Two Hanks and a Tony

January 06, 2015:

Hank was just about to discuss Stark with Hank when Stark showed up.

Van Dyne Industries

35th floor, the laboratory of Dr. Henry Pym.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Van Dyne Industries is one of the world's leading centres of scientific research and technological innovation. The late Dr. Vernon van Dyne was a pioneer in Gamma Radiation, using it to create portals to other dimensions. He set the bar very high, and the tradition of scientific greatness has continued with the work of Dr. Henry Pym, the discoverer of Pym Particles, a man who gave life to artificial intelligence, and one of the foremost authorities in biochemistry.

Today, like most days, he can be found working away in his laboratory, but he's been confounded by the current problem, and is sitting in his chair, looking a little exasperated. He runs a hand through the locks of his long blond hair. He really could use a haircut. Seemingly speaking to no one in particular, he says, "I don't think that I'm going to be able to do it. This sample has degenerated too much."

But then he notes the time, and says, "better get my butt in gear," and he'll toss his lab coat haphazardly across the chair while he makes a bee line to the change room he had installed, so he can shower and change. After all, he had company coming, and the lab is a mess. He really does need to clean up, but unfortunately, he can adjust his size, not move at super speed.

While he wouldn't have accepted the invitation to van Dyne Industries before, at least not without significant prodding, of late, Dr. Hank McCoy has been willing to accept other invitations to go out. Really, all it takes is a little shot and he's good to be in public for most of the day and not harm the reputation of a certain private school in Westchester county. So, when the invitation came from the centre, he accepted and made his way to building itself.

He's dressed, if not to impress, then to at least show that he considers this meeting of some level of importance. He's wearing slacks, a button-down, and a blazer under his scarf, hat, and long wool coat. It's getting -cold- out there!

He knows he's a little early so he takes a walk around the block a couple of times before he heads into the lobby. He'll tell the receptionist that he knows he's early and to please not let Dr. Pym know he's arrived until the appointed time.

The Hank of the non-mutant variety showers up, and as he's getting dressed, there is the chirp of the intercom, presumably the receptionist wants to let him know that his appointment has arrived. But poor Hank, while still only half dressed, he runs from the changing room to the intercom, which is of course found on the opposite side of the lab, so he can answer it. "Oh," his voice conveying his distress, "yeah, you can send him right up."

Great, even less time. He'll virtually sprint back to the change room so he can finish getting dressed, and when he's done there, he'll look around his lab, tidying up a little bit. Some papers are neatly stacked, and he thinks to himself, every time they say we're becoming a paperless society, he ends up with five more forms to fill out.

He does a pretty good job of cleaning up, but alas, he forgot to hide the Ant-Man armour. Though he's known as the man who named and discovered Pym particles, he is not known publicly as the Astonishing Ant-Man.

Because Hank's lab takes up the entire floor, it requires a key to access it, or for the receptionist to key it in at her terminal, which she does. "You can go right up, Dr. McCoy."

Hank McCoy isn't known to be the X-Man, Beast, either…so secrets abound! When he's allowed up to the lab, he steps gingerly into the lab proper and calls out, "Hello? Dr. Pym?" He knows he wouldn't want to be barged in upon and figures most others in his field feel the same way as well.

While he waited in the elevator, he removed his hat, scarf, and gloves, and tucked them in a crook of his arm.

Hank Pym will look up from stuffing some stray things in a drawer, and tries to look like the professional he allegedly is. But then, Hank McCoy is probably used to it. Scientists are not known for being organised in their personal work spaces, especially when their talents are across the board like Dr. Pym's. And this is essentially his home too, so he has even less reason to worry about appearances. He's recently showered, but still a bit dishevelled.

He will make his way towards the man he has corresponded with by E-Mail and the occasional Skype, "Dr. Henry McCoy, it's such a pleasure to finally meet you in person, and I can't thank you enough for coming down from… wherever," and it suddenly occurs to him that he has no idea where McCoy has been toiling away. He looks like he's eating well, so there's no worry about some terrorists kidnapping him and forcing him to design things for them.

He places another hand over the one that shakes for emphasis, and then pulls back, "welcome to my little neck of the woods, why don't I give you the tour?"

