Experiments!

June 26, 2018:

Tony Stark magical research finally draws the attention of one of New York's wizards.

The Avengers Mansion

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS

Mentions: Magik, Moonstar

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Avengers mansion is a sizeable complex. Multistoried. Full of all the tech that a man could want. Put there by the man himself. Tony Stark. Of course he had help but you know he usually takes all the credit.

…because that is who he is.

He loves the attention.

On one of the upper levels though a new containment room has been built. One for some different kind of experiments. The last time he tried things like this Pepper gave him That Look and told him 'not in the house'.

So he went over to the other house.

Because these don't just have the power of Tony's prowness with the technological side of things behind them. No, they have a more mystical bent as well. As Stark experiments with melding his Tech with /Magic/. Something that he usually hates. But he has been /convinced/ now that obeys a kind of laws of its own.

He just has to figure out what they are without blowing everything up.

Which means Experiments!

…which also means mystical disturbances radiating out from the Mansion…

…at least he hasn't summoned anything! yet.


When Danielle Moonstar told Doctor Strange one Tony Stark was going to tinker with mystical devices, Strange was somewhat skeptic.

It is not Strange does not know science and magic sometimes can go together. But it is a rare thing. Truly brilliant engineers are rare; sorcerers are rarer still, so technomages are a very, very rare breed. Maybe half a dozen on Earth, and none of them master-level powerful.

Except, of course, Doctor Doom. Lets not talk about him today.

Stark didn't seem the type to become a sorcerer, but then again Stephen Strange didn't seem the type when he was an arrogant and self-absorbed surgeon. So, the wizard did keep an eye on the Stark Tower, and was pretty happy when nothing happened. He was pretty sure Stark would have given up this magical research to build power armor number 587 or so.

He forgot the Avengers Mansion until this morning, when the mystical disturbance was strong enough to trigger alarms back in Greenwich Village. By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!

How to go into one of the most technologically protected places on Earth without getting shoot by lasers? Strange cheats, he sends his Astral Form to investigate.


If anyone dared call Tony Stark a sorcerer? He would laugh in their face and then accuse them of being drunk. Which…when /Stark/ accuses you of being drunk…you know you've made some poor life choices. No he would never call himself a sorcerer. He isn't one to wiggle his fingers and make actual magic happen. Oh no, he would never be a wizard…

…but he is a brilliant engineer. One of humanities best. And an expert in reverse engineering. Casting spells? No that never would interest him. However…the process of imbuing some new energy source into an item in order to give it some kind of power or effect?

…well that is just science.

At least that is what he would say.

When the Astral Form of the greatest sorcerer on the planet pops into existence at the source of the disturbance. He will find that…well…Stark has been remarkably stubborn on the subject of magic. Possibly due to the fact that his tower was attacked by it. A /lot/. Goddamn Mandarin. And Doom. Possibly due to the fact that its new. Possibly due to the fact that people didn't think he could /do/ anything with it. This'll teach them to tell him he can't do something.

The Iron Man himself sits at a bench in a mostly warded room, though nothing Strange can't get past. Near him on the table are a half dozen various items. Runic necklaces. Inscribed daggers from ancient times. Each of them with a bit of magic attached to them. In his hands? Is a unfinished gauntlet in his own unique style, that he is slowly and painstakingly etching reproductions of those runes in one at a time, measuring. Cutting. Etching.

Some of those items are hooked up to power leads that seem to be waiting for the gauntlet to be placed in here, as Tony works on reproducing the energy signatures from the ancient pieces.

The disturbance though? That would be from what looks like an ancient ring of pure amber etched with the alchemical symbol for earth and a light bracelet of silvery metal etched with a symbol of air.

…and they don't like each other.

In fact they kinda wanna fight about it.


Well, look.

Do not mess up with explosives unless you are some kind of expert. The army trains people to handle explosives. Chemists know the procedures, too.

