More on Metropolis

January 18, 2015:

Howard Stark is helping the kind folks of the city of Metropolis when backup arrives.

Stark Offices in Metropolis

The headquarters for Stark relief efforts in the big city.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The project to turn the lights back on in Metropolis is more or less on-schedule. The critical services, such as hospitals, fire stations and evac shelters have been the priority. Parts of the rest of the city have been on rolling brown-outs as they work to get the generators up to capacity. Tony's been in the trenches, while Howard's been managing things.
The headquarters of the whole operation is a small office tower that was used for one of Stark Industries' subsidiary companies. Operations have been suspended and it's become the home of foremen, scientists and other workers who are trying to get this project off the ground. Howard Stark is in the conference room, which has been converted into a break room. He's on the phone.
"No, no. Georgie, that's not good enough. We need those parts tooled and down here. Tony's already sent you the specs, so I need you to get on it, and I need you to put on an extra shift. There's people freezing over here." Most of the time, Howard doesn't have much of a regional accent to speak of. Every now and then, his New Jersey slips out.

A little PT goes a long way. Some guys spend it in bars. Other times, guys might spend it with family or with friends. Steve Rogers is taking the train down to Metropolis to help his friends in any way he can, even if that means just getting a cup of coffee and saying hello. If they need anyone to do any physical labor, he's ready and willing.

His hands go into his jeans pockets as he strolls through the train station wearing his bomber jacket and old Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap. Every once in a while people will notice him, but for the most part he's left alone pretty well. And even when he is noticed, he's pretty nice.

He takes a cab to Stark HQ for the operation, pays the cabbie, steps out and into the office and is surprised by all the hustle and bustle. Hands back in his pockets as he walks around lamely, looking for Tony or at least someone else he knows.

It's the weekend. Pepper decides that she should probably head down to Metropolis and check on both Stark boys. Yes, boys. But, air travel to Metropolis is strictly limited at the moment, so she uses her influence (and a phone call to Director Fury with the promise of another finished generator along with several parts for other units) to get herself a seat on one of the supply transports leaving the Triskelion for the struggling city. Her 'chaperone' for the outing is one Junior Agent Darcy Lewis.

The transport has touched down in a parking lot near the co-opted Stark building and unloading has begun. Stepping off of the transport and out of the way, Pepper looks back for Ms. Lewis and waits for her to do likewise. She's dressed very casually for her, jeans and a simple but still well-made white button-up shirt under her deep green wool peacoat and spring green knitted lace scarf.

Agent Lewis is in standard SHIELD black. The white buttonup blouse hides a bright pink thermal undershirt. Her black suit jacket is mostly hidden by the puffy brown dawn jacket. She's wearing heels though! And slacks. Slacks which hide the bright lime green neon knitted leg warmers that ward off hte chill. She's put on a 'normal' knitted hat instead of a dead fish (like last time), because with Fury sending her there's no way she was going to try him.

The Agent steps from the jet a step behind Pepper, hands in the pockets of her jacket.
The voice will be familiar to anyone who has been around Howard for any length of time. It's a voice that carries, especially because Howard is not happy. He pinches the bridge of his nose. "Are you seriously telling me that I don't have the authority to place this order? Did you not read the paper?" Pause. A heay sigh. "All right. So you want me to bother Tony or Ms. Potts with this. This is what you're telling me. For approval of a rush order of generator parts to stop a city's worth of people from freezing. You're a saint, Georgie. An ass-covering saint."

Steve gives an upwards nod behind Howard as his old friend explodes into anger, "I'm sure he'll listen to reason, Howard." It's more a plea than a statement, and when Howard eventually looks back, Steve gives him a weak smile.

"Thought maybe you guys could use a hand. If you can, I'd like to help."

His smile goes a bit stronger. "It's good to see you, Howard. I wish it were under better circumstances."

Pepper Potts leads Miss Lewis into the building, leaving SHIELD's domain and (technically) entering hers as they do so. She speaks with the security personnel at the front desk for a moment, then leads the brunette through to the conference room just in time to hear Howard's 'losing my temper' voice. It's very similar to Tony's.

"Howard?" Pepper already sounds a bit concerned. It usually takes a LOT to get Tony sufficiently angry for that tone of voice to be used on anyone other than an AI. "Is everything okay?"