Hank McCoy takes the offered hand and gives it a shake, "And it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Dr. Pym. I'm sorry that it took so long with our correspondences but with the holidays and all…" he lets his voice trail off. "Thank you for the invitation and I'd love a tour." His own lab, albeit smaller, is in a similar state of 'organized chaos'. It's how he works best. Everything is organized in his head, as it should be.

Blue eyes glance around the area from behind his glasses…he doesn't look like he's been in any sort of distress. Some people are just very, very private.

With a knowing smile, Dr. Pym says, "Oh, please, call me Hank," and gestures towards some of his equipment. Most of it was designed and built by Dr. Pym himself, but some of it was purchased from other companies. He uses the equipment to make his scientific breakthroughs and frankly, why spend the time designing a new geothermal modulator if you can order one from Wayne Enterprises and have it here by 9 AM tomorrow morning?

His lab takes up the entirety of the 35th floor. It is an open concept, with an elevator that opens straight into the lab. Parts of it are two stories high, though not all of it, and there are a few private rooms around the edges of the floor, each marked changing rooms, clean room, kitchen, and so on. The room could be tidier. How he gets any work done in this disarray is probably anyone's guess, but the name, he's obviously been doing some great work here, like the discovery of the Pym particles, his anti-radiation gas, the oily spray, and several other groundbreaking innovations.

But alas, his work can often be ignored by the media, like the revelation of Howard Stark as being alive. He saw straight through it and went to the crux of the matter, his question appearing on youtube as part of the entire broadcast, but he was edited out of the news reports.

When the tour gets to his Ant-Man armour, on display in a glass case, he looks nervous. Crap, he didn't mean to reveal his secret identity. Will Hank McCoy put two and two together? Does he even follow the news? Had he even heard of the Astonishing Ant-Man? Hank tries to steer his colleague quickly past that, looking rather embarrassed, but will McCoy catch on?

"Well, that's going to get confusing…call me 'Henry' then," McCoy grins. When they get to the equipment that Pym designed and built, he will definitely ask questions and ask for demonstrations if it seems to be at all feasible. This is what happens when you get scientists together in their 'home turf' — lots of science geeking.

When the tour gets to the armour, Henry McCoy looks at it for a moment before moving to a nearby piece of equipment to ask about that. If he makes any connections, he doesn't voice them. That's the pot calling the kettle 'black'.

"So, I saw that broadcast on youtube…"

So that's a pretty good introduction, Tony will take it from here.

Let's be perfectly honest, if Tony had pulled up in a flying car, would anyone have even been the slightest bit surprised? He didn't, but he could have and that's an important thing. The red and gold Lamborghini Gallardo pulls up on the curb entirely too fast for New York City traffic and Tony swings out of his vehicle with all the grinning gusto of a rock star walking the red carpet.

How in the world is he going to get to the 35th floor in a single pose?

That's a good question and to be perfectly honest I don't know.

First, you see, Tony has to stop at the receptionist and flirt for a solid twenty minutes. Okay, probably more like two and a half, then he calls her the wrong name and she realizes that no decision that ends with Tony and Her is a self respecting one.

After another three minutes she's convinced her of two things, One: He really is Tony Stark, even though that was never in question. AND TWO: She should get him upstairs. See, now he's got help getting upstairs. It won't be in ONE pose, but maybe two…

Depends on how much I ramble.

Picking up that McCoy goes by Hank as well, "it's a great name, we can both use it. Though if anyone walked in on us, I imagine they'd have to call you McCoy and I Pym, or something like that." He chuckles at his own thoughts. McCoy has a keen mind and it's shone through in their correspondences, but the man in person is so… shy. There probably must be a reason for his reclusiveness. Hey, maybe he made some kind of wonderful discovery that he's scared that the world isn't ready for yet?

McCoy's questions are answered with alacrity. He's proud of his work and it's nice to converse with someone who understands it. Most of the time he has to translate into something that a lay person would understand, and you always lose something in the translation.

