Consulting Stark

June 14, 2018:

Kitty and Piotr come to Stark towers to talk collars with Tony. They also meet Billy who Lockheed expertly trolls.

Stark Towers

It's shiny, it's tall, it's modern, it's surprisingly still standing.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Illyana, Tommy Shepherd, Kate Bishop

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Piotr Rasputin has been plotting. It's rather new for him and so it's slow going to say the least. But he at least has a partner in crime, actual literal crime, in Kitty Pryde. And so he's arranged with her to try to get some time with Tony Stark. They have much to discuss with the billionaire genius inventor and while it'd be nice to put in an official appointment, it's not exactly something they want on the books.

Piotr for some reason feels the need to dress a bit nicer for this meeting, as if it were a business meeting. Not that he's ever been anywhere close to anything that would qualify as a business meeting. As such his outfit of polo shirt and khakis reads a bit more 'suburban dad' than businessman. But no matter his attire, he's made his way into the lobby with Kitty in tow.

"Let us hope we are even able to get a minute with Mr…" Piotr trails off as the man himself is seen crossing the same lobby. A bit confused by this odd bit of luck he pauses in the entry, possibly blocking Kitty's entrance.

*

Kitty Pryde is with Piotr and she has also brought her own backup in the form of Lockheed. The small purple dragon currently is in her messenger bag, but his warm solid weight against her hip as she follows her friend and fellow X-Man into the lobby of the Stark Tower.

While plotting is not out of Kitty's purview, she is certainly someone who wishes to support both Piotr and their cause against Trask Industries. "I'm sure we'll be able to figure something out. If worse comes to worse, I'll phase us into an elevator and we'll push every button till we get to the penthouse."

Right behind the larger man, she bumps into him as he abruptly stops in the doorway. Mindful that she shouldn't just be using her powers willy nilly in the middle of Manhattan, she stays solid rather than passing right through him. Banging into his side, she backs up a few paces. "Ack! What!"

*

There is a series of exasperated beeps from Dunce as he flails his little arms trying to get Stark's attention. Dejectedly he lets his arms droop before he lets out a long burble.

Which turns questioning as the drones single eye turns towards the pair in the door of the lobby. They look like most of the people coming in and out.

In fact Stark himself looks the most out of place in the room.

But the done focuses on them and then burbles again. This time Stark looks up.

"Wait what really?" And Stark's head turns towards the pair in the door. Just when the drones carrying the box give out.

With a crash.

Stark sighs as he turns to look at the pair of sheepish looking bots hovering there before looking back towards the two. "Hey

*

There is a series of exasperated beeps from Dunce as he flails his little arms trying to get Stark's attention. Dejectedly he lets his arms droop before he lets out a long burble.

Which turns questioning as the drones single eye turns towards the pair in the door of the lobby. They look like most of the people coming in and out.

In fact Stark himself looks the most out of place in the room.

But the done focuses on them and then burbles again. This time Stark looks up.

"Wait what really?" And Stark's head turns towards the pair in the door. Just when the drones carrying the box give out.

With a crash.

Stark sighs as he turns to look at the pair of sheepish looking bots hovering there before looking back towards the two. "Hey! You! Big guy! Come over here and help me with this can ya?"

*

"Mr. Star-" Piotr finally finds his voice to call out to the man that they came here to talk to, but then realizes he's blocking poor Kitty outside. He hurries in and apologizes back to Kitty and then indicates over his shoulder, "I was just surprised.."

The surprise doesn't stop when Stark then calls out to him after a small crash. He smiles affably and heads over. "Of course. Mr. Stark, I had hoped to speak with you actually. I am Piotr Rasputin.. " He stops mid introduction to pick up the fallen boxes. Even without his metal form he is quite strong.

"Colossus. Of the X-Men."

Turning back he looks for Kitty so that she can chime in before he presses ahead.

*

Kitty gives Piotr a bit of a grin when he apologizes. "It's fine," she assures him as she manuevers around and then sees that Tony Stark is in the company of a machine that is beeping and following him around. Unable to help herself, she blinks a few times at first the drones and then Dummy. Under her breath, she gasps, a hand reaching out to grab onto his arm. "Oh my God. He has droids. Piotr, he literally has droids. It was beeping like R2D2."

While she's not at all able to hold someone as strong as Colossus back, there's also no need. As soon as he's moving forward, she lets her grip fall. She's quick on his heels, though she does not help with the falling box. Piotr has that well covered.

"Kitty Pryde," she introduces herself with a bit of a bob of her head and a very calculating once over of Tony Stark.

*

As the big man picks up the box Stark steps back and shoos the pair of carry drones off. "T-1000 got it boys, go help Pepper." He says airily as he looks between the pair of X-men for a moment curiously.

There is a flash of a grin when Piotr introduces himself. "Oh thank god. I was wondering if you two were gonna be they 'The one rule about X-men is that you don't talk about X-men' types or more sensible. I'm leaning towards sensible." He adds with a flash of a grin as he waves them both towards what looks like a service door, behind which is a service elevator.

The box itself /is/ heavy, and taped up. But its just plain cardboard, not some kind of super duper tech.

"I'm pretty sure you two know who I am, so there are introductions done." He doesn't offer to shake hands though.

Its a thing.

Dunce though hovers around still, sloowly scoots around Kitty and hovers lower to poke one blunt little manipulator arm lightly at her handbag.

