Bunny's Future

July 08, 2017:

Tony Stark and Sally talk about her future and other things.

Stark Tower

Characters

NPCs:

Mentions: Phil Coulson, Isa

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a typical New York summer afternoon. Hot, humid, and definitively unpleasant without a breeze - or without being inside in fantastic climate control. Fortunately for those denizens of Stark Tower, the latter is the norm. Considering the working conditions in some parts of the city, where not even a simple fan is available, it's downright heaven for those who get to enjoy the tower.

The fact it runs on its own self-generating reactor and doesn't make the world worse is a giant bonus.

The afternoon finds a certain Sokovian intern looking for Tony Stark. Dressed for the interior of the building rather than the outside, Rusalka's kept warm in the cool air. Stark Industries polo shirt, black slacks, and low heels gives a nice suitable business attire. She's been working on a number of things, and finally needs to approach the master to get further. "JARVIS, is Mr. Stark available yet?" Alone in her semi-private workroom, she sorts out a bundle of data as well as fishes a pair of curious modified gloves out of her purse.

"As soon as he's free, I need to speeak to him regarding Decimux, and the refugees. But, privately, of course." It's still highly classified at SHIELD, at least - way above her own low level, though her presence at Stark Industries had required bringing her aboard. The fact she'd jumped in with both feet to care for the fugitives from another universe had helped her case.

Meanwhile, Rusalka finishes gathering her files and sorting things together. Once she's finally permitted access, the engineer-aspirant will head to the elevator and make her way up

Mister Stark is…well working. He's always working. Sally's never really known him to do normal things like 'sleep'. Whenever she's come by he's usually in one of his labs. Doing something or other. Woken up from a five minuite nap with an new idea of some kind. Today? Well today is no different.

Which means when she is ushered into the secondary lab by a very amused sounding JARVIS Tony Stark is indeed there. Awake. And even in private.

If a building that scans biometric data on entrance can be said to be private.

Butt hey those are details and Stark is never one to bother with those.

Instead he looks up towards the door and what looks like the back-plate of a smaller suit of armor. "Bunny! JARVIS said you want to have a chat. Not having second thoughts about the whole working with me thing are you?" A wicked grin as he spins in his chair to face her.

Behind him six tiny spydrones hover quietly, multiple sensors and camras focused on the young aristocrat.

Their fan-powered engines hardly a whisper and nothing that can be heard easily over the ambient noise in the room.

…by ambient noise he means the Metalica thats blaring over the speakers.

Her beloved Debussy it isn't. However, it IS Metallica, and her friendship with Sloane has at least given her an appreciation of such things. The fact that Master of Puppets happens to be playing as she walks into the lab and sees the half-dozen drones floating behind him gets a stuttered step and a momentary laugh.

Irony Man indeed.

Sally pauses to take in what it is he's working on, and thinks back to what she and Jessica had talked about. The feeling of being a child sitting at a craftsman's feet, assembling bits of waste scrap that had fallen from the master's work and pretending it was valuable. Suddenly the gloves she has don't seem as…interesting, anymore. Then again, the investigator was right, she decides. She's not an ADHD hamster, so she can be forgiven that.

"Second thoughts, sir?" She'll shout if she has to to be overheard. "No, in all honesty…that's…kind of one thing I wanted to speak to you about." It's harder to hear her accent, but it's still quite there. "Among other things, that is." Striding forward to his chair, she looks over the little floating fan-drones and the armored backplate. Interesting design; something for that Spoiler person Tony had mentioned before? A quick nod of approval at the work, before she launches off into business.

"So…first thing, sir, is that the refugees are well. SHIELD is providing medical care, and we've run down most of the drugs and other supplies they need. I think there's just one or two left to confirm. The refugees are in good health, but…I'm told they'll need a lot of counseling. There isn't much they've been able to tell us." At least, that she knows of - though intelligence isn't her direct contact. "Agent Carter is working in that direction, though.

