|Lexcorp and YOU!|
|What: Lex Luthor changes the world.|
The Stark Expo main stage sits quietly with no lights, no sound and is almost completely empty. The only thing that would draw anyone's attention to the mainstage is the large video monitor that shows the Lexcorp logo. The crowd is still huddled around the stage but their gaze is away from it. Their eyes rest on a part of Stark Expo that was deliberately made empty today and is surrounded by barricades. The area is about the size of a football field and still very easy to see from the stands. It's clear someone wanted to recreate an intimate atmosphere found at smaller outdoor concert venues or at minor league sports games.
A podium sits at the far end of the field with a blue backdrop behind it. Said backdrop leads to an area that looks to be sealed off thanks to more guard rails and the same color cloth hanging downward. Obviously it's a spot for someone to get ready for their event. The only thing that lingers in the empty field is an object that has a tarp over it. What the object could be is hard to say. It's larger than a car but smaller than a two story building. The shape is quite odd due to all the various dimensions and how the tarp sways a little in a spot like it's hanging off some piece or part.
Attending the Lex Corp portion of the Stark Expo today is a rather unusual pair: a decidedly well-dressed elderly man and... a fourteen year old girl. The man in question looks to be in his late fifties to sixties, a fairly handsome man with salt and pepper hair and a greying mustache. He's wearing a plain black business suit with a striking blue silk tie.
The much younger girl, one Molly Hayes, is dressed in an elegant-looking white, sleeveless, sequin gown and mermaid skirt that hangs to her ankles. Her hair is bound upon in a complex, lady-like, braid that most assuredly Molly did not do herself. She looks oddly uncomfortable, standing there in that dress. And anyone who knows the self-proclaimed 'Princess Powerful' knows she likely did not come here of her own volition...
The pair in question seem to be wandering the Exposition grounds aimlessly for the time being but the elderly man definitely appears to be leading. He seems to be reading a back page of a pamphlet, likely the summary page for investors.
One of the benefits of being tall is the ability to see over most people's heads when you have to navigate through a crowd. Michael Jon Carter is perusing the Expo, not only because it is interesting, but because he's a Stark intern; the Expo is more fun than washing out test tubes and beakers, though. Like a small, golden balloon, Skeets the robot floats along just behind and to one side of Michael as he approaches the LexCorp display.
Rain is curious, in personality and well, in general. She figures it's likely to be a little less crowded, and she drifts, checking out the various booths and refreshments. She has a soda now with a straw in it, reading a pamphlet of some sort or another. Who knows? Not really for investors, as she looks a bit rough around the edges to be any sort of wealth. Still, there's a curious glance to the quieter spot. Her path is taking her towards the quiet podium, though she's figuring it beats sorting spiders for the day.
After skipping the expo yesterday, Tousaint returns this evening to see what Lexcorp is going to reveal today. He looks around, and is happy not to see anymore firework or special effects.
Justin Hammer has arrived early to the LexCorp demo. He wants a good seat for whatever the other CEO has in store, and he's curious as to what will be unveiled. LexCorp is one of the few companies with a larger pavilion than his own, and prime time on the main stage. The fact that things look so quiet is intriguing- obviously Lex Luthor must think that whatever he's bringing out is going to more than make up for the flashy effects and pop stars that were part of the opener. Hammer likes Luthor more already, even if he could be considered a rival on some fronts. Dressed as he always is in a vested suit, this one dark grey with a silver and black tie, he makes his way toward the front of the seating area and finds his seat.
Director Nick Fury is a little more understated this evening. His sedan is still black, the windows are still tinted, but obviously the glitz and glamour of the hour is missing. Which is perfectly fine with him. This seems to be more of a 'working' expo to the one-eyed man, rather than a 'dog and pony show'. He is also sans his head tech, which could be saying something as well. Entering the Expo area, Fury's looking around again, checking out his surroundings. Once again, before too long, he'll have the information of everyone in attendance, plus one or two little bits of something about them as to why they'd be in attendance.
"Granpa... can be we get soda?" Molly looks toward a nearby refreshment stand the pair pass. The elderly man stops, looking up from the pamphlet he was reading, and responds with a polite but somewhat distant, "Yes, of course." And for a few moments, they stop by and place an order for refreshments. The elderly gentleman tucks the pamphlet neatly away in a coat pocket, eyes turning quietly toward the barricaded portion of the Expo as they wait. In the silence, Molly seems to fiddle with her dress as if it were slightly uncomfortable. She really does look out of place here, like a street urchin who stole a princesses clothes.
...And after a few minutes more, Molly and the elderly gentleman begin to make their way toward the seating area as well. Molly with a soda in hand and the gentleman with a probably overpriced bottle of water.
"Hey, yarn lady," Michael says to Rain, as he walks a few steps nearer to her. One might thing he was talented at picking people out of the crowd, but he's cheating; the glasses he is wearing is feeding him a -lot- of information. From his point of view, some identified figures are faintly outlined with any additional data he might know about them. "Enjoying the Expo?"
Rain is a - pretty ordinary, unless one knows her affiliations, especially with certain Asgardians. And her habit of befriending things that she probably should not. She pauses, hearing someone calling yarn lady. She blinks, looking over her shoulder. She smiles, and waves. "Salutations, person who was - surprised by yarn," Yes. She politely leaves out how worried they all were. "Yeah. It's pretty neat, though I feel way out of my social strata. Like magma or something," She considers. "How about you?" She smiles politely, waving to Justin, too. She'll make the rounds. She's just - like a speeding platypi. She'll get there. Eventually.
Cutting through the silence is a guitar rift that plays over the speakers. The Beatles's "Revolution" blares throughout the expo. After the lyrics, "Don't you know it's gonna be all right, all right, all right," the song dims slight and a woman's voice is heard, "Introducing Lexcorp CEO and Owner Lex Luthor!" Walking from behind the backdrop is a grinning Lex who waves to the crowd while wearing a black tuxedo with a white tie, matching vest, and a small headset microphone typically worn by pop stars performing live. He strides to the podium and asks, "How's everyone doing?! " Smiling to crowd Lex just soaks in the cheers and adulation. He may not be a Tony Stark but the man behind the Lex Box and Lex Box 360 has his fair share of fans.
