Marvel-ous Curiosity pt 2

March 02, 2018:

Continuing her investigation into Stark's Genosha raid and just who Ms Marvel might be, Sally finds an answer - and new rage-based motivation.

Stark Industries

One of Stark's main labs

Characters

NPCs:

Mentions: Phil Coulson, Sloane Albright, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Kamala Khan, Captain 'MURICA

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a mix of things that keep Sally Stojespal occupied in her time with Stark Industries. It's not all super-technology; she's still bootstrapping herself up with various experiments and assignments on the practical side of things. The theory of blowing things up she gets from Columbia and some SHIELD training, actually blowing things up gets to happen in the place where it happens most.

Or in this case, looking over results from the latest tests and experiments she'd been working on. It does let her indulge the more affluent side of her education, namely sipping tea and letting Debussy play on the room's entertainment system. 'Badassium' was certainly a very Stark name, but it's something she's still learning the properties of…and trying to find out why it won't hold a sustained repulsor field for more than about sixty to sixty five seconds before overloading.

Not that she expects to find an answer; it had eluded Howard Stark for decades and had eventually been bypassed by Tony Stark for repulsor thrusters. Well…maybe she'll at least prove that it doesn't work after all. Again.

A cheerful voice breaks through the piano, as SIRIN quite literally chimes in. "Reminder! Get up to Mr. Stark's room, your appointment time is almost here!" A verbal tic later, the AI adds something helpful. "At least he's awake this time."

"Thank you SIRIN." She misses JARVIS's british tones, but has a soft spot for the AI - its history and creation with the cutting-edge aircraft he'd built to take on Hydra-backed opponents over Sokovia is something that she'll never be thankful enough for…among other things. Setting aside the tea and paperwork, she reaches down to buckle on her shoes. "Please let Mr. Stark know I will be up momentarily, too."

Okay. SHIELD business. …Dressed in slacks, her driving shoes, and a Stark Racing polo shirt with her hair back in the everpresent hairband. Well, she doesn't always have to look the part of a scary SHIELD agent. Time to meet the boss!

Oh Mister Stark knows, weather Mister Stark cares is always up in the air.

The inventor himself sits in the room. One of his multitude of labs. His feet up on a desk, a drink that looks green and too healthy for words in one hand as he stares at a holoscreen infront of him. On it is a picture of Genosha, from a Satalite system of some sort.

He doesn't even really look up when the elevator dings. Just smirks slightly.

"Come in!"

He calls as he waves a hand, the picture spinning to zoom in on top of one of the mountains and a geothermal plant there.

See, this time she was good. NOT barging in! Sally makes her way from the elevator through the lab, glancing around at whatever might be on his mind. It's almost a game she plays, a bit like looking at a half-completed Escher drawing and trying to figure out whether it should be assembled with allen screws, or welded - let alone what it's suppose to be in the first place. Case in point - that green drink. Is he doing vegetable juicing?

"Mr. Stark? Sorry to interrupt, sir." Like a good bunny, she'll make her way over to where he's at, eyes finally settling on the picture of what looks like some sort of volcanic system. Maybe? It's mountainous, and mechanical. "A, ah…" Word! "Geo-thermal structure? Is this something new you are working on?" She adds a bit of a smirk to the last, wondering where it might be.

"May I?" Always the student, she'll ask before settling in on a spare chair. "So." She taps one toe against the floor for a moment trying to wonder just where to approach this from, and how to frame her question. Just ask, she decides. "Why? The trip to Genosha, sir. I admit I know little about the situation, though I was given some information since. But, why did you suddenly just…woosh?" Eyebrows furrow, not condemning - just confused.

"I admit I ask as a SHIELD agent, I was assigned to find out why. Agent Coulson is in-country right now, actually, and ah…" Ahem. "I was told to tell you he is 'Supernanny mad.' Especially with your choice of companions. I did speak to Sloane, though; she told me some of what happened." What she could, anyway, which was mostly 'suddenly there was tony and I blinked and I was in a jet with all these other people.'

"Oh no, this is something they had on Genosha. One of the mad mutants there, a really bad one, happened to try to turn it into a volcano and blow up the capitol. So I helped stop him." Stark smirks slightly. "Totally worth it just for the scowl on Summer's face. But I was just trying to figure out how the bastard did it. I think he was connected to the island somehow but…"

He shrugs.

"So many variables." He waves a hand and the holoscreen dissipears before he spins back towards Sally and there is a look there for a moment that she doesn't remember ever seeing on her employers face.

Anger.

