No Robot Doubles Today

July 12, 2017:

Tony Stark meets with Phil Coulson to go over the design of his new plane.

Stark Industries

My god…it's full of toys!

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Isa Reichert, Sally Stojespal, Michael Carter, Peggy Carter, Melinda May, Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Stark Tower is never quiet.

Espicially the labs.

Case in point. At the moment Prime Lab One. Or Holodeck One. Or The Bridge. Or That Place Where Stark Works. Or DAMMIT TONY!(Thats a pet name for the lab from some people). Or any of the dozen other names Tony makes up to call his place of work…well there is music.

Loud. Rock and Roll music.

It echos off the walls and the surrounding space. Tables filled with odd bits of projects dot the area and several holoprojections of suits hover in various spaces of the room.

Just not Iron Man suits.

One has a more batish styling, sleek and deadly. Built for stealth and speed. The other seems to be a second lighter suit, this one with long bunny like 'ears' attached to the top of the helment, and a half-dozen drones hovering round it.

…also there is a holoprojection of a jet fighter in the back of the lab.

Just because.

Tony himself? He's actually singing along, badly, to the rock on the radio as he lies sprawled out on a rolling platform under the holo-jet. Manipulating the hologram as he goes.

…he's had his coffee today. So its work time.

*

Phil never knows what to expect when Tony contacts him and says he wants him to stop by. But there are always constants. These are some of the constants…the noise, the projects. Twenty years ago he might have been content to yell over the music, but today he winces in a way that betrays his age. When he arrives, he reaches out to turn it down— though it's worth noting that he's courteous enough to avoid turning it off.

"Evening, Tony," he says, even as he peers up to inspect the hologram that Tony is currently working on. He seems to be in a decent enough mood; the greeting is pleasant and accompanied by his normal, easy-going give-away-nothing smile. His posture is relaxed. This is the first time they've spoken since Phil shot him, but…it does appear he is over Lola's desecration.

*

"Hey Boy Scout!" Tony calls out as he sets the last bit of hologram back into place and sits up. Into the hologram. Which makes looking at him a little…odd…

Not that it matters to Tony.

The inventor smirks towards Phil as he cocks up one leg to rest elbow against knee. "I was wondering if you were gonna stop by." A beatpause. "Done saving the world today? No alien crisises before breakfast?" A pause. "You didn't send a robot duplicate here to talk to me cause you were busy did you because that would totally be rude." Flash of that rogues grin. "Totally something I'd do but still rude as hell."

He leans forwards to hop up before gesturing at the holo-fighter. "So! What do you think?"

*

"No robot doubles today," Phil says dryly, though…with the air of someone who is wondering whether he could get away with having at least one.

No. Wait. That could only end in tears.

"This is SIRIN?" He looks impressed, though he's no engineer really; capable of seeing that the thing looks incredible without seeing immediately why it is. "You'll have to walk me through it," he admits, "before I can think much more than 'looks cool,' but I like what I'm seeing so far." He is not afraid, is Phil, to be open about his weaknesses, and this is definitely one of them.

And of course, he is typically close-mouthed on the nature of what he might have been doing today or any other day, keeping every card tucked tightly to his chest.

*

"No, this…" Tony waves at the holoprojection. "…is a plane. This!" He flicks a hand to reveal a series of spinning golden lights. A network of processes and algroithims that make up one of his AIs. "…is SIRIN."

"Good morning, Mister Stark! And Mister Coulson too! Its always a pleasure to see you sir, I'm happy you dropped by. Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?"

SIRIN's voice is a womans, pleasent and cheerful in tone, with a touch of a russin accent to it.

It is, increadibily cheerful.

Isa will love it right?

"Redbird made up some russin name for the plane, Kokoro or something like that I wasn't really paying attention. But! Capabilities!"

He flicks a hand again and sections of the hologram light up. Since Tony loves to talk about his toys.

"Variable wing design, minimal wind resistance and minimal need for air intakes due to the fact it uses repulsor engines instead of traditional scramjets. Hypersonic capable, though turning at that speed would be…bad…but it can go really fast in a line. Armor should make it effectively invulnerable to small arms and air-craft guns, light and medium energy weapons too. For weapons we have repulsor canon, and recessed weapon bays for ordenance…"

He smirks towards Phil. "…stop me if I'm going to fast for ya…"

*

Phil winces a little at the cheerful voice. He knows exactly the impact that will have on Raisa Ivanova. But he chooses not to comment on it…getting between Tony and his little jokes is like trying to stop a freight train with one hand. Some people can do it, but Phil isn't among them. Instead he opts to say, "It's a pleasure to meet you, SIRIN, but I don't require anything at this time."

