Back to Business

September 18, 2014:

A typical workday at Stark Industries

Stark Tower

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.

Characters

NPCs: Alvarez JARVIS

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Now that Greenland has been dealt with, it's back to work as if nothing had happened. Cricket had given a full report from her point of view and gave it to JARVIS, knowing that he will give all the information to Tony and Pepper when they ask for it.

Cricket's skin is fully repaired and had one not been there to see what lay beneath the skin, there is not even a hint of what lays beneath or that she was injured at all. She is currently walking down the hall from R&D, everpresent tablet in hand, as she strides in her fashionable Prada pumps.

-

Just down the hall, there's a conference ending on the company's policy on first aid equipment for their various research facilities. As someone with paramedic training and experience field-testing combat equipment, Sam Wilson was a major part of the conversation. He comes out of the room clutching a half-empty styrofoam coffee cup and wearing that mentally drained expression typical of anyone leaving a staff meeting.

He startles slightly when he spots Cricket. Not that he's scared of her, mind; god knows he has dealt with much stranger stuff than a mechanical woman. But there's something about having seen underneath the artificial flesh that feels invasive to him, as though he peeked when she was changing clothes or something. He's embarrassed, in other words. But his destination is directly past her, and usually the best way to get over these things is to confront them directly, so:

"Hi there," he says, smiling and walking toward her. "I don't think we've officially met as coworkers, have we?"

-

Pepper Potts was not in that conference, she wasn't even part of the visit to R&D. Instead, she's in her office. Doing CEO stuff. Not like Tony does CEO stuff, but actually working. It's pretty much everything she used to but now instead of having to track Tony down to get his signatures on everything, she simply signs them herself. But, that means she she's now the one with a PA that gets to run all over the building on every errand ever.

"JARVIS, could you ask Cricket to stop by PR on her way back to get that press junket signed? If I have to go down there to talk to Alvarez myself…"

"At once, Miss Potts."

-

It would seem that the awkward feeling of having had someone see her without her skin on is felt on both sides. When Cricket sees Sam, she blushes hotly and looks away, adjusting her blouse to make herself more presentable. Her computer mind tells her that such behaviour is foolish, but her personality matrix can't help it. He basically saw her naked!

Clearing her throat, she looks to Sam and offers a hand. "No, I don't believe we have, Mr. Wilson. I've read your dossier, but that isn't really the same, is it?" She is trying to find something else to say, something to fill the awkward moment, when JARVIS's distinctive British accent is heard on her tablet.

"Miss Schodt, I have been asked to remind you to stop by PR on your way back to the office to sign a press junket. I should also warn you that Mr. Alvarez is in one of his … 'moods'."

-

Sam returns the handshake, then raises one eyebrow as the genteel mechanical voice directs Cricket. "Suddenly I am not so upset that I don't have that guy in my earpiece all the time," he says with a smile. Then, realizing that the AI can probably hear him, he adds, "No offense, JARVIS." Eyes flicking back up to meet Cricket's, he asks, "Alvarez? Don't think I've met him."

-

Pepper Potts goes back to her seemingly incessant phone calls and rapid-fire typing. And, while on the phone, she types a quick note to JARVIS to forward to Cricket.

'please ask C to get that patent submission file from Legal B12/3220D6/GJKL'

When one phone call ends, she promptly starts another, this time speaking in Spanish as she gets up to refill her tea cup, her shoes left on the floor behind her desk.

-

Cricket can't help but smile when Sam tries not to offend JARVIS. His personality matrix was not created to make him as lifelike as hers was, so offending him would be nigh on impossible.

"No offense taken, Mr. Wilson.," says the soft tones of JARVIS, proving the fact.

"Mr. Alvarez is in Public Relations and is very … artistic. He writes the speeches, sets up the photo ops. And, like any artistic sort, he can be very demanding. You are welcome to join me if you like." She cants her head to look down at the tablet and sees more work to be done and nods. "I sometimes wonder if Ms. Potts is a robot herself. She works about as tirelessly as one."

