A Tantalising Offer

April 13, 2017:

In which Isa Reichert once more meets with Tony Stark and Melinda May, and decides that Stark is an impossible man-child.

Central Park - New York City

Sitting on 843 acres of public land, Central Park is one of the most famous sight-seeing spots in New York, and is considered large enough to have its own police precinct (the Central Park Precinct) dedicated to its protection. The Park boasts several lakes – all of which have been created artificially – extensive walking and bridle paths, two ice skating rinks, a variety of outdoor theater spaces, several playgrounds, and a considerable collection of whimsical statuary. It is home to Belvedere Castle, the Carousel, the Central Park Zoo, the Conservatory, and Cleopatra's Needle (one of three, 70-foot Egyptian obelisks from the Temple of Ra in Helios, its mates residing in London and Paris).

On the east side corner of Central Park, the Manhattan island zoo might be considered small for a zoo in such a famous city. The animals in residence skew toward those that are able to put on shows, perhaps in an attempt to draw crowds through cute tricks as opposed to variety. Past the gift shop and the cafe, the largest open space is occupied by a manicured garden and the slightly raised sea lion tank surrounded by seats and a slate courtyard. The sides of the tanks are made of thick glass to give visitors greater visibility into the depths of the water.

Many of the other exhibits, like the penguins and the tropical birds, are in enclosed buildings to the east and west. Mimicking the feel of the vast park that surrounds it on three sides, the zoo feels more like a large green courtyard and meeting space. It is a playground that happens to have exotic animals living nearby.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Pepper Potts, Phil Coulson

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Central Park is a worldwide destination, and home to a lot of different tourist attractions. It's also one of the few places one can go in the city to experience a little bit of green. With the advent of spring, the trees and landscaping have eventually filled out, the foliage dense enough now to almost lend a bit of privacy. If not for the sounds of the city surrounding the park, one could almost forget they're in one of the most populous cities in the world.

It's here on the shore of a man-made lake that one might find a slightly familiar redhead, sitting on one of the park's many benches. With a dark navy peacoat on to shield against the cold spring wind, Isa Reichert stands out even more in a crowd – the bright auburn red of her hair is hard to miss.

Her single eye is cast not out at the lake, but at a sheaf of newspapers she has on her lap, one held open in front of her. It's today's weighty edition of the New York Times. Under the local paper's partly-dissected sections, there are a few fat folded newspapers printed in what appears to be Cyrillic. Their paper is a bit more yellowed, the ink more faded. Dates on the corner of one, peeking out from under the stack, appears to be from five years ago.

For now, though, she's reading the Times, and there's a cup of screamingly strong coffee balanced on the bench next to her. Every so often that blue eye lifts to glance around the area. She might seem nonchalant, but she's paying careful attention to everything that's happening around her. Every time someone comes close, she lifts her eye and watches them until they leave what she seems to consider a safe distance.

…Desk job.

People buzz around the park. Kites fly. Laughter drifts up from behind trees. Its a nice day out and people seem to be taking advantage of that. Dones too, the new fad. Little hoverdrones. Sleeker models for speed. More robust units for acrobatics. At least none of them seem to come that close to the surly redhead on the park.

…wait. Spoke too soon.

From over a treeline comes a rather unique looking done. In fact it looks exactly like a quinjet. Down to the fact that the engines are repulsors and not hover-fans. It rushes low over the treetops, the sleek figure of the tiny little toy doing a series of barrel rolls and dodging a kite in the process.

Its antics draw gasps and laughter as it zooms away once again.

And when its gone, there is a familiarly flamboyant figure strolling right towards her bench. And seemingly unbothered by the glare.

Of course Tony Stark is seldom bothered by much.

"Hey Desk Job." The grinning inventor greets. "Fancy meeting you here."

One of these drones doesn't sound like the others.

Distractedly, that blue eye flicks to the middle distance as Isa hears one of those be-damned drones approaching too closely. She heaves a sigh, folds her newspapers down with a crisp slap of paper against her lap, and turns to glare at the drone approaching from the treeline. Some overeager kid's probably managed to get ahold of their dream Christmas toy, and they're—

—Tony Stark? Still looking a little annoyed, the pilot arches her lone red brow, not quite glaring at Tony with her one blue eye.