Moving both hands downward he tries to get the crowd to calm down, "Thank you. Thank you. Before I continue this little shindig I've got one last question to ask you," he pauses. "Are you ready?!" Again the crowd roars. "Now, I've been holding a lot of cards close to my chest just waiting for Stark Expo. I could have thrown my own Expo, made the announcements and it would have been great, but I came here today because of someone I respect. Because of someone I admired and his name is Howard Stark," he extends a hand to the Stark Expo stage and the video monitor flashes to an image of Howard Stark. Seconds later every monitor in the area shows Howard. "Without him none of this would be possible so every please give the man a round of well-earned applause." The crowd cheers and screams.
Justin checks his watch then glances around again. Normally he would be up and moving around, talking with people in the gathered crowd, trying to gather contacts and intelligence, but having been at his pavilion speaking with people all day, this is a bit of a break. He catches the wave and returns it with a nod. The woman seems familiar, but he can't quite place her.
As soon as the music cues Justin's attention turns fully toward the stage. There's some bravado as things get going, but nothing like the rock and roll entrance that Tony had made. A good balance. How Lex works the crowd is also noted as the Hammer Industries CEO leans back in his seat and crosses his arms over his chest.
By now Molly and her 'grandfather' have taken a seat in the stands and are clapping politely. Molly looks just a bit less dignified about it, and a bit less enthused, but she was really only here for the man sitting beside her. She doesn't say much, but she does take stock of the newly arriving people... perhaps wondering if she knows any of them. And she does indeed - her eyes fix momentarily on the man she met at the incident with Thor, one Justin Hammer. She doesn't bother him, however, just eyes him with some measure of curiosity...
Tousaint walks over to Nick Fury and sticks out his pamphlet to the man, "Colonel Fury, this might sound a bit crazy, bur can I get a picture and autograph. My grand-father was a big admirer of...." Tousaint turns back to the stage and mumbles, "Well, I guess I take the Beatles over Alison Blaire." When the claps starts to cheer, Tousaint joins in with a awkward slow clap.
Nick Fury claps his hands in something of a golf-clap before digging into his jacket for his pre-cut cigar. That is followed by matches, and cupping his hands, lights the possibly offensive bit of tobacco. The glitz and glamour he'll easily bypass, standing now with one hand in pocket, the other ready to tend his cigar when necessary.
Back to scanning the crowd, there are couple of people Fury does recognize, and the single eye narrows. The girl Rain. And, of course, Mr. Hammer, and...
With the approach, Director Fury shifts his weight a moment, his brows rising. "Picture and an autograph? Your grandfather--" which remarkably doesn't really bother him anymore. "Did we serve to--" The rest, he has to yell a little more, "--together?"
"It's pretty cool. Especially since I can come here and still get paid for my internship," Michael tells Rain, with a grin. "Also, sorry, I had that memory issue recently and I'm still getting that ironed out. I don't remember your name but that's not a reflection on you." He points a finger-gun Justin Hammer's way, recognizing the man, but then his attention is taken up by Lex. With regards to the Beatles song, he remarks, "Interesting choice of classical music. I don't remember the composer, though."
To be fair, Rain was overshadowed by Loki with Mjolnir. Yeah. She looks to Michael and smiles. "That's okay. You can call me Rain or Winter," She offers. "What would you like me to call you?" She asks. Then a look. "I think that's um, Justin Hammer. I remember seeing him in a cafe once." She smiles and waves to Nick, too. Though, she's distracted as the show stars. Beatles? Huh. Well, why not? She'll head that way to take a seat. And she'll clap politely. "Er, that's the Beatles. The song's Revolution, I think. Did you want to sit?" She asks. Molly might get a smile in passing if Rain's not too distracted.
Though, Rain does add quietly, "I hope you're alright," To Michael.
Justin catches the point from Micheal on one of his semi-paranoid glances around the immediate area. He smiles and nods, remembering him from the opening night of the Expo. He spots several other faces he recognizes in the crowd before turning his attention back to the presentation.
Molly takes her eyes off Hammer, as Michael and Rain talking somewhere nearby catches her ears. To Rain, she offers a brief smile before turning her head back toward the stage. The elderly gentleman she's with doesn't seem to notice her distraction, he just takes a drink of his overpriced water before screwing the cap back on tight and clearing his throat softly.
Tousaint turns his attention back to Nick Fury, "He served during the same time. He was actually fighting the Facists in Spain, before joining up to fight the effort." Tousaint says, "He respected that you always treated your men fairly, regardless of their background or color. He said your commandos kept some Jerries of his units back once." Tousaint smiles proudly, "It is an honor to meet you." Tousaint thinks to himself, "Finally"
Nick listens to the story as it's recounted, watching the younger man consideringly. He holds out his right hand in offer, "Let me shake the hand of the grandson of a man that as far as I'm concerned, is a hero in his own right. The fact that we were able to do out job right meant that others lived means a lot to me, son. It's my honor." His other hand is pulled from his pocket, in order to deal with the cigar, and he holds it away. "What's your name? And your grandfather's?" Over the years, Fury's collected people whom he's kept an eye out, for the sake of his wartime comrades. Silent promises made and held.
The monitors go to the live feed of Lex standing at the podium whose all grins. His vibrant blue eyes sparkle, "On behalf of Mr. Tony Stark I presume it's safe to thank each and every one of you for that. Before I take it a step further I would like to introduce some special guest: United States Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus, our Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, The current chief of Staff of the United States Army Raymond T. Odierno," and Lex rattles off a few more names that carry heavy rank in the branches of the United States military. "Without these people our country would not be safe so let's give them a big round of applause," and like all the other times the crowd cheers.
