liverletdie: (sᴜᴘᴇʀɪᴏʀ | What I'd become)
Tᴏɴʏ "sᴜᴘᴇʀɪᴏʀ ɪʀᴏɴ ᴍᴀɴ" Sᴛᴀʀᴋ ([personal profile] liverletdie) wrote in [community profile] maskormenacelogs2016-03-27 11:08 am

[OPEN] Listen as the crowd would sing

WHO: Tony Stark and YOU
WHERE: Everywhere
WHEN: Throughout the pullpoint plot
WHAT: Actual piece of shit Tony Stark
WARNINGS: Likely. Will add as they come up.


He'd always thought he was immune to power fluctuations. He'd certainly protected himself against things like EMP blasts. He'd certainly safeguarded his sensitive nanites -- the part of him that made him more than the average human -- he'd made sure that he wouldn't fall victim to something that would hurt him ever again. Ever since the EMP blast back in the City, it was a concern. But that didn't mean the after-effects were so easily wiped away. Or ignored. Slaked off like rain on a tin -- or in this case iron -- roof. Instead, the after-effects were what he had to worry about, but it was so minor, so small, it felt like no change at all. Like a shift in awareness more than anything else.

The suit he was working on -- just another one of his multiples for use -- the shift was enough for him to decide painting it wouldn't be necessary. Bright was better, right? Maybe an adjustment here or there. It wasn't the same -- not the same at all -- without the symbiote attached, but with old and new memories coming into a sharp clarity -- he understood that the porter wouldn't be such a kind benefactor. He was fortunate he had even this low-grade, backwards, old version of the extremis virus. He could have gone with none, couldn't he? No symbiote, but that wasn't really a concern. He wouldn't have the same worry, would he? Nobody knew here -- he didn't have to worry about Murdock investigating, he didn't have to worry about Potts and her interference, or -- himself -- he took a quick mental scan. Something to sift through file after file, looking for backup after backup, but there was nothing. Absolutely clean and clear.

The finishing touches were revealed in the morning -- he'd worked through the night to finish, but it was easy when your lab was built to respond to every thought, every touch, every idle direction -- it was beautiful, how his brain could predict his needs even now. It was how he spent Sunday -- Easter Sunday -- soaring over a good portion of the import cities. All of them. He didn't need one suit -- he had multiples. Three -- in Nonah, Heropa, and Maurtia falls, he unfortunately had to use relics from a past. Red and gold frame that soared over the sky, watching with renewed eyes, transmitting directly into his visual cortex. De Chima, he was in personally, white chrome that reflected the concrete and steel beneath him. In each one, there was little trouble, but that didn't keep him from stopping occasionally, looking around -- each suit would stop periodically -- it was like he was there personally, in each one. He'd look around, before he took off again, eventually finding trouble only later at night, a random mugger or two -- surprisingly quiet, all things considered.

Then again, he wasn't there to stop crimes. He was observing the lay of the land with renewed eyes.


The restaurant he'd invited the psychiatrist was on the expensive side. Exceptionally expensive side. With a full bar and some of the priciest food that small plates could hold. The kind of place that screamed "status" in a way Chilton would likely appreciate more than going just anywhere. Inside, the conversation was low, the kind of place where business deals happened, and the upper-crust looked down on the waiters, even if they never said a word.

Stark leaned back in his chair, casual and relaxed, evaluating. He'd read his book -- the one about Walter White -- a quick skim, and then a second and third skim just to be sure. It took him all of 3 minutes. Sometimes he wondered why he'd been pretending at all. There was no point, it held him back. He watched Chilton with sharp eyes, the confident curl of his lips was probably too self-satisfied, too all-knowing, but he couldn't wipe it off his face. He didn't suffer embarrassment easily, for certain.

"Have you decided what you'd like? They have a surprisingly large selection -- normally places like this are restricted, don't you think?"

He knew what he was getting. A thumb brushed against the liquor selection on the menu.


The plan originally had been to talk about the projected StarkPhone and its peripherals, but... that was so petty, wasn't it? Another consumer electronics when there was capital here to be worked with. Why not do something big? Why not do something outlandish? Different. Something to shock and awe -- to make the world stand up and listen to not just him but the imports as a whole. He'd been twiddling his thumbs, he'd been sitting on his laurels, and doing nothing that would actually achieve. Doing nothing that would make an impact or a difference. Nothing that would change the damn future he so strongly protected.

That had to change, didn't it?

