Sup, Titanium... I got this friend Vibranium...

Summary:
August 21, 2014: Pepper invites Mike Drakos to Stark Tower to 'consult' with Tony about his current metallurgy conundrum.

Penthouse, Stark Tower


Characters

NPCs

  • JARVIS
  • Dummy
  • Rebecca, Stark Tower Security

Mood Music:
[http://youtu.be/a26uemJa06k]


After returning from a surprisingly less than completely disappointing trip to Metropolis to speak with that Kent reporter — but not because of anything Kent did or failed to do — Pepper has JARVIS do a bit of research on a certain Mike Drakos and his business, then adds his company name to the list of companies to contact about the new equipment slated for real world testing in the near future. And then she makes a call to Mr. Drakos directly to invite him to New York to speak about it. Ulterior motives here!

Sitting in her office, Pepper is putting the finishing touches on ALLLLL of the things that need to happen before she can officially become the CEO of Stark Industries. And that includes chatting with JARVIS while she works.

"JARVIS, did the news affiliates get back with you yet about the press conference?"

~

JARVIS replies in the same matter of fact manner that he always does, though it is unsurprisingly more friendly with Pepper, "The news affiliates you mentioned are slated for Monday afternoon. I have not yet received any confirmation from the Daily Planet regarding their attendance. Though I believe Mr. Stark has gone down to Metropolis.. he should be returning in roughly an hour."

Didn't Pepper just get back from talking to Kent?

Isn't Tony suppose to be in the workshop working on the reactor?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop?

All these questions and more will be answered in Tony's next pose.

~

Mike Drakos, for the first time in about two years, looks completely, normally, human. It's a lie, of course, even if he weren't a mutant, he'd still be a robot, but he's finally got a synthetic 'skin' — integument even — that exactly resembles human skin, even having those tiny hairs and things. His face looks like a human, not a poured gold sculpture. His hair's still chrome-blue, but that's easily seen as an affectation, since he's still very young by the standards of anyone but Tony Stark, who (rumor says) made his first million by arbitraging Legos. Since he's been asked to stop by the Stark Industries Tower as a personal favor to the very friendly and almost completely un-terrifying Miss Potts, he even dresses for the special occasion, in a somewhat modernistic interpretation of a business suit. He comes in through the front door, followed by a medium-dog-sized metal cylinder, on some sort of hidden wheels perhaps; a motorcycle helmet and a set of strap-on 'bike armor' are lashed to the top of the cylinder. It follows him as he speaks with the security guard at the desk before the elevator.

"Mike Drakos, I have an appointment with Miss Potts," and he shows an ID with his (human) face and waits for the guard to do what guards do.

The guard at the front desk — Rebecca, the deceptively petite and sweet-looking woman — looks from Mike to his ID and back, then glances at her computer and nods. "Ah, yes. Hello, Mr. Drakos." She offers him a visitor's badge and a tablet with one of those stock forms visitors usually fill out upon arriving at businesses. "If you'll follow me," Becca says as she steps around from behind the desk.

~

Mike does the ritual of tracking, purpose for visit: business, responsible manager: Ms. Potts, name: C. Michael Drakos, Drakos Motors Ltd., time of day, blah blah blah. He makes a small face at the visitor badge, as it's eagerly yelling "I am badge 1231 and I'm here in the entrance by the elevator, now I'm registered, now I'm by the elevator. Still by the elevator!"

"Do you suppose Iron Man has to listen to all the RFID badges when they come near him?" Mike asks Rebecca.

~

Somewhere, Happy is probably watching the video feed randomly tapping at his badge inquisitively. Blissfully unaware that he is the only one in the room and that the monitors are not two way. Such a sweet man, that Happy.

JARVIS, more precisely woven into the security across the entirety of the Tower, is aware the very moment Tony lands on the roof access. Specifically because Tony is already having the AI bring up the schematics for the arc reactor, "I've got an idea… Let Pepper know I'll be down in the workshop, but I'm going to draft an editorial for the Planet at some point… maybe."

"Of course, sir." JARVIS replies, then speaks to Pepper in her office, "Ms. Potts, Mr. Stark says he will be working in the shop, but he will most likely require extensive revisions to some editorial he intends to write for the Daily Planet."

~

Rebecca looks up at Mike a bit confusedly. "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand." She sure as heck can't tell the badge is yelling, much less what it's saying. She leads him to the elevators and to the floor where Pepper's office resides before heading back to her desk.

Still seated in her office, Pepper hears JARVIS' announcement that Tony has returned and can't help but let out an amused huff. "Why am I not surprised. I'll be happy to help with the revisions." She glances at her wristwatch — yes, an analog wristwatch with 17 jewel movement, not even a trace of quartz crystal in sight — and starts closing the documents she'd been working on. Right on time, it seems.

