Sandwiches and Goo

August 27, 2018:

Pepper finds Tony doing what he does best, working.

Stark Tower

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Rachel Summers, Bart Allen

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Its been a busy…well…it always is a busy just about everything. Tony Stark has been rushing round. Putting out fires and creating new ones as he is want to do. Meetings with people who have nothing to do with business come and go. Missed board meetings happen. Occasionally people try to kill him and fail.

…this is basically normal for him.

Tonight though, at the tower he is…researching. Doing a lot of researching actually.

Deep in his labs. Up for…well he doesn't even want to think how many hours at this point. Locked in a struggle of science as he peers at the results of a holoscreen in one of his main labs. Parts scattered around various workbenches, but a small capsule sits on the table in front of him.

Just a fraction of a vial of viscus black substance.

"…sir," JARVIS even sounds hesitant. "I must say again, I think this is a foolish risk. You should simply destroy this sample."

"Thats what I'm trying to do, buddy." Stark replies as he glowers at it, before running a hand though hair in great need of a shower. "Get me trail mix seventy six. Lets see what it can do…"

Even though it's not Pepper's primary job anymore, she still frequently falls into the habit of checking in on Tony. Especially when the Tower has been almost uncharacteristically quiet for several hours.

After asking where Tony is, how long he'd been there, and when he'd last eaten, she orders dinner for them both and heads toward the main labs, intercepting the food along the way.

Of course, this also means she arrives just in time to hear Tony's last words to JARVIS.

"Trail mix what? Tony, I've broght dinner."

Stark looks up, suprised at Pepper walks in. "JARVIS you said I was the last one in the labs!" He announces towards the AI.

"You were sir, when you asked." JARVIS says in his oh so bland way. "Miss Potts just arrived."

Stark glowers at one of the lights in the cieling a moment. "Your sass circuits are getting a bit TOO well defined." He mutters after a moment before looking back towards Pepper. "Oh you know me." He says by way of explination. "Just…working on something. Trying a new mix, and it's been a trail to get here and…" A beatpause. "…ok maybe I was just hungry and thinking about food when I started this." He adds after a moment of thought. "Anyway, this stuff is dangerous."

Again a beatpause.

"That isn't going to stop you is it?"

"No, it's not," Pepper replies. "But it is going to stop you. That can wait fifteen minutes. Come over here and eat before this gets cold." She pushes a few things over on the least cluttered table and sets both covered plates down, one of the two with the kind of overlarge mug used to hold chili or soup perched on top.

Stepping away briefly to claim another chair, she turns back and stops to stare at the small vial on the desk where Tony's at. "What is that stuff?" She's pretty sure it's not ink, or crude oil, some other relatively innocuous opaque black liquid.

"Sir, mixing just started…" JARVIS says as something starts happening with the vial.

"Gimme a sec Pepper, I need to make sure this goes right…then food. So…it can't really wait fifteen. At least not right now." The inventor replies as he looks back to the vial. He seems…much more focused than usual. Halfway serious under the always-there prattle of his incessant need to speak at length about everything.

Though he does answer her question.

"In a word? Its bad." He says slowly as he watches a silvery liquid mix with the black. There is a violent reaction. Both liquids roiling against the glass as flashes of light appear in the mass.

"Someone is weaponizing some kind of super-virus. Looks like its part that stuff that nearly destroyed the Tower." He adds as he watches the reaction. "Creates super-soldiers. And then they turn into some kind of possessed puppets if they get too much magic energy. Fun stuff. I'm trying to create some kind of antidote."

Pepper watches the mixture, and winces when it reacts …violently. "All right. But I'm watching a clock, because your Reuben from the deli on @nd Avenue won't keep that long." And she knows Tony is aware of that.

Settling to uncover her plate and its mug of soup, she watches from over here for a moment before asking quietly, "How close do you think you are to figuring out that antidote?"

The two liquids fight for quite a bit. Several minuites at least before the black starts to overrun the silver.

