Just A Desk Job

March 20, 2017:

In which Isa Reichert meets Tony Stark for the first time, and fails to fool him about her vocation.

East Side - New York City

Sutton Place, Turtle Bay, Tudor City… all of these recognizable neighborhoods help define the eastern side of Midtown Manhattan. From 6th Avenue to the East River, from 40th St. to 59th St., the East Side contains such notable landmarks as Sotheby's headquarters, the UN building, and the unmistakable Chrysler Building, (at 4nd and Lexington) is THE art deco structure, easily the most identifiable with the deco movement. It is the tallest brick building in the world (1,046 feet). The offices are mostly given over to private organizations such as Bank Rome and InterMedia Partners.

Grand Central Station, located at Park and 42nd Street, properly known as Grand Central Terminal, is the intersection of 67 separate rail and subway tracks serviced on 2 levels. There's a Dining Concourse featuring restaurants and fast food below the Main Concourse.

East Side is home to some of the city's brightest luminaries, since it's far enough away from the bustling city center to afford some privacy, but close enough to the action to make it one of the more in-demand areas outside of the Upper East Side.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The hustle and bustle of New York City is felt from every corner on these busy streets. It's the city that never sleeps, although its halogen lamps look like they wish they could sleep. Just out from Grand Central Station is a small hole in the wall of a restaurant, crammed in between residental brownstones and commercial storefronts. The smell of food drifts out from it.

Italian. The best Italian on the planet short of Italy itself. Garlic, onions, and other spices… and pasta.

Heading out of that restaurant with an armful of food is one Isa Reichert, red-headed quinjet pilot of SHIELD.

From behind, she looks like a pretty woman, even though her gait is more a stalk than a stroll. Her clothing is street simple; a battered leather bomber jacket over a white shirt, tucked into dark denim jeans belted at the waist. Combat boots complete the ensemble, and the clink of what might be either a metal pendant or dogtags is audible from the front.

From the front, though… well, it's a different view. The entire right side of her face is gone, ravaged by burn scarring. It hasn't gone up into her hairline, but she has no eyebrow on the right side, and a dove-grey patch rests over where her eye should be. The mottled scarring extends down to her jawline, and follows her throat down, wrapping around slightly. Her remaining eye is vibrantly blue; crisp and clear and cold as a winter's day. She has on almost a scowl, but part of that could just be how the scarring immobilised her face.

A new face in the crowd, and one that seems to stand out from the surrounding businessmen quite easily.

"Well, you're new around here."

Most of the poeple around this are of NYC wouldn't give her the time of day. They are wrapped up in their own little worlds, their own little troubles. Hardly looking up from where the path takes them. Certinly not taking a moment to notice the redhead stalking though their midst.

That voice? That sharp edge. The pleasent suprise threaded though it. The approval in the tone that rolls up from somewhere behind the pilot.

It all says that whoever the owner of that voice is actually does take notice.

And he might like it.

Should she turn the man standing there is definatly watching her over the edge of a pair of what looks like expensive sunglasses. Custom watch. Designer jeans. T-shirt that has a Pink Floyd logo on it, and his hair screaming out the fact that he just got out of bed.

He did. He was asleep in the lab.

The beard, the grin. Thats all practiced and perfect. Eyes sparkling as Tony Stark watches the woman.

The redhead slows to a halt, which is done in a quick and efficient two paces. She stops so suddenly that other people around and behind her watcher are forced to part, like the red sea parting before Moses… or behind, in this case.

Those combat boots shift, as though the woman were weighing her options at the sound of that voice. After a second's pause, they turn, and the front of the woman is revealed. Her left side is pretty, in an angular sort of way; her features are strong, and cheekbones well-defined. Her eye is the blue of a crisp, clear, brittle-cold winter afternoon, skin tanned. That red hair remains loose, and drifts about her face at her movement. She looks closer to forty than thirty, with those strong features and the tension around that clear eye; but not too drawn or old before her time, either.

And then the right side of her face is visible.

Lamplight falls on her, and illuminates a face ravaged. The entirety of the right side is a mass of scarred tissue, roughly split down the middle of her face, and slowly overtaking the left at the chin and jawline. The tissue is white and dead and nerveless, its texture somehow wrong. There is no eyebrow; there is also no eye, with a dove-grey patch in its place. Her hairline is shy of the scar's border, so that at least looks normal, but nothing beneath it does.

Tilting her head just slightly, the woman arches her single brow.

"Am I supposed to be impressed?"

