2019-11-26 - You grow GIRL


Nadia gives Doctor Isley a tour of GIRL and they talk plants & saving the world.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Nov 26 14:49:23 2019
Location: RP Room 2

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Theme Song



Sitting just far enough outside New York for the science and retail parks but within walking distance for the train the G.I.R.L building looks fairly unremarkable from the outside. Moderately sized the building has the insect winged logo above double glass doors that lead into a little reception area that's currently empty and has a single sturdy looking double internal door leading out.

Both the outer reception door and the inner door are unlocked to allow walk in visits. Although there's obvious security cameras in place to discourage anyone from trying to steal anything.

The inside is perhaps unlike any science lab most people typically imagine. Two floors of open plan space with the logo proudly painted on the far back wall. Each side wall is lined with college dorm style bedrooms. The nearby corners have a break area with couches and a big tv plus a little kitchen that has an empty box that used to contain donuts and a hastily cobbled together coffee machine made almost entirely out of things from a chemistry lab.

But it's the middle that looks the most impressive. A huge scifi doorway dominates the middle of the room. While a dozen workbenches are covered in various projects ranging from biotech to robotics.

There are plenty of people, almost entirely young women, hard at work on whatever assorted projects they are interested in. Although of Nadia herself there's no sign other than perhaps the literal sign saying 'Nadia Van Dyne' on one of the side dorm rooms.

So, Doctor Pamela Isley, aka Poison Ivy, decided that with the recent surge of winter weather… well, it's not like there's much more she can really do in the Disaster Zone until the spring. At least as far as environmental reclamation efforts are concerned.

So, after sending a quick message to Nadia letting her know she was coming to visit, Pamela arrives in a government vehicle, along with a rather obvious-looking government agent/handler who definitely appears used to shepherding the ex-supervillain around. Plus, it's not as though Pamela typically drives anyway, though at least the car is an electric model and not internal combustion.

In this case, Pamela is looking decidedly not-green of skin, wearing a professional suit as well as she wanted to clearly make a good impression on her first visit, as she glances around the reception and asks for Nadia Van Dyne there.

While no-one is actually staffing the reception there is a voice and motion activated telepresence device. A robot arm with a screen on lifts up from behind the desk. A little animated character offers a friendly wave and then proclaims that "Director Van Dyne will be with you shortly. She's just returning from a research trip. Feel free to head into the break area and help yourself to hot drinks and snacks.

A good five minutes later there's a low humming noise and a slightly ozoney smell, then a red light on the wall by Nadia's dorm room turns green.

A few more minutes pass before Nadia finally comes out, dressed in her Wasp costume minus the helmet, and makes her way directly to a large Russian samovar teapot. "Oh hello Doctor Isley, sorry I'm a little late I was.. out of the dimension on business. Long story."

Pamela blinks a bit, then chuckles, "And I thought some of the things Harley and I got up to were strange…" Well, they are, but they didn't involve other dimensions! She then smiles, "But please, call me Pam, or Ivy. Since I had some free time, I thought I'd come by and take a look at what you had set up here."

She then nods towards her handler, "And this is Agent Smith, she'll be shadowing me today. Also, she drove." The agent nods slightly, but still wears their shades, even indoors.

Nadia Van Dyne nods back. "Ivy it is," she says brightly. "And hello Agent Smith. Just so you both know there are no fire or safety drills planned for today. So in the unlikley event that any alarms go off they will be real. No cause for concern though as we've got rather excellent preventative measures. Have you had chance to help yourself to drinks and baked goods? We've got something for most major dietry requirements."

She gestures over at the kitchen area complete with as many snacks as you'd expect from a lab staffed by teenagers. "So this is our main lab space. All the bigger projects are located here, like the folded space transportation system, as well as the recreation and living facilities. Plus we have what we call the library terminal. A dedicated stand-alone ebook machine with reference material and technical documentation on."

She leads Ivy and her minder around the room pointing at things as she talks about them. "Oh feel free to ask any questions as we go. Nothing we do here is classified and a lot of it is open source. No point coming up with a way to save the world if you're going to bill people for it right?"

Ivy grins, "Indeed, and there's a fair amount that does need saving." She looks fairly impressed at the lab space, "It definitely seems like there's an emphasis on more physics projects, and not quite so much on biology? I mean, considering the applications of folding space… I mean, I'm not an astrophysicist by any means, but the implications of that are pretty astounding."

"Our members are free to work on whatever projects interest them. Most are also college or high school students, so they tend to stick to projects that align with their studies, plus this is just the communal lab space. The gateway and the robotics work is very bulky and needs the head room." Nadia glances around as if searching for someone. "I don't think Priya is here today but I think she'll be okay with us popping into her biotech lab."

"Downstairs we have the private labs. You may lose cellphone service at some points as we have a lot of shielding." This information seems more for Agent Smiths benefit than for Ivys. "Priya has been working on making benign genetic changes to plants which allow them to essentially 'talk' in a way that people can understand. With the right gear that is." She sets off towards the stairs. "When the plant needs specific nutrients, say the soil is too wet or dry, they give off a unique harmless chemical we can track with a cheap sensor."

Pamela blinks at that, "That's… very interesting. I mean, I do that without any additional assistance, so I'd be curious how she's managing to go about that." She tilts her head towards Nadia, letting her lead the way around the facility, as she adds, "I might have some… notes that could prove helpful, anyway."