A spotlight shines on a private box where several individuals in formal military garb with breasts filled with various awards. They wave to the crowd a little unused to being applauded outside of Washington or a battlefield.
"I just met him a night or two ago," Michael nods, to Rain, when she mentions Justin. "You can call me Michael, or Booster, either is fine. I don't have a secret identity. Go ahead and have a seat, I don't mind standing.... and I'm fine, honest. Skeets..." He glances over to his little robot pal, quietly talking to him as he applauds with the rest of the crowd. "I really need to brush up on 20th and early 21st century music, make a note of that, please?" "Of course, sir," pipes Skeets. "I am setting up a comprehensive program of music even now."
This time, Justin applauds. His expression stays mostly neutral, but his overall demeanor changes slightly. Military contracts are his business, and he knew that Luthor had his fingers in a lot of pies, but this is very direct competition. He focuses his complete attention on what's coming, his mind running over scenarios of what may be under the tarp.
Well, it's nice to see someone so happy. There's a polite smile and clapping at the guests being mentioned. Rain looks to Michael and nods. "He was a bit distracted when we met," She admits. "And pleased to meet you again. I can stick around here." Though, there's a blink. Is that a - Skeets? Huh. She seems surprised Molly is here, though she sips her soda and looks to Tousaint and Nick. Two other faces she knows! For now then, she'll take a seat near Michael and the - well, she can see most folks, so this is good.
Fuji is no techie. She knows her way around a cell phone, a tablet, and a laptop, but she doesn't really know how any of those things work. Her father suggested she show up to this thing, because this is the sort of thing that superheroes should show up at. So...here she is, moving through the crowd to get closer to the front while listening to Mr. Luthor.
"Tousaint Walters V, and my grand-father was the IV." Tousaint shakes hands with Nick Fury and says, "Thank you, I know he would have been honored to know that you thought of him as a hero. He loved being a soldier. He served and fell in Korea. People always seem to forget how nasty fighting was in Korea." Tousaint lets out a frustrated sigh and pulls out his iphone. He hands it over to another attendee, "Can you take a picture of me and the Colonel?" The attendee holds up the iphone and prepares to take a picture.
While Tousaint wonders to himself how many clones was that ago since Korea War, he turns to cheer for the actually military officers, and not really for the politicians.
Molly and her adoptive grandfather clap another obligatory clap, with the elderly gentlemen regarding the military guests of honor with some visible interest. After the clapping stops, the young, fourteen year old, brunette in the white dress lets her hands fall lazily into her lap. And a soft sigh comes. Her expression practically reads 'So boring. Explosions soon, please??'
"Sorry to hear it, son. Korea was tough on everyone. A lot of good men didn't come back from that one, and it was a damned sight harder than M*A*S*H* would have anyone believe." Occasionally Fury will come across a vet from that particular war who still sheds a tear for the lost and left behind.
Nick doesn't mind the picture, and he keeps the younger man's hand for the picture, a hint of a smile creasing the vet's face. For posterity.
Finally relinquishing the hand, Fury twists about for the introductions, and nods at those counted in attendance. He knows them all, obviously, and is back to the golf-clap for each. At least he wasn't called out. Evening is looking up!
It's quite possible that no one actually saw the boy walk in...but 157 is here all the same. This is, after all, an event dedicated to technology produced by one of the major companies of the planet designated Earth. It was probably inevitable that he'd show up to observe one way or another...he's probably been spying on the Stark Expo off and on since it started. Now, though...he's actually observing more openly, at least as openly as someone as short as he is, among a crowd as big as this, really can be. While the show is starting, he slowly works his way forward, eventually ending up at a position relatively near Molly. Whether he notices or not, there's no sign...his attention is fixed on the stage.
After the picture is taken, Tousaint takes the iphone and looks down at the photo for a moment, before he speaks again. "Thank you, I shall cherish this photo for a forever and a day." Tousaint takes a step back and offers the Colonel a sharp salute, pivots, and turns to mingle with other people.
Justin is sitting not far from Molly, so he catches sight of the boy that makes his way in that direction. He does a double take, then watches for a moment. Well, he did tell 157 that if he wanted to observe stuff, the Stark Expo was the place to be. Another glance around, keeping an eye on his surroundings, then he looks back toward the main event.
Leo actually showed up on time for once, wasn't that nice? He is sitting in the front row, a reserved seat. He is also dressed in stylish casual clothing of the conservative elite, turtleneck included. He makes a point to try not to appear obvious when he winces at the great amount of sudden noise at the yelling. A deep breath later, and he settles back into his seat to listen to his Father and be generally 'supportive'.
Pepper Potts is walking briskly past with tablet in hand and bluetooth in one ear when Lex's presentation starts. The images of the older Howard Stark get her attention and she pauses to see where this is going. And of course she wonders if Howard knows about this. Speaking into her earpiece quietly, she steps toward the Luthor exhibit and watches from just inside the entryway.
Meggan had worn the sort of clothing one wears to a summer event where the goal is not to stick out too much: jean shorts and a T-shirt, this one celebrating some obscure music group from the Westchester area. (It is probably borrowed). While traveling her way towards where this big announcement is to be made, she had steadily gotten blonder, marginally taller, and wider-eyed: she kept wiggling forwards through the crowd, swept along by the mass event. When everyone else screams, she joins in, positively jumping up and down and asking at the top of her lungs to whoever may be within immediate range, "What we are celebrating again?!"
Molly turns her eyes from the stage, briefly, and whatever Lex might be doing to look around at people again. The sharply-dressed elderly gentleman she is with seemingly utterly focused on the presentation. Molly's green eyes flit from person to person, finally taking notice of Justin again... who appears to be staring in her direction? You could almost see the question marks above her head, but then she catches the brim of a familiar fedora in her peripheral vision. And her eyes fall upon 157. "...157! Hello how are you?!" This is said with great enthusiasm, enough apparently to cause the elderly gentleman to break his stare and glance at them momentarily.
