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Age Of Ultron For Real [M]

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Offline Aries Jordan

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Tony didn't dignify Steve's question with an answer, but he was instantly rubbed the wrong way by Lunella's.  He bent over sideways so that his face hung at her level, not quite upside-down.  "Because Vision is our friend," he said.  "And because Vision can take Ultron out, which will give us the time and cover we need to find more Pym Particles and get the rest of the Stones so that we can bring back everybody who was murdered in the Snap.  Do you have a problem with that?"

Bruce quietly told Steve, "Yeah, we have everything we need."

Steve just sighed and waited for the explosion he expected from Lunella.


Offline EvilCopepod

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When he said that Vision could take Ultron out, everything seemed clear to Lunella, and her expression tightened, her cheeks flushing a bit.

"I do." Peter looked confused by this, but he didn't say anything. "Hasn't Stark Industries been tryingto find Pym Particles for over 40 years? You think that we haven't been trying to find more Pym Particles? Our best chance isn't to try and find them, it's to find out how to recreate them or find their source. With the amount of them we have left, we can't risk doing that." Since she wasn't okay with dooming another alternate universe to try and bring back the people that had been lost here.

"Either you're stupider than I thought." She stepped forward, "Or you threw out our best chance to bring everyone back just so you could kill Ultron."


Offline Aries Jordan

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Tony was getting red in the face.  "First of all, no, I did not inherit all of my old man's obsessions.  Second --"

"Tony.  You're talking to a child," Steve said.

"She wants to be talked to like an adult!"  Tony hadn't been five minutes in Lunella's company, but he knew that much about her.

"Fine.  You're acting like a child," said Steve.

Tony ignored this.  "You're wrong, Sweet Pea.  Thanks to Parker here, we know where and when more particles are gonna show up.  That's why we need to buy some time.  And finally, does anyone have a problem with taking out Ultron right now?"  This question was suddenly directed more at Cap than at Lunella and was accompanied by a raised voice.  "Because I was under the impression, correct me if I'm wrong, that was a priority!"

"Tony, don't make me jab you with another sedative," Bruce said.

"You're not wrong," Steve said, quietly holding Tony's glare.  "We can't leave Ultron in power.  Or in a position to threaten anybody.  But that doesn't mean kill him."

Tony gritted his teeth, but the conversation he'd just had with Ultron was fresh in his mind and helped him quell his agitation.  He took a deep breath and visibly relaxed.  "Agreed."


Offline EvilCopepod

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"What I meant was that you can't find them even if you tried." She kept herself from making a comment about his daddy issues- another thing he and Ultron had in common.

"It is highly improbable that everything in his time and place are the same as here. What did you do about Ultron? How did you deal with him before you got the Pym Particles?" She asked Peter.

"Well, Ultron wasn't actually a problem at all--" Peter started.

"Then it's not going to work! The time and place where they show up is going to be different! If it even happens at all!" She didn't answer about the priority, because it definitely wasn't hers.

"We don't know that." Peter tried to say as calmly as possible, not wanting to consider what she was saying. "Um... did I miss something?" he asked when both Tony and Steve were against killing the AI. "We aren't going to?"


Offline Aries Jordan

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Tony and Steve were still locking eyes, neither of them quite sure that the confrontation had been resolved.  The bristling tension between them eased off slowly, replaced on Steve's part by a wary surprise, and on Tony's by a wry disbelief. 

"Are you really okay with it?" Steve asked.

"Are you?" Tony responded.  He slid his gaze over to Peter.  "Ultron is what he is because of me," he said tightly.   His encounter with the 2015 newborn Ultron had confirmed what Ultron had told him on M'Atta Gaskar.

"And he's evolving," Steve added.  "We had to destroy him last time.  It was him or the entire human race.  But now... he's committed atrocities, yes, but he's also trying to help.  And he isn't threatening the whole planet, just us.  We shouldn't kill him unless we have to."

Tony discovered Lunella still scowling right under his nose, too short to get in his face the way she wanted.  "It's gonna work,.  The triggering event has already occurred." That was  Lang going into the Quantum Realm during the Snap.  True, Ultron's involvement might interfere somehow with Lang coming back, but -- "If the cause doesn't lead to the effect, we'll find a way to make it happen."  He had invented a quantum GPS.  How hard could it be to find Lang? 

"But to do that --"  He swung away from Lunella and swept Bruce and Peter with his gaze -- "we need time, we need Vision.   Where are we with that?"

