|The Next Generation of Defense|
|What: Justin Hammer takes the stage at the Stark Expo to unveil his latest innovation. The demo doesn't go completely as planned...|
It's a pleasant, warm evening in New York, a perfect setting for the large, outdoor main stage of the Stark Expo. The main stage itself has been reset for the next demo that's lined up, the logo for Hammer Industries' Advanced Weapons Systems on the huge video screens just behind the stage. It's early enough that the sky is still light, but the sun is low enough that the stage is mostly dark for now. Beyond the stage is the large open area that was used in another demo earlier in the week, well lit by the evening sun. It's been cleaned up, and now holds a line of six military trucks parked end to end down it's length. A convoy that's been frozen in time.
As a Stark intern, Michael Jon Carter has been making a point to attend as many of the special presentations as possible. With the assistance of his robot, Skeets, he has been recording holo-imagry of everything--and, on occasion, giving cursory scans to anything of particular interest. Michael walks along the perimeter of the Hammer Industries display, eyeing the line of trucks.
Fern worked the Anita Bella booth earlier in the day specifically to have this evening clear so she could be at the demo. She changed out of her uniform into a casual summer dress and flat shoes and then hurried over. Justin secured a prime seat for her, so she's gradually making her way toward it through the crowd, looking for familiar faces.
Volstagg arrives at the Expo; he looks rather out of place. More like a fantasy cos-player then someone you would see at a technological expo. He looks around and smiles, "I do hope the show today is as good at the opening night." He says to no one in particular as he rubs his hands together and seeks out a snack to begin the festivities with.
Keith had no other reason to be here other than curiosity--- well, that, and the fact that Justin was his friend. Having finally a churro of his own (Patrick was, of course, out on duty, so he needn't worry about his being taken), he walks over to the display area to watch the demo. He spots Michael and Fern and gives them a wave each in turn... with his churro-free hand.
Tousaint spends a few moments before the event kicks off this evening to pass out some business cards, and to drop the fact that his company does business with Hammer. After he finishes his mingling, he grabs a glass of wine off a passing server's plate, then finds a place to enjoy the event. Tousaint thinks to himself, "I wonder what music Justin is going to open up with."
Martin Kavanagh is one of the few people here that probably didn't work one of the booths at the Expo itself. Anyone who would have asked and looked at his travel would see he'd taken the ferry over from Gotham (without a car; lord knows he wasn't going to add hours to his trip by fighting traffic), and managed to get in on a one day pass, with a chair held for him from a friend for this, the newest demonstration from Hammer Industries. As a reservist, he probably had some sort of passing interest in these things.
All of that was plausible, and would stand up to most scurinity, which is all it needed to do. But there was the added truth that the Director probably wanted some sort of eyes on assessment of new military technology from an experianced hand, and Martin's real job would be taking notes, observing Mr. Hammer for his reactions, and, of course, checking casually to see if there were any other parties that might be... interested in today's performence.
And just in case things got really bad, he knew where there was a little something stashed beneath the false bottom of a trash can on the main concourse.
Rain might have the worst poker face in the history of card games, but that is just how it goes. She's been nerding out and quietly watching things. She did seem concerned about someone involved in this demo and so she decides to go find a decent seat. She has a fountain drink with her, and seems quietly concerned. Hmm. Well, there's Michael. She'll wave over. But then, there's a Volstagg, and Rain waves. She'll get one of the churros, smiling politely at Martin in passing. Time to find herself a seat.
And on this particular evening, the Stark Expo would be graced by an unusual presence. Or perhaps, one of a few. But they would never know, at least not if she had any control over it. The Goddess Amora, the Enchantress, has descended upon this particular segment of the Expo for strictly business reasons. And she will be doing it in style... and in utmost secret.
Making her way past an advertisement booth for a phone company she could hardly care about, comes a blonde woman in her early thirties wearing a long, airy, floor-length dress with ruffles. Primarily jade green in color, with a heart-shaped neckline on the bodice and a shimmering band that encircles her waist, the dress itself looks to be rather costly. And that's before getting to the diamond jewelry she appears to be wearing...
Her emerald green eyes take in the with the scrutiny of a surgeon, though her expression absolutely reads 'not interested'.
Volstagg is in line for the funnel cake when he notices Rain wave to him he smiles and returns the wave with enthusiasm. He shouts out to her, "How are you fairing this eve?" he moves with his line and shortly he buys his funnel cake this time with ice cream on it, the way Sif recommended. He then moves over to talk to Rain, "Have you heard anything about this evening show? I know my Lord and Lady are both fond of this man Hammer."
Even though there's a sea of people waiting, it's hard to miss a flash of purple fur, and the wave gets one in return, along with a smile as Fern veers her path to intercept Keith. "Hey!" she calls as she nears him, automatically going for a hug, then realizing he's got a handful of food. She laughs and stops herself short. "I saw you in the crowd on opening night, sorry I couldn't make my way over to you. Did you have fun?"
Michael gives a smile and a wave to Keith and to Rain; the glasses he is wearing makes it easy for him to pick people out of the milling crowd. He gestures to Skeets, and the golden robot drifts higher to get a better vantage point.
Keith laughs, "For a moment I thought you were going to go food fight on me!" He holds his Churro up "And I'm woefully unarmed compared to you How's the expo treating you so far, Fern?" he returns Booster's smile and takes a bite of his churro. Carefully. It's the caramel-filled ones.
In general, there are not a heck of a lot of 8 feet tall Russians out on the streets of NYC. Even fewer are so ghastly pale and look so out of place in a business suit and mirrored shades. But he would look even more out of place wearing his more typical fare, so Grigori Alexandrovich is here in something that at least makes him look modern. The tall man is very broad-shouldered and thick of limb, so the suit was tailored specifically to his frame. Accompanying him is another man of lesser height but similar build, in a suit with an odd hood with the insignia of a red eye upon it draped about his head. Grigori has the same hood, but his is left down for the time being. Despite their unusualness, to casual inspection there is nothing so odd about the bearded giant or his very quiet companion that on-lookers would be suspicious of them. Any security there may be has had ample opportunity to check them for concealed weapons, and would have found nothing.
Grigori is here not to see about the 'next generation of defense' but about offensive potential that could be adapted to his... Particular needs. Aside from the man that hovers just a few steps behind him, Grigori brought some other retainers with him who are handling a significant amount of cash -- the better to bargain with. If anyone asks, Grigori has the proper papers to show he is a representative of a Russian 'special defense force' not directly tied to the government. Any further prying meets merely with the answer that he can not divulge more than that at this time.
Just a few minutes past 7PM the apron lights on the stage flair up and music cues. It's the leader from Europe's 'Final Countdown', in all it's 1980s synthesizer glory. A few notes in, the CEO of Hammer Industries himself makes his way onto the stage. He doesn't walk, or even stride up to the center of the large, open stage. No, he makes his way on stage doing a shuffle something like a toned-down version of what you might see LMFAO doing at a concert. It's anything but what you would expect from a high-profile CEO, and while Justin isn't a bad dancer, it's still a bit odd. Once he reaches the front-center of the stage, Hammer holds his arms out to greet the audience. "Yeah!" he says in a tone that's far too enthusiastic as he looks over the gathered crowd. He's dressed in his typical style of suit, neutral grey with a red and gold striped tie, and has been fitted with a high-end wireless mic.
As the music fades down, the CEO remains at center stage, slipping his hands into his pants pockets. In a much more even tone, though still having an edge of excitement to it, he starts the intro to the demonstration. "Good evening, and thanks for coming out tonight. It's been said that we live in interesting times, and boy, truer words have never been spoken. Just in the last year we've seen new threats that we never before thought- aliens, ancients, science gone wrong. Not to mention the traditional conflicts over resources and power. In these interesting times, we find often find ourselves feeling more than a little insecure."
"And Hammer Industries is hoping to change that."
Fern laughs, reassuring Keith, "No, I'm not going to food fight you. It's too good to waste." A rustle seems to go through the crowd as the top of the hour nears, and she reaches for his free hand. "C'mon, Justin gave me a pass to get down to the front, come with me." Giving a tug she leads the way down, showing a pass to get them into the reserved section just a few seconds before the music starts. Fern winces as it does, thinking, /He went with that song./ Well, it's very Justin, if nothing else. She smiles as he appears at the side of the stage, and her eyes widen in surprise as he dances in. When he arrives at center stage, she looks to Keith. "Did you know he could do that?"
Tousaint sinks down in his chair a bit after seeing that shuffle and wonders to himself maybe he shouldn't have been dropping the fact that his company works with Hammer. Tousaint sips on his wine, and peers around the room for any familiar faces, before listening to the rest of Hammer's opening words.
Keith follow Fern along, and blinks at Justin's display. When Fern asks him the question, he grins a little and says "No... and he sort of still can't do it, quite."
Rain smiles to Volstagg. "I am well enough, yourself?" She tilts her head. "Lord and Lady?" She seems puzzled a moment. "Have we met?" She asks quietly. Not many speak with that sort of formality. Grigori gets a curious look from Rain. But soon the show starts. And Rain kind of blinks. He's ... dancing. She looks like she might've seen a Kardashian just bust out and solve a calculus problem. That, or kids might start asking her how to get to the center of a lollipop because she looks really owlish. Uhm. Well, then. She does smile as Michael waves back, but hm. There's Tou, too... Her seat is briefly forgotten for now. But she is listening.
That young blonde in the jade green dress seems to be taking her sweet time wandering he Expo, and looking at everyone and every thing while she's at it. She's quick to take note of Volstagg and Rain, her painted lips turning ever so slightly at the sight of the cheerful exchange. She doesn't approach them, but if they were lucky they might catch sight of her staring before she wanders away. Though there's practiced elegance to her walk, there's a lot of pride and power there too. No matter how good she may be at disguises, habits were a hard thing to break.
At some point, she takes a glass of wine from the tray of a passing server and begins to drink lightly as she walks. Her path takes her right past Tousaint Walters as she makes a visible beeline for the stage from which the primary show starts. The real reason for which she came...
Fern protests lightly, "I thought that was good." Well, let it never be said that her taste is impeccable, either. And now she's missed half of what Justin just said, and she tries to catch up, turning her attention back to the stage.
Michael is standing there near the front with his arms half-folded and one hand cupping his chin. He is watching this whole display rather studiously. He knows very little about ancient dances (ancient from his point of view, at any rate) so he has no basis on which to judge Justin's performance.
Martin Kavanagh finds his seat quickly enough, giving a bit of a smile in return to Rain as she passes, and does have a few empty spots next to him. He looks in Rain's direction as she sits down, blinking a bit, but not commenting much. Odd names weren't his concern... but as Grigori comes up through the crowd, Martin does give more than a passing glance. Hell, who /wouldn't/ stare at an 8 foot man dressed like that? "Should profile. Get in trouble for that." He mutters to himself, before cursing and reaching for his phone in his pocket cursing as he presses a button on the screen, and brings it to his ear.
"Hello- What?" He says, whispering, holding his free hand over his open ear to cut out noise, and angling the phone just enough so that Grigori and his collegue are in the view of the camera lense on the front. "Look. I can't talk now. Call me back." He says, before pressing another button on the screen, and stowing the phone away.
In this sort of area, facial recognition would be... less than reliable, and a quick result wasn't even guaranteed. Who knows, though; there may be a proper hit on those two.
And then Justin Hammer comes up, and does his little dance, and Martin is genuinely wincing. "Good lord, man. Stick with a standard speech." Another mutter to himself. Hopefully he'd bring out the panecea to all the world's defense needs in just a moment, and spare them some sort of singing number.
Volstagg examines Rain for a moment, "No I do not think we have but I think I saw you at the Expo before." He then looks at her, "Yes Thor and Sif." He then says, "I am part of their guard." He smiles, "Though to be honest they hardly need it but I do find the changes in Midgard since I was last her fascinating.
Grigori is... Stoic about enduring the music and the 'dance'. He politely claps. After a few moments the hooded man sitting next to him does the same in a slightly clumsy mimicry of the taller man. If the Russian knows he's being inspected or glanced at or stared at, he shows no sign of it. Instead he keeps his peace and listens with a small degree of impatience. Speeches are part and parcel of an event like this, and he understands that. But he would REALLY like to see what the salesman is selling soon. The sun -- even fading as it is -- is unpleasant on his skin.
He does take a moment to turn his head and see if anyone of interest is to his immediate left or right, but with those glasses in the way, his peripheral vision is somewhat hindered and he probably doesn't notice anyone.
"Through the 'Safe at Home' Initiative that I'm sure you've all had a chance to look over, I hope to help us return to a safer time, where we could travel freely and trust our neighbors." Justin pulls his right hand from his pocket and motions toward the audience. It's nearly impossible for him to communicate without some sort of hand gestures. "But even if we're safe at home, we still have outside threats to face. Those who want to come in, and take what we have for themselves. Sure, we have our heroes, out there fighting to defend us, but they can only do so much. Go so far. So it's my goal to give them a new problem- what to do with their new-found, hard earned free time." Hammer pauses, grinning at his own attempt at humor and waiting for an audience reaction.
