Now Available in Gamma-Grape, Omega-Orange and Starky-Red

November 08, 2016:

Nathaniel invites Tony Stark to the Avenger's Depot and offers him a place on the team. Mike O'Hara is present for added snark.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The current Avenger's HQ is little more than the hangar where the Avenger One was stored before Nathaniel rebuilt it into it current post-Quinjet shape.

The airplane is floating outside, semi-invisible thanks to the cloaking systems. So there is spare space. The west wall is a complicated computer setup mixed of 2099, Tamaranean and modern Earth technology. That is how Lyla handles the communications and Nate keeps tabs on certain critical events, following profiling algorithms that won't be developed in 20,000 years.

Most of the rest of the space is Iron Guard's workshop, with a half-finished Sky-Cycle in the middle. That leaves a meeting table, a small kitchen and a large a vending machine near the door to receive people. Today, that means Tony Stark.

High in the sky it's silent running for Stark. A new suit needed testing and there was no better excuse to put it through its paces then a visit to the avengers. There's no sound to herald Tony's arrival at the Avengers HQ, no fanfare not even a blip on the radar as he seems to pass through security without leaving a trace. There isn't as much as a heat signature as the suit blends into the would around it reflecting back the light to the world making, silent running allowing it to drift along through that clear sky.

Black Betty, the suit that makes entire nations lock their doors extra tightly lands down on that front entrance. It fades into existence shaped into a sleek pitch black design as it begins to fold up around Tony's face. Turning its natural color this sleek and extravagant suit is lined in a pure black substance made to absorb radar. Silent even as it folds out further peeling down from him as if it were little more then paper.

In less then five seconds the suit is folded up into an object the size of a wallet right inside of Starks hand, in fact to the uninformed man it might BE a wallet. Under that suit Tony's wearing a simple all deep blue business suit minus the tie. His usual fair as he just walks right in to head for that vending machine. He reaches into his pocket digging around for some change, as he looks over to the surface. Well shaven and rested it's hard to tell that just a few days prior he was so badly wounded he needed a stay in that SHIELD medical bay.

*BANG KLANG BANG* The vending machine takes some abuse from O'Hara, he is dressed just like Spider-Man only slightly taller and his mask is drawn up over his nose, it shows off the sharpened teeth that he doesn't try to hide while he is a spider. Human disguise is more effort. "Every time, B11, I just want my salted caramel peanuts, every single time… " A superhero battling a vending machine. It never gets old.
"You did this on purpose, huh?"

"Mr. Stark, right on time," greets Nathaniel. He is sitting at the table, surrounded by holographic displays and a dissembled weapon in front of him. One of the A.I.M. laser rifles he secured before the SHIELD agents could confiscate.

The vending machine gives the stuff for free, of course. Except for Miguel. Because the machine hates Miguel for some weird reason. Or maybe it is a running joke between the arachnid and his personal holographic A.I. Nathaniel has avoided prying into it so far.

"Knew I should have taken it slower getting here." Stark comments with a smile, before moving over to the vending machine. "Hate being on time." He takes a good look at it, before dropping the change right back into his pocket. "So much more fun being fashionably late." He tosses the small wallet like object right back into that same pocket stuffing a hand either side into his pockets. "Thought about just asking it nicely?" Added towards the spider as he just gives a light smirk.

"Ask a machine nicely?" Spider-Man scoffs then stops pummeling the relic instead kneeling down, opening the slot and webbing a shot up to grab one out. "It is only B11… the one, yeah, nevermind. Tony Stark right? Nice to meet you. I'm Spider-Man… kind of." Secret Identity still kept for the most part here he doesn't bother removing his mask. "What brings you to our shanty?"

"I invited him over," replies Nathaniel. The young man is wearing his usual black suit that makes him look like a well-behaved college student, but Spider-Man should already know it is actually his shape-shifting armor.

"He tosses a crystal-like tube to Stark, and one of the holo-displays behind him grows to almost six feet tall and wide. "Check that synthetic gallium crystal. See how that structure is layered? Small wonder they have efficient laser weapons. The crystal was grown in zero-gravity. Very ingenious. I have to wonder if A.I.M. has working orbital factories already and why the legal nation states do not."