-

"Yeah, that she does," Sam agrees, falling into step alongside the PA. He isn't enough of a computer expert to know which robots feel what things, but he figures that manners won't hurt when you're talking to anyone who can talk back. And hey, considering Cricket seems to be able to punch a guy through a wall, being friendly with her electronic compatriots could be the difference between building a bridge and being thrown off of one.

"So, how long have you been at Stark?" he asks. "I'm just over a month now. I don't think I've seen you around — are you new, or am I just spending too much time in the office and flying around trying to do hero stuff?"

-

Pepper Potts fills her teacup and sets the teapot next to the little sink in the credenza to be washed out (when she's not on the phone), and she walks over to look out of the window in her office — aka, the entire exterior wall — while finishing up the Spanish phone call. Once that's done, she turns to set her phone on her desk and steps around to the couch in her office. "JARVIS, I'm going to take a few minutes. If I fall asleep, please make sure I'm up again in fifteen minutes, all right?"

"Certainly, Miss Potts."

Pepper takes another sip from her teacup before setting it on the coffee table in front of the couch and moving to lay down on the dove grey-upholstered sofa. As if anticipating, the room's lights dim a bit and the TV mounted on the wall begins playing soothing music just barely loud enough to be heard.

-

Cricket doesn't seem to mind the company, smiling to Sam with a sweet, friendly smile. He's being nice enough to pretend that Greenland didn't happen, so she will happily accept his ignoring of her little secret.

"I've been with Stark for a little under a month now. I initially got a job with OsCorp, but when they found out I wasn't human… Well, I went to HR about the jokes at my expense. They said that … since I wasn't human, I didn't really qualify for help with human resources. So… I left. I didn't realize JARVIS was … like me, till I met him. So, clearly this place has a much better view of … cybernetic intelligences."

She does that head cant again, as JARVIS just speaks directly into her mind. She then dials quickly. "Yes, I would like to have light lunch sent up to Ms. Potts. Some brothy soup and a bit of the fresh bread from the bakery down the road. And some fruit, high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Yes, put it on the Stark tab. Thank you." She stops when she gets to the PR department. "Your suit, the one with the wings. It's quite lovely."

-

Sam ducks his head in a self-effacing gesture. "I didn't make it, if that's what you're thinking," he replies with a smile. "I just tested it. Far as I know, I'm the only one who can fly it well. It is cool, though."

In a more somber manner, he continues, "I'm sorry to hear that about Oscorp. If it makes you feel any better, I don't think most PAs get to live quite the same life of adventure you get a chance to enjoy."

He also stops at the door to the PR office, unsure if he should continue with her, or break off now that she has work to see to.

-

"Well, most PA's don't have my skill set. And… Mr. Stark is sometimes… indisposed. I make an adequate replacement. As long as people don't mind… seeing what lies underneath." Again she blushes, as if she was referring to under her clothing rather then her skin.

"I don't want to keep you. I'm sure you're terribly busy, but… I really like the company. I don't have a lot of people that I associate with, other then work. I mean, I know that this is work, but I just thought… I'm sorry, my programming is making me have a difficult time expressing the fact that I would like to continue talking with you. This was so much easier before I knew I was a robot."

-

Pepper Potts does indeed nod off as she worried she would, to the soft sounds of harp and violin music. Unaware of Cricket's ordering lunch for her, she naps quietly and completely hidden from the main door to her office because of the way the furniture is laid out. There are indications that she's there, if one knows Pepper well enough. The teapot just emptied, her phone and tablet and a closed file folder and some random post-it notes scattered on her desk surface, the toe of one shoe peeking out past the foot of her desk.

-

Sam looks entirely lost by Cricket's speech until the very end, at which point he grins and reaches back to rub at the back of his neck. At least he's still got organic responses to awkwardness. "Oh! Yeah. Okay. Sure," he says, before hitting a long silence as he realizes he isn't certain what he just agreed to. "Um. You want me to back you up against Alvarez, or were you asking for my number?"

-

Cricket briefly reflects how things were so much easier when she didn't know she was a robot. She could let her personality matrix just do what it was programmed to and not question her behaviours at all. But now, it's so confusing. She knows exactly why she is doing something and how it is sometimes counter productive.