There is a soft curse from Stark as he shakes his head slightly.

"Not /that/ far I don't think. I just haven't gotten the mix quite right. It has something to do with the wavelength of light and the correct energy dispursion to disrupt the demonic control scheme. This stuff is a nanomachine matrix, but its using some of that nasty demonic stuff to hold it all together. Give it a coheasion, I break up that, I break up the nano-machines."

The man frowns again, peering at his problem before shaking his head.

"But other than that you know, I'm just trying to make your life difficult having dinner with people I shouldn't." A flash of a grin at that. Stark switching gears fast as he usually does. Though perhaps it is to keep his mind off this problem.

…a pause.

"Also I might have kinda adopted someone. Not officially. But. You know."

"I'm pointedly ignoring the dinners. And— wait, what?" Pepper puts down her soup at that. "How on earth did you manage to /adopt/ someone and not think to tell me until just NOW?"

She takes a breath to keep her cool. "Just in case, remember that I put a law firm in Hell's Kitchen on retainer for you. Nelson and Murdock. It's a mom and pop operation, but they're some of the most scrupulous defense attorneys I've seen in at least a decade." She looks at the inventor seriously. "Repeat that back to me and promise me you'll talk to them."

"I didn't /adopt/ anyone! Officially!" Stark protests this very firmly. "Like nothing signed or anything…I mean really its just the news gossip page. I'm sure people will forget about it eventually."

They won't.

"Someone just needed a way into a a party I was going to in Gotham, so I pretended they were my young ward. Because that is obviously the best way to get them in."

…obviously.

Also there has been no reapeating.

"Now what was this about a sandwich?"

Pepper looks at Tony flatly. "Next time phrase it THAT way, please? Vouching for someone is NOT adopting them. Even if you implied that that was the case at the time. And yes, there's a reuben here for you, from the 2nd Avenue Deli. And some knish. But you insisted on staying over there and playing with that jar of black goo."

She picks up her soup again and after a moment of contemplation offers, "I know someone who's at least magic sensitive. Maybe they can help you with that stuff? You remember Darkedge, right?" The tinsel-haired man that she forced Tony to take a full decontamination shower before meeting.

"Well the newspapers sure took it as I adopted him, I mean I feel kinda bad for Bart. She's gonna get swarmed." A beatpause. "…naw I'm sure he'll be fine." He decides after a moment.

He does start to go over towards the sandwich at least. It is a triumph of Pepper's skills that he does remember. The question though causes him to nod. "The Tolkien guy yeah." He replies, meaning that he half remembers the elf that is sensitive to light. "I mean, I didn't want to mention him mostly because light is a big part of curing this thing. It's what worked last time. And I know that guy is sensitive." He /does/ remember. "Besides…its…kinda my fault…"

A frown at that.

Stark hates asking for help.

"Someone apparently pulled the base of this mess from one of our cleanup crews. Which means someone either got though my protection, or its an inside job."

Its been a busy…well…it always is a busy just about everything. Tony Stark has been rushing round. Putting out fires and creating new ones as he is want to do. Meetings with people who have nothing to do with business come and go. Missed board meetings happen. Occasionally people try to kill him and fail.

…this is basically normal for him.

Tonight though, at the tower he is…researching. Doing a lot of researching actually.

Deep in his labs. Up for…well he doesn't even want to think how many hours at this point. Locked in a struggle of science as he peers at the results of a holoscreen in one of his main labs. Parts scattered around various workbenches, but a small capsule sits on the table in front of him.

Just a fraction of a vial of viscus black substance.

"…sir," JARVIS even sounds hesitant. "I must say again, I think this is a foolish risk. You should simply destroy this sample."

"Thats what I'm trying to do, buddy." Stark replies as he glowers at it, before running a hand though hair in great need of a shower. "Get me trail mix seventy six. Lets see what it can do…"

Even though it's not Pepper's primary job anymore, she still frequently falls into the habit of checking in on Tony. Especially when the Tower has been almost uncharacteristically quiet for several hours.

