A Fistful of Carters

February 24, 2018:

Tony Stark agrees to help out a spy, and finds himself horribly outnumbered by Carters.

Tony's Lab

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The gleaming tower of high technology that exists in the middle of NYC always draws the eye. If it's not the glittering name of 'STARK' emblazoned on its side its the occasional explosions that seem to grace the upper floors. Property values around the area aren't what they used to be that's for sure.
The man himself is just as memorable of course.
The man himself though is currenty in his labs up on top of that needle of steel, peering over a workshop desk that holds several little trinkets…but most curiously at the heart of it, in a special clamp system, an…arrow?
Yeah. A normal arrow.
At least thats what it looks like, though he is peering at it like it /isn't/ a normal arrow.
…which is always unsettling.

The elevator ascends to a high floor.
"Tony Stark's Personal Lab." The new voice causes Peggy to glance upward, frowning. While JARVIS was just as unsettling at times, she had grown used to the British almost Jarvis announcing her visits and calling her Agent Carter. The new SIRIN voice is something she was not exactly expecting. However, like the good spy that she is, she tries to ensure that surprise and sudden concern keeps off of her face.
The doors open and she steps out with a purpose, though she waits for those following in her wake to exit before striding forward toward the engrossed Tony.
With a loud clear of her throat, she raises an eyebrow. "Did you forget our meeting, Tony?" she asks. The younger Peggy Carter gives an expression that Tony might find unsettling. It's very similar to one his Aunt Peggy might have given him. "Have you met my brother?" She gestures toward Michael, glancing between the two, as if to job his memory. "Michael Carter."

Normally, Michael Carter would be exceptionally turned out not just for a meeting like this, but to walk to the corner store. The last few months haven't exactly seen him in his prime, so he hasn't exactly been putting the effort in. That, and MI-6 has all of his suits. At least, they better. Many were bespoke and one of a kind. His wardrobe was the only thing he ever spent money on, but the flat and the closet they were in slipped out of his possession when he was disavowed.
It's something that Michael and Tony have in common: a fondness for suits.
In place of Armani, he's wearing faded denim, a black t-shirt and a gray hoodie. His beard has been trimmed at least, but his shoulder length hair is haphazardly tied back in a knotty ponytail. "Mister Stark. There is an entire subdirectory on you and your family at MI-6. But no, we've not met," the second part, naturally, is to his sister.

The inventor looks up. Blinking owlishly towards Peggy standing there in the elevator with a frown on her face. The glasses he wears are odd things, brass and copper instead of his usual super-modern pieces. And they have extra lenses, like some kind of old world alchemist.
He pulls those off quickly enough though as he smirks towards the woman in the door and the man next to her. "I don't think I've had the pleasure, and MI-6 really needs to update their software protocols. I mean what they said about me on page six? Totally untrue."
A smirk again. "It was an /entire/ bus of supermodels."
Then as he glances between the pair again. "Huh. So." A glance at Peggy. "Time displacement? Ice cube? Strange serums developed in the shadowy recesses of super science? What's your story?" A pause again as he glances back towards Peggy. "And I'm totally not calling him uncle."

Michael's attire is met with the sort of attention that a woman of her talent and knowledge of her brother generally good observations would…tempered through a very British Keep Calm an Carry On method of handling. That is to say, she is nearby Michael's elbow - almost hovering - but she also is pointedly not pointing out or drawing attention t o his clothing or his hair. Of course, it's not hard to see that Agent Carter is worried about her brother. While a very skilled agent, there are certain things that push through even that training.
And, then, that same instinctive worry splashes over to Tony as she notices his glasses, the arrow, the new AI voice. A head tilts. "Something of the sort," she tells Tony. Unable to help herself, a fond smile stretches across her face at his quip about the supermodels. No matter the era, Peggy tends to have a blind spot for Starks. "I am sure 'Michael' will do. Or Mr. Carter." A glance to Michael. "Whatever he prefers." She knows that she isn't exactly 'Aunt Peggy', either.
"I relayed as much as I could in the message. You have become rather hard to get in touch with in person, Tony. He has…well, she glances upward. Are we off the books, as it were? This is rather sensitive. I was hoping to make use of your rather considerable genius."

