Dead Men Do Tell Tales

June 28, 2018:

Tony Stark and Rin find themselves in interesting company of the ghostly sort when the Gentleman Ghost comes to call.

Stark Industries, NYC

The business domain of Tony Stark. It is apparently not ghost proof.

Characters

NPCs: JARVIS

Mentions: Dani Moonstar, Phil Coulson

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Stark Industries, or his tower, or whatever fancy name that Tony is giving it these days. Either way, Nakano Rin is spending some time in here doing some research. She has this one fancy suit that Phil found for her a few weeks back and it’s done wonders for her to function almost like a normal human. She can interact physically with the world, and there is a sensation of her touching and interacting with things, but in the end it’s not at all like being real.

She’s trying to learn all she can about this weird alien technology but she can only go so far with what shield has. So she has the suit in a pile and getting some computer readings off of it while she pensively paces. There is much going on that she has zero control over, and it’s hard for her to let herself trust that it’s all going to work out in the end.

"Eh JARVIS, any idea where the fuck this comes from? Any clue at all? And don’t say space, I learned that much on my own." She says pensively.

**

Stark has been busy. Working. Shouting at Nick Fury. Working some more. Research. Occasional trip to the pacific islands with a supermodel or someone that looks like one. This is his difficult and insane life.

Of course there was also people trying to kill him every so often but that part is fairly normal.

However on this specific night, on this specific time, Tony Stark is actually at home. At the Tower. Stark Tower if anyone was wondering. Which is why he is walking by the research lab Rin is working at just at the moment. One hand holding a bag of chips, which he cheerfully chomps away on. They are pita chips. He’s been told there are good for you. Which means he can eat dozens.

That is how it works right? Right.

"Hey, Casper," comes his drawl. "How is it coming along?"

JARVIS, since the question was asked. "…well," Comes the easy voice of the AI. "I believe it is some kind of Kree tech? But I’m not familiar entirely with it."

**

This is, admittedly, on of the last places that Jim Craddock would have ever thought he might be interested in visiting. He's not had much of a taste for all this new-fangled technology. His bestilled, cold heart still appreciated simpler things, true antiquities that were more than a handful of years old or thought they had better place in these so-called antique shops.

What's drawn him here to this epitome of a timeframe centuries from the one he'd been born into is nothing to do with riches that a restless spirit might unreasonably crave. Whoever said that dead men tell no tales obviously didn't listen well enough.

Spirits linger everywhere, and the network of the deceased might even rival the world-wide web in its own sense. Ever since the unusual disappearance of Phil Coulson's ghost, Craddock has been searching, questioning. Perhaps it's none of his business, but to be fair, if a soul can suddenly vanish without reason, then why wouldn't one of similar existence not be concerned? Whispers of strange energies, unnatural fluctuations and sightings of potentially greater beings… This world is a strange one indeed, and its many mysteries difficult to filter through. Sometimes the dead liked to speak too much.

Lights flicker on one floor, but a brief phenomena. It doesn't seem like the tower is very busy, but whether places are closed to the public or for business in general, it means very little to a ghost. Slight fluctuations in temperature is about the only other thing that is a bi-product of his presence as he strolls along the halls. Naturally a ghost doesn't appear on camera, but Craddock makes no effort to go invisible as he heads on, up and up. Empty halls won't do. He can't question empty rooms. But he senses something more promising.

**

"I keep trying to find the perfect nickname for you, and so far all I have come up with is asshole. I’d use it, but I feel like you’ve heard it before." Rin says dryly, as she looks at a computer screen. It takes a lot of effort, but she is using her weakened powers to interact with technology. It’s easier in a suit, but it’s annoying to constantly be in one.

At JARVIS’s response she frowns and reaches out to poke the suit. "Kree? I guess I’m not surprised. Hopefully it doesn’t try to kill me later, but for now it’s useful. If I could tweak it’s response time I could be more efficient." She says to both the AI and Tony. "As to everything else? It’s like a cracked egg sitting on the corner of the counter. I’m just waiting for all the shit to fall and break apart."