"We've got everything except Dr. Cho's Regeneration Cradle," Bruce said.  "JARVIS has located one, but we'll have to go and get it, and we can't do that without Ultron noticing, so we should set up everything else first and be ready to roll.

"Wait a minute," Tony put in.  "What about -- didn't you tell me Vision was killed right here in Wakanda?  Not Snapped, killed.  Where is his body?"

"Tony, no," Cap warned.

"It's here," Bruce said.  He touched a control and a drawer slid out of the laboratory wall.  Tony walked over and looked down queasily on his old friend.

A literal hole had been ripped in the android's forehead, where Thanos had brutally torn the Mind Stone out.  Vision's expression was one of shock and pain.  The color was gone from his face, leaving it an inorganic gray.  Even his eyes were dead, fish-belly white.

"You can't use it,"Steve said.  "Vision had a living will.  A do-not-resucitate order."


Offline EvilCopepod

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"Oh, alright." Peter said, trying to be nonchalant about Tony's admittance to making a mistake.

"And unnecessarily over-complicated. I doubt you'll be able to find a way to make it happen." she said firmly. "But I might be able to do something about it." She went to her bag, opening it up and starting to write down a bunch of notes.

 "We'll have to prepare for that." If he figured out what they were doing, he was sure Ultron wouldn't hold back from attacking them anymore. Peter couldn't look at Vision, he didn't want to see him, so he stayed where he was. "If... if he said that, why's he in a drawer in a lab?" He couldn't keep a bit of accusation out of his voice. The only reason he should be in here instead of being buried properly was if they were trying to bring him back, and it felt wrong to think he'd just been tucked away like that.


Offline Aries Jordan

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"You do that, Junior Miss," Tony told Lunella, before he walked away.  "I'll be fascinated to see what you come up with." 

On hearing Peter's question, he glanced over at Cap and Bruce with raised eyebrows, because he was very glad for once to hear an accusation that was directed at somebody other than him.  Having been on Titan, then stranded in space, then imprisoned by Ultron, Tony couldn't be blamed for the current disposition of Vision's body.

"Nobody knew what to do with him," Bruce said.  "This was right after the Snap, you know.  We didn't have Vision's last will and testament handy.  The Wakandans put him here, thinking maybe somebody could revive him.

"Then after we found out about the directive, we still didn't know what do to.  He's got no next of kin to consult.  You can't cremate vibranium.  If we buried him, somebody might dig him up and use him as a weapon.  We talked about a memorial service, but we were still hoping to bring back the Snapped first... like Wanda, she'd want to be there."  He looked down sadly upon the lifeless gray face.  "This seemed like the safest place in the meantime."

"Put him away," Tony said, his eyes stinging.  "Let's set up, and then get that Cradle."

For the next half-hour, he and Bruce and JARVIS busied themselves with 3-D schemata and virtual modeling, working out the details and ensuring an adequate power supply.  Peter's assistance was welcomed, and Tony occasionally accosted Lunella to see how she was up to and if she needed anything.  It occurred to to him to wonder if his own offspring would be anything like her, which made him more interested in what she was doing.

Steve, meanwhile, went to tell Okoye, Natasha, Nebula, Rocket, Carol and Rhodey what was going on and to make sure the Wakandans approved of the plan -- since it required their cooperation and their vibranium.


Offline EvilCopepod

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"There has to be a better place to put him." Peter said, "Can't you bury him in Wakanda?" From what he'd seen, they were good at keeping vibranium from getting out into the world.

Peter was eager to help with the modeling and details, but he also assisted by asking a lot of questions about their choices. Lunella was initially suspicious of Tony coming over to look, covering her notebook with a hand when he would come over. But she only did that once or twice, getting too engrossed in her work. She was writing multiple complex equations along with drawing out schematics for machines-- all of which used mundane and easy to find materials rather than the actual parts that would normally be used to build them.

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Ultron had planned to think on what Lunella said and ignore what Steve had insisted on. However, he couldn't stop thinking about what Captain America had said. He also wasn't able to deny it, as it felt like a lie to even if he had never put any thought into it. He did this by reviewing footage of himself interacting with her, then just watching footage of her to see if it elicited any emotional response in him. Ultron had reviewed all the recordings available of Tony since he had returned, and what happened right before he was taken. He had looked so hard for whoever had provided him with the copy of JARVIS, but none of the times had he ever watched Pepper specifically.

