|What: Stark Industries gets a needy visitor and some much needed help.|
Aloke Suresh finally got creative. After three days of getting the runaround from Stark's people, he finally decides to try a new tack. He picked up a key chain LED light, and is brandishing it around the entrance in the faces of the various reception people. "/Look/ at this. Are you kidding me? Stark /wants/ to see what I've done." He squeezes the device and within it's cone of projected light, an amazingly detailed, free-standing, spinning globe of the world appears, about 8 inches in diameter. "I designed this thing from /scratch/ in a device smaller than a zippo lighter. Let me upstairs, right now, or I'm walking this over to Hammer industries. Do you understand me?" Fortunately, none of Aloke's interviews so far have included anything about his ability to generate holograms out of nothing, so no one's likely to realize his ruse. Look! It goes on and off when he squeezes the thing! It must be real. The main receptionist pauses just another heartbeat, but the Hammer name spurs her on. She presses the button to buzz Aloke through, and alert Stark to his incoming guest. Aloke heads for the elevator, and presses the button once inside.
Sue Storm enters the building and approaches the front desk, currently dressed business-like but not high end dove grey slacks, a coral pinkish orange blouse (with the '4' necklace hidden under the neckline), and a simple cardigan and purse in one hand. Having just missed the man with the unusual laser invention, she signs the visitor clipboard and informs the desk clerk that she's been sent by a local temp agency.
Tony Stark is having a time of it. He really is. Trying to run his own company without his numero uno girl to help him run it... it is not going so smoothly. He's much better at just signing things and focusing on building cool objects than he is anything else. But right now he's got a message on his screen that someone is headed his way that was going to take something really amazing (possibly) to Hammer and that's not something that Tony Stark can have happen.
Just outside the office? When the elevator dings on Tony's floor? Hologram Teen Girl in a Business Suit is awaiting the arrival of this Suresh. "Well, hello there, Mister. You must be Aloke Suresh. I'm Fri--"
"Friday! Just let him in!"
"Ugh! GAWD! Let me do my job!"
"Just do it!"
Friday flickers as she activates the door mechanism on and the doors to Stark's Office open right up. Friday gives a flickering smile, "He's ready to see you now."
Aloke gives the hologram an appraising look, and tries to find the emitter mechanism as he walks by. Not bad, but he just shakes his head. It's probably worth noting that Aloke's clothes are shabby, and he carries a worn leather messenger bag. He takes a deep breath as he crosses the threshold, and then his mind goes blank when he sees the man himself. Tony Stark. Wow. Surely Aloke had a good reason to be here, but his brain just played the etch-a-sketch game and won. "Uh, hi." Looks like he's all tapped out of bluff and bluster. Here's hoping Tony reads the papers.
Sue Storm is directed to the elevators by the front desk guard (probably more politely than Aloke was), and she rides the elevator to the appointed floor. Stepping out and looking around, she smiles hello to the young lady standing outside of Tony's office. "Hello there, I'm Susan. The temp agency sent me to help with some clerical work?" She steps toward the holographic teen, offering her hand because she's kind of a little clueless about this kind of tech. So far, anyway.
"Mr. Suresh. Welcome. Please, sit down." Tony is good with people. Not so much with work. Which is why he's not worried about his conversation with this guy that apparently has some cool stuff to show him and not Justin Hammer. Because, well, Justin Hammer doesn't need anything else he can turn into a weapon and make the world an unsafer place for humanity and Stark Fangirls. "I hear you have something to show me." Tony is not even bothered by the staring and the gawking. Happens all the time.
Friday rolls her eyes as she sits at her hologram desk and pops her gum. "Whatever. He's in there being MR. BIG SHOT! Go on in! Since apparently I'M TOO STUPID TO HELP!" Yeah, that's right. She's even taking the Temp Agency thing personal. Teenagers.
Sue Storm blinks at the girl, and then a bit of the holographic image-stutter reveals she she's just greeted an AI most likely. "Oh. Well... since I'm new here, maybe you can help me by pointing out where the physical documents are supposed to be filed?" She's trying to be as diplomatic as possible, though if you asked why she might not be able to answer.
