Drones and Visits: Stark Tower Edition

January 20, 2019:

Peter chats with Tony about Spider-Man.

Stark Tower

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It wasn't a problem really. He was going to make the trip into Manhattan anyway, it's just three stops down from ESU so really not a bother. But it's definitely different to ride the subway and to climb up out of the stairwell into the daylight with the tall tall skyscrapers looming overhead. And for Peter Parker, seeing them from this angle is just a smidge humbling.
"So tall." He mouths to himself, then takes a quick look around as if to make sure nobody saw him pulling a tourist, then he adjusts the hang of his backpack with a shuffle and starts towards the 42nd Street side lobby of Stark Tower.
Business people rush quickly into and out of the building, a good chunk of them with cellphones or data displays holding most of their attention. But as the only teenager, Peter stands out like a sore thumb. Which perhaps explains that he's stopped when he goes in for a quick chat with one of the security staff.
"Hey son, no tours today."
"Oh, uh, hey. Actually I'm here…" He unslings his backpack and unzips the front pocket.
The security officer, dressed in an impeccable black suit extends a hand forwards a little as if trying to stop Peter, his other resting on his back hip. "Hold up, hold up."
A slip of paper is withdrawn and he presents it to the man, "They told me to print this out? I have an appointment. I think."
The paper is taken, examined, a nod is given. "Right right. Looks good, but you need to check in. Go have a word with Linda, alright?"
"Yes, sir." Peter smiles back to the man and then makes his way over to one of the four people accepting arrivals.
"Ma'am, I have…" He extends the slip of paper. She takes it up without looking at him first, a few keys being typed into the data display then she looks at it, up at Peter, looks at it again. Pops a bit of gum, "Okay, Mr. Parker. Elevator five. To your right."
"Yes ma'am. Should I get that back?"
"Nope, you're good."
And off he goes. A few moments later the elevator doors close with him inside.
*

Elevator five has no buttons in it to select the floor. It has a beautiful open glass back, though, which makes the vertical ride more than a little harrowing for some people. It isn't mysterious about what floor it is on, though, there is a display in the upper left of the blank and imposing dark blue and black panel area where the buttons should be located. It is a quiet, sleek ride. It also stops on floor ten, the high tech doors muting the sounds from the other side until they open with a little 'pssh' noise that might make Peter feel like he's on a Star Trek ship.

"Why stop at twelve? Aim for the stars, ask for twenty million," teases Tony Stark's very familiar voice. The man's particular vocal pattern is extremely well known, he's all over (ALL OVER) the media almost all of the time. If he isn't assuring the population that the demons are being handled, he's talking about some kind of party. So even without a visual? Tony Stark is right there.

The floor itself is some kind of front area where big metal boxes are being unloaded by robotic cranes. A small floor drone busies itself zipping about. But then Tony is actually getting on the elevator, attention on his watch for a moment. He then looks directly at Peter, without any surprise: just a sort of amused little smile. Tony is a lot like a rock star in person, and he knows it. All of the swagger is there, in his relaxed way.

*

Peter Parker's ride up in the elevator starts with a smile as he looks out the glass wall, peering at the rise of the cab above the other nearby buildings. He lifts his eyebrows, nodding to himself as if this passed some sort of test. But then he turns around and looks at where the control panel should be and he sort of steps over to investigate. Lightly probing with a fingertip, he'll just brush over the surface as if trying to find any hidden touch-sensitive pads or some other way someone might interact.
But he finds none. A step back and he looks at the ceiling of the thing, and for a moment it might seem like he was about to jump up for some reason when… abruptly the doors open with that 'pssh'.
And there in the middle of the elevator stands the youth, eyes wide and his shoulders slightly hunched, his backpack cradled under one arm.
Deer in the headlights. Frozen.
Then nervous smile that doesn't quite make it.
Then he steps back as Tony's getting on.
Then he points at the panel and says, "I um, I'd ask what floor, but… no buttons."
Indeed. No buttons.
"I think I'm on the wrong elevator?" His words trill up at the last as if not sure at all.

*

"I don't usually like buttons, "Tony answers conversationally, addressing the first comment. "But I can understand the satisfaction of a tactile response. Sometimes that 'click' is nice." He gestures to the panel a little bit, "If you have security clearance, you have access, though. You're not in the system yet," Tony teases, his voice just deadpan enough to potentially worry the teenager. On purpose, of course. He's weighing Peter, and isn't masking that fact, either. It might feel a lot like a job interview Peter didn't know he was going to be having.

"Otherwise, my computers handle where you need to go." Tony lifts a brow and looks up a little pointedly, and the AI's voice smoothly agrees, "It is my pleasure, Mr. Stark."