He sorts through everything Tony says, picking out what he does understand and setting aside what he doesn't. "I understood everything but the variable wing design," the Agent assures him, nodding to show he's mostly following along. "Does that mean it can change wing-shape mid-flight? To…hmmm. Add speed? Become more maneuverable? What would that be for?" He is paying close attention, trying to get the Commander's-eye-view of what this particular plane can do.

*

"Very good sir! I'll return to my training systems then!" The cheerful voice pipes up as the AI view fades.

There is a wicked smile on Tony's face as he hops up on a table to sit, grinning at the plane for a moment. "I'm glad you asked Phil!"

He flicks his hand as a different screen pops up. This one with…well…what looks like a 1960s cartoon style drawing on it. Its animated, and Tony narriates.

…he totally had this made up for occasions like this.

"At supersonic speeds, what most jets nowdays fly at, you have to have thin wings. Large wings in the case of fighters since they have to operate at comabt speeds. Tail-fins, pointy nose cone. You know what you think of when you think modern fighter…"

A smirk again as the images on the cartoon follow along to the expliantion.

"Now the problem is that physics changes at Mach 5 or more, and changes again at Mach 10. Mach five you have heat on the leading edges that would melt a larger wing, and if you tried to turn the force would just shear a larger wing right off."

Again the animated places on the screen follow along to the expliantion, since they have eyes and mouths they look very concerned about it.

"But if you have a plane with a wing that can shift mid flight, tuck in and become smaller to provide a more stable surface it manages to not be ripped off, and the cooling and heat resistance systems don't have to function for the entire length of the wing!"

The animated plane waggles its wings in joy as it wooshes around the screen.

"I had to develop new heat-resistant systems just to make this thing not melt at the speeds its going. Technically it should be able to go Mach 12, but I wouldn't recommend it for very long. That's fast enough to out-run most air to air missiles."

Tony really likes to be an ass, doesn't he.

"Annyway! I think it'll work. Now…I just gotta show Redbird and Stoneface, thats Agent May if you're wondering. And you I guess…"

A quirked eyebrow. "…and don't ask what its costing. You won't like the answer. I'm pretty sure this is gonna be a unique thing."

Reaching out he finds an apple, taking a chomp on it before quirking an eye at Phil. "So. How the hell did they get their hands on alien tech anyway? Arn't you guys supposed to stop that?"

*

Phil takes this 1960s cartoon explanation with good humor, watching it with some amusement for the effort Tony went through just to troll him. He paid some animator probably $3000 just for this, and some voice talent about as much. Pocket change, for Stark, but it's still amusing. Or maybe his AI cooked it up in the span of seconds.

He nods to show he understands…the melting wing would definitely be a huge problem. "That's brilliant," he says, on the matter of the shifting wings, becoming smaller, more stable, more heat-resistant.

He shakes his head. "It doesn't matter what it costs," he says. "It matters that we're going to be able to use it in a definitive strike. The test flights are yet to be scheduled then?"

Someone questions him on the matter of why things slip through SHIELD's net for the second time in one week, and Phil merely sighs. "I don't know how yet, but I aim to find out. SHIELD's reach and power varies from region to region, Tony, you know that. It's always been spotty in Russia."

There's a whole lot he's not saying, but isn't there always? Instead he says, "Agent May is of the opinion that you ought to be invited to come with us when we go to blow up the smuggler's portal though. Interested?"

*

"Tests flights are gonna be soon yeah, I expanded it to be a two seater so one person can handle flying and the other can make sure the plane doesn't fly apart." The engineer adds as he gestures towards the expanded cockpit. "To be fair though, variable wings arn't my idea." Wait. What is this?! Stark being humble?!! MAYBE HE IS A SKRULL! "…I just do them better than everyone else."

Nope. Nevermind. False alarm.

"Yeah, I know that but…from what I can see this plane…I mean it's loaded with it. Energy weapons, power source, engines. Its just to the gills." The Avenger shrugs. "But hey, what do I know. You just come to me when you need it blown up."

A quirk on an eyebrow. "…huh. Blowing up portals? Sure I'm good with that. Speaking of portals though, I had Nathaniel look at the one under my house. He's done with the anaylsis and I'll see what he has to say tomarrow."

*

Phil does look ready to check his forehead for fever, at least, during the 0.65 seconds that it looks like Tony might be exercising some sort of humility. But then the moment passes, and the urge passes with it. "Russia is one of the places where our reach is spotty. Hydra is pretty deep in that territory. It's not that we don't have a presence. It's that the presence is sort of like the presence of a fly in molasses. We move slowly and don't get a great good deal done."

Phil's not really a fan. Of Russia. When you get right down to it.

"Alright. I'll work up the mission with Agent May and we'll get this done," he says. As for the latter…

"Thank you for keeping me posted. While I'm largely letting Agent Carter take point on this, it's good to be in the loop. You should be aware that I pulled an old friend from MI-6 to come and help as well, since it seems like an all-hands-on-deck scenario. He should be making contact soon."

