Hippies and War Mongers

August 18, 2014:

Pepper Potts and her Lucky Bodyguard head to Metropolis for a meeting with Clark Kent.

Daily Planet

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

After a three hour train ride, lunch, and tea that Pepper brought with her in a thermos, she and Jason arrive at the Daily Planet. She walks right up to the receptionist at the lobby front desk and uses her best 'about to have a showdown with a CEO' demeanor. "Hi. I'm here to speak with reporter Clark Kent." And, no, she didn't make an appointment, and she didn't give the man any warning that she'd be arriving here. Both very much intentionally.

"Sure," the person at the desk responds. "He's in, let me get him on the line and be sure he's able to secure a conference room." The bullpen is a terrible place for a meeting, of course, and after a few minutes, someone is down to escort them towards the conference room. By the time they arrive, Clark Kent is already seated, wearing his frumpy suit and glasses so thick they're reminiscent of that guy from the Trailer Park Boys. "Miss Potts," Clark says as he rises to his feet and holds his hand out to her in greeting, "It's a pleasure. I'm sure I can guess why you're here."

Though the train ride has mellowed Jason somewhat he still has appearances to keep up, and he's doing a fairly good job of that. The horrifically scarred man is wearing a black suit and tie, with a small earpiece that would look all too at home on a CIA agent. He's an intimidating man, and used to people tending to shy away when he walks past, so he doesn't mind some of the looks he's been getting from a few of the weary reporters between the entrance and the meeting room.

For whatever reason Jason remains quiet beside Pepper, looking over Clark as if trying to figure out the best way to deal with him where he to be a problem. The way he stands there marks Jason off clearly as ex military, and most likely holder of the position of bodyguard for the new ceo of Stark Industries.

Not officially CEO yet. And after an imploring glance at Jason, Pepper relents when she realizes the man is just going to keep taking his job overly seriously (in her opinion) and she'll just have to deal with it. So, she smiles and approaches the reporter, offering her hand to shake. "Mr. Kent, good afternoon. I'm sorry we missed each other the other day when you stopped by to talk with Mr. Stark, and thank you for taking time out of your day to talk with me."

"Absolutely, Miss Potts. I'm sorry I missed you as well." Clark takes his seat and gives a smile and a nod to Lucky. If he's supposed to be intimidating, Clark doesn't seem all that intimidated yet. Although, rumors around the office here in Metropolis is that he's as meek as they come.

Whatever he's trying to do Jason's obviously taking it very seriously. Making sure the door to the conference room is closed nice and tightly. He lets a low hmm escape his lips, thinking about the curious looking rather nerdy man. Though he has other things on his mind at the moment Jason still wants to at least look like he's fully invested on such little sleep.

Pepper did try to suggest to Jason that he should nap on the way here, but no. Manly man has to be manly and stuff. Okay, he's the only that'll suffer. As she settles into her chair, her shoulder bag goes by her feet and her phone onto the conference table.

"I mostly wanted to make sure of what information Tony shared with you during that interview." In other words, JARVIS shared every second of their conversation with her and she will tell this reporter in no uncertain words where he can stuff his witch hunt if he insists on persuing further. Especially right now.

"Make sure?" Clark says with a raised eyebrow. "I think the column stands for itself Miss Potts. If you needed to make sure, why don't you ask Tony Stark himself? Metropolis is a long way to come for something you could have picked up a phone with your boss over."

This remark gets a slightly raised brow from the scarred man, but not much more. He's really trying to just look wide awake, and ready to jump into action at any second, but he should have listened to Pepper if he really wanted to be on his best. What he really needs is coffee, black coffee no cream no sugar, just boiling black goodness.

Pepper did read the article, alongside watching the footage from when the reporter and Tony were talking. She could see as glaring as a neon sign how unwell her boss looked. "I'm not one for mincing words when it's unnecessary, Mr. Kent. You're not the first reporter to question Tony directly for the actions of others within his company, and I can safely wager you won't be the last." GOD, she hopes he won't be the last. "Why did you approach him about the events in Bialya, now, when it's too late to actually save those lives?" Uh oh. Is it possible that Kent has struck a nerve here?

"Because someone is responsible for those lives. I believe, as my opinion column pointed out, that he is partially responsible. You'll notice, I myself asked the question regarding how much? I'm not sure anyone can answer that. But when your bombs, the ones your company have made. The ones that afford you your nice holidays and your fancy dinners…When those bombs kill innocent civilians, it's too much to ask the American people to just sit and swallow it because you happen to work for a charming boss. The people have a right to know, Miss Potts. Regardless of your personal feelings on the matter."

