Processing, Please Wait

January 13, 2018:

Phil Coulson responds to Tony Stark's distress call. He and Lola get up close and personal to an event that knocks out large portions of the city's power grid.

Stark Industries, New York

When the going gets tough, this place frickin' explodes.


NPCs: Lola, SIRIN, Mark 33

Mentions: Jane Foster, John Constantine

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

There are many things that Phil Coulson knows about one Tony Stark. That he's annoying. That he's a genius. That he's insufferable. That he's brilliant. That he isn't great with people.

…and that he seldom. If ever asks for help.

Which is why when the emergency frequency from Stark Tower /actually/ lights up. Its got to actually be a problem.

The voice that comes though on the SHIELD emergency also isn't Tony, and isn't JARVIS. No its that peppy. Perky. Happy voice of SIRIN. The one that he built for Isa's jet.

"Pardon me! Is anyone there? Mister Stark is having uninvited guests!" There is a sudden burst of static that the tennor of the voice changes. Its still SIRIN. But instead of the perky happy voice that tone is so very done with everything. Sardonic. Sarcastic. "I think the're trying to kill him."

…yeah. Not everything is going well in the House of Stark.

For all that Phil glowers at Tony Stark.

For all that he snarks at him.

For all that he gives him all the most exhausted of all exhausted Dad looks.

Tony is still his friend.

And thus Phil is tearing out of the garage in Lola on the bluetooth, calling for emergency teams and backup in clipped, urgent tones. He goes racing for Stark Towers, heedless of the wind and the snow, intent on getting there as quickly as humanly possible. Uninvited guests and a malfunctioning AI are both terrible signs in addition to the wholly uncharacteristic call for help.

His mouth is set into a long, grim line, and the lines around his worried eyes are deep.

"Ah! Good news! They aren't trying to kill him!" Comes that voice again. Then again that static as the second voice comes in. "They are just trying to blow up the city."

A pause again before. "Ah! Mister Stark is mentioning that its something to do with magic. And that he hates wolves now." Pfffzt. "Someone need to wash his mouth out with soap. I havn't even heard some of those words before."

Stark Tower, from the on site emergency teams, is worryingly dark. The only seeming lights and sparks of power comes from the top few floors. Reports indicate that the tower went dark maybe ten minutes ago, and five minutes ago a single window blew out.

The emergency evacuation went off just a few minutes after it went dark.

"Ah! More good news! Mister Stark has managed to make sure the city won't explode!" Pfzzzt. "By doing something /reaaaaaaaly/ stupid."

Phil brings Lola to the landing pad and shuts her down, then draws his gun. Not his ICER, mind, but his gun. He goes stalking towards the entrance. His voice, despite his posture and his face, is hard, but calm. He switches calls. "Get me a WAND team up here, stat," he orders.

Then it's back to SIRIN. "What did he do, SIRIN?"

Stupid? Or desperate? He pulls out a flashlight too, holds the gun and the flashlight in the manner of law enforcement teams everywhere, and goes creeping into the building. With his ability to land that way he's probably the only one to the upper floors yet, if the elevators are out; but he's going to risk going in without back-up.

"Oh Mister Phil!" The voice sounds so happy. "It's nice to hear from you again!" Pfzzzt. "The Tower gets so lonely."

A pause again before the AI answers. "Mister Stark has used the building as a conductor! The overloaded ARC reactor will direct all its energy though the tower and into the atmosphere in thirty seconds!" Pfffzt. "This is going to hurt." Pfzzt. "But at least it won't be going though the city!"

A beatpause.

"The city will still likely be without power but it will still be there!"

Always looking on the positive that SIRIN.

Oh shit.

Phil is already in the building. He goes looking for something rubber to grab, or a rubber safety mat, like toute suite. A quick look back at his baby says that he's got some Concerns About the Outcome. Serious. Concerns.

But survival instinct and training kick in even above concerns for Lola's safety in this Hour of Darkness. He finds a rubber desk chair pad, leaps on it, and throws his arms up in case more glass starts breaking. Thirty seconds, Christ. The flashlight drops, rolls, he retains hold of his gun instead.

From the outside? It looks like a sudden pillar of light stands in the place of Stark Tower. Starting from the ground up a wave of energy rushes towards the sky. Outside lights pop and explode. Lightning arcs from the tower to the ground and the entire building is a sudden screaming piller of bright light. Bluewhite energy fills the halls, lightning crackles between walls and pieces of equipment on the floor Phil is on. He smells burning rubber…

But his heart doesn't stop.