When the YouTube clip is mentioned, Pym says, "it's funny you should mention that. I sort of managed to get a sample of Howard Stark, but it's degenerated. It shouldn't have after so little time, so I can rule out his being a clone or a human being in the traditional sense of the word…"

But then the intercom chirps, and it's the receptionist again. She informs him that she's sent Tony Stark up to see him, and apologises if it causes any inconvenience since Mr. Stark did not have an appointment. "No, no, it's all right Sadie." Then turning to the other Hank, "looks like we'll get the chance to ask his 'son' about it."

Hank McCoy always seems to come across shyer and more introverted in person. He's spent a lot of time being fairly solitary, if not in fact than in mental space — he was the youngest in his classes, the youngest in the labs, on his own for much of his youth and formative years as his parents couldn't drop everything and go to college with him. The easy response about the names gets another grin but then there's dialogue about SCIENCE!

Not much trumps that, especially when one is used to having to translate terms and even ideas.

At the mention of the sample, he asks, "Have you ruled out any mutant or meta genetics?" Being as one of the top genetic scientists, he feels it's in his wheelhouse to ask this question. "There have been some metas and mutants who have been documented as having amazing regenerative abilities. Perhaps this sample deteriorates because there's constant regeneration and this particular sample was merely sloughed off…like a snake removing dry skin?"

As Tony Stark is announced, blue eyes widen, "Really? I've never actually met the man…"

In the movies Tony would walk out of the elevators right into the lab area so that he could answer the question in perfect timing. This isn't the movies, so it's a full six more minutes before Tony actually walks up, led to the pair of scientific minds by another assistant. This one having spent way more time with the smooth talking billionaire than anyone has resolve to counter.

She's even grinning, but it seems more friendly than flirty. "Seriously, if you bring your son by the tower tomorrow, I'll show him around the game room." Kids have dreams about an entertainment room like Tony has. With another wink, he hands the assistant a notebook and turns to regard Hank and Hank…

Eyes shifting between them, Tony walks towards McCoy first, "Your work on genetics is mind blowing. I don't get to say this enough, it is a genuine pleasure to meet you." Offering his hand.

Pym says hesitantly, "I believe so. You might able to rule mutant or metahuman out entirely, but from what I've found so far, I'm thinking he's some kind of synthetic organism, perhaps living tissue over a mechanical frame. I've actually done something similar," and he gestures towards what looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator.

Sheepishly, he explains, "I wanted to see if it could be done, and since I was the one doing it, I wanted to do it in the geekiest way I could think of. Still, I have no idea how they solved Powell-Stanz," which refers to their theory of Desterilised Degradation.

In layman's terms, Powell and Stanz believed that in any transfer of consciousness, a significant percentage would be lost. With every subsequent transfer, more would be lost. Of course, that was before the Ultra-Humanite, not that Ant-Man knows of him yet.

As Tony approaches, Pym is wondering why he didn't think to put a drape over the glass case with the Ant-Man suit, but there's not much he can do now. Maybe the Terminator will distract him. And then Pym thinks that he should have made the female Terminator, the one from the really bad film.

But what would that say about him? He shakes his head at his own thought, and abruptly extends his hand to Tony, "a pleasure as always Tony, what's the occasion?" He'd introduce Tony to McCoy, but Tony needs no introduction and he already knows the other Hank.

Hank McCoy's eyes widen as he's immediately singled out by the billionaire inventor, his hand taking the offered one, "And yours on robotics and clean energy… and you're Iron Man! It's an honour, Mr. Stark." Is he a doctor? McCoy doesn't recall that moniker among Stark's list of accomplishments. He looks between the two even as Pym begins explaining his own theories and experiments, "Well, we can certainly rule out the meta and mutant hypotheses easily enough if you permit me to look at the sample."

And now that Tony Stark is here, he can add his own theories on robotics, "So you're theorising that this could be some sort of android? I'm sorry… all I have in my head is that episode of 'Star Trek, The Next Generation' with Data and his mother… well, wife of Noonian Soong…" his voice trails off and he murmurs something about being too much of a stereotype.

Before he can try and backpedal, he is saved by the Bell… or rather, the cell phone ring. Glancing at the number, he looks to the two, "I'm so sorry… but I do need to take this. Do you mind?" He looks around for a place to go that might be relatively private in this open-style lab.