"Probably you are going to sit whether I ask you to sit or not," Isa observes, as the inventor gets close enough that she doesn't need to shout. "Cute. Is close to quinjet, I think. Less noisy, maybe."

Sighing and setting her newspaper aside, because she's absolutely not going to get any of it read at ths point, Isa folds her arms over her stomach, tilting her head to regard him from the corner of her eye. "I do come here sometimes. Everybody come to park, once in while. Something surprising about that?" She tilts her head and studies him, guarded as ever. "You want something. What?"

"Of course I am!" Tony doesn't let little thing likes glaring stop him. So saying he puts words directly into action. Sliding next to her on the little bench, not quite close enough to ruffle her newspapers. He throws one arm lazily over the back of the bench before flashing her a grin. "Want something? Me? Whyever would you ask that, Red?"

This close there are a few things that she might notice. One is that he's holding a tiny palm sized control unit. The other is that his typical sunglasses seem to be slightly bulkier today, and a quick enough glance would see the light of a display drifting across the cornner of his eye as he leans his head back slightly. "I mean do I have to want something? The bad rumors proceed me that much?" A flash of a grin again.

"But you got me, see. Its not close to a quinjet. It is one. Proof of concept design for a repulsor powered one instead of more traditional turbines. Cause. You know. I'm always just tinkering with things. Can't leave well enough alone."

His being here? Case in point.

"And since you said you can get a increase with the load distrubution, I want to see how you can handle the thing. Not that I came here for that, but I'm here now. And you're here now. So its a perfect time."

Raising his hand he holds the little control unit on his palm.

"You know you want tooo…"

Isa's expression stays flat as the surface of the lake as Tony invites himself to the bench, and even though he isn't close enough to touch them, she snatches the newspapers away from him and slaps them down on her other side. The closer he gets, the more her brow furrows.

By the time he stops moving towards her, she's actively glaring. Unfortunately it rolls off his back like water off a duck. Is the man completely incapable of taking a hint?

Yeah. Pretty much.

With a long-suffering sigh Isa folds her arms again. "Da, have to want something, usually. Most people, they don't come too close to me. Is fine by me. Prefer it that way. But you," she adds, with a pointed glare, "not you. Seem incapable of taking hint." One hand rises to squinch gloved forefinger and thumb together. Driving gloves, by the look of them, instead of cumbersome insulated winter gloves. "Not even little hint."

She leans over to regard the itty bitty control unit, still frowning as he explains what the machine really is. Very slowly, her head tilts until she can look up at the inventor, some of the animosity fading from her expression, replaced with a more bland, skeptical look.

"Thirty-five percent…?" She waves away the miniature controls, though. "Never said I was pilot. Could be engineer, for all you know." She shows a thin, humourless smile. "Is still desk job, technically."

"I can totally take hints," His reply comes with a smirk. "I take em. And collect em. And put them in a little box somewhere. Then forget where the box is and ignore them." His reply is just as flippiant as usual. "Besides, if I got run off by a glare I wouldn't get to know hardly anyone."

The Avenger just grins though at her dismissal. "You didn't even go into lift-drag ratios, engine tweaking, any kind of structural changes. Just right for load-distribution and speed. Doesn't quite scream engineer to me…"

He waggles the controller again.

"…comeon…just a little spin around the park. What could it hurt?"

"So… in other word… no. You don't take hint. At all." Isa sighs and gathers her newspapers up. A seemingly careless sweep of her hand manages to fold the foreign papers into the ubiquitous New York Times, concealing them.

She's almost certain he doesn't know a stitch of Russian, but she can never be too careful. As it is, outside air is a luxury she probably shouldn't be enjoying… but she needs to see the sky every so often, and feel the sun and the wind.

There comes a careless shrug. "No? Could be I specialise in load distribution and thrust." Both black-gloved hands raise in fluttery gesture, as though in mimicry of an aircraft in flight. "Freight, maybe. Da? After all, every organisation has supply chain. Without freight, modern world stop turning."