Do not mess with nuclear reactors unless you are a nuclear engineer or at least a physicist with some know-how.

Why is some people think magical items and artifacts are safer than explosives (and sometimes nuclear reactors)? Strange has tried to explain this to government agencies in the past. Many times. Not even Nick Fury believed him the first time (he learned better). And even now the DEO keeps tinkering with things not even Strange would feel comfortable tinkering with.

The collection of magical devices Start has somehow managed to collect is rather impressive and alarming at the same time. What have been the Avengers doing lately?

With a (metaphysical) sigh, Strange casts a simple spell to make his astral form visible to normal people and 'appears' a few yards from Iron Man. Just a very convincing hologram-like image with sound, of course, since his body is still a few miles away, and it won't deceive any kind of technological scan. "Good morning, Mr. Stark," greets the sorcerer, looking sharp in a double breasted dark brown suit and tie. "Quite impressive setup you have here. Good enough to trigger some of the wards I keep over the city. Or maybe 'bad enough' would be a better label." Pause. "I am Doctor Stephen Strange, by the way. Although not in the flesh. We have met before."


Blame Dani. She keeps giving him things.

Most people would jump if someone just appears out of thing air. Stark however? Is in the middle of a cut and if he jumps he'll ruin a days worth of work. So he just slowly continues to finish his cut.

What /does/ jump is a half dozen pop-up ceiling turrets that deploy at the sound of the voice and aim in Strange's direction. Then…pan around confused for a moment as they can't get a solid target…

"Ah, sir. I think our guest isn't really here…" Comes the voice of the house AI before Stark breathes a sigh and leans back from his tools as he finishes his cut.

"I'm going to guess that isn't the good kind of bad." Stark drawls as he looks back towards the image of the doctor there. "And yeah, I remember you Doctor McSteamy. I mean I have too. You're like the only other person around who actually can pull off a beard." A smirk at that. "I sware. I think clean shaven is a secondary superpower to most guys. Anyway…" A glance up at Strange. "…what did I do wrong?" A pause. "I mean thats why you're here right? To tell me what I did wrong?"


Strange strokes his beard briefly. Until Stark asks 'what did I do wrong'. That puts him into a critical mood. Lets see… a sloooow, careful glance is given to the collection of mystical devices and the attached technogizmos. Frown, frown, frown. The list goes on and on and it is really not useful.

So the major issue: "Well, you shouldn't keep a Janni Ring that close to that… thing, that bracer is a sloppy job. Eighteen century German I think, the Freemasons rarely were careful enough." He shakes his head in disapproval. "They are resonating and eroding the dimensional walls with elemental planes. An explosion is likely within hours. Possibly not the kind of explosion that will cause extensive physical damage, but your mind will notice. It might also release some irritated elemental ephemeral."

He thinks a moment. "Keep them at least eleven feet apart, and maybe with an iron sheet between them. 99 percent iron, not steel."


Telling Tony the dozens of ways he's not handling things properly wouldn't end well it's true. Telling him /this/ might blow up the room and possibly the building? That is more helpful.

Stark's flicker towards the ring and the bracelet for a moment before he grumbles and reaches out to grab the silver piece.

"JARVIS?"

"Sir?" This comes from not the house AI but from a phone that lies on the table.

"Make a note about counter-elemental resonance harmonics. Apparently that /isn't/ just a DnD thing. Add cold iron to the containment systems at home between any elemental aligned pieces and monitor energy systems around them for changes."

"Right away, sir. Miss Potts will be relieved if this stops the random snow flurries on the twenty seventh floor."

"Well it should," Stark observes as he moves the bracelet twelve feet away from the ring. Putting it on a different table before turning back to the image of the good Doctor.

The mystical disturbance seems to settle down to a slight grumble. Mostly from the earth ring. It had a long memory and holds grudges.

"…so. No…'You don't know the power of the forces you're messing with' speech? Just tell me what forces are about to explode? I appreciate that."