~

"Thanks, Rebecca," Mike says. Always thank your security guard by name. It either makes them feel good about you or confuses them immensely which keeps them on their toes. At least that's what his father says. Hmm. Business protocol. There's no obvious person here, and the office door is closed, but she was doubtless advised he was here.

"I'm in the CEO's Office Waiting room!" the badge chirps helpfully to the RFID location ping. Mike quirks an eyebrow. Wait, what? Fine, just wait in the waiting room, she'll either come out or the CEO will come out, or someone will prompt him to enter. Give it a minute, like the martian said, 'waiting is.'

~

Tony sheds clothing as he descends down into his workshop. First his coat, expensive or not, it's tossed on a counter as he passes and his shirt follows. Unbuttoned, untucked, and thrown over his shoulder without regard so that it can be easily and smoothly replaced with a brown 'Black Sabbath' t-shirt. "Alright, time to get busy."

Whatever happened in Metropolis it has given him a second wind. He still looks like hell and feels only a little better, but his energy is up and there's a pointed rejuvenation to his purpose. Data is already rolling out on the holographic monitor in front of him and he quickly sorts through it with a few flicks of his hand to brush aside old, useless, failed, and irrelevant conclusions. "Still nothing better than six point eight?" Asked while plucking one of the six digital arc reactor diagrams out of the air to examine it a bit closer.

"No sir and the safety profile on two of the six has decreased significantly. Unless you would also like to encase them in a containment field, which seems less than optimal. Power output would be significantly drained rendering powering the Iron Man suit unlikely."

"Alright, JARVIS, we're going to have to start thinking out of the box here… start calculating everything without figuring for the extra power needed for the suit. If I'm dead, it doesn't matter… I'll fix everything else once we've given me more time."

"Right away sir. It is about time you said something that actually made sense, by the way. Truly refreshing."

~

Pepper Potts gets up to open her office door, not realizing Mike is already here, and startles upon seeing him standing there. "Oh! Mr. Drakos, hello. I'm sorry, I didn't think you'd be here yet. Please, come in. Would you care for anything to drink?" Instead of having a wet bar in her office, Pepper has a credenza that looks like a shrine to the holy tea leaf. Teapots, tea cups, a fancy electronic water boiler, and no less than two dozen different varieties of tea all in neatly labelled tins.

Pepper doesn't venture too far into her office, as she plans on leading Mike to Tony's workshop in just a few moments anyway. "Thank you so much for accepting my invitation."

~

"Sorry to startle you," Mike says. "I'm glad to have the chance to work out this Beta thing. And, just water would be good for me. Unfortunately, I have yet to properly calibrate a sense of taste, so most things require that I add strange things to make them palatable."

Mike tilts his head to the right. That's odd. Miss Potts is wearing cold iron shanks in those shoes. Usually they're aluminum or something lighter like that.

The cylinder-thing waits patiently by the door, but it does move out of the way as Mike steps back to clear a path for the businesswoman.

~

Music. That's what's been missing. Tony had been so busy working that he'd neglected to actually enjoy himself… that could very well be half the problem. "JARVIS, let's get some Mindless Self Indulgence." Drawing another one of the reactors over with a hand and pushing towards his small computer terminal with a kick of his foot and a roll across the floor on his swivel chair.

"So your usual state of debauchery, sir? I was under the impression you were trying to change…."

"Don't make me reprogram you as a crossing guard. I'll give you Dummy's loading arm for your little stop sign." Tony warns, much to the chagrin of the automaton across the room putting tools away in one of the large shelved boxes. "Don't think I didn't see what you did…" Pointing with his digital recreating of the reactor in hand.

The arm lowers like a dog putting its tail between its legs and Tony looks back to the reactor now sitting on the surface of the table for minor calculation changes. His fingers slide across the keyboard, as 'Bitches' starts playing from speakers hidden all around the workshop.

~

Pepper Potts ahs and nods, stepping over to the credenza and pulling a bottle of water in an actual glass bottle from the cleverly concealed mini-fridge there. "Mr. Stark is in his workshop, if you'd like to accompany me? JARVIS, could you let Tony know that we're on our way to say hello?" Oh, that'll likely go over well.

~

"Thank you," Mike says, accepting the bottled water. He tilts his head again as Pepper talks to something … and he can _almost_ feel it around him. Wow. That's some sophisticated tech - probably a full AI. Well, don't be rude and stare at it.

"I'm at your disposal," he says to Pepper, following her, and followed by his "luggage".

~

"I will inform him to put on some pants, Ms. Potts." JARVIS says as if this is probably something he has to do quite regularly, "Sir, Ms. Potts and a Mr. Mike Drakos are coming to the workshop. I have informed her that you will be wearing pants." Bland, like he suggests this quite regularly.