It's hard to tell at first glance, but what skin of Michael's is showing looks ragged. In particular, the right side of his face looks scarred, with evidence of cybernetics attached to the surface of his skin. He has David Bowie eyes. The right is brown, the left is clear blue. "If British Intelligence ever lets me back in to its good graces, I will see the record is updated accordingly," says the extremely English man in a dry tone. "And your last description is more or less accurate. MI-6 had its own version of Project Rebirth. Not as successful as the American one, if you count a single success without side effects successful."
He glances to his sister and tries to give her a reassuring look, but it's hard to reassure her when he looks so visibly not himself. "Does he truly call you aunt?"

"Well," The inventor replies with a smirk. "I was busy causing international incidents. Punching facisits. Stealing tech from indipendent governments in the middle of a civil war. You know. The usual." The man replies with an airy shrug.
A glance then at her brother. A thoughtful look. "…I'll call you Crumpet." Then back towards Peggy. "Off the books? Sure sure why not. I can't get into more trouble than I'm already in. SIRIN stop recording."
"Of course, Mister Stark!" The peppy happy voice calls.
"Flattery will get you everywhere though. Cause I am entirely a genius. But…" A glance back towards Michael. "…side effects? Well that explains your bio signiture." A shake of his head at that. "You don't look too great." He adds. "But come on in, Doctor Stark is in. Take a seat…and yes I do, but its the other one I actually call Aunt most of the time. Its complicated."

Not quite late, and definitely not for any kind of reason like how weird it is meeting her aunt's time-displaced self from the 1940s when her actual aunt is having a nap after her Jello, Sharon Carter steps out of the elevator as she's announced by not-JARVIS. She's going to have to ask Tony about what actually happened to his previous AI — if it was so badly damaged that JARVIS is actually gone.
Meanwhile, though, she has brought the relevant files for the attack on Michael. She's clutching the manila folder when she walks in, smiling grimly when she sees the trio and giving them a small wave.
"Taking up archery?" she inquires.

The other one. The Older Peg that still is in a hospital in Virginia. Peggy's lips purse at that thought. Yes, the other Peg. The one many might think of as 'real Peg'. Yes, it is complicated that is for sure.
An eyebrow is raised to Tony. "Is that a truly we are off the record or is that for show?" The question is still good natured, a sort of ribbing, however the seriousness remains. She know show the Starks operate and she is certainly attempting to use her considerable knowledge of that to her brother's benefit. Michael's question is met with a bit of a sheepish smile. "Not really," she tells him softly. "It's…complicated. You know how I was good friends with Howard. That continued throughout his life. I would have hoped and assumed, however…" well, she didn't exactly get the chance with her leap forward in time.
Turning back to Tony, her tone is again businesslike. "Can you help him? It is a lot of difficult technology and hardwired things." And this sort of thing? Peggy goes to a Stark to help. Her tone is worried, personal. It's different from how she generally interacts with Tony, even though her guard is usually lowered more often with Howard's son.
The elevator door opening has her straightening, the veneer of agent quickly applied. She looks to Sharon with a tilt of her head, then back to Michael and Tony.

In point of fact, Michael is very hard for even Stark's systems to scan. The bio-signatures keep trying to project false readings, but it's glitching. When it was working properly, he threw off extremely sophisticated false readings that made him seem entirely human and ordinary. The shielding that stops people from getting a closer look is still intact, but the camoflauge isn't. It's no wonder SHIELD had a hard time helping him and busted his systems in the process of digging bullets out of his chest. It's nearly impossible to avoid damaging what you can't get a good reading on.
"My sister assures me that you can be trusted to be discrete, Mister Stark, though your file would suggest otherwise." He doesn't protest the nickname because he's read Tony's psych profile. He knows that acting like he hates the nickname will only make it stick.
He turns when he hears the elevator door open. He nods to Sharon. "You were able to get the files. I hope it wasn't too large an ask."