Strange gives Stark an appraising look, he looks tired, which is bad because the astral form is usually idealized. "How could I explain… well, imagine you visit my home and find me tinkering with nuclear-powered armor suits using very nice power tools. Mostly hammers. Large hammers. And a chainsaw. And I live downtown, in the Village."

Arguably his house has even better security than the Avenger's mansion. BUT it is also the wrong kind of security for dealing with that kind of technology.

"Where did you get some of this items?" He adds, looking back at the collection. "Too many are the real deal, Stark… this dagger is Nidavellir. Not strong enchantments, unless they are well hidden. Which they might. And it can't be forged on Earth. Do you have friends in Asgard?"


"Well first off I'm pretty sure if I tried to visit I'd get turned into a newt or something just by walking though the door. Second off I'd say welcome to the 20th century and then I would politely have JARVIS spy on your work so I could know when to show up and tell you not to do that so we all don't die." Stark rattles off as he reaches up to unhitch the gauntlet from its stand.

"Mooney gave em to me. I asked if she found any lower power items to let me look at them." A pause. "I mean I asked for high powered ones too but Brightwind gave me this look like he would boot me off my own Tower first so…" He shrugs slightly. "…lets me scan them. Check the energy fields and how they interact. Attempt to reproduce them in a /controlled/ environment." This is /totally/ controlled here.

Totally.

"But yeah I have friends from Asgard. One of them used to camp out on my roof. I left her site up incase she ever gets nostalgic."

He examines the gauntlet he had been working on, pushing it across the table towards the mystical image. Which isn't that far from his own holograms.

"So will /this/ blow anything up if I power it on?"

The runework is exquisitely precise. Though one or two are in the wrong order it shouldn't /explode/ if he actually found a way to channel mystical powers into it.

"Most of what I'm learning is warding or protection stuff anyway. I want to make sure my damn Tower is as demonproof as I can make it."


"I wouldn't call that Janni Ring low powered," admits Strange. Who is Mooney? Oh. Moonstar. She should know better! Or really, what training in handling magic items do Valkyries get. But her grandfather is a competent shaman.

"You know, I live in the 21st Century despite being in my eighties," explains Strange. "I have a cellphone and I own a personal computer with a link to the networks. I just don't put anything important in the computers because I know I can't protect that information from an expert hacker. Of course I have a firewall in the router, but I know a commercial model wouldn't slow down a second someone like you."

He looks at the collection again. "But I did read about computers, I know how electricity works, I am a medical doctor and I keep tabs on modern medical advances. They are very interesting, just… I have no time to study them with the due attention." The sorcerers looks at the armorer man again. "Magic is different, I know. It is difficult to find manuals and those who are around make little sense to most modern people. Magic is not really a science. Some of it…" he peers at the gauntlet. "Some of it can be learned by rote and formulae, and it will work under a set of circumstances. But one can't get too far without an understanding that is more felt than learned. More like art than mathematics, although mathematics do help."

Wards against demons? Yes, those are bound to be useful for a high-profile hero, he figures. "Even if this bracer had all the runes in the proper order, you needed a power-source. A magic-user or a ley line to tap. I am not sure it is the right material either. The elements have affinities. Iron is a good insulator for most kinds of elemental magic. Many demons find it unpleasant or even painful because they are corrupt elemental beings. Still… ah, I suspect a large laser cannon will work better in most demons than anything you can copy without true understanding."


"I bet its a flip phone," Stark says, never one to let a chance to be…well…himself pass up. "And you're in your eighties? You look great, what's your secret? Pilates? Avacodo? I heard all the kids like that these days."

He smirks though, standing up and walking round the table as he glances back down at the gauntlet. "Huh. Wrong order? JARVIS make a note of that." He adds as he shakes his head slightly. "But yeah yeah, I know. Magic is felt with the heart and science with the head. Heard that one before, except…" The man snaps his fingers as holographic images appear around him. Images of books, and images of power readings. Sensor scans from the devices on the table. "…its more of a mix of the two really." He's looking at the energy readings. "Warding systems are all about how energy fields react. Demons don't like specific harmonics, either based on energy or chemical compositions. All I have to do is reproduce the fields and I should be able to reproduce the effects."