Tony turns away from the shiny door to face Peter more properly, and tilts his head at Peter, with a perceptive, "Are you sure you're in the wrong elevator? It's not too late to send you back down," Tony asks. The elevator DOES feel like it's in motion, in the up direction.

*

As he says he doesn't like buttons, Peter sort of gets a small smile and motions to his t-shirt as he says, "Then how do you…" But he doesn't finish whatever that small joke may have been. Instead he clears his throat a little at the faintest of voice break when he said that last word, then nods in agreement.
"Oh hey, that's. Useful?" Peter looks up at the voice of the AI and again he makes to look around, as if trying to espy whatever sensors might be there. Finding none.
Tony then looks at him directly and it's very clear that man might as well have a gavel in hand and black robes on, since he definitely feels judged. "I mean, I thought I was? I just have a." He clears his throat and speaks with a smidge more authority. "I have a drone of yours. Your company. I was bringing it back."

*

"Yeah, the drone," Tony nods, following, and his eyes move to the backpack. "I'd originally intended to drop by, but things came up. Holding open a portal into a space between realities, if you're curious. Some people to save." It isn't a joke, he's not kidding, but the tone is still in his casual one. One would have to actually weigh his expression to see that he doesn't just treat the comment as a throw-away.

"I don't mean for you to feel trapped, though; just wanted to bend your ear over something." Tony addresses the ceiling, "Grant Mr. Parker access to bring him back to lobby if he chooses."

The panel that was dark lights up, though it appears to be gesture-sensitive, instead of buttons. There's some layout of the tower in ghostly white-blue, and some lower floor areas now lit as options. It reveals graphically that they are near the top of the tower, which also explains the extreme vertigo out the back of the elevator as well. Then the door opens and Tony just strides out. It's an opulent apartment, but it's still an apartment. For billionaire playboys. "There's a bar to your right, that —- that you can have soft drinks at," Tony corrects himself belatedly, recalling the age of his visitor, gesturing a hand to it after a thoughtful little pause.

*

At the acknowledgement Peter starts the… rather involved affair of getting the drone out of the backpack since the thing was large enough to make it a rather tight fit. So he nods as he's listening to Tony, though does sneak a look up at the mention of portals and alternate realities.
"Oh it's ok." He smiles at Tony and says, "Thank you." But then he looks up towards the same ceiling Stark was addressing and adds, "Thank you." Just in case AIs have feelings.
He follows along, clearly taken up in Tony's wake, now finally holding the drone under one arm and the empty backpack under the other. "I'm good, Mr. Stark." And as if remembering his manners he adds, "It's good to meet you. I'm flattered you, um, took the time."

*

"Hey, Sure," Tony smiles to the appreciative thank-yous, without any hint of humility about any of it. He does turn to offer a handshake, though. "Do you prefer Peter?" Tony questions in a familiar tone, with a suddenness that is mostly intended to relax the young man.

"I sent you the drone because I wanted to chat. You've been up to some things that got my attention," Tony says. He looks to the exposed drone. "De-12, pitch in here," he asks it.

The drone immediately adjusts to hover, the lens that was formerly just an eye twisting neatly to project a little holographic display of some possibly uncomfortable views of Spider-Man, and some image of when, in the previous meeting, Peter did a Spiderman-feat on the ceiling. And there's a web shooter in the holographic shot, too.

Tony just waits, thumbs hooked against his suit pockets, calm. The elevator door remained open.

*

For an instant Peter meets Tony's gaze hesitantly, but then the hand is offered in a handshake and the kid gets a small smile, then the smile shifts more open and expressive as he clasps Stark's hand with both of his and gives a good shake, but not too hard. Almost as if being a little careful. "Peter is good, sure."
He follows along Tony's words, watching him intently and in some ways it's likely that for the youth the elder man is the center of his world in this bare moment. He then looks over towards the drone, then steps to the side a little away from it. "Oh okay?" He says about Tony wanting to have a chat.
But then the drone comes to life with those visuals and he can abruptly feel the world starting to crumble around him. Lower lip drawn in between his teeth, Peter's brow knits with apprehension as he looks to the display, then back to Tony Stark, then back to the display. And it's likely that Mr. Stark can really /see/ the gears churning in the young man's brain.
"Oh that?" Various falsehoods flick through his thoughts, various lines of possible explanation. But then he perhaps remembers a similar conversation before. And then he also considers his audience.
"I um." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck. "Look, Mr. Stark. I know what it looks like, and ok it might be what it looks like. But things are actually pretty… complex. And if you tell people my family might get hurt." He just lays that out there, point blank.