Having never been in the building, Darcy does her absolute level best not to look like a gaping teenager. She succeeds mostly, until she's looking up at something and her mouth falls open. Hearing Pepper continue on has Darcy snapping back to herself and she continues after her 'charge'. A hand comes out of a pocket, covered in a black and white fingerless glove that reads: POW! With this hand, Darcy pushes the red hipster glasses further up her nose, and he perks up at the spound of Howard's voice and Pepper's concern. She's concerned too. not because Pepper is or because of how much it take Howard to get upset, but becasue.. hey! Someone's upset and that's cause to be concerned for them. And the voice is familiar.

Howard turns and blinks when he sees Steve standing there. "Yeah…you do that," he says into the phone. Then he hits the 'end' button and tucks it into his jacket pocket. "Steve. Hey," he moves forward and offers his hand out to shake. "You too, you too. I'm just dealing with idiot contractors. We should buy out those bastards." He smiles wryly. "Don't suppose you have welding certification? Cause that's what we could really use right now. There's not enough specialists to keep this thing on-track." He runs his fingers back through his hair.
Then he spots Pepper and takes a deep breath. "Hey. Yeah, yeah. I've just been dealing with an external supplier for some parts. They wouldn't approve a rush order from me. Think you could handle it? Dextall Machineworks." He rests his hands on his hips and looks between Pepper, Steve and Darcy. "If you're looking for Tony, he's deep underground doing some dangerous heavy lifting."

Steve shakes his head sadly as he shakes Howard's hand, "Unfortunately, no. I was never much of a welder, I'm afraid." Once he notices Pepper and Darcy walk in the door he smiles and nods towards Pepper, and then gives a bit of a double take at Darcy.

That intern is everywhere.

"Hello, Pepper. Miss Lewis."

Pepper Potts takes a deep breath at mention of Tony doing dangerous work AND being underground. Okay, focus. She offers Steve a small smile as she digs her phone out of her bag. "Dextall Machineworks, hm?" She quickly dials a number and puts the phone to her ear. "Who was it you were talking to, Howard?" Setting her bag on a convenient table, she reaches into it again and pulls out a metal tin that is then offered to Darcy. It's tea. Earl Grey to be precise.

Darcy smiles at everyone, with a little nod for Cap. Gotta respect the Cap! She looks at the tin she's being given, blinks once, then looks over at Pepper, "Wha-" she starts to ask only to realize Pepper's on the phone and so she shuts up and waits.

"Damn. Might have to grab a welder's mask and do it myself," drawls Howard. He's not serious. He's really not that hands-on when it isn't his own project. "Uh, can I offer any of you burnt coffee? Stale donuts? Cans of juice with greasy fingerprints? Sorry, it's kind of a mess around here." He's not usually someone who gets agitated easily. Steve saw him fly past Nazi forces with a cooler head than he has right now.
To Pepper he says, "Some guy named Georgie. Petersen, I think. He was supposed to be a manager, but I think he was BSing me."

Steve shakes his head, "I'm fine." He gives a little wave, shaking off the coffee. "Everything okay here, Howard?" It seems a bit more stressful than just one generator.

Pepper Potts nods to Howard, keeping a sharp eye on him as apparently someone on her phone picks up. "Yes, hello, this is Virginina Potts from Stark Industries. May I speak with Craig Dextall, please? Yes, thank you." She takes a moment to switch from holding her phone to her ear to a bluetooth earpiece, then pockets her phone and takes the tin back from Darcy.

Multitasking, go. She begins to talk with whomever is on her phone while preparing a cup fo tea, which she places in Darcy's hands before holding up an empty mug to silently offer a cup to Steve. "… so now you understand why we're all a little impatient here. Yes, Mr. Dextall. George…Petersen, I believe, he has the list of what we're needing out here." She starts making a second cup of tea for herself, or for Steve if he accepted. "Thank you, and yes, we'll be expecting them. Thank you so much."

Darcy, wathcing Pepper handle Dextall with grace and ease, while making tea, is distracted by Steve asking Howard if he's okay. Her eyes trail from Cap to Stark, and her head tilts. "You're not still sore about me not liking StarkYarn, are you? It's nothing personal, or anything. I just.. well, I don't think it's real, ya know?"