She hands over a pair of gloves, heavy duty leather and fingerless while covered in rubber and various components. "I've made these for Miss Jones, as well - they're a stun glove, built from a taser. I've adjusted the frequencies of the stun charge, though; I'm trying to get it to…simulate Arc-reactor energy. According to SHIELD, and from what you found, that disrupts the 'God's Blood' somehow. And shielded, ah…Hermes? I believe was his name?"

Sally shakes her head, then glances back at the floating fan drones, smiling at the little things. They're a bit reminiscent of Dunce. Then her attention turns back to Stark. "What I want to work on was that idea from before. A proper arc-reactor capacitor, or else some way to make a detuned one. Something to provide the right type of energy to really disrupt these things, somehow."

"I thought they would need a bit of time, not every day you see a world destroyed by a machine god." Tony replies with a shake of his head as he waves a hand. The little drones whirl around him like a halo for just a moment before settling down towards the backplate. Tiny panels fold open to recieve each of the six drones then slides back to cover them, concealing them from view.

The casual way he treats tech like this is either onne of his charms, or one of the things that fustrates people the most about Tony Stark.

"Forward Pepper a list of the meds they need if there is anything rare, and ask her for a list of shrinks. I think she keeps a long list on file, for people that have to deal with me." He's not even ashamed of that either.

The gloves though cause his eyes to arch up a moment as he sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiides on his rolly chair towards her. Taking the gloves he nods once. "Not bad, Bunny. Not bad. You upped the ampage on the delivery system and reduced the size of the capitors?" He asks as he turns the pair of weapons over in his hands.

A glance up towards her a moment though and he quirks his eyebrow. "Huh. Intresting theory, but hard to get the ARC-signiture without the actual reactor. Its got a very specific wave-form too it, espicially now…"

He puts one of the gloves down a moment before wheeeeeeeeeling his way towards a second bench, one covered with bits and bobs of what looks like cast off inventions. He shoves some aside, pics some off. A book crashes to the floor as he moves things around…

"Butterfingers get that would you?"

The put upon tracked bot slowly trundles over to do just that.

Finaly though he comes up with what he wants, which…to be honest…doesn't look like much.

"Here," He calls as he lofts a small tube full of what looks like bits of electrical filiments inside. "Try laying that into the battery system and the power system, its what powers most of my ARC reactors so it should help get the signal right."

Sally nods sympathetically. "I can't imagine what that must be like…everything you know, being wiped out." The thought of it is something that's gnawed at her mind in the dark hours, and once was a terrible nightmare of seeing everything her sprawling family had been completely eradicated.

She watches, entranced, as the little drones do their thing before settling down and…ah, connecting to the armor, and being protected directly. "They charge from the master unit, then?" An observation, casual, nothing more. It's still intriguing to see it all come together.

The mention of medication gets a nod. "I will. The hard part, I understand, is that they're having to redo diagnoses in some cases. Starting over fresh, since…most of what they need, the names are all wrong. There's no common names between their world and ours; we're lucky they at least speak English I suppose." She can't help the laugh at his comment about people that deal with him.

"They should spend more time around college campuses. Or watch…what was that movie? Real Genius. Sometimes I think it's a documentary on you," Sally adds. It came up in the movie marathon she'd had with Jessica. Good times.

The praise for her work gets a certain bunny standing a little taller and straighter. "Yes sir! It'll still deliver a serious shock, and should at least disable someone for a few seconds, even without the nanite effects. …Well, ah, to be honest, it's quite effective at disabling it. I…I didn't have anyone else to test it on, so." She's trying not to admit she zapped herself with it to make sure it worked.

The mentions of waveforms gets a grimace. "I understand. It's…similar, maybe enough for a minor disruption. I've given Miss Jones a pair, refined since this version, since it was her idea. But even if it's a momentary disturbance, even that might be enough of a surprise to get the upper hand in a fight." And then he's off searching a table for…not a book, clearly. Instead it's a small tube of…something?