"Wizardry actually," Tony drawls towards Sharon with a flash of a grin in the Agent's direction. "Because just tech doesn't let me get into enough trouble by itself. But man…what is this. Carter night? I mean I feel outnumbered." The inventor adds with a grin.
He doesn't seem bothered at all with it though. The excess of Carters in his lab.
"It's always complicated. But yeah…I mean I can take a look. If Crumpet can put up with me complaining about how horribily outdated MI-6 cyberwork is." A flash of a grin at that.
…it's likely not horrible at all, but he's gonna complain about it anyway. It's what he does.
"So like I said, come on in. Have a seat. Lets see what you're made of, which I'm going to bet is some kind of metal like alloy."

'Trusted to be discreet'. Sharon, who can maintain a magnificent poker face, does so with aplomb. Discretion, thy name is Tony Stark.
"A full on family reunion," she replies with a quirk of a smile. "Don't worry, Michael: it's not quite standard procedure, but my current role at SHIELD opens a lot more doors than I expected." Working directly for Coulson as his XO has been… more than interesting, to say the least. "The charts here should give a good idea of the systems that were damaged. There's also a metallurgical analysis of the bullets that caused the damage in the first place. Hopefully that'll help with the reconstruction."
She sets the files down on Tony's worktable, squinting at the arrow. "In case that.. whatever-it-was comes back? Or is there a new threat?" Asked innocently, or as innocently as any SHIELD agent can ask questions.

"You are entirely outnumbered," Peggy agrees amiably. "You best acquiesce to our decrees or there will be a hostile take over."
An eyebrow is lifted, again, disapprovingly at Tony. "Be polite." Not nice, not kind, but polite. That is certainly something she can hope to expect of him. "My word is on the line." And he should know that she does not give it lightly. The Elder Peggy gave it even less frequently, but it is still a bond to this version. As Tony agrees to oversee things, she steps to the side, though she cannot help but stay nearby. She worries and while she will not say and will not overtly act, the instinct is written by how close she stands, how eager she is to see results.
Sharon's entrance is met with a study. "Agent," she bobs her head. It's hard to meet people who may have known her in a different lifetime. Especially ones who share her last name. "Thank you for coming." A sort of veiled, 'I didn't know you would be here.'

"Ah, yes, that's…certainly useful," says Michael to Sharon. He'd normally default to calling someone by their surname when he's not entirely certain what else to call them. That's not really an option given present company. "Thank you." He shoots a glance at Peggy which is half a mixture of apology. He asked Sharon for the files, but he didn't know that she'd deliver the files herself. Though in retrospect, he should have - given the personal and sensitive nature of the information.
He moves to sit, and he looks about as comfortable with the whole thing as his sister. "The tech in my body may not be cutting edge, but it is reliable and stable. I am above all…was…" he draws in a stiff breath, "…a field agent. And keeping my systems reliable was far more important than giving me the capacity to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs or whatever functionality you would have insisted on if you had been the one designing my systems." He and his sister really are alike sometimes.

"I feel like that scene in Spies like Us. Except instead of Doctor, it's just 'Carter' 'Carter' 'Carter'…" Tony replies as he smirks before looking towards Sharon. "Oh just in case. The lady with the horse asked me to take a look at a few things is all." The man adds with a flash of a grin.
But then Michael is walking forwards and Tony gestures him to a bar stool looking chair near the workbench.
He /could/ look at the files Sharon brought. But that would be cheating…
"Lasers out of the eyes is so overdone. And not nearly as cool as it sounds. You would have to replace the energy packs after every use and that would be just disgusting and leave you blind if you had to pop an eyeball out."
The inventor instead just sits on his own chair. Its a spinny chair, and he spins in it.
"SIRIN give me a readout would ya?"
"Of course sir!" The peppy and overly cheerful voice calls before there is a glitch in said voice. The tone shifting to something sarcastic. "I'll keep it PG."
"You do that." Stark doesn't seem bothered by the multiple personality of his AI as he snatches an apple from a nearby basket. "Can I get you Carters something to drink? I think there might be half a pizza around somewhere if you're hungry."
…apparently in his world 'polite' means 'hospitable'.
How /did/ the other Peggy ever deal with him.

