Dormer, a student at the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientific academy, approached Ian Quinn, wishing to make money and sell Quinn an effective weapon. Intrigued, Quinn agreed to make a deal, if Dormer could prove such a weapon was functional. Dormer then pressured Donnie, a loner in his classes, to design the weapon that would make them both rich.
However, while their smaller prototypes worked, they burned out in a few a minutes and, despite his best efforts, Donnie could not fix the power problem. That was when Donnie and Seth planned to lure Fitz and Simmons to the academy by staging a series of freezing incidents and then having them help fix the device's power problem. In order to lure in Fitz and Simmons and throw suspicion off of themselves, they first activated one of their prototypes at the academy pool thus freezing it solid and almost killing Seth. This event brought the attention of both the academy and Agents Coulson's team.
Later on, while Simmons and Fitz were preparing to give a speech to the academy, the device went off again, this time freezing Donnie in his seat. Acting quickly, Simmons and Fitz broke him out of his icy cocoon and destroy the device under his seat. Fitz takes Donnie back to his dorm where Donnie asks for Fitz's help on fixing the power problem for a battery he was designing.
When Fitz later goes to check on Donnie, he sees the designs for the freezing device and realizes that Seth and Donnie are behind its construction. Caught, Seth runs off with Donnie and their final product to a parking lot, where they have a demonstration for Quinn to see. The device is the activated, causing a massive storm with cold winds and hail, with the two boys in the eye of the storm. The chaotic storm gets out of control, and Donnie attempts to shut down the device. The device explodes, injuring both Seth and Donnie. In the aftermath, Donnie is sent to the Sandbox, Seth dies of his injuries and the freezing device is kept on the Bus.
The freezing device, not given an official name, has the ability to rapidly bring down the temperature of a moist atmosphere, freezing anything the device is directed towards. Despite this, it was still a prototype and had a variety of glitches, such as going off uncontrollably. The device has the power to freeze water, encase a single, specific person in ice and create an entire superstorm of wind and hail.
In the aftermath, Donnie is seen with the apparent ability of cryokinesis - the ability to generate and manipulate ice. Whether Donnie had these latent abilities all along or if exposure to the source materials of the device creates this power is unknown.