"Besides," Isa adds, resolutely not taking the controls, "even if I were pilot, which I am not, what make you think controlling small model would be same as piloting…?"

"No no, I take them. Then ignore them!" His tone is cheerful and unbothered. That seems to be the normal state for him. Cheerfully unbothered, either that or he's just so distracted by other things he always comes off that way.

Its kinda hard to tell with Tony.

"Oh its not, I mean I'm sure its not. The only flying I do is with my suit, which is way different than a plane. Though I can fly a plane." He just has to slip that in. I mean he's Tony Stark he can do anything. Right? "I mean if you don't want to try I can just keep on flying around, seeing if your modifications are right. Doing all the little tricks. Having all the fun." A smirk crosses his face as he slowly retracts his hand.

"That what part of its about right? The fun?" He flips the control around and swings his hand off the back of the bench.

The little done lurches off in an arc, suprisingly quiet for now. She might actually notice that his hands and feet are moving slightly in responce to…something.

"I mean you're right. Its not like I'm Tony Stark and could have built a detailed personal holo-sim system into a hand held controller." A pause. "Oh wait. I am. And I did."

The little drone goes into a roll at his command, though one thing is glaringly obvious to anyone who is familiar with the manuvers.

He's doing it wrong.

He's not pushing the little craft as far as he possibily could.

"So…" His drawl easily distracted. "…russian papers? Can't you look that kinda thing up on the internet? I mean not that I'm telling you how to get your news or anything, but…"

"Sound annoying, whatever you do with them." Isa's dismissive statement is given along with a careless flick of one hand.

She focuses on him more closely, resting that single eye on him with about the same intensity as a sniper's sighting laser. The rest of her expression is stony when he goes on and on about test piloting, and it takes an unreasonable amount of restraint for her not to rise to that bait.

In fact, something in her jaw twitches slightly as she sets her teeth. It'll keep her from blurting anything out, because she's really tempted to do just that right now.

Desk job.

"No." Surprisingly, there's no animosity in the word. In fact, her denial is flat, almost without inflection. Her expression is still stony. It's not about the fun, for her. It's about the sensation of belonging… but she's ostensibly not a pilot so she can't tell him that. Her frown deepens. "Am not pilot."

At her own straight-faced lie, she can hear a quiet, amused voice chiding her. It's a familiar voice, one she hasn't heard in five years.

You're a terrible liar, Raisa Ivanovna Yakovleva. You always have been.

Something in her mouth tightens as she presses her lips together, and something angry flickers past the depths of that single blue eye.

You were right, Misha. Isa finally breaks away from glaring at Tony to study the control he holds in his palm. What was that saying? Honesty is the best policy. But honesty is too dangerous.

Something near her left eye twitches when he chides her on her papers, and how easy that information would be to get electronically. "Prefer to read papers. Especially on nice day like this," she adds, airily. But there's the ghost of a hard edge to her voice, one that's a low warning to stop asking pointed questions.

Precisely five more seconds pass as Tony pilots the little drone through a lacklustre performance, rolling on its axis with all the urgency of a beached whale.

"…Ugh. Ugh! Give me that," she finally snaps, lashing out a hand to hold it palm-up in front of him. Her voice just drips with disgust and disdain. "Even child can do better than that."

There is a sly smile on Tony's face, one that dissipears in a split second to be replaced by a look of wide-eyed innocence. "What was I doing something wrong?" He asks as he hands over the control system, settling it easily into her palm.

Its there for a moment and there is a pulse of light from the device before a transparent layout begins to reveal itself before her eyes. She still has a decent view of her surroundings but over them in glowing holo-light is a very detailed representation of a Quinjet cockpit. The control layout perfectly replicated in glowing light. Where the viewscreen would be is a view from the drone itself.

Must have a camra on it.

Tony? He just sits back to see the reaction to this. Though he can't resist adds. "You do you then, never quite had time for papers myself."