Fuji reaches a point where the folks standing are thick enough to make getting terribly closer a chore, so that's where her exploration stops. While she waits for something super cool to be revealed, she turns to people watching. Maybe there are famous people in the crowd too, so she raises on her tippy toes and peeks this way and that while listening to the important events up on the stage.
At the salute, and it's obvious Tousaint is a soldier himself, given the crispness, the sergeant that made good stands at attention and offers a just-as-sharp salute in return. "Your grandfather'd be proud of you," is given before the young man departs.
Once Tousaint's wandered off, Fury is freed once again to look around the floor, searching for 'allies' in the fold, his cigar once again between his lips. But damn if the thing didn't go out. Again.
Walking up behind Pepper, Fury reaches out to touch her elbow, his voice low, "Not as glitzy, but somehow satisfying. And how are you, Miss Potts?"
Aw. Did she see Tousaint? Either way, she might offer a quiet, fingerwriggle wave. Rain does not intend to interrupt the show. There's a polite smile at Leo and those trickling past her. For her part, she is quiet, otherwise. She seems hesitant to bother anyone, but curious. Hmmm. For now, she lingers.
Michael is standing, just a step or two away from where Rain is seated. He is watching Lex's presentation, looking thoughtful. Skeets is hovering near him, behind and above his head like a robot halo. Michael says something quietly to his robot pal, although not in English.
"Now I could stand here and bore everyone with talk of new cell phones that have call connectivity four times greater than anything offered by Wayne and Stark Tech. I could talk about the Lexbox One and how it will blow Sony's machine out of the water, but those can be seen at our booth. I'd rather show you what I've kept hidden behind my chest for so long," Lex starts to walk away from the podium and toward the tarp. He pulls away the tarp away revealing a state of the art tank. Everything about it is shining and glistening. All it needs is a price tag because it looks so new looking. "This isn't it. The tank was a great and revolutionary weapon on the battlefield. The United States military even had a famous one by the name of 'Sherman.' At Lexcorp we used the name 'Sherman' as a nickname for our latest project the LXS-2091." He pauses and returns to the podium letting the people have their curiosity build.
"Today the tank is just a prop." Moving back he continues, "Great men in history have changed the course of humanity and our country by sharing an idea; Franklin with electricity, Edison with the light bulb and phone, Einstein with various theories that pushed thinking in new directions. And these minds even worked together in times of war to better humanity while providing safety to our country. I believe this is what motivated Howard Stark to do what he did by developing the atomic bomb. Unlike some of my peers, he understood that technology shouldn't be hoarded especially when our safety is on the line," Lex says looking over the crowd. The monitors suddenly flicker to images of the Kryptonian drones that invaded and destroyed parts of New York City. "Recently humanity and this country saw how vulnerable we are. Within seconds the city was broken, families were hurt, and even our heroes were beaten within seconds. Today I follow in Howard's example and share my technology with the country to bring safety against future threats like this one." His hand extends outward toward the skies...everything is still and quiet. Nothing is happening...
"Query: How are you? Answer: This one is in acceptable condition," 157 responds in his usual slow monotone to Molly, looking over at her. He looks towards the older man, but evidently there's nothing of particular interest there, so his eyes move on, noting the presence of the double-taking Justin Hammer. He watches Hammer while Hammer watches him, but then turns his attention back to the stage, observing the tank. "Analysis: Focus of program is military or security technology. Priority observation target." He watches the presentation, seemingly unmoving, but his eyes are searching keenly for signs of what's going to happen.
If Pepper is startled by Fury's approach, she doesn't let on. She simply looks at him and nods with a bit of a smile. "Tired, busier than Lucille Ball in the candy factory, but otherwise okay. How has the UN been treating you?" She glances over as the tank is revealed, her eyebrows drawing together at Luthor's words. Okay, Howard really needs to know about this.
Justin is scowling heavily now. Even the man sitting next to him seems to notice, and subconsciously leans the other direction. Taking careful mental notes he watches and listens, trying to guess what Lex is going to do with this. So far it's starting to tread awful close to his own demonstration, and that is quickly fouling his mood. The girl's greeting to 157 draws a momentary glance, and he recognizes her from the whole frost giant incident, but his attention is quick to return to the field.
"I LOVE TANKS!" screams the blonde woman in the audience. Meggan's cheering is briefly disturbed when someone with a heroic beard worth of duck-call-tycoonery hoists her up by the hips, ballet style. "oop--!"
Tousaint rolls his eyes at the mention of Sherman and grabs a drink off a passing caterer's plate. Tousaint thinks to himself, "Sherman was a prick!" Tousaint quickly downs a glass of champagne, before grabbing another one to down. The only one that stops from downing this drink is Luther's mention of using technology to protect people.
Okay, that reference actually makes Fury laugh. Who the hell remembers 'I love Lucy'? Or rather, would think to use the reference in his presence? One person. And she's standing right in front of him. "UN is full of pussies. Took me for fucking ever to get the Security Council to commit the hours. And the Commission on Human Rights? Bunch of dolts. But what do you expect?" Particularly when the countries with the worst civil rights violations sit on the council!
The tank is uncovered, and that gains Fury's attention easily. The speech, sure. He remembers those very words in Luthor's office the other day, though Stark wasn't mentioned. Oppenheimer, sure. Now, with Luthor's hand lifted skywards, Fury's gaze flickers up, but it doesn't stay there for long.
Rain listens, though she smiles a bit at seeing all of the people she recognizes. She is curious, her smile replaced by a thoughtful look. Her eyes widen a bit at Meggan cheers and - Justin seems unhappy. Hmm. She's gonna watch that ... and this ... and a tank? Well, usually most people do all this and a bag of chips, but all that and a tank?