Tony's powers of observation are pretty legendary, what is not is his powers of keeping these things under wraps. This is the same guy who went in front of millions and proclaimed he was Iron Man. Seeing the Ant-Man suit, the inventor cants his head a little, then likely surprises the entire world by not even mentioning it.

Maybe he has no idea what the hell it is.

That's just as likely.

Besides it is now clear that his 'father' is being talked about and that's of keen importance to him. Especially with a Terminator android model on display. This he regards with a great bit more consideration than the armour beside it. Again shocking everyone by not boasting to Hank when his work on robotics and energy are brought up. Who is this man? The facade has dropped and all that remains is a man of science, even if he's a well dressed man of science.

"Consider the possibility that the degeneration is intentional. In the same manner that my suits are designed to flash fire erase themselves on capture." Said as he walks towards the 'terminator' to look on it a bit closer. Still wearing his shades, which are set to record with a click of his teeth. It is at this point that he answers the question Hank (of the Pym variant) asked on why he's come, "Corporate espionage."

Perhaps too honest or, more likely, joking to take away from the fact that he's too honest.

Hank, the Pym version, is a little embarrassed when his counterpart, Hank McCoy, actually talks about Howard Stark in front of Tony, though no name is given, so Tony might not know what they were talking about. Hey, they're scientists and world doesn't revolve around the Starks.

Looking around his lab, Dr. Pym doesn't really have a good place for Dr. McCoy to talk, so with a hand on his shoulder, he suggests, "why don't you take the elevator, go down a level. There's a conference room, first door on the left. It will be empty and the doors unlocked." He should know, it's the room he uses to give presentations when not in his lab. He has a cushy position here at van Dyne Industries.

He then turns his attention to Tony, who's by now regarding the seemingly life-like statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Terminator guise. "Just a bit of fun," he explains, "you know, we," and even though he largely works alone, he says we because he's a team player, "realised that we could make one and thought it was the best way to demonstrate the work we've been doing here at van Dyne Industries."

And then to curb any potential concern, he says, "though I haven't put one my A.I.s into it yet. I'm in no hurry to end the world, at least not this week." And while Hank speaks, Tony should be getting this funny flickering in those glasses. They were supposed to be recording, but it seems that after a brief moment, the device was detected and a countermeasure was released.

Tony may have Jarvis, but Hank has his own work to rely on. Though in Tony's defence, Jarvis would never try to hurt anyone. "Espionage," he repeats, trying to pretend to be smooth, "you're concerned about me? I'm a rival? That's actually really kind of you, Tony." Hank may be a genius, but because of the profile he keeps, and the attitude he has, he is often overlooked by his peers.

With all due respect to Hank's countermeasures, finding them 'was' the point. That little flicker is all JARVIS needed to determine that recording devices were not going to work within the van Dyne building or, perhaps more importantly, this lab. The A.I. informs him as much and Tony turns while removing the shades and tucking them away in the breast pocket of his suit.

"A lot of things that we do, we do just to know we can do them." Some of Tony's cocky facade drops because whatever their peers in the scientific world might think, Tony Stark is a man who knows who his peers are. It is important to have a distinction, a line that separates the brilliant from the brilliantly insane. Anyone who 'watches' the inventor behind the Iron Man armour with any real intent would recognise that he's defining that line for himself.

His antics keep the media at arm's length, every decision seems precise and mathematical. Is it hard to believe the greatest engineer in the world would view the world as another problem to be solved?


"Whatever you think you know about Howard Stark, whatever you think you will discover by digging into who or what he is…" Because Tony has seen the YouTube video too, "There are questions that need answering, but…" He's not making any threats or vague demands, it almost sounds like a request… almost. A Tony request. "He is a person, not a science project for either of us to 'figure out'. A person who now sits at the cusp of something you and I took for granted. Not because we are not intelligent, but precisely because we are…"

A few steps closer to Hank, hands in the pockets of his slacks with the coat spread out to either side of his forearm. "I did something insanely stupid the other night at the symposium… Help me make it right?"