…well not from the lightning at least. It might stop when he thinks just how much damage this energy wave is doing to Lola's delicate systems.

The windows explode outward, glass raining down on the city. A city that Phil Coulson has an excellent view of. As building after building. Street after street. Light after light goes entirely dark.

Headlights though the snow are all that can be seen. And the meger lights of what few buildings have backup generators slowly start to power back on.

SIRIN has gone silent.

…but at least he knows what lab the broadcast was coming from?

Phil closes his eyes. A moment of silence, please, for the delicate systems of Lola, and for the pain it's going to be to get her fixed on a landing pad. A moment of thanks, please, for the fact that the shockwave didn't send her flying off into the night to become a giant red street pancake.

He waits it out. The rain of glass, the slow blackout of the city as window after window goes dark. This is the second time Stark's stuff has caused widespread city damage, he hopes that the man won't be skewered in the court of public opinion soon. Or hit with a zillion civil suits. Neither time was his fault, but all the same.

When it's safe, he stands up. His phone and bluetooth are fried. Glad he gave his orders on the way.

He goes stalking towards that lab. There may be something recoverable. His flashlight is out, his watch is out, all his tech is just out. But that doesn't mean there's nothing he can do. And there may be an emergency generator that will either kick on any minute, or which either he or one of his teammates will find and activate.

Its dark and silent in the labs. Darker than he's ever seen it. Backup generators do kick on but the red tinged light of the emergency lighting systems simply thow everything into madding crimson shadows.

What is obvious though is that there was a battle there. Gaping holes in walls. Overturned furniture. The path from the lab is easy to find as there is a line of holes though walls there. He doesn't even have to go though a door.

Screens are black, and of the titular AI there is no sign.

And more disturbing. No suits.

There are equipment caches though that Phil could find. Something that might have a radio protected from the energy burst. Hardened in lockboxes he would have the codes to.

Tony always thought ahead.

At the lab itself though there is very little to see. More holes in the walls. More overturned furniture. Massive gouges of claws in the floor. A worktable torn from its mounting by beastial strength.

There is one odd thing though. Just a single one.

A drone. One of the little round ones with the stubby wings. Not /Ace/ of course, that worthy is gone, but one of the many dozens that float around the tower sitting next to a workstation that seems strangely untouched.

The lab in question though? Jane Foster's.

And Phil methodically works through it.

Lockboxes are opened. Equipment recovered.

The little drone is retrieved. And then there's this untouched workstation. Jane Foster's workstation.

Hazel eyes narrow. He moves over to the station. Script complete? He takes down good old fashioned pen and paper and jots down all those black, squiggly letters. He knows a couple of people who might be able to decipher those. And he has a lot of equipment to turn over to the techs for analysis. It will have to do.

Sadly, with that on there he's not going to touch the console; he needs experts to do that for him so he doesn't wipe evidence. He knows his strengths, weaknesses, limits. But he will be overseeing it, when that happens.

He needs a quarantine on this building. All the employees are about to get an extended vacation.

As soon as the equipment is recovered reports start coming in. Those reports are fitful though, there are massive gaps. From what he can gather from the sporodic and sometimes paniced reports Iron Man suits have been exploding. Dozens of them reported all over the state. All the ones launched from the tower, but they didn't explode before hammering the communication infrastructure. Cell towers. Satalites. Getting to talk to people is going to be…difficult in the near future.

He jostles the drone and it burbles.

Lights appear in the casing again as it activates and scans the man that touched it. Holoemitters activate to form the image of Tony Stark, standing in one of his multitue of armors. The Mark 33 to be specific.

"Right. So. Don't have much time here. Whoever you are you're supposed to be holding this or this little guy would have tazered you in the face. JARVIS is gone. Someone wrote a magic virus. Deployed via quantum tunneling into him. He's gone mad. Coming after me so I'm getting off the grid. You need to find me, look for me at my dad's place."

There is a fritz to the hologram then before it stabalises. "Make sure my people are out and safe. Tell Pepper" A pause. "just tell her to use her best judgement on how to help. Hers is usually better than mine. And…"

Then the entire hologram destablaizes. When it reforms its starting the loop over again.

And those letters on the workstation screen? They start to morph and shift. Like living things.

'ComInG FoR yOu, StARk'

Phil's eyes widen.