Another day, another demonstration--in this case, Hammer's. And with the Stark Expo kind of a focal point of technology, the young observation drone known to some as 157 is on site again, observing. He's found a seat somewhere in the middle of the crowd, but away from the folks that were particularly tall and could interfere with his view--but despite that, he's actually set his bookbag on his chair and is sitting on that as a booster seat. Despite actually being in some way /involved/ in this particular demonstration's setup, he's watching this as quietly and emotionlessly as the others he's attended.
Rain pauses at Martin's blink. Huh. Well, it's a hazard of odd names. And a blonde lady blinking at them. Hmm. A look of surprise crosses Rain's face. The odd thing is, she wasn't staring at /anything/. She shakes it off, looking to Martin and the tall fellow. Right. Later. She smiles to Volstagg. "Oh! Yeah? And they are both very kind," Provided one's not on the wrong end of hammer and blade. Ahem. Rain decides... to not reveal her apprenticeship juuuuuuuust yet. "It is a pretty dynamic place," She agrees. "Um, welcome then." Yes. She looks a little disconcerted by something and is trying to shake it off, much like one might try to shake off something climbing one's leg. Watch the show. Watch the show.
Keith watches rather quietly, wondering what Justin might have up his sleeve. He was inerested in this, though- something that could make heroes' jobs easier? That sounded like a much-needed respite.
For the young blonde in the green dress, taking paltry sips from her glass of wine, there isn't much of a reaction to Justin's mention of his 'Safe at Home' initiative or the bit of humor at the tail end. She just quietly stares at the CEO with a look of mild interest, emerald eyes taking in his mannerisms as her ears take in the details of everything he says.
There are occasional glances now and then given to the massive Russian and his friend as well, complete with a subtle narrowing of the eyes. They are fleeting, but the manner of her expression says an awful lot about what importance they have to her. They are indeed a curious sight as well... and that's putting it mildly...
The Lion of Asgard turns to Rain, "So you have met them? He smiles, "I am not surprised you think well of them, both have a way with people." He then turns to watch the show notices Rain's discomfort he looks over and whispers, 'Is everything alright?"
Martin Kavanagh doesn't get a response on his phone in next few minutes; he checks after around five minutes past, of course, seeing that there had been a confirmation of receipt, and then nothing else. That meant that there wasn't a high enough probability to justify sending back an immediate alert. Just barking in the dark then... though he would make sure it goes into the database with the proper notes. Data is data, after all. Rain's little pause and stare off into space does garner a slight reaction, but again, nothing significant. He could only be concerned about so much, after all, and if they /really/ wanted to watch everyone here, there would have given him more agents.
Safe at Home... mostly civilian initiatives, weren't they? Tugging on heartstrings, of course, given that more of it had to do with 'screening and survelliance' then it did with trust... but, again, nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed they were still a weapons manufactuer-
He brought a hand to his face, slightly, at the joke. He wasn't going to give that even a courtesy chuckle. As much as he /would/ like more free time.
Millie is sitting in the general crowd. She didn't expect to come, it was a spur of the moment thing. She is listening, and alright, she has her Lx-phone out to take an occansional photo for...well....the occansional photo.
"Ha-ha," Tousaint does his best to join in with the rest of group of people sitting in his row that are laughing at Hammer's attempt at a joke. Tousaint looks down at his pamphlet to remind himself of the "Safe-At-Home" initiative.
Michael is still up front standing and watching attentively, patiently. He has his own reasons as to why he is interested in anything that claims it will cut down the need for superheroes. His native era is rather interesting, that way. Up above, Skeets floats around as he records the presentation. At least Justin's entry-shuffle will be enshrined forever in glorious full color holo-vid.
Fern has quieted down as well, her eyes intent upon Justin while he talks. Although she keeps her hands down, her fingers are crossed, hoping to bring him even a smidgen of luck. After her talk the other night with Leo Luthor about superheroes, the thought of them having to do less sparks particular interest.
The bearded Russian does not react to Justin's joke except to nudge the man next to him. The hooded man lets out a wheezing, awful, choking 'laughter' like someone is strangling the air out of a cat that also has a life-long smoking problem. Grigori might not laugh, but there's no reason to be rude to the host. So he lets his companion do the laughing for him. He finds this to be a reasonable compromise. Grigori himself just waits and thinks about this. Tools so useful that even the super-powered heroes of the world be ineffective in comparison? That is very interesting. (Or at least how Grigori is interpreting it.)
Justin gives the audience one last appraising look. The reaction to his humor was less than he had anticipated, so he moves on quickly to the meat of the demo. "So without further ado, I present to you The Next Generation of Defense, the Hammer Industries MQ-28 BullShark Aerospace Drone." He takes a step back, turning toward his left as he motions toward the large, empty stage with his left hand. More music cues, a rather ominous sounding piece from a movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnywcTqsg18). Lights flare up, giving the entire stage a red tone, and a section of the stage floor opens up. Rising up from under the glossed black surface is what looks like some sort of aircraft. It's low to the ground with sharp angles, a flat, dark grey paint scheme and no visible cockpit. The huge video screens change from the Hammer Industries logo to video footage of three of the craft flying together in formation over a desert landscape somewhere. Likely Groom Lake, Nevada. (The craft: http://heromux.com/mw/images/8/8e/BullShark_Drone.jpg)
Justin claps as he looks back toward the audience once the mock-up drone has settled fully onto the stage. "A lot more practical than some red, white and blue publicity stunt, isn't it?"
Fern's eyes widen as the stage opens and the drone lifts up and out into the public eye. So that's what Justin has been working so hard on completing. To her, Joe Average, it's a pretty impressive sight, and the booming music only emphasizes the machine's imposing silhouette. "Wow," she says softly.
Placing her empty wine glass upon the tray of another passing server, the disguised Asgardian Goddess offers the woman a practiced smile in brief and then turns her eyes back toward Hammer. Despite the presence of several 'curious' people in her immediate area gnawing at her attention, she mostly seems to stay focused on the CEO. And once that craft comes up, it too. In fact, for a solid few moments she seems to just stare at the thing... until she finally pries her eyes off of the metallic contraption to look at the accompanying video. And suddenly, the word 'Aerospace' meant something.
"Ah...", she emits her first words for the evening, "...so this is how they fly, is it?" There's a bit of an amused smile, the sort of wry grin an evil person with perfectly fuctional legs might give to someone lame. "How quaint."
...And then, she finally takes a moment to turn her eyes about and stare... in Keith's direction with a look of interest. Not the same sort she'd been giving the Russian but...
157 continues watching the presentation, watching the arrival of the drone. (While one man nearby him is kind of staring at him, clearly wondering just what interest a boy as young as him even has in the presentation...and probably how he got in.) At Hammer's comment, he notes, "Analysis: Subject 'Justin Hammer' negatively affected by presentation of organization 'Lexcorp." Elevated probability of mistakes. Query: A lot more practical than some red, white, and blue publicity stunt, isn't it? Answer unavailable. However, red, white, and blue decoration not practical for deployment in field." Nevermind that he's way too far back for Justin to possibly hear the answer to his question. A man on 157's other side makes the universal pose for 'shush', and 157 stares back at him, quietly, and mimics the pose. Looking about a few moments later, 157 catches sight of something high above, looking up in Skeets' direction. "Notification: Object in observational flight pattern above presentation. Analysis: High probability object is observation drone..." he starts, only to be shushed again by the same man, who wears an aggravated expression that only gets more aggravated as 157 just mimics the pose again and then says, "Information required: Meaning of gesture."
Martin Kavanagh wasn't about to give a forced chuckle for a bad joke, and he sure as hell wasn't going to clap or hollar like a aerospace fanboy when the music starts up and the stage gets bathed in red lights.
Still... He had to admit that the presentation was well put together (you'd have to assume that a weapons manufactuer could at least make their tools look sexy. More important, though, is the drone itself. Martin leans forward and certain possibilities do flash through his mind: Next Generation of Defense probably referred to the fact that a lot of light air strikes and aerial recon was being attached to remote drones. And if the device performed well... Martin could see both calling in strikes from a machine like this. And running from them. If it performed well.
Pepper Potts enters the stage area, moving as quietly as possible. She hates being late, but it can't be helped when she's pulled to help with something Expo-related. Pausing to look at the drone before moving to find a place to sit, she can't really help but be impressed. It's a sharp looking little aircraft.
Keith raises his eyebrows and crosses his arms, "Now that's pretty fancy," he says to Fern, tilting his head. "Maybe I'll ask to borrow one the next time the Joker is on the loose.." he jokes, but he can't help the feeling that he's being watched.
Well, of course he was... he's purple. Someone was always watching.
Something distracted Rain - then she realized there was a joke. Oops. She looks a bit sheepish and a hair guilty. A glance to Martin, "Um. May I ask you a question later, but not this one?" Something has her a bit puzzled. Still, she seems quietly impressed. She nods to Volstagg. "They do." At his whisper, she smiles weakly, whispering back, "Sorta. I can explain after. It might upset people." She looks to 157, too. Brave little dude.
Michael arches a brow; he looks impressed, though. It is a good looking drone plane, after all. Skeets floats around above, getting a good, three-dimensional recording of the craft. The robot swoops down lower, then, hovering closer to his boss.
So, here Fujiko is again. Another weapons demo. She's kitted up like a young reporter this time. She's got a camera and she's got her iPad along. She's taking notes diligently. Well, sort of. She's doodling flowers mostly. But when the drone shows up she looks excited and from the outskirts of the crowd she'll try to get a really good look. "Ooh. It's all stealthy! It's like the stealth bomber, but like a drone." She writes that down, "Stealthy! Like the stealth bomber!" She throws in a couple more exclamation points after looking at that. It didn't look properly exciting with only one.
Millie is still doing some short videos and then switching out for photos. Seriously? Why? Well, people will just have to stay tuned. She mmms softly, not appearing too interested in the 'war stuff'. It's a pretty looking plane though! Yes...pretty.
When the drone is release, Tousaint does a slow clap of approval. Tousaint stands up from his seat and makes his way through the crowd to tracks down a server. As he makes his way through the crowd, his offers a friendly wave to Rain.
Volstagg nods to Rain as he turns to watch the show. He seems in awe of the new mortal weapon of war and well is almost like a big kid as he watches them being demonstrated. He then whisper to Rain, "Well if you have need of anything let me know."
As the pulsing, menacing music throbs out, and various screens display video footage, and the actual thing itself rises from beneath the stage, Grigori starts to show significantly more interest. Unmanned weapons. Weapons that can fight without someone to wield them. That is something very much in line with Grigori's professional interests, so to speak. Even better, his... 'Employer' might find such a thing significantly more appealing than just a gun or even some sort of powered suit. Removing the 'human element' whenever possible makes modern technology more palatable for her. Depending on if the rest of the demonstration is as interesting as this, Grigori may be prepared to make an offer as soon as right after the show.
Grinning broadly, proudly, Hammer starts talking up his latest pet project. Well, perhaps not latest, so much as on-going. Those in the know will remember the BullShark drone from when it made headlines in 2011 for it's rather spectacular failure, and was mothballed. Looks like the project is back, and in a big way. "The BullShark is an unmanned, artificial intelligence assisted aerial vehicle with multiple configurations. Designed with versatility in mind, it can operate in almost any theater of combat, from reconnaissance to tactical strike and air superiority. VSTOL capable, thrust vectoring and high efficiency, it can be deployed from almost anywhere and maneuver through almost anything. A single pilot can control up to three BullSharks in a campaign halfway around the globe from a single control deck, nestled comfortably on home soil. It's stealth- just like it's namesake you won't know it's there until it bites you."
Somewhere in the distance is the sound of jet engines. They're far quieter than even your average civilian jet which has to conform to noise pollution standards. At the peak of the din, three of the dark grey drones skim over the amphitheater, flying in a triangle formation. The flight is slow, deliberate, and all three craft come to a /stop/ over the field where the mock up military convoy is parked. Vents in the nose and wings of each plane holds it in a hover, tiny twitches in the crafts' control surfaces keeping them steady in the light breeze of the late evening. The video screens fade from the file footage of the drones to a view of a military pilot and two technicians in a darkened room. In front of them are a bank of controls, much like a cockpit, and three large view screens with data readouts, targeting systems and navigational data. The control deck.
Fern gives Keith a good-natured jab of one finger as he talks about borrowing a drone from Justin, and she grins at him. "Don't you think that would be overkill?" She doesn't know the Joker, obviously. Her attention is back on Justin as he speaks again, but it shifts as the additional three drones fly in. She turns to watch their flight, repeating herself as they hover, and she looks to the screens that show the controllers, "Wow."
Martin Kavanagh moves to pull out the phone itself, and quickly moves to type out a quick command on it as Hammer starts talking about the various features of the drone itself, in the standard language of an arms merchant ensuring you it will make whole forms of warfare obsolete for one low, low price. The name, in retrospect, sounding familiar, and he types a quick text to a resource to pull up some information; better than doing an internet search on your own. He also-
He quickly looks up at a word from Rain, looking slightly perplexed. "Oh? Me? Sure.. I'm sorry, but my memory is terrible. Have we met? I'm always happy to help, though." He says, looking back to his phone to quickly type in another command. If he could get some sat time over this demo, that would be /super/.
