|EVENT: Some Assembly Required I|
|What: Tony Stark's hearing at the Congressional Meeting Rooms (Leads to formation of The Avengers.)|
Ah, press conferences. Lois' bread and butter. She's arrived and flashed her credentials, moving in to secure the Daily Planet chair in the press box. Of course, this means some snarky remarks to OTHER news crews, a few well placed high heeled steps (oops! I'm so sorry about that!), and two sideways wiggle shoulder first manuveurs to get her just the RIGHT spot. In position, Lois smooths her skirt, flicks a lock of hair off the front of her shoulder to her back, and Piccard's her blazer. Lois Lane, Daily Planet, ready for a story. Bring it.
Pepper Potts arrives without Tony, and before the hearing is actually scheduled to begin. She sets her understated velise on one of the chairs at the front of the room, presumably the one immediately next to where Tony will be sitting as she starts subtly shifting things about, moving a microphone stand closer, a tray of water and glasses farther, and so on. Once she is apparently satisfied with the 'accomodations', she pulls a tablet computer from her velise and starts tapping at it and looking at the various display screens on the walls in the room. Similar attention is given to each of the press groups already in place, everything being tallied on her tablet for some reason or other.
Steve Rogers, dressed in his usual near-uniform of plaid button-up, undershirt, leather jacket, khaki slacks, and matching brown leather belt and shoes steps into the room with an actual and honest to goodness sense of reverence. He's never been in the Congressional Meeting Rooms before. This is where they actually get together to make the laws. It's breathtaking, if you're Steve Rogers and still full of all that unbridled optimism. He steps in a few minutes after Pepper and Lois, pausing just beside the doorway to allow others to pass him while he looks around like just a bit of a fanboy. When he looks for a place to sit he steps in to Pepper's row and rests his hand on the chair next to her. "Do you mind if I join you?" he inquires softly.
Natasha Romanoff is dressed in a simple pencil skirt and blouse, and she slips into the room and to a seat near the back, where she can watch the proceedings and everyone else.
A large amount of flashes begin as Superman enters through the door. He carries a folder and wears a white formal Kryptonian suit with red cape, and strides quickly in with a wave and a nod to several government workers as he passes them. He takes a seat off to the right, giving a quick nod to Rogers and a wink to Lois Lane. Pepper Potts looks at Steve Rogers and nods with a smile. "Of course." After she's done looking the room over she takes her velise and settles into her chosen seat with her tablet on her lap, the screen showing its desktop wallpaper for a moment before going blank -- a picture of Peppermint Patty from the comic strip Peanuts.
Lois smooths her skirt against her backside, about to take her seat when that bright white and red walks in. A faint blush starts at her cheeks at the sight and her violet eyes dance over Superman's form, happy to see that he looks, well, better than what his cousin had hinted he might have when they last chatted on the roof of the Daily Planet. She bites the inside of her lower lip to keep from waving at him like a fan girl, but there's little she can do to keep the bright flush from her cheeks at his wink. Her heart skips a beat, and hoping to cover that moment of flustered reporter, Lois plops into her chair and busies herself with getting her notepad and pen and things out of her purse. DAMMIT! Fumbled! There goes her pen, clatting to the floor and rolling away from her. She's quick to plop her notepad and purse in her chair to hold her seat while she crawls after her pen. Must save the pen!
Steve actually lights up a bit when he glances over to see that image. He turns his head slightly to Pepper and smiles, though his expression becomes solemn enough again when he whispers: "Tony's not in trouble, is he?" From the corner of his eye he catches sight of Natasha; he turns to look toward her and gives her a brief nod. The appearance of Superman doesn't escape his notice either: nor, for that matter, do his dress whites. But Lois's excaping pen catches his attention as well and he steps out, crossing over to stoop and snag it out from under the seat in front of her. He offers her the pen wordlessly with a friendly smile. Yes. He helps little old ladies cross the street, too.
With the meeting just moments from starting, there are some handlers milling about and making sure everyone has taken their seats. All the while, as Senators fall into line and into their respective seats. The one with the most angriest of faces, which is also littered with a hint of annoyedness, is none other than Senator Stern of North Carolina. Whom just happens to be the Comittee Chairman on the Defense Committee. Oh and he's also on the Ways and Means Committee. Let's just say this guy is -really- well connected, hm?