Suresh licks his lips and finally pulls himself together. "Well, yeah, I guess I do, but, it's not really this." Aloke holds the LED light up, and then just drops it in the little round trash can nearby. He makes the little globe again, but in the palm of his hand, and then causes it to morph into a visual-only copy of the girl Friday. Pretty accurate too, just a bit more stylized - done with an artist's eye, one might say. "I'm Aloke Suresh. The guy..." He looks down ashamed, but looks up again, determined, "The guy the papers named Laser. I was there when Ms. Potts... tamed the Hulk." No, he can't think of a better word, thank you. "And that reminded me there are others out there who don't get to hide behind a mask. I was hoping I could ask you for a favor." Suresh smiles, shrugging in a sort of 'what can you do' gesture, and lets the Friday copy fade as he does so.
Friday is attempting to read Teen Beat and this lady chick keeps bothering her. What the hell. The holomag is put down into her lap (literally) and Friday rolls her eyes. "UGH! GAWD! SO LAZY!" And then Friday is standing up and pointing off towards a cart at the side of the room, with actual hard copies of things and folders. "Grab some and follow me. Since I have to do everything!" She throws her holographic hands up and starts stomping off towards the file cabinets.
Tony's eyes are a little lit up by the Friday Sketch but beyond that, Tony's got his attention focused on Suresh himself. Not in a scary or a non-trusting way. He's just watching the man to make sure everything is on the up and up. And then a bomb gets dropped. "Wait. Potts did what?" He then holds up a hand. "Nevermind. I'll ask her myself. JARVIS?"
The walls are alive, apparently, "It went straight to voicemail, sir." BEEEP! "Potts. It's Stark. Vacation's Over. I need you to come in as soon as you get this." Tony waits for JARVIS to hang up and then turns his attention back to Suresh. "What do you need?" Might as well hear him out, at least.
Sue Storm blinks and hurries to follow Friday, scooping up an armload of the paper files while trying to keep up. It's so much a force of habit that when she drops a file, it's caught in a soap bubble forcefield instead of hitting the floor, and then she's gone toward the filing cabinets.
Aloke is stunned by, well, everything. Stark's reaction to something he didn't know would even get a reaction, and the knowledge that he pretty much just canceled Potts well-deserved vacation. And now Stark wants him to go on. "Well," Aloke clears his throat, looking a little awkward about actually voicing such things out loud, but he soldiers on. "After I realized I can fly, I started pushing my speed boundaries. I don't really know the numbers, but there's a point where, every time, my um... My clothes are... damaged." He sighs, completely embarrassed at this point. "I finally get why the folks who can fly wear such tight fitting clothes, and I was hoping you might be able to help me design a fabric I can wear at high speeds." Phew. He finally spat it out. He actually asked Tony Stark, THE Tony Stark, to help him make some tights. He rushes one last thing in before he loses his nerve, "Um, I also have a problem with heat building up around my hands."
Friday is so annoyed She's practically fuming with holographic flames "Like, ohmygawd. You like totes have to like totes put these in this like totally awesome box with the letters on it. Like you can like totally do it! Woo!" And the sarcasm just continues as she talks Sue through filing.
Right now, though, Stark is focused on what's coming out Suresh's mouth. He doesn't say anything for a long moment, but instead focuses on walking back and forth in front of his desk. Which isn't exactly clean at the moment, but still. "Have you tried Kevlar? Nomex? Both of which have proven to be sustainable within extreme heat." Perhaps Stark isn't ready to get into the superhero costume sewing business. Or maybe he's just making some conversation.
Having received that voice mail, Pepper sighs and hastily throws on some slacks and a blouse that don't look too sloppy, then hurries to get to the office. She's not sure why he called, but she can suspect. She arrives with that almost unnatural speed that only someone with their own driver who knows the New York streets eerily well can achieve, and walks across the lobby, waving hello to the guard at the desk.