After asking where Tony is, how long he'd been there, and when he'd last eaten, she orders dinner for them both and heads toward the main labs, intercepting the food along the way.

Of course, this also means she arrives just in time to hear Tony's last words to JARVIS.

"Trail mix what? Tony, I've broght dinner."

Stark looks up, suprised at Pepper walks in. "JARVIS you said I was the last one in the labs!" He announces towards the AI.

"You were sir, when you asked." JARVIS says in his oh so bland way. "Miss Potts just arrived."

Stark glowers at one of the lights in the cieling a moment. "Your sass circuits are getting a bit TOO well defined." He mutters after a moment before looking back towards Pepper. "Oh you know me." He says by way of explination. "Just…working on something. Trying a new mix, and it's been a trail to get here and…" A beatpause. "…ok maybe I was just hungry and thinking about food when I started this." He adds after a moment of thought. "Anyway, this stuff is dangerous."

Again a beatpause.

"That isn't going to stop you is it?"

"No, it's not," Pepper replies. "But it is going to stop you. That can wait fifteen minutes. Come over here and eat before this gets cold." She pushes a few things over on the least cluttered table and sets both covered plates down, one of the two with the kind of overlarge mug used to hold chili or soup perched on top.

Stepping away briefly to claim another chair, she turns back and stops to stare at the small vial on the desk where Tony's at. "What is that stuff?" She's pretty sure it's not ink, or crude oil, some other relatively innocuous opaque black liquid.

"Sir, mixing just started…" JARVIS says as something starts happening with the vial.

"Gimme a sec Pepper, I need to make sure this goes right…then food. So…it can't really wait fifteen. At least not right now." The inventor replies as he looks back to the vial. He seems…much more focused than usual. Halfway serious under the always-there prattle of his incessant need to speak at length about everything.

Though he does answer her question.

"In a word? Its bad." He says slowly as he watches a silvery liquid mix with the black. There is a violent reaction. Both liquids roiling against the glass as flashes of light appear in the mass.

"Someone is weaponizing some kind of super-virus. Looks like its part that stuff that nearly destroyed the Tower." He adds as he watches the reaction. "Creates super-soldiers. And then they turn into some kind of possessed puppets if they get too much magic energy. Fun stuff. I'm trying to create some kind of antidote."

Pepper watches the mixture, and winces when it reacts …violently. "All right. But I'm watching a clock, because your Reuben from the deli on @nd Avenue won't keep that long." And she knows Tony is aware of that.

Settling to uncover her plate and its mug of soup, she watches from over here for a moment before asking quietly, "How close do you think you are to figuring out that antidote?"

The two liquids fight for quite a bit. Several minuites at least before the black starts to overrun the silver.

There is a soft curse from Stark as he shakes his head slightly.

"Not /that/ far I don't think. I just haven't gotten the mix quite right. It has something to do with the wavelength of light and the correct energy dispursion to disrupt the demonic control scheme. This stuff is a nanomachine matrix, but its using some of that nasty demonic stuff to hold it all together. Give it a coheasion, I break up that, I break up the nano-machines."

The man frowns again, peering at his problem before shaking his head.

"But other than that you know, I'm just trying to make your life difficult having dinner with people I shouldn't." A flash of a grin at that. Stark switching gears fast as he usually does. Though perhaps it is to keep his mind off this problem.

…a pause.

"Also I might have kinda adopted someone. Not officially. But. You know."

"I'm pointedly ignoring the dinners. And— wait, what?" Pepper puts down her soup at that. "How on earth did you manage to /adopt/ someone and not think to tell me until just NOW?"

She takes a breath to keep her cool. "Just in case, remember that I put a law firm in Hell's Kitchen on retainer for you. Nelson and Murdock. It's a mom and pop operation, but they're some of the most scrupulous defense attorneys I've seen in at least a decade." She looks at the inventor seriously. "Repeat that back to me and promise me you'll talk to them."