"I'd like to thank you all for coming out here today," he opened, before launching into a long speech about StarkTech's direction. It was a nice one, too. All about improving and changing the future. The direction they could take in that -- pharmaceuticals, human improvement, using technology to make humanity better. To improve and empower -- that was the key. He grinned, when he said that. The logo was only an "E" -- he'd deal with it later. This was a stump speech, a preliminary proposal. Full of hope, teases, and no solid details. He'd have to refine the formula first.

" -- And if you have questions, feel free to ask them. Now, or... one on one during the little soirée I've arranged. No need to have one of these things if we can't enjoy ourselves, am I right?"

Of course he was. He already knew he was right. He always was.

❮ DAY 4-6 | VARIOUS ❯

The rest of the week was almost a blur. Alternated between time spent in StarkTech -- inventing or dealing with investors, storming the hallways and looking like a man on a mission -- or going through meetings, a glass of champagne or a martini in hand like it was normal. Few had dared to even point that out, but one look normally quieted them. If he wasn't at StarkTech, he was out. Either at bars or nightclubs, a gathering readily, he threw his money out like it was water, amassing crowds to dance and drink with -- and follow him home.

Or, during the day, he might be found soaring over the Cities, in white-chrome armor, never painted and polished so it reflected the world back from him, stopping everything from petty crime to just standing around, speaking with the media, citizens, anyone who'd listen -- always magnanimous and pleasant -- the smile on his face was, perhaps, only slightly friendly.

[ Please feel free to tag in with whatever! If you'd like to work something out, you can always find me on plurk @[ profile] hundreds! ]
superposition: ((ponders the gate))


[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-07 06:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit had spent a good portion of the week tracking down temporal disturbances with some experimental equipment he and the Doctor had dashed together. But by the time he'd gotten the precision tuned finely enough to narrow the source to "somewhere within a hundred-odd miles of De Chima," the disturbances themselves, growing weaker with every second that passed since the event, were getting difficult to pick up. What brought him to StarkTech was that and a hunch - Newt and Hermann were the first people he'd been able to confirm were affected, so maybe their workplace would have clues as to how it happened. Or be how it happened, for that matter. What went on behind those doors was something of a mystery. But there wasn't much, if anything, to make the place actually suspect. It really was just a hunch.

And so it was that an employee of Starrware came to snoop around a competitor's headquarters, on a Saturday, scanning the area with a handheld device not unlike a tricorder, without making any real effort to hide it. Evidently, he forgot to consider how bad that might look in context.
superposition: ((vulnerability))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-08 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
At first Qubit assumed Stark coming out of the elevator all of a sudden was a coincidence, albeit an unexpected one. He hadn't really expected the man to be at work on a Saturday, despite being the CEO - Karen doesn't often work weekends, after all, and she's about the only other CEO he's acquainted with. And actually, he was pleased to see him at first. If anybody knew what went on in this building, it was him, so he might be able to help with the investigation.

And then the threat of arrest flew in out of left field. For a second, Qubit was visibly stunned. "What?" He wasn't doing anything wrong. The building was open, they were still within normal business hours, so he wasn't trespassing. Was it - oh, crap, it was the scanner, wasn't it? Did Stark think he was spying? His brow furrowed, indignant. As if he needed to steal Stark's technology, honestly... Maybe he should have called ahead, in hindsight, but it's just a bad habit of his. Easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

Stark was a reasonable man, though, wasn't he? Just a week ago they'd been starting to hash out a collaboration on a charity project. Reasonably, Qubit could easily have been here to discuss that. Something felt off about this, but he couldn't put his finger on what. Still, Stark was bound to understand if he just explained honestly what he was up to, right?

"No no no, it's nothing like that," he said quickly. "This is - I'm just scanning for spacetime distortions. It's that issue with imPorts getting displaced in their timelines. I've narrowed down the source of the incident to the De Chima area - not too surprising, given the sort of research we get up to here - so I thought perhaps -"

He was starting to ramble and gesticulate, as usual when he tried to explain anything, but it's about here that the gesturing happened to line his scanner up with Tony, and the device let out a high-pitched squeal as it passed him, like a metal detector on the beach. That grabbed Qubit's attention, and he stopped and pointed the scanner directly at Stark, the whine resuming steadily as he did so. Yeah, no doubt about it.

"Wait, you're affected, too," he observed, perplexed. Why hadn't he said anything-?
superposition: ((you're not the boss of me))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-09 06:48 pm (UTC)(link)
It's not "nothing," Qubit thought. All right, the displacement might not have impacted Stark's daily life that much, but what about everyone else? Dozens of imPorts had had their lives upended, and there were even scattered reports of normally peaceful ones going rogue - an issue that made him particularly uncomfortable because of reasons.

