July 21, 2017:

In which Isa Reichert questions Tony Stark about the new aircraft prototype outside of Stark Industries, and thanks him for a good turn she doesn't even know how to begin to repay.

Stark Industries - New York City

Rising high into the skyline with the name of it's Lord and Master for all to see, the Stark Industries Tower is the most visible component of the Stark Industries complex centered in Midtown Manhattan. Manufacturing, office space, power generation and even some inventory is housed in the tower and its associated subelevels. It also contains guest housing and, at the top, the penthouse suite that is the domain of the Main Man himself, at least, when he's not at his Malibu home.


NPCs: Mikhail Nikolayevich Makarov

Mentions: Phil Coulson, Rusalka Stojespal

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's evening in the city. Employees from Stark Industries are filing home as they conclude their business for the day and clock out. It's hot and humid in the city, so those who are waiting on rides or public transportation are waiting in the building's lobby.

One such is outside the lobby, just outside the entrance to the building, in a little plaza designed for people who smoke to go smoke there without bothering other people.

Raisa Ivanovna Yakovleva is a restless soul even on the best of days, and today she's pacing back and forth, trying to ignore the humidity. Every so often she looks to the entrance to the Stark Industries campus, as though looking for someone. Most of the time, she hitches a ride home with Sally, although not always. Sometimes she walks, escorted by her husband, because three eyes are better than one, and both pilots are thoroughly paranoid.

Today she's smoking while she waits, looking exhausted as ever. She's been working closely on both the recreation of the Heliosphere's capabilities, and also helping with design specifications for Khoro, the aircraft being designed by Stark Industries to counter it. As of yet, she hasn't been introduced to the functional AI just yet, concerning herself strictly with the design specs.

What she'd really like to know, though, is why Stark suddenly made the command decision to add a second cockpit seat to the aircraft. If he has such a complicated AI handling the details, why does it need a second human pilot?

Isa frowns, twisting her cigarette from one side of her mouth to the other, puffing smoke. Half a glance is cast back at the Stark Industries building. Come to think of it, she hasn't seen Stark for a while. That in and of itself is concerning because it immediately leads to thoughts like has he eaten in the past three days or is he actually dead in his lab, sprawled across a holodisplay.

Sighing smoke, the redhead breathes a curse in Russian, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her slacks, and looking back to the campus entrance again. Technically, Mikhail isn't late yet, but she's eager to get home and either brew a cup of tea, jump into a scaldingly hot bath, or just collapse facedown onto the floor the second she gets into her apartment. Sleeping like a log sounds pretty amazing right now.

"You know," Comes a famliar if sometimes grating voice from behind the angry smoking form of Isa. "That stuff will kill ya."

And lo, behind her is…well. Tony Stark. Looking like a million bucks. Some kind of linen slacks, linen overshirt. T-shirt. Shades with lenses made of holograms not actual glass. The man looks like he just stepped off a ship from Spain.

What he's doing in his own lobby is hard to say. Its hard to know really.

Though good news. He has eaten, and he's not dead.

To her credit, the pilot doesn't jump. She doesn't even startle, but she does inexplicably choke on her cigarette for a second or three. Once she has herself back under control, she turns, one bloodshot eye studying Stark and one red brow arching. How does he just appear places like that?

"<Of course it will.>" Isa responds in Russian, and it might be just to annoy him. Or, it could be because it's her first language, and it's what she usually thinks and speaks in by default. "<The doctors tell me I have an absurdly strong constitution, though, and statistically, I'm more likely to crash or be shot down before it ever becomes a problem.>"

She shrugs, turning and watching him, cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth, hands in her slacks' pockets. "<What are you doing down here? I wouldn't expect you to mingle with the plebians, you know. Ivory and glass tower, and all that.>" One hand flicks vaguely in the direction of the penthouse suite. "<I'm guessing you want something. What is it?>" she finally says. Her tone is, surprisingly, not unkindly.

"What do I look like some kinda noble? Come on. You know I like getting my hands dirty, up to my elbows in grese and oil. Thats where I like it." A beatpause from Tony then. "And I was just in Spain with a friend, after testing out a deep dive suit. It doesn't leak, so that was a plus."

