What About The Supporting Cast

November 01, 2015:

As the clock strikes midnight, Pepper returns to Stark Towers with Brin … Tony turns up and talk turns to the most pressing matter of the moment

Stark Tower - New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Halloween night. Technically, by this point it's so late it's officially been November 1 for at least a couple of hours now. Normally, Pepper would have seen Bobby and Brinley off and called for a car to bring her home. However, considering that the three of them are a little worse for wear (Brinley considerably more so) after their run-in with some particularly unsavory Halloween-goers, she all but demanded that they return to Stark Tower (closer than her residence) to wash up and get a clean change of clothes before heading home.

Bobby's car safely parked in the Tower's private garage, Pepper leads them into the building's lobby and toward the elevators. SHe's got a few changes of clothes stashed in her office that the empath can help herself to, and Pepper can reassure JARVIS that she is in fact still alive and well and that her phone is only running out of batteries, it isn't lying on a sidewalks smashed to a jillion pieces.


Brins holding her shoes in her hand and walking in bare feet … her lovely sequinned white dress is /covered/ in black blood… and so is she. That's what happens when fight Zombies in New York with a very diligent … what is it you call the Magdalena? … behind you.


Tony decided to skip Halloween shenanigans to work in his shop. There's only so many parties you can go to with so many female supermodel/starlet types before you end up recycling cheesy couple costume ideas. So he's taken the opportunity to stay at home for once and work. It IS something he can do, even if it kills the bookies in Vegas with the odds payout. Hearing Pepper enter, and a brief conversation with JARVIS, he decides to see what Pepper dressed as for Halloween, and stops when he encounters her and her..friend? Standing there. He pauses and sizes the situation up. "Lemme guess..Carrie. Prom Scene. Nice." he says, smiling as he crosses to the bar to pour himself a drink, "Would either of you like something, or do I risk a grizzly, telekenetic death at the hands of a bullied young woman?"


Pepper Potts hears Tony's voice float across the way and somehow manages to not sigh. "Go on up, Brinley, JARVIS will make sure you don't get lost." Luckily, having the executive washroom means the empath will be able to take a full shower if she chooses. For her own part, Pepper walks toward Tony to fend off too many questions so Brin can escape and get cleaned up.

"Mr. Stark. Did you finish that project due Monday?" She's fully expecting the answer to be 'no' at this point, and she's not at all concerned. She knows he'll either get it perfected in time, or present an only partially completed item that is still light years better than was asked of him.


"My abilities don't run to that, I'm afraid." Brin responds to Tony. Does she mean TK or simply acting as a bullied woman?

Nodding to Pepper, Brin lets JARVIS guide her up and takes full advantage of the shower to clean up. "JARVIS, I'll need a change of clothes please. Yoga pants and T-Shirt would be fine." In fact, that would suit Brin down to the ground. "And I'll need to dispose of this dress. It's not recoverable, I fear."


Watches Brin as she disappears upstairs and just shakes his head, before looking to Pepper, "Yeah, finished that way earlier today. I've spent the rest of the day working in the armory and working on the refinement of the a few of the ancillary systems of the suit. Tired of some of the limitations I have, so I'm trying to get rid of them."


Pepper Potts ahs and nods. "Which of the systems were you working on?" She steps around behind the bar to look for a place to set her phone to charge. Four percent battery remaining is simply unacceptable. And she's also idly wondering if Bobby got lost on his way into the lobby , or if he's still drooling over the Bugatti in the parking garage.


Tony Stark ponders how to answer and responds simply with "Deployment versatility. Trying to break away from conventional ways to get the suit to me." he pauses, "So..what's her story?" he asks, curious as he sips his scotch.


It's not long before Brin reappears … she doesn't mess around, it seems. The dress is disposed of with JARVIS' instruction and she'd been directed to where Pepper kept a change of clothes - or two or more - thankfully the women were of a similar height and build.

Entering Peppers office, Brins hair is slightly damp curling down around her shoulders "It's a pleasure to meet you at last, Mr Stark." She holds her out "I'm Brinley Myers, from X-Red." Looking over to Pepper, she knows better than to 'say' anything, but she does check in with her friend.