He looks up as he hears the sound of jet engines, trying to suppress the urge to look right at the source and maybe duck under a chair. The phone's already recording audio, and he has the presence of mind to hold the camera up to point at the 'convoy' itself, watching the drones with interest. Quite interesting.
There is a chair next to him, of course, if Pepper wasn't picky about where she was sitting.
"Overkill? Nah, just safe... wow..." he looks at the additional drones. "You know... I wonder how they keep the drones from getting hacked or jammed... you know the first anti-jamming procedure was invented by a Hollywood actress during world war II? True story." Keith says to Fern, since she's an aspiring actress. "Maybe you'll come up with something too, you should tell Justin to hire you."
"So... they're controlled remotely, not by an AI?" Michael quietly wonders aloud. It might not be apparent to those who do not know him, but he is actually speaking with Skeets. "What if someone tries to like... hack into them?"
Skeets pauses, then tilts aside and says to Michael, "Did you want me to try, sir?"
"What? No!" Michael turns his head and frowns at the little robot. "I was just wondering. -Don't-."
Rain pauses. "I am uncertain. I would appreciate it. I go by Rain, it's a pleasure to meet you, and don't worry. You seem pretty busy," She offers, waving a hand. Her voice is soft. She looks up, hearing the sound of jet engines. She seems concerned, but watches for her part. She smiles to Volstagg. Nothing wrong with that! She whispers, "Will do! You too, okay?" She offers. It is a bit odd, but despite her odd eyes, Rain does - seem to blend well, much like shadows into an alley. Or veggies in a blender. Those also blend well.
Fern leans in toward Keith, listening as she watches the screen, then she looks at her purple friend. "Hire me? If I came up with anything he'd be the first to know anyway." And the CEO has already voiced the thought that he's got a notion to make Fern his PA. But how awkward would that be when she did something wrong, to have to make her friend take her to task for it? There's just no way that could work out well. "Besides, it sure doesn't look like he'd need anyone else's ideas. He's so smart." Yes, she said that.
"Notification: Multiple drones incoming," 157 says, earning him another shushing from the poor guy next to him. "Analysis: Part of presentation. Defenses readied." It's not /really/ an expression of doubt of safety of Justin's presentation...157's just the advance preparation sort. That's all. Really. He keeps watch on the drones, turning every so often to look towards the pilot on the stage. He does notice Rain, as well, sparing her just a quick glance before returning his attention to the presentation. The healer is interesting, but she isn't military technology, and thus at this time isn't his priority observation target.
"Sweeeeet!" says Fujiko, taking pictures and video of the trio of drones as they roll in all slow and impressive. "And now they drop the paveway..pavement? Pave something bomb. Fuel air explosives and all that." When someone near her says something about hacking them she nods, "Sure. But the encryption has got to be state of the art. I mean, you could have a field day with any of these superjet thingies if you could hack them. Right? You do tight beam transmissions from some sort of support vehicle when you are really serious about it. Supers could take them over probably. But, they could do that to those cool Luthor armored suits too. Probably." But she's no expert, and she doesn't know whoever it was who was talking about hacking, so she spouts off to the crowd in general, talking to herself as much as anyone else.
Snap, snap, the Lx-phone goes. A quiet mmmm, as Millie starts uploading photos to some sort of app. While they are loading, she is video taking again. She is efficent in her manner, tampering with the lighting of her camera and the settings a bit here and there.
Sadly, despite his very strong interest in weapons and military endeavours, some of the terminology and technological explanations are... A bit over Grigori's head. He still gets some of the gist of it though. It's a flying thing that can fight without a pilot and has a computer controlling it. But then Justin goes on to state and show that there's someone controlling it after all, and the Russian sits up straight and folds his bulky arms across his chest. Is it a combination of control systems? Perhaps Hammer mis-spoke? Maybe Grigori's grasp of English isn't as good as he thinks it is? He doesn't know, but he will continue watching and if there's a Q&A session at some point, he is going to ask for clarifications.
When the sound of jets in the air is heard, he and his hooded companion both immediately turn their heads to look in the direction they're coming from and make motions as though they intend to seek cover. Basically, exactly was Martin was resisting the urge to do. They eventually calm themselves though and return to sitting and facing forward -- though with a tenseness in Grigori that wasn't there before. The hooded man seems to just follow the taller's lead.
The Hammer Industries CEO is beaming with confidence now. He turns to watch the drones as they fly in, tracking their movement with his right hand. "Ladies and gentlemen, the Next Generation of Defense!" Again he claps, to lead the audience along, and after a short pause he once again addresses the crowd. "Tonight I have a very special presentation for you. I don't think it's right to just show you something and not prove it's worth. As we all know, talk is cheap. So ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for a live-fire demonstration of what the BullSharks are capable of!"
Hammer points toward the convoy that the drones are currently parked over. "We have here a mock up of your average military convoy. Six trucks- two humvees, two cargo trucks, an armored personnel carrier and a Jeep. The Bullsharks will now take out three of those vehicles surgically. Watch as a single pilot will now remove both cargo trucks and the APC while leaving the rest of the convoy intact."
Audio piped in from the control deck follows Justin's words as the pilot starts calling back to his command center. "Command, BullShark 1, 2 and 3 coming hot." "Roger BullShark Deck, confirmed coming hot."
All three drones turn, moving almost like helicopters in their precision, and take off at angles that seem to defy physics. The group moves out, bay doors on the bellies of the drones opening and reveiling the armorments carried within. Targeting guides are clearly visible on the screens of the control deck as two of the three drones lock onto the trucks they have been assigned. The third drone, however, breaks from the pack as they start the bombing run. It slows, circles back and heads toward the open amphitheater.
Pepper Potts claims that empty seat next to Martin, offering a quick smile hello as she settles with her teal bag on her lap and not noticing when the Coach/Stark emblem on the front glows for a second. She looks up as the three drones approach overhead. She remembers something like this recently. She thought they'd been mothballed. Well, good for Hammer for getting them off the ground. Both figuratively and literally. The 'surgical convoy attack' is fairly par for the course, but the deviation of the third Bullshark is what draws her attention.
Michael blinks at this. Live fire? He unconsciously takes a step back from the demonstration area. It's not that he distrusts Hammer, per se. It's just that demonstrations like this always put him on edge. The phrase 'splash radius' keeps entering his mind, and he tries to ignore that. He does seem to be emitting a very subtle golden glow, however.
Keith frowns, his eyes on the deviating drone. He's paranoid in the sense that his motto is 'If anything can go wrong, it will.' He hopes for Justin's sake that the third drone is only considering a different approach vector instead of malfunctioning... but if it is....
Had she known this was a live fire demonstration.... well, Fern would still have come. She has faith in Justin. Her fingers are crossed again, held against her chest, anticipation of the strikes at once a thrill and a bit scary. And then the third drone pulls away from the others, it's course veering, and her smile falters. "No, no, no," she whispers softly, hoping that this is planned, just what Justin had in mind.
Volstagg looks up and watches the flight of the drones. Unlike some of the crowd he is not distressed at all figureing this is part of the show, "I have never seen such flying thinds before." he murmurs to those close to him.
Martin Kavanagh quickly types some things into his phone, before nodding. "I certainly aim to please; customer service is a watch word." He says, before smiling and looking up again, offering his own hand, even as she waves. "Martin Kavanaugh, Owner/Operator of New Babylon Catering and Supply. I've got a card on me..."
He moves to turn around as someone sits next to him, looking over... and mangaging to keep his own reaction to a smile instead of a slight shock on who it was. He certainly knew what Stark's 'XO' looked like, and her presence hear was certain understanable; she had to choose the empty seat next to /him/, though, which was something of a factor. It was enough so he could only log superficially the reaction of Grigori and his companion. Ex-military perhaps? Or someone who needed to be concerned about things like this?
Though, given what happens next, that might have been a more prudent cours of action. The fact they're going into a live-fire demonstration would obviously make all the tech sites and perhaps even go viral, as everyone loved explosions. But when one of the drones breaks off... and starts to head back toward the amphieter, the serch for a business card is forgot as he quickly types into his phone. It had to be fast, so he wasn't being as covert as he could be.
'STACHIEF GOTHAM RQTS QRT W/ MANPADS READY POS ASAP LOC STARK EXPO'.
"Cateriny? Neat. Babylon is an interesting motif," Rain considers. It is most certainly so to one of her heritage. Pepper gets a smile but - wait. What's that? No, not Pepper. Rain looks - concerned as the third one breaks off. Uhm. She looks to Volstagg, "They're pretty new," She offers quietly. Wait. What's this about Stark EXPO? She smiles as Martin gets his card. Or she'll wait. "I'll - ask - later," Wait. What? She's distracted.
Rain smiles to Tousaint, remembering the fellow. "Um, is it-" It totally is.
157 keeps on dividing his attention between the drones and the pilot on stage, watching the demonstration. At the sign of the deviation, he starts to speak again. "Analysis: Drone deviating from..." he starts, only for the man next to him to shush him again, looking totally exasperated by this point. 157 goes quiet, instead just turning to look at the men on the stage and the pilot controlling the drones.
Michael isn't the only one with a barely-visible aura, though Grigori's is slightly more noticeable to those in his immediate vicinity. Any shadows in his vicinity, perhaps cast by the glow of the monitors, start //bleeding//. The darkness runs like liquid, and drips black upon the floor, seats, etc. The air also grows significantly colder. Grigori feels he is in a potential combat situation and that is causing him to unconsciously act to defend himself... Even if in a very strange and unnatural way. He quickly pulls it back together, but the people sitting in the area around the Russian and his companion are likely to feel the weird chill -- that vanishes just as quicly as it came.
Grigori does not like being exposed like this during a weapons test. He would rather be observing from a distance. "Some warning would have been nice..." he mutters in a deep baritone.
Millie is recording the video and winces slightly which makes the Lx-phone jerk slightly. Nervous? Well, she's heard of 'Justin's mishaps', so perhaps a little? But she's trying to give good faith, and honestly? She's not in the first row. Well...that was a selfish thought! She should be ashamed of herself?! Millie forces a smile to her face, cheerful and supportive, yep, that's her!
BullSharks 1 and 2 come screaming in over the Expo. Each one fires a small missile-like projectile before pulling up sharply and closing the weapons bay doors. The APC and the first cargo truck both go up in flames, the explosions blowing out the windows of the Jeep but otherwise leaving the rest of the convoy intact. The viewscreens of the control deck show the explosions from above, and the red targeting markers flash yellow, then green. "Command, Bullshark 3 nonresponsive." "Roger Bullshark Deck, we're showing packet loss on the data stream."
The third drone has now come to a hover just on the stage-side of the convoy. The alpha wave of the detonations rocks the craft, but it quickly recovers as it just sits there, bay doors open, seeming to stare eyelessly at the crowd.
Hammer's elation over the successful strikes fades quickly as he watches BullShark 3 comes to a stop just to his left. He looks back toward the video screens behind him, as if the pilot and technicians in the control deck were actually there. It's obvious in his movements that this /isn't/ planned. With a nervous grin, the CEO addresses the crowd. "Don't worry, the drone's AI backup systems are in control and keeping the craft aloft. It's working as designed in the event of control loss or interference."
That little red targeting square is still painfully visible on the third drone's display.
Keith frowns "Fern... stay near me," he says quietly, and quickly ponders the best way to neutralize the drone, in case a threat actually occurs. A barrier to obstruct it should work. ~C'mon, Justin, tell me you foresaw this...~
Pepper Potts curses mentally and turns to Martin with a very serious expression. Then she spots Rain, and says to the young witch just loud enough for her to hear which should be very easy for Martin to make out, "Start steering people toward the exits." Pulling her phone from her bag as she stands in a very convincingly casual manner, she starts typing a text to Michael. <Carter, can you help start steering people away? Or maybe Skeets can talk to that drone?>
Michael flinches faintly as the first two drones find their targets with controlled explosions. That wasn't so bad. The third drone has his attention, as it seems to malfunction. "Skeets, scan that last one, please. I need to know if I'm gonna have to fly up there and grab it, or not." It would be rude to pick up someone else's drone, but he'll do it if he has to. When Pepper's message flashes up on the HUD provided to him by his glasses, he lifts his hand and manipulates a ghostly, barely-there input to reply to her. <Trying to assess the situation>
Tousaint nods to Rain, "How are you? I am glad to see your here. I hope this means your employmen, and lifestyle has improved since the last time we talked." Tousaint turns his attenrion from Rain to Bullshark 3, then back to Rain. "Uhmm, I wonder if I should have a similar program into the transponders of our vehicles."
Fern looks to Keith, stepping closer automatically at his words. "This is planned, right?" Although Justin's initial reaction does less than reassure her as she looks to him on the stage. "See? It's working like he planned, like it's designed to." Justin said, and she trusts him. Just because one thing malfunctions doesn't mean the whole system has shut down.
Boom! Fujiko yelps along with a lot of the crowd when the explosions go off. That was pretty impressive. Impressive enough that she and a lot of others didn't notice the third drone immediately. But Justin's reactions on stage got her attention, and suddenly it wasn't as much fun watching the weapons of destruction blow stuff up. Suddenly she felt really hot. Hot and terrified. She turned and started trying to get some room between herself and other spectators, but it seemed a lot of the people on the fringe were trying to get out of there, and that put them right where she was trying to go.
