There's always a couple that slip through

August 16, 2014: Clark Kent is given an interview with the one and only Tony Stark, but the content takes the latter by surprise and puts the genius billionaire philanthropist on his heels.

Stark Tower

Headquarters of Tony Stark



  • None

Mood Music:

For weeks now, Clark Kent has been on the horn trying to get an interview with Tony Stark. The latter, has been evasive or busy or both. In any event Clark persisted and finally got the interview he was after. Most of those Kent questions have a strict requirement to know the questions beforehand. He'll give Stark this, he certainly doesn't flinch from punches.

At Clark's feet as he sits outside Stark's office is a bag full of evidence regarding the failed revolution attempt in the small nation of Bialya. It was a blip on the radar-most people didn't even notice.

Clark, himself, looks like a trainwreck. His disheveled hair sits over glasses that make his large blue eyes impossibly gigantic-like the bottoms of coke bottles. His rumpled suit begs the question: Who shot the couch?

Tony is late, but Tony is almost always late to meetings. That's largely why he opts out of taking them to begin with because they interrupt the things he actually enjoys about his job… like being irresponsible or, more precisely, working in the lab developing the next line of Stark Industries revolutionary tech.

When he walks up the hallway from the elevators, he's wearing a dark blue t-shirt that has a picture of 'Animal' from the Muppets. Yellow text beneath the red faced puppet reads "GO BYE BYE". Clark is probably lucky that Tony is wearing pants, as well. Sometimes he doesn't. Today, they're jeans. Very well worn jeans with holes in the knees and a pair of flip flop sandals.

His hair looks about as messed as Clark's suit, flopped around and certainly not the victim of any combing incidents in the last couple of days. Further, he looks hung over. His eyes are sunken, his skin is pasty, and if he's been to sleep in the last twenty four hours, it wasn't for longer than a handful of minutes.

As he walks past Clark, he points towards the reporter, then the office, "You Kent from the Bugle?" Yes, Daily Planet, "You want some coffee or something?" Walking backwards through his office doubledoors, which open as soon as HE is within range to not have to stop for them to be out of his way, "Mel, how about a pair of coffees huh? Six sugars for me and whatever Oscar Wilde here wants in his." Snap pointing at some comfortable chairs, "That's you."

Clark rises as Tony walks in and looks as though he's about to shake the elder man's hand just as Tony walks by. It's not clear if Tony saw him and just kept going, or if he just completely missed it. Nevertheless, Clark is in tow, almost stumbling as his knee hits the chair. "Coffee?" Clark asks. "Well no, I h-" But he's cut off as Tony makes his order for him.

Slowly, Clark lowers himself into the seat that Tony pointed towards and reaches down into his bag for a paper pad and a pencil. "Thank you for meeting me, Mr. Stark."

Tony drops down into the very oversized, compensating for something, chair behind his incredibly clean desk. The desk doesn't have ANY sign nor indication that it's been used… maybe ever. All that is there is a single computer monitor without a keyboard and a foam basketball sitting on an upturned model of the Iron Man's hand like a pedestal.

With a huff, he reaches out for the ball and busies his hands by tossing it back and forth between them, all while watching Clark from a dozen feet away. Did he do that intentionally? Separate them like that? There were clearly other chairs right on the other side of the desk… it could have been a test, just to see who it is he's working with.

"I don't get many calls for interviews for the paper… kind of a new age man for such an archaic medium, but hey.. whatever the people want." Grinning, loosely. A pair of shades previously on his brow is pulled down over his eyes, "So, what's the scoop, Clark? Mind if I call you Clark?"

"We also have an online edition, Mr. Stark. I assure you, it's extremely popular." Clark straightens his glasses and shrugs his shoulders, "I don't care what you call me, frankly. I only ask that you're candid." Clark puts the paper up on his lap, folds his leg across the other and looks towards Stark with those glasses induced eyes of his, "Mr. Stark, can you begin by telling me about the change of mind you've had regarding the sale of weaponry to the government? How did you come by this decision, especially given the obvious concern shareholders would have had at the time?"

Tony tosses the basketball into his right hand and holds it there, squeezing it a few times thoughtfully, then throws his feet down off the edge of his desk and leans forward. "I can be candid, sure." He can, often with scathing results. His interview with US magazine is still pretty legendary, but that's not really the same thing, is it? The Daily Planet is a reputable media.