It hasn't even been a minute since he's taken his seat does he automatically lean forward towards his microphone with the utmost disdain for this hearing even being in session. A glance over at the defense table and there's no Tony Stark. Typical.
"Ms. Potts. Does Mr. Stark have any intention of actually showing up today? Or shall we just make our ruling without him?" From the sound of Stern's voice, it's pretty obvious he's okay with the latter option. It's almost as if he doesn't like Tony Stark or anything he stands for.
There's mumbles and grumbles from both the Executioners running this shindig and some of the crowd and such... which merely cues the doors busting open nice and wide and with as many (or more) flashes than Superman received, here's the man of the hour: Tony Stark! "No, I'm serious. He tried to pull me over. Yes! While I was wearing the suit! Can you believe that guy?" And... he's on the phone. "What? No. I just gave him an autograph for his kid and he left me off with a warning."
Furiouser and furiouser, Senator Stern practically stands from his chair, "MISTER STARK!"
Tony's barely paying attention to anything as he wanders down the middle of everything, snappointing at familiar faces, winking at hot girls and reporters (Hi Lois...'s ass? Pause. Admire. Moving on.), until he finally gets to Pepper, "Here. Talk to Happy." And the phone is tossed to Pepper as Tony finally gets up front and center at his Defense Table and takes a bow.
"Your Majesty, my humblest apologies for being late. I was busy saving the world. Again."
"And then I got confused and ended up on the Judge Judy lot..."
"Then I had to stop and get a cheeseburger because everyone knows you should not come to court hungry. It's bad for everyone, everyone involved. It really is."
"STARK! SIT DOWN!"
Tony finally takes off his shades and cops a squat right in his chair, leaning back and tossing his feet up on the table.
Senator Stern rolls his eyes and attempts to get the vein to go back down in his forehead, while just waving a hand dismissively at the open podium, "Let's just move this along. I believe we have a few people who would like to speak on the matter at hand. That matter being Tony Stark." That about sums it up.
Lois gives Steve a smile little smile as he returns her pen. "Thanks," she whispers and hurries back to her chair, just in time for things to start. A quick push of a button on her pen, and she starts recording the sounds in the room, while jotting notes inher notepad. She remains clueless that Tony saw her tushie. She's trying REALLY hard not to giggle at his antics.
"Mr. Senator, sir," Superman begins with a smile into the microphone. "I've come here to give witness to Mr. Stark's committment to the United States. While I understand that I don't have much say over government contracts or who they should go to, I would like to state that I have personally seen Mr. Stark risk his life on behalf of the country on numerous occasions. Likewise, I believe his technology has helped this nation in a myriad of ways and the United States should continue to fund his programs. I think the facts are cle..."
"I think you're not an expert on this, Mr. Superman," interjects Senator Stern. "You can keep with the flying...we will keep with the running of this nation."
"Right sir...I...I'm here to vouch on behalf of the administration as well as throughout the superhero community as to Mr. Stark's...well...patriotism." The last word is said with almost a wince, coming out funny like an errant football pass that just sails on you.
When the request for those speaking on Tony's behalf is made, Natasha Romanoff rises. When she is called forward, she steps up to the podium for speakers, with a very thick folder in her hands. "My name is Agent Natasha Romanoff. I am a long term agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for which Mr. Stark is an employee. These are the files on his missions which I am permitted to offer into evidence, with the permission of the United Nations Security Council. The rest, gentlemen, you are not high enough clearance for. As Mister Stark is an existing member of S.H.I.E.L.D., and his armor and technology has been used as incorporated tech for SHIELD's vehicles and weaponry, The United Nations stands firm that they will not allow the United States to take it from him, as that would be a breach of contract, and put technology in the hands of a single country over the others the UN protects. Now, if you would like us to also give copies of all Mister Stark's research and development data to every other United Nations Member Country," wait, aren't some of those not our friends? Natasha trails off, letting that sink in a moment, before she finishes. "Then I suggest you stop this nonsense before the UN sanctions you into oblivion."
The pen gets handed to Lois with a brief and friendly smile, but Steve's face darkens when he sees Tony walking in. It darkens further at his flippant behavior, and he half-kneels on the floor to watch the man's antics. Of all Tony's friends, he's the one who looks... angry. Seriously angry. But he swallows it, rising during all the confusion and stepping out through the double doors. He has something he's going to have to do before he goes back out there, but damned if it doesn't make him feel like a dancing monkey.