*

"Russia are full of jerks is what you're saying, big, burly, 'I'm totally not going to talk about my feelings' kind of jerks." Tony quips as he crunches down on his apple and glances to one side.

Then back towards Phil.

"Oh, since I know you're gonna check it out at some point. I'm the one that gave Jane the bail money for Bucky." And once more Tony just entirely switches up the lanes in conversation as he hops down and starts to stroll towards one of the holographic 'suits' standing up in the lab.

He spins around to frown at Phil. "'He'? Aw man, I was hoping is would be some lady spy with a sexy British accent. You get my hopes up and then let them crash right down, Phil!" Stark calls as he stalks round the 'bunny' style suit.

"Whats this guys name anyway?"

*

"That was kind of you," Phil says, genuinely. "Really, Tony."

He has not said much to Tony or to anyone about where he stands on the issue of Bucky Barnes, though those seven words might say all that needs to be said on where Phil stands on the matter. He even gives an amused half smile and promises, "I won't tell anyone you did something nice. Wouldn't want to tarnish that reputation of yours."

He just gives a faint sigh as Tony expresses his disappointment that it's not a lady. "Michael," he says, purposefully leaving off a last name. "You'll know him when you meet him; all his credentials are very much in order."

And then curiosity completely overwhelms him. "Tony? Why does that suit have bunny ears?"

*

"Nice? I had her sign over exclusive rights for her nano-tube ballistic cloth with Stark Enterprises. It wasn't nice its just good business!" Stark replies as he smirks slightly towards Phil. "I'm still a giant jackass."

And don't let anyone say otherwise.

"Urgh, fine fine. Michael. I'll treast him with as much respect as I do you." Which means not much because…its Stark.

"Huh? The suit? Oh long story, but I call the girl I'm making it for Bunny. So…" A gesture for to the ears. "…ears. I call it the HOPPS. Highly Optimized Personal Protection Suit. Limited combat capabilities, no real flight capabilities, but very defensive and the systems are more information and data gathering. The ears are a series of sensor masts, and the holoprojections should be able to map out at least two square miles of territory and command around thirty individual people."

*

…Michael and Tony are going to get on like a house on fire.

"Be gentle with him, Tony," Phil says. Carefully: "Peggy might become annoyed with you if you give him too hard of a time."

Does he explain that comment? Nope.

It should be noted that Phil has no idea who 'Bunny' is. This is a bit of intel that has utterly escaped him. He does walk a circle around the suit, looking impressed. "A recon suit is a great thing to have," he agrees. "I hope Bunny likes it."

This suddenly reminds him of something else. "On the matter of getting things done…there may be another situation brewing that I may need your help with later. I don't want to get too far into the details now, but it's probable a daring rescue may be required of us."

*

"I treat everyone the same, its part of my charm." Tony drawls as he flicks the chest piece off the suit to reveal its inner layer. Flexible material under the hard armored chestpiece, obviously ballistic weave of some kind and many, many, circuit systems. "Hopefully this one here won't get into too much combat, but with Fat Iron Man and the like after my fine ass you can never be too careful." He adds as he tweaks something only he could see.

"And Bunny started crying and collapsed when I told her about it, so I think she likes it." He glances around the suit. "…she's one of yours anyway, at least you convinced her to apply for SHIELD membership." A smirk. "You just can't resist can ya?"

A quirked eyebrow. "Huh, daring rescue? Can I pick the music choice if we go in? Who is it? Someone sexy, female, and single I hope."

*

"Sally? You call her Bunny? She's— " For a moment, Phil Coulson is just caught off guard and floored. He has no idea why Tony would do this. He eyes him. No. Not even Tony would go after someone so young, surely. That's not the reason for the name. It's some in-joke between them, something he rapidly decides he's not going to touch.

Instead he says dryly, "When it comes to collecting people, Stark, you're the pot calling the kettle black. You've got a good eye for talent yourself, and I've never known you to stop short of snapping it up if you thought you could put it to work. I saw her first, you can't have her back. Though you did tempt her for awhile."

That part's in jest. Of course if Sally wanted to go to work for Stark Industries and not for SHIELD it would be her choice. The crinkle of laugh lines around his eyes does betray the joke.

"You can pick the music," is what he says. "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of anyone sexy, female, or single."

*

Tony.

Being Tony.

Shares anyway.

"Yeah, first time I saw her she was a car bunny. So. Bunny." The engineer calls back cheerfully towards Phil as he fits the chestpiece back on the holographic suit of armor. "And come on, I just use people is all. And I'm lazy, so when someone can do something for me its less stuff I have to do. No brainer really."

A beatpause.

"Anyway, you play your little cloak and dagger spygames type things. I guess I'll just have to show up and save the day like I usually do in order to find out the answer to my questions. Urgh, making me work. The world is just not fair."

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