Best not to talk about what happened to Ivy's research 'partner' in that case…

The basement labs are a lot less visually exciting. Smaller but each well stocked with equipment for different sorts of work. Some seem to be in long term use and others are vacant for now. Eventually the tour reaches Priya's biology lab which is meticulously tidy. There's a desk and computer in one corner but most of the rest of the room is filled with plants in various stages of growth. "Everything has been modified genetically, only very minorly, so that they give off known markers. It's really just taking things nature already does and ensuring it's doing it in a way we can predict. Once she's got that down it's just a matter of ensuring the changes don't cause any harm."

Everything in the lab seems healthy and happy. A hydroponics and lighting system is hooked into some chemical sensors which Nadia will point out. These then ensure the ideal growing conditions. "I'm sure she'd love to have a chat with you. I'll let her know your contact info and she can drop you a message sometime. Eventually I believe she aims to make similar modifications to food crops. With cheap and easily available electronics a farmer could find out exactly what his crops need and that in turn will reduce excess use of fertilizers." She shrugs. "The main hurdle of course will be FDA approval."

Pamela nods, "Well, as long as it's ethically done, of course." She hmms and whispers very softly to the plants, as the flowers and bulbs seem to just rotate towards her, giving her their utmost attention. Even if she's not actively doing it, as she says a bit louder, "They are pretty happy here, but it does seem like they could use a bit more water. Not much, mind you." She lightly strokes one of the nearby leaves as she nods, "Something people tend to overlook, the fact that farmers need help with botany too. Particularly with the way that the climate is, in fact, changing." A hint of bitterness in her voice at that, along with resignation.

"Everything we do here has to comply with a very strict code of ethics," Nadia assures, nodding solemnly. "I think Priya has everything set to the sensors, including the water, so I wouldn't want to adjust anything without letting her know. But I'll send her a text with your recommendations. I'm sure they'll hold a lot of weight given your more unusual qualifications!"

The plants themselves are a type of fast growing vine. Ideal for rapidly getting a test crop to maturity. Whatever genetic modifications they've received must have been done very well as the plants don't have any ill effects.

"I don't think it helps that farmers very frequently are sold single use batches of seeds. The high yield GM crops are sold at a premium price and are practically mandatory to produce a big enough harvest. But they are functionaly sterile." She scowls. "The climate is another thing we're going to look into. Wide scale weather control is a /very/ long term project though."

Ivy chuckles softly, "Of course it is, though I would love to see some results of that. I have a few ideas that, well, minor ones naturally, but it's the equivalent of a butterfly flapping their wings." The classic chaos-theory joke, but she has thought about it quite a bit.

After all, what's the point of saving the Earth for the plants if they can't live on it anyway? She then continues, "Yes, sustainable crops are an enemy of capitalism in general. But then I'm still a firm believer that corporations are an enemy of humanity, and the planet, in general." She smiles over at her handler, "Don't worry, I'm still abiding by the terms of the deal. But you can't say I'm wrong."

For her part, the Agent shrugs a bit, as if used to this line of conversation and… well, she might agree with the sentiment, but saying so is another story…

"Don't forget money in general," Nadia adds helpfully. "The weather control plan I've been toying with may require some rather drastic measures. Unless there is wider support that will make it irrelevant that is… But yeah I have some schematics for an orbital mirror to block a portion of the sunlight to help cool the plant or redirect heat elsewhere." She walks down the rows of plants and checks the sensors are all working correctly. "Carbon capture and atmospheric filtering, removing greenhouse gasses and so forth, are all things we've discussed in the past. We have brainstorming sessions over pizza before every movie night."

Ivy grins, "Well, robbing banks is something I can't do anymore, so don't look at me. Besides, that just perpetuates the problem instead of solving it." She glances over at Nadia, "Though I have thought about plants that respirate different proportions of gasses into the atmosphere, to try and mitigate climate change effects."

Nadia Van Dyne laughs. "That does seem like a good option. I suspect some kind of seaborne plant would work best," she muses. "For the record though no bank robberies would be needed. At least not to fund GIRL. I've secured a pretty big investment from a like-minded group of researchers and I have plenty of my own patents. You'd be amazed at the work you can do in fields like quantum computing or biochemistry when you're able to size change down to microscopic size."

Pamela smiles slightly, "Well, yes, I suppose that's true. Government salary keeps me from contributing too much, though…" She pauses, as if thinking of some other ideas that she could possibly do, then she hmms, "Giving me quite a bit to think about, and that's a nice change of pace."

"Ideas are worth more here than any currency," Nadia assures. "So by sharing knowledge you're doing far more than any financial donation would do." She beams a smile. "But if you /really/ want to help with money grab some pizza next time you stop by. Junk food is ever popular here."

Ivy makes a face, "Oof, I remember those days. Pizza is definitely… well, I lived on that a lot in college. These days, not so much." She grins wryly, "Though I'll keep that in mind if I manage to come by again. Sounds like you have a very well-refined operation running here. Very impressive."

Nadia Van Dyne beams with pride. "Well it helps a lot that the initial recruitment was all members who are exceptional in both ambition and ability. Long term we're going to expand nationwide and then internationally, but I hope that we can keep the soul of G.I.R.L intact even as we grow." She scribbles a little note on Priya's desk. Just to let her know she's taken guests round. "Is there anything else I can show you while you're here?" She frowns at the Agent. "Perhaps your Agent friend want to see the security office? Not that the security room is very exciting.."

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