Pepper Potts looks at Steve when he asks if Tony is in trouble, but spared having to answer him by the man getting up to rescue Lois's pen. She watches the senators arrive, and is leaning forward to tell Stern to keep his pantyhose on when Tony arrives as usual. Loudly. She is likely one of a very few to watch the entire exchange blandly, though she does catch the tossed cellphone with the ease of much practice and speaks into it. "... Senate hearing. ... No, it's fine. ... Yes, thank you." Then the phone is neatly hung up and set on the table where Tony can reach it. She listens to the others speak on her boss's behalf, glad and actually a bit surprised by the strong show of support.
Scribble scribble jot note-take. Lois's pen flies over her paper as she picks out words and phrases of importance, making little columns with abbreviations of everyone's names so she can direct the right question at the right person when the time comes. PLEASE let there be a press Q&A after this!
Tony is already reaching for his phone the moment it is on the table. He's clearly more interested in it than he is this hearing. Not to mention the fact that he's got some very interesting supporters.
Superman's speech makes Tony raise an eyebrow. But nevertheless, he offers the man a nod and a brief smile. In fact, it's even followed up by one of those classic Thumbs Up. Because that's how Boy Scouts speak, right?
Natasha's words have Tony sitting up to his microphone for just a brief moment. "I agree with everything she just said. Except for the employee part. I'm more of a consultant. Actually, I'm pretty much like Q. Y'know, from James Bond? Except much more devilishly handsome. Natasha thinks so." And there's a wink tossed in her direction. No, it never ends.
Senator Stern merely looks as if he's not even really paying attention to all of this. He's much more interested in making sure that people are heard so that he can railroad this showoff and get his technology. "I'm sure Mister Stark has done quite a few things for S.H.I.E.L.D. but we don't care about those things. In fact, we hope that he continues to make all sorts of wonderful toys for you all." Senator Stern keeps his eyes on Tony this entire time he speaks. "But the fact of the matter is that Tony Stark is a civilian. And according to, what's that word? Law. Civilians are not allowed to wander around in public with weaponized suits of armor. It is simply too dangerous and much too big of a risk that the United States Government is willing to take. Now, if this armor were in the right hands..."
"Who says these aren't the right hands?" Tony drops his phone to the table and holds up both of his hands. "I've used these hands on many, many, /many/ wonderful toys and I've yet to hear any complaints." Tony cracks a big ol' smile.
More rolling of the eyes from Senator Stern, but the floor is still open. So he doesn't feed into Tony's antics. Just glares.
Superman chuckles and shakes his head at Tony's antics. Especially at the thumbs-up. But as Senator Stern speaks, Superman feels like he must speak up. "Mr. Senator, as you know the President of the United States has issued a call for all of the superheroes of this nation to unite in a League to help protect this nation. You call him a civilian, but I think that's a gross simplification of what he's done for this nation."
Black Widow's brow slowly arches upwards at the Senator's retort. "I'm certain President Abbot will think differently about seriously offending the United Nations," she comments, before taking her seat again.
When the doors open again, the man on the other side is instantly recognizable. Or, at least, the costume is. Steve Rogers must be in the men's room, because it's the Star-Spangled Man striding up to the podium now. Captain America, from blue helmet to red boots, never looks uncomfortable. Never looks nervous or uncertain of himself. It's with his cool, calm, collected demeanor that he steps up to the microphone and speaks.
"Ladies and gentlemen. It's an honor to come and speak with you today. I know I'm not a lawyer and I know I'm not an expert, but I understand my opinion has a little weight. Mister Stern, I'm certain as a Senator you have more expertise in the law than I do. We could argue back and forth about just how much the law prevents something like Stark's armor from being in the hands of a civilian or whether he's really a civilian at all. We could talk about whether the law even addresses anything like the Iron Man armor, but as far as I can tell the answer to that is pretty inconclusive because you don't know how it functions. Mr. Stark does."