"Don't mind him, he's just sensing some odd signals from your bag." A smirk. "If you two were here to punch me I'm sure you wouldn't have come in the front door." He adds as he leads them into the back rooms of Stark Tower. "…so…what brings two sensible X-men to my humble abode." A pause. "You two /might/ be the first two to actually visit recently."

*

The joke about T-1000 is of course lost on Peter who is barely able to keep up with the wise cracking despite having years of practice with his teammates. He does at least crack a smile about not talking about the X-Men though. "Da. We thought about just coming in full uniform but that seemed overkill." Though really how out of place would it be for Stark tower?

He frowns a bit at the part about not coming to punch Tony. "No. I would likely drop from a plane and smash through the roof if I needed to punch you. Illyana informs me I do not yet need to do so." Yes, there's a yet in there.

Looking around at the lobby Piotr says diplomatically "We have a technology problem facing us", us there being emphasized as more than just the X-Men hopefully, "And we were hoping to consult you. I've heard you were quite helpful to our team in Genosha, and we were hoping to ask for further collaboration."

*

Kitty raises her eyebrow at Tony's T-1000 joke. "Piotr's not a bad guy and he's not looking for a kid to murder. Just so the record is straight in our cultural references." As for being sensible or not, she shrugs her shoulders. She would certainly consider herself to be sensible, but she also knows that the other - more secretive members - would consider themselves more sensible.

"Plus, the outfits are pretty eyecatching. A lot of yellow and stuff. This is more of a person to person thing." Then, there's a grin at Piotr's own thoughts on how he would drop through the roof to punch Tony. It's an amusing thought. While she let's him talk about why they are here, she curiously studies Dunce as it wheels about her and pokes at her bag.

With a utterance of complete and utter dragon annoyance, Lockheed pushes his snout out of her bag and then hisses at the machine, a bit of smoke pouring from his nostrils. "Careful, there, Droid-dude. Dragons are quick to anger. Even tiny purple ones." She leans forward, unable to help herself from wanting to study it. Softly, she asks, "Hey, do you speak bocce? Please tell me you speak bocce."

*

"Huh, so…first off Dunce remind me to develop anti-falling though the roof and punching me in the face defenses because that's a new one on me. So good on you there. Second off nicknames don't have to be rooted in anything but the most basic of similarities. So still works." He chatters on as he leads them down though the back areas of Stark Tower.

Either he trusts easily, or he doesn't feel threatened, or he has way too many tricks up his sleeve to be bothered with looking worried.

Hard to tell with him.

Finally there is a large door that Stark heads though, inside there is a large metalic archway and a /lot/ of technology. Tech that doesn't all appear earth standard. Tech that does appear earth standard. All almagomated together.

"So you just put that there…" And there is indeed a workbench with an area set aside for that mystery box. "…and we'll get to talking about your box. Though I'm going to guess it has something to do with unwanted necklaces that just are the worst fashion accessories ever."

The man says with a smirk as he sweeps a look between the pair of them.

Then he pauses. "Wait…Illyana? Hot? Sharp wit? Runs dimention of demons or something like that?" A longer pause. "She your sister?" Then a thoughtful look. "And she single?"

…yeah. This really is Tony Stark.

A flash of a grin is tossed towards Kitty though. "And of course he does. He /is/ fluent in over six million forms of communication."

He had too.

Dunce though hovers back at appearance of a actual dragon as he hovers there. Watching. Then he does a barrel roll. Because that is how he says hello.

He /does/ though zoom off into the room after a quick burble of something.

"He'll be back," Stark says easily enough. "Went to find something." He gestures to a ecclectic collection of chairs that rest around the workspace. "Have a seat? I'm a crappy host so you'll have to deal with no tea. That's Pepper's job."

*

Carrying the box causes Piotr little to no strain. Keeping up with Stark's banter causes his brow to furrow in concentration. So he sets the box down but continues to look stern and maybe a touch angry. Talk of necklaces causes Piotr to grunt an affirmative, "Da. That is the topic." Not really surprised that Tony would know. It feels like it should be top of mind for everyone, but Piotr realizes others may not care as much as they do.

At talk of his sister, particularly her being hot and or single, the furrowing of his brow only grows deeper. "She is in a deeply committed relationship with a hell dimension. No time for boys." It's kind of like a joke, except he doesn't smile and he means every bit of it. And yes, he is calling Tony a 'boy' there. And that line is almost verbatim what Illyana tells Piotr when he asks about her relationship status, which explains why it's kind of funny, unlike the big man. But he is all too glad to trot it out here.

At the offer of the seat Piotr just shrugs, "I am fine standing. We do not want to take up much of your time. But if you do have any details on the technology used and ways to counteract it.. we would greatly appreciate being kept apprised. As you can imagine, this hits close to home for us."

*

The talk of Illyana and her hotness is very much ignored in favor of her enjoyment and need to study Dunce. He speaks bocce! And six million forms of communication! Wait, that's probably just a joke. As Dunce does a barrel roll and then zooms off, she blinks a few times. "Wait! Come back! You're the most awesome thing I've seen today…!" She even takes a few steps to follow after the droid, but realizes that she is here for a reason. This is supposed to be a serious meeting.

Straightening, she adjusts the strap of her bag. "Alright, Lockheed, your cover's blown anyway. Come on out." The dragon doesn't climb out of the bag, apparently liking his little dragon bjorn. Instead, he flips the top open and watches Stark with intelligent eyes.