"Mike Drakos?" Tony perks his head to one side and shrugs. With a push away from his table he throws on a pair of sweatpants and goes back over to his table, "Keep running the simulations, JARVIS. I'll meet them upstairs." He's headed towards the glass doors that block off the entrance to his 'lab' and slips on a pair of flip-flops, "Dummy, you've lost your helper privileges until I get back.. don't break anything or I'll sell you to a high school chemistry class."

Without waiting for the usual mournful whine, Tony heads back upstairs. The sound proofed workshop completely dulling out the music the moment the doors close behind him. Once in his penthouse suite he heads over to the kitchen and starts mixing a smoothie, humming to himself.

~

Pepper Potts leads Mike to the elevator and from there to Tony's penthouse, offering polite chit chat as they go. As soon as they're through the doors of the elevator, she raises her voice to call out to Tony. "Tony? I have Mike Drakos here to consult with you?" She's not sure he's still in his workshop, but she knows if he is, that JARVIS will relay her voice to him there. Oh, wait, there he is.

~

Fluent in chit-chat; Mike's Mom is an Episcopal priest who works with the Bishop of Olympia, and his Dad runs a company, so he was actually even given a class in how to do it, when he was a teenager. It's not quite the same thing as Toastmasters but the concept is very similar.

"Thanks again for setting this up," Mike says.

~

Tony looks up from blending his smoothie drink and greets them both with a wave. Well, more of a flick of his fingers and a glance back down at the goop in his glass, from which he partakes gingerly. "Welcome to casa de Stark." Pointing to the couches, where he is currently heading.

He's a little pale, but there's an energy about him that makes it not as bad. Even if physiologically, he's in pretty poor shape. "Hey Pep, I went by and saw Kent… didn't realize you were there earlier. I'm going to write my side of that story… eventually anyways."

To Mike, "Tony Stark." Offering his hand and a grin.

~

Pepper Potts simply nods to Tony at his explanation that he went to visit Kent as she moves toward the couches as well. "Good. JARVIS already mentioned that I'd likely be doing some revising for you. Tony, this is Mike Drakos from Gotham. He's … got an affinity for metalworking. And he built that Drakos car you purchased a year or so ago."

~

"Mike Drakos. Honor to meet you," the blue-haired guy says, shaking hands. When he's done he gives a look to Pepper that says, "wait, something's really weird here. Is he ok?"

A bit of robot intuition says she's probably worried about her boss with him looking so much less healthy than on TV. Hm. Time to let it all out, perhaps?

"I do have an affinity for metal, and to a slightly lesser degree to tech in general. But I don't live in Gotham — I have a business partner there, but I'm actually resident in New York now, though. I've taken an apartment on East Third Street and D." Which is, for anyone even passingly familiar, right there in Alphabet City, which is also known nowadays as Mutant Town.

~

"I knew I recognized your name…" Tony seems a bit more genuine in his regard of the young man now that Pepper has cleared up where he's heard of him, "I followed your work very closely while you were at Metropolis University, actually." Nodding, then taking another drink of his sludgy beverage.

Then there's the question and Tony glances at Pepper offering a weak smile. When he looks back to Mike, it's not that there's less energy there, it's just dimmed a bit. "Not entirely ok, no. We sort of have ulterior motives for asking you here today…"

Tony has, for the most part, kept his arc reactor a secret. Not the fact that he's built one, that's been all over the news.. but the one in his chest? Not something he talks about publicly… ever.

So once he's dropped down onto the couch and set his drink aside, the fact that he pulls his shirt out and reaches up to twist the reactor out of its housing brackets is probably something of a surprise. The penthouse, hell the entire building, is run on a giant arc reactor. So the electromagnetic pull is enough that he's not terribly concerned about holding the reactor out to Mike.

"Palladium. I've worked with it for years, trying to find a safer alternative. I dealt with a lot of the obvious problems, the poisoning, but my body is rejecting the solution I initially put in place. In short, I need a new element to act as the power core and, I can't find one."

"Sir, that is not entirely true." JARVIS corrects.

"Ah.. yeah. I ''have'' found one, but I can't reproduce it. For one, the metal itself doesn't ''actually'' exist on any periodic table and two, I can't do indepth scans to try and come up with a solution… complicated copyrighting and all that…"

~

Pepper Potts moves to sit on the same couch as Tony, though at a polite distance. She watches him offer his arc reactor to Mike, then looks at Mike as if silently willing him to not disappoint her or break the trust she offered to him by introducing him to Tony.

~

Mike nods, and the reactor floats up, because he's not going to contaminate it with his brand-new and incompletely stress-tested nanomachine skin. He looks closely at it. "You want one of the superheavy metals, the ones in the higher atomic weight 'island of stability'? Or am I missing something involving weird pseudo-metals like Nth metal or adamantium?"