"I didn't /adopt/ anyone! Officially!" Stark protests this very firmly. "Like nothing signed or anything…I mean really its just the news gossip page. I'm sure people will forget about it eventually."

They won't.

"Someone just needed a way into a a party I was going to in Gotham, so I pretended they were my young ward. Because that is obviously the best way to get them in."

…obviously.

Also there has been no reapeating.

"Now what was this about a sandwich?"

Pepper looks at Tony flatly. "Next time phrase it THAT way, please? Vouching for someone is NOT adopting them. Even if you implied that that was the case at the time. And yes, there's a reuben here for you, from the 2nd Avenue Deli. And some knish. But you insisted on staying over there and playing with that jar of black goo."

She picks up her soup again and after a moment of contemplation offers, "I know someone who's at least magic sensitive. Maybe they can help you with that stuff? You remember Darkedge, right?" The tinsel-haired man that she forced Tony to take a full decontamination shower before meeting.

"Well the newspapers sure took it as I adopted him, I mean I feel kinda bad for Bart. She's gonna get swarmed." A beatpause. "…naw I'm sure he'll be fine." He decides after a moment.

He does start to go over towards the sandwich at least. It is a triumph of Pepper's skills that he does remember. The question though causes him to nod. "The Tolkien guy yeah." He replies, meaning that he half remembers the elf that is sensitive to light. "I mean, I didn't want to mention him mostly because light is a big part of curing this thing. It's what worked last time. And I know that guy is sensitive." He /does/ remember. "Besides…its…kinda my fault…"

A frown at that.

Stark hates asking for help.

"Someone apparently pulled the base of this mess from one of our cleanup crews. Which means someone either got though my protection, or its an inside job."
Its been a busy…well…it always is a busy just about everything. Tony Stark has been rushing round. Putting out fires and creating new ones as he is want to do. Meetings with people who have nothing to do with business come and go. Missed board meetings happen. Occasionally people try to kill him and fail.

…this is basically normal for him.

Tonight though, at the tower he is…researching. Doing a lot of researching actually.

Deep in his labs. Up for…well he doesn't even want to think how many hours at this point. Locked in a struggle of science as he peers at the results of a holoscreen in one of his main labs. Parts scattered around various workbenches, but a small capsule sits on the table in front of him.

Just a fraction of a vial of viscus black substance.

"…sir," JARVIS even sounds hesitant. "I must say again, I think this is a foolish risk. You should simply destroy this sample."

"Thats what I'm trying to do, buddy." Stark replies as he glowers at it, before running a hand though hair in great need of a shower. "Get me trail mix seventy six. Lets see what it can do…"

Even though it's not Pepper's primary job anymore, she still frequently falls into the habit of checking in on Tony. Especially when the Tower has been almost uncharacteristically quiet for several hours.

After asking where Tony is, how long he'd been there, and when he'd last eaten, she orders dinner for them both and heads toward the main labs, intercepting the food along the way.

Of course, this also means she arrives just in time to hear Tony's last words to JARVIS.

"Trail mix what? Tony, I've broght dinner."

Stark looks up, suprised at Pepper walks in. "JARVIS you said I was the last one in the labs!" He announces towards the AI.

"You were sir, when you asked." JARVIS says in his oh so bland way. "Miss Potts just arrived."

Stark glowers at one of the lights in the cieling a moment. "Your sass circuits are getting a bit TOO well defined." He mutters after a moment before looking back towards Pepper. "Oh you know me." He says by way of explination. "Just…working on something. Trying a new mix, and it's been a trail to get here and…" A beatpause. "…ok maybe I was just hungry and thinking about food when I started this." He adds after a moment of thought. "Anyway, this stuff is dangerous."

Again a beatpause.

"That isn't going to stop you is it?"