"Yes, we can keep standing." She glances around the workshop, trying not to geek out over it. That would certainly make her far less stern then she wishes to be. "They're more than unwanted necklaces." A glance is given to Piotr and she nods. "Yes. We wish to know all we can about them."

*

Should anyone wish to find Tony Stark, he would be not /that/ hard to fine. As long as you had asked Pepper, or JARVIS for directions. Deep under Stark Tower, in a massive room filled with high-tech and dominated by a metal archway the inventor is entertaining guests.

"Suit yourself!" He calls as the pair of them refuse chairs. He drops into one himself with a flash of a grin. "Well good, I'm not a boy!" He says cheerfully. "And besides, she knows about magic right? Thats a…new area of intrest."

A smirk at that before he draws a deep breath. "Right then, the collars. And Trask. So really, I mean I expected you all sooner. I mean you're like…litterally less than an hour away." A flash of a grin again. "But…since you've asked…"

He waves a hand and holograms bloom into existence, each one showing a layered disassembly of one of the famed control collars. Down to the circuit boards and the tiniest piece of wire.

"I guess you could say I know a bit."

Dunce meanwhile is franticly looking for something in the back corner of the room. He burbles for a moment before plucking something out a pile and holds it aloft with both manipulator arms.

Zooming back over though he quietly offers it out towards Lockheed.

It looks like an oblong gold coin with Aztec designs on one side.

*

Still standing, Piotr doesn't look as comfortable here as other guests might. He is quite rigid in his stance and as ever formal in his tone.

At the thought of Tony being interested in magic AND interested in his sister, Piotr's face darkens further. Not because Piotr is overly protective of his little sister. Oh no. It's for Tony Stark's safety that he fears, he needs things from the man! He makes a mental note to not let Illyana feed him to a demon until he helps sort this collar business out.

"Yes. My sister is quite an accomplished sorceress. Demon queen of hell dimension sorceress." Maybe Stark will hear the inherent warning there. Probably not.

But then talk switches to the collars and immediately Tony just shows them what he has. Piotr blinks at the sudden appearance of all of the technical specs. Of course it's beyond him, and it has the intended effect of impressing him.

"Bozhe moi.." An exclamation in Russian escapes him as he tries to make any sense of it. "Then you have either found something to study or found a way to get this information … indirectly?"

Piotr casts only a curious glance at the little drone buzzing about. He's used to advanced technology and isn't particularly nerdy enough to be interested in specifics.

*

Kitty narrows in on the talk of the collars. She gives Tony a look at his dig at thinking they'd be around sooner. "Why do you think we'd so easily trust you?" she asks with a bit of a raised eyebrow. However, the hologram blooms over them and she can get an in depth and layered view of the collars. Unable to help herself, she is quick to move forward, hands reaching up into the images to point things out. "These are…" she shakes her head and looks to Piotr, worried. "These are very well made. Ingenious, even. Look at this wiring. It's…that's quite a lot of data compacted into not a lot of real estate."

The drown holds out the Aztec coin to Lockheed. Engrossed as she is in the diagrams, Kitty doesn't even notice. Lockheed, though? He is quick to leap out of the bag and grab at the coin. He starts to bend it this way and that into the light, landing on Dunce's frame and crawling this way and that, making conversation in the chitters in his native language.

Were Kitty paying attention, she would simply melt. Right now, though? She's engrossed and also worried. A look is given to Piotr, then she looks to Tony. "Does Trask Industries know you have this?"

*

Stark Tower has become something like a home away from home for Billy Kaplan. Not because of the warm, welcoming, family feeling — sometimes he feels like one wrong move in this place and he's going to blow up or something infinitely worse — but just because of the sheer amount of time he has commit to this place. Mainly for Avengers work, which meant, for him, mainly training. And training. And more training.

It's a mounting frustration that has only slightly tarnished the young man's sense of wonder of this place, and his new lot in life. If he's being honest, most of that frustration lies with himself — with that need to be better. It's possible he's pushing himself too hard, but, well. What's the worst that could happen?

*boom*

The ground rumbles, just a little faintly, beneath the feet of Tony Stark and his guests. A tiny tremor that feels muted at best before it comes to a perfunctory end. Silence settles for all of ten seconds after that —

"Mister Stark, I think Speed messed with something sort of important with the settings in the training room and when I tried to fix it — what I'm trying to say is, no matter what he says, it wasn't my fault, and I think nothing critical exploded-"

— in walks Billy Kaplan, red-hooded, cosmic-studded super-suit shifting towards the red-hooded jacket and black shirt and jeans of his more casual wear with a shimmer of cerulean as he steps inside, only to halt. And stare. And stare. And stare some more. X-Men. There are X-Men here. Those are X-Men, right? He's never quite sure, they're always so tight-lipped and—

"Oh my god," he breathes slowly, "is that a dragon?"

"I mean. Um. Hi. I'm Billy. And you're — you have a dragon. Sorry. You know that, obviously. And you're also obviously in the middle of something-" He catches a glance at those collars; the implications become very clear, very quickly. The urge to stick around becomes unbearably high. "-really, really important so I'll just — go before I make more of an ass out of myself." Oh god he feels like an idiot.

At least Tommy isn't here, that would just be the icing on the embarrassment cake.

*

"I know, she's great."