If there's one thing Jason's learned in his short time working for the company it's how to stay out of a tense issue. There's nothing to say that he has to verbally jump in on this, and that's exactly what he tells himself as he shuts his mouth tight, finding the view from this room to be very interesting for some reason or another. Something about this guy does register as a possible threat, but not very high on the list of them.

Pepper Potts narrows her eyes at Kent. Reaching into her bag, she pulls a paper file folder and starts slapping sheets from the folder onto the table.

"Did you do any research before you wrote that article, Mr. Kent? Did you bother to take note that in the past fiscal year, Stark Industries has sent nearly three billion in personnel, supplies, and food items to those parts of the world that he's been single-handedly trying to rid of all of those weapons your article harped on about? He's spent more — from his personal accounts, I might add — to aid those nations than the top twenty international aid foundations combined. And no overhead. I am the one that cuts those paychecks to the relief workers. I am the one that approves the purchase orders for the medical supplies, and medical equipment, and food items, and the means to transport all of that over there safely. I know which bank account all of that money comes from, and it's NOT one of the ones that gives him a nice and tidy little tax loophole like so many other corporations love to use."

Pepper leans back in her seat a bit, forcing herself to take a breath and calm down. "I know you're just doing your job. But, from the viewpoint of someone who has to deal with the fallout from all sides of this equation, I just have to ask you if you truly did all of the research before you approached Mr. Stark."

"All of your money that you spend, you think that makes it better. I'm sorry that you feel the lives of innocent children hold a dollar amount. I'm sorry that allows you to sleep well at night. The fact of the matter is you work for a company that built its reputation and its resources off of death. And now, when that death comes to roost, Tony Stark doesn't even have the guts to come down here. He sends his assistant. And a body guard." Perry White would be surprised to see this side of Clark Kent; but this sort of journalism is the reason that Clark chose the profession. "What makes me sick, Miss Potts, is this entire time you're more worried about your employer than thousands of innocent lives. Now, if you have nothing else to say, I have work to do."

"We're a nation founded on death," Jason lets slip quietly from his lips trying to keep himself quiet. There's something about the conversation that's hit him a bit personally, struck as much of a cord as anyone else in the room. He gets that look in his eyes that he does when he's thinking back to something that thousand yard stare not at anything in particular but through everything. There's no reason it should have slipped from his lips other then that he's in one of those tired moods, and the second he mutters it he knows he's done something wrong. He tries to pass it off as just sighing about the view.

That does it. Clark Kent just earned himself an enemy today.

Pepper Potts stares at Kent for a long moment then scoops the papers back up to return to her bag. "I see I shouldn't have bothered. Your mind is set, and nothing anyone says or does will change it. I apologize for everyone's waste of time today, Mr. Kent." She stands abruptly and starts for the door before pausing to turn and look at the reporter one last time. "You have a right to your opinions, but I don't see you out there on the front lines personally stopping these atrocities." Then, she looks to Lucky. We're done here.

"On the contrary, holding your company accountable for its act in atrocities is precisely how these things will be stopped in the future, Miss Potts. Regardless of whether or not your employer loses out on the next big government contract or not. That's why we have a free press, unfortunately for the Military Industrial Complex," Clark responds.

Jason can hardly stop himself from going right after this Kent fellow. He knows his type, the damn liberals, and hippies trying to but their noses in where they aren't wanted. This guys the same kind of person who threw rotten eggs at him, and mocked him when he came home from 'Nam, the same kind of jerk who sent so many of his close friends over the edge. He lets slip louder this time as he makes for the door, "Damn hippie" obviously a bit angered by what he see's Clark as, his voice filled with genuine spite for the first time since he's worked for Pepper.

Pepper Potts pauses just before exiting the conference room. "We don't get government contracts anymore, Mr. Kent. The current White House regime," yes, she did just use the word regime, "has no interest in clean energy." And then she's gone. Hopefully Jason will be okay with stopping for ice cream on their way back. Or chocolate. Or both.

Sometime later, after Pepper and Lucky have made their way down the elevator and towards the entrance, they'll find Clark Kent standing by the door and holding it open for them. As they approach, he pushes his glasses farther up on his nose and gives them a smile. "Have a great day! Also, my dad was a Vietnam Veteran. He'd take issue with the term hippie. I'm not sure they had those where I'm from."

Eraser says, "Your dad should be ashamed then."

Pepper Potts simply says as business-polite as can be, "Good afternoon, Mr. Kent."

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