It's officially weird. Peggy looks at Sharon. Sharon looks at Peggy. She inclines her head politely to her… it's really hard to think of a woman her age as her great-aunt. So she's not. She's not the person Sharon has a lifetime of memories with. What or who exactly she IS is… something they'll be working out together. With or without dialogue. So she replies: "Agent," inclines her head, and takes Michael's other flank. They may be recently-known family, but she feels rather protective of the man.
"Not Carter. Not Agent. I'm afraid everyone here is going to have to be on a first-name basis." Because otherwise? Otherwise it's nickname time, and given that they both have the same Aunt Peggy there's every likelihood that she and Tony already have some nicknames in the air.
"That's right," she says. "That reminds me. Coulson's on assignment, but before he left, he asked me to give you a message." This to Tony.
Tony peers at Sharon, crunching on his apple. He chews. He swallows. "…its not a tazer to the face is it?"
"Something about 'Supernanny?'" Sharon replies, innocent as a baby duck.

Tony crunches another bite. "…oh yeah. He mad."

Michael looks about as happy as a smart dog at the vet. He sits on the stool, shoulders tight and jaw clenched. "I hope you appreciate, Mr. Stark, that we are quite serious about discretion in this instance. MI-6 might be able to forgive me for coming to you for repairs, but if any of my systems end up in your design, you're going to have far more attention from British Intelligence than you'd ever want. And on a personal level, I'd certainly never be able to regain my former position."
And now that the warning is over: "I do appreciate your assistance."

"Yeah yeah, and if that happens then Peggy will frown at me. All of them. At once. And my poor heart would implode and only about half the people in the world would want that." His heart to implode. "So sorry to dissipoint not going to do that. Besides…" A wicked grin. "…MI-6 is about two decades behind me. So I should be delivering the warning to /you/ instead of the other way around."
A smirk at that. Tony is…well…Tony. And he always will be.
"Anyway…" He snaps his fingers and as he does a hologram representaing a map of Michael's cybernetics starts to build in the air. "…its not bad work." He adds with a shrug. "A bit standard. A bit mundane, but not bad work…I can enhance it by at least…oh…twenty five to thirty percent. Just using the standard stuff I help SHIELD agents with on occasion." A smirk once more as his gaze cuts towards the three Carters. "…no laser eyes or anything. Scouts honor."

"You could always join SHIELD." Sharon says it pretty offhandedly. "We have quite a decent medical plan that doesn't always involve Tony's lab." Her eyes flick briefly to Peggy before going back to Michael.
"And Tony knows better than to crib from your tech without permission. He has enough irons in the fire and enough ideas of his own." And of course she doesn't need to say that all Carters, living and dead, would come down on him like a ton of bricks if he betrayed their trust.
"I'm not looking for an upgrade, Stark, just…to repair my systems. In particular, I'd like to stop looking like Frankenstein's monster." Michael pushes up his sleeve to reveal the patchwork of scar tissue and grafts. "I had a rather convincing biocloak in my skin mesh, but SHIELD damaged something in the attempts to dig the three armor piercing rounds out of my sternum. Which…" he looks first to Peggy, then to Sharon, "…I remain grateful for, no matter the collateral damage. That, and…" He lifts a hand and pries out a large contact lens, revealing a gunmetal gray eye and cybernetic circuitry. "My HUD went offline as soon as I was disavowed. Even if I no longer have an uplink to anything, I'd settle for not having to wear this blasted lens."

And now her darling hero greatuncle looks like the end of The Terminator. Sharon didn't know, doesn't know, EVERYTHING about what makes Michael special, but this revelation is a little distressing, to say the least.
"The priority, naturally, was saving your life. The rest I'm confident we can do something about. Tony, how long do you suspect it'll take? And Phil may be mad," she adds, "but he's a few thousand miles away from you right now and he didn't give me any tasering instructions, so."