She pauses for a moment before she shrugs. "I mean. Yay team, we’re going to win the thing." She gives a half-assed fist pump when she feels a disturbance. "Uh. Are we having building problems Stark? Did you forget to pay your light bill?"

**

"Not very imaginative and people have used it a lot before," Stark replies with a smirk of a grin as he waves a hand and strolls in. "It's always possible to tweak it to be more efficient. JARVIS give the suit a scan and lets see what we’re working with."

"Sir, remember the last time Miss Potts found you were working on Kree tech?"

"I sure don’t!" Stark replies cheerfully enough as he hops up to sit on one of the desks, legs kicking. "Now make with the scanning lets get this show on the road." The man says as the AI sighs and begins to scan across the suit itself to give Stark a better idea of what they are working with.

Which is when things start to happen…

Odd things…

"JARVIS? Talk to me."

"…pardon, sir. There seems to be a malfunction…there is a possible presence in the Tower that I don’t recognize…the cameras aren’t picking up anything."

"Great," Stark mutters as he flicks a finger against the side of his sleeve and flings the chips over his shoulder with the other hand. "I almost made it a month without anyone trying to kill me." A pause before he raises his voice. "So! Invisoguy! Are you here to kill me? I just want to know for research purposes!"

**

There's a chuckle in response, and perhaps disturbingly enough, it sounds within the lab that they stand in.

"Apologies, Mister Stark, is it? Thought that since I was here I'd have a look around."

The speaker apparent seems to step out of midair, and even then, it's more than obvious that there's something not quite right about it. He looks to have come from a fancy opera showing or a Victorian-themed dinner party, his suit, ruffled cravat, cloak, pants and boots entirely white, along with the top hat upon his… head? There's nothing to be seen of the man's features, monocle hanging in midair where his eye might supposedly be.

It's the only thing that one can properly track by to tell that he might be looking at them, as he does so in turning his head towards Rin. "Ah, and now I know what it was I sensed. Good evenin' to ye," he says, doffing his hat with a sweeping bow, offered between the two. "As to the answer of your question, Mister Stark, such be not m' intentions. I'm here for…other matters."

**

"I save my imagination for hacking," Rin says dryly as she frowns at Tony, and his chip eating. It’s a whole other level of asshole, since it’s been over two months since she’s had food. She misses food. It’s not that she’s hungry, but food tastes good. Narrowing her eyes she folds her hands behind her back.

"What Potts doesn’t know isn’t going to make her angry JARVIS." She says dryly. After all, she’s not the one who has to deal with her wrath!

JARVIS’s information makes her frown, and when the ghost shows up, she frowns and crosses her arms. "For fucks sake, I got my whole life without ghosts and now they’re crawling out of the woodwork!" When he looks at Rin she frowns and holds up her hands. "Sensed? Hold on there, I’m not dead." She pauses and looks toward the suit. "Yet. I’m sure it won’t take too much longer, having your being split between two dimensions can’t be healthy."

Smirking to Stark she crosses her arms and walks through the table he’s sitting on and stands in the middle of it. "Wow, someone who doesn’t want you dead. This is a first. JARVIS you should make a note of it."

**

"I’m already making a note in the log of it, miss." JARVIS says primly to Rin’s suggestion even as Stark turns to glower at the woman for a moment. Then there is a sigh as he turns back to the see through one that seems to have just appeared in the middle of his damn lab.

"Now I’m going to have to ghost proof the building? I don’t even know how to do that? Maybe just rub Constantine all over the outside or something." A pause. "No he might like that. Anyway. So…" Now he looks towards the ghost in question with a quirked eyebrow. "…I’ve met demons, angels, spirits, gods, hell I’m worshiped as a god on one plane of existence but I think you’re the first ghost." He says with a frown. "And you’re not here to kill me, or haunt me…"

Slowly he approaches the ghostly fellow. Walking around him as he talks. Nudging the shimmery image of his foot.

"So why are you here then? And you totally know I’m going to be scanning and occasionally poking at you while you’re here because this is new right?"