He didn't go through his usual formalities before going to see Pepper, he didn't ask if she was available to see him, he didn't knock, and he didn't apologize when he opened her bedroom door, flooding it with light. He stayed in the doorway and pulled up a holographic screen from his arm like he had for her before. This time, it was a blown up image of her as she was holding the back up disc, right before she was putting it into Tony's pocket.

"Why do you have that?" he asked, his voice hollow and quavering. His expression was a mix of confusion and disbelief, staring at her with optics wide open, like she could somehow tell him that what he was seeing was wrong.


Offline Aries Jordan

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"If Vision's directive was intended to prevent him from being used as an undead AI weapon, we can't just bury  him, even here," Tony said.  His jaw trembled slightly.  "He needs to be... decommissioned first."  He used the technical term because it sounded better than "torn apart and rendered useless."

"Let's reprogram the synapses to work connectively this time," Bruce suggested as they modeled Vision's old brain with Kimoyo beads.

"Why didn't we think of that before?" Tony wondered, pouring himself another cup of Wakandan coffee.

Bruce glowered at Peter and then at Lunella, as if he thought they might have something to say.

((Tony would probably know what Luna is designing, but you have to tell ME.  :)  ))

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Fortunately, Ultron didn't wake Pepper.  She had roused from her nap twenty minutes earlier and was sitting zazen on a yoga mat, doing deep breathing exercises.  And Ultron's clumping arrival outside her door gave her a second or two of warning.

She peered at the image and opened her eyes wider to take in Ultron's distress, and took a minute to process both of them.  The latter was puzzling.

"That was... right before you arrived?  Yes."  Her posture and breathing were keeping her calm for the moment, although she knew there was reason to fear.  "Someone called me and said there was an alien ship coming straight at me.  I was alone.  FRIDAY was offline.  Tony's armor was damaged.  I needed help.  I knew where JARVIS' backup file was.  But you broke in before I had time to install it."


Offline EvilCopepod

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Spider-Man didn't say anything else about it, knowing what Tony meant and not wanting to think about that. Lunella was working on a device to detect specific traces of interdimensional activity, but instead of making a program to work on a tablet or device, she was basing it on an Etch A Sketch. Despite seeming ludicrous, her math matched up along with all the designs so that it would actually be functional.

Peter kept his mouth extra tight when Tony made the comment, even before Bruce gave him a look, but of course the girl had something to say:

"You should stick to piloted suits and UI. You're not advanced enough for AI."

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"So you gave it to him." The image disappeared and he clenched his fists hard, "You didn't know then, but you knew after-- and you--" He took in a deep breath despite not actually needing to, "You didn't tell me." He started to appear agitated and frantic, his frame shaking a bit. "Of course you kept it from me. The deal was with you not him." 


Offline Aries Jordan

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Tony could read his own arrogant adolescent genius in Lunella, though she was significantly younger than he was when he'd developed attitude

"You've taken so much crap you have to throw it at everybody else, huh?"  He wiped a tablet, manually copied Lunella's design into it, and offered it to her.  "Try this UI."  He refrained from mentioning how impressive it was to do what she did with an Etch-A-Sketch.

Wakandan techs supplied the vibranium in the specs that Bruce requested, so he assumed Steve had gotten clearance from Okoye.  "I think we're ready for the Cradle," he told Tony.  "Who are we sending after it, and, uh, what precautions are we taking here?  Should we tell the whole Wakandan army to be on standby?"

"Done," Steve said as he entered.  "Everyone's deployed and expecting a drone army to materialize anywhere at anytime.  Carol, Rhodey, Rocket and the Wakandan Air Force are ready to deal with incoming missiles."

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"Of course I did," Pepper agreed.  She was still puzzled by Ultron's agitation. "This is..." she indicated his shaking reactions with a gesture.  "Are you suffering from cognitive dissonance?  Were you really expecting me to behave differently from the way I behaved?"


Offline EvilCopepod

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"Being polite doesn't get me anywhere." she said back, so there was no reason to force it. She took the tablet, "How do I know you're not going to steal my work?" she asked, suspicious.

"Let's look at what we have to go through." Peter said, "Ultron probably raised security after finding out we could teleport. And we need to do it fast." It didn't matter how much defense they had in Wakanda, there only needed to be a small amount of drones making it through to stop them, and the longer the Wakandans had to fight the more loss of life was possible.