*

Tony's brows lower a little bit, "This isn't an attempt to blackmail you, kid," Tony says, with a soft rueful laugh. He considers Peter a moment and goes to the bar, himself. Tough situations require distraction, though he doesn't procure something alcoholic. He's trying to be a good role model at the moment. He can drink after Peter leaves.

"I run the Avengers. I really hope you'd think slightly more of me than /that/," he says, with a sleek smile now. He selects a can of Coke for Peter and sets it out at the bar edge, but there's indifference around whether or not it's taken.

"I'm curious why you're doing what you're doing. Seemed to me like you're looking out for the little guy, and you're working out some of your own tech. I'm not going to reprimand you on either of those things."

*

"No no, it's not that. It's just…" Peter steps after Tony as he moves away, "The more people who know. You know." He says that and looks at the drone again, his thoughts trying to take in the repercussions of the last few seconds, tracking the possible ways others might pick up off of this if at all, what dangers lie ahead.
Shaking his head, Peter gestures with one hand, "I think very highly of you, sir. Just… it's different for you. You have…" He waves his hands upwards, as if trying to encompass every_thing_ that has a Stark label on it. "And I just have… well I just have my aunt."
Once he's at the bar, Peter hops up on one of the stools and he has that look on his face that if he was of age he'd probably order a double. But then Tony asks why he does what he does, about his tech, he responds with a sad sounding. "It's a long story."

*

Tony's drink may or may not be alcoholic after all. It's hard to tell. But Peter has a Coke, and that's what matters here. If he wants something else like a slurpee, he will have to specify. The drone, De-12, follows after them, until Tony looks at it. "Go to maintenance," he tells it distractedly. And off the drone goes; into a small panel that opens near the elevator. Which, now, gently closes with a 'shh' sound.

"Yes. I'm Iron Man. It's never been a secret. But that's me. Not you; not most people." Peter is very definitely not like Tony. But then, very, very few people are. "If you want to continue to go it alone, sure," Tony splays his palms open on the top of the bar for a moment, leaning on it. He bends to pull one of his snack bowls out, but then comes around it to take one of the stools. Tony likes his comfortable sprawls. He has a knack for somehow still commanding a room even when he's relaxed in a chair. With a snack.

"I did my alone thing a while, until SHIELD finally got me." A grin is flashed. "But there's a lot of benefits to not being an island in what you're doing. It's a risk like anything else. Now, by no means am I saying you're ready to come enter dimensional portals," Tony continues. "And you can walk out of here anytime, and your secrets stay as secret as you need them to be, so long as you don't start terrorizing anyone that doesn't deserve it." Tony winks a little.

"Or, you can talk about what might be eating you, I get a scope of where you're at as a 'friendly neighborhood Spider-Man', and we go from there." Tony eats one of the pretzels in his bowl. "I'm not gonna chase you around, though. I have other things to do."

*

Swiveling on the stool with the kick of one foot, Peter spins around a little to face Tony… and then on past. So he swivels back to be more in line with the billionaire and takes a sip of his soda. And then another sip. And another. But he finally gets a handle on his thoughts and says, "Mr. Stark, that's… I appreciate it."
"I um. Do my thing. Because I was taught a hard lesson that you can't just… ignore things. If you have the power to do something. To help someone. And you don't? That's… that's a really terrible thing. I lost someone close to me because of it. So…" He looks over his shoulder and waves a hand, trying to encompass the entirety of the city. "So I do what I do. Because of that."
He looks back, "But it's hard because it's not just me trying to do the right thing. But because of who I am. And what happened…"
He stops and then says, "You know Norman Osbourne?" As if out of nowhere. He jus asks that question.

*

"I think most of us took a 'hard lesson' in the teeth," Tony agrees. "Saw what my company's weapons were doing first-hand. Made a change." A big change. He doesn't go into his own backstory or launch into talking about himself about it, which may suggest far more about it: that it's uncomfortable to him, in a deeper way. Tony generally doesn't' show any depth, and isn't about to do it now in front of a 'new hero': though a perceptive person may catch the edge of it.

"Norman? Sure. Not my favorite person, that's no secret, and I'm not his. At least, I /did/ know him. Something's eating that guy lately," Tony says, with a slightly penetrating look, that says he probably knows, but the topic might be off limits. "We don't have dinner or anything, if you're concerned," Tony says, 'clarifying' it. He won't divulge much information on Norman, similarly to the trust he'd hold with Peter. Or maybe Tony just doesn't remember. He doesn't keep everything in his head.