She blinks in surprise when Sam asks her what she meant. "Oh… umm… no no. I mean, not that I wouldn't like your number. You seem very nice. I just.. I … was thinking we could socialize outside of work. If you like. Or not. If you want to keep our relationship strictly professional, that's fine too." She takes a deep breath and looks a little lost. "Is this as awkward for you? Because I'm feeling very at odds right now."

-

A pair of women from Legal step around Cricket and Sam, one of them giving them a slightly mean glance as they pass by. Possibly because they're blocking the entryway? Either way, they're gone quickly enough, but then the voice of one Reynaldo Alvarez can be heard from further into the PR department. And does indeed sound like he's in a 'mood'.

-

From down the hall Jason silently makes his way, with a small bag held under one arm. He's got on his favorite black suit, and tie, with the CIA style ear piece with the chord that looks like it belongs on an old style telephone more then his ear. He moves quickly along the hallway still making good time, and looks like he's in fairly high spirits. Rounding the corner he pushes past the people and their little glares, not really caring all too much what anyone thinks.

-

"Oh, no, numbers are for socializing, too!" Sam replies hastily. "I mean, I wasn't trying to…" He trails off, bows his head, and raises one hand to cover his forehead. "Wow. Yeah, sorry. That was very, very awkward." He looks up, wearing a grin of mixed embarrassment and amusement, helpless in the face of his own idiocy. "How's this: you add me on facebook and I'll tag you the next time me and a few buddies are going out?"

-

Cricket ignores the glares. Her status as an android isn't known by too many people on staff, so it's not likely that. It's not hidden, but neither is it advertised. Cricket bites at her lower lip and smiles. "I would like that. I don't really have any friends, so… it would be nice to just go out with you and your buddies." She then giggles and hides her smile. "I bet you make a great wingman. Sorry! I couldn't help it!"

Giggling, she goes into PR and starts talking in fluent Spanish to Alvarez. The tone she is taking is very professional, but it's clear that she isn't going to take any of his nonsense either. "Mr. Alvarez, it boils down to this, you get me the press junket for Ms. Potts to sign, or you explain to Ms. Potts why you were unable to do so. Those are your only two choices. Shall I call Ms. Potts for you to explain?" The man starts back into Spanish and for those that are fluent he's not being very flattering. Cricket arches a brow and says something back to him which promptly shuts him right up.

-

Pepper Potts does apparently get to nap for the whole fifteen minutes that she asked JARVIS to allow her, and when he speaks up she sits up again promptly enough. "Thanks, JARVIS." She retrieves her tea and heads back to her desk to keep plugging away at various and sundry. When she glances at the clock on her phone, the AI offers helpfully, "Miss Cricket has already taken the initiative to order lunch for you, Miss Potts. It should be arriving shortly."

-

Right on time right on cue Jason comes barreling through the hall right towards the elevator. He's speeding along with the power of a freight train, and all the sound of a mime. There's not much that seems to stop him as he rushes about trying to make good time with everything that's gone wrong today.

-

Sam actually executes a slight bow at 'wingman,' as though to say: 'be my guest.' He's heard all the wingman puns. As a matter of fact, he likes the wingman puns! His capacity to enjoy being a superhero, goofy gimmicks and all, seems limitless.

He understands not one word of Cricket's exchange with Alvarez, and feels pretty grateful for that, given the tone of the conversation. The noise of it, however, does mean that he doesn't hear Lucky incoming, and gets knocked against the door jamb as the man barrels past. "Jesus. Watch it!" he yells after him, before turning and recognizing the bodyguard. "What's the rush, Jason?"

-

Whatever Cricket said, it got the job done. A file is handed to her along with a lot of muttering. "Gracias Senor Alvarez. Adios." The copper haired petite woman heads out of the PR department and notices Jason Lucky walking away. "I think he has Ms. Potts lunch. It smells like it at least."

-

Pepper Potts takes another phone call while typing out another email, then steps back into her shoes as she stands to walk across to her office door. Making sure that it's standing open, she then ends the phone call and takes a few moments to wash out the teapot and her cup, likely preparing for lunch to arrive. "JARVIS, where is Cricket? I thought she'd have returned by now."