Molly blinks silently in response to one-five-seven's response to her 'query'. Even though she ought to be familiar with his odd behavior by now, she clearly isn't. "Oh. Okay." is what finally comes out, before she seems to turn her eyes back toward the white sequined dress she's wearing and fiddles with it a bit more. She's visibly uncomfortable in her 'prissy princess' clothes with her hair all bound up in an intricate weave. Pretty, by any standard, maybe - but she's definitely looking awkward.
A small sip is then taken of her soda, before Molly's eyes are forced to track around to an awkward angle to peer at Meggan who is... definitely making a scene. It causes Molly to flush a little.
Then Lex has her attention again and her eyes are drawn upward, toward the sky, as he makes audible mention of something skyward. Standing, to get a better view, she seems to shield her eyes for a few moments whilst leaning forward over a chair. ... But then, nothing seems to come... and Molly plops back down like the unrefined foster child she is.
Leo stretches out his legs. He is leaning back, seeming comfortable enough. He waits for the 'big bang' as they say. Things happen, and he is sure his Father has something huge.
Pepper Potts opted to make the Lucy reference because she felt it was a bit more polite in present company than saying something about a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. But, that's neither here nor there. And besides, she managed to make Director Fury laugh. How many people can say that? She does at the same time quickly type something with her free hand into her tablet, presumably doing some multitasking to make sure the Expo continues to run smoothly. "Yes, well, that's the UN for you. I wish there was more I could do to help."
Michael is watching the display Lex is putting on, but his eyebrows arch as an incoming message displays on the HUD provided to him by his glasses. He lifts a hand and there is something barely visible there, a ghost of an interface; it's much easier to see from his point of view. "Hey, Skeets, send along what you've recorded already in holo and two-D format, and then continue the feed."
Looking up at the sky and waiting...something cool is surely going to happen. Fuji strains along with the folks around her, and even drags out her phone so she can get a picture if it actually is super cool.
Several minutes pass before anything happens. In the distance a sound like a stirring hornets' net ends the silence. The sound starts to grow sounding like speeding cars, then jet engines. At first nothing can be seen then the objects look like firefly in the distance, it continues to grow. The swarm flies into stark expo. Obviously the noise come from jet engines and thirty-six consecutive "ca-chnks!" fill the air as the swam lands. Standing in the field are three dozen armored entities, "This is the LXS-2091. Do not adjust your eyes and ears folks what you're seeing is real. And these are not drones," he moves out to one of the armored entities.
Obviously the suit is humanized but it differs from those -other- armored suits people may have seen. The helmet looks a little more angular and alien with two lifeless slits for eyes. Various pieces of the chest and stomach are smoother, rounder, less rigid than the stark stuff (think today's Ultimate Iron Man design). Every twelve suits has a different style of camouflage, obvious army, airforce and naval colors.
Lex flips up a face plate, "People like Honorable Sergeant John Corben of the United States Army will be behind each and every suit." Cameras flash taking in all the sights of Lex's own armor. "How does it feel to be behind the suit Sergeant?" Lex removes and extends the headset to John. Once he answers Lex, who has been all smiles and grins, will say one thing, "Show them what the armor can do ladies and gentleman." A hand gestures toward the tank and now it's quite clear how the tank is going to be a prop.
They'd been briefed ahead of time, of course. They knew what they were waiting for, what words were to act as their signal, and when they heard them over the radios built into every one of their helmets, a quick order went out from Corben and as one, they all took to the air. The effect this fairly routine maneuver had was obvious, it was expected -- and it was certainly enjoyed.
As the swarm of power suits land on the main stage as one, Sergeant John Corben parts from his fellow pilots and approaches Luthor with every ounce of formal rigidity he can muster up while steering the mechanized armor -- to say it takes practice would be a massive understatement. When Luthor flips up his visor, the crowd is greeted with the stern emotionless look that has come to be so associated with security and military personnel that there simply has to be a course devoted entirely to the appropriate way to arrange your face in public. "It feels like I'm in a soup can, Sir. A really powerful soup can," And with that, he flashes a quick easy-going grin that completely shatters the whole Army Sergeant look. When he's ordered to show the full capabilities of the suit, he nods his assent, flicking the visor down in the same motion as he turns to regard the tank set before him. "It would be my absolute pleasure, Sir."
He issues a silent order to one of the other pilots over the suit's comms and lifts his hand into the air, palm pointed fifty feet or so above the tank. The other suit takes off and rockets towards the vehicle, placing two hands under the back before he heaves upwards, lifting the back half up into the air, whereupon he takes two quick steps forward and catches the tank easily in the middle, handling the several ton armored vehicle like it weighed next to nothing. Once it's well in hand and above his head, Corben shouts, "Pull!" letting the order bark out for the crowd's benefit over the built in speakers in the helmet. On command, the tank is tossed straight up, and Corben aligns his armored palm with the ascending tank, holding it for a brief second before an energy-based beam bursts forth, catches the tank in the chassis, and the whole thing goes off like a firework. One, massive, ridiculously expensive, and thoroughly awesome firework.
At this point, several other suits which had been taking up positions around the field turn their palms toward the explosion and fire off multiple sonic pulses, steering the debris back in towards the middle of the field where it lands, well away from the crowd, and arrayed all about the suit of armor that had tossed the tank in the first place, which stands in the midst of the shrapnel -- completely unharmed.
"There is, but that's for a secured line, Miss Potts," the Director responds a little cryptically. He takes a deep breath, and takes a step back. "I'm going to sneak around and talk to Ray." That'd be Ray Mabus, that is. "I'll give a call tomorrow."
It's when the demonstration begins that Fury is in the midst of the ranking officers, and he watches the production with that very look-- the learned and practiced expression of a man that's seen it all and done it all. No bearing broken, though he does nod his head slowly and almost imperceptibly. "Okay. I'd like a few dozen of those to go." Which, he'll undoubtedly get. For the rest of the expo, he'll be checking those out.