Apple says, "Crap crap crapcrap! Get out of my way please! Stay back."
And....still video taking, one hand is moved to face palm. Millie sighs. 'Justin Hammer...I am going to spill my drink on you later, I swear.' Her classic revenge piece. Still, she peeks between her fingers. Should be running now? Running in heels sucks, as people should very well know!
Grigori stands up when the drone comes back. He stands up, and his hooded companion does the same, and the shorter of the two men stands in front of the taller as though to act as a shield. Grigori starts moving away from his seat while his companion seems to intend to act as a human barrier against harm. Maybe everything is okay, maybe it's not, maybe it's just a small error. But he isn't going to risk getting injured here. He has no doubt he would make it out of here okay, but not intact, and that... Would be a problem for a great many reasons beyond the obvious. "<He communicates in Russian.>" he rumbles.
Yes, it would seem that this is an unplanned event. "Notification: Artificial intelligence in control of drone. Depending upon most recent command given by pilot, possibility exists that drone has indentified unintended targets and will continue on this course of action." He looks over at the stunned guy next to him, who was going to shush him again until he heard what the kid actually said. "Communication link errors were resolved with maximum efficiency and speed," 157 continues, and gets down from his seat, picking up his backpack. "Most effecient solution: provision of additional control to artificial intelligence in event of loss of communications link. Recommendation: Prepare appropriate defenses." He keeps his eyes on the drone, now.
At first Volstagg remains oblivious to the possible danger but then he notices the reactions of the crowd around him. He then does what come naturally to him. He stands and heads toward the drone after all he knows he is sturdier then the mortals around him.
Martin Kavanagh does manage to fish out a business card after he sends the text, and hand it to rain with an (albeit distracted) return of his smile. "It's a an original name. Memorable, or so I'd like to think!" Of course, it wasn't too memorable at all for most people; that would defeat the purpose. But he still had to sell it. He is given a good excuse to move off the discussion through Pepper's command. "To the exits? You don't think it's something serious, do you? He says they've got this handled." He says, playing a bit dumb as he looks up at the omniously hovering drone... even if he can spare a fleeting look to the convoy to see that the other drones had accomplished their mision quite well. Always something to log.
The more pressing point was that Martin was painfully aware he packed for some ground threat... not attack aircraft. He didn't know what could have caused it, but he does give a rather quick look to Grigori when he speaks Russian.
It's been a busy... however long it's been on Midgard. It seems much of the issue with Asgard is returning, since Thor's been called back and forth. The defenses ran better with Loki in charge, Thor freely admits to himself. Which is a somewhat frightening thought. Regardless, he knew today was Saturday, and Saturday was when his friend was demonstrating something that seemed useless against Mulspelheim.
Thor arrives with a crack of thunder and a drop in temperature, dropping to land down where he can survey the field... and stands opposite the drone, facing it, Mjolnir in his right hand and his eyes still glowing.
"Oh....my...," excuse Millie was she /greatly/ admires one of her very good friends husband a.k.a. Thor. A shake of her head and then she sighs dramatically. She starts to stand and is really considering just outright running right now while the getting is good.
Pepper Potts looks at Martin briefly and admits, "I sincerely hope not, but I'd rather not take the chance." She's about to step into the aisle again when Thor arrives. She can't help but feel a sense of relief at his presence, but the drone is still just hovering there so they're not out of the woods yet. She's shouldered her bag again, but she's holding more in front of her chest then letting it hang from its straps.
At least Rain is wearing flats. She smiles to Tou, "I am pretty well. And a bit. I mean, aside from the almost periodically nearly getting killed by something you know?" She offers. Rain's existence seems to defy natural selection. She pauses at Tousaint. "That depends. It might be handy to always know what's going on, so if someone gets into an accident or -" Pause. "Huh." Well, accidents aren't always one's fault. But at Pepper's words, she nods. "Sure, I can help." She'll try, anyway. She looks to Tousaint. She carefully accepts Martin. "It's kind of you to say that. Especially without laughing." Sadface. Wait. How is she gonna herd people? Without hurting Justin's feeling? She stands, and - suddenly, THOR! "..." She looks to Pepper. Uhm? Okay, still, might want to move people. "Er, let's - move folks to where it can land safely," Yeah, that's it. Move out of a spot so you get a better view. Man, people herding is not her strong point.
Michael sends a quick text message back to Pepper, stating, <It's just thinking, right now.> He does not seem inclined to leap into action just yet, which may be a good sign. Even so, he takes some metallic blue and gold gloves from his trouser pocket and casually pulls them on over his hands. Just in case.
The technicians in the control deck are scrambling now, running diagnostics. One of them can be seen resetting what looks like a router in a rack beside the viewscreens. Justin notes that people are getting nervous, and starting to look for exits. Shit, this is not going as he had planned. In an attempt to calm everyone, the CEO actually walks /toward/ the hovering drone, reaching the stage-left edge of the stage. "No need to panic," Hammer says holding his hands out, palms toward the audience. "The drone is simply waiting for commands. If it doesn't receive any, it will return to it's home base without incident. This is all part of the fail-safes built into the AI to keep it under control."
BullShark 3 buffets in the breeze, then steadies again. It's sitting in defense mode, able to defend itself if a threat is recognized, but otherwise unable to take offensive action. A readout displays across it's viewscreen as Thor appears, and the slicked back craft vectors to face the Asgardian. It's control surfaces twitch, and it gains a good 50 feet in altitude.
Keith blinks, looking around "OK, what's going on...." he finds the rise in altitude troublesome.
Fern watches Justin more than anything else. She's not worried that the drone will fire on the crowd, he's said it won't. And she won't go running for any exits. She trusts the Hammer Industries CEO. And he wouldn't walk closer to it if it was dangerous, would he? Of course not. Ok, well, it's reaction to Thor is a little odd.
The drone is peered at with a light touch of curiousity, but when it turned to face him and lifts 50 feet in the air, Thor twirls Mjolnir in his right hand. When he notes the mortals growing frightened and looking to flee, Thor lifts from the ground, eyes electricified, runes gleaming a warning. He too rises 50 feet or so, matching the drone's motions.
And honestly, Millie feels faint. But instead, she yells, "Thor! Try to appear less threatening!" A pause then, "Just lay down and play dead, you might appear less threatening then, but no promises!" Yes, Millie just said it. And heck, maybe it will calm people down and get them laughing some. She just hopes Thor keeps his playing to minimum property damage, and Justin thinks of a way to use it to his advantage cause she really doesn't wish him ill in reality.
Finding a place where it is safe to explode isn't an easy task. Fujiko and her father had talked about it, but here she was, eyes glowing and her body suddenly wanting to detonate and there were people literally everywhere she turned. She moved to get her back against the closest thing resembling a wall and fought to keep control of the 'stuff' churning inside her. She even remembered her breathing. That hadn't worked so well in practice yet, but it was better than nothing. Huff. Puff. Huff. Puff.
"Sir..." Skeets hovers a little lower, closer to Michael, and just sends him data through his boss' HUD.
Michael says, "Wow. Okay. Uh..." He turns, in time to see Thor fly upwards. Then, he is flying upwards like a shot as well, towards the Thunder God, waving his hands a little as he says, "Hey, don't rile it up. Don't do the hammer thing." Although he feels like shouting this, he is saying it as calmly as he can to Thor.
Tousaint shakes his head as Thor flies up and sighs, "Maybe I should have waited after these demonstrations to pass out my business cards." Tousaint grabs two glasses of champagne and downs them quickly.
Oh, wonderful. Martin thought this might have been something simple before, but the presence of a Thunder God just made this go to the bad sort of interesting. "Fair enough. Look, I'm not much to help here, but I think it might be best if you called for a... response team?" He says, almost hopefully. "I've got to think an event like this has some sort of QRF in case of something... well, similar to this." He'll note. "If it-" He starts, before noticing how the drone reacts to Thor, paling. "Good God, I think it can defend itself. You've got to get that... person to put some distance between it and him." Never mind that it /would/ be interesting to see how a drone like that dealt with the power of Thunder personified.
"Notification: Statement of subject 'Justin Hammer' inaccurate. Drone no longer programmed to wait for further commands. Analysis: Current drone responses suggest drone operating to defend itself. Subject designated 'Thor' recognized as potential threat. High probability drone will engage." A person with an actual conscience might try to, you know, help fix the problem...or warn Justin, at least. 157 keeps observing, calmly. It's not likely it's going to attack /him/, after all. He puts his backpack on, looking up at the confrontation.
Despite his moves to leave his seat, Grigori does not leave the building. The sudden arrival of Thor is one of the major reasons. The flash of lightning, the crackle of electricity in the air that makes the Russian's beard bristle, the fact he recognizes this form of power... Even if not the specific wielder thereof. All of these are reasons to remain and keep an eye on things from the shadows. Grigori is not necessarily prone to skulking in shadows, and often prefers facing things directly. But his preferences fall by the way-side when it comes to this particular instance.
Even though he is concerned for his safety and can no longer risk using any unusual means of defense with a god present, he does not intend to leave. And he still intends to buy some of these things. He's sure they can be fixed. For now he stands off to the side with his body guard and flexes his pale hands open and closed while he watches.
Pepper Potts blinks up at Thor as he floats upwards, then at Martin and at Bullshark 3. "Oh this isn't good." She steps out into the aisle and calls up to the Thunderer, "Thor? Could you come back down, please?"
Keith hears a very familiar voice... 157. Those very sensitive ears of his let him hear the words... "Something might go wrong. If it does, I'll try to keep things to a minimum, ok?" He says to Fern, and focuses, getting ready to summon his constructs if they are needed.
Though, the hammer thing would be kinda funny if - well, hammers are always awesome. But on the other hand, exploding drones would be so bad. Rain doesn't seem upset if someone is distracted. She does keep Martin's card, looking to Tousaint. "Hmm," She considers and blinks as he downs the champagne. "Uhm." Should she be drinking now to?
With various persons warning him to 'lay down' (HA!) 'not rile it up' (do WHAT?) and 'come back down' (um, okay), Thor just looks confused. Like, really confused. The drone was obviously threatening the crowd, since it turned from them, and now seeks to wage war against Thunder itself! Thor flicks his gaze over the crowd, spotting his friends. A light frown covers his face as he looks back up to the drone.
"Stand ye down, metal golem," says Thor in the All-Tongue in a firm voice filled with the promise of thunder as he points Mjolnir in the drone's direction. His words ripple over the area, shifting for every person in the crowd so that all hear his words in whatever is the most elegant dialect of their native language. From Russian to German to Swahili to Olde English; all will understand Thor, even if his word choice is archaic.
The arrival of the Asgardian, and his reaction to the drone have Justin on edge. He looks to the god of thunder, scowling lightly. Covering the mic he tries calling to Thor. "Back off, it's fine!" he hisses, though distance and the fact the god takes to the air means the words are likely lost. /Get the comms back, get the comms back!/ Hammer thinks frantically, eyes darting between the drone, Thor, the crowd and now... Oh, great, another flying person to get into the mix... Standing on the stage he's completely helpless to do anything about the situation. This is likely to everyone's advantage, if he were in the control deck the situation would likely be worse.
In the control deck, the viewport for BullShark 3 goes black, then a readout scrolls down the screen before the readouts reinitialize. "Comms restored, switching to manual control," the pilot says over the radio link. "Roger BullShark Deck, switch to manual control and return to base. BullSharks 1 and 2 already on the ground."
The drone twitches as it's control surfaces run through a check, then the craft stabilizes. The weapons racks retract back into the belly of the craft, the doors snapping shut with an audible clicking. The drone turns in a way that's completely unnatural for an airplane, and takes off away from the Expo.
Internally, Michael is thinking about how much he really does not want to have to wrangle either Thor or an angry airplane. Thankfully, the drone is called back, so even in mid-air, he sags with some relief. Then, he turns to Thor and tells him rather drily, "You were hurting its feelings." His hands spread in a shrug, and then he drops straight downwards to come in for a graceful landing in an empty area of the remaining crowd.
Alright, so even with her faith in her friend, Fern breathes a sigh of relief as the drone backs down as connection is reestablished, and it flies off. She leans, saying to Keith, "There... I knew it would be alright. Justin wouldn't put something out there that could hurt anyone." Such faith. So misplaced.
Keith exhales softly, "Thank goodness..." he says. Thank goodness for that, for the sake of the innocents that could have gotten hurt, as well as for Justin.
Volstagg looks around and then smiles getting an idea. he calls out in a booming voice, "Let us all applaud this Mr. Hammer for the amazing show, his mastery of the device was even enough to cause the Migthy Thor to come see it first hand." ahh yes spin control sort of at least.
Tousaint down the second glass of champagne and sighs, "I am pretty sure that people are thinking that Lex's Iron Men are a lot better after this, but what do I do know." Tousaint peers over at Rain and says, "If you are don't have steady employment in a couple of months, let me know."
Thor has no idea why Michael would say the golem had feelings. He flies toward the stage to land down nearish to Justin (because it hasn't occurred to him that he's completely interrupting the demonstration) on the edge of the stage. And then Volstagg makes things clear for him and Thor instantly pulls what must be a political smile to his face. Mjolnir reclipped to his belt, the God of Thunder turns to Justin, and gives the weaponsmith a regal sort of bow.