The man smirks slightly as she just bluntly questions him. "I always want something, but you're married and I'm complicated." He quips, possibily to get her back for the russian talk. Or just being he's being him.

"Anyway, I'm finishing up the cockpit systems and the AI routines. So I need you to sit in the model to make sure everything is comfy. And I've finished the first model of the flightsuit. I thought about bare midriff but then Bunny just said that you would kill me with a laser stare and ditched the idea."

"<I'd hope it didn't leak, or you'd be escorting a bodybag… and I think your Chief of Operations would probably murder you with her bare hands.>" Isa plucks the cigarette from the corner of her mouth, eyeing it boredly. "<Deep dive… no thanks. I'll take the sky.>"

She turns, eyeing him, before taking another drag from the cigarette and frowning a little. There's a faint flicker of a smile. "<Sorry. You're not my type at all, Tony Stark. If it's any consolation, you're the ruggedly handsome type… but you're not my husband, and you're not even remotely like him.>" Her loyalty, at least, is somewhat impressive.

She takes another drag in silence, watching the campus entrance. "<Yes. I can do that. I also see you added a second seat to the cockpit, and I've already submitted my revisions to the airframe reinforcement and streamlining. But, why did you add that?>" Glancing back, she arches a brow at Tony. "<With a sophisticated AI governing the fly-by-wire and other avionics systems, I'd think that would eliminate the need for a second pilot.>"

"I'll take that as a compliment," Tony takes most things as a compliment really. "Anyway what I've been up too, a couple modifications. If you noticed the increased weight ratios I sent in. I added some…toys…"

There is a smirk as he says that as he waves her towards a side room. One usually used for meetings, but right now cleaned out. On the way, a screen pops up beside her. Bobbing along easily as it shows her the updated designs.

"Repulsor multi-munitions. Mico missiles. Repulsor nose guns. Quad mount solid-state laser systems…" He goes on as he starts to list the weapon systems that he has stuffed into the frame. "…between making sure the place doesn't shread itself, or you SIRIN has a lot to worry about. However second seat can handle navigation and weapon systems without having to worry about that."

Then a smirk as he turns and waves her towards one of the multitude of seats in the lounge. "…besides…" He adds as he starts to activate the heavy duty holosuite in the room. "…if you got to go Mach 15 before that guy in the hospital I'd have to listen to argue about who was faster and then I'd want to fling both you in a gulag."

The pilot takes a moment to stub out her cigarette in a nearby ashtray, slipping her hands back into her pockets as she follows Tony. She looks to her left toward the holographic display, thankful for a fleeting instant that it isn't in her blind side. Turning too far makes her walk crookedly.

Isa slowly arches a brow at the display as it points out all of the new systems. "<You've been busy…>"

"<Hospital?>" She looks up from the display, brow furrowing in puzzlement for a moment. "<Do you mean Mikhail Nikolayevich? He's been out for a few weeks now. All systems cleared. In fact, he's been waiting until you and your Chief of Operations have the opportunity to speak with him about employment at Stark Industries…>" Isa looks away. "<We decided SHIELD was too dangerous. There are too many people who want his head on a pike. I'm sure there are still people out there who want mine, too.>" Her expression hardens. "<Agent Phillip Coulson says that I am free to use my name, but I will not trust it until we are able to put an end to Icarus Dynamics. They took something from me, Tony Stark. Something more important than my own life. I will make war on them, and exact the debt they owe me in blood and fire.>"

Brave and dramatic words, but what makes the terrible, inexorable truth in them ring is not a dramatic delivery, but a voice soft and deliberate.