*

Listening to Tony, Peter nods and says, "I read that issue of Time, about your turn around. It was kind of weird to read their giving you grief about not making weapons anymore… and wanting you to turn over the armor to the government." He crinkles his nose and then lifts his eyebrows a bit as he adds, "But I sorta have my own problems with the press too."
Then when the shift to Normal comes he nods emphatically and says, "He's… my best friend's dad. And they were doing some… really shady things in that lab that burned down two years ago?" His brow creases as he tries to figure out how to convey the information he wants to but perhaps not betray his friend's secrets. Or perhaps gauging his audience. Eventually he says, "Mr. Osborn sort of lost it. And tried to kill me and my family because he thought it was my fault about the lab. He was the umm, Green Goblin. That I don't know if you saw. Last year's Thanksgiving parade. So he knows who I am. But he was hurt so I don't know if he knows that he knows. I think he doesn't. But that could change whenever."
He then just starts to tell /everything/ and it's likely Tony will have to cut in at som epoint. "And then he started to equip these guys and send them after me with different gear. And then Wilson Fisk started doing his thing in Queens. And then that newspaper guy. It's just… I got a lot going on , Mr. Stark."

*

"Some good pictures of Iron Man in that issue." Yep, Tony went there with that 'Time' item. "Hm," Tony says, in a noncommittal way, just a grunt to show that he's listening. Sort of. If he wants to review this later he can check the footage of their encounter, really. Which isn't to say Peter doesn't have his attention: he does. Tony's thinking along a parallel line to the actual deluge of information, though.

"Yeah, you /seem/ a little busy: and that's just one side of your life, isn't it?" Tony asks, brows up, smile amused, but not unkind. This wasn't just about Spider-Man, the look reminds. "But let's talk gear a minute." Which may suddenly bring home that insane gear is Tony's area, and this conversation is about to take place.

"If he's equipping guys, well, can't have that. If you want to 'swing' by the Avengers Mansion in Manhattan, in your gear, we can do a bit of a work-up on what you've got already," Tony says, finishing his drink with a comfortable lift of glass and head. He puts the empty glass in the small bar sink, leaning over the bartop to do so. He is as casual about the whole thing as if he were validating Peter's parking.

*

There's quiet between the for a time after Tony finishes speaking, Peter is sort of just looking at him. The space of a few heartbeats pass and then he starts to say, "I mean…" Another pause, "That would be good. I think. But I sort of," He opens one hand as if trying to give something to Tony, but stops and rests his hands on the side of the bar, trying to look non-chalant. Failing.
"I have some things I've been working on. And I've tried different things." As Tony might well know considering some of the 'prototypes' that were either drawn in Peter's room or a few semi-working models. "But won't people be like…"
He looks down, then up again. "Won't they aim for you then?" He smiels a little and adds, "I mean I know you can handle yourself. And most things, to be honest. Just… lots of the press think I'm pretty horrible. And if you are seen helping me you might get some of that guff. And Norman. And Fisk."

*

"Your attempt to protect me is refreshing." It really is, and partially takes Tony aback. That's difficult to do. His smile is roguish but genuine. "Fine; secret squirrel version then, if you're worried about me," Tony says, chuckling. "But really, I have a bigger target on me than you do," he admits, getting up from his chair. He has all of the Avenger anger from interdimensional assholes on him, after all. "But it can work both ways. A lot of people go out of their way to avoid drawing Avenger attention. For good reason." There's a lot of wattage available from the group, of course.

"Anyway, okay, the press think you're horrible. ARE you? I don't think that. There's still room to prove me wrong, though. But I'm pretty good at people-ing." A wink follows. "Enough to tell that I've shell-shocked you. Think about things. Call in again if you like. Or I'll expect you at the mansion, someday, if you do need a bit of backup."

*

Hopping off the stool, Tony can read the protest on Peter's features. So often he's fallen into the mode of trying to keep people clear, keep them safe from danger, that the whole idea of accepting help is almost foreign to him. And he seems prepped for that protest, already forming his arguments and biting his lower lip…
But then his eyes widen a little as he looks to the side and then he says. "You know what, Mr. Stark?" He smiles a little meeting the older man's gaze. "I um. I _will_. I'll umm. Contact you again, and. I mean. There are some things that I've been working on that I would appreciate your thoughts on."
But then some small sliver of hesitance creeps back in as he realizes really who he is talking to and he adds. "If you have time. That is."
He starts to step back towards the open elevator, zipping up his backpack as he walks. He makes several strides towards the elevator. Then pauses and looks back. Abruptly he breaks into a half-jog running back towards Tony. Pulling up one sleeve he reveals a pair of small bracelets, one of which he pulls a small inch long compartment open and produces a tiny dense sphere. He extends that towards Tony and says.
"Here, if you get some down time. Be careful, it responds to electrical charges from 19-21 hz." That said he rounds again and runs to the elevator. And, if it does what it says with the AI, it'll begin to descend.
Once it reaches the ground floor, Peter will even tell it again, "Thank you."

*

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