…nope. Stark did not take any kind of warning. Its more of a challenge. But really most of his focus is on the holograms there in front of him. He lets them hover out towards Kitty so she can take a look at them.

And she would know from the detail alone that he actually took one of these apart with his bare hands to get this level of detail.

There is a withering look thrown towards Kitty. "Of course he doesn't know I have these. He also doesn't know that I pulled half their database from the military base in Genosha where they had my tech stored. And I'd like to keep it that way till I can surprise him with it. Didn't get any of the newer model Sentinel specs I'm sorry to say though. But this…this I got."

A long with a host of other information that he's been using.

"JARVIS! Give Kitty here touch powers would you?"

"Done, sir." Comes JARVIS' prim voice, as Kitty finds herself suddenly able to manipulate the holorgrams at a touch.

There is a flash of a grin though as Dunce and Lockheed make peace with each other, the drone burbling in a few different languages. Trying to find one that might work for the dragon. He even waves at Billy when the Avenger comes walking in.

There is a chuckle though at Piotr's question before he pauses a moment. "Well…lets say it came to me by…indirect means. I think that'll work. I've figured about three work arounds for this model, but I'm sure Trask is working on improvements every day."

Its about then that the tower rumbles and he just sighs slightly. Mentally counting down before—

Yup. There he is.

"Naw, kid come on back. Stay. You're an Avenger now, even if you're one of the younger ones. Piotr, Kitty, this would be Billy. One of the Avenger's newest recruits." He grains as he waves Billy towards the odd assortment of chairs. "Billy these are X-men. But sensible ones that don't go around acting like they are some kind of secret orginasion, and then fly supersonic jets all over the globe."

There is a grin again at that, Stark obviously just…well…being himself.

"And yes. That is a dragon. From space if my sensors are right."

*

Managing not to roll his eyes as Tony insists on not being dissuaded from pursuing his sister Piotr does his best to focus on the matter at hand.

"This is quite impressive." It's an understatement from the big burly Russian as usual. It's much more than he expected and of course it means he's kicking himself for not having come sooner. What took him so long? He can hardly even remember what delayed him.

"It is those improvements.. that work that I am most concerned with." Piotr starts to unravel his concerns but then there is a Billy. Who is rapidly spilling all sorts of words out of his mouth. Piotr quirks an eyebrow and then slowly head tilts and turns to Tony.

"You have started a minor league Avengers?"

It's not an accusation per say especially considering all the minors they are currently training at the mansion. More of a surprised observation. But then Tony clarifies that he's just a really young actual Avenger.

"And actually we also do a fair amount of stealth jet flying. It is required X-Man thing. I am not sure why."

Remembering what he was actually leading to before the distraction Piotr asks the real question he came here for. "Tony. How likely is it that Trask needs to test this on live mutant subjects to refine the technology?" Yeesh, way to be a mood killer big guy.

*

Said dragon looks up to Billy as he enters, clutching his Aztec coin and quickly making friends with Dunce. In a moment, he chitters to Dunce in a way that he hopes the machine understands and flaps his way to the intruder. There is a small burst of flame and then he studies the boy with an intense look. After that, he decides to try and land on his head, tapping the head with his new coin. This all seems a way to see how this guy is will deal with a small purple dragon doing random movements around him.

Kitty, in the meantime, is entirely and utterly entranced by the idea that she can now manipulate the holograms. She blinks, eyes widening as she looks at Piotr and then tentatively reaches out a hand to twist the image of the collar. Once she gets a bit more used to the interface, she is zooming in and out, twisting and turning it as she wishes with abandon. "I have to admit, this is amazing." There would be more withering looks, more quiips, more ways for her to put Tony down if she was not entirely enthralled by this technology.

"These chips are insane. I can't actually tell from a hologram, but zooming in? This is more complex than I could have ever imagined. Though, I would have to assume it would be to be powerful enough to shut down the mutant gene from an outside source. It's the power generation I'm curious about. It would have to be continuous and extensive to make something like this sustainable. Where is the battery?" She glances at Stark, wondering if he's already solved that.

*

"Wow. A space dragon. And X-Men. It's a real honor-"

''You have started a minor league Avengers?'' Billy Kaplan's lips purse, just a bit, with the faint furrowing of his brows.

"I'm a real Avenger, sir," he insists, as politely as possible. And then just sort of rubs the back of his neck. "… in-training."

He'd talk about how he's been on a -real mission- already (he's pretty proud of that, even if it was originally meant to be, essentially, babytown frolics), but there are more important things going on. And so he leaves his enthusing over meeting two, real-live X-Men (and their dragon sidekick? The X-Men have a dragon sidekick?? From space???) to be a strictly internal affair, doing a pretty good job of keeping his excitement leveled off and his body language calm as he somewhat awkwardly — tentatively — makes his way forward towards the other three.

These people just radiate experience. He feels so out of place here. It makes him fall so much more quiet and introspective as the others discuss that collar, hands stuffing into the pockets of his jacket as that hesitant gaze falls on the holographic imagery. A frown presses at his lips as Piotr speaks, the implications all too clear. Even if Billy knows (thinks) this is not his problem — it's still one that is going to affect a lot of innocent people, if it hasn't already. He should say something. He should keep his mouth shut because this is way beyond him, actually. He knows he should. And yet he just feels compelled to voice his opinion. Lips part.

"I-"

And then his vision is filled with a tiny purple dragon spitting fire in his general vicinity.