"GNN did a full scoop on that four years ago, Clark. Why the sudden interest?" Another feeler question? He did promise to be candid, though. So with a shrug, Tony begins, "I was working with Contractors from the United States government in Afghanistan. A terrorist cell with unknown ties kidnapped me and held me hostage in a cave for almost six weeks trying to force me to build them a bomb… I saw first hand where my weapons were going… and what they were doing."

Tony brings up images of his own simply by waving his hand over the top of a sensor on his desk. Digital files are quickly moved through with a flick of his finger until he has satellite imagery of a small village where dozens of citizens were the victoms of one of his mounted missile projects.

"The shareholders are a bunch of money grubbing nit-wits… you can quote me." Thought, "No, maybe you shouldn't."

Clark chuckles, "I can leave the bit about the shareholders out. It's not really in the purview of the article." Clark never does answer Tony's question about GNN before he's off to the next, "So it was in Afghanistan. Tell me, what was the extent of your knowledge regarding use of your company's weapons in armed conflicts such as Bosnia, Grenada, Libya, and the first Iraq War?"

Tony glances up when his secretary comes in carrying a two clear glass mugs of coffee. The woman is given a grin and a nod, possibly even a wink, then he's sitting back sipping at the dark steaming beverage with his eyes cut over to the view of New York from the window.

"At the time Stark Industries had six individual contracts with the United States Armed Forces over three branches, two independent contracts with allied countries-" Pausing to flip through and toss the digital file over towards Clark. It slips through the air almost as if it were actually solid and stops close enough to be read, "And one with the United Nations defense council."

Tony takes a cooled sip off his coffee and sets it down without a coaster on the forty thousand dollar desk, "All of them field Stark Industries weapons during the first Gulf War.. what they did with them, at the time, was none of my business." He could be cavalier or he could be disdainful of how the arsenal was actually used, it really could go either way.

"I see," Clark says before thanking the woman for the coffee. He doesn't move to touch it. "It wasn't your business, I presume because your father was in charge of the company? Tell me, did he ever express any of his personal feelings about his weaponry, and well, later your weaponry, falling into the wrong hands?"

"My dad didn't express a whole lot of anything to me." Tony states flatly, "Let's not drag his name through the mud, however. He ''was'' a hero. He worked on defense projects that helped the allies win the war in Europe and paved the way for a lot of the developments in current medical and agricultural advancements." He might not have much personal respect for his father, but that's personal, family driven complaints.

"And my involvement was never business end on those contracts. I was a developer and then I took those contracts and I made advancements of my own. I've gone on record several times stating that I am not proud of the work I did back then, but not because it was without benefit."

Tony squeezes his basketball and points across the table, "You ask any soldier that's used one of my weapons and I assure you the benefits speak for themselves. Yes, they were by their very nature destructive, but no weapons manufacturer in history has boasted as low civilian casualties as Stark Industries…"

"Speaking of civilian causalities, and thank you for the segue, are you familiar with what has happened recently in the nation of Bialya?" Clark takes another sip from his coffee as if, perhaps, it might be one of the only sips he gets before he gets booted from this interview.

Tony pauses when the conversation jumps to Bialya and he leans back in his chair to take better stock of the man across the room from him. For several minutes he sits turning the glass mug of coffee until he finally bring it up for another drink, if only to wet his mouth before speaking, "Not directly, no." Admits with a glance to the digital screen, flicking through until he comes up with topographical information of the country in question.

"Listen, I'm not saying I'm above reprieve or that my decisions were without flaw. I sat with blinders on for decades, pretending that only the contractors would have access to Stark weaponry. I have, since returning, made it my mission to find and destroy these arsenals.. I am not the same man I was then." Tony sighs and takes another sip of his coffee.

"No," Clark says as he reaches into his bag and pulls out several photographs. "You're Iron Man." He slides the photographs across that pristine table of Tony's. Photographs of death and destruction, of dead bodies and severed limbs. Small limbs. Children's limbs. "So, I'm wondering if I can get an official quote for the people of Hafi, 1300 strong of which died the other day from a bomb that your company produced—was sold to an ally of the United States through contracts, and then sold or stolen from…I really have no idea, I mean, these things 'fall off trucks' all the time. Or shall I just go with the 'decisions without flaw' bit?"

Tony takes a breath and stares at the images on his desk without actually reaching out to grab them. Sure, Clark didn't hand them to him, but the end result is the same.. There's still the matter of the horrifying scene depicted and then the very intense stare directed across the desk to the reporter who is showing them to him, "To the people of Hafi, I offer my deepest and heart felt condolences for their loss at the hands of Stark weapons. I am Iron Man and I have tried to make scenes like this disappear. I have put my body and my soul on the line to defend, protect, and remedy the horrible sins my company…" Pause, "That ''I'' am guilty of."