~

"Adamantium is too difficult to work with and wouldn't be a suitable alternative to Palladium. It's a strong metal, just not very good with power output… I ran some simulations, just for completeness." Tony says with a shrug, watching the arc reactor, his baby… his life.. float out of his palm closer to Mike. The first person to actually see one up close that doesn't have a clearance rating with SHIELD or isn't Pepper.

"I've tried all known metals and metal alloys, including some really complicated ones… again, just for completeness. Closest I've come is a vibranium-titanium alloy with an unknown element bind. Nothing JARVIS could find in his database and nothing I've come across in any of my research." His eyes are sunken and he looks like there might be a slight pain in his chest, but he doesn't make a deal out of it. "Like I said, it doesn't exist on any tables."

~

Pepper Potts watches Mike for a bit longer, then looks at Tony, as if more aware of his ailment than the inventor lets on. "So none of the substances Mr. Wolfson brought for you to test were suitable?" Damn. That's… really disappointing.

~

Mike looks at the thing in the air and glances at the opening in Tony's chest. There's metal in there that shouldn't be, in bad places for organic people. He pulls his attention away before it can wake up, looking instead at the socket.

"This operates like an electromagnet to hold those shards from reaching your heart, and it has to be a certain intensity and focus or it would kill you by leaching the iron out of your blood. This is amazing work," Mike says. "So, there's a problem with the palladium being radioactive in the first place, and it's probably quantum-tunneling to form here on the wrong side of the barrier… changing the matrix should shorten the tunnel but you'd need to have a really odd crystal structure … Hm. Wolfson, huh. Damn. OK. Vibranium and titanium…"

Mike straightens up, and guides the arc reactor back to Tony's hands. "Do you have any vibranium? I've got some titanium I'm not using. If the problem is just to get them to mix together, I can see if I can talk them into it."

~

Tony watches Mike figure out the reactor simply by looking at it and genuinely looks impressed, "Yeah. I built the first one from spare parts in a cave." Pointing at the smaller version, there's been a huge Reactor at Stark Industries since the seventies.

"I tried constructing a containment field, but it completely changes the magnetic focus requiring twice the power to achieve the current output." He nods towards the reactor, "That's the fifth version. I've already tried changing the matrix.. it worked, but only short term. I've bypassed the radioactivity by housing it in the titanium field and setting." Tapping a finger against the huge port in the center of his chest, "again, temporary solutions to a much bigger problem."

Once the reactor is returned to his hand he again lifts his shirt and sets it back into place in his chest. Once the brackets are clicked, he lets his shirt fall and takes a breath that sounds mildly like relief, "Yes, I do. A small bit. I've been holding onto it until I've found the binding element necessary for the titanium alloy… At least one that doesn't render both inert for my purposes. Right now I'm working with digital reproductions."

Snapping his fingers, the data he's been collecting and working on comes up on an otherwise invisible monitor. Which he then pushes over to Mike as if it's right there in the air.

~

Pepper Potts looks at the images Tony just summoned, as if having images appear floating in thin air were normal and everyday. Maybe they are here in Stark Tower. After all, she talks to the AI that lives in the structure of the building, and quite possibly (though she can't prove it) has Fae sneaking into her office at night. "Does this binding element have to be another metal, or can it be something else?" Pepper is clearly not a metallurgist, and she's asking kind of randomly because she knows she knows nothing about this.

~

Mike looks at the monitor, tilting it slightly to get a better angle … it's technology, and it's designed to be manipulated.

"I see … what I was thinking of doing is just to convince the atoms to take up their position in the crystal lattice and leave the unobtanium spots empty. It'd look like this," Mike says, putting up his own hologram, the lattice somewhat denser than the one Tony had been working on, with the titanium in a different geometry to the vibranium - which is a weird metal in its own right. The structure he shows has holes blinking faintly green.

"This is the strongest crystal, but we could bump up the titanium to vibranium ratio and get a stiffer but more fragile structure like this one."

~

Tony glances over to Pepper, poor Pepper, who probably has to deal with him babbling on like this quite regularly. He offers her a small smile and bobs his head from side to side, "In short terms, what we're doing is baking a cake. In this case, one metal represents the mix and the other represents the milk.. and we're trying to figure out the egg to hold them together." Motioning up to Mike's hologram and scooting to the edge of his seat as he's very clearly, but very temporarily entranced.

"Huh. And you're just going to have a conversation with them? Sup Titanium… I got this friend Vibranium… you two are so much alike.." Chemistry humor. "..but you should hang out. Get frisky."

Tony flops back on the couch and considers, "I… you're a genius." Said to Mike… or Pepper.. maybe himself. Probably all three, with a healthy helping of the latter. "If they wont do what I want them to, I'll just change the molecular structure." It wont be as conversationally charged as talking them together, but he'll get to build a particle accelerator. Now he'll just have to contact Maria so he can get that energy booster they took from Loki.


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