"H-hey — whoa!"

There is a long time, where Billy just… stares back at Lockheed, awkwardly and unexpectedly caught in some sort of bizarre staring contest with an X-Men team mascot. He gulps, exactly once.

And then offers a hand.

"Um. Hi. I'm Billy-" and then the thing just ups and perches on his mussy mane of black hair- "Kaplaaohhhh wow, okay, he just landed on my head…!"

He's a little stiff. A lot stiff. He looks like a statue. But he's still smiling.

"This is the most exciting and frightening thing I have ever had happen to me." Poke, poke, poke goes the coin. Brows furrow.

"… I — err. I'm not a vending machine." … "Sorry?"

*

There is a flicker of a glance towards Billy as the Tin Man asks that last question, and Stark sighs slightly before he nods. "Chances are? Yeah. I don't know for sure but…" He says quietly as he watches Kitty manipulate the images. There is a slight shrug at that. "I know some people looking into it."

…people. Twins specifically. They promised they won't kill anyone. So it'll be fine.

"As for the power source…" There is a frown at that. "…you two are so not gonna like it." A new screen comes up. A little electric battery system. "The initial charge requires a large charging device. Once its on though? It uses the metas own bio-electric energy as a source. Which is why they double as such good shock systems." The inventor replies. "So they get an initial boost from an outside source, then can function on their own almost indefintally. The only way to turn the battery off is to disrupt the wearers own electrical field. And that…"

…well…that is bad.

"But I've figured out a few ways that work to get around it. Implanted chips work. There is also a choker, but that can be taken off. And I'm working on a disruption system, area effect grenade like." He adds with a smirk.

Because he doesn't do things by halves.

There is a glance at Billy though, him and the dragon. "Looks like you made a new friend there." He says with a grin. "Good. I always approve of strengthening interteam relations." Don't read too much into that sentence.

"What do you think of all this though?" This towards Billy, the question seemingly idle but Stark's eyes sharp as ever as he looks back towards the hologram. "What should we do about all this…that is the million dollar question…"

*

+MEET: Kitty Pryde has arrived via +meet.

*

+MEET: Billy Kaplan has arrived via +meet.

*

The mountain of a mutant turns to regard Billy at first curious as to what he said that might have caused the unctious correction of his status. Realizing that he had implied that he was not a full fledge hero Piotr clarifies, "This is good. I was with X-Men at around your age. And Kitty.. well even younger." Something about this statement brings a faint coloring to Piotr's face though it'd be hard to tell why exactly.

Turning his attention back to Tony, Piotr nods ever so seriously about the issue at hand. "If there are people looking into this I would like to help." Oh boy, that'll be a fun reveal when Piotr realizes just who Tony is talking about. And that might just open up some trust issues as well.

Watching Kitty geek out over the hologram causes a small smile to come over his face but then Tony's explaining the power source and the bummer of what happens when you try and turn it off.

"If you want a volunteer for the chip implant, I would be willing. When you think you are ready to test something like that."

Of course Piotr volunteers himself. In one breath concerned about people experimenting on mutants, and the next volunteering to be experimented on.

*

Billy Kaplan feels like he should poke the dragon back.

Billy Kaplan feels like that could not possibly end well for his health.

Billy Kaplan definitely can't resist the urge to—

And it is just as his right hand lifts, index finger extended, towards the dragon atop his head, that Tony's words graciously manage to distract him. ''I know some people looking into it,'' he says, and the almost intentional vagueness of that explanation has his brows furrowing faintly. Some people. If it were Avengers, he just would have said it, wouldn't he? If it were SHIELD, or — or you're just overthinking things like always, chimes in Billy's internal monologue, and despite himself, the young man heaves a small sigh.

It's only Piotr's words that snap Billy out of his eternal spiral of reverie; brown eyes squeeze in a blink as he looks upwards towards the (sometimes steel) mountain man, head tilting faintly. Hearing those words, that reassurance — it brings a hesitant, awkward, but proud kind of smile to Billy's lips. He lifts a hand to rub the back of his head. Carefully. Don't want to disturb the fire breathing dragon. Man, he must look like an idiot. "Oh. Really? That's…" he tries to find the right word. "… inspiring." God, he hopes that didn't sound sarcastic.

He's just about to clarify that it's not when Tony speaks up once more. And for a moment, Billy looks like a deer caught in headlights, just staring wide-eyed at Tony with an expression that practically screams 'WHY THOUGH.' A second passes by before he clears his throat, and glances aside.

"Er. Well, I don't really know if it's my place to say," says the young man who doesn't think he's a mutant. He rubs one forearm, eyes lost in thought as he stares at that hologram. Not his place to say. But… "… but, I think that this is something you can't win with brute force, can you? I mean… if you try to destroy or work around these collars, they'll counter with something worse, and worse, and worse, and then…" You're being cynical again, Billy. Stop it. He tries, at least, not to frown, before he abruptly adds,

"I'd like to help your people look into this too, if it's possible."

Oh, Billy.

*

Lockheed keeps hitting Billy on the head with the coin, now seemingly amused by the very fact that he can keep doing this without being told to stop or Kitty yelling at him. The fact that he can make the kid nervous makes him all the prouder, neck standing up a bit and beaming at the distracted Kitty. In fact, with this newfound freedom, as Billy's finger comes up to try and poke him, a purple claw reaches out to grab it tightly in his. It's not a bite, at least.