For that matter, why was Stark upset about it? He was trying to disguise his irritation, but Qubit hadn't missed that darkening of his expression. For some reason, he hadn't wanted anyone to find out. But the fact he could wave it off like it wasn't a problem meant it wasn't the real problem. Qubit was well acquainted with the practice of hiding big secrets behind little secrets - he'd been doing it himself for years.

Tony Stark was hiding a big secret.

Wary now, he held his head up and chose his words carefully. This was a power play, and it was important to establish he wasn't intimidated. "Privacy isn't the issue here," he said. "I'm only interested in your research insofar as I want to rule it out as the cause. As bad as an incident like this would look for your company, you must realize a cover-up would only look worse. I'm not accusing you, naturally - but if it turns out you did have something to do with this, I'd be glad to help you fix it. Quietly, no harm done."

All truth. No formal accusation, framing himself as an ally, offering him an out - but not leaving out the tacit implication that if he wasn't allowed to help, he could easily go to someone else with his speculations.
Edited 2016-04-09 18:52 (UTC)
superposition: ((tight-lipped))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-12 01:23 am (UTC)(link)
Qubit wasn't an easy man to intimidate, for better or worse. Scarier guys named Tony had tried. He was actually starting to be glad he hadn't called ahead - if he had, the discussion would most likely be over already, without any suspicion raised.

"Must have slipped my mind," he replied, feigning nonchalance. "To be fair, though, if you're worried about someone finding sensitive information from the lobby, you might want to reconsider leaving the doors open."

Of course, Stark just saying his company wasn't involved didn't guarantee anything. But before he could pursue that line of questioning, Stark beat him to the punch. It wasn't exactly what he wanted - a guided tour wasn't the same as an accompanied look around - but it was close. Logic said it was worth a try.

His gut said it was a trap. It occurred to him, peripherally, that he hadn't told anyone where he was going today. The shriveled husk of optimism that remained to him weakly told him he was being paranoid, that probably it would just be a calm look around, they'd find nothing and it would be fine. His optimism was a shriveled husk for a reason, though. Better paranoid than dead.

Realistically, though, he might not be at that much of a disadvantage here. He didn't know what Stark was capable of, but Stark was unlikely to know the full extent of Qubit's abilities, either. If worse came to worst, he still had his teleportals, and he'd be surrounded by electrical systems the whole time. If you're going to ambush Qubit, a high-tech laboratory is about the worst possible place to do it.

He weighed his options only for a moment before smiling, tight-lipped, and nodding curtly. "Yes, that'll work. Thank you, I appreciate it."
Edited 2016-04-12 01:31 (UTC)
superposition: ((what are we talking about?))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-12 04:15 am (UTC)(link)
Qubit followed him into the elevator, his smile strained but still present. He knew if he opened his mouth at this point he'd say something he'd regret later. For heaven's sake, he didn't need the condescending attitude. He wasn't a child on a field trip, he was a grown man voluntarily walking into what he was increasingly certain was a trap.

As the doors closed and the cab began to descend, something else seemed off. It was only a second later that he realized they'd skipped a step - nowhere had Stark pressed a button, or flashed a badge, or entered his authorization. To all appearances, he'd never verified to the machine who he was or where he was going. It didn't give him anything conclusive - there were a number of ways you could pull that off, with varying degrees of effectiveness - but he filed it away nonetheless.

The long ride down was silent and tense. Qubit spent it watching Stark and thinking about exit strategies. Did he really believe Stark was behind the incident? Not particularly, even now. But there was definitely something here he wasn't supposed to see. He hoped he was wrong, but... he was seldom wrong.

Qubit stepped out into the hallway, but paused there under the pretext of starting up his detector again. In reality, he mostly wanted to let Stark pass him. At this point, he wasn't crazy about the idea of turning his back on the guy. "These are the main labs?" he asked.
superposition: (So what difference does it make?)

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-12 06:01 am (UTC)(link)
Qubit followed him down the hallway, keeping half an eye on his detector as they went. It let out quiet squeaks periodically, but not more than expected. There were plenty of distortions here, but all of them were just residuals. With the exception, naturally, of Stark himself, who stood out like a sore temporal thumb.

He couldn't see inside the labs, unfortunately, although the familiar buzz of electronics grew and receded in the back of his mind as they passed by each door. The only things visible were himself and Stark, reflected endlessly back and forth between the dark windows. They were standing in a literal hall of mirrors. Well, that wasn't ominous or anything. Qubit didn't linger too long at any given window, nor say much beyond one-word acknowledgements of the litany of names.