**

"Close enough," the Gentleman Ghost replies to Rin, waving a gloved hand dismissively. "Quite the interestin' state of being, actually…"

He regards Tony as the man goes on, snorting lightly in amusement or disbelief at the mention of the man being worshipped as a god in some poor, delusional plane. When Tony tries to nudge him with a foot, he of course goes right through. Craddock smacks the inventor's shoe with his cane, which actually does connect as though physical.

"I'd find that incredibly rude, sir," he says, leveling his monocle in the man's direction, and despite the absence of a face, Tony might get the sense that he's being glared at. "I've come because I've heard that we may share a common acquaintance. Now, it's highly likely ye know more than I do, but the circumstances in which I last saw him 'ave left me curious as t'where he's gone."

Craddock pauses, top hat and monocle turning as he glances between Tony and Rin. "Do ye know an Agent Phil Coulson?"

**

"I don’t consider it close enough. I’m not real, but I’m not dead." Rin’s compartmentalizing, which really is the only thing getting her through all of this. Normally she’d have a bottle or two, or lose herself in a video game, maybe go on vacation somewhere to get her head on straight, but right now it’s just work distracting her and it isn’t always enough.

"You’re my favorite JARVIS," she says with a smirk to the AI, not caring if he tells the others. Than again she’s pretty sure they don’t sit around and gossip. At least she hopes that they don’t, because that’s how the robot apocalypse starts.

She shrugs at Stark, not at all surprised that he’s poking a ghost, and laughs when the ghost pokes back. "I hear it’s polite to ask before you start poking dead things." Still when the Ghost finally gets to the point, she walks forward and suddenly looks serious.

"Yes. He’s dead and roaming around, still trying to work because even dead he doesn’t stop. I haven’t seen him in a few weeks, but… he’s… yeah." She isn’t sure how much she should get into. Like the whole trying to bring him back from the dead and all that. "Were you uh.. Dead friends?"

**

"Huh, so you can phase when you want to and turn solid when you want to. JARVIS! Run a scan, this might help out Casper." Stark seems entirely unworried about the fact that someone with no real face is glaring at him, or that he is being called rude.

That is pretty much normal.

What does get his attention though is the mention of Phil Coulson.

His head jerks up and eyes widen when that is mentioned. "Wait what? Phil has a ghost?" A pause. "Of course he has a ghost. He’s eight kinds of workaholic. He couldn’t just die normally could he." The man grumbles as he starts to pace back and forth now. Obviously and entirely agitated by something. Something he isn’t mentioning of course.

"Wait hold on, what do you mean his ghost is missing?"

**

"I first came upon Agent Coulson when he was…just getting acclimated to his new state of being, I s'ppose one can say. He'd thought he was all set to 'pass on', but as it were, he wouldn't have been hangin' around, heh, if that were th' case."

Craddock sighs at Tony's excitement about learning how ghosts function. "I don't know how this 'scan' might help. It's all a matter'uv mindset, so far as I know. Had to tell Coulson as much." And then there are other details that he's not so sure may transfer between ghostly entities. For certain he's got a few clauses linked to things of his past life.

"If he's roaming around, then perhaps 'tis nothing to be concerned of." The white cloaked shoulders shrug. "He vanished on me in mid-conversation, speakin' of stars. I haven't seen 'im since. Thought perhaps he might've passed on, but wasn't so convinced of it."

**

"His soul is lost because…. Reasons." The best reasons she’s been told. "When I spoke to him, he used my phone to speak with me." She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her cell phone, that no longer works since it’s half in another dimension. "However that probably made it easier for him as a ghost to interact with it," she says thoughtfully.

This is probably news to Tony, as she’s really only told one person how she got the suit and who guided her to it. When Tony thinks that the Ghost’s skills could be useful for Rin, she shrugs her shoulders. "I’ve tried that whole, think real hard thing. I spent the first week on it. It’s useless." Or she’s jaded.