She takes the item, looking closely at the long, slender components. "It's like fine hairs…what is it? If I can ask? …Wait, this…this is how the ARC reactor works? This?" And she's holding it?! Both hands immediately cup the precious artifact as she gently sets it down on a spare part of the worktable. Almost reverently, she looks up, deep blue eyes meeting his gaze. "What exactly is it…?"

"Something I came up with," The inventor says with a grin. "Well technicly something dad came up with and I finished." He reaches down to pop open a pannel on the gloves, exploring the interior with his eyes first before holding it above his head.

"JARVIS. Hit me."

A few seconds of scanner light before Tony lowers the Gauntlet. "Display enhance and expand." He adds as the image of the gauntlet appears hovering in the air between him and Sally, about four times its actual size. Each circuit highlighted in different colors as his eyes go over the component selection.

Tony has all the best toys.

"Technicly its a new element, I call it badassium because I invented it. Used paladium orgionally but that nearly killed me, this stuff doesn't kill me. Therefor its much better."

"Family project, then." Rusalka nods, thinking back to things - most explicitly, the barely-built automobile chassis sitting in a storage bay at the school. It was her father's favorite, after all. "And…a tribute, of sorts?" She smiles a little, thinking back to her own father. Jovial, upbeat, and very much…not the inventive type. But one who'd recognized it in her, and encouraged her exploration of engineering.

"Badassium. …No, I suppose I should absolutely be not surprised. Wait, palladium? Killing you?" She has no idea what he's talking about, but the idea is terrifying - as shown in the deep frown on her face.

Then the hologram of the glove floats into existence, showing everything laid out. Sally steps up and starts highlighting each thing. It's less explaining what it all does, really, than it is confirming what the master engineer already supposes just by looking at it.

"Ah, right. Mm, capacitors here, on the back of the glove. I originally used regular taser units, but I came up with a tougher and more solid single lithium-ion battery. There's a controller circuit that adjusts the frequencies and waveforms; it's…close, but not perfect. Thumb activation switch here and here; an on/off design just like a regular taser."

She leads fingers to the wire mesh over the first set of knuckles. "I've covered most of it in synthetic rubber for padding, but the contact points are the copper fabric there. Actually, each glove doesn't work on its own - it has to have them both connected, and the electrical charge arcs through the target between them. That way, any nanites in that path should…" Shrug. "Hopefully be disabled. In addition to a rather potent shock."

And now it's time to apologize. "Most of it is off-the-shelf, really; I started with an actual taser gun and took it apart. Then built the first version, then this. It's not as completely fabricated or entirely integrated as I'd like. I wish I could have done better on it, but I don't have the tools…or the knowledge, yet, of really getting into it."

There's a worried glance given to the owner of the place. "There's a lot of things, a lot of book learning I need to do, if I'm going to graduate properly. But…but I feel like I learn more here, than I do at Columbia. I just…I don't have a way to do both, and serve with SHIELD, and…and everything else. I need advice, sir. Would you have me stay on permanently, or…should I return to college after the summer is up, and go that way?"

Tony doesn't quite look at her, not yet at least. Instead his eyes are on the design. "Its just off the shelf components so that works just fine. Don't worry about how it works as long as it doesn't blow up in our face." He adds as he sets the glove down.

"Work in the element fibers…here…" And he starts to trace along the circuits and battery systems with a finger. "…here and here. Should get you closer to the right wave form for the enrgy we are looking for, and increase the power a bit. Not too much, just want to knock people out right?"

Not short circuit their nervous systems.

"Its not that far off what I worked up for Spoiler's gauntlets." He adds as he nods to himself. "Feed it into the 3d printers and see what you can come up with. I'm recomending graphine enforcements on the back, sides, and knuckles. Jess hits like a truck."

He pauses to glance around the image in the air.

"Seriously. Harder than a truck."

Then back to the image itself. "Ask her where she takes most of her punches on her arms and then make sure not to place the batteries there." He adds with a smirk.

Still just looking at the image though he reaches to the table, blinding groping around till the finds a bag of almonds that he can snack on.