-

Jason doesn't stop for more then a quick nod, trying his best to keep up with a schedule that he himself made. In his usual gravely voice Jason calls back, while hitting the button on yet another lift "Yes ma'am"

-

Sam brushes his shoulder off as he follows after Lucky at a more measured pace. "She's not the Queen of Hearts, man. You don't have to get it up there that fast." He turns back to Cricket, inclining his head toward the PR office. "Everything go okay in there? Sounded like you had to threaten to steal his firstborn or something."

-

Cricket starts walking to the elevator, file in hand. She is quickly tapping away at her tablet, getting more work done before heading upstairs to her boss. "No, I just had to remind him that language like that could get him a visit from HR. Just because most people don't understand him doesn't mean he can talk like that." She nods as the file she needs from Legal comes onto her tablet. "Perfect," she comments.

"Miss Schodt, you are required upstairs," says her tablet in JARVIS' dulcet tones. "Let Miss Potts know that I'm coming now." She smiles to Sam. "Maybe you and I could go for a fly sometime."

-

Pepper Potts finishes washing out the teapot and sets it aside to dry, pulling another down from its usual resting space to prepare it for brewing a fresh pot. She is completely unaware that JARVIS phrased her asking for the PA's whereabouts as an order for the synthetic woman's presence. It most certainly wasn't. "Do you know if she managed to stop by Legal yet?" She's fully aware that dealing with Alvarez may have delayed Cricket somewhat.

-

Jason makes his way off to the back of the elevator, leaning himself up against the wall. He looks down towards the bag, and for a moment just offers a small smirk at the queen of hearts comment. He doesn't really do anything to interrupt the two, but does manage to hold the lift for them should they wish to both ride up to the top floor. There's not really much to say in some situations, better to let things play out for themselves.

A constant feed of information runs through the little oddity of an earpiece of his, a bit low tech comparatively to what's really available here at the tower, but it gets the job done. With the flow of information he's got a decent idea of what's going on with the place, and gets the feeling that he's better off for switching from one lift to the next.

-

Sam steps into the elevator after Jason and dials for the executive lounge. Both of his fellow passengers are carrying something, so it only seems polite. "A flight would be fun," Sam tells Cricket with a smile. He's not wearing his flight pack at work, of course… but it is ready to go in his office. He definitely isn't above using it to make his commutes a little more interesting. "Guess I'll be joining the CEO for lunch. Oops."

-

JARVIS intones from the hidden speakers, seeming more like a presence in the room. "Miss Schodt did both tasks at once, one in person and the other via computer. So, yes, she dropped by Legal and has the documents you require on her tablet. Will there be anything else, Miss Potts?"

Cricket brushes a bit of hair over her ear, smiling at Sam. "I don't think she'll mind. She rather likes company. Well, nice company that is."

-

"No, JARVIS, that sounds good. Thanks." Pepper takes the next few moments to clear her desk, then stops abruptly and reaches for her hair, wondering if her nap totally ruined the french twist she put it in at the beginning of the day. Answer: oh heck yes.

-

The elevator rockets along from one floor to the next rather quiet classic rock playing away from the elevator speakers. Through it all Jason raises a single eyebrow in response to the mention of 'nice' company, almost taking it a bit personally. His own hair is rather nicely kept despite how things have been going lately, one of the few perks of resetting is that you never have to get a haircut, just die for a little bit anyway. He raises the bag a bit higher trying to visually check without opening the box if there will be enough food for the group.

-

Sam isn't planning on crashing Pepper's lunch quite to THAT extent. His meeting had snacks. In fact, he suddenly realizes that he's still holding that styrofoam coffee cup, and takes a quick sip. One perk of working at Stark Industries: the coffee is genuinely good. "Well, I'll try to be nice company, then. I should probably check in on her, anyway — we haven't really talked since she took over as CEO."