Pepper Potts nods to Tony. She can't really think of any other ways to 'deploy' an Iron Man suit, but if anyone could figure out something different and unique, it'd be Tony. "Oh. We ran across some … unpleasant individuals on our way back from the holiday party, and one of them thought it was amusing to reenact Carrie on Ms. Myers." And then Brin is returning and introducing herself. Pepper gives her a reassuring smile, though the look she promptly turns on Tony is a bit more of a warning one.


Tony Stark takes this hand, "Call me Tony, my dad is Mister Stark." he says, smiling, "X-Red. Interesting." he says, before looking back to Pepper, "Another reason why Halloween is one of my least favorite holidays. Gives too many people an excuse to act like dicks all under the guise of pranks and shock tactics. Glad everything worked out in the end."


"Tony, then." Brin saw the look Pepper gave to the man and is quietly amused. She's quiet and reserved and men rarely flirt with her… so it's amusing that Peppers warning Tony off.

"It did work out in the end." she agrees with Tony "Just not pleasant having blood dumped over you… but that's the easy stuff. Easier than some of the work I do X-Red…"

"Could I bother you for a drink, Miss Potts?"


"Oh. Of course. Tea, or coffee, or maybe something a little more bracing?" Pepper has already started some water boiling for herself, so it'd be no hardship to make a hot beverage. She suddenly finds herself wondering if JARVIS picked up anyone film the little altercation, but it's not like she can ask the AI to search for and erase any footage he finds while Tony is standing right here. Well, fingers crossed that that doesn't come back to bite her later.

GEtting out two glasses, Pepper fills both with water and offers one to Brinley. For in the meantime.


Tony Stark chuckles softly, "I imagine so. Still, a pain in the ass of an inconvenience." he smiles at Pepper, then back to Brin, "If it's something more bracing you want, I do have a fully stocked bar here. What's your pleasure?"


Taking the water from Pepper, Brin smiles over to Tony. "A Brandy would be nice, if you have one. On the rocks, with just a splash of water, please." Settling into one of the chairs in Peppers office, Brin looks better the two of them. "Well, Miss Potts phone proved most useful there … that's a very cool function that's programmed into it." She means the taser.


Pepper Potts just smiles a bit to herself at the mention of her phone's taser function, and gets out of the way so Tony can pour up the brandy Brin requested. Settling into a seat near the dark-haired woman, she finally takes a moment to pull off her shoes and start to pull her hair out of the updo it's been in all evening. And somehow, the painted on 'star trek alien' spots drawn down the back of her neck are still as crisp and clear as they were at the beginning of the evening.


Tony Stark goes to fix the Brandy and chuckles, "Well, with Pepper, I seem to have to pack her phones full of various tools. You never know what she's gonna get into."


Taking the brandy, Brin sips it appreciatively, curling her legs under her. Seeing Pepper relaxing bings a smile to her face, it's something she rarely sees. "Your costume tonight was awesome, Miss Potts." Pepper never did answer Bobby's question about with empath she was … and that's kind of interesting to her. "Don't you think, Tony? Those spots haven't faded at all… "


Pepper Potts smiles and now that they've been pointed out, she catches herself rubbing at the spots on one temple. And they don't smudge. Not even a tiny bit. "Zatanna helped me with the makeup. The dress … well, I've been wanting to have this dress made for kind of a long time now." She gets up again as the water is now boiling for tea and she gets out two mugs to start them steeping. She doesn't mention it aloud, but she is rather glad that it didn't get blood-splashed. She might have been far less kind to those zombie demons if it had.


Tony Stark chuckles, "Well if you can't spot yourself, always get the magician to spot you..or something like that, anyway." he says, and finds himself a seat. Taking another drink, "So..what is it that X-Red does, anyway? I've heard of it, but in passing. Never get an official brief."


Brin is very happy that Peppers dress wasn't splashed by blood and she takes another sip of her brandy. As her hair dries, the waves gets a little curlier - she's going to regret that come morning!