The voice is gruff and rough, in the manner of someone who's smoked and drank hard for too many years. There might be a hint of femininity buried down there somewhere, but it'd take some digging to find. It's pitched low, lower than most women, and there's just a hint of sarcasm to her tone. The words are heavily accented in Russian, not quite overwhelming the English, but a few notches shy.

Rather than look away or go skittish like some women… this one stands her ground, and coolly stares directly at Stark.

This presents Tony with a intresting set of choices. Back off. Apologise. Possibily stutter. Duck inside and pretend this situation never happened. Or…


Meet that gaze. Play the game of chicken. Don't look away for a moment or she might eat you.

Either way, there is going to be lots of words involved.

"Well…" He drawls. "…yeah. I mean thats why I buy the expensive but pre-aged clothes and the unique watches. Come on, you're not impressed? Not even a little?" He asks as he pushes the glasses back up the bridge of his nose and flashes her a grin. Behind those glasses his eyes note the damage to her face, the fierce stance, the more-than-slight accent. The uplink to JARVIS on the glasses starts running facial matches just to make sure he's not facing another assassin.

…because god damn there are a lot of them…

But to his credit at least he doesn't blink, he doesn't back down, and he doesn't recoil.

"Seriously?" If she had both her eyebrows, the woman might be quirking both of them in disbelief. "You don't know me from anyone. Nobody can know everyone who come and go in city. You really expect me to believe that? Is load of crap," she says simply; matter-of-factly. Her mouth is still set in a thin line.

Strangely enough, there seems to be no record of this woman in official databases. There might be a few that are similar, but no one quite matches those particular features. Something about those high cheekbones and those almond-shaped eyes almost hints of possible distant Oriental blood… but no. No one else in the closest matches have quite that fierce stare, that look of dogged determination.

Right now it's rather flat. She's staring at Stark as though too resigned to be annoyed. She doesn't fold her arms, owing to the fact that she's carrying a plastic bag full of food in one hand; the right hand, it seems, also shares that marbled burn scarring. Whatever got her, it got her good.

"Hunh." Her mouth sets in a thin line. "Not too many people like that. Confident, da? Would almost call it arrogant…"

If JARVIS can search national databases, it might find a few old newspaper articles, with blurry portraits in monochrome of a woman, very much like this one, only younger and unscarred. She's wearing a pilot's flight suit, laughing and flashing a gloved thumbs-up at the camera from the cockpit of a jet. The article is written in Russian, but seems to be talking about some breakthrough fighter jet design, tested by one Raisa Ivanovna Yakovleva. She was twenty-seven at the time.

There are a few more, similar articles that seem to exist in the networks. They're all similar in their makeup, with a triumphant Raisa expressing her joy and a government proudly talking about their newest innovation in military avionics and hardware. Going by the articles' text, whoever Raisa was, she was one hell of a pilot. A distant relation of this woman, maybe? It's hard to say whether she's directly the same person. All of the photos are somewhat blurry, mostly as a result of being very small-scale portraits printed in a normal-sized article.

Items scroll across the interior of his glasses as he watches her. "Defintally arrogant." He agrees with a flash of a grin as he leans back on one leg to regard her. "And you can know them, it just takes a bit of time and obsveration. For instance have a guess you like good italian food or you wouldn't have found this place. Or someone you know likes good italian food."

Its not the easiest place to find this little hole in the wall.

More information scrolls across the screen as he goes wide on the search. But she doesn't seem like she's going to kill him yet. And he's not walking away. This is just becomming like a giant game of chicken. He can't back off without loosing now.

"Oh and one more thing needed to get to know people in a big city like this. Introductions. I'm Tony Stark."

A beatpause.

"I'm kinda well known round here." A flash of a grin. "And also well known to be full of crap depending on who you talk too. And you are?"

"Definitely arrogant," the woman agrees. Notably, she does not grin. Her expression remains fixed in a neutral set, although with her features being what they are, it seems almost like a scowl. "Like good any food, if cooked well. But da, I like Italian," she adds, somewhat grudgingly. She did not in fact ask the recommendation of any of her coworkers, mostly because she hasn't spoken to many of her coworkers.

She stares flatly at him when he introduces himself. The beatpause earns several more of silence from the woman, enough to make it almost awkward.

"…Again. Is supposed to impress me?" Her head tilts, just faintly. "Doesn't."

Shifting her load, the woman sighs, as though in resignation, because this fool probably won't let her go until he at least has a name. And maybe a phone number. She's known men like him before.

