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Topics - Aries Jordan

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Fandom / Age Of Ultron For Real [M]
« on: July 24, 2019, 05:08:49 PM »
For the first hour after the Avengers left on their mission to confront the genocidal alien who had murdered half of the world, Pepper sat beside Tony, watching him sleep and smoothing back his unkempt dirty hair.  His pallor and weight loss were alarming, but he slept deeply and peacefully, without the uneasiness she was used to and expected even from sedated sleep.  From this, she supposed he had been completely serious when he told Rogers that he was done.  At the very least, he would need a long time of rest and grief and healing. 

But he was far from alone in that.

For the last three weeks, Pepper had alternated between ice-cold efficiency and hour-long crying jags while she dealt with one crisis after another within and outside Stark Industries in the wake of the Snap.  Not knowing whether Tony was alive or dead, losing hope as the weeks passed and he did not come back, she had begun to petrify into numb despair when at last the strange blonde with fire in her eyes had brought down his spaceship and woke her heart into new hope and new anguish.  Like everyone on the planet, she had friends and family members besides Tony to mourn, and very little time to do it, not to mention it seemed wrong to indulge in her own grief when there were so many others who needed help.

Mindful of that, after awhile, she kissed Tony and dug out her phone to get back to work.  Stark Industries, though running with a skeleton crew, was sending relief supplies, technology and food and medical supplies, everywhere, and she had plenty to do. 

A couple more hours passed this way and Tony stayed quiet, an IV running badly-needed fluid and nutrients into him.  Then her phone stopped working.

Pepper didn't panic about this.  Everything following the Snap was unreliable.  The very techs who maintained the cell phone towers had stopped existing.  She sighed and went to look for a laptop she could use instead. 

The Internet was also down, at least locally.  "FRIDAY?" she inquired, and there was no response.  Now she was getting worried.  She was trying a land line phone and finding no dial tone, when suddenly a screen opened up in the middle of the conference and there was a life-sized image of a very fit-looking black woman in red and silver armor with a spear saying, "Hello?"

"Um, hello," Pepper said.  "Who --?"

"No time for pleasantries, Miss Potts," the woman said in a musical East African accent.   "I am General Okoye of Wakanda.  Our satellite network has picked up a ship entering Earth's atmosphere.  It is similar to the one that brought the creatures of Thanos down upon us.  At the same time, we have become aware of a disruption to your communication systems.  Specifically Stark's, I mean.  I think you are in danger there, and if you can leave, you should."

"Oh, my God."  Pepper struggled not to hyperventilate.   "I can't call out.  Can you contact my people at Stark Industries, ask for Happy Hogan, and tell him to get me a plane or a helicopter?"

"I will do that," the woman agreed, and blinked out.

Pepper ran back to Tony.  Thankfully, he was already on a stretcher bed.  She strapped him to it and took out the IV and he was ready to go.  But how, she wondered, could a plane or a helicopter get to them faster than an alien spaceship?  Especially if it was going to attack.  She would have to do something herself.  But what? 

There were two problems.  One, she was blind, deaf and dumb, no communications available.  Two, she was physically defenseless.  Tony would know how to deal with both problems if he were awake; what would he do?

Pepper knew.  With new resolve, her panic choked back, she went to Tony's lab and opened a drawer,  It was full of disks -- backup software, all labeled with the program entities:  FRIDAY, EDITH, JOCASTA, JARVIS, etc.  She grabbed the one labeled JARVIS and ran.  On her way into the control room, she saw the arc reactor patch that he had ripped off and shoved into Cap's hand during his rant.  She grabbed that too.

The Avengers facility had a lot of defenses, Barn Door protocol, etc.  FRIDAY wasn't there to activate them, but of course Tony had put in redundancies and manual overrides.  She slammed down every shielded blast door, leaving only a small, hidden door to the garage unlocked so they could escape that way if rescue arrived in time.

Then she went back to Tony.  She stared at his sleeping face for a moment, drawing courage.  But suddenly there came a terrible sound, something battering against the shields, and it sounded as if every part of the building were being attacked at once.  They were out of time.  Pepper gulped and stuck the JARVIS backup disk into Tony's back pocket -- she didn't have time to use it, and he would probably want to save it.  Then she put the arc reactor patch on her chest and tapped it.

Iron Man's armor blossomed over her.  Or at least, mostly over her.  It was incomplete, she found.  There was a deep puncture hole, spitting little blue sparks, through the abdomen, front and back.  That was where Tony had gotten the angry red scars he was sporting, she realized.  Part of the helmet was also missing, it protected most of her head, but part of her mouth and her dark, frightened eyes were exposed.  It was crippled too -- with FRIDAY gone, flight was offline, and so were the nanobot functions.  She could operate the armor and the weapons, and that was about it. 

It would have to do.  Pepper put herself in front of Tony, facing the door, and waited for something to come through it.

Fandom / All Infinity Stone Sales Are Final (M)
« on: May 14, 2019, 04:16:36 PM »
Although he refused Sam's help, Steve had asked Bucky if he wanted to go.  But his best friend, his eyes still haunted with pain beyond Steve's ability to imagine, and only a hint of the cocky young solider he had been once, declined.  "I don't want to take this version of me back to where it all started, Steve," he said.  "Those memories are the best part of me.  I don't want to ruin them."

So Steve had to say goodbye to him as well as everything else, but at least, he reasoned, he'd get a chance to save some other Bucky and give him the life Stateside that he should have had.  He knew returning the Infinity Stones would not be easy, but after everything they had been through already, he thought there were grounds for optimism.

Except for Tony and for Nat, of course.  Steve was ready for an ordinary life, with ordinary sorrows.  They would be just as heavy as the ones he felt already, but not to his conscience, at least.  So, carrying the case with the six Stones in one hand, Thor's hammer in the other, and his grief on his back where his broken shield should have been, he hit the button on his nanotech glove.  Disappeared from 2023 with the GPS set for 1970, in the woods of the training grounds of Camp Lehigh, NJ, a bare second after he and Tony had vanished.

Indeed, shooting back up to full size, he noticed the summer leaves were still swirling in the breeze that their disappearance had created.  If he'd been a minute sooner, he could have seen Tony again...

Don't go there, Cap.

He'd chosen to do the Stones in chronological order, as it seemed to conserve Pym particles to jump forward rather than back, and he wanted some margin for error.  He set the amazing nanotech suit Tony had designed to look like an army uniform again, but changed the nametag to read Capt. Wilson (since the base's MPs were looking out for a Captain Stevens now).  He was about to walk out into the open when he remembered Mjolnir.  It would look pretty weird to walk around Camp Lehigh with a Norse sledgehammer.  So he set inside the hollow stump of an old tree and kicked some leaves over it.  He didn't have to worry about anyone stealing it but might as well avoid attracting attention anyway.

Then a deep breath, a reminder to "fly casual," and he walked out and headed for the secret SHIELD HQ part of the base, briefcase in hand, once again looking like he knew where he was going.

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