Aloke pauses for a moment, trying to figure out if Stark is making fun of him, considering his appearance and all, and then realizes Tony may not really understand that things cost money. "Um, no, sorry. I don't really have access to" (money for) "anything like that. But frankly, my first priority is clothing that won't blow off at extremely high speeds." Suresh pauses as he replays the words coming out of his mouth and just sighs. "There was an incident," and he shrugs to indicate that's pretty much all he has to say about that. "The heat build up... is tolerable for now. I'm more curious about just how fast I can go." The soft, constant glow of yellow light in Aloke's eyes swirls and focuses into dots just big enough to cover his irises as he becomes more enthusiastic. He grins, suddenly mischievous, "I can help people, Mr. Stark, but not if I show up naked."
Oblivious to the arrival of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark is still attempting to think of something that he may have that's already on the market to help solve this problem. "Sounds to me like you need a tailor. Not a genius." Tony is clearly attempting to see if he can't get out of this possible contract issue with some of his clever wordplay. "Clothing isn't really my area of expertise. You would, though, probably need something that can be manipulated on the molecular level." Unstable-y.
Also, by the way, random members of the Staff are bowing and hugging Pepper as she makes her entrance. Thank god! She's returned! Save us!
With acknowledgements and placations for the people mobbing her on her way back, Pepper finally manages to escape into the elevator. She checks her tablet computer as the elevator starts off, but doesn't see anything that would have warranted the command to return immediately. "JARVIS, do you know why Tony called me?"
"You're joking, right? You tailored the finest suit ever made by man," Aloke has the sense that flattering Tony Stark could go either of two ways. But since his 50/50 chances include, 'getting a billionaire genius inventor's help' OR 'getting tossed out', the risk seems worth the reward. "I'm not trying to hit you up for some robotic super-suit, of course, but I was hoping we could brainstorm on the problem a bit. I'm an art professor, not a scientist." He takes a deep breath and latches on to Tony's suggestion. "Molecular tech sounds interesting. If that's not your gig, can you point me in the right direction?" Aloke at least has the peace of mind that even though he definitely ruined Ms. Pott's vacation, there's NO WAY she could make it to the tower before he leaves today. How could that /possibly/ happen? Ever?
"My assumption is that he is running his company into the ground, Miss Potts." JARVIS comments directly to Pepper through the elevator and away from Tony's ears. Not that Tony is really paying any attention to anything besides what is going on in his office at this very moment.
Tony's still stroking his goatee at this moment, whilst attempting to pay close attention to whatever it is that this guy is talking about. He's pretty much letting his brain do a lot of the thinking and is just clearly trying to stay focused on what should be going on or something. "It is an amazing suit, isn't it?" Tony's not above preening himself for the compliments that he's being given. Even if it is flattery to keep from being thrown out or something. "Molecular Stuff is not really my field. But I could probably make a few calls. I know some people. And I'm sure there's something in one of my buildings that could maybe give us a good jumping off point. I'll have to do some digging." Well, at least it seems like he's willing to help.
Pepper Potts sighs faintly and resists the urge to lean back against the elevator's wall. "Of course he is, JARVIS. How many of the appointments that I left pending has he managed to meet, do you happen to know?" She's got her tablet out and is tapping at the screen to resynchronize it with the computer systems in Stark Tower.
Aloke lets out an audible sigh of relief at Tony's words. "Wow, ok, I can't thank you enough, Mr. Stark. Any help or contacts you can send my way would really be appreciated." Aloke looks over his shoulder at the big glass windows looking out over the city, taking in the view, it seems, for the first time. "And for what it's worth, I admire what you chose to do with your very fine suit. You've inspired me to do the same with my own abilities." Slow down there, Aloke. It's going well, don't make it weird! "Well anyway, I guess I should be heading out then. Thank you again." Aloke steps forward to offer Stark his hand. And since there's zero chance of Potts coming in here /right now/, Suresh is about to make a clean getaway!
"None that I'm aware of." JARVIS is all about tattling on Tony. He's been having to work extra hard since Pepper's departure and that is certainly not fair at all. Things are never fair when Tony Stark is left in charge. He's only good at delegating, not actually working.