"No, it's not," Pepper replies. "But it is going to stop you. That can wait fifteen minutes. Come over here and eat before this gets cold." She pushes a few things over on the least cluttered table and sets both covered plates down, one of the two with the kind of overlarge mug used to hold chili or soup perched on top.

Stepping away briefly to claim another chair, she turns back and stops to stare at the small vial on the desk where Tony's at. "What is that stuff?" She's pretty sure it's not ink, or crude oil, some other relatively innocuous opaque black liquid.

"Sir, mixing just started…" JARVIS says as something starts happening with the vial.

"Gimme a sec Pepper, I need to make sure this goes right…then food. So…it can't really wait fifteen. At least not right now." The inventor replies as he looks back to the vial. He seems…much more focused than usual. Halfway serious under the always-there prattle of his incessant need to speak at length about everything.

Though he does answer her question.

"In a word? Its bad." He says slowly as he watches a silvery liquid mix with the black. There is a violent reaction. Both liquids roiling against the glass as flashes of light appear in the mass.

"Someone is weaponizing some kind of super-virus. Looks like its part that stuff that nearly destroyed the Tower." He adds as he watches the reaction. "Creates super-soldiers. And then they turn into some kind of possessed puppets if they get too much magic energy. Fun stuff. I'm trying to create some kind of antidote."

Pepper watches the mixture, and winces when it reacts …violently. "All right. But I'm watching a clock, because your Reuben from the deli on @nd Avenue won't keep that long." And she knows Tony is aware of that.

Settling to uncover her plate and its mug of soup, she watches from over here for a moment before asking quietly, "How close do you think you are to figuring out that antidote?"

The two liquids fight for quite a bit. Several minuites at least before the black starts to overrun the silver.

There is a soft curse from Stark as he shakes his head slightly.

"Not /that/ far I don't think. I just haven't gotten the mix quite right. It has something to do with the wavelength of light and the correct energy dispursion to disrupt the demonic control scheme. This stuff is a nanomachine matrix, but its using some of that nasty demonic stuff to hold it all together. Give it a coheasion, I break up that, I break up the nano-machines."

The man frowns again, peering at his problem before shaking his head.

"But other than that you know, I'm just trying to make your life difficult having dinner with people I shouldn't." A flash of a grin at that. Stark switching gears fast as he usually does. Though perhaps it is to keep his mind off this problem.

…a pause.

"Also I might have kinda adopted someone. Not officially. But. You know."

"I'm pointedly ignoring the dinners. And— wait, what?" Pepper puts down her soup at that. "How on earth did you manage to /adopt/ someone and not think to tell me until just NOW?"

She takes a breath to keep her cool. "Just in case, remember that I put a law firm in Hell's Kitchen on retainer for you. Nelson and Murdock. It's a mom and pop operation, but they're some of the most scrupulous defense attorneys I've seen in at least a decade." She looks at the inventor seriously. "Repeat that back to me and promise me you'll talk to them."

"I didn't /adopt/ anyone! Officially!" Stark protests this very firmly. "Like nothing signed or anything…I mean really its just the news gossip page. I'm sure people will forget about it eventually."

They won't.

"Someone just needed a way into a a party I was going to in Gotham, so I pretended they were my young ward. Because that is obviously the best way to get them in."

…obviously.

Also there has been no reapeating.

"Now what was this about a sandwich?"

Pepper looks at Tony flatly. "Next time phrase it THAT way, please? Vouching for someone is NOT adopting them. Even if you implied that that was the case at the time. And yes, there's a reuben here for you, from the 2nd Avenue Deli. And some knish. But you insisted on staying over there and playing with that jar of black goo."

She picks up her soup again and after a moment of contemplation offers, "I know someone who's at least magic sensitive. Maybe they can help you with that stuff? You remember Darkedge, right?" The tinsel-haired man that she forced Tony to take a full decontamination shower before meeting.