"He wasn’t talking of stars when he came to me, and he became fully corporeal. He was very confused, and I even asked him if he still wanted to be alive. He didn’t have an answer for me, or when he did he would get all weird. Sometimes he would bleed, and sometimes he would look like a normal Phil. I don’t know what’s happening to him, but I know he’s still around somewhere. Agent Moonstar has a map of his sightings, I know I haven’t been the only one."

**

"Bad reasons, or workaholic reasons. I mean I swear I told that asshat he needed a vacation. I should have known death wouldn’t be one." Stark grumbles as he starts to pace again, circling his new ghostly guest as he glances between his old one and the new one. Though there is a touch of a smirk towards the actual ghost. "Just indulge me. You say state of mind. I say tachyon harmonic systems." He shrugs. "Both could mean the same thing and it might help…" He waves a hand in Rin’s general direction.

Then pauses. "Moony has seen him too—my god I wish people would tell me these things so I don’t have to find out from dead people!" A glance towards Jim. "No offence…"

Then he’s spinning towards a table. "First the mutants want me to help with a collar. Then Fury wants me to help put things back together. Then the OTHER mutants want me to help with the SAME collar but I can’t tell one group about the other group because then neither group will be goddamn reasonable about it…" He mutters under his breath, his words coming at a rapid clip as his hands flash between parts. Building what he needs almost without really paying attention to it.

"Or at least I can develop some kind of ghost detection thing…" He adds as he grumbles and glances back to Jim. "…which might help find him. And before you ask I’m Peter not Egon." This towards Rin before he takes a deep breath. "…wait…bleeding?"

**

Craddock shrugs his shoulders at Rin. "Well, I for one wouldn't know. Didn't 'ave such things back when I was alive an' all," he says. "-an' he wasn't talkin' about stars exclusively, only just b'fore he up an' vanished. Like something was happening to him. Usually when souls disappear so abruptly, well, what it means is up to question. But I didn't think it could'uv meant his passing on. From our conversation, he very much seemed t' have unfinished business."

The top hat turns with monocle facing Tony's direction again. "None taken," he says, waving a hand. "I have no idea what ye just said, but I am curious as to what ye intend to do by means of…helping…" His hand gestures towards Rin vaguely.

"Speakin' of Agent Coulson, he did look in a rather… painful state. Bloody from a stabbin' - so I was told. Betrayed by someone." The Ghost absently drums his fingers along the head of his cane.

**

"I thought everyone knew. Granted it’s SHIELD and they barely tell people who have the clearance to know anyway." Rin frowns with a shrug. "Honestly I thought it wasn’t a big deal and Phil went and visited everyone." She can see that Tony isn’t too keen on this information, she recognizes the anger building that he’s doing it, because she’s done it herself.

Looking back to the Ghost, Rin nods her head. "He was betrayed, and I fully intend on finding that exact knife and driving it into his body repeatedly. If only I knew how to sever his soul so that it wouldn’t find it’s way back here and be an angsty ghost as well." Rin thinks about that lovely fantasy before she returns to the conversation. "No I don’t think he’s moved on, like Stark said, he doesn’t know how to clock out. Even while dead."

She finally walks out from the middle of the table and peers over Tony’s shoulder to see what he’s building. "I’ve asked myself several times if he even wants to be brought back. What if it’s like that episode of Buffy, where she’s super pissed that she’s alive again. LIke her sacrifice meant nothing. I suppose we’ll find out if this ever works."

**

"Yeah well, Phil wasn’t sacrificed. He was stabbed in the heart by a jackass that wanted him dead for some strange revenge driven reason that I don’t really care about. Which is totally different than what happened to Buffy." Tony replies as he fits and connects in a flurry of inventive building.

Meanwhile lights bathe the actual ghost in the room, JARVIS’s scanner kicking in.

"Anyway, I take it it's not normal for ghosts who pass on to go popping out, or the bleeding thing. Which means something might have happened to his ghost. Because of course nothing can be bloody easy. Of course it can’t. I mean all we’re trying to do is fix someone but nooooo…gotta always be complications…"

The device in his hand looks like some kind of strange future-tech pistol, with a little screen at the back. "JARVIS feed the scans into this thing and let's see what I can do."