"Do we have a way to contact you?" Stark says, though he doesn't really shake Suresh's hand. He's not really a touching people kind of person. Unless it is a touching a hot female or something. Besides, he still doesn't know this Aloke dude from Adam. This could all be a clever trap. He's not paranoid, but he does have enemies. And now he's going to have to make sure this guy is who he says he is before he makes any calls.
Pepper Potts looks at the changes to the calendar on her tablet and nods to herself. "I'll figure it out, JARVIS. Thank you." That's about when the elevator doors open and she walks briskly out and toward Tony's office. She can hear Friday's voice nearby, and hopes she can get past without having to talk to the AI.
Aloke doesn't look particularly insulted when Stark doesn't shake. He's heard the news stories, and just smiles and nods. "Um, yes sir, I'll leave my card on your desk here." He produces an ordinary business card which turns out to identify him as an art professor at NYU. Phone numbers and email address are included. "Ok, well I'll see you around, Mr. Stark." And certainly aware of what a busy man Stark must be, Suresh heads for the door to the reception area, and the elevator-of-freedom beyond. Home free, and awkward office politics escaped!
Aloke pulls open the doors to leave, and finds himself face to face with Virginia 'Pepper' Potts. He'd have recognized her from the news, certainly, but more immediately, that fateful afternoon with the Hulk is foremost in his mind. He stammers, but doesn't get anything intelligible out.
Tony Stark is picking up the card and flipping it over in his hand at the moment, preparing to tuck it away into a pocket so that everything can run as smoothly as it wasn't running before he was interrupted.
Pepper is easily getting away with passing by Friday, since Friday is busy with explaining to blonde ditzes (according to her, anyway) how to use their filing system.
Tony only notices Pepper when Suresh stops and he can't help but to smile... at least a little bit. "Potts!" He's not happy to see her. Lie. Yes, he is. Still, he sits down at the desk and pretends to look as though there is nothing wrong at all. "Back so soon?"
Pepper Potts stops short in surprise as the professor is suddenly in the doorway to Tony's office as if just departing. "Oh! I'm sorry." She steps to the side to give Aloke room to depart, nodding to the man politely as she does so.
Aloke remains frozen in place for a moment, like a deer in the headlights. After another half a second, he starts to think she must not have seen his face at the Hulk episode. Either way, discretion being the better part of valor and all, Aloke says, "Not a problem. Good day!" And he heads for the elevator, punching the button several times without looking back.
Aloke can make it to the elevator for his escape with ease. Not even Friday is there to mess with him. Lucky! Meanwhile, Stark is back to focusing his attention on the desk and the papers in front of him, which have piled up but will probably be taken care of as soon as he can get Pepper to feel sorry for him. Again. "New client. You know how it is." Tony explains about the whole Suresh incident that just walked up out of here.
Pepper Potts lets the man leave, then steps into Tony's office. "I see. So, why did you call me back?" She looks at the piles of paperwork, actually a bit surprised that they aren't TALLER. "Things seem well enough under control here."
Aloke waits at the elevator, having pressed the button exactly three times. Everyone knows 1 press doesn't really call it, but 2 presses cancels the first press, so 3 actually calls the box on a rope. Why is he getting in an elevator again? PFt. Never you mind! He does turn to smile politely at no one in particular in the reception area, but it would be rude to have his back to everyone, with Tony's doors open and all.
They usually are taller... but half of the paperwork is on the floor. Which is why Tony is about to say the one thing he probably shouldn't say and give Pepper all the power back. But whatever. He's got a company to run.
"Because. I can't do this without you."
There. He said it. Tony Stark is nothing without Pepper Potts.
NOW Pepper notices the additional piles on the floor around the desk. Oy vey. Upon hearing Tony's admission of defeat-by-documentation, she could totally be smug and rub it in his face, but that just seems wrong just this moment. So instead, she dumps her purse on a convenient chair, digs out her phone, bluetooth, and favorite ballpoint pen, then steps over to set her tablet on one corner of Tony's desk before reaching for the closest stack of papers. "Let's get this stuff all caught up, then. When did you eat last?"