking. Can you just like... fabricate the lab at a sub-atomic level and then scale it up? Or does that have issues with material properties and scale translation? Not that I think your giant carpenter wasps would ever get loose and start terrorizing the city or anything..."

Except she's definitely worried about that. And the question? Well, she's working on her doctorate in Biochem, after all, not Quantum Mechanics.

In the background, there's a particularly loud car horn.

"TAKE IT EASY!" Gwen suddenly shouts.

There are a few muffled voices, and then a panicked man can be heard. "Thank you, Spider-Woman!"

"Uhh.. Ghost Spider, actually. But, you know what? I'll take it. A win's a win."


"Sorry, Nadia. I'm listening."
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
"Well I /could/ do that," Nadia muses, potting around in her lab. "Hey you stop chewing on that! Uh. Not you Gwen that was for Anastasia. She's... not taking to training very well."

Wasps in general aren't really the 'do what people tell them' sort of creatures. Probably this would be going a lot better with termites or bees. Even using wasp breeds which are communal as your base there are 'challenges' when working with them.

"But anyway there are two main problems using Pym particles in construction. Either I size up something which is easy to shape at microscale. At which point it'll be about as structurally sound as one of those vending machine coffee cups. Or I use super compressed matter that'll remain durable when it's sized up. But then it's like trying to carve adamantium with a spoon for the actual building work."

A long way of saying yes there would be issues with material properties.

"There are portions I can size change to fabricate. Flat metal plates for the supervillain proofing. Simple geometric shapes. But anything too complicated shape wise is more hassle than it's worth.... Not to mention how much it adds to the cost using Pym Particles." Not that money is really something she cares about. But there's a time and energy cost in fabricating the particles which could be better spent on other things. "We could probably build the whole lab out of gold for less money." Which would not only be a bad idea from a structural point or view but it'd be immensely gaudy. "If the wasps don't work out we can just hire actual construction workers. I'm sure Kane Industries knows some reputable companies."

She may or may not be watching several large wasps make a terrible mess of a previously stunning ornamental garden visible from the window of her lab. "Probably we'd get fewer complaints from the building inspectors that way too."
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Pesky, hard-headed, independent, irrationally angry wasps. You shoulda used spiders... they're /totally/ grounded." Just sayin. "Pillars of steadfast loyalty." Uh. "Icons of emotional stability." At least she has the decency to laugh at herself once she's done being completely irreverent.

/We could probably build the whole lab out of gold for less money./

"Yeah. There's already a Trump Tower. Let's take a hard pass on building a subterranean Ostentatiotory. Plus, I'm already struggling to make this month's rent, so I hope you're not counting on me for any charitable contributions other than time and a few ridiculous ideas based on Quantum Mechanics 101 and some stuff I've seen in movies."


"Hey, things are pretty..." No. Don't say it, Gwen. You know better. Don't jinx it. Your dad's a cop, for God's sake, and the /professionals/ know better than to say things are quiet when they're on patrol. Murphy will punch you in the face every. single. time. "...uh.. I mean, I'm not up to much. What are you doing right now? You wanna get out and grab a bite? I mean, assuming you can keep Anastasia from biting everything /else/ while you're gone..."

There's some more wind noise, but then it suddenly stops. Presumably she'd found a perch, at least for the moment.
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
"Didn't you get superpowers after being bitten by a genetically engineered spider?" Nadia teases. "I'm sure nothing could do wrong if I made hundreds of them." Although it's far less likely they'd give anyone super powers. Because while a person will typically ignore a spider bite they are far harder to ignore when the spider is the size of a Buick and has fangs longer than a persons arm. "I also don't want any bad publicity from that guy who is always talking about how Spider-Man is a huge jerk. You know... What's his face. Moustache guy."

"Oh I already ran the numbers and there isn't enough spare gold mined to build the entire lab out of gold. Not without asteroid mining or filtering it from the ocean. I'd much rather save the funds for top rate lab equipment."

She shakes her head at the display visible from her window. "A bite? So long as it's not borscht then I'm in. Just tell me where and I'll be there." She sighs. "Okay girls take a break... The wasps I mean. But you can take a break too if it's quiet!" Thankfully most of the important things are made from crystal in her lab. Very hard to chew and of zero interest to the wasp construction crew.
Ghost Spider has posed:
"And look how awesome it turned out!"

There's definitely a smile in Gwen's voice, laughter lingering just below the surface. Banter was good. She needed banter. And a break. It was too easy to get caught up in swinging from one prescribed activity to another and lose track of the fact that she did actually have friends.