"Well the newspapers sure took it as I adopted him, I mean I feel kinda bad for Bart. She's gonna get swarmed." A beatpause. "…naw I'm sure he'll be fine." He decides after a moment.

He does start to go over towards the sandwich at least. It is a triumph of Pepper's skills that he does remember. The question though causes him to nod. "The Tolkien guy yeah." He replies, meaning that he half remembers the elf that is sensitive to light. "I mean, I didn't want to mention him mostly because light is a big part of curing this thing. It's what worked last time. And I know that guy is sensitive." He /does/ remember. "Besides…its…kinda my fault…"

A frown at that.

Stark hates asking for help.

"Someone apparently pulled the base of this mess from one of our cleanup crews. Which means someone either got though my protection, or its an inside job."

Pepper nods as Tony remembers Darkedge as 'the Tolkein guy'. It's… amusing, but classic Tony. "Well, maybe he can offer some insight on ways to break magical… bindings, or whatever? If you think it's worth a try, I'll see if I can get in touch with him." She's not about to let on how easy it actually is to contact the elf.

At the possibility of this being an inside job, she visibly stiffens. "If that's the case, you leave finding out who and dealing with them to me." She has never taken kindly to anyone misusing Stark Industries resources. Even Tony. And knowing someone might have used their place within SI for this? That does NOT sit well with her. At all.

"It might be worth a try," Stark replies with a shrug. "I'll try anything once really. One of the charming things about me I suppose." Or crazy. There is a lot of crazy about Stark. "Since its technology based I can't guarentee it'll help but…"

He shrugs slightly.

As for the rest though, there is a smirk towards her. "Here then," And a holoscreen pops up. "Aldrich Killian seems to be fronting for whoever it is, being the face and that sort of thing. And he's associated with FuturePharm." A shake of his head. "I know, the names right? Anyway, we invested in them at some point. So they had access to the Tower and some of the systems. I've thought about freezing the access but…they would know we're onto them if I do that."

Pepper nods. "I'll see if he can stop by at some point. But, you know that means we'll have to put that sample into a room where he won't be snow-blind, and that isn't saturated in metals." She pulls the cover off of Tony's plate to reveal said reuben sandwich and then turns her attention to the holoscreen.

FuturePharm. Ugh. "No, you're right, they'd know if the access were frozen abruptly. But, could you, say, track everything they're accessing? I know that computers anymore are advanced enough to know when they're being tracked by other advanced computers, but could it be done old school, maybe? Say, just have it all scrolling on a monochrome VGA screen with a camera watchign the scroll?"

He picks up the sandwich, taking a bite thoughtfully before he starts to chew thoughtfully. Stark just nods though as he asks. "Oh I can figure something out, JARVIS has been keeping tabs on them. They don't have anything as advanced as him."

"I shall take that as a compliment, sir."

"You do that," He adds with a smirk. "But yeah, they shouldn't have anything as advanced as this nanotech. The stated goal of the company is medical, limb regeneration and the like. But someone figured out how to make it even worse…and worse than that, they are selling it to the highest bidder. I've found this stuff with cults, Hydra, mutant-hating crazies…"

Pepper nods as JARVIS confirms that he's monitoring the FuturePharm computer access, then also does her share of contemplating as Tony describes everywhere they've found this stuff. "Those all sound like groups that thrive on hate and their own specific world views on racial or species purity. Maybe the secret to killing that black goo isn't burning it apart, but introducing impurities that corrupt its ability to remain, well, goo-like?"

"I can see if that would work," Tony replies with a sigh and a nod. "That what I was trying to do with the light-nanos. I just haven't found the right frequency to hit them with." Stark shakes his head slightly, sitting down and putting his feet up. "I'll just finish this sandwich…" Its already half gone. "…and get back to it."

Pepper nods. "All right. And I'll go track Darkedge down and ask him to come talk with you as well as see if I can track down any moles in our nanotech departments."

But for now, she just continues eating her dinner while Tony plows through his sandwich.

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