Eyes glittering, face a smile that doesn't quite reach his gaze. Its gone an instant later as he stands with a slap of palms against his thighs. "Right. I bet he was. But…"

He waves his hand again and a new screen comes up. This one full of reports. Weapons reports. Of Stark Weapons bought and sold to Genosha over the years. Decades worth of them.

"…so was I."

He shakes his head a moment. "Now I shouldn't have brought Kamala or Sloane but…I did. So he can come here himself to yell at me about if he wants."

Summer? …Oh, right, the ersatz leader of the X-men, at least as far as their operations head might be. If they have such an organization; the size of their group is not nearly so large as a single side branch of SHIELD. Well…some organizations work better than others, at that scale, Sally thinks. She can't help the grin on her face when Stark admits to his reasons, as well as his accomplishment, and nods. "Absolutely that would be a bad one, yes. And…hm. Perhaps, something like how Sloane can control water?"

Inhumans, mutants, enhanced humans, metahumans, Wakandans, aliens, gods. Sometimes Tony's right - they ARE all cheating. Even if magic may only be sufficiently advanced technology, said technology can be downright mystifying when you try to examine it. "Variables indeed," she mutters in agreement.

And then there is a shocked face, as Sally sits suddenly straighter - as if for a moment she's the target of that anger from a teacher, before it disappears. The screen of reports and documents appears, and she'll reach out to draw the hologram stack over to her, if he lets her. This…this is more than just what Sloane knew about. This wasn't just someone abusing some of Tony's stolen hardware, this…

"How did you discover such things," she asks, breath tight. It's almost a whisper, flipping through the records. None of them look Stark's own letterhead, but side groups, it seems. Covert transactions, the kinds of things she'd seen before working with SHIELD - a specific terrorist group in particular. "This, these things…it is as if they had everything except the reactor technology and your suit designs."

And most of it is weaponry. Yes, she was much younger when Stark had rescinded his previous corporate ways, but she'd still heard the news. It was hard not to, being the child of a military officer. The very thing that he'd promised to give up.

She can't help a dark chuckle. "After this…absolutely I suppose I would be 'Supernanny mad' as well. And, that is a little bit, but he was also concerned about the participation of Mr. Barnes and Dr. Foster, as well as Sloane and-"

Then she realizes just what name he'd said - and it hits like a brick to the forehead. "Kamala?!"

"The Maximoff twins. Magnetos kids." The inventor replies with a sigh and a shake of his head. "And yes. I verified everything before I went charging off like I do." He swipes up his drink again, downing a long pull off it before he frowns towards her. "No they had more than that. Damn bastards reversed engineered almost everything I built and used it to springboard their tech decades ahead of everyone else. Harnesed slaved mutants with tech powers to help, they have full power armor. Hover cars. Giant robots, stable beam weapons," He glances back towards the reports. "All because I didn't know about it till now."

A smirk at that. "So you see why I took Bucky and Jane." A long pause. "Alright so they just showed up when I was leaving and I shoved them on the plane with Steve and I. Same with Sloane and Kamala. Who…" He glances back towards Sally. "…was indeed on the plane. But she's fine so don't worry about it."

Maximoff twins? Magneto's children? That's a surprise, and she lets it show on her face. "Absolutely I see why you did what you did, but. Bozhe moy. Krasyvyy khvost Khoro." She can't help the not-quite-double-blasphemy when Stark explains the situation in Genosha, espeically when he mentions the kinds of hardware that his work led to. Especially one that's particularly personal. "Nekul'turni zlodiyi, these thieves. They completed flying cars."

She's not quite 'Rusalka mad,' but it's still palpable. "I would have done the same in your shoes, sir. Especially…all that work, all of my effort. Suddenly, to be used like that. Though…I understand, as well, that this 'Magneto' himself appeared and ah…caused the worst of the casualties." The question of whether it was all a setup now, starting with his children…but it would not matter.

If it were her mother, or anyone else, they would have gone too. Sometimes a setup, an ambush, needs to be tripped anyways - knowing it is coming certainly makes it more survivable.

Sally nods, then crosses her legs and lets one foot tap in the air. "Yes. Technical assessment, as well as a tactical option, and…I suppose Captain Rogers would leave this situation alone no longer than he would dive into a burning building to rescue a child. I for one do not blame you all, I just." Her mouth quirks a bit, one corner in a nervous half-smile.

She pulls out her Stark Industries badge, decorated still with several stickers like Kamala's own. "She is a new friend, though I did not realize…well. I had been also tasked with contacting Ms. Marvel, since she…jumped from 'a local hero in New Jersey' to, ah…this. There was much confusion how she had been involved, though. It makes sense now."