Kitty, for her part, has zoomed in on a particular chip in the collar, trying to figure out all the connections and which can be re-routed, changed and/or destroyed without harming the person wearing them. It's complicated. As the new screen comes up with the electric battery system, she frowns and steps forward toward it.

"So, once it's initially primed, once a collar is attached, it powers itself from internal body electricity." It's a confirmation of what she has already been told. Without even looking around, she says matter-of-fact, "So, why are we treating the symptom? If we go to the source, we can stop the initial charge. Without that, they're inert and unfashionable chokers. Kill the first battery and they'd have to find another large power source and we can follow them to that and stop them from getting that."

Immediately, Kitty pulls her attention from the projections and sharply looks at Piotr. There is a creased brow of worry and annoyance. "No, Piotr," she tells him very firmly. "We don't need to do testing on a chip. We're not putting one of these collars on you and we're certainly not testing some experimental Stark technology on you either."

*

There is a touch of a smile on his face, a hidden amusement that he isn't keen on sharing at this point in time. There is a glance out of the side of his eyes towards Billy, to see just how the kid is handling all this. The answer is…pretty well all things considered. He's throwing curveballs at him, but the answers must be something Iron Man doesn't hate.

Because the mocking is minimal.

"Kitty can you make sure your dragon doesn't eat my teammate?" He drawls as he pushes off the wall and begins to pace. "But you're right there, kid." He says this towards Billy. "Brute force doesn't work. Least not without brute forcing all over the source of all this. And as much fun as punching Trask would be it would create a whole new mess of issues. So…a bit of finesse instead of forcing." A smirk at that. "Yeah yeah, I know. Finesse isn't the first thing you think of when someone thinks of Iron Man. But…"

There is a shrug. "So I like to keep people guessing."

A glance at Piotr for a moment at the two offers and he just nearly laughs. "Oh Tin Man, careful what you wish for. But…" Now a glance towards Kitty. "…first off its experimental /Avengers/ tech. I'm not the only one that worked on it. Not that I can't do it myself since I am the best but…it'll work. Second off…well I can't really find out if it /does/ work unless I get test subjects and I'm not going to go out and kidnap them like he might be doing."

A pause then before he takes a deep breath and turns his attention to both X-men. "Anyway, we have some time before he can really get rolling." A new holoscreen comes up for all three to see. It looks like a parts list. Manufacturing centers and raw material suppliers mostly. "Pepper and I have been buying out his suppliers, trying to pull some strings to get him investigated when we can. Its working to slow him down at least. Though as a warning, the governments of the world /really/ like the idea of being able to lock down metas. Not just mutants either, all meta types. So lets say I have a feeling that Trask is going to be branching out."

A pause.

"What we need is solid evidence of things he's doing. I mean we get that and the Avengers or SHIELD can hit him like a ton of bricks."

A pause again as he flashes at grin at Kitty. "You're sharp though." He moves from subject to subject so fast is can give people whiplash. But he's always been like that. "The power supply systems have been one of the areas where we've been able to slow him down a bit. Getting a powerful compact battery requires some special materials. Limited availability and all, and they are really useful for my companies robotic systems too. But yes, back to the question at hand. Disrupt the initial linking burst is effective at stopping them temporarily."

A glance back towards Billy then. "You serious about wanting to help with this mess?"

*

Definitely one to miss many sarcastic remarks, except from his sister wherein he just assumes everything is saractic, Piotr doesn't think too much about Billy's statement. He merely smiles softly at the young man, in a slightly condescending almost head pat kind of way. But it's Piotr and he's of course totally genuine and caring about it.

Kitty's snap look at him and firm rebuke causes him to draw back and half raise his hands. The confusion on his face is easy enough to read as she explains herself or at least continues.

"Katya, we need to know we can face these things if we are going to go into their den." Sure that doesn't mean it has to be him that gets the chip implanted but like Tony explains, they need to test it somehow and Piotr is never going to let someone else take a risk if he can take it for them.

"The thought of being able to expose experiments on unwilling participants is where Katya and I started. I doubt they are able to do this work without experimenting and I further doubt there are enough mutants willing to let them try. Not to mention this has roots in Genosha." Getting hard evidence that their suspicions are correct sounds good on paper. Piotr's just not necessarily sure what that looks like in practice. Not to mention if they need something to hold up in a legal system or the like.

"If we get evidence through improper channels. At least Avengers and X-Men can act. I assume SHIELD might be more hesitant to get hands dirty."

*

His finger is grabbed. Suddenly, Billy just freezes, like he's expecting to lose a finger to an angry dragon bite — the way a person might freeze up when a bird suddenly lands on their shoulder and starts digging talons in a little TOO sharply. There stands Billy Kaplan, just awkwardly looking up, cross-eyed, at the tiny purple dragon hanging onto his finger. It's almost cute. If it wasn't awkward. And inconvenient. And so awkward.

"Er." And when nothing happens, Billy just gives an experimental tug of his finger, trying to free it to no avail. He'll just… have to ignore it. Focus. He can do this. He's an Avenger.

The awkwardness of the situation, at least, helps to dilute the potentially condescending edge in the smile Piotr offers; Billy, being teammates with the likes of Kate Bishop and Tommy Shepherd, is not exactly used to sincerity, but it's… refreshing. Mirror neurons go off in an echoed smile, before he attempts another vain tug of his finger. Tug.