Honesty is the best policy, but in this instance, her hand has been forced by overwhelming mediocrity. Raisa Ivanovna Yakovleva was a professional to the core, and no matter how hard she might try, so too is Isa Reichert. She cannot abide by mediocrity.

It seems that instinct, that professionalism, overpowers even her desire to keep a low profile. As low a profile as a woman like her can keep, anyway, with scarring like that. People have an annoying tendency to remember ravaging scars and eyepatches.

Tony might see her jump as she startles, the sudden incorporation of virtual reality a bit of an unexpected shock. She's never touched something this sophisticated, at least not since Coulson put her into the cockpit of a highly experimental prototype.

Slowly, she looks left, then turns her head all the way over her shoulder to look right – it looks like it must have become an acquired habit to compensate for her blind side. Reaching out, she touches the controls that don't really exist, though she seems to be trying to keep her movements as subtle as possible, much as Tony had done.

Her mouth sets in a grim line. Annoyance flares somewhere in the back of her mind at his continued poking and prodding. "Shut up," she says decisively.

Up above, the model-sized quinjet performs a roll – but this isn't like the slow and awkward manoeuvre Tony had purposefully botched. This is grace and absolute control, with enough speed and torque to really rattle anyone but a first-rate pilot.

One can almost imagine miniature afterburners flaring to life as the tiny quinjet banks into a turn, before arrowing straight up. The simulated cockpit is even rattling subtly around her – an impressive touch, she thinks. Higher and higher the tiny quinjet goes, until its silhouette is almost lost among the trees. It's several seconds before the miniature is visible again.

It dives down at speed, threading its way through kites and kite strings alike with ease, drawing a few admiring remarks from the owners of the kites, and shouts and points of amazement from the park patrons.

And then a frisbee comes flying at the tiny quinjet from somewhere over to the right; from the tiny simulated cockpit, Isa's blind side.

Apparently she's no slouch, or she takes the time to scan her surroundings frequently with the one eye that works. Just when it seems like the frisbee might collide with the quinjet, the quinjet's rotating engines fire, bringing it zipping straight up and around the offending frisbee.

The tiny quinjet buzzes back over the park in a series of advanced manoeuvres, wowing the park-goers. If Tony's watching carefully, he'll note that her single eye has slid to half-closed, though it never seems to stop roving left or right. Her hands twitch over the nonexistent controls. It's like the redhead's gone into a trance.

If he keeps an eye on the model aircraft, he might spot several advanced manoeuvres. Nosing up, it fires its tiny engines, building enough speed to do what seems like a loop – but at the apex, it drops on a wing, levelling off and turning at the same time to dive after a kite below it like a tiny bird of prey.

The quinjet flashes past it, neatly avoiding both kite and string, before falling into an aileron roll – a useful manoeuvre and a favourite of test pilots to sample an aircraft's time to turn.

Gritting her teeth a little, she slews the quinjet sideways to avoid another kite string, placing the model back into open air over the park. A roll on its axis sends it up into the canopy of the nearest tree. Sweat beads on her brow as she threads the quinjet like a rocket-powered needle through branches and leaves.

She says nothing in response to whatever he'd added. It's debatable whether she even heard him say anything at all. Then…

"Don't get involved, Mister Stark." Her voice drops, a tone of low warning. "Is better that way. Stop asking questions. I don't like lying."

Though the whole display Tony is just nodding to himself. He twitches slightly as she goes though some of the higher speed things. The wing-over has him leaning to one side. The roll has him reaching up and pulling off the glasses he's wearing.

"Right, linking that to the forward camra not the best idea I've had. Good things I didn't as a motion sim to it." He mutters as he leans his head back and closes his eyes.

His eyes remain closed as she gives him that warning. "Well then stop." He drawls. "I'm not that bad a guy you know. Besides, I'm already involved." A pause. "I mean come on, you can't just stick a mystery infront of me and not expect me to get involved. Its just not in my nature."

One eye cracks open to rotate towards her, that grin on his face. "Besides, what better test pilot for a plane that doesn't exist than a person that isn't supposed to exist. Which I assume you are. Since you're warning me to stop asking questions."