Meggan's facial expression goes from cheering joy to a sudden baffled look as something about remotely operated humanoid robots breaks through riding the wave of the crowd's ambient emotions. Several nudges with a foot that goes from being booted, to being bare-heeled, to bearing a dewclaw of surprising length get her put back down, although her head does pivot upwards with abrupt nervous tension when the tank is launched.
She exhales hugely when the situation seems to resolve without mayhem. Even so, her arms fold tightly around her chest and she starts sidling for the edge of the crowd.
Michael is watching this a little open-mouthed, and he gestures at Skeets to go up higher, to get better footage of this display. Even though he is tall, he ends up floating about a foot above the floor to get a better vantage point as well, unfortunately to anyone who is standing directly behind him. He finally snaps his jaw shut, and then quietly says, "...wowzer."
"..." Rain looks to Michael and his pet buddy in case they might have an idea of what's going on. Her eyes widen a bit. Uhm. Okay, wow. It's definitely very surprising. She tilts her head. A man in a can, does he have a plan? She ponders this. She's watching intently. "... yeah." What he said. She doesn't pull out her broomstick and hover, mercifully. She stays neatly in her seat, being somewhat tall. But still. Huh. Nifty.
Alright, Leo actually plugs his ear on...that noise. His expression is..pained for a few moments, before he slowly removes the fingers after the worse of the noise is over with. Not a happy camper, though he silently admits it is an impressive display to say the least. He is giving himself a few moments to adjust, which is luckily very quick before he tilts his head to hear some of the responses from people though he missed some of the immediate ones. Least he doesn't look bored and lazy anymore, rather sitting up, more attentive, though an unfriendly expression. He finally pulls out his cell phone and makes a memo in it about purchasing ear plugs.
"Son of a bitch," Hammer growls under his breath as he watches the armored figures fly in. He watches as it's revealed that the suits are not simply robots but piloted power armor. There's a terrible, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach at this revelation, and it goes from bad to worse as the tank is treated like a clay pigeon. "Jesus Christ," Justin mumbles as he watches the flaming debris filter back down to the demo field. "Jesus..." This is very, very bad, and already he's reworking things in his own presentation. Reaching into his suit jacket he pulls out his phone, unlocking it and bringing up a messaging app. He starts typing on the on-screen keyboard quickly.
"Oh. Neat." says Fuji from her spot in the crowd. She takes her pictures of the staged event. "Man. Maybe I'm going into the wrong business. With these and Stark's stuff around there won't be any need for superheroes."
157 watches the entire display without any visible reaction. Or probably any invisible one, given his personality (or lack thereof). Once it is done, he speaks quietly to himself. "Analysis: Technology designated 'LXS-2091' is a formidable weapon. Mass produced, LXS-2091 would enable solid line of defense against invasion from planetary or extraplanetary threats. Primary potential weakness: Device operated by human pilot. Attacks capable of disabling pilot despite armor possibly effective. Pilot's personality and experience with device will contribute to effectiveness. Secondary potential weakness: Power source. However, combined with 'superhero' population on planet designated 'Earth', technology improves chances of repelling open invasion. Additional note: LXS-2091 may be valuable target for theft, for sale as military or security technology to races of lower technological ability." He looks over at Justin Hammer, observing the man's reaction quietly.
Pepper Potts nods to Director Fury as he takes his leave, then turns back to the demonstration, then covers her ears as the armored suits arrive and turn the tank into so much scrap metal. Her expression is a bit pinched, but that could very much be because of all the noise. Yes, now she's REALLY glad she asked Michael to forward a copy of this to Tony and Howard.
Tousaint is reaching for his third champagne glass, when he notices Justin's reaction to the demonstration. Tousaint puts down the glass and makes his way over to him and states, "We are available to take on extra deliveries, if you need to reroute your other assets."
The arrival of the air brigade sees Molly standing almost as quickly as she sat. She leans into the chair in front of her, possibly annoying its occupant, carelessly as she watches with muted interest. When the tank is lifted, a smile breaks through her inquisitive expression and quickly changes to full-on ecstatic grin when it is hurled airborne. There's a pregnant pause where the brunette girl does not move -at all- until those blasts are fired off and the tank EXPLODES. And with it, Molly explodes too finally, "WOOHOOO! EXPLOSIONS!" She waves her hands about in the air, drawing some stares from the nearby crowd - including her foster grandfather who visibly tugs at her dress.
Looking down, Molly's turns tomato red as she realizes she was making a scene. She starts to sit back down again, or at least considers it, but then she hears Justin growling nearby and drawing out a phone. She's half-tempted to leap over the back of her chair and walk over, but one-five-seven's droning catches her attention again. "...Theft??" She shouts this, all too loudly again, like the boor she is. "Who's gonna steal that thing?"
"When the drones invaded Earth I saw the aftermath and the devastation firsthand. Lexcorp was on the ground helping everyday people rebuild. I kept thinking if only we had something to stop the attack then and only then could these people be safe! And so my company found one of the alien drones, analyzed it and from the ashes of destruction they cause we built these!" Lex says with obvious joy in his voice as his hands wave to the various suits. A moment later he starts snapping his fingers, "But you know, something is missing," his words echo through the expo. Lex gives the crowd a moment to sink in everything. "You know what the country needs? It doesn't need a Captain, a Man of Steel, nor a Man of Iron. No. Do you know what it needs?" his eyes dart about the crowd waiting for answers. He holds out a hand toward the sky again, "It needs...a Patriot."
Meggan's moody second-hand memories of titanic humanoid machines pursuing terrified people is, in its turn, derailed when someone shouts "theft" near her. Her head whirls around and she suddenly says to the young girl, eyes wide, "Is there a pickpocket loose?!" Reflexively she reaches one hand for her own back pocket.
She straightens up afterwards, grimacing slightly at the surge of the crowd; having lost her flow, struggling with whether or not to go back into this. She looks towards the stage, arms going back to fold protectively over herself.
Laser Mount Defense Status: Online
Systems: Online. Energy Level: 100 Percent.