"So I guess the question is here, what do you want to do." He asks as he starts to munch. "You're obviously talented, Bunny. You made this. But what do you actually want to do?"

There's a curt laugh at the thought of things blowing up on them. "That I definitely am trying to avoid. I won't, sir." Worry is one thing, but it's something an engineer is good at. Always wondering if you've factored everything in, seen the design all the way through. Caught every last potential point of failure; her one miss on the entrance exam still rankles her - and will for a very long time.

From such things, motivation flows.

"Right, sir. Stunning only, momentarily incapacitating if possible. And hopefully freeing whoever might have the God's Blood from its effects, and…" Shrug. "Perhaps someday being able to take on Decimux directly, if it comes to that. Which Miss Jones wanted me to bring up, the idea of similar weapons - EMP guns, that sort of thing. I hadn't started work on those, I wanted to…to start small. And refine this, until I knew it would be right."

She watches carefully, and picks up her tablet and makes notes as he highlights what and where to change. "Sir, may I ask, what…what is 'badassium' if you don't mind? How does it…work?" Sally's curiosity has been fired up, and she's tempted to set some of the fibrous stuff aside for experiments. If Tony approves, anyway.

There's a momentary laugh at his description of Jessica's fighting style. "I'm sure. I still remember what happened at the science fair; I…did not expect to end up in the rafters watching. But I'm glad. And, yes sir. Reinforcement here, there…and, hm, if there's an alloy plate along the back of it, the forearm, it could even be a bit of light armor. Like a proper armored gauntlet."

Was this how Tony started building his Iron Man suit?

"What do I…I am torn. I love working here, I have learned so much in such a short time. And I have been able to do good, with the refugees, and fighting the Tchernobog. Helping with SIRIN. This." She leans her hip against the table, thoughtful. "But at the same time, my family…I came here to learn, and to do right by the Stojespal name. If I left college officially, I would not earn the degrees, the titles required. My future…would be limited."

She looks back up at him, still wondering. "I stand by my oath to you, but at the same time, I'm not sure if foregoing a degree and going the…ah, the 'applied practical' route instead of the 'theoretical.' I want to do good. But I don't know which path to follow. I ask you this, Mr. Stark."

Sally takes a long deep breath. "If I asked to stay as an apprentice, to you, and extend the oath I swore, would you have me as such?"

"Thats a good question, what is badassium." Tony comments as he turns and watches his intern though the image of the gauntlet. "Well its pretty awesome for one. Came from a hidden formula that my father designed, but he didn't have the technology to synthisize it. It has to be created, not naturally occuring." On this planet at least. "Took me making a collider system in my basement to finally get it to work."

A twitch of a smile at that.

"I had to do a lot of fast talking to explain that one, and thats when Pepper decided I needed a propper lab and not just 'my basement' to actually work in." Then he sighs. "Other than that, there is a lot that I don't know about it. Dad was still working on it when…"

He falls silent though at that as he turns away from the image. Loudly crunching on his almonds for a long moment before he looks back twoards her.

"So. Family wants you to get the degree and go back home. But what do /you/ want to do?" He asks with a quirked eyebrow. "I'm just curious, can't really tell you what path to follow." A pause. "Well I could, I am Tony Stark. I do know better than most of the people on the planet."

Again that humble personality.

"Look, Bunny. You're smart. How long is your degree plan?"

A pause.

"And yeah, sure I would."

She listens to the explanation of the source of the stuff - and breathes a small sigh of relief. "Good. Then, more can be made, if…" Sally holds up the small vial. "If it becomes necessary. Though, a collider in your basement…" Her voice just trails off in awe - it's a decidedly direct point of comparison between the two engineers.

One builds a racecar in their basement. The other builds a particle collider and creates a new element.

"So that is when you moved your research here, to the Tower? I see…" She nods, smirking a little imagining Ms. Potts haranguing him until he finally did kneel before the altar of safety. "A lot that has yet to be explored, then. Mm…I suppose it is not easy to create more of this, if that was the only way. Though…"

If a thing can be made, it can be made again. Often times, even better. "I'd like to tackle that problem. To focus on it, and see if perhaps there's a better way to synthesize the stuff. After all, if it could be used to make a true ARC-capacitor, it'd answer your automobile question, wouldn't it?" She grins at the inventor, thinking back to that project he'd given her before.