"Yeah, yeah. It's fine. Just not used to dealing with people throwing up road blocks when I'm trying to make headway on a project." He's Howard Stark, for god's sake! Never mind that his name doesn't carry the same weight that it used to, and that there are people out there who don't believe he is who he says he is.
He holds on to the back of a chair and weaves a little on his feet. He's sweating, ever so slightly, and he seems to be paying close attention to his breathing. He listens to Pepper being polite and reasoned. He tried that, but it didn't work! Some people's children. When Darcy speaks, he blinks. "What? Oh. No. It's real. Agent May gave me yarn as a joke when I said I was bored. I gave knitting a try and made her a garrotting taser scarf." He says that very offhandedly.

Steve waves off the coffee mug from Pepper and puts the hand back in the pocket, feeling suddenly very much in the way. He takes a look at the walls and of the operation in general, observing how they work.

Watching Stark, Darcy notices the swaying and the sweating and the trying not to hyperventilate breathing. Worried, she handles this in teh most Darcy way possible, by stepping toward Howard holding her gloved hands where the words BAM and POW show up.

"OHmygod, are you serious? That's awesome! Look. I got these gloves from etsy and they're awesome, but you MADE a taser scarf, which is way more awesome. I think I love you," she's babbling happily as she approaches Howard.

Pepper Potts nods to Steve, keeping the second teacup for herself. "All right, Howard. Dextall should have everything you requested by the end of the day today." She leans a bit to get a better look at the younger-seeming Stark's face, still looking a bit concerned at him. But, probably from having been around Tony so much, she doesn't say anything aloud. Instead she latches onto Darcy's topic, thinking maybe the distraction will help him settle. "Wait, you learned to knit, Howard? Okay, that's one skill I tried to learn and failed at. Miserably."
Howard looks a wee bit taken aback by Darcy's sudden fondness. As an aside to Pepper and Steve, he says, "It's good to know I can still make the people love me." He pulls out his phone and fires off a message to a foreman. "Thanks for that, Pepper. And well, I may have programmed a robot to do the /actual/ knitting." Yes, a robot programmed a robot. He can do that. "Steve," he says, "If you really want to help, maybe have a look at our duty roster? We could use a plan of attack. We've had so many new troops coming on every day that some of the units aren't up to snuff." He points to a binder and a tablet on a side table. Sure, this may not be a battle in the conventional sense, but they are trying to attack a problem.

"I'd be really happy to, Howard." Though it might not be fisticuffs, but it gives him something to do and would truly be rather helpful. Steve takes a seat at the table, pulling himself in as he begins to look at some of the materials. "What's the biggest problem, do you think?"

Pepper Potts gives her tea a little more time to steep and pours a glass of water which she then presses into Howard's hands. She ALMOST pulls her phone to ask JARVIS to find out which of the personnel on the ground have welding experience, and remembers that he's already busy enough considering his diminished processing capability at the moment. So instead, she sends a text to Cricket, asking her for the information. It'll take a little longer, especially as her robot-PA has been picking up a lot of the slack for JARVIS, but she'll get the info as fast as she can. And, as much as she'd like to answer Steve's question, she just got here herself so doesn't know.

"Dude. YOu made a taser into a scarf. That's wicked," Darcy says to Howard as he switches topics again. It's so fast and so sudden and so like other science-minds she's dealt with that she just shrugs and looks about again, mostly at Pepper. She's supposed to be Pepper's shadow, after all. Yay, SHIELD orders!

"Communication. Chain of command. The ones working straight for us aren't the problem. The ones working for the various levels of government and the private contractors are the ones that are harder to make play nice. You'd think they'd leave the petty power struggles behind in the face of this problem. But some of them won't take orders from anyone but their respective bosses." Which is more like…proceedure and protocol than petty power struggles, but Howard's frustrated. And anxious. And now he has a glass of water. He blinks. He opens his mouth to say something about preferring coffee, but instead just sips it.
Then he asides to Darcy, "I wrapped it around a wire and tasered an albino when the tower got attacked. Plus I also made mittens that hook up to Bluetooth and scan the surrounding atmosphering conditions." Sssip. "And did Pepper show you her nails?"

Steve shrugs his shoulders as he begins to look at the files quietly. He reads it slowly and carefully, unsure of a lot of the vocabulary. His lips purse as he comes across as interesting, but for the most part, much of it is bland, bland, bland.

Pepper Potts smiles a bit, subconsciously hiding her hands for a split second before reclaiming her tea and then letting Darcy look at her nails if she chooses. Currently, they look simply like she's wearing a clear topcoat on them, but then after a sip of tea she sets her cup down and touches one of her nails to Steve's hair. And now her nails look to have been painted the color (and possibly even the texture) of super soldier blond.

