Not At All Subtle

May 15, 2015:

Pepper warns her Exec. Assistant Cricket that 'intern season' is upon them, and then all but pushes Happy into taking Cricket on a date.

Pepper's Office, Stark Tower, Manhattan

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's Friday, the work day is winding down. Pepper is going through a few remaining things in her inbox when she stops on a particular email. …that's right. It's THAT time of year. "Cricket?" she calls toward her office's open door. She shouldn't have to raise her voice much at all from normal, she knows how good the robotic PA's hearing actually is.


Cricket is sitting at her desk, double checking that everything is in order for Monday. Admittedly, she will likely be in to work tomorrow anyway, but since she is supposed to have the day off, she likes to have things set up as if she won't be here on Saturday. Who knows? Maybe someday she will have a reason not to show up to work on her days off. Though the likelihood of that happening has been calculated to be a mere fraction of a percent.

Upon hearing Pepper's voice, Cricket rises to her feet and starts to work out the probability factors of just what her boss would need of her at this hour. Paperwork is all filled out for the week, meetings have been arranged for the following week, there are no social engagements
for the Stark employees that she can think about. Cricket thinks she knows why she is being called, but doesn't assume. After all, however probable an outcome may be, humans never cease to come up with surprises that her computerized mind cannot fathom.


Pepper Potts looks up at Cricket as she enters the office. "Internship interviews are going to start next week. I have no idea how I forgot about that. I'm probably going to end up relying on you even more to get through all of that and still get the usual workload done at the same
time. Is that okay? We'll likely only have to see the executive interns, but that'll still be at least a dozen kids."


Cricket smiles. She does love it when the probabilities prove to be correct. She wonders for a nanosecond if that attitude is akin to human pride and if that therefore means she is acquiring new human traits, like an ill conceived notion of superiority. Then she remembers that mentally, at least, she *is* superior to humans and so doesn't concern herself with worrying over the matter any longer.

With a nod of her head, Cricket goes Pepper a cup of tea. "You do realize, Ms. Potts, that I only work the 60 hours a week that I do because it is all you will allow of me. I am quite capable of working up to 22 hours a day before I need a rest period to allow my reactors to recharge." Ah yes, her arc reactors. The fact that she needs to rest to recharge them shows how they are in fact inferior to Stark's own. The tech may have been stolen, but at least they didn't steal the perfected arc reactor tech.


Pepper Potts smiles as she accepts the tea from Cricket. "I do realize. I just tend to forget that you are so much less fallible than I am and can keep soldiering on. Well, that and the Labor Commission has laws about how much an employee is allowed to work each day. I think they would have kittens if they saw that you were working around 150 hours each week. And besides, you deserve to have time to go out and visit with friends, or work on upgrades, or even just go sit in the grass and watch children play in Central Park." She shrugs lightly. "Besides, I don't want to have my reputation as a workaholic overshadowed by my own PA." She is very clearly teasing.


Cricket tilts her head to one side, a mannerism she has picked up when a human says something that needs to be looked upon with closer examination to make sense. Friends? Everyone she is friends with works for Stark, so she sees them quite often already. Upgrades? That is what her 'spa day Sunday' is for. The idea of watching children playing
though? That causes some time for Cricket to figure out. It sounds actually enjoyable. Watching humans at the early stages of their programming. She's never done that before. Maybe she will try it sometime she decides, and so puts it on the list along with going on a date with Mr. Hogan.

"I wouldn't want you to get in trouble with the Labor Commission, though I'm sure once they discovered I wasn't technically human that you would get a pass on that. Of course, then they would question why you were paying me to begin with. I believe the phrase I heard in my short time in Oscorp was "What next? We start giving the toaster health benefits?" And I certainly wouldn't want to overshadow your own reputation, though the gossip mill is wondering how you managed to find a PA that is as much of a workaholic as yourself."