"So. With energy output of this waveform, these frequencies…and with the implants, I think yes. The gloves would work. I'll add in the extra material, and redesign it for the graphene matrix. And then I really want to learn more about the ARC reactor, and just what this stuff is," Sally adds, giving the little vial a shake.

And then a slightly lupine grin. "I imagine the Wakandans don't have this at their disposal, heh heh."

The topic of a future returns. "I…want…to stay. I want to do good. But…I want my family to approve of what I do. Not just understand my choice, but to support it. I want to make them proud, and do it in my own way. But." Sally frowns a little. "There is much that a degree can provide, in the future. And that is the question."

She blinks, then looks back up at him. "Ah, seven years. To a Masters degree, at least. A doctorate…perhaps after I return home. I was going to accelerate things with extra study over summers, but…" She gestures to the gauntlet hologram floating next to them. "At the same time there is this. And I can't turn away from it, and pretend it doesn't exist anymore. So much has changed."

His approval gets a small smile, in the end. "Thank you, sir." There's a pause…and a long deep breath. Something to focus her own mind, something to clear her thoughts. "If I maintained my apprenticeship with you, then, would you support me? And teach me everything?"

"To be honest," And he reaches out to move the the image to one side as he leans back in his chair. Puttting his feet up on one of the tables he quirks a brow at her. "Trust me, I've got a lot of tests going on that stuff. I can add you into the loop, but first off, if you didn't have SHIELD clearance you wouldn't even get to know this stuff exists."

He might get in trouble for telling her about it, but thats never really bothered Tony Stark.

Though he makes a face at one comment. "No, their tech is light-years beyond this stuff. And it still pisses me off. They don't have it, but…it doesn't matter. They have better. Though I migth can close the gap a little bit more."

He did get that scan of their visitors power-suit.

Again though Stark is off on a different subject without even pausing for breath.

"So, I fully apprentance you. You keep your studies. Work out something with you school, working in my lab should count for all the practical science you need. You're smart enough, you'll be able to opt-out of a bunch of classes. I did."

He pops an almond into his mouth as he eyes her. "You're gonna be short on free time and sleep. But talk to your family and see if they have any ideas. And no, I wouldn't teach you /everything/. At least not till you were fully SHIELD certified, and because I don't know, /everything/. Yet. But I'd teach you most of what I know."

Sally settles in on a stool in front of Tony, nodding slowly as he explains. "I believe it. And…well. Yes, I understand. My family has served in the military, officially and not, for many generations. I understand the need for secrets. And…not so long ago," she adds, nonchalant, "you had never even seen me before. I understand a need for being careful."

Well…he had seen her at that one auto show. But she doesn't acknowledge that ever happened.

Her face falls slightly when Tony admits Wakandan hardware is still superior. "I see…well. I must admit, I'd…not mind closing that gap as well. In all honesty? That robotic panther creature, that…was very impressive. Terrifying, and I admit I lost my cool and I apologize for that. But I would like to help you."

In truth, she hadn't considered hybridizing her education. She purses her lips in thought, thinking - if she focused soley on theory, and was able to leverage everything at Stark as practical and applied learning…perhaps. She nods slowly, before sitting up straighter and smiling. "That would be sufficient. I know that I was getting some credit for this summer; I'm sure I can speak to my guidance counselor and hammer out a final plan."

Sally grins. "SHIELD certified? Hrm." She reaches into a pocket of her slacks, drawing out a black wallet and flipping it open. A silver SHIELD badge shows, and her ID identifies her as a Level Three agent. "I suppose that's taken care of already, da?" She can't help the smirk as she tucks the badge away. "I suppose noone can learn everything. But I swear I will master what you teach me, and I will make you and my family proud."

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