Stark Concerns

July 23, 2018:

Tony Stark calls Jessica Jones in to ask what happened in the South Seas. Their note comparisons open up a new case.

Stark Industries

Shiny! Sparkles like a wealthy woman's neck.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Polaris, Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The gleaming spire of Stark Tower is where its owner would like to think /everyone/ wants to be. The happening place in the city. That isn't always the case though, we the people of the Tower give Stark his little delusions. Normally Stark is perfectly happy to live in those delusions, happy with his building and his plans until someone kicks a door or window down.

Inevitabily though the outside encroaches on the tower. And Stark sits up to take notice of the world. Well. The goings of the world that /he/ isn't actually causing to happen. Most of those he pays good enough attention to.

Most of the time.

But when something other than his own plans get his attention, it doesn't take too long for Stark to act on it.

Case in point…

As Jessica walks in, perhaps just on a routine checkin. Perhaps to pick up some paperwork. One of the receptionists in the lobby looks up with a perky, happy, friendly smile.

"Oh! Miss Jones, Mister Stark wanted a word with you! H'es on floor fifty, if you just want to take the elevator up!"

Jessica Jones came to look at some records.

Though the fallout from the destruction of her neighborhood has certainly occupied the builk of her recent attention, there are other things that she has on her plate, as per the usual.

She stops short when the receptionist greets her that way. It's not a phone call or a text message. It's a receptionist interception with a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory style elevator ride up to one of the highest floors. She slowly raises her eyebrows. "Yeah, sure, let him know I'm on the way," she says.

And then she strides into the elevator and hits the button. 50th floor.

She looks about like she ever looks, though in the heat she has eschewed the leather jacket. A few cords around her neck, amulets shoved under the neckline of her grey tank top. Jeans, one of the rattier pairs today, rather than one of the bulletproof pairs. She does not expect to get shot at today, though she supposes on some level she should always expect to get shot at these days.

Still. Not here.

She taps her foot impatiently as the elevator dings up floors. 10…oh okay now we're at 20…what floor are we on? 29. 33. Are we there yet? 42. 47. 50.

She exhales a gusty sigh as the doors slide open, and steps out.

Its one of the secondary labs. Not the tip top of the penthouse, but still one of Stark's personal toyrooms. No one there to greet her either which isn't quite unusual. Off the main hallway in one of the slightly smaller glassed in labs stands Stark. He's not in a usual suit of his, but he is in…something.

It looks like a light exoskeleton really. Nothing super fancy. Manipulating controls near his hands as he steps around the lab.

His head comes up as the elevator dings.

"Hey! Jess! Come on in, just working on some construction systems to help out round the city." He adds as he raises one hand to wave lazily towards her.

When she comes around the corner? Said hand seems to be controlling a much larger set of robotic arms that are mimicking the motion.

"Come in, come in. So, quick question. I'm sure you're busy and everything."

A flash of a grin. "How was the south seas?"

For a moment there is only curiosity as she looks at this rig of robot arms and exoskeletons. There is never anything boring at this tower, especially in Tony's labs. She may not understand the half of it, but it's never boring.

Of course.

Neither is his question.

She freezes, getting a 'shit' look on her face, her arm trailing to the anti-collar chip she let him put in her arm. And well worth it still, in her opinion, though she didn't think about how it probably also has RFID. Hell, it probably monitors her vitals while she's at it. And records any questionable music choices she might have. Who the Hell knows with Tony Stark?

Finally, exhausted, she turns a chair around and plops into it, straddling it wearily.

"You gonna turn me in, Tony?" she asks, quietly.

Well. It doesn't monitor the questionable music.

All the rest is possible.

Stark laughs though at the question as he waves it off. "Cool your jets, Jess." The giant hand does the same gesture and he glares at it for a moment before disconnecting himself from the exoskeleton. Rubbing absently at his left wrist the inventor just smirks slightly towards her.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not. Depending on just what happened and all. Hell I might just help. But…when I see that a small island out that way exploded when you were in the area. Well…I get curious. So…what happened?"

