Tony sat on top of his desk with a pen in one hand and a cup of coffee as big as his head in the other; since throwing away his entire supply of pens in a "I haven't slept in 72 hours and the pen leaked on me, I hate all pens in the world" sort of fit two weeks ago, he'd gone out and ordered every single box of that their local Staples had on stock, and now his arms were covered from elbow to wrist in inky equations and notes. On the ground around the desk was every scrap of paper Natasha had given him, all laid out so he could read them at once; and around the room, holograms and flickering screens displayed every blue-print he'd designed, every theory, every bit of research he could find on the internet, in his own databases, AIM's work, Cyberteck, SHIELD, Howard's journals, you name it. So far, none of it was extremely useful, but there were no new ideas in science, just new ways to place them together, new ways to interpret and research, new ways to make old things better. SHIELD's research was a start, though there was very little of it surviving. As Tony drank down the last of his (fifth) mug of coffee that day, he finished reading yet another medical journal on brain waves and the science of memories, and it was all things he already knew, but when speed reading was as easy as open, go, done, why not catch up on all the world had to offer?
He jumped off the desk and crossed the room to where he was keeping the "machine" of sorts, which really still looked like some sort of medieval torture device, and though that sort of what it was, he was going to have to give it a paint job before this all began. "Okay, you're up," He told Dum-E as he sat down on the chair connected to the machine. The bot whirred over, camera in his claw and began recording--his favorite job by far. It was one of the few things the bot was good at--though his angle work could do with some improvement. "Attempt number fifty-three. JARVIS, remember ten seconds, that's it. You kill me, and you're all alone, Buddy. I'm all you've got. But next time, make sure it's actually on. Last time you just gave me a scalp massage."
Tony lowered the machine onto his head then strapped himself into the chair; only ten seconds later, and it was still some of the worst pain he'd ever experienced, but it was far better than attempt number fifty-one. Still, how anyone was supposed to sit in this thing for as long as he'd need them too--an hour at the very least, probably more--he had no idea. It seemed the faster he made the machine work, the more painful it became, and the numbing devices he was using on the brain's pain sensors simply weren't enough. Not yet anyway.
A few days ago, after Natasha had come by and asked for her "favor," Tony had put together his own type of "brainwashing" machine, which admittedly was a hell of a lot easier than the "anti-brainwashing" machine that she wanted. Not having the endurance of a super-soldier or a death wish, he'd only put himself under it for less than a minute before he'd destroyed it. Ever since, the "anti-brainwashing" machine had slowly been returning whatever memories he'd lost in little ten second increments. In short, the machine worked--human trials complete--and now there was just the matter of the long term process. Tony had stolen, at most, a memory or two from himself; Bucky had decades and decades of memories to restore, as well as most of his emotional capability. Ten seconds--hell, ten minutes--would never be enough. This pain--agonizing, excruciating--would go on, and on, and on. It wouldn't take the quarter year that Natasha had experienced, wouldn't even take all day, but it was going to be hell.
Tony sat in the machine's chair for a long time, staring at all the research, all his plans, then sighed. "Message Natasha," he told JARVIS. "You might want a drink before we do this. Or a hundred."