"You're not wrong about Moustache Guy, though. He's /really/ got it in for Spider-Man. Especially after this latest thing with the Mayor. Which reminds me, I need to check the Mayor's public schedule. I promised Spider-Man I'd keep an eye on him in case someone made another attempt on him. It's not like he can really hang around to protect him.. he'd freak the police out just as much as whoever is /actually/ trying to kill him."

Gwen sighs.

"Not that they're likely to be that much more receptive to me being there, at this point. It's too bad I can't just turn invisible like Miiiiiyyyyy other Spider-friend." Smooth save, Gwen. Smooth save. Topic change. "Hey, does GIRL need a project? I could really use a cloaking device."


"How about David's Brisket House in Brooklyn? Oh my God, their Reuben is to DIE FOR. First one there grabs a table?"
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
"If you want I can just access the private schedule for you?" Nadia offers with a shrug. Not that Gwen can see that. While her relay supports video calls they're not exactly practical to make while web-slinging. "Wait which Mayor? New York I guess? Not that it makes much difference. City level computer systems might as well be public libraries for all the security they have on their systems."

She's not a dedicated hacker but the combination of Super Genius and Red Room training make most civilian networks about as easy to break into as a castle made of icecream on a warm day.

"Why not just be there in your civilian capacity as an unpaid volunteer and change into costume if trouble strikes?" A beats pause. "Is that a restaurant or actually the house of someone called David? And who is Reuben? Is he one of the waiters?" She doesn't rush while she's in her lab. The relative difference to the flow of time meaning she can probably shower and change before Gwen has finished putting her phone away. "I'll see you there." She's unlikely to be the first one there. Not knowing NYC as well and having to rely upon her wings and a HUD linked to mapping software to find her way there. Sadly most map apps don't plot in courses for backpack mounted wings. Or show the destinations from above. Not yet anyway. It's only a matter of time before an enterprising individual makes super versions of the more popular apps for getting from A to B!
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Uhhh.. that'd be pretty great, actually."

A hacker Gwen was not. A drummer, certainly. A fashion model, sure. A web-slinging crime fighter, absolutely. But when it came to tech? She was pretty much at the same swipe-right-or-left level as most of the rest of the world. If the schedule wasn't in the public domain, she wasn't getting to it without help.

Luckily, she had help.


"Oh, that'd be the plan, for sure. What I can't plan for is where the guns get pointed once the costumes and the fighting breaks out. If Spider-Man shows up, they are /definitely/ going to try to arrest him. Between dodging the police /and/ trying to catch the bad guy, he may be more of a distraction than a help. If Ghost-Spider shows up, I'll probably get the benefit of the doubt? That doesn't mean there won't be some rookie with an itchy trigger finger that's watched too much Moustache Guy, sees a Spider, and thinks he's saving the world. So, Spider-camo. Or.. Spider-cloak. /That/ would be awesome."

She laughs, though.

"It's a restaurant on Nostrand Avenue, just north of Atlantic. Green awning. And, even if there /is/ a waiter named Reuben, I can promise you he's not going to be as delicious as the Reuben /sandwich/. So. Good. Seriously, it's a game changer."

One of the benefits of growing up in, living in, working in, and patrolling New York was that the GPS just wasn't even needed, Gwen was already swinging her way towards Brooklyn.


"I'll share my location with you, so you can just come to my dot, but call me if you get lost."

She already had her phone in her hand, and a moment later, there's a notification that location sharing has been turned on with Nadia (at least temporarily).


"See you there!"

And, true to her word, by the time Nadia gets there, Gwen is occupying one of the booths. David's Brisket House is small. There's only like half a dozen tables, so her blonde hair isn't hard to spot perusing a menu. She's got a black headband keeping the long tresses out of her face, a black vest over a white blouse, and a stretchy purple skirt that's borderline scandalously short (but it's cute). All that and a pair of calf-high boots apparently fit in the backpack that was sitting in the booth beside her.
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
The GIRL project rules are pretty open. No weapons research and no trying to take over the world. Other than that... well it's pretty fair game. Ask for help with your scheme and, if it's exciting enough, you'll have as many willing helpers as you could possibly want. Unless someone has an even more exciting idea come along or there's a 'world ending threat' that needs SCIENCE! to solve.

So cloaking tech? Well Gwen'll probably find eager helpers.