Jessica exhales. She scrubs her fingers through her hair. And at last she says, "It was a Trask facility. They were experimenting on mutants there. We uh. Went to free the prisoners, but I guess the people I went with also had notions of blowing the whole place up. Which was fine. It needed to blow up. The X-Men were all there too, or at least a whole lot of them were."

She frowns and says, "I actually came to check some records. The things they made…Tony, I can't even describe them. They were making some sort of grotesque, nigh-unstoppable living weapon. It reminded me of //something // I saw the last time I was working with you guys— Avengers— so I thought I'd come check the records. But maybe you will remember faster than I will."

"Oh yeah, the X-men were there. I mean high energy discharge from a mass teleport system? It's really hard to mask. And orbit is really crowded." Stark replies as he crosses his arms for a moment and leans against the desk to watch her a moment.

But only a moment.

It isn't like he can actually keep still for any length of time.

So moments later he's moving again. Pulling a bag of dried strawberries out of a desk and popping one in his mouth as he chews thoughtfuly."

"They got the people out before everything exploded? Least I hope s—-"

He pauses again.

"Wait you were there with the Lannisters?" Yeah. Tony does it too. A shake of his head. "Explain that later, what's this about living weapons?" He runs into those a surprising amount of time. "What did they do?"

"Yeah, we got everyone out. And…yeah. I was…I'm…"

Jessica sighs and looks down. "They were the ones who tipped me off about the collars, Tony. And they helped in Hell's Kitchen. I can't just look at them and see a couple of terrorists. I see a couple of kids. And…I know they blew up your gala, which makes me an asshole."

She rubs a hand over her face and says, "But these living weapons…they're some kind of enhanced human, which I don't get. If you hate metas, why become one? But they were super nuts. They were being made by a sect called the Purifiers? And they just…they had molten hot hands. They could regrow their limbs. Fast. It took Lorna shooting the shit out of one with red hot metal and me shooting one in the head…"

In for a penny, in for a pound, she supposes…

"To drop one at all. And that chick who beat the crap out of me, who is like 5 times stronger than me? They even gave her a hard time. They were freaky."

Stark listens slowly for a moment, though the more she speaks the deeper his frown gets. He actually doesn't interrupt, which would should actually give a clue on just how serious he thinks this new information is. "Well they are assholes," He says of the twins as he sets down his snack as starts around the table. "And they're terrorists. But I've been helping them with the collars myself, so now this is all out in the open…"

He flicks a finger and a holoscreen opens.

A different island. A different battle. Even different unifroms.

…but the ability of the Hydra agent on the beach is exactly the same as what she's describing.

"Well. Shit." Is the elequent responce that Tony musters as he stares at the footage he's pulled up. "Did they do anything else? Weird eyes? Call anyone mom? Explode?"

"Well. A whole lot exploded when the Lannisters blew up the island," Jessica says, frowning at the footage. "But I don't think I saw anyone explode, no. Or any of the rest. Where is that?"

She stands up to get a closer look at the footage. "Do you think we took out their ability to make those things by taking out that facility? Or do you figure there are more facilities?"

Lots of questions from the Detective, but now that they've kind of danced around the Lannister issue and have decided this month's version of the Game of Heroes means working with them, she can get on to doing what she does best, which…is trying to figure shit out.

"I guess I'll have to go talk to the X-persons to see if they know…but…oh no. This is a lot worse than you think." Stark frowns slightly. "This…" He gestures towards the footage of the Hydra battle. "…was taken months ago. Entirely different group of people. Same abilities. From what I can figure out it's not biological either, its technological. Just a theory I have…"

He falls silent as he looks back up to the screen.

"But no, you didn't ruin their ability to make them, because they didn't make them there. Two entirely unrelated groups? I mean the Purifiers don't have the chops to design something like this…so either Hydra sold it to them, which isn't likly cause Hydra likes to keep its own toys. Or someone else did."

"Wait, that's Hydra?" Jess says. She scowls. Her hatred of Hydra continues.