She must be watching him from the corner of her eye. She notes his reactions at the high-speed manoeuvres, and she'd have to have lost both her eyes to miss the way he leans sideways on the wing-over, or his apparent squeamishness when she lays on the speed.

Isa Reichert smiles. It's like the expression of the wolf that's just scented a rabbit.

A sideways flick of her hands sends the controls wrenching, and the quinjet slews to one side in what almost seems like an uncontrolled reaction… but the one-eyed pilot is in total control. Her hands rest on the nonexistent controls without any hint of discomfort or undue tension.

Up, up, up goes the tiny quinjet. It stalls at the peak of its climb, slewing sideways into another tidy wing-over turn before plunging back to earth. It almost seems like it's going to punch through a kite or two, but the model jukes and dodges at the last possible instant, the rush of wind in its wake causing the kites to flutter.

"Don't care whether you're good or bad. Have met some good, have met some bad. Is no reflection on you, as person. Is dangerous." Isa shrugs, but her eye remains fixed on the nonexistent canopy glass in front of her. "Also is not reflection on your intention. Is…" She raises a hand from the illusory flight stick, gesturing nebulously.

"Is like…"

The quinjet weaves around a kite, spinning on its axis as it neatly loops around the kite's string.

"How to say…"

A dog looks up, barking, and springs after the tiny quinjet. The tiny quinjet responds by leading the animal along a bit, rocketing up at the last instant. The dog is left barking after it, before finally getting grazed across the head by the frisbee it stopped paying attention to. Barking, it dashes off after where the frisbee bounced, quinjet forgotten.

"You are… not subtle man."

Banking around, the quinjet makes its way back to Tony, engaging its pivoting engines to hover before him. Gracefully, it descends, even that simple manoeuvre oozing control and practise.

The tiny quinjet parks itself at Tony's feet, and Isa hands over the device somewhat carefully.

"I need subtle. Maybe will consult for you, if you have full-size prototype, da? But not publicly. You are right. Am not supposed to exist." She leans her elbow against the bench, propping the left side of her face against her cupped hand. "Am curious what kind of research you did, though. Had to know to ask pointed questions somehow. Da?"

"No." Tony agrees with a grin. "I'm basily anything but subtle. The opposite really. So I guess I can respect that." He watches the little jet settles down at his feet. Reaching over he reclaims the controls with one hand, the other holding onto the end of his glasses as he lets them dangle. "You're a good pilot." He adds, which would be a compliment. Except its followed by more words. "And I need a good testpilot with Rodey is busy lately. All that military stuff."

A shrug.

"And I will have a full-sized prototype. In about a week." The pointed question of her own though gets him to laugh as he slips the glasses back on. If only to stare at her over their rims. Because thats what cool kids do. Right? Right.

"Newspaper clipping of a test pilot." A pause. "And you being so stubborn. That just piquied my intrest right there. So I guess really its your fault."

His eyes flick to one of the information screens on his glasses and he chuckles. "You were wrong you know." He adds. "Its not a thirty-five percent increase." A beat pause. Long enough to make her sweat, or glare.

"Its forty."

"Are stubborn. Willful. Also arrogant, I think." Isa ticks off each quality with an evident lack of concern. "Also if you learn something, something dangerous, something that shouldn't be repeated…

She studies him, blue eye thoughtful and a little distant. "Will repeat it, I think." She shakes her head. "Are not type to keep things to self." She shakes her head, ignoring the spill of red hair over the right side of her face. "Can't take that chance. Better you don't get involved. Less dangerous for you. Much less dangerous for me."

He'll have a full-size prototype in about a week. She files that information away in silence, and makes a mental note to ask Coulson whether or not Stark can be trusted as far as she could throw him.

"Newspaper clipping." Her tone is skeptical, as though to suggest there's no way he happened to bumble across it. The pilot blows out an exasperated breath. "How you find that, how you knew to found that, probably shouldn't even ask. However happened, is bad."