A pause.

"That Illyana has a lot of demons, I should ask her. Besides she's Tin Man's sister and Tin Man likes me. Plus she's hot. Bonus."

Seems he's met Colossus.

There is a glance out of the side of his eyes though, a touch of a smile on his face. "But…you're saying I can't understand huh, McSteamy?"


Strange blinks surprised at the holograms of the books. Not at the presence of holograms, being part of the Justice League makes him mildly resistant to technological miracles. Besides, he watched Star Trek when he was younger.

No, it is the books. It shows Stark did some serious studying, not just jumped to the lab to try to duplicate magical effects. "This is not good, ignore this one, this one… yes, this is a good introduction to logomantics. And this one, Harksonn's, has very good translations from the techniques of the Russian runesmiths. But there is a mistake in the fourth chapter and that must be why you have runes 23 and 24 in the wrong order."

But that is the teacher in him talking. He really shouldn't encourage Tony.

"I am technically unagging, but the procedure is not easily replicable. I won a… contest with Death herself," which sounds weird. But Tony has been in the business long enough, so maybe it does not sound too crazy. "It was a wizard thing," he concludes.

"Illyana Rasputin is my disciple, but I have to admit her demonologist skills are unmatched. Still… well," how to explain? Not possible. "Yes, talk to her." Mental note: warn Illyana, try to make her promise she won't maim or permanently scar Tony's soul.


Stark is a brilliant engineer, a multitasker, and a scientist. One thing he /does/ know is that he should at least /skim/ the directions of anything he's using that he didn't build himself. Hence why the books show up. As Strange speaks there is a slight nod though from the engineer as he looks back to the books, marking the ones suggested by Strange as the other hologram representations are dismissed.

"JARVIS see if you can find a corrected copy of Harksonn's and a list of similar works." He calls out as he turns back towards Strange's image. I mean he likely /shouldn't/ encourage Tony. But…he just did.

It'll be fine. He's sure it'll be fine.

There is a quirked eyebrow as he slowly nods. "Sounds harder than the exercise. But a better story I bet." He says finally with a smirk. "We talking like a card game? Tiddly winks? Jenga?" A pause. "You know what it might be better if I don't know."

A flash of a grin. "I've already talked to her once. She did some damn quick thinking with a bit of transdimentional relocation on the fly that impressed me. Which isn't easy."

This is true.

"So…is there anything else in here that'll explode if I try to actually get this to work?"


Short answer is yes.

Strange has this vague impression Stark could turn milk and cornflakes into a deadly explosive in minutes.

"It would be best not to tinker with anything if you don't know what it does," he suggests. "All the items you have obtained seem to have some genuine mystical aura. So you have come with a way to detect them using purely technological means? I would be quite interested in knowing how. In exchange I can try to find out what each of these devices is supposed to do. I think the both of us can learn something interesting. But for now I need to go. It is not a good idea to keep a mystical astral projection from across the city in the current times."


"Well when my Tower got taken over by a technomagic virus I had to get creative. So yeah…and it can't really detect magic but…more the energy given off by non-tradiontal energy fields. Its similar to the dimensional energy sensor I was working on…" Which would make sense. If the magic does come from a different plane.

"JARVIS, give my beard bro here clerance to the Tower." A smirk at the image of Strange. "If your schedule is anything like mine, getting anything scheduled is a pain in the ass. So just call ahead and you should be able to drop by without anyone getting their panties in a twist." Iron Man replies with a smirk. "And thanks for stopping me from exploding something."

JARVIS clears his throat.

"…again. Thanks for stopping me exploding something. Again." He glances at the phone. "Happy now?"

JARVIS sounds just a touch smug. "Quite sir."

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