Cap glances toward Tony with a grim frown. "Let's not pretend this is anything other than what it is. Anthony Stark doesn't strike you as being a responsible carrier of the Iron Man suit. You don't think a guy like this oughtta be flying around with the power to potentially knock down a building, say. But I submit to you that it's not your call to make. Specifically, I don't think the government should have the right to take a man's material or intellectual property from him without an overwhelming reason. You can't tell me that the details and schematics of Mr. Stark's suit wouldn't be analyzed by the military and then provided to the lowest bidder to be further weaponized for front-line warfare. Anyone who has two brain cells to rub together's figured that out, Senator. And given that Mister Stark designed this suit entirely himself, given that his company no longer makes military hardware, this feels to me like an appropriation of what's rightfully his. We don't get to take that from him. That kind of theft, I put it to you, is against the founding principles of this country."
"Tony Stark can be a hard man to like," he says, taking a deep breath. "He's irreverent, he's flip, and he knows he's always the smartest guy in the room. I put it to you that none of those are criminal. I also put it to you that he is a man of deep moral principle. Look at the use to which he puts the suit. Yeah, he's flashy and brash and self-aggrandizing, but he also puts his life on the line without being asked. I think we're very lucky to have a man as smart and as principled as Mr. Stark flying around out there. And given that he's not shy about who he is and what he does, if his antics get out of line, there are plenty of people -- " This with a glance at Superman -- "who are capable of keeping an eye on him. Thank you for your time."
Pepper Potts's face goes emotionless when Stern tries to play the 'civilian' card, a few quick taps at her tablet waking the device from power saving mode and opening a file. She lands forward to speak into the same microphone Tony has been using. "Senator Stern. If I remember correctly, you were a major supporter of the Minuteman bill that recently went through the ratification process, yes?" As she speaks one of the displays on the wall flickers and the header of a legal document can be seen there, with the senator's name shown prominently underneath. "Weren't you also the loudest voice in favor of clause two forty five dash nine, calling for civilian sector engineers with patents relevant to national security to be exempt from imminent domain level intellectual property seizures?" The display changes to show the section of text she just mentioned. She looks at the senator squarely, her professional demeanor layered over an expression of defiance, like steel armor covered in silk. "I suspect, Senator, that should this inquiry could be construed as rather oddly in contrast to your previous stance on matters of this sort. Did you perhaps think there might be some form of profit to be made from it?"
"Or what he's done -to- this nation. Superman, while you've proven time and time again that you're capable of being responsible with your special abilities, Mister Stark would much rather 'play' hero than actually act like one. Are you suggesting that you would actually value this clown to be on the President's Team?"
"Objection! On uh, the grounds that anyone wearing as much make up as you are right now, Senator, calling me a clown." Tony quips, before turning his eyes to look over at Natasha with a 'thanks for trying' gaze. See? He has a heart. Kind of.
Then: Captain America Happens. Which causes ever so much applause from everyone. Including Tony Stark, whom is now standing up and leading the chorus of applause. "I love that man. Seriously, I do."
"Just get on with it, Stark. I'm sure you have something to say." Senator Stern is not liking the way this is going one bit. Who knew the Iron Man had so many fans. And a Captain America.
"Actually, I don't. I mean, bottom line, you want the suit. But you're not getting it. It's just not gonna' happen. So you can throw all the laws you want at me. You can throw all the hearings you want at me. I don't care. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. So until you come at me with something better than this?" Tony waves a finger, the middle, around the room. "And with answers for all my friends. Even the ones I didn't know I had," And his own glance is given to Superman. "I think maybe you better find yourself another genius to mooch off of. Because it's not gonna' be Tony Stark!"
Tony scoops up his phone and slides his glasses back on his face, whilst the Senator gets hot under the collar of the back to back to back body blows to his case. Then? Potts Happens.
"Now see here. I am not one to be trifled with. Your speeches, your documents, they do not mean anything in light of recent events. The United States was /attacked/. There is a /need/ for the Iron Man suit to be in government hands. We need--"
"To just shut up." Tony's back down on the microphone, with one hand on Pepper's shoulder. "It's over, man. It really is. So, I'll tell you what. Why don't you dismiss all of us, so we can go party at my place and I won't have to ask Pepper what else she's got on that little tablet of hers?"
Senator Stern narrows his eyes. Sweating bullets the entire time he stares down Stark. "Get out. And take your circus with you. This is far from over." Gavel Pound.
Tony throws his hands up, "Touchdown!" And with that, Stark is spinning to make with the playing to the crowd.
"Victory Party at Stark Mansion! Let's go!"