"I thank thee for thy invitation to see this golem which is thy design, Justin Hammer, Hero of Midgard," says Thor.
Fujiko breathes in through her nose and exhales through her mouth. Deep cleansing breaths just like she has been practicing. Wonder of wonders, it seems to be working this time. Maybe the fact that the drone just got fixed and nobody got blown up by it helps out to, but Fujiko doesn't let that stop her from taking some personal satisfaction in the whole "Didn't blow up" thing.
Well. That's a relief. "Um, thanks!" She does thank Thor for his efforts at least. It does beat having the thing go all explodey all over people. She looks to Volstagg, tilting her head. At Tou's words, she smiles. "I don't mind helping out. You seem nice." Nod. "I just have a really weird schedule that's variable." Really, it's hard to work when you have to explain gigantic hell portals in the break room and NO, that wasn't IT's doing.
Pepper Potts breathes a sigh of relief as much as everyone else does when the drone finally backs off and leaves, then watches Thor land and address Hammer. Wait, was this planned? Brilliant! She's mentally giving the CEO serious credit now, because that sure SEEMED like a real failure.
Martin Kavanagh watches with his breath caught in his throat as Thor only escalates the situation. And just when it seemed there was going to be a superpowered dogfight, control is restored, and the drone flies away, leaving Martin letting that breath out in releif. "Well. Seems like they did have it well in hand, after all." He states, typing quickly on his cell phone to recind the last text he sent, to have them withdraw, easily enough.
Still... two successful strikes and a technical glitch that was recovered from fairly quickly said decent things about those drones. The fact that it showed admirable restraint in a crowd full of civilians aganist a threatening target said others. And, certainly, if Hammer had half a brain, he'd be spinning photos of his drone staring down a God before taking the high road and 'backing down' as quickly as he possibly could.
Martin was of the opinion that they'd be seeing more of these drones in the future... and doesn't beleive one word that this was /planned/. Or else SHIELD's intel network was /crap/.
Oh well, that went...well. Millie is taking more video and photos of course as she is standing with the better view. She mmms, "Marriage have done you well Thor," she says quietly to herself since Thor actually listened to people. How sweet! She will praise Lady Sif for domesticing this hunk of God later.
Hammer watches as the drone pivots and heads back toward the waiting naval carrier that is programmed in as the crafts' home base. He lets off an audible sigh of relief, and catches himself just before he rubs his temples, turning the gesture into a glasses adjustment. He meant for this to happen. Really, he did. Smiling again he walks toward where Thor landed, holding his arms out. "Thor to the rescue, everyone!" he claps, looking back toward the god of Thunder. "Let's have a big round of applause for the god of thunder himself in helping me to demonstrate the advanced programming of the Bullshark Drones. As you can see, the artificial intelligence in the drones is not only to assist the pilot and allow him to fly three at once, but a fail safe in case of loss of communications or interference. The drone is also fully capable of identifying a potential threat to it's own safety, and can identify and classify various threats on the fly."
Picture taking paused, Millie actually claps at that! 'Good recovery Mr. Hammer!' Millie smiles widely and then snaps a picture of Hammer doing a regal recovery for once. Umm...a regal recovery.
Once Michael has landed, he drops into the closest open seat, takes off his glasses and rubs his hand over his face. From his expression and body language, he does not think it was all planned; if anything he acts like he just went through something very stressful.
"Notification: Drone communication link reestablished. Lowering threat evaluation," 157 says. With the drone making its exit, he returns his attention to Hammer and the thunder god. Well, on a certain level, the drones did work as planned...kind of. And Hammer's doing some nice spin control, not that 157's particularly capable of making anything of that. So 157 doesn't have to feel guilty...not that he would. He does, however, actually join in whatever applause occurs. Very slowly. Clap. Pause. Clap. Pause. Clap. Pause. Clap.
Volstagg smiles as both Thor and Justin Hammer pick up the spin work he starts he sits down triumpantly. He loosk over to Rain, "I think this may have even been better then that sparkily singer the first night." he then thinks about that for a moment and shakes his head, "No it was not but close." Keith notices Michael's body language, and realizes that they probably came close to a catastrophe. He does his best not to show it on his face while he exhales a little. Of course, Justin was in full damage control now.
Grigori honestly would have liked to have seen Thor fight the drone -- and perhaps the other two as well -- so that he would have a realistic view of what they are actually capable of. But at this point in time, this was a better option in terms of safety and lowering the risk of exposure. Still, seeing some bloodshed would have made this outing a bit more fun for him at least. Perhaps a stray missile into the crowd. He shakes his head to clear it of such thoughts. He has to remain focused and acting like people generally tend to. This involves frowning and either nodding or shaking his head, depending on what seems appropriate. So as the drone flies off, and Justin starts talking about what happened, the towering Russian nods his head. When he sees Thor up there on stage still, he shakes his head. See? He can both nod AND shake his head. He is clearly normal.
He raises a phone of his own -- not the latest model, but functional -- and calls someone up, starting to talk into it at a volume that can be heard by whomever is on the other end but probably not by others in the area given all the other noise. It's time for the others who came here with him to prep the packages they brought.
Fern's smile grows as Justin greets Thor, and she claps enthusiastically. Gosh, that sure got everyone's attention! What a brilliant demonstration of how safe his drones actually are! Of course it was planned. She should never have doubted Justin for a second.
... Rain would think it's totally cool to see Thor fight the drone. She is glad no one got hurt. Then a grin at Volstagg. "They were both good," She agrees. It's duly impressive, whether it was spun or a real thing.
Thor reaches out to rest a large hand upon Justin's shoulder, briefly, giving a faint squeeze to the mortal in a way that doesn't ellicit actual pain, but hints that he could. Thor knows that if he had not listened to the others, and if he had just flewn in, very real damage could have been done. He's well aware the danger the mortals where in, and Justin needs to as well. This is also aware of the backpedal that just happened. He did time as his brother. Somethings were learned. 'You owe me' says the faint squeeze, the faint tension in his smile, adding that weight for Justin.
He lets go of Justin's shoulder and Thor steps from the stage, red cape fluttering behind him, and lands lighter than a man of his size and mass has any right to. The electricity has faded from his eyes.
Tousaint applauds the drones' perfomances before making hos way out of the expo.
Pepper Potts is actually participating in the applause as much for Thor's role in the success of the event as to congratulate Hammer for either a brilliant twist or for very quickly recovering from a potential disaster.
Martin Kavanagh does join in /some/ clapping, of course, if only to be polite. He does turn to Pepper, quickly. "Look, I have to run, but you're Ms. Potts, right? I recognize you from the news. Listen." He says, procuring a business card more smoothly this time. "If you need any catering done, I run a good shop over in Gotham, just across the river. I'd be happy to offer a discount if your company were to use our services. It was great to meet you!" He says, moving to give up the card as quick as he could before smiling and looking for the exit. No time for him to leave a more proper impression, and just a vague phone number attached to his name. Good.
Michael recovers some of his composure and puts his HUD glasses back on. He stands up again and straightens his clothing, which is in slight disarray from his hasty flight. His hair still looks good, so everything is fine.
"Oh my god. Oh my god. I can't believe it worked!" says Fuji as the light in her eyes is gone and that hole about to explode feeling has left the building. "They totally should have warned people that it was going to be that scary. People could have got hurt." She digs out her phone and immediately sends off a text to her father, "Almost exploded. Totally didn't. Breathing worked!"
Hammer looks toward Thor and offers the god of thunder a smile when he feels the hand on his shoulder. The meaning behind it is far from missed, and he knows that they will have to talk about this later on. Still luck for once may have been on his side, and the near disaster could work far more in his favor than against it.
Justin's smile is a lot more genuine now as he turns forward again and takes in the applause from the crowd. He goes from nervous to beaming and in control faster than a Bugatti can hit 60 going downhill with a tail wind. "The BullShark Drone, ladies and gentleman! Designed to keep this country safe, from any and every threat that it comes in contact with! From extra-terrestrials to ancient deities, Hammer Industries is prepared. Now, a round of applause for tonight's pilot, Colonel Robert Taft of the U.S. Marine Corps, and of course the one and only Thor of the Avengers! Thank you and goodnight!" Justin takes a slight bow, then makes his way off the stage. The lights remain up, focused on the drone mock up that's still sitting inert in front of the video screens. The Hammer Industries logo returns to the video screen as the CEO steps off, retiring to the back stage area and out of sight.
Volstagg stands and applauds after the demo he smiles ot Rain wel lI think I am going ot try oneof those coney dogs, the vender promised me ther ewere no actual canines in it. Would you like one?" He looks around and smiles, 'Then I pal n on looking at moere woders you mrotals have created."
Rain pauses at Volstagg's offer. "Sure," She nods. She smiles. "I may text someone after," But for now? Why not hot dogs with Volstagg? She waves farewell to Tousaint, "I'll definitely have to visit," She promises. Be well." She waves as Martin goes to do his thing. Whatever Martins do.
Pepper Potts accepts the business card from Martin and nods. "Thank you, Mr. Kavanagh," she says with a quick glance at the card. She then steps out of the way of people moving to leave the now concluded presentation, taking a moment to look at her phone.
Michael turns his head this way and that, and then he heads straight for Pepper. "Ms. Potts," he says quietly, by way of greeting. "Some presentation, huh? I think if I were any older, I'd have had a heart attack." Skeets flies downward, and hovers near Michael, bobbing in place like a gold balloon.
Keith hms "I think I'm going to go and get myself another churro, why don't you go and congratulate Justin for the two of us? I'll join you guys later." He grins. But he really didn't want to face Justin after that.. especially since he knew it was not planned. Keith wasn't a very good liar.
Thor moves from the stage slowly, a polite smile on his face. He's moving toward Volstagg, passing by Keith as he goes. His hand reaches out to brush the feline's shoulder, just enough to serve as wordless greeting to the youth. If not stopped, he'll continue on, toward Pepper to greet her.
Well, the show appears to be over. 157 isn't making his exit quite yet, though. He waits for the crowd to clear away a little as some make their exit (including the poor guys who were sitting to his right and left), then slowly--molasses-slowly--makes his way towards the stage. There's more data to be gathered, after all.
Fern nods to Keith, too caught in happiness for Justin's wonderful demo to question his choice to get food now. "Alright, Keith. I'm going to try, but if he's too busy I'll just catch him tomorrow. He's got a lot of important people to talk to." And she's just a waitress, after all. She moves away from the purple cat, missing Thor pass by, and starts to slowly edge toward the aisle.
With the most important part out of the way, Fuji puts the phone away and does a quick visual check to make sure she's not like...burnt her clothing off, grown a tail, or whatever. Check. Check. Whatever check. She drags out her tablet and starts trying to write down the whole experience while staying out of the way of the folks headed out.
Well, there is Millie. She does raise a hand to wave to Thor, "Thor!" She wears a warm and happy smile, "How are you? How is Lady Sif? Oh! I got to contact her about the photoshoot!" Yep, it's girl talk, poor Thor. Yes, he just got railroaded...we mean, derailed.
"Hi Thor!" Keith says with a smile a the god of thunder passes by him, brushing his shoulder. And then he quickly Sidesteps so that he is out of the area, invisible. He didn't want Justin to approach him and read it in his expression that he knew what had happened. It was bound to be embarrassing for the CEO!
Grigori isn't concerned with whether it was staged or not. What he is concerned about is how well these drones can kill things in the field instead of in pre-readied and (relatively) controlled environment. But he isn't sure he has enough money. Converting gold boullion to cash was easy enough, but doing that with too much at once could raise suspicions. So, at least for now, the available cash on hand is limited. As Justin heads backstage, out of the shadows steps a very tall Russian and a somewhat less tall man who may or may not also be Russian. The shorter of the two has a hood over his head, mostly concealing his face.
In accented but understandable English, the taller of the two says, "Mister Hammer, congratulations on your successful demonstration. I am Grigori Alexandrovich -- chief officer of a defense force that is interested in what you have just shown tonight. If you are interested, I am prepared to purchase at least one of your Bull Shark Drones tonight -- preferably all three." He does not offer his hand unless Justin seems inclined to come close enough for such, but he does clearly show he is carrying no weapons. Why he's backstage like this is another matter. Where is security? Did they contract an unfortunate case of magic I mean fatigue?
Still, he's wearing a business suit, so he's probably legit.
The correct term is shinied. Thor gets shinied by Millie. Distracted, the God of Thunder turns to face the woman, the polite smile slipping to something a touch worried.
"Perhaps after she has given birth, my friend? Sif has been fatigued as of late, and I have been... occupied."
Volstagg smiles as he sees Thor is mingling and he goes in line to get himself and Rain coney dogs. He of course orders things his size so weather she was expecting it or not Rain's is the Jumbo sized dog as well. He hands it to her, "For you Lady..." he blsuhes, "i seem ot have forgotten my manner he sets the food down and extends a hand, "I am Volstagg the Lion of Asgard."
"She...has?" There is concern in Millie's tone and expression. "Oh my. I'll see her this very week. And the photographs were to record the progression of the pregnancy, but...it's terrible to get photos while feeling sick. Is there anything specific I can do Thor?"