For now, though, Billy just listens on silently — some of this, especially the technical aspects, is a bit out of his league, as much as he's obsessively researched Iron Man tech like it was going out of style. Other parts, though… "So we need to discredit him," he says, after a moment. "And maybe hope that's enough to make anyone associated with him back off, at least for a while." He has to say — he's pretty impressed. Both at Tony's planning ability, and Kitty's technical prowess, and Piotr's courageously selfless offer. Part of him wonders, as he tugs his finger once more, and then a third time, if he'll ever be on the same level of people like them. … If he'll ever be good enough.

You serious about wanting to help with this mess?

It is a mess. Tug.

A complete and total mess. Tug, tug.

Something that's probably way over his head that he has absolutely no place getting involved in. Tug, tug, tug.

Which is probably why Billy Kaplan says, straight-faced, "Yes, Mist… Yes, Tony. However I can."

His expression filled with an unerring, inspired look of stone-faced determination.

As he tugs on his finger repeatedly.

*

"I have little say into what Lockheed does or not do. He's not my dragon, he's a friend and has his own mind. However, I think your teammate can handle himself against the might and allure of the purple mini dragons." Kitty raises an eyebrow at Tony and then gives Billy a reassuring grin and Lockheed a wink as she turns her attention back to the matter at hand.

Tony is given a raised eyebrow. "So, you're saying that there is tech on the Avengers that is not Stark tech?" She glances around where they are and then back at Tony. "Isn't it sort of one and the same, Mr. Stark?" Frowning, she crosses her arms and studies the holoscreen with the suppliers in front of her with quite a bit of intensity. Without looking at him, she replies dryly, "Yes, I certainly do not need a warning as to how the government feels about mutants. We generally can see the writing on the wall in that regard."

Piotr's own reaction to Tony and her statements makes her frown and focus on him. She opens her mouth to say something, then she closes it and focuses on something else. "Piotr, stop smiling at the kid like that. This is a mess. If he wants to get in on it, well, as you know I'm not anyone who can tell him not to get involved without being hypocritical. But…" she gestures at the boy, who is currently talking some sense, but is also struggling to pull his finger out of Lockheed's grasp - something the dragon at the moment does not seem willing to let go of easily. Even as the boy tugs, Lockheed grips tighter, claws digging a bit into Billy's head to keep his balance.

"Looking directly at Billy, she asks him point blank. "By the way you said 'you wish to help our people' I can assume you are not a mutant? If that is the case, are you willing to be put on blacklists by the government? To possibly hunted for the rest of your life? This is a choice you will have to make, Billy. We should probably also know your last name before you make it."

Then, she moves forward toward Piotr. Softly, away from the others, as this is a conversation she needs to have with him but does not wish an audience, she continues her thought from before: "This is…" Kitty shakes her head. She looks around "No, we don't have to put people up to be experimented on to do what we need to do. And if we do it doesn't need to be you. I get you think you're invincible…but once those collars are on, they'll stop your mutant gene. You'll be as vulnerable as any of us. It could seriously damage you. It could kill you."

*

"I'm not the only genius in the Avengers, I'm just the most handsome. And the one with the most money. And the one that everyone knows." Stark tosses idlily towards Kitty. "Do a little homework. I've had it vetted by a few people. It'll work. And it won't hurt anyone. I mean as backup don't you X-whatevers have healers to help with that?" He asks as he looks back to the holograms, flicking out one towards Kitty.

Its the microchip in question. A tiny thing. Built to do nothing but interrupt the initial feedback loop of the collar. Rendering it useless. He'll let all three of them look at that before he sighs slightly.

"…its not just mutants. Genoshans were experimenting with collars that were broad spectrum lockdown. They hadn't gotten it right yet, but I'm already looking for Inhumans, Nuhumans, any metas that are going missing. Just in case."

Because someone has too. Right?

There is a moment. Just a moment as Stark stares at that holoscreen. All the information, the gadget he's built to save people that don't trust him. That have no reason to trust him. There is a moment there where the inventor just looks…tired. Exhausted on a bone deep level. But that moment passes as he shakes his head and spins back to the group. It could have just been something he ate.

"Billy here, and Tommy. They /are/ metas, just not sure if they are mutants or not. Not that it matters to me. But…" A shrug again before he nods at Piotr. "…it defiantly has the roots in Genosha. I pulled the first versions of those things from a data server there I…liberated. While I was there one time. Billy though? He's right." A smirk as he looks at the young Avenger and the purple dragon. "We need to discredit him. Pry away his support and he's vulnerable."

*

Piotr gives Lockheed a slight disapproving look, but the dragon would know him well enough to discern between a true brow furrow of scolding and this more 'Oh, you' look. After all they have shared many adventures and a little friendly hazing of the new guy is good for long term team building. And mostly it's kind of funny to watch Billy's ever increasing panic.

The ideas about ways to sway public opinion and how to solve for the long term problems of growing support in the country for anti-mutant measures in general are of surprisingly little interest to Piotr. Those things seem to always exist, he's resigned to the whack-a-mole solution of simply hitting the latest threat hard enough that it recedes for the moment. He is about to speak on that when Kitty pulls him aside.

He listens to her and nods understandingly, "Da. I know it is not ideal Katya, but before we strike we need to know we have effective way of countering this. I can not ask the X-Men or any ally to put themselves at risk if I do not first do everything to mitigate it." It's an argument they will have again but Piotr tries to at least pull away from it for now, knowing he won't win her over now or any time soon.