He pockets the drone. The rest, he leaves for the teams. He makes his way down the stairs as fast as he can. He is winded when he makes it, but he gives orders to the team, hands over equipment, sends them up to analyze that console. He's still furious, but he's got to check. He takes a SHIELD SUV with reinforced snow tires after one last regretful look up, up, and up to the landing pad where his poor fried car sits silent sentinel. Then he gives it no further thought. Headlights on and into the snow storm. He knows exactly where Tony's Dad's place is, and he's going right now, by himself.

He drives as if he's being actively followed, whether he is or not he is. He flips on every kind of jammer he can think of to thwart every kind of tracking he can think of. Won't do much about magic, maybe, but he drives. Because it's possible activating the drone actively tipped someone off about Stark's location to. He will try not to make it any easier on them…

But he's going to be there to help defend the man if they chase him down there.

Upstate New York. Though the biting cold as SHIELD emergency teams spread out though New York City to try to contain the situation.

If it was anyone but Phil Coulson who found the drone they might be confused. They might try the Stark family home. Some of his old buildings. Some of his old haunts. 'Dad's Place' could mean so many things.

But Phil Coulson is a history nerd. And sometimes being a history nerd comes in handy.

Some of Howard Stark's greatest inventions, some of his breakthoughs and designs, came from a nondescript little SSR facility in upstate New York. Not far out of town, easy flight from something like the Mark 33.

Its not on a map. A little falling down farm building. Held closed by a rusty padlock.

Just a dot in the middle of no where.

Way off the grid.

The door of the building is open, padlock lying in the snow outside. Inside? It…looks like a falling down building.

With one of the mouldering haybales moved aside by great force to reveal a massive door with a faded SSR eagle on it.

Being a history nerd absolutely has its advantages. Phil didn't have to think twice; he knew where to go. And when he gets there, he knows he picked correctly. Furthermore he's a bit off the ceiling, because he rather doubts most pursuers would. Still, he parks the car under the treeline and well away from the road. He watches the snow fall, then nods; the tracks from his tires will be covered in less than an hour. It'll have to do.

Shivering in his parka, he heads to the SSR Eagle Door. Seeing it's partly open, he pauses. He doesn't want to shout through, doesn't want to make himself known if this is a trap. He doesn't want Tony to shoot him in the face, either, though, so he pulls his ICER and contemplates.

After a moment of weighing and measuring, he decides a nervous Tony is probably more likely than a trap is. All the same, he still doesn't want to go about shouting; if it is a trap there could be people wandering the property. If he's loud he risks bringing them all down on his head at once, if he walks soft, he might only have to deal with whomever is in here.

One of the few things they openly share in common are tastes in movies and music, from their mutual agreement that Die Hard rocks to their shared enjoyment of AC/DC. And so it is that Phil Coulson veeeery softly whistles the opening lyric bars of Back in Black. He's back in black, he's hit the sack, he's been too long, he's glad to be back.

Then he pauses. Listening.


The whistling fades into the darkness. For a long moment there isn't a responce. Then there is the pop of electricitcy going to lights. The hum of power thought the building. The bunker revealed. Brick and mortor and concrete. Dusty with disuse but containing workbenches. Offices. Landline phone systems. All still intact.

And sitting in the back of the planning room on a sturdy metal chair is a Iron Man suit, faceplate up to reveal Tony Stark himself.

And a smirk rests there on his face.

"You can't whistle at all, Phil."

"Everyone's a critic," Phil quips. He holsters his weapon. "Are you hurt, Tony?" Tony, not Stark, right now. Hazel eyes reflect real concern, but he keeps his voice light, his brows drawing down. The man's been sitting in the freezing weather in that suit; either he expects attack, can't get out of it, is hurt, or just doesn't mind that it must be freezing. Or there's some Toaster Oven protocol that keeps the inside of the suit warm. That could be the case too.

He searches the man's face for signs of pain, even as he asks, "What the Hell happened?"

The man smirks slightly as he moves, favoring his arm. "My tower just exploded and I just had to axe almost every suit I built over the past few years." A beatpause. "I'm processing."

"I wish I knew that! Someone uploded a goddmn magic virus into JARVIS. It almost got Friday and SIRIN too but I got them out before they became infected. Cut the hardlines so he couldn't get out easy then there was a shadow wolf thing that bit me, and it turned out a bird was writing the code, only the code was magic and alive and I can't hack a magic code." A beatpause. "I should talk to Constaintine about hacking magic code."

He shakes his head slightly.

"They tried to use my suits to spread the infection so I blew them up." A longer pause. "Wow. I just blew them all up."

An even longer pause.

"I need to sit down again."

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