Thor's smile is a tender one, seeming more considered with Millie's feelings than his own.
"I see. Yes. Please call her on her mobile device to see when she is feeling well enough for it," says Thor lightly, not hinting at just how weak the Goddess of War has become.
... that. That is a very large hot dog. Rain blinks owlishly. She'll accept it carefully, eyes a bit wide. She smiles to Volstagg. "Thank you. That's very kind of you. And I am Rain." Just Rain. No titles. Because Spider Sorter, Preparer of Wifi for Loki are to rather inglorious titles. "It's a pleasure to meet you," She sets the hot dog down and carefully accepts Volstagg's hand.
It's slow going, but there is a bit of progress as Fern scoots her way around a couple of businessmen blocking the aisle, heading toward the stage. She stops her progress from time to time, at strategic points to listen to the buzz of the crowd as they're dispersing. The comments range widely from people praising Hammer to saying that was never planned and he's an idiot who almost got the whole bunch of them killed. That one brings a dark frown to her face, and she stares for a moment at the suited man who uttered the words. He's so lucky she can't explode people's heads with her mind.
After several minutes, presumably to get a drink, take a breather and yell horrendously at a couple engineers, Justin starts to make his way back out to the crowd. His progress is halted, however, by the extremely strange pair that seem to materialize from nowhere. Hammer stops as he's approached, looking around in a slightly paranoid manner. There's no one else in the vicinity, and security seems to be absent. He looks /up/ toward the taller of the two, who makes the relatively short CEO seem a whole lot shorter, when he speaks. "M-mister Alexandrovich," Justin offers, a slight waiver in his voice. "W-While I'm very, very interested in talking with those interested in investing in my technology, the drones you saw are prototypes and not production models. If I may, it would be better to, perhaps, wait a bit. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the enthusiasm here, but these were built specifically for the U.S., and I-I'm not quite sure yet if we will be able to sell them outside the country." He's gone into rambling mode, complete with the accompanying hand gestures.
Volstagg shakes Rain's hand she can likely tell he is taking great care not to accidently crush it. He smiles to her, "Well met, Lady Rain." He then picks his own dog back up and starts to eat it. "Did you know that in one of the booths I saw they have story boxes but small enough you can take them with you?"
A nod at Thor, "If there is anything I can do, don't hesistate to ask," she tells Thor. "If it was in /my/ power, I'd move mountains for her too, Thor," she says sincerely. She then moves to give the large God of Thunder a hug. "You seemed like you were heading somewhere, so I'll let you slip away," she says gently. "I'll catch you soon."
It may be slow going for Fern, but it's been even slower going for 157...being short is not a plus when you're trying to work your way through a crowd. People have to /see/ you to be willing to get out of your way. Thus, despite the fact that Fern's stopping from time to time and he's walking as constantly as he can, they're reaching the area at near the same time. As he spots her, he pauses, and then walks over to her, looking up at her silently while she stares at the guy in the suit, and then reaches up to tug on her sleeve or another appropriate part of her outfit. "Information required: Subject 'Fern' is appropriate contact for retrieval of energy sources in location 'Anita Bella'. What purpose does subject 'Fern' serve in this location?"
Notes jotted down, Fujiko departs the expo. She's got to figure out how she did what she did.
"Definitely one of the more memorable ones I've seen," Pepper admits to Michael when he approaches. "If that was an intentional mishap, it was brilliant. Though, I'm fairly certain it was not intentional, and that means he recovered remarkably well from what could have been a complete disaster." And she's seen a few disasters in her time. As Thor approaches she smiles to the tall Aesir. "Michael, have you and Skeets met Thor yet?"
The tug draws Fern's attention away from the businessman she was pretending to go all Scanners on, and she looks over to see a familiar, if short, figure. "Hun," she greets warmly, using it as a shortening of his name, not meaning that he's a nomadic barbarian. "Purpose? Um... moral support for Justin Hammer, that's my purpose," she supplies. "Did you find the demonstration informative?" She doesn't speak to him like she would your average youngster, she's familiar enough to know that doesn't fly.
Thor returns Millie's hug, lips smiling, eyes wanting to warm but just not really able to.
"Aye. My sword brother is about. It has been some time since I have seen him and I am thinking that I might have just enough time to see about trying to out eat him today," Thor says, finding something silly to challenge Volstagg with just to amuse the mortal. Because when mortals are amused they tend not to hurt each other, and they all were frightened just a bit ago, and so if he can lighten the mood, he will. WIth a flourish of a bow that would almost seem more at place on his brother's more lithe form, Thor turns and continue toward Pepper who's on the way to Volstagg. And he stopped by the two mortals. His blue eyes shift from Michael to Pepper to what the Hel is that? Thor peers at Skeets curiously. Shinied, can't speak.
Rain smiles. She appreciates not being crushed. Or having her hand smished. She is - uncertain about this giant hot dog, but she'll take a bite. Carefully. She tilts her head at his question. "Oh? I know of things like that, but I think I missed that one. Did you see any interesting ones?" She smiles up.
"It wasn't," Michael replies to Pepper, a bit flatly. "But I'll leave it there for now, nothing bad happened." He leans aside slightly, looking just past Thor at Millie. That brightens him up a little bit and he grins, then says, "We've met only very briefly." He extends his hand to Thor, one of the few people around he can see eye to eye with; to him, people in this era are on the short side.
Noticing Thor's gaze upon him, Skeets turns and regards the Thunder God solemnly. Then, he says, "Hi."
Grigori inclines his head in acknowledgement, though he is disappointed. "I understand your concerns. The defense force I lead is not affiliated with a particular country, but rather is deployed where needed. We could be considered... International. More information than that would be best not shared in a place such as this. Still... We will respect your wishes." As he turns aside to let Justin pass, he holds up a hand briefly and says, "Before I take my leave, I do wish to offer a small gift that I hope may help you both refine your prototypes and to perhaps place us in a position of consideration at such a time as your drones are ready for sale."
Then more people start coming out of the shadows. How were they all even standing there unseen? Those shadows weren't so deep as all that, were they? But here they come, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven... Each carrying a large leather case in each hand. These they set down on the floor in orderly rows. And when they are opened... Justin would see each is filled to capacity with genuine hundred dollar bills. Based on appearances alone, there has to be at least... Uh... Several hundred million. In cash.
"You will be contacted at a later date, Mister Hammer." Grigori does not offer his contact information or similar. He just indicates he will be the one who finds Justin when the time is right. "Have a good evening." Then the men in suits and hoods all file back into the darkness and after them go the two taller men, and then... Justin is alone.
Thor glances at Michael long enough to greet the man, to smile lightly, and then it's right back to Skeeter for a moment, then back to Michael.
"Thy toy floats and speaks," says the Thunderer as if it might have escaped Michael's notice. Because they have met, but not really bee introduced and since Pepper shinied Thor, he's forgotten that again.
"Understood. Subject 'Fern' provides support for subject 'Justin Hammer' in regards to concept 'morality,'" 157 says, quietly. "Query: Did you find the demonstration informative? Answer: Affirmative. This one has acquired additional information regarding Hammer Industries project 'Bullshark Drone.' This one is continuing to gather information regarding 'Bullshark Drone' and other projects of Hammer Industries. This one will now perform further analysis." And with that, he makes his way towards the stage once more, clearly fully intending to walk right up on there and take a closer look at anything left about.
Volstagg smiles to Rain, as he proceded to tell her about a tablet like it was the biggest marvel ever. He then says, "I am not sure how much I trust nodern devices though. I tried to uses the fast cooking back and it spit spit lightning, someone said I angered it by leaving the fork on the plate when I tried to heat the food up."
Fern pauses a second, processing 157-speak into Fern-speak, and considering the boy's interpretation of the situation. Then she nods, "Yeah... that's close enough." She doesn't try to stop him when he turns and walks away, but she does watch him, eyes thoughtful.
"I'm not a toy, sir," Skeets tells Thor reproachfully, sounding a little hurt.
Michael reaches up and gives the robot a pat on the, for lack of a better word, back. "This is Skeets, he's a robot." He considers how to explain this, then says, "A constructed being that thinks. And has feelings, and free will, and stuff. He's my pal, and my assistant."
Aww. Rain smiles back. She nods, and listens. She's nothing if a good audience. She pauses. "Hmm. Well, the fast cooking box is not supposed to have metal in it when you cook. It should be okay if you don't put the fork in," She offers. "They're nice to have though."
"AH! Much like the golems and building of Tony Stark. I am familiar with this," Thor says, expression brightening. He turns back to Skeets and very politely addresses the bot.
"It is an honored to meet thee, Skeets. I am Thor Odinson, God of Thunder," Because when truncating, it's important to offer the first and the last. Or something.
Hammer starts backing away when /more/ people come out of the shadows. The leather cases are eyed with suspicion, and he looks back to the tall one. "Uhm I-I really can't accept," he says, looking very nervous. If he's caught with whatever it is, gift or not, it's going to look highly fishey. "I will, um, await your call, then? Hopefully I'll have the drones in production soon..." As the figures disappear again and he's left alone, Justin takes a deep, if rattling, breath. That was a bit more than he bargined for. Again he looks at the cases, unsure what to do, before deciding on opening one. He blinks, slamming the case shut as soon as he sees what it contains. Out of the corner of his eye the CEO catches movement, a stage hand. He flags the young man down, with instructions to get security to move the cases as soon as possible.
Straightening his suit jacket and trying to compose himself, Hammer walks out from around the stage. He's greeted immediately by several military officers, and a couple guys that are likely senators or congressman. Soon he's smiling broadly, and generally looks pleased with himself. Pulling away from the government types he starts to make his way through the gathering. He wouldn't admit it, but he's looking for someone in particular.
Volstagg says, "Ahh so the box does not like metal? But it is metal?" he shakes his head, "You know there really should have instruction written in Norse for these things." He smiles to Rain. Then he over hears something Thor says and then calls out, "Off that little Ball has a Spirit like the one in Stark's House? Does it make cookies too?" He looks back to Rain, "When I visited Lady Pepper I got to talk ot the Spirit of the house."
Pepper Potts just smiles amusedly at Thor and Michael's automaton companion are confusing and insulting each other, then blinks and glances at her phone when it pings to say it's received a text. "Michael, Thor, I'm sorry, I need to go. Have a good rest of your evening, and Thor, there's a booth near here that sells Midgarian mead. Please don't overly intimidate them." She touches Michael's arm briefly, then turns and walks out of the presentation hall at a rapid walk.
"Hm, that might be something to ask for," She considers. Rain nods. "It - parts are." She pauses. She goes quiet and tilts her head. Spirit ... of the ... House. She pauses. As a witch, house spirits are a very real thing. She smiles. "That's pretty neat. I think that's marvelous. It sounds like you had a good time?" She inclines her head. She waves to Pepper and looks thoughtful.
"I shall ask for thee, my friend," Thor calls out in immediate answer to Volstagg's question. Voice booming and loud and clearly heard by just baout everyone. Because, THOR.
"My thanks, Pepper. I shall endevor to try," he says politely to her, before looking to Michael and Skeets.
"Doth thou maketh cookies?" Thor asks of teh bot. because.. COOKIES!
It isn't long before 157's attempt to get up on the stage is stopped, rather predictably, by event security, as a large and imposing fellow nevertheless calmly and gently directs the boy to stay back from the stage. 157 just kind of stares up at him. Stare. Staaaaare. Staaaaaaaaaare. "This one requires time to analyze equipment used in presentation," he attempts. The big man just chuckles, shakes his head, and repeats his request for the boy to stay back from the stage. Another staring session ensues.
"Okay, Ms. Potts," Michael nods to Pepper as she takes her leave. "Spirit... oh, JARVIS," he takes a guess at this. Then, he looks curious as he glances to Skeets. "-Do- you?"
Skeets says, "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Odinson. Ah..." The eye or windscreen, whatever that is on the front of his gold body flickers a bit. "Well, I have never attempted to make cookies but I suspect I could do so. Especially if I interface with the automat functions at our headquarters. The food replicator there is quite good, although sometimes lacking in imagination."
A commotion from the side of the stage draws Fern's attention away from 157, and she can see glimpses of Justin through the people vying for his attention. She can't help but smile, seeing him in demand and in his element. Glancing around, Fern is about to slip away, but she sees the CEO disentangling himself, and she decides to get at least a moment before he has to talk more business. She moves, pace quicker, waving when she's closer, and calling, "Hey, Justin!" Thankfully, with the crowd thinned as it is, she doesn't have to resort to jumping to be seen.
"Volstagg! I do believe it does make cookies!" THor calls out loudly.
At receiving that information from Thor, Volstagg lets out a belly laugh, "Ahh the wonders these mortals make." He then looks back to Rain and asks her, "What is it that you do?" Since she has not mentioned the whole witch thing to him yet.
And that would be who Justin wouldn't admit to looking for. The CEO smiles as soon he catches sight of the redhead. "Fern! Glad you could make it out!" he says as he approaches her. Close up it's easy to tell that he's tired, the evening has been pretty stressful. Even if everything had gone perfectly right, it would have still been a lot of work. Several people are quick to look over as the high-profile CEO that nearly got people killed greets the rather unassuming young woman.