**

The references to television shows and pop culture naturally go right over his head. The Ghost might have been squinting between the two for how much sense they were making to him right now.

"So then, the question would be, where is he now, and what then," he puts forth, his hat tilting slightly as he eyes the device that Tony holds aimed at him. Since it doesn't seem like the man is trying to shoot him- but then he'd be foolish to try after all this- Craddock remains standing casually where he is, considering what the two have to say.

"Well, the bloody state can be normal, I s'ppose. Some have a flair for th' dramatic. I imagine I'd have quite the necktie m'self," he chuckles dryly, a gloved hand drifting up as though to feel about his own neck, rubbing at where the bite of the noose had been. He lets his hand drop back onto his cane again as he looks back at Tony.

"But what d' ye mean by tryin' to fix someone?"

**

"But what if he felt that way? What if my employers are just too lazy to train someone to replace him? They’re depriving a man of his rest, to throw him back out into the field and put his life in danger, again. Are they hoping that whatever they try here works and they can keep shoving their agents in to keep them alive?" Not that she knows a whole hell of a lot about what they’re doing, but from her quick research it doesn’t sound pleasant.

Turning back to Jim she shrugs her shoulders. "I think he might be gravitating toward those who are still alive that he feels needs his help. You rarely need anyones help Stark so that’s probably why he hasn’t visited you." Frowning she looks between the two men and ponders. Jim doesn’t really have clearance to hear this information but he’s dead. So it’s really not breaking the rules to tell him.

"His employers have decided to fuck with the very fabric of nature and reality and bring him back to life. I’d feel stick to my stomach if I had the ability to feel anything. Honestly this doesn’t make them any better than Hydra," she says with a roll of her eyes. "But that’s all I know, because despite being on his team, and a damn good agent, everyone is keeping information from me. That’s half the reason I’m here, at least Stark is honest about being an asshole."

**

"What she said," Stark doesn’t look happy about it. In fact he looks downright sick about it. Sick and angry. "And trust me, Casper you don’t want to know about it." He shakes his head. "It’s just not right in the least."

He doesn’t like it, but he’s helping them do it. Mostly because if he didn’t help? They would do something wrong. Get it wrong. Screw something up. So he once again has to get his hands dirty doing something he hates.

He sometimes wonders just what the cost of things like this is on his spirit. What kind of ghost would he make?

However he shakes his head out of it, aiming the scanner towards Jim as he clicks though settings. "I’ll need to find somewhere that his ghost was at some point before I can get a good lock on his signature. If you can tell me where you saw him last that seems like it would be the best bet." He adds as he focuses on the machine itself and not on the thoughts swirling around in his head.

He’s good at ignoring those.

Goddamn feelings.

**

"Ye don't say…" Craddock murmurs, stroking his unseen chin. His response is vague, but that's his intention. There's a lot to unravel here, but his interest, if it hasn't already been piqued, is definitely now.

It's handy when people can't see your face. It would have been impossible to mask the intrigued expression that's crawled its way there. Obviously the thought of dabbling in the supernatural to make unnatural a death is something that bothers the two, but for Jim Craddock, Gentleman Ghost, it's quite the opposite. Slowly he shakes his head, dropping his hand.

"How would ye go about that? I can't imagine it's such a simple process." His finger taps the top of his cane a few times. "As fer where he was, I can show ye the pub we were at b'fore he was…heh, spirited away."

**

Rin shrugs her shoulders when Tony makes his points. "I know I’m only half working here but I might actually be able to help." She says, gesturing to herself. "I’m only half useless like this." She jokes before she turns to watch Tony work on his new toy. She’s not sure what the hell he’s doing but she figures he might tell her eventually.

When he asks about locations, Rin gestures her hand to a nearby computer screen. On it is a picture of a white board with names and locations. "This is what Moonstar is working on, this has all of his known sightings recently. "I’m not sure if she’s added anything new but I took this a few days ago."

Shaking her head she looks to Jim. "I think it requires a body, which judging by your clothing is probably not something easily obtained. Still if you're in the market to become flesh and blood again, we’ll let you know how it goes with Phil."