But she tilts her head back and leans back on her heel. "Trask owned the facility, not the Purifiers. He could be acting as a sort of middleman. He's out to make a profit, right? So Trask could be selling them to just about anyone who is asshole enough to want to buy them. Hydra. Purifiers. Just about anyone else who wants some sort of super effective muscle. Unless Trask is a Purifier, but I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that he's anything more than a guy who is willing to profit off of anti-mutant hysteria. I don't even know for sure if he actually gives a damn about the issue or not, or if he just sees an opportunity. For all I know he could be developing products to sell to the other sides of this conflict."

She may have learned some things, but Jess sure hasn't learned everything.

"Yeah, that's Hydra. They attecked one of my research facilities months ago with something like that. I've heard they've used them a few more times since then." He frowns though as Jess asks questions. "…if Trask was behind this…I think we would have seen more of them before now. He would have filled out his own ranks and the other Anti-mutant groups with them before selling them to Hydra. But yeah, someone I think is selling whatever this is to whoever can buy them."

Stark pauses a moment. "Most of Trask's tech came from Genosha, I'm pretty sure he hates mutants as much as anyone in that group. Why I have no idea, and I'm glad. I don't want to stick my hand in that big a bunch of crazy."

A pause again.

"I think we're looking for an independent contractor. Black market tech. Which…really is pretty much worse."

Jessica frowns thoughtfully, finally settling back down in her chair. She rolls it back and forth thoughtfully, her heels rocking back and forth. "Do you have any other leads floating around? Any other sightings of these things? We've got to have something to tug on if we're going to put a stop to this."

She pulls out a notebook just to jot down the relevant facts. Suddenly there is a larger picture here, dots to try to connect, and she doesn't want to forget anything. "Whoever it is? Is nuts. Biotech seems like it's a hell of a lot less stable than just…I don't know. Making better bullets or something."

Not that Jess herself isn't pretty much a product of biotech. But IGH had a whole lot of failed experiments for her to know just how unstable it really is.

"Yeah, but if they can make it stable? These guys look compleatly human. They can walk though most detectors without even making it blink, but they can fight on a level that gives some of the strongest mutants a problem. Hell they were giving Bucky and I a problem." The Avenger replies with a shake of his head.

"JARVIS, what we have on this?"

"Well sir, there was that odd explosion at Titans Tower a few months back. The signature results are similar to the ones from the Hydra agents." Stark nods at that before looking back towards Jessica.

"So there is another lead and…" A frown. "…talk to Bucky and Jane. There was an agent acting very odd around Jane, and I know Bucky fought one face to face. So he might have some more insights."

A pause.

"I'll to tell the X-men about this being a bigger mess than people though. Espicially if someone is selling black market tech of some kind."

"Talk to Bucky and Jane and the Titans," Jess murmurs thoughtfully. "I'll see what I can dig up."

Even if it's just putting together pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that other people already know about, it might create a clearer picture than she has now. "What do you mean by odd though? Just so I don't go in asking a dumbass question." She flips her notebook shut and tucks it back into the back pocket of her jeans, figuring 'acting oddly' probably won't warrant a physical note. 'Odd' could mean any number of things, and she'll need to get that one straight from those two.

Still. She wants to see how Tony describes it.

A smirk. "One of them got shot full of holes, and before he basicly flipped them off and lept into the sea without a scuba tank its eyes went all funny and he called Jane 'Mom'. I'm pretty sure that qualifies as weird. Even where those two are concerned."

A beatpause.

"Considering the guy who was talking was a thirty year old ex-spec ops soldier I'm pretty sure that is odd. Unless it has something to do with time travel. And if that is true then whooo that is a whole different problem."

"Oh fuck time travel," Jessica groans, dropping her head to the back of the chair. "That's just what we need. As if the psychos in this time aren't enough. If someone's smuggling weapons in from another century then I don't even know how the fuck someone tracks that shit down. Call Dr. Fucking Who, I guess. Any Who but 10. Do you think that could be it?"