"Isa. Reichert," she adds. "Work for SHIELD. Just transferred from Russia." To her credit she does not so much as stumble in her choice of words. "Desk job." Not a complete lie. She's no stranger to paperwork in her life. "Boring as hell," she adds, expressively, because the thought of actually being stuck in a job like that is enough to make her contemplate stepping into rush hour traffic.

"Desk job? You really don't look like an accountant type." Tony drawls as he stands in front of a small. Hole in the wall resturant that he has been found to frequent. Its italian food. And its good. Which are basicly his only criteria for a resturant.

"SHIELD though, man those guys do get around." He drawls as he looks towards her. Eyes flicker to the grainy little picture that JARVIS is helpfully providing him, projected on the interior on his glasses.

He comes to a decision after a half-second of thought.

He's gonna go fishing.

"Shame that you have a desk job." He finally says as he slips his hands into his pockets, his pose casual as he glances back towards the resturant for a moment, waiting for the order he made to be ready no doubt. "I mean I just this morning had an idea to modify the output of a Quinjet engine and rewire it for repulsor engines insted of the usual turbines. But since you have a desk job, that wouldn't matter that much to you. Would it?"

Despite balancing the plastic bag, Isa manages a what-can-you-do? kind of shrug, even going so far as to grimace, as though in chagrin. This scruffy bum doesn't need to know that she's not actually part of the accounting department. It's a big enough organisation that she can hide behind a layer of anonyminity. She can afford to be generic; it helps to blur her identity.

There's no blurring someone like that, though. Those are not wounds inflicted by a desk job or the perils of papercuts one faces with it. Unless it was some kind of horrible household appliance fire, those are scars inflicted by something far more exotic.

She sighs, long-sufferingly, and shifts her weight to the other side, balancing against her hip. "Actually, I was one to approach them. Needed a job." The fact that she threw in a generous amount of stolen intelligence on Russian military hardware probably didn't help. Maybe she should have thought that fit of pique and vengeance through before she actually opened her mouth, but she was desperate.

In fact, she's about to open her mouth to say something else, before snapping her jaw shut with a click of teeth and staring, hard, at Tony Stark.

A few seconds of silence issue forth. They stretch into a few minutes of silence.

And against her better judgement, Isa Reichert cannot resist the siren's call of a direct challenge. She curses herself for a fool woman even as she opens her mouth to reply. Her expression turns a little bit thunderous. She's been caught in a trap and she knows it.

"Repulsor engines? Bullshit. Would not have enough lift to counteract weight dry, let alone cargo. Would be more efficient with turbines or partial repulsor setup, and less drain on engine—"

One can practically hear crickets chirping sweetly in the background for the five seconds it takes Isa to realise she's said way too much.


"Miss Potts," JARVIS says almost apologetically over the speakers in Pepper's office. "You asked me to inform you any time Sir decided to access restricted SHIELD information."

Pepper stops typing an email and leans back in her chair with a sigh. "Go on, JARVIS."

"He has accessed the personnel files."

"Of course he has. Where is he now?"

"Waiting for an order at Mandola's."

That suddenly reminds Pepper she skipped lunch. "JARVIS, call Tony for me."

"At once, Miss Potts."

The grin on Tony's face is wide, his eyebrows raised. "So…" Reaching into his back to pull the glasses down. "Desk job huh?" His voice a drawl, his smile a winning one as he hears his phone chime.

Its JARVIS. For Pepper. And he sighs and touches one stem of his glasses. "Hey Pepper!" Comes his cheerful voice before he grins towards Isa. "…phonecall." He explains before he smirks slightly. "And my repulsors can entirely take the dry weight of a Quinjet, espicially after the mods I can make on them. But I'll grant you the partial repulsor would be mostly the way to go. You could eek out about twenty…twenty five percent more power with a setup like that."

The pilot is spared further embarrassment by way of the phone ringing. Her face is steadily turning red, but whether through embarrassment or wrath, it's hard to say. Maybe it's a little of both. So much for trying to maintain a facade, but aerospace is the one field that always seems to fire up her blood, no matter how much she might be trying to hide.

Stupid, she chides herself. This man could have been someone far less benign, with far less intentions towards her. She did not leave her homeland on good terms. Best stay mindful of that…

"Oh, come on," Isa growls. "You would have at least thirty percent. You balance load right, you get maybe thirty-five, da?"

It's to her credit that she doesn't immediately wander off, though. Maybe? She does balance her plastic bag in such a way that she can properly fold her arms, though, all but glowering at the heart and soul of Stark Industries. Why does the heart and soul of Stark Industries have to come in such an arrogant and self-satisfied package? Are all men this way? Her husband had been fine, but it seems like every man she's met after that had involved an ego the size of a small planetoid.