"So long as it's not a sandwich made with cold beetroot I am on board." One of the perks of escaping the Red Room and stealing all their supplies on your way out is you wind up with months if not years of Soviet MRE's. Which saves Nadia a fortune in food bills. The downside? It's really bad food.

She doesn't take all that long to arrive at the restaurant. Despite having taken an hour, microverse time, to take a bath & pick out her outfit. A girly yellow summer dress with plenty of lacy frills. It doesn't really go well with the wing backpack but when she lands outside that gets shrunk and pocketed.

"Heya!" she calls out, waving eagerly in a way that'd be super embarrassing to most people, practically skipping over to the table. "Are we getting food and drinks? Or just food? If it's just food I'll have whatever you're having."
Ghost Spider has posed:
Luckily, having her flag planted firmly in the camp of kind-hearted, open-minded, self-confident extrovert, Gwen Stacy was particularly hard to embarrass. There wasn't much Nadia could do short of spontaneously deciding to strip naked in the middle of the restaurant that could cause her to demur, and even that was mostly a sanitary thing.


Gwen snags her wallet from her backpack and rises from the booth to offer her a hug and a bright smile despite the few odd looks they were getting.

"If by drinks you mean lemonade, then /definitely/. If you're up for alcohol, there will have to be an after-party, which is /totally/ do-able. But, they've only got fountain drinks here... and home-made lemonade. Again. So. Good. You wanna watch the table? I was going to leave my backpack, and I'll go up and order for us."

It's one of those order-at-the-counter delis. Small, mom-and-pop style operation. The older man behind the counter always looked busy because the tables were full and there were always a few people waiting in line to order, too.
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
Growing up in the Red Room where everyone has communal living spaces, communal showers, and a general expectation that everywhere is under surveillance for signs of disloyalty stripping naked in public probably wouldn't bother Nadia in the slightest. Although it's not something she'd actually do unless there was a really good reason. Like someone having soaked her dress in contact poison or having set her on fire.

Thankfully neither of those things are especially likely.

"My biochemistry makes it really hard to get drunk," she notes. "So I can drink whatever I like really. I burn through enough calories alcohol just helps reduce the amount of actual food I need." Indeed her appetite is shocking for someone of her build. Size changing is energy intensive! And you need to provide your brain with plenty of energy if you want to do big brain thinking. You can't invent physics bending macguffins without proper fuel.

"Consider the table watched," she beams a smile. "I'll keep myself amused while you're gone." She produces a pen, then opens out one of the napkins on the table, and begins doodling notes on it. A very rough schematic for a material which will diffuse light to act as optical camouflage. Not true invisibility but close enough for avoiding the police. The downside? All that light being diverted means the fabric gets really cold.
Ghost Spider has posed:
"Oh! Same, girl. Probably not for exactly the same reasons, but my metabolism must be off the charts. Otherwise, I wouldn't be ordering a reuben. Trust me. I've got another charity fashion show in a few days, and if it weren't for some pretty epic genetics, I'd be fasting right now."

Gwen beams, and even as she turns to walk towards the counter another woman that had been in easy earshot catches her eye and adds, "I wish I had that problem."

The comment makes Gwen laugh. "It's not a bad problem to have, but I'm always at least a little hungry! Since I'm not a millionaire yet, I've just learned to live with it."

Both of them smile, and then Gwen is patiently waiting her turn in line. It's relatively quick, placing her order and paying, and within a few more minutes, she collects the baskets of sandwiches and the drinks, balancing them like a professional waitress as she carries them back to the table.

"Alright. A reuben and a lemonade. /Hopefully/, it lives up to the hype."

She sets her own down and then slides back into her side of the booth, crossing her legs under the table and moving a napkin into her lap.

"What's that?" she nods a little towards the napkin with a little tilt of her head, her lips quirking up into a smile. Her specialty might have been Biochemistry, but she at least had an idea of what she was looking at, even if she couldn't have come up with it on her own. "Are you... actually already working on a prototype for my idea?"
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
Given Gwen's financial situation Nadia doesn't mention she'll probably want at least three sandwiches. She can always pick up a few to go when it's time to leave! GIRL itself isn't really set up to make a profit but her own work more than covers her economic needs. Consulting here and there, answering unsolvable math problems for cash rewards, and the odd patent doodled on a napkin while distracted. Of course all the really fun science is too dangerous to sell. Which is probably for the best.

Waiting for another super genius to have a Tony Stark 'wait maybe making weapons is bad' moment is the last thing anyone needs.