Thor turns his gaze now fully to Michael and reaches out to clap him on the shoulder. "Come. Meet my friend Volstagg. He would, I think, very much wish to discuss the serious matter of cookies with thy companion Skeets," Thor is saying as he seeks to lead the way toward Volstagg and Rain.
"She is my brother's apprentance, Volstagg," says Thor as he draws near.
A few more moments of staring, and finally 157 seems to realize he isn't going to get through. He turns around, and his eyes follow Fern as she walks over toward Justin. Solution located. He starts to walk over towards the two, working his way slowly around generals, military personnel, and all sorts of other people he really shouldn't be working his way around, and ends up finally coming up behind Justin as he greets Fern. He resumes sleeve-tugging to get attention, but this time the target is Justin.
Michael weathers the shoulder-clap well. He walks with Thor, and suggests, "You guys can come by the headquarters some time, if you'd like to visit. I'm a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I go by 'Booster Gold'... hi, Rain," he says to the woman, once they draw closer. Skeets follows as well, bobbing along placcidly just behind Michael, who offers a handshake to Volstagg. "Most of us are from the future. It's been uh, interesting trying to get used to the way things work in this era."
Fern speeds up the last few steps, and, in an unintentionally bold move, throws her arms around Justin in a hug. It's enthusiastic but brief, and she steps back, beaming at him. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world! It was so exciting!" She takes a breath, grinning even more, but reigning in her excitement. "People are going to be talking about this for weeks. And I didn't know you could dance!" Her eyes drop, and she catches sight of 157 standing at Justin's elbow.
"Ah yes! With Jazmin and... that one.. Lightning Boy, was it? He and I still have unfinished business," Thor says reaching out to take whatever is left of Volstagg's coney from his hand. He glances about for the vendor, calling out: "ANOTHER!" Be grateful Sif broke him of the fling-to-the-floor habit.
At Thor's words, Rain looks faintly pained a moment. "Yeah. I usually ... don't admit to being a witch in public but ..." She smiles at the two. "This time, I think that's alright," Rain looks happy enough with that. She takes a bite. "I mostly do healing magic and I think your brother would be sad if he saw how bad I am at lying," She admits wryly with a half grin. She blinks and stifles a giggle at the another.
Hammer is taken a bit by surprise by the hug. Sure, he's used to Fern greeting him with such a gesture, but he hadn't expected it here. Which really, was very silly of him. A few of the government types catch the hug, and it's noted with raised brows. Justin returns the embrace politely, as he always does. "I'm glad you found it exciting," he replies with a genuine smile, a rare look for the CEO to adopt. It occurs to him that, had things gotten dicey, that Fern would have been on the front lines. The thought makes his expression slip and his stomach sink, but he's unintentionally saved by a tugging at his jacket sleeve. Looking to his right and down, Justin sees the source of the interruption and blinks. "One-five-seven, what are you doing here? Observing?" His slight irritation at the kid is counterbalanced by the relief of having his thoughts derailed.
Volstagg smiles to Rain, "Healer is a very noble profession, after all there are many in Asgard that revere Eir." He name drops the royal healer. He blinks as the remnants of his dog disappear. He stands to give Michael a firm but not bon crunching handshake. "Well met Michael." He apuses a moment, "From the future you say, most curious."
Thor, mouth full of VOlstagg's wein- umm.. the jumbo hotdog- >.< I give up. Thor has his mouth full and since Typist's brain just exploded, Thor can't really think of anymore to add then to go the vendor and demand more. Politely.
"Yep! I'm from about five hundred years into the future, most of the others are from about a thousand," Michael explains, cheerfully. "And I think Jazmin mentioned meeting you, Thor. Uh..." There is a pause, and then he wonders, "Did Lightning Lad try to challenge you to some kind of lightning-based contest?" He probably did. Of -course- he did, it's Garth.
Rain smiles back to Volstagg. "Thanks, that's very kind of you," She nods. She's relieved he didn't react badly to the news she's Loki's apprentice. She's still working on her hot dog, amused as Thor yoinked the hot dog. Hee. She waves to Michael. "Hi again, and um, Skeets right?" Was that it?
"Query: What are you doing here? Observing? Answer: Affirmative. This one was observing presentation. This one has been observing presentations and investigating technology at event designated 'Stark Expo.'" 157 looks towards the stage, and then back up at Hammer. "Notification: This one requires access to technology utilized in presentation for further information. Quid pro quo." No reaction whatsoever to the evident friendship and/or possible romance between his energy source provider and his military information contact. Well, okay, there is a slight reaction. "Information required: Is this one also to 'hug' subject 'Justin Hammer' upon encounter?"
Back with a small armful, Thor offers Volstagg a fresh - seriously, my brain is like FAR too ... I can't even... yeah.. - and Michael a coney, before starting on one himself.
"Indeed. He did. He made mention of being a lIghtning Bringer. Such title is my own and so... we should Speak further on the matter," Thor says, mouth fll of food. If you understood him: KUDOS!
Volstagg smiles and asks Michael the obvious question since he could conceivably still be alive in 500 or 1000 years, "This will sound weird but have we met in the future or do I go back ot Asgard before your time?"
Fern notes that subtle change in Justin's expression, but she puts it down to that moment when your body realizes it doesn't have to pump the adrenalin quite so much any more. She reaches up to pat his arm lightly as he turns his attention to 157. The boy's question of hugging has her pulling her hand quickly away from Justin's arm to cover her mouth as she stifles a laugh. She'll let Justin give the answers, and she presses her lips together, watching expectantly.
Millie has wandered about some more, taken some more photos, put her phone back away, and finally found...Fern?! Alright, she was honestly looking for Justin Hammer. She pauses nearby, "Well, a hug from a child is often a good thing, is it not Mr. Hammer?" A soft, warm smile from Millie as she winks over at Fern. "It could be especially good for one of...umm...one five seven's personality." Apparently, they have met before.
Michael accepts the hot dog, saying, "Oh, thank you." He gestures to it, as he says, "You know, from what I understand they make these out of animals, somehow. It's kind if mysterious but pretty interesting." He gives Volstagg's question some thought, then says, "I think you'd probably have gone back to Asgard by then. We wouldn't have met, because... well, power expression of any kind is against the law in my native era. There are no superheroes -or- supervillains at all." Future spoilers.
"Yes, ma'am," Skeets politely chirps to Rain. He then notes to Thor, "The person in question, Lightning Lad, tends to enjoy challenges of that sort. His sister has similar powers over electricity."
An amused look at Thor. She smiles to Volstagg, too. For now, she listens. She nods to Skeets. "Thanks. I am bad with names," She admits. She pauses and blinks at Michael. She just sort of opens her mouth and closes it. Huh.
The CEO listens to the boy's odd verbage, for the most part unphased. It would seem as if he's run into the strange kid before. He sighs lightly, reaching up to push his glasses up and rub the bridge of his nose. The usually frustrated looking expression is juxtapositioned with a chuckle. "Backstage tour? Sure, sure, I think I can arrange that...." Robo-brat's next query, though, gets a blink and a quick headshake. "No, no, that's not necessary. You can stick to just saying hello. That's fine, hello is fine." Justin looks back to Fern. "You're welcome to come too, if you're interested. I should probably talk to a few more folks first, though..." Hammer trails off as he sees another woman approaching their odd little group. Her question gets a grin, though the more typical, superficial type rather than what Fern received. "Well, um, I just think it is, ya know, bad for, err, appearances. People might talk." The last thing Justin wants is people thinking he's got an illegitimate kid running around.
Volstagg shakes his head, "Sounds like you are from dark days Micheal." He then looksover ot Rain, "so you work with the Trickster." he shakes his head a little, "I would guess he is a demanding teacher."
Especially since 157 might prove to be entirely willing to use rumors like that to manipulate Hammer...assuming he managed to recognize the usefulness of such things in the first place. He does recognize Hammer's 'frustrated' motions, but...as one might expect, the gesture has no impact on the kid's behavior. "Query: Backstage tour? Answer: Affirmative." A pause. "Understood. This one will not hug subject 'Justin Hammer' upon encounter. This one will say 'hello'." Another pause, longer. "Hello." That said, still, to Justin. He turns to Fern. "Hello." He turns to Millie. "Hello."
There's a faintly apologetic look to Volstagg. She nods. "I mostly keep an eye on housework and study," She smiles. "I think he'd be sad if he knew how bad I am at lying." She winks. Rain pauses. "... he'd better not see my poker face, either." Wince. She hms. "He can be, yeah. I got turned into a goat for like, a week..."
"Yeah," says Michael, in response to Volstagg's summation. "...yeah." He spreads his hands in a little shrug, "Honestly, it's one of the reasons I'm -here-." He does not, however, want to dwell on that. Lifting a hand, Michael smiles and says, "It was cool to meet you guys, and seriously come by our headquarters whenever you like. Rain, nice seeing you again too. I need to get this holo-footage dealt with."
Fern turns her smile to Millie, stepping around Justin to give the model a quick hug, "Millie! I didn't know you were here." Justin's offer to take her on the backstage tour as well gets a casual decline, "Nah, you have some business to take care of, so you boys can go ahead. It's your night, you ought to be out there shining. I just wanted to make sure to say hello before you got all tied up." 157's greeting is returned with her usual, "Hey, Hun."
"Sometimes, one should think less of what people think, and think more with one's heart," Millie advises Justin. "Though, nice recovery with Thor appearing less threatening. You might want to check the programming for 'threatening' verse 'a threat'." A light tease, but a hint of seriousness. "Otherwise, though I don't know military warfare in the least, you appear to have a very good product that will save many of our soldiers lives. Thank you Mr. Hammer."
Millie then moves toward Fern, "Fern, I didn't know you were coming either! I would have asked to come together." She goes to give the red head a warm hug. "I hope you enjoyed the presenation? I took tons of photos for you and even some videos." Oh joy, she wasn't stalking Justin, well for herself, she was doing it for Fern!
Millie then turns to look at 157, "Hello young man. I hope you have not been tramatizing too many other people than Mr. Hammer. It's not very nice," but the scolding is mild, and on the playful side, though it will likely go over 157's head.
"You sure? It's no trouble," Justin offers to Fern before looking to Millie. He gives one of his usual half-hearted chuckles that he does when he's really not sure how to respond to something. For being a big-shot CEO he's oddly socially awkward at times. "Well, ya know, you gotta roll with the punches," he replies before gaining a bit more confidence. "And you're welcome. That's what I hope to do, save lives and help keep this country safe." Squaring his shoulders he slips his hands into his pants pockets as he so often does.
Volstagg nod to Michael, "Well I am sure you had good reason for you travels.' He also gives the man a supportive soldier pat, "And well I know how hard it can be to be separated from your family so if you ar ever in need let me know." He looks over to Rain and smiles, "Being a bad liar is a good failing by my account but I am afraid you are likely right he would not see it as such. "
Rain smiles to Volstagg. "Yeah. It's okay. I just - didn't want you to be afraid of me when you found out," She admits quietly. She waves to Michael as he goes. "It was good to see you both," She's not mean enough to forget Skeets.
"Statement: I hope you have not been traumatizing too many other people than Mr. Hammer. It is not very nice," 157 repeats after Millie. "Notification: It is not necessary for this one to be nice. Clarification: Traumatizing entities designated 'people' is not a objective of this one. However, this may be an effect of steps taken to complete objectives. This one is not aware of traumatizing subject 'Justin Hammer'." Hammer may or may not agree, of course.
Fern looks a little surprised, but pleased when Millie says she was taking pictures and video of the presentation. "Thanks, Millie, that's awesome. Can't wait to see them." Fern would bet Millie would know a lot about taking pictures, given her line of work. She gets them taken of her often enough. Speaking of which... "I haven't forgotten about getting together for the photo shoot you want to do, either." One hand comes up, stifling a yawn, and Fern grins and apologizes, "Sorry, been putting in some long hours for the restaurant here at the Expo." Not to mention the hanging around with friends she's been doing, and the exploring. "I'm sure," she says to Justin. "You don't need me hanging around you when you have business to do, and I've still got a subway ride ahead of me."
The Lion of Asgard looks at Rain for a moment then smiles brightly, "It takes a lot to make me afraid and well merely having the trickster for a teacher will not do it." He leans in close to confide in Rain, "Plus he has been behaving rather well of late; do not tell him I said that it would just motivate him to make mischief.'
Hey, no promises, but Millie tried! "Oh Fern! Get some sleep! I'll text you some possible dates, let me know which one is best, alright?" She sounds concerned, "Don't overwork yourself. Remember to take one day of rest each week too," she advises. "It's advice to live by." She goes to give Fern another hug to whisper in her ear. "I never noticed how adorably socially awkward Mr. Hammer is. Did you really have to point that out to me?" But she kisses her friend's cheek and steps back with a warm smile. Great, now she feels this urge to take Mr. Hammer under wing now, darn you Fern!
Though back at 157, "You still need a good sense of emotions, and a sense of humor one five seven. But keep working hard, you will get there," seeming to have faith in the little crazy boy. But then toward Hammer she smiles warmly, "And any chance I can tag along on that little tour? I confess, I'm curious." Not about the project though, poor Mr. Hammer.