Despite his breath smelling like he's already kicked back four or five bottles of hard liqueur before lunch Tony stands with that confident poise. "Trust me, works better then you might think." A light pause as he hits one button and the machine works fine. "Machines you can trust, they're reliable, do what they're programed to. People? Well we're wild cards, got emotions and ethics sure but we can break them, a machine can't."

He reaches down to grab that pack of gum from the machine (Who gets gum from a vending machine these days?) and manages to barely catch the crystal when it's thrown at him. In spite of everything he appears to be on television the internet or even in person the second it hits his hand he's looking it over. "Interesting" He dives right into the land of tech speak.

Those sunglasses on his face aren't exactly for show as he rattles off the chemical composition and various formula a good bit of muttering under his breath as he turns it over in his hands. Then shifts gears into a rather odd discussion on the financial ramifications of maintaining orbital factories. He's going a mile a minute but there's that suave style to the whole thing that makes it feel not exactly rushed as it is compressed down.

"Asteroid mining has begun in this timeline? I was reading something about that. I almost feel like this timeline is ahead of schedule but records are spotty so I can't claim to be precise in any thing I say about this. It's a gap of confusion and muddy waters. It is all off." Spider-Man takes his peanuts and walks over to the table, drawing out a chair to perch upon it. Not sit. Its just more comfortable to perch at times.
"Saying though, if there is already large transport going in and out of our atmosphere, don't they have traffic lines and monitoring system set up? You would know right, Stark? You sent how many satellites in to space?"

Nathaniel tunes out the financial information, because really. If A.I.M. was worried about finances and cash they wouldn't have people like M.O.D.O.K. leading them. And saying he is 'people' is being generous.

"Asteroid mining? No, I do not…" well, he sure hopes not. He frowns. "Everything is possible," he decides. "I have just begun investigating the corporate threat. I have to talk about it with Mr. Stark here at length. I was surprised about Alchemax real origins, no records in my archives. They were very, very throughout deleting those bits of information. It shows alarming foresight." One of the holo-displays changes to show an orbital image picture on infrared. "And Roxxon is up to something in Greenland, I wanted to ask the Widow to investigate it. But SHIELD keeps her too busy."

"Six-hundred eighty seven, with eight more slated to be sent up by the end of the year." Stark flips the crystal round a few times before setting the crystal back down onto the desk. There's a pause before he flicks a stick of gum right into his mouth so he can freshen his breath up a little. "Though we only have about eighty left back in orbit, since HYDRA AIM, and everyone with a death laser likes to make a habit out of shooting them down, taking them over, or just detonating them"

Then the name Roxxon cross's Stark's ears, and he pauses mid chew. "Roxxxon isn't a company, it's a damn cult." As he wads up the metal wrapping then throws it into the bin. "Can't stand em, rub me the wrong way. Tried to take Stark International out from under me." He lets out a bit of a chuckle, before commenting on asteroid mining. "I'll be honest with you, we've looked into asteroid mining, and have a few drones taking care of that up in orbit. Assigned F.R.I.D.A.Y. to managing the systems, and making sure everything gets back to earth safe and sound. Always a good idea to remove the human element from dangerous work."

Miguel O'Hara does his best to keep his mouth shut about Stark-Fujikawa of the future. There is no way in hell is mouth and attitude are going to screw up a time line that is already divergent enough, "Big corporate all end up looking like one ugly beast, a small guy suffers somewhere." A grin, a sharp fanged grin. "So, you invited Stark, what does this mean exactly? Did he get the secret handshake in to join us or… we just doing the nerd thing?" Peanuts are crushed in his teeth, muffling any further words he may have.

"Yes, and yes," admits Nathaniel. Well, he doesn't get much intelligent conversation from the average human being. So of course nerd talk is good. "Yes. I want to invite Iron Man into the Avengers. History says you were one of the founders. Which means the timeline messed up and it is probably my fault. Or maybe the megacorps did some creative editing when they take over the world in fifteen years or so. Regardless, we need more active heroes and Stark Industries is going to be in the middle of everything interesting for the next eighty years or so. I would prefer it is on the side of the good guys."