"Tony."
The way she says his name is serious. The fondness, the warmth that she feels for him is cut to the quick in this moment. Peggy looks at Tony and the weight of who Peggy Carter turned out to be radiates from that utterance. She doesn't even realize how she says it, however, she does know that she means business and she while she loves Tony and knows how he is, she also needs him to take this seriously: without jokes, without caveats.
She says little else, however, a lot of what she wishes of him emanates from that one word: his name. Then, she adds, "Please." It is not pleading, it is not a plea for help. Instead, it is a request.
As Tony gets to work and Sharon discusses SHIELD's medical plan, she steps slightly backward. Arms cross and she starts to oversee rather than actively participate in whatever it is that Tony is doing.

"No one ever lets me have any fun anymore…" Tony grumbles as he pushes one foot against the workbench to sliiiiiiiiiiide his rolly chair over to a different bench and start going though tools, and parts. "It'll take the better part of a day, even if you don't want an upgrade. You don't want me messing around with neural connections all casual like or when I'm in a hurry I'm going to guess. I mean its up to you, but side effects may occur if I go an rush things."
He is talking over his shoulder as he works, hurrming to himself as he pokes this and that. "You want a new HUD display? I can whip that up easy enough, though its not going to be connected to all the spy stuff. I'm sure yours was connected too…synthskin is easy enough, I worked those up for the LMDs so I can fix that easy. Its internal damage that might take a bit."

There is a slight wince though at that one word from Peggy. A glance at her. Then a shake of his head. "So wierd…FINE fine. I'll just fix him. Just…" A wave of his hand. "…fix him. No upgardes or anything. He'll need to stay in a repair bay for a little bit for the systems to get fully back online. I hope you're not claustrophobic." This angled towards Michael.
A pause.
"And if he's several thousand miles away." This towards Sharon. "Maybe he'll be cooled off by the time he gets here to not ICE me."

"Yes, it was connected quite extensively. I…" Michael inhales sharply through his nose. "…would appreciate if you could check for any residual monitoring that MI-6 may still have in my systems. I accepted the fact that I never had complete privacy while I was an agent, but I feel as though I'm rather entitled to it now." He taps a spot on his neck. "Please do be careful with this. It seems to be functioning correctly, but it's quite easy for the balance to go off."
According to Tony's scan, that spot contains a small microchip. It functions much like an endocrine system, regulating everything from anger, to anxiety to fear and aggression. If it's tuned too high, he goes psycho killer. Too low, and he becomes a blubbering mess.
He glances over at Peggy and holds her eyes only for a moment. It's a silent thank-you.

It's so damn unnerving.
Sharon looks back up to Peggy, eyes searching her face. The voice, the stance, the intensity. It's almost acutely painful. She and this new Peggy will have to… to spend some time together. Do something. Have a Moment.
But as good as Sharon is at helping keep a team together, as good as she is at catching the motivations and breaking points of her colleagues, somehow it all falls apart around the people she theoretically should know best.
Feelings and stuff.
"Can I be of any help?" she inquires. "Apart from with Phil. He's a wild man. I can't control him." This said with a completely straight face.

"Oh yeah, Vanillapants is totally a wild man. He might actually get a umbrella in his mai tai." Tony mutters as he glances over the scan. With a whistle he nods. "Oh yeah, if I tweak that wrong then I take all the British out of you and Peggy comes over to beat me to death with a teaset. And no one wants to see that."
The man stands though, nodding towards a back wall.
One pannel of the wall slides openn to reveal a multitude of automated fabrication systems and robotic assist pieces. One of those arms reaches out to clamp onto a long coffin like device to pull it out and set it down on the floor near the back of the room. "Don't worry though. I'll get it all worked out. You just…"
He gestures at the coffin like piece and it hisses open to reveal a fairly roomy interior, nicely padded. Comfortable looking. "You have a nap, and when you wake up you should be good as new."
A beatpause.
"But not /better/ than new because then Peggy would frown at me again."

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