Pepper Potts chuckles at Cricket's last comment. "I have had a few people ask. I told them I was just really lucky. But you're right, if I did tell the Labor Commission that you're a non-organic human, who knows what kind of jerk response they'd have? Really, much easier to just insist that you take some time for yourself and relax."

She sits back in her chair with the tea in hand and smiles at Cricket. "So, do you have any plans for this weekend? And you'd better not say that you plan to come in here and do some more work."


Cricket is about to respond to the question, but has to pause when Pepper tells her not to give the truthful answer. "Well, Sunday is my 'spa day'. Maintenance and allowing the skin to be reclaimed and making a new one for the week. I suppose I could ask Mr. Hogan if he wants to do that… date thing he mentioned."


Happy Hogan is about his daily routine of being sure things are safe and secure. And of course this is where he always ends up and knocking on the door his head is poked in, "All well here?" is asked of the pair. "Does either of you need anything?"


Pepper's eyebrows pop upward at that in clear amused delight. "Really?" And then, of course, Happy pokes his head in. Talk about serendipitous timing. "Actually, Happy, yes. I do need something." She sits forward in her chair again, but not without first glancing toward Cricket quite impishly.


Cricket actually looks a little embarrassed, especially by Pepper's reaction. "Yes. He asked and I told him all the reasons it was a bad idea but he still insisted that I give it a try. So… I'm going on a date. My first date. With a human. And I'm not exactly sure what is expected of me." And that's when Happy enters. Cricket winces at his timing, sighing softly. She closes her eyes and shakes her head, as she calculates the chances of this happening. When Pepper gives her a look as she starts talking to Happy, Cricket frowns softly, wondering what
her employer is up to now.


Happy Hogan steps inside of the office rather blushing at Cricket's words. Though he does focus on Pepper, "What may I do for you, Miss Potts?" he asks rather in work mode still.


"Do you remember earlier this week I mentioned that I might impose on you for a lift to applewood for the reservation I have there? I forgot that it's my cultural exchange weekend with my friend Ludie, and it's her turn to cook." Pepper sets her tea down, still seated at her desk. "I've had restaurants refuse to take reservations from me in the past because Tony never showed… do you think you could find a reason to go in my stead?" Yeah. Subtle she is not.


Yeah, even Cricket can see through that ruse. The petite asian/german woman looks over to Pepper with a 'You did not just do that' sort of look. Cricket suddenly grabs at her tablet and works diligently at the work she had set aside for Saturday. Yep! Busy busy busy!


Happy Hogan wasn't a total idiot to assume what is happening here. "Sure, Miss Potts. I can definitely do that and perhaps Cricket would like to make that our date night." he glances towards her with a slight smirk. "No reason to tarnish her name because of Tony."


Cricket glances over at Happy from her tablet. She takes a deep breath and lets it out in a slow sigh. "I have no issues with going there, after all, wherever we went was going to be up to you as you have far more experience in regards to dating. And yes, tarnishing her reputation would be low on the priorities of things I wish to do."


Pepper Potts grins as both Happy and Cricket agree to make use of the reservation already in place. "Perfect. I know you'll both have fun. The place top notch, but not pretentious or stuffy. I promise." Now she just needs to get a hold of Partisan as quickly as she can and ask if Saturday can be cooking night. She suspects it won't be a problem.


Considering that Cricket is the one that keeps Pepper's appointments and reservations, she is quite certain that Ludie is not cooking tomorrow night. After all, that is scheduled for *next* Saturday. However, she would never embarass Pepper by mentioning it. Cricket glances over to Happy. "So, what exactly should I wear? I was thinking of going with the traditional little black dress."


Happy Hogan knows this is a set up but he will accept it as is. "Thank you, Miss Potts. I owe you one." he grins looking to Cricket. "That works for me. Dress in whatever you are comfortable in."


Pepper Potts smiles and lets the two of them figure out their dinner while she gets out her phone and sends Ludie/Partisan a text.

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