Or maybe she's just really unlucky. That is an entirely probable possibility.

Over to the sidelines, while Tony answers his phone, Isa heaves an aggravated sigh.

"Desk job," she grumbles under her breath, as though in annoyed concession. Caught red-handed.

Pepper can't help but frown faintly when Tony answers the call. It sounds like he's talking to someone else. "Tony? Why are you digging around in SHIELD's servers again? I really don't want to have to try to make up excuses for you to Fury. Again."

You know what? To heck with that email. She needs to get out of her office for a little while anyway. Quickly stepping back into her heels and shouldering her bag, Pepper has her phone to her ear as she walks briskly out of her office and makes her way toward the lobby. The phone call switches over seamlessly, but there's probably just enough of a change in the call's sound quality for Tony to recognize.

There is a lot of arrogance in Tony Stark. Its true. However quite a bit of that is well earned. He is that good. So a little bit of pride is understandable. The problem is that with Tony? Its not a little bit of pride. It is gobs and gobs of pride. Boatloads of it. He is that good and he knows it.

…this usually doesn't help matters.

"What no! Nothing like that. Didn't even come close." He says into seemingly thin air. "You're coming down here arn't you? You totally are. Great. We can do dinner. Do you like italian? I know you like italian."

To Isa though he grins grins. "You get to meet Pepper too, arn't you lucky?" He seems entirely ok with this. How ok Isa is with this remains to be seen. Though his head tilts for a second at that and he quirks an eyebrow. A glance around at the few tables set outside the resturant and he gestures at one. "Sit come on…won't take that long…" A flash of a grin. "…and if anything of yours gets too cold I'll buy you fresh. And you can show me how you would balance the load to get thirty-five out of it. I mean. If you really think you can." A hint of challenge creeps into his voice.

Then he's turning towards a table. "Dunce!"

From out of the crowd a tiny little drone, fit with a pair of tiny little repulsor engines hovers into view. Its one sensor glows brightly. It is also wearing a slightly battered dunce cap. "We are gonna need a holoterminal."

Then a glance back towards Isa. A quirk of one eyebrow. "Aren't we?"

The redheaded woman blinks somewhat owlishly at the sudden declaration that she gets to meet Pepper. Who is Pepper, and should she be concerned? She settles for frowning, which seems to be her natural state of being. At least it's not a scowl.

It would appear that Isa Reichert is cautiously interested, although ready to turn on her heel and nope right out of here at a moment's notice. This man already knows too much about her, and while she's taken on impossible challenges in the air, the thought that he knows too much turns something cold in her stomach.

She's afraid of that knowledge. It could be dangerous to her. Most likely it is.

So, against her better judgement and will, the pilot finds herself shuffling after Tony and folding herself into one of those uncomfortable folding chairs. She's glowering a little, because he's challenging her again, and she's kind of an idiot that way and can't resist challenges. It's gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion.

Suddenly there is a drone hovering above the crowd. Isa plays it cool in spite of the bad scare the little thing gives her nerves.

In response to Tony's challenge, she simply drops her bag at her feet and cracks her knuckles, time enough for each to pop, and her thumbs twice. Pop-pop.

"More than happy to." Bring it on, her tone of voice seems to say.

"Yes, Tony. You know I like Italian." She steps out of the Tower and starts toward Mandola's at a brisk walk, switching out her phone for a bluetooth earpiece. Again with the sound quality changes. She's nearly there when she sees…

"Tony, why is one of your bots out here?" She thought she'd asked him to keep the bots inside the Tower for their own safety as much as for the safety of everyone around them.

The little drone with its odd headwear seems entirely benign. It borbles its way over, seeming more cheerful and bumbly than aggressive. Hovering over the table it projects what is in effect a holographic laptop onto the table. The keyboard easy to use, the screen one of his holoprojections.

Tony just grins slightly before he reaches over, scrolling threw a few screens before he gets to one that is obviously the speclines for the current line of quinjets.

"And before you ask," He drawls. "If anyone tries to take a picture of this the holoprojection scrambles itself via the photo and then uploads 'The song that never ends' to play at high speed and on repeat whenever they try to look at it. Among other things."

He's a horrible person he is.

The schemetics? They are modified, full repulsor systems as she scrolls though. Though a touch of a button and a screen can change that.

Someone would have to be sitting right where Isa is in order to see any of this though.

As he hears Pepper's voice though he grins again. "Dunce followed me out. He looked so sad. You don't want to make him sad do you, Pepper?"