She wrinkles her nose. "Do you think these things are coming from another time? And then the Purifiers were…what? Trying to make their own so they wouldn't have to shell out top dollar to have them anymore? Because they were definitely running tests on their prisoners. It was pretty disgusting."

"I don't think so, I mean the world loves to suprize me but I'm pretty sure this is your normal run of the mill normal people being assholes instead of time travelers being assholes. I mean there are enough time jumpers around than /someone/ would know something at least." Stark replies with a shake of his head. "No this…"

He glances back towards his labs for a second.

"Well this seems to be tech from out time I'm pretty sure. Else someone would be…I don't know. Puking lasers or screaming about how we ended the world that they knew. Those are the usual signs."

Jessica looks up and says, "Puking lasers and/or screaming about how we ended the world. Check. Well if I see any of that, I'm calling you. I am officially declaring that a Tony-level problem. Especially at the puking laser parts. I've held a lot of heads in my time, but I draw the line at pulling back someone's hair so they can upchuck some ordinance."

She's not entirely joking here. She has tolerance for a lot of weirdness, but some is just going to make her toss her hands up and go oh fuck no. It seems she has found it. Laser puking. Maybe time travel. but definitely laser puking.

Still, he's put her mind at ease, and it shows. Some regular company can be found and tracked.

"Noted. I'll start on the whole anti laser puking armor in the meantime," Stark says with one of his normal smirks as he shrugs slightly. "But yeah, I'll drop by the X-mansion with their X-jet and their X-tech and their X-whatever and see what I can find out. While giving them a heads up."

There is a pause though for a moment as he sighs.

"Just be careful about this one, Jess. Anyone that has gone to this much trouble to stay under the radar won't like people kicking up rocks."

A beatpause.

"And that is enough awkward being worried stage. Don't die and all that, the paperwork that causes is a pain in the ass."

"X-tra." Jess comments, to the X-themed everything. "And I thought SHIELD was bad with the motif problem."

But to the rest, she can only shrug and spread her hands. "They wanna kill me, they can take a number and get in line," she says, standing up off that chair. She smirks and puts a hand on her hip. "But yeah, Tony. I will definitely make sure not to inconvenience you with my bloody demise. Try not to die either."

And, playing right along: "The police will think I did it for at least an hour, and that gets damned inconvenient, man."

She starts towards the door, figuring this is what he called her in for, though slow enough that he can call her back if there's something more he wants to talk to her about.

"Have fun huting down leads and shaking down thugs! Thats what happens right? You shake down thugs and stuff. Right?" Tony says as he smirks towards the womans retreating back. That is all he says though, no calling back, no intrupting her walk to the elevator and out of the builiding…

…and after that elevator hisses closed the smile slowly fades from his face as silence falls on the lab. Silence broken by JARVIS' hesitant words.

"Sir, that sound like…"

"I know," Stark replies, the words clipped and short like most of Stark's comments. The smile is gone now as he turns his attention to a blank wall. He stares at it a moment, his right hand coming up to rub at his left wrist in an abset minded habit before that hand reaches out to touch the wall.

Glowing panels scan his hand before it hisses back to reveal what looks like a solid block of gray metal. Only a foot square it seems unassuming and almost boring among the wonders of Stark's lab.

"Sir, if someone modified this kind of technology it could…possibily…in theory…do what they are saying."

"I know," Stark says it again as he reaches out to brush his fingers against the metal. A metal that seems to come alive at the touch. Flowing suddenly over his fingers, the colors turning from dull gray to a familiar red and gold. Light shoots though the suddenly liquid metal as it crawls up his arm to form a seamless gauntlet with none of the angular plates of his usual suits.

Stark stares at the metal for a moment before extending his arm again and letting it flow back into his blocky state, off of his arm and into its hidden cubbyhole.

"If its what we think it is, we've gotta find it, JARVIS. Before this gets way out of hand."

"Yes, sir." JARVIS' reply is expected. But quietly and to himself, the AI wonders if it hasn't already.

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