Sally lifts a hand and shakes her head. "I have only orders to make sure she is alright, and to find out if she intends to expand - and if so, to let her know that SHIELD is there for her. As Agent Coulson did for Sloane. She has done nothing wrong - and I will keep that secret."

And then there is a soft ping from her watch, with a small message appearing - SHIELD marketing making the logo the easiest thing to see, of course. It's short, to the point, and gets a mix of a snarl of rage and a jaw drop in surprise. And more than a few words that would make a lifetime New Yorker blush coming from the young woman; Tony's flash of anger earlier gets duplicated for a moment before she bites it back down.

"I…would avoid talking to Agent Coulson for a while, sir. There has…been a development." Ahem. Mildly.

"No."

The word is sharp and hard as he turns his eyes back towards his young intern. "/You/ finish yours." This might be the first time she has seen him be serious /twice/ in one sitting. But he is serious, stareing towards her with an almost furious look.

But the fury is not for her.

"YOu don't give up just because someone else cheated to do it first. You finish it. You build it /better/ than they do. Look at theirs, find out where the weaknesses are, improve on it. It might take longer. But you don't let them win. You finish yours, and show them what actual science can do. Not the buchery that they think is science."

He takes a deep breath though as he turns round and away from the young girl

Though now he pauses as the ping from her watch and a quirk of the eyebrow. "…uh huh. I love it when SHIELD has a development."

"No," Tony Stark says. And then he says more, and she nods, only half-hearing his next words. The fury in his voice is not aimed at her, though it still washes over her demeanor with power. And what he says after that brings back deep memories, ones she has not thought about in a long time. There's a hard swallow as she remembers strong arms, a smiling face, the musical chord of racing engines, and the vision of the track.

There's something mumbled in Ukrainian, almost too quiet to hear, before she repeats it - in English this time. "Just because they pass you, does not mean you lose. You must pass them right back. Then pass them again. It is something my father said, when I was a little girl." She blinks, trying to get rid of the moisture in her eyes. It's been almost as long a time since she'd thought about her father, as well.

Perhaps she needs to do something about that soon.

And then Sally stands, nodding. "I will do exactly that. That…whatever advantages they think they have, they cannot have made properly. Nothing that they have built, I cannot improve."

A hungry wolf is stronger than a satisfied dog, Little Fangs. Even just a pup as yourself.

Sally suddenly smiles, almost feral in its determination and anticipation of victory. There might just be a weird ruby glint in her eyes as well, if Tony stares close enough. "I am a very hungry wolf, Mr. Stark. I will show them - and you - what actual science can do indeed." There's a slow nod, and she places her hand on the desk again. "I swear it to you - I will not stop until this is not only completed…but the best there is."

And then something manages to grit her teeth slightly. "I would not love it. It…could be related." She looks up at Tony, weighing just how much to say - but considering the mutual involvement in Genosha, and the potential weight of what just happened? "Agent Coulson is returning to the United States with a prisoner. One of our agents…has been supplying the revolution there." Supplying with SHIELD technology, obviously, doesn't need to be said. SHIELD technology that Stark himself likely designed or at least had a hand in?

Doesn't want to be said.

There is a smirk from Stark.

"Good you've learned what little green wise men have said the world over. 'Do or do not. There is no try.' You be the best. You show them. Then you rub their noses in it when you're done."

Like he did when he punched their power armor.

Because his. Is. Better.

That seems like the end of it though as he smirks slightly and sits back in his chair. Though he news of what ails Coulson has him frowning again. "Great. Juuuust great. Its not Hydra is it? Its almost always Hydra. So I ahve to ask, is it Hydra?"

Little green wise men? "Ah, yes, from that recent movie? It is…a good aphorism. I approve." What is this Empire Strikes Back of which you speak? 1980? That's almost 20 years before she was born! Her MOTHER was her age then! "Rub their noses in it. I suppose…Stark Racing will need to send a team to their next Gran Prix, perhaps." Maybe not so literally, but the idea does still appeal to her. If Genosha even has such things; if not then she'll just work around that.

Well, that's what she was meaning to talk to Rocket about.

"I do not know, in honesty. All I can say is what I have said, but it has interrupted his examination of the situation there. I…envy you, that you do not need to be at the Triskelion soon. I imagine I will need some time off soon." Cataloguing technologically what might or might not have been stolen from SHIELD, or Stark. Even though Sally's only a junior agent, she's got one foot in both spheres, and has a unique enough viewpoint.

And then she grins. "If it is Hydra? I will be the one picking you up on no notice."

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