Turning back to Howard as he asides to her, Darcy smiles broadly, eyes bright again.

"Nooooooo," she sing songs and turns to Pepper.

"You holding out on me, Miss Potts?" Darcy accuses merrily, while filing away scanning mittens for later. Must ask May about these items, must try to get some.. for.. reasons… She moves to get a better look at Pepper's nails and-

"ohmygod, That is SO cool!" Darcy chimes on a girly squeel.

Not exactly interesting reading, but important. Superheroes and villains blow things up and walk away, but it's the engineers, the contractors and the workmen that put it back together again.
Thanks, guys. Seriously. It's not like cities have magical regenerative abilities. Although…
Howard swallows more of the water, then sets it aside. He chuckles at Pepper's choice of demonstration colour and Darcy's reaction. "Call that shade, 'Locks of America.'"
Steve's eyes rise up out of the binder as his hair is touched and he looks back over his shoulder. Very slowly. A grin comes across his face as he sees the color and he shakes his head, "That's unbelievable, Miss Potts."

About to say more about the color changing nails, Darcy's cell phone rings. Rather, it plays a song. 'Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!!! Those cats were fast as lightning!" Darcy starts and scrambles for her phone, stepping away a bit with some excuse me's. Whatever is ssaid on the other end has her shoudlers drooping and a frown coming over her face.

"I understand. I'll head back right away," Darcy says at the end, puttng her phone away and smiling apolgoetically.

"Gotta go. It's be real. Captain Rogers, Mr. Stark. Miss Potts," she says as she waves and heads out with her heart racing. Please say May didn't get wind that she sort of talked to that mark they sent her to observe only, No Sass. There was a clear No Sass order and Darcy sassed all over that. Shit.

Pepper Potts offers Steve an apologetic smile and then Darcy's been called away. She moves to sit at the same table as Steve, leaning to look at the files. "So the subcontractors are resisting taking direction from the SHIELD personnel in their assigned work areas?" She shakes her head. "Yeah, that's a problem all right." There is no way that they can get this done fast enough without the help of all of the people they've brought in from at least four neighboring states.

"They'll take some direction. But the moment you step out of bounds of the initial order from their superiors, they start digging in their heels and say they need approval," murmurs Howard. He leans against the table and pinches the bridge of his nose. He sucks in a sharp breath. "I'm sorry. I…I think I need a little air. Carry on. I'm just going to…" He heads towards the door. He's clearly unsteady on his feet, but he's sucking it up, lifting his chin. Nope. Fine. Totally fine.

Steve looks to watch Howard go before his eyes come back to Pepper. "If it were me," he begins, before sliding over the binder, "I'd see if I could convince the Governor to see if he would be willing to call in the National Guard to assist. He'd get the political points, and the military would get a morale boost. If you set up that relationship, you might be able to fire these contractors, save a ton of money, and a lot less headaches. I mean it looks like ninety percent of this stuff is unskilled labor. The Guard could do this stuff."

Pepper Potts looks up at Howard, clearly concerned, but again, if he's anything like Tony, chasing after him to make sure he's okay would be the worst thing she could do. So instead, she looks at the binder that Steve just pushed away. "Not necessarily, Captain. The brunt of the contractor labor is working on installing the generators SI has been sending in, and even as well trained as the National Guard are, the generator installation is a very steep learning curve. Pulling the contractors back out now might make matters worse on the short term."

Howard would normally have something pertinent to contribute to the conversation, but he's suddenly more concerned with getting out of public view for a minute. He goes down the hallway and finds an unoccupied office and shuts himself in there. He's going to be there awhile.

Steve shrugs his shoulders and chuckles at Pepper, "Well I gave it a try. He gives a nod to her and scoots back in his chair, "I'm going to take a stroll too and see if I can't find Stark mucking around here. I know he's supposed to be working, but he's been known to hang out at the hotspots when he's been working, too. It was nice to see you, Pepper."

"Good to see you too, Steve. And if you do find Tony, let him know I'm here. In the meantime, I'll start seeing if I can get all of these contact companies to start coordinating a bit better." THat is, after all, what Pepper can do to contribute here. Make phone calls and get people to quit being buttheads just long enough to keep this city from freezing.

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