She frowns. "Don't suppose you know Russian, any." How else did he learn who she was, and what she did? Unless he had some kind of sophisticated translation service running interference on those old publicity articles…

Ugh. This makes her head hurt. She's honestly not good at this spy stuff, and finding that position in a hurry is going to give her an ulcer sooner or later.

"Oh, really?" Her inquiry is almost languid, brow arching while her single eye hoods. "Was not wrong about my guess," she adds, defensively, glaring; it's like the look of a grounded bird of prey, all empty ferocity, as though force of personality could substitute being able to levy an actual threat. "Thirty-five percent."

Forty percent, he says.

She frowns. "K'to?" What? She looks surprised, brow furrowing. "Really…?"

"No thinking needed, defintally all of those thinngs." Tony seems perversily proud of such things it seems. Though there is a smirk on his face at the last. One foot tap slightly, even though he doesn't actually disagree.

"See, the thing with secrets is that you gotta have at least one person you can tell them too. Then they don't eat you up quite as much."

A quirked eyebrow though at the other question. "I have access to one of the most advanced VIs on the planet, I mean facial mapping and a quick search isn't really /that/ hard for JARVIS. He's pretty good at it."

Agin no confirmation or denial of just how much russian he might speak.

He's grinning though as he reaches down to pick up the little plane. He pockets the controller before slipping easily to his feet. "I improved on my repulsor design, eeked a extra five percent power-to-weight out of it by the time I fixed this little design model."

A wink towards her before he slips his glasses on fully again. "In other words, I cheated. I do that."

"Would say 'confident,' but already said 'arrogant.' Same thing." Isa taps her fingers of her right hand against the back of the bench, the movement too twitchy, almost spastic. Whether it's from nerves or simply a product of the injury, it's hard to say. The scarring dips down below her collar, its dead white stripe broad enough to suggest that the damage is extensive.

Sighing through her teeth, she tilts her head, cocking her lone blue eye toward him with an air of long-suffering resignation. One wonders how on earth Virginia Potts puts up with this overgrown man-child without losing her mind.

Rubbing at her jaw, she considers him thoughtfully as he explains his access to virtual intelligence, and the ramifications of that. There's no telling what exactly JARVIS was able to dig up, but it's probably a safe bet that he only found the public information. Most of her records were sealed when she decided to exit stage left from Moscow; it wouldn't surprise her if her actual records were buried under a labyrinthine nightmare of bureaucracy and red tape.

Experimentally she tilts her head the other way and speaks, but this time, it's in Russian. It sounds somehow less gravelly; less guttural. "<I'm impressed that you managed to eke out an extra five percent, but you did cheat to do that. My original modifications didn't touch the power to weight ratio. I was looking purely at thruster capacity and drag.>"

Isa clucks her tongue, smiling a thin smile. "<I bet you don't understand a word I'm saying, either. Let's just see how long I can keep this up, because I do have to hand it to you that you're one slippery bastard.>"

"<Either that, or you're going to prove you're an extremely talented actor. Which would be a surprise, but not completely unexpected. One doesn't reach your level of achievement without having the chops to back it up.>" Leaning back on her bench, a hand moves to sweep the newspapers closer to her. "<Too bad. I prefer to speak Russian. English is so clumsy.>"

Tony looks blankly at her as she just chatters on at him in russian. He just goes about packing the Quinjet for travel. Mostly that means folding the wings(just like it would for storage) and strapping it all down. The man smirking slightly as she continues at him.

Finally he stands up satisified with his work. The posture of a man trying very hard to not show that he has no idea what someone else is talking about.

He turns back towards her just as she is starting to wind down.

"<It /is/ isn't it?>"

The russian is polished and fluent, hard to tell he's not a native speaker really. "<And I totally take the slippery bastard comment as a compliment.>" A grin once again, razor sharp and full of amusement as he picks the plane up to tuck under one arm.

"<See ya in a week then, Desk Job.>"

…he's basicly going to call her that forever.

Adjusting her newspapers, Isa pulls them to rest them over her thigh, reaching up to yank her coat a little tighter around herself. It may be spring over the city, but the temperatures are still cold. The sky is still grey and rain is still possible. It's still an improvement over the sweltering summer… but winter clothing is still a necessity.