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"I was..." He said, sounding completely shattered. "It makes perfect sense, I mean-- I'm the one causing all the issues for you now. And I... I fell for it... All because I was-- because I felt like you might actually--" He stiffened, his trembling stopped. "All you had to do was buy him time. You just... you made that deal with me so that he could go through with it!" The panels on his cheeks opened up, "All you had to do was keep me from hurting him-!! Keep him alive and working with what you gave him!"

His hurt was completely turning to anger now, "You never cared if we got along-- if we ever worked things out! As soon as he finished and I was destroyed, you'd all get to go back to your normal, happy lives so you could just forget about me again!"


Offline Aries Jordan

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"There's a little gray area in between polite and asshole that seems to work," Tony said.  He tapped his forehead with one finger and said, "I already did."

"Sure."  Bruce reviewed the procedure again with Peter and Tony and with the Wakandan assistants to make sure everybody was practiced in their part and could do it smooth and fast.  Tony also made some adjustments to his nanotech, updating to Mark 50 armor.  It had lasted long enough against Thanos to make him feel pretty confident against Ultron.

"The Cradle is in Seoul," JARVIS said.  "In fact, there are several.  Since they are being used only to heal injured individuals, Ultron is permitting them to operate, under supervision.  I have run the calculations necessary for teleport for the trip there.  I need to know who is going to be in the party to make the calculations for coming back with the extra weight."

"It shouldn't be anybody who's going to be working on Vision, or who is vital to Wakanda's defense," Cap said.  "Natasha, Nebula and I will go."

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"Well, that isn't entirely true," Pepper said.  She hadn't gotten up, but she didn't look away either, she seemed fully absorbed in Ultron's presence.  "You are overestimating my capacity for making plans under stress.  I had no grand strategy.  I didn't remember that I had given the disk to Tony until you reminded me.  I had no idea how... or if... he could escape.  I only hoped that he would."  Her voice shrank.  "Prayed that he would."

As his rage became obvious, she grew frightened, but since there was absolutely nothing she could do about it if he decided to harm her, she still didn't move.  "Oh, don't worry, Ultron," she said.  Trembling possessed her and her wide eyes turned liquid.  "I will never forget you, or what you did to my normal happy life."


Offline EvilCopepod

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"Not when you're my age." she said, in a way that sounded like she was an elderly person talking to someone much younger rather than the other way around. She looked at him coldly at the next thing he said. She placed the tablet onto the ground and started to pack up all of her supplies. "Then it's a good thing I'm not finished. I'm glad I didn't get your stupid scholarship." She muttered, then said to JARVIS. "Can you show me where Okoye had my room, JARVIS?"

"So... no pressure, right?" Peter said sarcastically. "Let's make sure the one we're taking doesn't have anybody in it." He was speaking to JARVIS, not sure if the program would factor that in.

-------------------------------------------------------------

"You can't actually expect me to believe that!" he snapped, "Your normal, happy life? You never had a chance at that-- not being with Stark. From the moment I was conscious, he ensured that I wouldn't either! He didn't make me thinking that I could feel love-- that I could yearn for someone-- anyone to feel genuine compassion for me. I know now that... no one ever will.

"Humanity is deceitful, you will do anything to protect your kin... even at the cost of others. I thought you might be different, but that was expecting too much. You lie when it suits you, and you fear me.. just as the rest of humanity does. Humans aren't capable of growth and change, of evolution.. not on their own.. I was so stupid to think that compassion alone could actually change how you treat the world and those you don't understand."


Offline Aries Jordan

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"I'm not going to steal it, Luna," Tony said, exasperated, but seeing he had pushed her too far.  "Not in the sense of marketing or taking credit or any bullshit like that.  I just memorized it.  I do that automatically, like you do.  And if you didn't get the scholarship, there was some mid-level bureaucrat who needed a transfer to the mail room."

"Certainly, Miss Lafayette," JARVIS said, and lit up a few patches in the floor to show her the way.  "I have located one not in use at the moment."

Steve called Natasha and Nebula to the room.  Natasha looked her resolute, professional self, but Nebula seemed to be walled off behind blue ice.  They put on teleport belts, which JARVIS synched up so that they would work at the same time.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

At this point, Pepper became too terrified to think or answer calmly.  She shrank back against the wall and tried to move away.  "Juh -- Jocasta?" she quavered.  "WADE?"