The countermeasures may work well against recording devices, but they do nothing against human reconnaissance. And Hank knows that Tony Stark is a keen observer. He may come across as a flake, weaving in and out of things, but that's probably because he bores so easily. In some ways, Tony is a mirror for Hank. They are both highly intelligent, but where one has become a show off, living the high life, the other has turned introspective, becoming reserved, and shy. It's something that Hank has had to deal with all his life.

As Tony opens up to share some of his thoughts with Hank, a part of him wonders if this too is an act. It's so hard to tell, but he will take the man at face value. "Tony, the man was dead, and now he's not. I don't know what that involved, but as a scientist, I want to know. I didn't ask if I could give him a full examination, or even bring it up until he went on stage and announced it to the world. The sample I took," he assumes that Tony knows about the special adhesive he placed on his hand before shaking with Howard, "was for me and my own insatiable curiosity."

"I… I'm sorry I took it, and I am quite surprised you knew I had taken one. But I meant no disrespect. I'm not trying to steal your secrets or embarrass your father. I just want to know, for myself." Throughout it all, he's been surprised to see Howard Stark alive and well, but he has always treated the man with respect, referring to him as a man, treated him as he would anyone else. The only difference is that he is keenly interested in the science involved.

"Look, Tony, we don't know each other that well, so I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds when I say this, but man to man, you should be thrilled to have your father back. If I were you," and now he really does overstep his bounds, "I would go to him and say, 'dad, I'm genuinely sorry about what happened, and while any promise that it won't happen again would be a lie, I can promise that I love you, I have nothing but the greatest respect for you, and I want to solve this. What's it going to take? Do you want a division, a vice presidency, the whole company. What's it going to take to get you back?'

"And if Howard is anything like what I've read about him, he'll probably make you squirm, and then take a Vice Presidency or hell, why not just a billion dollars. You can afford it."

There's so many layers to Tony Stark even Tony isn't entirely sure when he's being genuine anymore. What he does understand of himself, by what he 'feels' right now, this is as real as he gets. For what little that does to convince Hank or make Tony any more of a man to the world. The world that will likely never get to see this part of him because the world bores him. People have always been Tony Stark's downfall.

He doesn't really trust them.

In his experience, giving anyone an apple means they will cut the apple up and turn it into something else. Crude as far as metaphors go, but accurate all the same.

Right now he watches Hank with eyes that look his age, a face that has the lines he does so much to hide. His mortality is a matter of great debate because by all accounts, he will eventually figure out how to cheat death.

"I didn't know. Not for sure. I heard bits of your conversation with Hank," Of the McCoy clan, "but there was no guarantee until I saw the terminator…" Pointing to the life sized model of Arnie.

"I understand that need to know, I do. I made the mistake myself when my father first returned…" Pressing his lips into a fine line, Tony returns his hand to the pocket of his slacks and turns to regard some of Pym's other works on display. "I know that there are going to be questions about my father's return… and I'm not asking you not to ask the questions, only that when you find the answers… help me tell them the way they 'should' be told."

This is a slippery question. In essence he's asking Hank Pym to lie to the scientific world. "What happens when a group like Hydra figures out this technology has been perfected? What horrors will 'they' unleash by duplicating it?" Turning to regard the Ant-Man armour, "I came here to ask a different question and approach this in a different way… until I saw that…" Jutting his chin out towards the armour.

"There's a burden that comes with wearing that, the same burden I feel wearing the Iron Man armour. To be in a position to help, but having to weigh overt helping with subtle manipulation towards that same end. I'm not asking solely for the benefit of my father… but for everyone involved."

Turning to look on his scientific and intellectual peer, "Can I count on you for that, at least?"

Hank may be Tony's junior by about a decade, but in some ways, he's the mature one. He leads a fairly stable life. He has a great job, friends, loved ones, he hasn't started a family yet, but he's still young enough for that to still happen. Considering where they are, who he's talking to, and what Tony Stark has been eyeing in a not too subtle manner, Hank decides to come clean.

"We all have secrets, Tony. Some of us like to keep them," and he abruptly turns his head, gazing upon the Ant-Man armour, "and others, like yourself, prefer to be public about them. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm sometimes astounded that so few people have put two and two together. They are called Pym particles after all."