Her attention turns back to the holodisplay. "<You'll probably have to listen to us argue anyway. We bicker. It's how we have always been. But, Tony Stark, at the end of the day… we do not mean it.>" Isa's expression is serious, discussing something completely unrelated to the schematics even as she processes what she's looking at on the display. The ability to multitask has always been a blessing to her; her vocation has always demanded that ability. "<We understand each other. Do you know how rare it is, to find someone who truly understands you…?>"

"<I feel sorry for him, in honesty. I am cleared for duty, and I am cleared to return to the sky, for SHIELD… but he is grounded. Maybe he does not need it so desperately as I have, in the recent past… but I know what it is to be grounded. I know I was willing to commit treason to go back there – and did.>"

She hesitates in her perusal of data. "<What allowances do you have for stresses in the powerplant? If this thing can actually go Mach 15, what's keeping the engines from ripping themselves apart under the pressure and heat?>"


Tony's answer is entirely non-comittal. Does he understand though? Yes. He understands. Else he likely wouldn't have gone to all this trouble to help. Put a second seat in. "Yeah yeah, true love. Its all cute and all. Maybe I should put some hearts and rainbows in the two seats." Is what he says though.

Because screw feelings. They are complicated. Science is easy!!

"Anyway, let me worry about that. I'll talk to Phil. Spin some tale about how I need him to help you fly becaouse of biomentric blah blah blah. I'll just talk until people's eyes glaze over, I'm good at that."

A smirk again.

"I didn't say you would be going that fast for long but you should be able to hit it. And thats because…"

He gestures towards the schematics.

"JARVIS show her pursuit mode."

The little sketch of the plane shifts slowly, wings folding back into the fusalage to become more stubby, almost but not quite fins. The nose reconfigures to a more blunt system. Additional plateing slides down to sleek out the lines turnning it into part plane and part missile.

"Graphine layers in the nose and wing edges absorb the heat and energy, spread it across more of the fusalage to even it out and cool it down. The engines are reinforced as it shifts, additional structural systems and initernal dampeners activating. You'll loose a good few of your weapon systems too. Launching a missle going that fast you might just hit your own missile. And your manuverability will be compleate garbage. But…you'll outrun nearly anything in the sky."

"<I'll kill you in your sleep, and I will convince Pepper Potts to help me do it,>" Isa mumbles distractedly, flicking through displays. "<More seriously, you'd better call Mikhail Nikolayevich in here, too, because he's taller than I am and you're going to want to scan him for dimensions to plan out that seat. If you haven't already charged ahead and built it… in which case, I guess he's out of luck.>"

Her eye flicks over the data, although it slides sidelong for a moment to fix on Tony, with a faint hint of a crooked smile. It fades relatively quickly. "<I don't think Agent Phillip Coulson trusts him very much, right now, but I know Mikhail Nikolayevich. I know him almost better than I know myself. He will not be a risk at all. I'll owe you one if you can do that for me. I doubt he'd listen to me if I tried to convince him myself. I wouldn't, if I were him. I'm too emotionally invested.>"

Pursuit mode? She frowns at the display, even as JARVIS illustrates what should be happening to the airframe while it goes at ridiculous speeds.

Isa frowns. "<Jesus. You're going all out, aren't you? I guess you don't want to use this thing anywhere near populated areas. Air traffic would be a mess for a week…>" And they might find all the pieces of Khoro's pilots, if the pilots were lucky.

"<It looks viable, when you factor in the ARC technology and the possibility of systems that aren't complete garbage. I might have flown some of the most advanced aircraft in the sky in my days in the Russian service, but don't ever use a Russian comms system. And those goddamn ejection seats will fail, every time.>" She scowls briefly, before studying the design again.

"<Good. If this performs half as well as these schematics suggest it will, it's going to give the Heliosphere a run for its money. I'd very much like to kill it. And I'd very much like to be the one to do so, my Misha and I. We have a debt to repay Icarus for.>" Isa smiles, but the expression seems to have an unpleasant undertone. "<They picked the wrong pilots to try and bully. I'll have their guts for hawsers by the end of this. With SHIELD's help, and yours, there won't be anything left of Icarus Dynamics, if I have my way. Even Sally Petrovna has sworn her assistance in this matter.>"

"Oh I know, I already finished Bunny her suit. Just in case. I'm totally making her your co-pilot for the test flight too." A wicked grin crosses his face. "And I havn't told her yet. Its a suprise." Sometimes he really likes his little jokes. Its really what gives life its little zest. At least to him.