It takes her a few seconds to register that he responds in the same language.

The newspapers are slapped down on the bench with the dense fwak of a sheaf of papers, and she shoots to her feet. "<You conniving bastard!>" She's somewhere between admiring and angry, and it's hard to tell which one is dominant at the moment. "<Goddamn it, you—!>"

Isa Reichert trails off into a string of colourful metaphors in Russian, which sound like they must have come from the roughest sectors of the Navy.

She's still ranting by the time he walks down the path after saying he'll see her in a week.

Probably the most infuriating part is she would show up for that, too, even if she's not sure of Stark's mettle…

Tony is smirking as he walks away from the still cursing Isa as she calls after him. He got her. He totally got her good there. Sold it. Who said this spy stuff was hard! He could totally do it.

Maybe he should try going undercover next!

…yeah. That'll be perfect. Who ever would know he's really Tony Stark.

…except everyone who looked at him for more than three seconds. Lets face it. He's a terrible spy.

There's someone standing in Tony's path all of a sudden. And she could give Spock a run for his money on the deadpan expression scale. Though the crossed arms might be a bit of a giveaway.

"Mr. Stark."

It takes a second or two for the one-eyed woman to run out of expletives, still glaring after the retreating billionaire. By this point he's well out of earshot. That doesn't stop her from growling one last choice phrase at his back.

There comes Melinda May, though. She recognises the stiff military posture of her commanding officer, and it takes conscious effort not to salute. She's off-duty, but old habits die pretty hard.

So she nods, fastidiously arranging the collar of her coat, as though she hadn't been shouting coarse, lowbrow insults at Tony Stark.

Isa Reichert clears her throat. She's wearing a nice navy blue peacoat, black gloves, and has a sheaf of newspapers clutched to her chest. Curiously, everything past the first page of the New York Times looks a lot more yellow, but the way she's holding it obscures the print.

"Miss May." Her voice is coarse as always, more of a raven's croak than a woman's speech. There's something almost more guttural about her English, relative to her Russian. "Was not expecting to see you here."

"Miss Stoneface!" Tony is riding high on his successful spy mission of…something. He's not sure what he was actually doing. But getting Isa to curse for /that/ length of time means that he won.

Or something.

He's still grinning though. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

A glance back towards Isa. Then back at May. Oh so innocent a look. "Oh do you two know each other?"

"We do." May's eyes flick toward Isa briefly, then focus back on Tony. "I'm wondering if I need to place a call to your CEO, Stark."

Isa would recognize that glance, however brief. It was a silent visual evaluation of the younger woman, as if making sure she's not compromised physically or otherwise.

It takes a lot of effort not to throw one last riposte over her shoulder, and Isa is absurdly proud of herself for not takingthat shot.

Instead, she straightens her coat and slips her right hand into its pocket, newspapers clamped to her side. She studies May with that single blue eye, left hand rising to nudge her eyepatch back into place. That hand also drops into her pocket.

Apparently she recognises that look.

"Am fine." She snorts. "Stark is just…" There are so, so many adjectives she could use right now. Isa licks her lips, blowing out a harsh sigh.

"Irritating."

That's a good one.

She turns to look over the lake, before glancing back to May. "Ma'am." She inclines her head; it's as close to a salute as she's going to go off-duty. "What bring you to Central Park? Seem 'all work, no play' type." She shrugs one shoulder. "Could be wrong."

"What? Naw. I was just getting a bit of advice s'all. See…" He leans slightly closer to May. His voice dropping to a stage whisper. "…I'm developing a new quinjet design. Hush hush. Don't tell anyone." Not like she would. But you know. Its Stark. He has to say it.

The grin remains at Isa's responce. "Well…yeah. Yeah I pretty much am." He agrees with a nod of his head. Not ashamed by it in the least. Of course he's not. Isa's question though causes him to blink.

Then slowly glance towards May. Now he's curious on the answer to this question.