"X-Red." Now Tony's done it, asked Brin about something close to her heart "consists primarily of mutants who have made their identities public. My code name is Mana … you can find that on our website. Our aim is to carve a niche in the community for mutants. To show that there's nothing to be afraid of." she does actually stop to take a breath "We show mutants how to make a living off of their gifts and we do a /lot/ of volunteer/pro-bono work as well as some heroing."

Maybe Pepper will add to some of the work that they're doing - Purifiers, Reavers etc.


Pepper Potts nods her agreement with Brin's basic explanation. "You've heard about those attacks in M-Town by a group of radicals called Purifiers, right, Tony? They're a big part of what X-Red has been having to deal with lately. And things are escalating." She hesitates, then brings both tea mugs back to the chairs, setting one where either Tony or Brin can claim it, and wrapping her hands around the other. It's a habit. Her hands get cold easily.

"Do you remember a few weeks back, when I came in to work limping? I'd fallen and bruised my hip. I had gone to the Blue Mist Pottery there in M-Town, and while I was there, a group of Purifiers attacked. I got as many people into the potter's shop as I could, because it's got a secure back room. But," she hesitates again, "while I was doing that, I slipped on a patch of ice and fell." She then seems to steel herself and she looks at Tony squarely. "Some of the X-Red people were there protecting the M-Town residents."

"Since then, I've been helping Brin and her team find out as much as possible about those Purifiers, in the hopes that they can be shut down permanently. Or at least squashed enough to keep people safe fromnow on."


Tony Stark hmms. He rubs his chin and thinks. A problem for him to solve, this is always a good thing. "Well, why don't you start by telling me who or what these Purifiers are? Then I can start efforting a solution. I've known several mutants. I employ a number of them as well. I don't have a single problem with mutants, nor them using their powers to make a living or make a difference. People who want to harm them genuinely piss me off. I'd be happy to help."


"It's a long story…" Brin warns Tony with a nod to Pepper for her additions. "The Purifiers and Reavers are hate groups. They're broken into cells of operations, so taking them down is impossible really. We've been exposing them though and working with local authorities to ensure the cells are disbanded." she pauses and looks to Pepper then "The Purifiers, are humans, well funded, well trained and organised. We've been tracing the money to see who's behind it- it's just a really slow process. The Reavers though are Cyborgs…" Brin goes on to explain about the stolen tech from Lobo Tech and the connections to organised crime. "Recently though, we discovered information on a project called Operation Extinction. The information we have to hand reads like a 'how to' manual on killing mutants."


Pepper Potts takes a sip of her tea and listens quietly as Brin starts sharing what she knows about the Purifiers and Reavers. It's far more than Pepper her knew until just now. "I've spoken wirh Mr. Lobo personally — that corporate takeover a few weeks back? I made an agreement with him to take on all personnel assets and let him claim all of the company's materials and patents, mostly because I knew he would have laid all of those people off immediately. If I'd tried to claim it lock stock and barrel, he would have turned it into an ugly fight. I could tell he wanted to."


Tony Stark gets a wry smirk on his face, "Well..it wouldn't ne the ugliest fight I've ever gotten in. Wouldn't be my first hostile takeover, either." he says to Pepper, knowing full well she knows what he's talking about. "Brin," he says confidentally, "What would you need from me personally to take X-Red to the next level, and get you out from behind the eight ball?" he says - the tone casual, but the slight tension in his jaw might tell that the gears are clearly spinning in his head already.


"Our biggest issue, Tony" Brin takes a sip of the Brandy, even though the tea that Pepper provided is cooling nearby. "Is the time it takes to research and decipher the information we've been collecting. We've some pretty top notch coders and hackers on the team and they do a great job. Miss Potts has kindly offered JARVIS's assistance for some of the deeper data crunching that's needed… " She shifts just a little "I'm not really sure. It comes down really to collecting the data, interpreting it and then acting on it. It takes time and money…"


Tony Stark ponders this a moment, "Well, what we /can/ do is to start a massive data search from known networks all the way into the deep web. We can borrow a couple of networks to help with this, and have JARVIS coordinate the data crunching. I can put a few of the high end clusters of his processing to work there. Fortunately, there's someone with plenty of time and money at hand..me." he says smiling, brightly. "And if you want, I'll come out swinging. I can post up an Iron Legion division in M-Town. JARVIS will know what to monitor for and they can act accordingly, plus, I can start a nasty little PR war publically with Lobo..let him know I'm coming for him, and that I'm gonna win."