"Anyway, this isn't Russian. It's mine." A pause. "And a bit of Kryptonian tech, and some Asgardian that I reverse engineered, the energy dampening systems are based on rudimentry Wakandan designs I managed to scrounge up…" A grin. "…so really I'm breaking at least a dozen international laws making this thing."

A pause.

"Man, I love my job."

He really loves cheating the rules. They are made to be broken. At least in his mind.

"Anyway, of course I'm going all out. They thought they could cheat and outbuild me. I'm going to not-cheat and show them how wrong they are. And…save the world, blow up Icarus, all that good gun ho stuff too."

A glance towards her. "Did they every suggest you take anger theropy? Just asking here." A pause before he shakes his head. "Naw. Prolly not. Anyway, I'll get him by too. Or you can get him too. And I'll talk to Phil."

Isa tilts her head, studying Tony somewhat appraisingly from the corner of her eye. "<You haven't? Then I'll conveniently forget that you told me this, and she can find out for herself. It's important to be able to react to changing scenarios quickly…>"

"<Oh. You are. That's good to know, if I happen to be caught by authorities while I'm test piloting the physical prototype.>" Isa's statement is so dry it could leach water out of a desert. She stares flatly at Tony for a moment before shaking her head in silent exasperation, looking back to the holodisplay. "<I'm not very familiar with Wakanda, but I'm going to assume that using technology of theirs without any kind of explicit permission is probably not going to end well.>"

Hopefully that applies to Tony and not to her. She's just the pilot; her adjustments to the schematics are strictly structural, and don't rely on any kind of strange technology she has no experience with.

Slumping into one of the room's chairs, she rests an elbow on the table, cupping her cheek in her hand and letting her eye droop half-closed. She looks exhausted. That slightly bloodshot eye slides over to regard Tony for a moment, with such scorn that she almost doesn't need to grace him with a response. But she does, because she's tired, and his immaturity always makes her surly. "<No.>"

The eye closes. "<Thanks. If you need to contact Mikhail Nikolayevich, the best way is through me. We've decided it's still too risky to have anything set up that can be traced back to him; Icarus is still somewhat pissed off that he was forcibly removed from their employee roster, and I imagine they're willing to do som very not nice things to get him back. They want me, too. Too bad for them.>"

"<Tony Stark…>" Isa almost sounds like she's got a question right around the corner, but she doesn't quite give voice to it yet.

Stark quriks an eyebrow at the last questioning tone from her, turning and quirking a brow. "What?" He asks her. "You know I love to hear myself talk. So go ahead and ask if you're gonna aske something."

"<Thank you.>"

Isa's heartfelt statement is delivered in Russian, possibly because she knows it annoys him.

There's no denying the sincerity of her words, though, and what she actually says is a much more formal expression of gratitude than a simple 'thank you.' He doesn't much like confronting emotions, but Stark's intervention didn't just return someone dear to her. He gave her very life back to her.

Something in her statement carries that, although she doesn't put it to words, specifically.

"<I will find a way to even that debt, someday. But until I do, if you need anything that lies within my abilities, or even my husband's, we will do everything we can for you and your company.>" Provided it doesn't clash with SHIELD orders, that is. She's not about to turn her back on the organisation that granted her safe harbour, even though she's since recognised she's a better test pilot than field agent.

"<I've seen all I need to see. For now, I need to rest.>" She pushes herself to her feet, slipping her hands into her pockets. "<I think Mikhail Nikolayevich is here, so this is where I leave you. I'll see you tomorrow, Tony Stark.>"

A hand is lifted in parting, although she doesn't turn around to face him, striding from the meeting room.

If he follows her out, he'll find that she beelines across the lobby to where her husband does indeed wait for her – the two close the distance between them for a moment, as though discussing something quietly, and Isa gestures briefly as she speaks. Apparently they reach some kind of agreement, leaving a moment later; his hand at the small of her back, her arm around his side.

There might be a casual 'see you tomorrow, JARVIS' tossed over her shoulder in Russian, because she knows the building is aware of every movement she makes.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License