"Passing through." Because of course she had to go with the blandest answer of them all, just to grind Stark's gears. "And I'll be looking forward to seeing the plans for that new Quinjet, Stark." If Tony's got a good enough memory, he might recall having seen the name 'May' on the documentation approving or disapproving every last inch of the previous quinjet designs.

The pilot looks up at Tony, frowning as she studies him in evident seriousness for a moment. It's debatable whether she's thinking of a civil response, or whether she's wracking her brain for a suitable and appropriate expletive that she hasn't actually used yet. Apparently she comes up short, sighing. The look she shoots him is positively withering.

"Can't be serious, can you." Isa wrinkles her nose. "Ugh. Like some kind of overgrown man-child."

Her attention swings back to May, because May is a much safer topic that doesn't make her blood pressure tangibly spike. "Da, will also be looking forward to new quinjet plan. Suggested some changes to him. Will see how much actually stay in it."

"Anyway. Should probably be getting back to Triskelion. Will be seeing you, Agent May." Isa tosses a hand up in mock salute, and the left side of her mouth, the unscarred side, twitches just faintly from her neutral-almost-scowl set. "Take care of yourself."

With that, provided neither party moves to stop her, she'll start heading back down the road towards the Triskelion.

"Pretty much yes exactly that," Tony replies cheerfully as he hitches the miniture Quinjet drone he has tucked under his arm to a slightly more easy to carry spot. "Huh were you? Well maybe I'll just keep this one all to myself." A beatpause. "…naw. I couldn't do that to you all. I mean I'm still keeping the best stuff for myself of course, but if I didn't give you it now you'd get Phil to come and threaten to taser me again. I don't think I could handle that."

A grin at that, because he does that a lot. Be smarmy and grin. "And most of them will stay in. I mean you proved that it wouldn't fly apart when going at speed, so the theory is sound."

There is also a small group of remote control drone and airplane enthuasists who might or might not be staring at Isa in awe.

May only nods to Isa as she takes her leave, then gestures toward the little drone that Tony's got tucked under his arm. "Well, let's see the little toy in action, then."

"What now? I just put it up!" Stark replies as he glances down at the thing again. "And then you'll have to sit down again. If you want to fly it. And I'll have to sit down again. And I'm hungry…"

…he really is a overgrown man-child. Really.

"I mean I /could/ but what do I get out of it?"

May gives Tony a particularly unimpressed look. "That's it, I'm calling your CEO." It's almost like she knows exactly who to contact when Stark is being particularly childish. She reaches into her jacket, the one that Tony might know has far more pockets than any simple-looking black leather jacket should.

"What why? I didn't even do anything! Isa tell her I…she's already gone." Then back to May. "God you just go for the throat right away, no bargining or anything. Just right to calling Pepper on me. I'm trying to help you out here! New Quinjet design. Working prototype model…"

He shakes the Drone a little bit.

"…come on. Work with me here!"

The phone actually never makes it out of May's jacket. "Are you going to antagonize my agents into losing their composure again?" Think on it and answer wisely, Stark.

A pause again as he blinks at May. "…I…." The inventor seems to indeed think very carefully on this. "…well…" A longer pause. "….look you know I'm going to do it, but I'm not gonna /mean/ to do it. But….you /know/ me. I'm gonna do it."

"Then I'll just have to make sure that any agents that have to deal with you are capable of doing so." Like, Darcy. May knows that Darcy is capable of sassing back at ANYONE.

"…that would work! And Isa can totally take care of me…" A pause. "I didn't mean it like that." Beatpause. "Or did I." Beatpause. "No really I prolly didn't. So yeah. People that can totally deal with me are great! In a totally professional non-sexual way."

He pauses for a long moment.

"I should leave now shouldn't I?"

May stares at Tony for a solid three seconds. Maybe to see if he'll start to squirm. But finally, "Yes, you should. Have a good evening, Mr. Stark."

"Right! Going now! Later Agent Stoneface!" The inventor starts to step back from her before he finishes talking. Then he slowly turns and starts to slowly move back. And away.

Because no one likes to stay under a May-glare.

May watches Tony for a few moments before going on her way as well, presumably toward the Triskelion.

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