"Thank you for sharing this Stark." Piotr thought he picked up on something in Tony's demeanor there, but it seems to pass just as quickly. "We will not move without letting you know if possible. Please keep the X-Men in the loop on your side. And if you do get to the point where you need someone to punch a giant hole in something of Trasks, I hope you will call me first."

There are other things they could discuss, but Piotr knows he has likely already shared too much and offered too much for Kitty's tastes. She will likely also want to continue trying to stop him from offering himself as a lab bear (this giant slab of Russian is no rat) so he has that to look forward to.

*

Tug. Tug. -Claws on his skull-. "Ow!" This is getting him nowhere.

"Erg… Look," Billy whispers to the dragon, dearly hoping he understands English, and that the others don't have, like, superhuman hearing, or something. "I'll give you a, uh… silver dollar if you let go of my finger? You can add it to your… treasure trove…?"

Oh God please let him be like Tolkien dragons and have a treasure trove that would be *so amazing* oh God please don't let him be offended by assuming he has a treasure trove that would be *so terrible*

He's distracted from the offer, for a moment, when Kitty turns her attention on him. Those expressive brown eyes tilt her way with something that looks rife with too many internal thoughts and feelings to really count; 'conflicted' might be the best way to put it, as she posits the most likely outcome of what he's suggesting. "I… don't really know what I'm supposed to be," he says after a moment, one hand lifting as a tiny crackle of cerulean sparks between his fingertips like an electric current. "But one way or another, I'm going to be dragged into this, right? … I'm used to no one accepting me, and wanting to hurt me for what I am." But he'd be the enemy of the government. The scale is entirely different from a handful of bullies. And doesn't the Avengers have some sort of tangential ties to government agencies-?

But then… isn't this what being a hero is all about?

"… it's Billy Kaplan," he says, with a small smile that he manages despite the OBVIOUS PAIN OF CLAWS IN HIS SKULL, THEY'RE PINCHING HIM- "And I'm sure. I want to help."

After that, Piotr and Kitty seem to fall into private conversation, and Tony seems to be nursing his own, silent thoughts. So Billy? Billy politely tries not to eavesdrop or pry.

And so, as the others discuss, and thing, there stands Billy in the background, waving around a shiny silver dollar desperately in front of Lockheed with his free hand.

Where on earth did he even get a silver dollar is a story for another day.

*

"We did do our research, Mr. Stark." Kitty replies quickly enough. "Why do you think we are here talking to you?" With a frown, her eyes drift to Piotr. "And if it's going to work perfectly, then why do you need it to be tested on anyone? And if you haven't, how do you know it will work perfectly, Mr. Stark?" Kitty gives Tony a bit of a flat look. As the hologram is tossed to her, Kitty deftly catches it - already somewhat attuned to how Stark's system works and expands the small chip so she can study it better.

Kitty looks to Tony as he says he's looking for missing people, anyone else with powers. There's a bit of a softening of her expression and then she frowns and looks back to the hologram in front of her. "And what exactly is it that you have found about them, Mr. Stark? I am going to believe that it is not good news." She is a bit harder of a sell than Piotr is.

In regards to their argument, she does not renew it. Instead, she merely frowns, worried. There is a lot to discuss, to do, to have done. Even in this moment there is not enough trust, but quite a few plans and necessities that need to be done. Instead, she tries to take form his good manners. "Yes, thank you, Mr. Stark. This has all been incredibly informative. This…" she gestures at the holograms with longing looks. "…is all amazing."

The dragon on Billy's head pays Piotr little mind. Instead, he stays exactly where he is. The silver dollar is given a bit of a look, sniffed at and then his nose is turned away, as if he is offended. At Billy's assessment, though, she smiles and Lockheed gently lifts off to land back on Kitty's shoulder. "It's a pleasure, Billy Kaplan," she tells him. "You don't need to know what you are. That doesn't matter. You need to know who you are. If this is a fight you are willing to join, we will be glad to have you."

*

"Because I built it," Stark answers with the amount of humility that people have come to expect from the man. "So I know it'll work. You though, are skeptical. So you'll need proof before you actually go ahead with a mission." Stark replies as he looks though the holograms again, hardly even looking at the X-men.

A smirk though as he stops and glances towards Kitty. A smirk. "Of course its not. When is it ever?"

But then he shakes his head. "But you all have enough on your plate right now, go on. I'll keep you in the loop, but I can promise you're not going to like any of it. But I want you to know, for what its worth I want to help. Because…"

He pause.

"…uhgh, get out of here. If you stay longer all this sincerity is going to make me ill. I'm already starting to sound like Steve again. He does this whole 'its the right thing to do' better than I do." He waves her and Pitor away then, the holoscreens winking out one by one even as Lockheed flaps back to her.

Dunce waves to the dragon.

Stark though turns to look at Billy. And there is a smirk there before he shakes his head. "Come on, kid. Show me what Speed broke and we'll get it fixed. Like it or not, you're a part of this screwed up family of ours. So what she said, you be yourself. Damn all the naysayers. No problems with acceptance here." A pause. "Unless you like beets. I'm not sure if I can forgive that."

A shake of his head. "Urgh, I'm doing it again. Come on, lets go before I start to sprout eagle wings or whatever it is what the Star Spangled Man does when he makes a big moving speech."

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