**

"It involves me being arm deep in some kind of extra dimensional alien tech machine that I’m only now learning exists." Stark replies as he skims the controls of the machine and then nods to himself. Aiming the little gun at Jim he pulls the trigger and….

And there is a beep. A long a clear beep.

He aims it away from him and there is more of a dull blurp.

Back at Jim and there is a beep again.

"Ok. One spirit energy detector seems to be working." He says slowly as he looks between the pair of them. "It has to do with energy and fields and about half dozen other things, mostly how spirit and elemental energy interacts. It's complicated." He waves the little sensor around. "But if I can find out where he was…" A nod at the whiteboard. "…and get a sensor reading I might can track him. Also…" A glance towards Jim. "…I’d really appreciate if you could keep the whole un-killing someone thing to yourself. Or I’ll have to tell Fury, and if there is anyone on this earth that can find out how to kill a ghost it's him."

Fury is scary.

**

The Gentleman Ghost chuckles dryly at Rin. "Alas, 'tis probably true. And it's been, what…a couple centuries at least? But…. I couldn't say that I wasn't interested."

He glances at the image of the board and the locations recorded of Coulson sightings, then turns to look at Tony. His hat tilts slightly at the beep from the device. When the difference in its sound becomes obvious and Tony suggests that it's actually working, Craddock lifts his hands in a light clap. "So ye'll find him, or where he was… And what then?"

His shoulders lift with the brief laugh that escapes him, the ghost twirling his cane before bouncing it over a shoulder as he shifts his stance. "Who else would I be tellin'?" Besides, if they figure this out, he's much more interested in the results…and the application. He says nothing in regards to this Fury-fellow or killing ghosts, knowing his own existence is a careful one, not that he'll impart his weaknesses.

**

Rin has been known to put together some interesting gadgets, but it takes her months of planning, building, trial and error before she comes up with working prototypes. The ease at which Stark makes a ghost finding gun makes her frown. Sure she might be envious of his skill but there is no way in hell she’s going to tell him that and let his ego fill up even more. "That should be useful. Granted you could get false positives on other ghosts, but I suppose that’s a problem we’ll get to when it comes around."

"I know this tech is advanced, but if you’ve been dead that long I doubt there is little that anyone can do about it. Aside from all powerful cosmic beings, and no one really wants to ask them for favors." At least she has zero interest in owing someone like that a favor. "But yes, the less dead people that know about this the better. Mostly because we’re not sure if it’s even going to work. This could all go terribly wrong." She says with a nod and a near manic grin.

**

"I’m sure it’ll go terribly wrong. It always goes terribly wrong. I mean if everything went terribly right I’d be out of a damn job. Wouldn’t that be a tragedy." The sarcasm in that statement could etch solid steel as the inventor puts the scanner down again to look between the ghost and the half-ghost.

"Well. When we find him we hopefully can figure out why he’s popping out on you. Since that doesn’t sound like its natural behavior for a ghost. Then after that? I don’t know. I’m sorta charting new territory really." Which is what he always does. "And I might get false positives. But think of it this way. We get to be ghostbusters then."

A pause.

"I’m Peter. Just in case anyone is wondering."

That out of the way though he glances back towards the pair of them again. "But…I think I’m gonna have to get working on this. Which means no sleep for me again. Pepper is going to kill me if I don’t just implode first."

**

"T'be fair, Agent Coulson's already created a bit of a stir- or at least, his bein' about hasn't gone unnoticed in the realm between. How else d'ye think I've found ye?" The Ghost shrugs, then straightens and brings a hand to run across the front brim of his top hat.

"Doesn't seem like ye're the type to know for sure what be natural behavior for a ghost, though. If he's appearin' to people he knows, then that's just typical behavior for a restless spirit. Can ye help him? Does he want to be helped? Now that's th' proper question."

Chuckling, the white-clad Ghost turns about on his heel, his cloak swirling after him. "I'll be watchin' the proceedings with great interest, to be sure. Good luck!"

His laughter fades with his form as he simply walks off and vanishes before their eyes.

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