-

Cricket gets a phone call and answers it. With a sigh, she closes her eyes and frowns. "I'll be right down. Thank you." She hangs up the phone and hands the file to Lucky. He gets to pretend he's Cricket! "I have to go back down to Legal after all. Seems the file they sent me isn't the right one and there is a bit of a debate downstairs." When the doors open, she stays in the elevator and waves. "Talk to you soon."

-

Pepper Potts is standing in front of her desk with her back to her still-open door when the elevator dings and the doors open. She's trying to get her hair back under control, and it could be a losing battle.

-

While a bit more used to being handed things then perhaps Tony for an example Jason does still look a bit surprised to be passed any sort of paperwork. "Hope she enjoys herself" He comments holding the document under the same arm he's using to hold the nights meal. When the doors ding open he's off still doing his best not to make too much noise as he moves for the door. Doesn't say much most of the time, but he can move.

-

Sam steps off the lift and turns to give Cricket a wave. "I guess a PA's job is never done," he says sympathetically. "See you around." Once the elevator doors have whispered shut, he holds out his empty hand toward Lucky. "Um, the coffee's not that heavy, if you need a hand," he offers. He can carry either the files or the meal, to even things out a bit.

-

Pepper Potts gives up on trying to fix her hair and walks over toward the washroom off of her office to pull the pins from her hair and brush it out quickly.

-

"I've got it," Jason's words sound a bit oddly stern and defensive as if he's partially even just a little still in that older mans mindset of something to prove. Though there's really not much for him to prove with his physical fitness. He walks off down the hall towards peppers door, pulling it open with ease. "Come on"

-

"Fine, whatever," Sam answers, rolling his eyes and lifting the hand away. He clearly doesn't feel as strongly about the distribution of carrying-things duty as Jason does. "Pepper, it's just us. You don't have to look perfectly put together. Really," he calls out, catching a glimpse of the CEO's ongoing struggle. He strides through the doorway with a bounce in his step and looks around to see if CEOship has changed much of anything.

-

Pepper Potts emerges from the washroom with her hair brushed and smiles a hello to Jason and Sam, stepping forward to accept the file from the former. "Thank you, Jason. Sam, it's wonderful to see you again. Keeping busy?"

-

Jason sits down the food onto the nearest surface, and begins plating a nice bit of food for people. It's a quick bit of work, and he almost cherishes the moments where he doesn't have to watch out for whatever dangers could lurk around the next corner, almost. He starts to say something to falcon but manages to cut himself off before he makes a fool of himself.

-

"Not as busy as you have," Sam answers with a smile. "Not that that narrows things down much. Just thought I should drop by, since I don't think I've properly congratulated you on the promotion, yet. You deserve it." He glances across the room at Lucky, wondering whether he should go on to explain his recent activities with the man in the room. He's still such a cipher that Sam has never gotten comfortable around him. "I've kept myself occupied, but nothing that should put the company's assets at risk," he finally says with a wry tone of voice.

-

As usual, the deli for whatever reason seems to think she eats about three times as much as she actually does. That, or they're trying to get on her good side. Or, most likely, they just serve HUGE portions there. No telling.

Pepper looks over at Jason serving up lunch and gestures Sam toward the small conference table. "It looks like my lunch is here. Care to join us?" Yes, she's already presuming that Jason is eating lunch. He should know by now that she expects him to STOP being so straight-laced all the time.

-

Three plates are set out with a rather even portioning, he might not intend to eat much, but he's not going to get away without eating something. Not like it'll go right to his figure with his condition anyway. He brings over a single plate to Sam, and another to Pepper, offering them each one without much in the way of speaking. Hes till not going to let his guard down, but since when has a little bit of food ever hurt someone who doesn't stay dead?

-

"I'll be happy to join you, but I've eaten some already," Sam answers, raising his mostly cooled-off coffee as if to demonstrate. Then again, the deli offerings do look tasty, and the fingerfoods at the meeting weren't his idea of a hearty meal. "Maybe if there's extra that you don't want…" he amends, coming around to Pepper's offer as he gets physically closer to the conference table. Besides, isn't it rude to refuse someone's hospitality? He's pretty sure that's rude. "Thanks, Jason," he says as he accepts an entire plate of food. They say discipline is the first thing to go when you're back to being a civilian…

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