He designed those weapons, these bombs that can effectively render a city ashes in milliseconds simply by pushing a button thousands of miles away. He looked hung over when he got in and that look hasn't gone away. If anything, it's gotten worse. His eyes have sunken into his skull, his skin is pale, and his lips look dry, but there's a serious shift of personality taking place. This isn't a fly by his pants playboy who doesn't care what his weapons have done.

"There are thousands of weapons still out there, but I haven't stopped searching for them. I ''will'' locate the arsenal that created… that.." Pointing at the bodies, "And I will destroy it. Now, I have a question for you Clark Kent of the Daily Planet." Sitting back in his chair, "Are you the type of man who judges someone on what they ''did'' or what they're ''doing''? Because this…" Waving around his office, "Sounds a lot like a witch hunt, but last month alone I destroyed six hundred million dollars worth of Stark manufactured, black market acquired, warheads from nations in Central and South America. Isolated portions of Africa as well as terrorist cells in the middle east and Eastern Europe."

His glass is sat down, "I ''am'' Iron Man, but if you want to push the blame on someone, make sure you're finger is pointing in all the right directions." Now it's his turn to flip images over towards Clark via his digital Rolodex, "Who funded those terrorist cells? If those weapons were stolen, which nation was responsible and how long have they been accidentally losing weapons? Don't just paint me as a villain and expect me to sit across the table from you smiling about it. If I had ''my'' way… ''THAT''.." Pointing at photos, "Wouldn't happen."

"I'm not painting you as anything, Mr. Stark. I'm only delivering facts to my readers at the Daily Planet. Not the Bugle as you erroneously mentioned earlier," Clark says as he looks towards Tony. "I presume you would like me not to put the deaths of women in children down as a 'witch hunt' to get Tony Stark. Not even you could be that vain."

"Saudi Arabia, is the name of the country you're looking for. Like you, they've put off my calls for a while. If they ever do return my calls, I'll be sure to send your condemnations at their deplorable mishandling of your weapons. For shame."

Tony sits back in his chair and sighs. The coffee is forgotten, it might even seem the interview is forgotten, in favor of staring out the window. "Write whatever you want." With that, he stands up and turns with his arms crossed looking out at the skyline. His shades are removed and tossed back on the table behind him. "Can I ask you a question, off the record?"

"Absolutely," Clark Kent says as he clicks the top of his pen and sits it down. He sits back in his chair and looks toward Tony. All the meekness from earlier is gone, despite him looking like a trainwreck…the man is stone cold serious.

'What would you do?' He wants to ask it, but this isn't him is it? That isn't Tony Stark. The man who proudly stood infront of the world and declared 'I am Iron Man'. The man who has spent years using his powerful technology to correct the sins of his companies past. Of his past.

After several minutes, he's just standing there not asking the off the record question. Trying to form words that will best describe the horrible guilt he feels, the remorse for those people, and his absolute resolve to do something about it, but every thing sounds hollow to his ears.

Because he's Tony stark.

His eyes close and he sighs softly, then turns back to Clark with a grin, "Do you have Lois Lane's number?"

This is the part he plays. This is how he keeps himself from falling apart with guilt. He puts on a smile and he drives expensive cars, and he lets the world hate him. Then, when the world needs him, he puts on his armor and defends it anyways.

They don't have to like him for him to do the right thing. "Think you could…" Motioning, "Ya know.. put in a word for me?"

"Probably not. She never listens to me anyways." Clark grabs his briefcase and begins collecting the photographs. "If I put in a word for you, it'd probably have the opposite effect, Mr. Stark." Clark stands and for a second he thinks he's going to go over to shake Tony's hand. He thinks better of it.

"Thank you very much for the interview. It will be printed in the next few days."

Tony nods to Clark and shrugs a shoulder, "Can't blame a guy for trying.." Said with a smirk, still looking about three steps shy of death warmed over as he watches the reporter head out of his office. "Seeya in the funny papers, Clark."

Once the man is gone or at least once he thinks he's far enough away that there's absolutely no way he could see it, Tony drops down in his chair and props his head up with the palm of his hand. His left hand reaches out to take up the photos, if they were left behind, and turn them over so he can get a better look at the carnage.

"JARVIS, get me all the information you can on Hafi, Bialya." His pinky flicks several times at the corner of the image, "And get my suit ready, we're going hunting."

"Of course, sir. Your reactor project will be waiting when you return. Shall I inform Ms Potts?"

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