"Long as I'm alive, Stark International stays Stark international." A light pause as Tony stops to blow a bubble of gum. "Which if I can get ducks in a row should be indefinitely." There's a smirk and a wink from Stark at his own comment as he finds a chair to flop down into. "Immortal Businessman Tony Stark" Heartbeat. "Sounds like a cheesy 90's action figure."

He slowly starts tossing a the pack of gum up into the air just so he can catch it and then throw it again. "Let's get one thing straight, right out the gate Richards." Said in still a somewhat light hearted tone. "I'm not going to sign over exclusive rights for Iron Man to your little club house" As he switches to flicking the gum sticks between his fingers. "Bit of a whore when it comes to super heroics, like to get around help out people who need me rather then any one group. Still willing to sign some checks for funding though."

Perhaps it is the things Power Girl said but Spider-Man has been watching Nathaniel Richards a bit more lately, watching his own words as well. He is noticing about right now the man is rather liberal with his conversations about time travel and that alone worries him, it's a fickle very fragile thing these barriers, dimensions and times. He'd rather not be at the epicenter of all things going wrong.
"Or any number of other things could have transpired. I mean, seriously… this world is… shock… I can't even find the words for it." A chuckle escapes Miguel, "Oh man, rejection! No secret handshake for Starky. Guess his decoder ring can be put back in to the box now." He did hear him mention funding though. Something this crew desperately needs all the power they have and none of them are all that wealthy. S-Man hasn't exactly pried in to anyone's wallets or purses.

Nathaniel says, "No worries, we are not an exclusive club. We… hmm, who is still using decoder rings?" Isn't that a nineteenth century thing? "Regardless, the Avengers are strictly voluntary and non-profit. And if you want to be part of Wild Core, the X-Men and the Justice League at the same time, good for you. I do have some long term plans you should know regardless."

Stark snaps his fingers pointing towards the future spiderman. "See, arachnophobia's right" He holds for a second. "You'd get more people if you threw in decoder rings." He lays back a bit in his chair before tapping the side of his glasses so they can beam out a holographic projection into the middle of the room in front of him. It's just a slowly spinning check addressed to the avengers. While that might be something on its own the sheer number of zeroes following that 8 at the beginning might be enough to drop some jaws. "Before I join, just want to make sure we're on the same page here: You guys do remember when I wanted to make everyone take off their masks right?" Pause for a fresh stick of gum. "Not sure how that's going to work for the whole group cohesion thing."

"Doesn't phase me. I keep my mask on just to protect the other guy, the other Spider, I have no one worrying about me here and nothing to lose. You wouldn't find me in any database." Miguel O'Hara states, well they would find he is using a dead guys SSN if they could really dig which Stark is capable. Mike O'Mara is not Miguel 'Mike' O'Hara after all. Both Irish mutts but born at very different times.
"As far as the public knows the original Spider-Man is still active, his enemies, his everything is on me right now and I do it out of respect for him and the need of the arachnid to be seen, he symbolizes hope where I come from. A story, a legend. Like some of you… some." A sidelong look at Nathaniel then back at Stark before he peels his mask upwards and off, setting it down on the table. The suit being disconnected from a portion of it also de-camoflages becoming the Blacks and Reds of Spider-Man 2099 NOT the classic Blues and Reds of Peter Parker. "Cards out."

"Spidey here is the only one hiding his face in the team," notes Nathaniel, thoughtful. "Unless Bluebird returns," he sighs. "Honestly, if they want to have a secret identity, I do not feel it should be a deterrent for team membership. Many famous heroes wear masks, why is that important for you?"

"If you can hide behind a mask you're not going to be as conscious of who you hurt, or what you do to the criminals you shove behind bars." Tony speaks calmly as he looks across towards Nathaniel. "We've got too many killers running around pretending to be super heroes, and while the country might think otherwise I still say we need to be held accountable for what we do." Tony leans back even further in the chair after turning off that little display. "I've seen masked vigilantes who kill just as many people as they save, blow up a city block trying to stop a crime syndicate, slaughter hundreds just to get at an organization like AIM of HYDRA."

Continuing along he just rolls that stick of gum across each knuckle to one end then back to the other. "I stood behind it then because I thought it was time for a change, where people would have to be held responsible for their actions." A light pause. "I stand behind it still because that hasn't changed, it's just America decided that isn't what it wanted."