Before long, they were left with just one door, labeled Tony Stark. His personal lab. No windows, no visible locks. The belly of the beast, as it were.

He didn't expect Stark to just open it up and let him in, of course, any more than he'd done for the other labs. He'd need an excuse. Maybe if he cranked up the sensitivity on his detector...?
Edited 2016-04-12 06:03 (UTC)
superposition: (I think I can rely on you)

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-12 07:17 am (UTC)(link)
Oh. Well, that eliminated the need for an excuse. Okay, sure, he'd take that. Stark was obviously getting irritated, so he'd need to make this quick. "Much obliged," he said, returning a little of the annoyance in his tone, and stepped inside after him.

And inside... oh. Oh, wow.

Aesthetically, Stark's lab was... well, it wasn't that unlike his own. Not the one he had now, obviously, which wasn't much bigger than a high school classroom, but the one he'd had back home. (Before another Tony tore it to shreds, anyway.) Huge, spacious, grand, sleek... And there was actually room for everything. He didn't have machinery crammed into corners or metal cabinets overflowing with junk components. And the tech!

Qubit finally pulled ahead of Stark to begin a slow walk into the room, his fascination momentarily overwhelming his caution. His eyes lit up, but with what, he couldn't say. Admiration mingled with jealousy and nostalgia and an unexpected, acute pang of homesickness... It was probably obvious he was paying no attention at all to the detector.

Idiot, don't get distracted!

Right. Right. Logic pulled him back to himself. He glanced back at Stark briefly, just to make sure he was still there (and that he had a little distance on him), then turned his attention back to the matter at hand. Detector. Right. Naturally, there were no distortions in here apart from Tony and his wake, which effectively answered that suspicion beyond reasonable doubt.

But Qubit wasn't satisfied with that. Stark had only let him in here because he didn't think he'd be able to find anything incriminating. Or, alternatively, because he wanted home-field advantage. But either way, Qubit was sure he was being underestimated here. Plenty of people made that mistake once; few made it twice.

"I like what you've done with the place," he said.

It didn't take long for his attention to be drawn to the suit. It was hard not to take note of it, given that it was the shiniest thing in the room. "What's this? New armor?" he said, pointing to the chrome monstrosity as he headed toward it and its brothers on the wall. One of these things was not like the others.
superposition: ((william hartnell eat your heart out))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-15 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit stopped a few meters away from the suit, leaning in slightly for a closer look. It was an interesting piece not just in its own right, but as a tangible illustration of a key difference between the two of them. He and Stark were both technical geniuses, but where Stark channeled his energy into the power armor, into Iron Man, Qubit generally focused his into problems that couldn't be solved by hitting them harder.

Not to say it wasn't intriguing technically as well, however. He could feel the gist of the hardware, if not all the details, even with it powered down. Repulsors, sensors, actuators... all of it seriously advanced stuff. He could respect Stark's skill, at least, if not his attitude. But... the weapons systems were awfully heavy for a rig that size. Definitely heavier than the ones in the disassembled suits on the wall. What did he need with that kind of firepower...?

After a moment's examination, he turned back to Stark and shrugged. "Not bad," he said, noncommittally. Feigning disinterest, he began moseying away from the suit and toward the lab tables. "A bit overkill, maybe, but not bad."

The detector was nearly silent, so he only took cursory glances at it as he walked. It was patently obvious by now that Stark wasn't involved in the incident, but if not that, then what was he trying to hide? Most of what he saw out here wasn't terribly noteworthy - mobile phones, machine tools, a paper blueprint... Wait a second, paper was definitely out of place in a lab like this. He steered his path gently past it, not directly next to it but close enough to get an idea what it was about, if brief and upside-down. Another weapons design, this one even bigger and uglier. What could he possibly need that kind of firepower for?

He was still missing a crucial piece of the puzzle, but the image was starting to come together.

Finally Qubit stopped, turned off the detector and pocketed it. "Well," he said. "You're right. Nothing but residuals. But that does beg another question." He straightened to his full height and grasped his lapels. "I'd clearly worn out my welcome before I walked in the front door. What about all this don't you want me to see? I don't suppose it's related to those weapon systems even an army wouldn't need?