Pushing off the ground the last armor soars through the sky. Landing with a thud it rises, looks to the crowd, salutes and stands. Red, white, and blue deco adorns the armor. A simple salute is all the armored soldier does.
Hammer snaps his gaze to the voice he hears close to him. He recognizes the owner of his new transportation contractor immediately. There's none of his normal over the top outgoing nature now, his expression is cold. "I'll let you know if things change," Justin replies to Tousaint before sending one last message. Luthor's continued speech again gets the attention of the Hammer Industries' CEO, and he watches as the rest of this unfolds. Lex is playing the crowd, he's got the charismatic air like Stark does, and he's got one hell of a weapon. The Pentagon is going to be eating out of his hand. And now? A red, white and blue set of power armor. An 'Iron Patriot'. Lex has got Hammer angry, and more than a little scared.
"Query: Who is going to steal that thing? Answer: Access denied." 157 is delightfully nonhelpful sometimes. "Notification: Additional potential weakness. LXS-2091 constructed based on design of alien drone. Possible that original creators of drones or those familiar with the technology may be able to achieve control over LXS-2091 through similarities to drone design. Further observation and investigation necessary to confirm." The Patriot's arrival has no particular impact on him, except to cause another comment. "Analysis: Camouflage pattern of armored suit designated 'Iron Patriot' unlikely to hide user in most environments."
Michael tends to keep his flying to a minimum when in civilian clothing, but he'll make an exception in this case. He flies upwards, high enough that he is no longer blocking the view of anyone behind him, so he can have a good clear look at the various armors, and especially at this Iron Patriot. There is a slight frown of concentration on his face as he starts to run a scan and analysis, and then he looks more than a little baffled. He looks at Skeets, and the little robot turns a bit in the air to look at Michael.
Rain's kinda boggling. Her eyes are wide. She liked most of those guys Lex names. She looks to Michael. "Erm, I'm - I wasn't day dreaming, was I?" She asks him quietly. Spotting Tousaint, Rain smiles a bit. Though, hearing the word theft, she looks concerned. Her eyes are still wide. She blinks as - the new armored fellow arrives. Neat. she looks concerned, glancing to Hammer now and then, though. He didn't strike her as a bad dude (Then again, Rain's judgement in this department is somewhere between abysmal and 'we think it's in a crater somewhere, send more grad students'.). She looks up to Michael. "Ooh, that is a better view." But still, she'd better now pull out the broomstick and hover. She does wave to Tousaint, trying to keep her brain cells from nerding out. Well, that's nifty.
Pepper Potts had started turning more of her attention back to her tablet, but when the newest armor arrives she glances up, then blinks and does a doubletake. "Wait, what?" She squints at the Iron Patriot for a long second, then looks at her tablet. She reads something there and looks up at Michael and Skeets before turning and leaving at that 'something is on fire but I'm still too dignified to run' pace that she somehow manages in those heels she always wears.
Leo smirks as he sits back once again. Hell ya. Alright, he's gloating for his Father, since his Father can't do it in an obvious manner while on stage. Still...he wishes he could be up on stage too. He doesn't really talk to anyone else in the front row, doesn't make any sounds of astonishment, rather just listening to others. The rapid tap of Pepper's heeled shoes do make Leo grin a bit.
Molly's eyes fly from one-five-seven to Meggan, and Meggan's cry becomes a catalyst for a chain of (possibly moronic) activity Molly both created and is now perpetuating, "OH NO A PICK POCKET!" She shouts, eyes whirling as she looks like she might just pick anyone who appears to be moving suspiciously and punch them any moment now. Her eyes are fierce and her fists are curled, and she's completely ignoring the vigorous tugging at the tail of her dress by her 'grandfather'.
Finally, she looks back at one-five-seven after a few moments of eying people nearby. "What do you mean Access Denied? Do you know who's gonna steal it?"
"...Molly sit down, please..."
Tousaint raises his arms in a shrug at Justin's response before downing his glass of champagne. Tousaint offers a wave to Rain as he extends his left arm outwards to gaze as his fingertips and calmly states, "Well, Stark did want to work with everyone to make a better world. I sure he is not going to mind Mister Luthor building his own Iron-Men...well, more like a Iron-Men with his own Iron-Legion." Tousaint grabs some snacks and smirks, "Who knew such drama would be found at the Expo?"
Corben's clearly reveling in the attention Lex's suit has given him, allowing his visor to slide upwards once again to grace the audience with yet another easy-going grin. There's a touch of arrogance in his face, and more than a little pride, but it all fades as the Iron Patriot, the obvious 'jewel' of Luthor's presentation makes his appearance and steals most if not all of the crowd's awe. Just before his visor *clanks* back down over his face, his grin slips into a stern frown and he takes a step back to let the focus turn more fully on the new, red-white-and-blue themed power suit.
As if on cue Lex presses a button and fireworks go off around. Red, white and blue confetti join the display followed by fliers. The fliers feature the Iron Patriot in Uncle Sam's "I want you" pose with a simple message written on it, "I want you to help rebuild New York." Seeing all of the shocked faces over the display Lex yells with pure joy and excitement, "Follow in the Iron Patriot's example! Help rebuild New York! And embrace your -Government Approved- Hero!" Smiling seeing the confetti, the elation, the confusion, the horror, all of it makes Lex smile big. The world has changed tonight and it has changed for the better, "And remember folks," his voice grows serious, "This is just phase one." Lex waves to the crowd and he grins as The Beetle's Revolution begins to play again. He disappears behind the curtain letting the people just marvel at the new world standing at Stark Expo.
"Query: What do you mean Access Denied? Answer: Subject is not recognized as authorized to receive certain information. Access denied. Query: Do you know who is going to steal it? Answer: Negative. Clarification: Theft is possibility, not certainty. This one does not have knowledge of planned theft." 157 is quite oblivious to the minor ruckus he kind of caused with his pronouncement, and to the fact that his continued conversation with the excitable Molly is /probably/ getting the poor girl in a bit of trouble with granddad. "Continued observation of organization designated 'Lexcorp' necessary. High probability of further significant developments."