No sooner is the holoprojection set before her than Isa looks left, and looks right; single eye darting from one side of the sidewalk to the other. It's the unmistakable mien of a woman hunted. No matter the fierce independence of the gesture, it's still the unmistakable mien of a woman desperate not to be found by her pursuers.

Once it's clear that there aren't any members of some kind of team of goons standing by to take her out, she turns her attention to the holoprojection with a show of her teeth. It's a grin on one side, and more of a rictus on the scarred side; an expression, nonetheless, of pleasure.

Apparently she has some engineering chops, even if it's not enough to build an aircraft from scratch. Her fingers move deftly, though she seems to have some trouble with any touch-sensitive controls on the right side, where the scar tissue deadens her fingertips.

"Wasn't going to ask, but not bad. Don't know song, but can get idea." Isa makes a few adjustments here and a tweak or two there, fingers veritably flying over the controls, single eye fixed on the image in rapt attention. "Thirty-five percent," she states triumphantly. It's very slightly over by the schematic's estimates, but apparently it's not enough for her to decide to round up. That's pretty much what she said she could get out of it, and that's that.

The redheaded woman shrugs one shoulder, before looking up to the approaching Pepper Potts. Instantly she's on guard again, as though a door had slammed shut in her mannerisms; looking at Pepper with cautious wariness.

Isa Reichert is a woman closer to forty than thirty; what might have once been a fairly pretty redhead with blue eyes, if not for the burn scarring that disfigures the right side of her face. It starts just below her hairline at the forehead, and continues down past her collar. Her right hand is similarly scarred, suggesting extensive damage. There is no right eyebrow, and no eye, for that matter; only a patch of dove-grey pulled over where it used to be.

Her remaining eye is as blue as a crisp winter afternoon, and at the moment it's looking for the nearest exit.

Paranoid, anyone? Her obvious paranoia is almost enough to make one wonder what connection those articles must have with this scarred, cynical woman with such distrust of people.

Pepper follows Dunce, knowing he'll lead her to Tony and… yup. There he is. Her eyes quickly take in the woman sitting at the table with Tony, and once she's close enough she offers Isa a smile and a handshake. Left handed. "Hello. I'm Pepper. Tony isn't boring you with tech jargon, I hope?"

Regardless of whether or not Isa shakes her hand, Pepper pulls the bluetooth from her ear and drops it into her bag while stepping around to claim a seat, and taps the little drone very lightly as she does so. "Hello, Dunce. Enjoying your field trip?"

The drone borbles happily again and does a very slow barrel roll. Proving once again that he is defintally a neferious engine of destruction and not the innocent robit that he looks like. Only an engine of destruction could be that adoreable.

"Boring people? I am a lot of things Pepper, but I am never boring." Tony looks ever so slightly affronted at the very thought of being boring. "And she started it." He totally started it, but he never admits that.

Instead he looks back towards the projection, head getting awefully close to Isa's. Just on the edge of ruining that personnal space bubble. Well. Lets be honest, its past personal space and just on the edge of the 'react with violence' bubble, but its the only way he could see.

And see he does. He squints slightly. Smirks. "Desk job." His eyes angled towards Isa. "Annnnd it looks like she finished it too." He adds with a smirk as he stands up again. "Fine. Thirty-five percent. I mean thats not bad at all."

It's probably a good thing that Isa doesn't know that he was just digging around in SHIELD's personnel files or digging up dirt on Former Life. She might be tempted to take a swing at the inventor, and she still has a pretty nasty right hook, when her depth perception is kind enough to let her connect a blow.

The pilot tilts her head enough to fix a glare at Stark, because he's gone and come up on her blind side, and that makes her cranky no matter who's doing the personal space invasion. In fact, she seems to be bristling a bit by the time he acknowledges her modifications and stands up again.

"Thirty-five percent." It's less a triumphant mantra from her and more of a challenge, and the Russian accent twists her words. In spite of the damage to her voice, the grizzle from too many years of hard drinking and smoking, there's a distant hint of a voice that might have been sweet-toned once upon a time. "Would like to see you do better. Have been flying long enough to know thing or two."

Isa waits precisely a beat.

"Desk job," she agrees. She pulls herself to her feet, leaning close to him for just a moment, voice dropping to a conspirational whisper. The tone is so sweet it almost borders on saccharine. "If you talk about this to anyone, well. You have to sleep some time."

This is punctuated with a cheerful cracking of knuckles as she straightens and returns to her own personal space, slumping back into her chair with a certain smugness.

"Keep if you want. Can always recreate that, with time."

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