"Mr Stark... just what are you planning?"
superposition: ((you won't like me when i'm angry))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-17 05:39 am (UTC)(link)
Touched a nerve, had he? Stark's reaction pretty much confirmed his suspicions. The door wasn't a problem, even if he'd actually needed to use it. But the suit - which, in a blur, was suddenly right behind him -

Instinct took hold. Qubit's hand flew to his watch. The controls were only partly psionic, but it was more than enough to make targeting and activation happen faster than a speeding bullet, especially within line of sight. A shining portal appeared next to him and he slipped through, but its twin was only a few yards away, still within the lab, roughly equidistant from both Stark and his chrome-plated buddy. This didn't put him outside the suit's range of motion, obviously, but he was far enough that catching him was a matter of who was quicker on the draw.

And Qubit was damned quick on the draw. He had to be, to have survived this long.

"I can see myself out, thank you," he snapped, starting to raise his voice. His mind raced, in the meantime. Elsewhere - that might not be a bad idea. But where? If Qubit took them someplace public, where Tony couldn't attack him without hurting his precious image... he ran the risk of Tony abandoning the image and eliminating witnesses. No. But someplace remote, and it could be years before anybody found his body - or whatever was left of it. (Would he revive? Maybe. But that armor probably had enough firepower to incinerate him, nanites and all, and he wasn't sure how fast he could take it apart.)

There really was no good place to have this discussion. Which meant there was no better place. At least in here, he was effectively armed.

"I don't know whether you're going for supervillainy here, or just trying to make a tidy profit off World War Three," he went on, with undisguised contempt. "But either way, you're a disgrace." To the imPort community, to the field of engineering, and not least, to himself.
superposition: ((pushed to the brink))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-18 04:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah. So now the mask came off, and so did the gloves.

Of course Qubit knew what it was like. He'd known that feeling all his life. Even among friends, he usually felt like he was surrounded by idiots. In fact, Earth-β was the first place he'd really found people who could keep up with him intellectually (and weren't Modeus or aliens with minds beyond four-dimensional comprehension).

The rest of the speech was all too familiar, though. Being tired of self-restraint. Tired of using his powers for the good of people who, from the heights you can reach, look like ants. Insignificant, fragile, ordinary people. People who should be grateful for your help, who should adore you. Yeah, he'd heard this before. But at least this time, it wasn't from the mouth of a friend.

Qubit remained where he was, watching him through narrow eyes. Is this what it might have looked like, if the tables were turned? If he were the one who'd gone rogue? He couldn't say he'd never imagined such a scenario. How he'd do it. Or rather, how he'd do it if he lost all regard for human life. He didn't doubt he'd be nearly as terrifying as the Plutonian. He could be anywhere on Earth instantly. He could put every nuclear plant in the world into meltdown within an hour, probably. He could black out the power grid in half the country with a snap of his fingers, and he knew where to target to do it. He'd be able to plunge the world into chaos without firing a shot.

It was a dangerous road, all too easy to start down, but impossible to turn back from. It was the entire reason he held himself to such a high moral standard. There was so little to separate men from monsters.

Never again.

Tony was chugging hard liquor straight from the bottle now, with genuinely astounding speed. A normal person would have been unconscious and/or vomiting their guts out after half that much, but here he was, apparently unaffected. What was he, anyway?

Maybe because his attention was mostly on Stark, as the bottle broke, the armor managed to get the jump on him. Qubit found his arms painfully pinned, and it sent a momentary shock of alarm through him. He'd pushed far enough, come close enough to the truth, that Tony was actually going to try and kill him over it.

Try being the operative word.

"So that's how it is?" he shouted. Logic might still have his actions, but he let his anger out in his words. "You're going to take over the world, remake it in your own image? I can tell you right now, that's not going to work. You can be the smartest man in the world, and there'll still be variables you won't have accounted for."

Like, for instance, the fact that he was using a robot to restrain a guy whose power included making robots fall apart by looking at them funny. Someone hadn't done his homework. Qubit didn't make his move yet, though. Not until he could see the whites of Tony's eyes.
superposition: ((laying down the law))

[personal profile] superposition 2016-04-21 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Qubit's lip curled, and it wasn't entirely at the stench of vodka on Tony's breath. "The hell you will."

He acted fast. Building machines was his expertise, honed over years of study and practice, but breaking them, that was as easy as breathing. A slight metallic crunch, not loud, was the only warning before the suit's arms fell off at the shoulders, freeing him (and his lungs).

One arm dropped to the floor, but the other Qubit caught with his elbow, grabbed by the wrist, and swung, using his body as counterweight. A pro baseballer he was not, so this wasn't an aimed shot - all he needed it to do was knock Tony off-balance long enough to slip away. As he moved, though, he kept hold of the arm, the shoulder end dragging on the floor. It was bloody heavy, true, but it was parts.