"You can speak for yourself, Starky but end of the day, my mask on or off has nothing to do with my conscience. That is mine to deal with. " The peanut bag is crushed up and tossed in to the garbage can, no rim. "We have unmasked villains and heroes who do the same thing, turn on a television, you'll see their faces. You want accountability, fine and well, any real hero will make sure they're held accountable for their crimes whether their face is seen or not. Thats just moral fiber and with the level of technology we're capable of, a mask is hardly a concern, any forensic expert could tell you that much."
Nathaniel leans back on his seat, thoughtful again. "I really do not see the difference. As Spidey said. Mask or not, vigilante or politician, everyone should be accountable for something like indiscriminate killing. Regardless the Avengers statutes do forbid killing. Even a justifiable or accidental killing would be closely scrutinized and if the killer is judged to have been careless or misjudged the situation, he or she would be expelled from the team. We have a rather strict code and aim for accountability and transparency in our actions. Hey, check our web page."

Spidey also quips, "Make sure to follow us on Twitter too! #Avengers"

Tony chuckles shaking his head. "At the very least it's hard to deny that there needs to be mandatory training for powered individuals before they're allowed to use said powers." He takes a moment before coming back up to a stand so that he can snag a drink from another vending machine in the room. Hands go down into his pockets as he looks back to the selections. "Guidelines are all well and good but still nothing to stop joe schmo from blowing up his school when he realizes he has the power to bend a steel beam with his arm." He shrugs his shoulders before grabbing a Diet Dr.Stark from the vending machine. Which while a little tacky fits the man all the same, as he cracks open a drink with his own name on the side for a cool refreshing sip. "I'll sign on for that little club house of yours, but I just wanted to make that clear from the start."

"You sound like the D.E.O., Mr. Stark. Rather militant and hardlined for a guy who used to sell munitions to foreign countries. Guess a change of ways and perspective happened, huh?" Miguel smiles, a tight smile but its there.
Pulling his mask on Miguel tightens it in against his face, letting it reseal and cast that technological illusion over it as being the Reds and Blues again, 2016 replacing 2099. "My untrained ass has a city that needs it to save it from itself, I'll be around. Welcome to the party, Starky. I can tell this is going to be a barrel." The door is opened and a *thwipp* sound is audible, Spider-Man is up and off in a acrobatic display of webslinging.

"I do not see we can do much about Joe blowing up the school from here," admits Nathaniel. Well, unless it is in his historical records. Then he might go and do something. "We can respond to emergencies, and we will, but anyone can do that too. What we can do that no one else can do is tackling world problems at a scale pretty much no one else can even conceive. And solve them." He nods to the retreating arachnid. "Patrolling. Well, it is good practice. Good luck." He does need the training, but he feels more useful at planning right now.

Tony gives a bit of a smile towards the Spider as he flee's off to patrol. A light tip of his two main fingers to the side of his head, as he takes another sip of his Diet Dr.Stark (Now available in Gamma-Grape, Omega-Orange, Lambda-Lime, and Vanilla, at participating vendors.) Once he's gone he looks right back over towards Nathaniel. "Do you know how many retired Supers there are in the US alone?" His stride back over a slow but deliberate one. "How many mentors in the wing there are just waiting for an apprentice." He takes another swig. "If that bill got passed we wouldn't have needed to worry about numbers."

"I mean hell, just look how many of us heroes are here in New York alone." He sets the can right back down onto a small napkin from his pocket. "We bring the retired out as teachers pay them better wages then they'll ever get hiding out trying not to get them or their families killed, protect them." He takes another step. "In two generations time we'll have enough heroes working together that next time apocalypse comes waltzing into town we won't have to let Harlem burn." He shakes his head. "But that's all in the past now, good guys won, I lost, SRA got shot down and everyone had a big party."

"No. In fifteen years 98% of them will be dead," replies Nathaniel. "Unless we change the future the heroic age will end in blood and genocide. Spider-Man knows this too. Every time traveler I have talked to confirms the coming of a new Dark Age. That is the real mission of the Avengers, Stark. We will change this dark future."

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