Up where he is hovering, Michael is rapidly manipulating the barely visible input device at his fingertips. His other hand is lifted, and he murmurs something into the gold ring he wears there; it would take very sharp hearing to detect what he is saying, although he is speaking in Interlac, in any case.
"Huh." says Fuji from her spot in the crowd, pulling down a flier that smacked her in the face. She looks at it then hops up and down, trying to see through all the falling clutter to see where that shout of pick pocket came from.
Justin knocks a flier away from him a it flutters down. He stands up, and makes his way to the isle that runs down the seats. His phone is pressed to his face, and he can be heard speaking very gruffly to whoever is on the other end. It sounds like he's calling an impromptu meeting, but it's hard to tell with who. Once he reaches the isle he turns and starts making his way toward the exit.
Noting the frown from a fellow soldier Patriot walks to Corben. "We fight for the same side," the voice is heavily modulated.
"Oh." Molly says, as one-five-seven clarifies for her his meaning. "I see. Sorry then." She sighs, her mometary excitement gone again as she realizes she probably just made a scene for no reason. "...Tell me if you find out, okay?" She then slumps back into her chair, sounding only perhaps half genuine. She doesn't really expect him to know any time soon much less tell her.
With the display apparently over, Molly's grandfather stands and gives her an annoyed look. "Come on, the show's over. Lets get back home." And the brunette nods, slowly, giving one-five-seven a wave as she stands again and walks by. "See you at school, one-five-seven..."
As Lex walks off, and Patriot walks towards him, Corben offers one armored hand out to his fellow Suit Pilot, his own heavily modulated voice responding quietly, "We may fight for the same side, but that doesn't mean I have to like you." Even as he says this, his second raises to wave all friendly-like out to the audience, clearly playing the part. Eventually he steps back, allows a few more moments of pictures, basking, and general showing off for the public, before he and the other, non-spangled Suit Pilots salute the audience and promptly rocket off, back to wherever they came from.
Leo just sits there, letting people shuffle and escape to plan or gossip or what not. He sort of seems like the eye of the storm, completely calm and seemingly indifferent right now. However, his eyes are already glancing about for the most effective escape himself at this point. Though he tilts his head slightly, seeming to pause looking at Corben for a few moments, a slight frown on his face. Still, he finally stands and starts to head out of the enclosed display area in a calm manner.
Once the presentation seems to be winding down, Michael comes down for a landing, trying to pick a fairly unpopulated spot. He is looking rather thoughtful, now that the surprise has worn off. Skeets remains overhead, still taking in footage and data, something that has been keeping the little robot busy during the Expo.
Meggan, for her part, is making a direct line towards... the nearest of body of water, giving Molly a briefly reassuring smile in passing.
Of course in the crowd this doesn't stand out incredibly much. "And to think I was going to spend an evening out," she huffs to herself, as if this frustration scales with all the exploding robot action just now witnessed.
Pushing off the ground the Iron Patriot zooms off in the same direction Corben and the other Iron Soldiers went. He doesn't care about the fliers, confetti or joy. All he wants to do is defend the people.
Rain watches the exchange between Corben and Iron Patriot, if it's audible. She seems quietly curious. She watches them go. For now then, Rain might look for someone familiar to say hi to or start drifting off.
"Instruction: Tell me if you find out, okay? Moderate probability that this one will not obey instruction. If subject does not have appropriate authorization, this one may be required to hide information on theft from subject." Molly may not have really meant the question, but 157 treats it like she did. He's...not that great at judging emotions or personality issues. As Molly gets up to leave, he looks over at her, watching her go and mimicking the wave--albeit without any of the emotional content. He turns his attention back to the stage until the suits rocket off, and then turns to walk towards the exit as well--not the easiest thing in this crowd for someone his height, but 157 is nothing if not patient.
After taking pictures of the armored suits Fuji starts drifting towards the exit. "Well Dad, I don't know if we are making the right decision about my future. Those suits look way more impressive than I do."
Michael has his hand close to his face again as he touches down, because he is speaking into his ring, in that weird Interlac language. "<Well. Yeah. I mean it could be nothing. We'll see.>" He straightens his shirt and waistcoat a bit now, because they get pulled out of place when he flies. Skeets slowly sinks downwards and bobs behind him, in his usual place.
... Well, the Hammer guy (no, not the one with parachute pants) looks kind of tense. Rain is all about peacemaking. She carefully, caaaaaarefully makes her way through the crowd to head over and make sure he's um, not going to explode or something. Seriously, last time she had a date - okay, nevermind. Ahem. She does look concerned. "Um. Hey. Pardon me." She waves towards Justin.
Tousaint watches the soldiers fly off, and as wipes his hands on his napkin. He pulls out his IPHone to take a picture of the flying soldiers. He looks down at his iphone, "We got two good photos today." Tousaint walks over to Rain and say, "How are you doing?"
Hammer is still on his phone when the young woman approaches. "I don't care, get them out to the office. I'll see you in an hour," he snaps, then drops the phone down and ends the call. He hears the greeting, and turns to face Rain. It takes him a moment to compose himself, so it's likely she catches the tail end of his hard-edges scowl before he can pull on the fake grin and outgoing nature. "Hey," Justin says, recognizing the woman and trying to place where from. "I know you, don't I?"
Michael does seem vaguely distracted, having a conversation with his ring. He is wearing an earpiece, but this must be a different communications unit. Although he is speaking that alien language, the words 'Iron Patriot' are clear enough to anyone close enough to hear. He walks outside where it is a little more quiet, as the noise in the Expo hall is probably interfering with his conversation.
Tousaint realizes Rain is busy talking with Hammer, and Tousaint has a long night of working with hodgepodge of tech parts he recently acquired, so he decides to take this time to slip away.