"It's a sandwich with..." She begins a thorough investigation. "Corned beef, cheese, sauerkraut and some kinda dressing." Which quickly turns into a huge eager bite. "Mhm h hmm mrhmm." She answers. This is probably sandwich talk for yes I am.

There's a gulp and she takes a very ladylike slurp of the lemonade before she chokes. Table manners aren't something the Red Room taught the Science Class okay! And three years alone in her lab haven't really improved the situation...

"Oh well sort of? I'm coming up with a few options. Initially I was thinking to bend the light around you but you'll get really cold really quickly that way unless we insulate the suit. Which adds bulk and if you're very active you'd overheat. It's a tricky balancing act. We could also take inspiration from nature and use a system like the skin of an octopus. You'd be limited in how fast you could move but it has other perks."

She takes another chomp out of her sandwich. At least this time she doesn't talk while eating! "Like you could make the costume display confusing patterns to make it hard to focus on you."
Ghost Spider has posed:
Gwen laughs, the pleased amusement in her eyes making it more than obvious that she's happy Nadia's enjoying the meal rather than any sort of commentary on her manners (or lack their of). "Good! I'm glad."

Then it's her turn to take a bite, and in contrast to her companion, her manners are practically regal. She might get snubbed by /actual/ royalty for still eating with her fingers, but there's at least smaller bites taken, chewed demurely, and the corners of her mouth dabbed with her napkin fairly regularly. In that moment, she looks every bit the practiced fashion model that she absolutely did not have the diet of.

There is a hint of concern when Nadia chokes, but she lets it go when it seems just a side-effect instead of an emergency. Then she wrinkles her nose at the mention of temperature extremes. Nah. That was out. She spent a /lot/ of time in that costume, so comfort was a priority...

But Octopus skin was something she could relate to!

"Ooooh. I /like/ that idea," she says between bites. "Do you think we could do the same thing to the spinners? Or maybe make them more... fashionable?"

She holds up her hands briefly to show off her bare wrists. She couldn't really wear them around when she didn't have sleeves on without them being /super/ obvious. She blushes a little, though.

"I'm sorry. I know you're not like my personal fashion designer. I just.. I'm sort of excited to be able to talk to someone about this. I'd gotten used to being on my own to figure it all out."
Wasp (Pym) has posed:
"There are some interesting applications for the first idea," Nadia enthuses. "That link in with an idea I've been toying with for a while. Basically you quantum entangle two points. So any light hitting the front comes out the back. Scale it up enough and you can dunk a gateway into the Sun and pump the superheated plasma out a linked gateway forming a stellar power system." It's an idea she read in a novel but honestly why let something being fictional get in the way. After all Pym particles are pretty unbelievable to most people....

"Probably also you could weaponize the portal tech so that... has some issues."

She goes in for some more lemonade. Then nods at the Octopus skin idea being preferable.

"It's probably less technically complex to build but the difficulty is going to be with the fine control," she explains cheerfully. Practically bouncing in her seat with a project to work on. "It's going to need a distributed data processing network of some kind. Because you just won't be able to manually co-ordinate the entire suit." Not unless they splice some Octopus DNA into Gwen.... Probably this wouldn't be the best of plans given she's already got Spider DNA. Probably. Wouldn't hurt to run a few tests though right? "For the idea to work you'd need to have as much coverage as possible. Any gaps will stick out too much. For fashionable you really need the /other/ Wasp."

She beams a smile.

"But making them smaller is very much something I can help with. Discreet little bands around each wrist. Capsules that fit more into a smaller space. And higher power to weight ratios for better range and so on.."
Ghost Spider has posed:
Gwen smiles as she listens. "Nadia, you're amazing. Have I told you that recently?"

Without warning, a muffled song begins to play from within the bag sitting next to Gwen...

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
Catches thieves just like flies
Look out
Here comes the Spider-Man...

It makes the blonde blink and turn to open that bag, pulling out her phone to look at it. She looks like she was going to try to answer a call, but the song stops and she switches to reading messages.

"I'm sorry... I need to run."

She glances up, smiling apologetically. Then she slides her sandwich across, which only had a single bite taken out of it.

"In case you want the rest. I really am sorry. Um.. avoid Midtown on your way back, okay?"

She doesn't even wait. She's grabbing her bag to sling over her shoulder as she's standing.

"I'll call you later, though. So we can talk more." She's backing towards the door. "Or.. you know. Call me. I'm /really/ sorry."

But then she's turning, and she's out the door without another word, rounding the corner of the building and disappearing from view.