Pepper Potts holds up a hand at that. "I don't think we should go after Lobo so directly. I'm pretty sure he's not above using really dirty tactics to get his way. Not to mention, if he isn't part of this whole Purifier mess," and her tone of voice makes it clear she's sure that he IS, "we don't want to be caught attacking someone who's actually innocent." She sips at her tea again. "He's involved. I know he is. But I'd rather let him implicate himself, and keep us on the high road." Besides, she's the one that would have to handle all of the PR war stuff, and it just sounds exhausting.


Tony's mention of an Iron Legion Division gets a frown from Brin - that's not something she's heard of. "Iron Legion, Tony?" but then she's nodding to Pepper "The information on Lobo Tech is purely circumstantial, right now, we'd like to hold our hand on that … and use data mining to find what we can and as Miss Potts says, let him implicate himself." Another sip of the brandy and she smiles slightly "I think the rest sounds awesome but I'll need to speak to the rest of the team - we make decisions collaboratively."


Tony Stark nods, "Of course. Just know that I'm ready and willing to lend my personal resources wherever you think they'll be best applied." he thinks for another moment, "You guys keep saying to let him implicate himself; is there a way to massage that a bit amd make it even easier for him to do so - or even better, outright incriminate himself?"


"I've been trying to find that angle since I talked to him," Pepper admits. "He might be a complete slimeball, but he's a smart slimeball. He knows how to cover his tracks and keep everything looking all on the up and up. But no matter how good he is, he's bound to slip up sooner or later. And that's when we make sure he's square in the middle of the spotlight so he can't wriggle his way out of it." She considers her mug of tea for a moment. "Maybe we should start digging into that woman from Legal that's always with him." After all, she's always with him. It's disconcerting.


"Thank you, Tony." Brin smiles as she finishes the brandy he'd poured for her. "I just keep digging into the data, knowing that something will show up." She looks at Pepper, curiously "Now that's an idea. She is always with him. Let's start digging there and see what shows up." If you can't get the man, what about his supporting cast…


Tony Stark grins, "Well, I'm particularly lucky in that that is not my Achilles heel." the eyes glance over to Pepper and it widens. "But..I don't think anyone else has my luck. So let's take a look at exploiting Lobo's legal weakness."


Pepper Potts says, "I'll get started on it first thing Monday. That woman really grated on me. I won't feel at all bad digging for dirt on her." Pepper finishes her tea, then looks at Brin. "Let me know when you're ready to head home. I'm sure JARVIS would be happy to arrange for a car for you.""


"About now, I think, Miss Potts." Brin smiles between her and Tony. "And that really was an inspired idea. I might suggest we also include his accountants… isn't that how they bought Al Capone down?" Not quite, that was Tax Invasion but it starts with the accountants.

Drawing herself to her feet, wearing Peppers Yoga Pants and a T-Shirt with the word 'Shiny' emblazoned across the front, she offers her hand to Tony again "A pleasure, Tony. Please, feel free to drop in on X-Red HQ and get feel for who you've just offered to work with."


Tony Stark takes the hand and smiles, "I'll do just that. JARVIS already has a car waiting for you." he looks over at Pepper, "Find out who his accounting firm is. Leverage one of the independent companies we have to move on it. They won't give up his records, but if they're ours..it's legal."


Pepper Potts moves to stand as well, her costume skirt now completely in contact with the floor as she's lost the extra height from her shoes. "I am most definitely doing that," at the mention of leveraging a company toward Lobo's accounting firm. "Do you want me to walk you down, Brin? I don't mind at all, I promise." Heck, she might actually get a lift home as well instead of staying here overnight. She's still not decided yet.

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