Lois's tongue makes it appearance between her lips as she furiously jots down notes. Iron man suit counts under 'right to bear arms'? She shuffles for her iPhone, stubbornly refusing to use the fancy sPhone Stark hand delivered to her out of sheer inconvenience of not having really been able to work a thing with no BUTTONS! Must has buttons to push. Some days, Lois is so 1990s.
She glances up at Superman speaks, giving a faint smile before she drops her eyes back to her phone to work. Her tongue once mo darts out. Phone in one hand, notepad carefully balances between knee and pen hand, Lois starts Googling for the 2nd Amendment. Must... have... ammo... Must have... Captain America?
Lois's eyes lift from her notes and her iPhone's screen when the doors open and the reporters around her start whispering his name and camera shutters start going INSANE. For her part, the Planet reporter keeps her attention focused on the Spangled Wonder, violet eyes blinking only now and then. Lois listens to every word, head tilting, eyes narrowing ever so slightly as she really does study his words. Almost as if bid, she glances at Superman when he does, taking a moment to study the two of them standing next to each other. She once more pulls in the inside of her lower lip to bite between her front teeth as her eyes scan back to the good Captain.
Then Pepper speaks, and Lois is grinning. Mental note: offer to take Potts to coffee, because DAMN! That was some great research. Lois jots down the bill numbers as best she can, and smilingly waits for the Senator to answer that one. Ah! Pepper! My sister from another mother! Were you a journalist instead of a glorified secretary... it'd be SO much fun to go a few rounds in the bull pen, seeing who can out question who.
By the end, she's chuckling, and when Tony announces a victory party at his place, she's the first to stand up. If there's a way into that party, Lois Lane's going to find it, and more goodies for her eer growing article. Which she's going to finish, honest to Perry, she will! Just a few more details, honest!
During the Senator's Speech, Superman interjects, "I would and I will," but is quickly shouted down by Sterns's monologue. As Tony's theatrics ensue, Superman can do nothing but smile and shake his head. He gathers the fold her brought with and stands up, giving a nod to Pepper, then to Stark, and then to Captain America, before he moves to depart.
Natasha can't help but smile, genuinely for a change, at Steve's defense of Tony. That's the "uncle" she knows and loves. The same who plunged into mystical madness to save a little girl during World War II. When Pepper caps off things with her slam dunk, she rises, tilts her head ever so slightly in a nod to Stark, and heads for the door. Perhaps she'll be at the party. Perhaps she'll seek Tony out to talk privately later. God only knows what strings Fury had to pull to get those files and the UN's backing.
Pepper Pottsvery deliberately puts her tablet computer back in her valise and stands, turning to look at Tony. "I should probably go warn Jarvis. Oh, and when do you want to look over the internship applications?"
Kodak Moment of the evening: Tony Stark flipping off Congress, Superman amusedly shaking his head, Captain America facepalming. He takes a deep resigned breath, giving Stark a dour look as the flip and irreverent behavior continues. Hardly a surprise. He grits his teeth through the rest, but he smiles briefly at the result and even gives the cameras a wave and a smile. He claps Superman on the shoulder as the two men turn to depart, letting out a heavy breath. "I guess that went about as well as it could," he says, catching up to Tony and moving in to murmur in his ear: "You're actually incapable of being serious, aren't you? For more than five minutes at a time?"
"Serious? That's what I've got Pepper for." That would be Tony responding to the Captain, whilst making his way to the exit. There's a party to get to. An awesome party in his honor.
"Later, Pepper! We've got celebrating to do!" And from somewhere (J.A.R.V.I.S.) California Love starts playing with epic loudness all through the room's PA system. Guess Tony hacked it. Go figure.
Time to Party.
As the chorus of reporters start shouting, Lois ducks out from under the little rope, pen closed in her notepad, hoping to get up to Stark and the rest before security can haul her back. Ever the instigator, Lois is fully aware that once she ducks under and splits, the rest are going to try to. She's banking on the fact that security's going to be too busy with the rest of those jokers to go after her. The big question, who to try to stop first. She REALLY REALLY wants to talk to Superman. She really REALLY REALLY wants to get into that party... And Stark's closer. "Did I hear the word 'party'," she quips brightly as she tugs off her press badge and holds it behind her back. What reporter? ^.^ Focus on the halo.