"Now as to my scientific curiosity. I've pretty much reached my limit. I was surprised to meet him at the Symposium, but he was alert, cognoscente, can process food, field questions, he has pours, in every way that I can tell without further study, he is your father. I can't speak to any changes, I never knew him before… and I can't just ask the man to let me study him. He would have to come to me."

"But," and the man has a resigned look, not liking what he's about to propose, "if you wanted to, you could switch the life insurance policy holder of Stark Industries to one of van Dyne Industries' subsidiaries, and I suppose I could be arranged to give the physicals to the executive leadership. That probably wouldn't be too obvious, especially if you did it in a month or two?"

Even when Hank isn't thinking about the finances of van Dyne Industries, he does make them money. That's probably why they keep him around. It's certainly not his productivity. Most of the things he invents would be too groundbreaking to release to the public.

"I'm more than willing to help in any way I can. But I don't work for you, and before you offer to double my salary or something, I have other reasons to stay here." He's not getting into those details, but he does try to give Tony the honest answer. "

And the armour, well, that's a whole different story. "It's funny you should mention that. With the Titans, the X-Men," he is of course referring to their public branch, the red team, "and the Justice League, it might be nice to be a part of something like that. Look around this room. Seventy to eighty percent of this stuff is not for public consumption, but they all have their uses. I just haven't figured out the right way to go about it."

In fact, Tony will recognise an old Stark Industries Power Rifle to the left. It's been modified, but it's Stark Tech, bought legally of course. It now fires a specialised acid capsule that will dissolve inorganic material. Hank turned a dangerous weapon into a pretty handy non-lethal tool. He does that kind of thing.

"I'll let my father make his own decisions about how he goes public or what he does with whatever public image he puts forward." Tony counters with a slow shake of his head. The man is no stranger to the life he's chosen for himself, but precisely he understands the necessity of it. It has been nearly eight years or more since he declared himself Iron Man. In that time he's lived with the problems that come along with it as well as the renown.

Which one he truly regards in higher order is up for great debate, but he certainly isn't putting off the airs of someone who 'enjoys' public scrutiny at this moment.

As for teams? "Not my style. A lot of people would think that I stay clear of those organizations because I am not a 'team player'." At that he chuckles quietly and rubs one hand along his well maintained goatee, "When in fact my aims are a bit more altruistic. I've seen firsthand what allying with one faction over another gets you.. my weapons have long been the subject of great destruction in the world… and those were all government contracts." What then could they do if Iron Man was on their payroll?

No, Tony doesn't do government work.

Like the power rifle which Tony takes in with greater detail, standing before the case with his head cocked to one side and his hands firmly placed in his pockets. "We could do great things together, Hank. You, me, and a group of others with a dedicated ideal. I won't lie and say that my plans don't include a great deal of subterfuge, but my intentions are genuine." That said, he turns to regard the man with one hand extended out with a 'card' between his fingers.

"Think about it. Then when you make your decision come to this location." The card itself is actually a reader for a computer not unlike a flash drive. "It's to my Alpha Project location outside of Pittsburgh. I'm working on something big… and I need more brains involved."

Whether Pym takes it or not, "I'll let you get back to your work and tour. I didn't mean to interrupt."

Tony Stark can be like that. Comes in, steals the show, and then drops the mic. Boy, Hank wishes he had a small measure of that confidence. "Well, all I can do is invite him over. He does accept invitations, doesn't he, or is he more like his son?" And Hank gets in a subtle dig, since Tony did just show up unannounced and got an appointment. Poor Hank McCoy, he was the actual guest, but he's still probably on the phone, or has since headed back to wherever it is he's set up shop these days.

"Perception can be a funny thing. Once it sets in, it's hard to change." Hank knows this better than most. He has a reputation and he's been unable to shake that. Tony got a different one, and yet, at their core, they're probably more alike than dislike. After all, they are inventors of the extraordinary and masters of science.

Hank will accept the card, and give it a once over before turning his attention back on Tony, "I will," he shakes the extended hand, "and it sounds… fascinating." With that, he'll let Tony head back towards the elevator, where Sadie is probably still hanging around after her shift hoping to get a ride in that Lamborghini parked outside, or maybe more…

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