Rain smiles back. "That's good." And at the confiding, she nods. She admits in a soft voice, "I told him the best revenge was living well. I think - we're hoping he finds a new hobby, maybe..." She's quietly hoping she didn't make it /worse/.
Not traumatizing per say, but 157 is at least good at annoying Justin. Luckily, that annoyance is just below the level of benefit that the kid provides, so it puts him square in the 'tolerable' category. The CEO listens to Fern and Millie speak, piping up again only when Fern again declines the tour. "If you want I can call my driver and get you a lift home. It'll save you the subway ride. Either way, it was good to see you, Fern. I'm happy you were able to make the demo tonight." To Millie's inquiry, "Of course, I'd love to have you along. By the way, I don't think I got your name, though you obviously already know mine." He offers the woman another grin.
That causes Volstagg to chuckle, "Best revenge is living well?" he shrugs, "I thought it was driving your enemy from his lands and putting the place to the torch." He might be the sweet lovable Norseman but there is still some Viking inside Volstagg. "Still what you are saying seems ot be working and well it is a new world after all."
Well, Rain just smiles. "I try not to tell him the best way to deal with something is the torch..." She admits. As if - well, y'know. "But we'll see." Rain shrugs. She takes another bite. This hot dog is /huge/. Ahem. "I'm not keeping you, am I?"
"Notification: It is not necessary for this one to have a sense of humor," 157 says. He didn't deny the need for a sense of emotions, though. Small victory? Then again, 157 probably thinks he /does/ have a sense of emotions. "This one will keep working hard," he says, though he probably means to work hard on something other than what she meant. He looks over to Justin, and then to Fern. "This one is able to provide transport for subject 'Fern' under quid pro quo. Subject 'Fern' provides this one with energy sources. This one will transport subject 'Fern' if requested."
Fern steps into the hug from Millie, and when the pair part the little waitress is grinning. "That sounds great, I'm sure I'll be able to give a couple options." Again, she shakes her head at the offer of a car, not wanting to be a burden to her friend, "I'm used to it, I don't mind the subway. Oh! How terrible of me to not introduce you. Justin Hammer, this is Millie Collins. Millie, Justin Hammer." And now she's done her duty socially. "Enjoy the rest of the night, Justin. You deserve it." The words are soft and earnest, although she wouldn't bet that he's not already churning the demo over in his head instead of taking a break from 'work'. 157 gets a polite decline as well, "You stay here, enjoy your backstage tour." She walks backward a few steps, offering a last, "It was great, Justin. G'night, all." Then she turns with a swish of skirt, and makes her way to an exit.
Millie grins, "I should be upset," but she offers her hand, "Yes," she says after the introduction, "I'm Fern's friend and President of The Gifted Foundation." And famous supermodel, but she purposely drops that off. Fern already mentioned something about 'modeling' anyway.
Though Millie glances over at Fern, "You sure you be alright?" But it's Fern, and she's already running for the exit as she declines friendly gestures. Millie sighs softly, "That is soooo Fern." She can't say much, Millie can be just as bad a lot of times, well, most of the time. But then back at 157, "Well, that's progress one five seven," and Millie sighs, accepting what she can get.
Volstagg shakes his head, "No I have no duties this evening and well I am enjoying our conversation." He shrugs, "Maybe you know how to deal with us Asgardians well." He then looks to Rain; "However I may need to depart soon as I still get lost in town." He blushes, "All the buildings kind of look the same."
Justin blinks as 157 offers to give Fern a ride somewhere. The kid's not old enough to drive- oh, wait, the teleporting thing. It's often easy to forget that the robo-brat has some useful talents besides reprogramming drone communication interfaces. The introduction gets a bit of a raised brow, and the name put with the face finally clicks in Hammer's mind. Millie had looked familiar to him, but he couldn't place her. "Miss Collins! I had no idea, though I should have recognized that lovely face of yours right away." He takes the offered hand and shakes. "It's a pleasure to meet you." As Fern takes her leave Justin turns to offer her a wave. "Take care, don't work too hard."
Rain nods. "I see. I am too, I just didn't want to keep you if you did." She beams. Then a pause. "I don't know." She's not sure. But she does know that riling up Asgardians would be SO BAD for her continued existence. "Sure. Um, let me know if you need help though, alright? I don't mind," She waves a hand.
"Clarification: This one is capable of..." 157 starts...but Fern's already gone before his slow way of speaking gets even close to revealing any /useful/ information. He actually stands there with his mouth open for several moments, before he finally seems to come back to himself and closes his mouth. He looks up at Millie, then. "Information required: Organization designated 'Gifted Foundation'."
Volstagg smiles to Rain, "You are far too kind, Lady Rain." he then pulls out a subway map, "Ok I think I have it figured out." He then polts out the proper route back ot Thor's uilding he has the basics down but for him to actually get there Rain will have to provide a little assistance.
Rain smiles. "Thank you. It's nice of you to say so," She nods. Rain pauses. She'll help him out, then. Whether she follows is up to him, otherwise she will quietly drift along.
Millie chuckles lightly, "You are forgiven Mr. Hammer. Just try to pry your eyes from electronics magazines and look at some billboards," she gently teases. "After all, if you don't, you are going to miss your chance to see Fern in a calender with me," and she winks at Justin. But then back to 157.
"Ah," Millie says softly. "The Gifted Foundation is a non-profit organization built to help the gifted youth. Those with powers and unusual gifts that need a helping hand. We have a big brother and big sister program, a tutor program, a sports program, and we are working on awareness programs as well. I'm trying to work with one nice man about an art program. Now, the sports program is for gifted and those without powers to work in competition and in team-work, and to also teach good sportsmanship." Millie smiles softly at 157. "I really wanted to make a difference in the world, and The Gifted Foundation is to help the youth grow and to better brighten the future." There is obvious love in her tone for the foundation and its goals.
Volstagg looks around and notices how late it has gotten and changes his plans, "Lady Rain what are you plans? After all it would be ungentlemanly of me not to escort the lady home if she wishes?" He gives her a fatherly smile, "After all the city can be a dangerous place."
Rain tilts her head. "Sure, I would be glad to go along with you. And yeah, it's kinda late." Granted, Rain is a night owl (and a night witch), so she doesn't seem to mind. She'll head along out with Volstagg, waving politely at those who know her. The Asgardian and Witch are leaving the Expo for the evening.
It's likely less electronics magazines than things like Guns and Ammo that Justin's been reading the most, but that's not the point. He laughs lightly, though he stops abruptly and gives Millie a curious look. "Calendar? With you? That's, wow, that's great," he offers. Though it's really no surprise that Fern would end up in such a photo shoot, after all she really is easy on the eyes. Justin just feels far to awkward to say anything like that to her face. "Something like that will hopefully help bolster her acting career."
Hammer falls quiet as Millie explains her foundation to the oddball kid. He's heard of it, and he remembers Sebastian Shaw endorsing it when he came out as pro-mutant. That whole thing opens up a whole new bucket of questions that he does his best to push aside. "That's a great, great organization you've got there, Miss Collins," Justin says, "Maybe we can talk one of these days about Hammer Industries doing some sponsoring." The fact that Hammer /hates/ mutants and may have had a hand in building Sentinels is conveniently left out.
157 watches Millie attentively during her summary of the program, and once it's over, he speaks. "Understood. Organization designated 'Gifted Foundation' potential contact for information regarding entities with powers or superheroes--priority observation targets. Recorded." All that stuff about helping people learn teamwork and good sportsmanship and generally how to be good people and all...totally lost on him. He looks back up at Hammer.
A quiet mmm, "Perhaps. Though I'm not too bothered about corporation sponsorship. Though the sports program is in conjunction with the Wayne Foundation with the support of Bruce Wayne, that is still a non-profit organization." She smiles softly, "Though many donate personal time. Tony Stark works as my Public Relations Officer and is helping put the calender together with me. Sebastian Shaw handles the Finances, bless his heart," and she wears a pinched expression for a moment. "I hate finances," before she laughs softly.
But Millie then looks at 157, "And the answer is no. It is to help people, not spy on them. Spying and recording private information from the foundation for personal use is not only discouraged, but would we would seek legal action against those using the foundation for the benefit of anyone except the youth one five seen. Therefore, it would be ill-advised to use the foundation for spying as it would be more trouble than it is worth." Well, she worked to nip that ill-thought in the bud! Millie can be very cold when there is a need.
"Ah, that Tony, always doing something like that," Justin says, doing his best to cover up his loathing for the man with a light-hearted tone. It doesn't really work, but it's an effort. "But I do recall hearing about Shaw being involved." He drops the subject, not at all being the type to actually volunteer for things personally. Money? Goods? That he'll donate. It's a tax write-off and good publicity. His time? Not something he is generally willing to spare. Seeing the look from 157 he motions toward the stage. "So, shall we go take a look around? Best do it now before I end up accosted by the media."
"Understood," 157 says to Millie, before returning his gaze to Justin. She may indeed have nipped that in the bud...or she may have just let him know that if he spies using her foundation he'll have to do it secretly. Well, at least she probably made it clear it'd be more difficult, which should theoretically lower it on his priority list. "This one is ready to begin inspection," he confirms to Justin, and starts for the stage without another word.
"Yes, even Fern is getting more invovled. I'm hoping to get her as a more regular volenteer, but we shall see," Millie dangles in front of Justin. She really is evil! Still, she mmms at 157, before accepting his words at face value for now, before saying toward Justin, "Yes, please."
Justin actually offers Millie his arm. "Then let's be off," he says. 157 boldly starts off in the direction of the stage, and the CEO has to call after him. "One-five-seven, this way. Far easier to take the side entrance." The stage is tall, and trying to climb up it would be very inconvenient. Whether or not the model takes his offered arm he starts toward the doorway that he exited from not long ago.
Millie will accept the pro-offered arm however with a gentle smile. "Thank you," she says gently. She walks with Justin toward the side-entrance, actually appearing more attentive. This may have not been her main 'objective', but honestly? She is kinda interested. "Mind if I ask a few questions Mr. Hammer, about the thoughts behind the design and such?"
Fortunately, 157 doesn't get too far before he's corrected. Kid's "slow as molasses" pace isn't just for working on critical Hammer Industries projects...it seems to be a lifestyle. He turns, following the others towards the side entrance, watching the arm offering. A few moments later, he's on Millie's other side, offering his arm as well, silently.
"Awww, now that is just cute!" Millie beams an approving smile at 157, as she accepts his arm as well, happy as can be. Wait, Millie hasn't smiled that way at 157 before! Well, for once, he didn't freak her out, good job kid.
OK, Justin has to admit that he finds that particular bit of mimicry on 157's part amusing. The kid has a certain strange charm, on occasion. Back straight and expression one of pure pride, Hammer guides the group through the side entrance. One of the stage hands who is working on cleaning up, holds the door for them. "Absolutely," Justin replies to Millie. "Are you referring to the drones themselves, or to the demonstration?"
"Well, how about the drones themselves? What was the building thought behind their development?" Millie sounds honestly curious! She doesn't sound like a reporter, just a sorta, 'I'd like to know'!
157 walks along with the others, actually managing to keep up. He doesn't show any reaction to Millie's evident approval. He does, however, fix Justin with his usual intent stare at Millie's question, evidently content to listen to the answer. Staaaaaaaaare.
Justin is actually quiet a moment. He pauses near a large control booth, evidently the one that drove all the lighting and video effects for the stage. "The main thought behind their development was coming up with an effective solution to fighting threats while putting fewer people in harm's way. Especially since the threats we're going up againt today are far different than those from even a few years ago. It's a lot easier to sacrifice a drone to an unknown than it is to ask a soldier to go in and risk their life." Of course, what he means is that it's more reasonable to send a machine than a man, though his choice of words may leave one to wonder what he really meant. Truth be told, he designed the things because he wanted to sell them to the military, making a difference was just a side effect.
As they approach the control booth, 157 frees himself from the others and wanders over to it, staring at various parts of the machine. Fortunately, while the kid is clearly bound to investigate things, he's also clearly very intelligent--and recognizes that just starting to press buttons would /probably/ be a bad idea. So, he's not touching right now. "Additional objective: proving that you don't need a fancy red and gold suit to protect this country," he supplies, helpfully.
Millie manages to 'barely' contain her wince at the word sacerfice, her expression a bit pained, but covered it up quickly. "Too many 'so-called leaders' sacerfice innocent lives too much," knowing that Magneto helped arrange the Sentinel attack that caused the death of numerous mutants, including young mutants, including one she personally knew. "It's good to see people work for ways to protect lives, which are worth more than pieces of metal." She chuckles at 157. "Alright, in that case I'll have to agree. I approve of superheroes, but there are tons of ways to be a hero. From a fire fighter to a cop, to a doctor to a fire fighter, to even a nurse or volenteer. And yes, to creating equipment and items that save lives from medical to unmanned crafts." She pats Justin's arm that she holds with her newly freed hand. Well, that is one indirect way to call a man a hero for a good deed! Now if it only encourages Justin toward GOOD behavior. "Even though I suspect one five seven does not quite mean it in that way." She rolls her eyes a bit at that, already suspecting the response.
Remember that sliding scale of annoying to useful? 157's standing has slid down a couple notches, though luckily he's still within 'Tolerable' limits. It's at this point unknown if his tweak of the drones' systems helped or hurt the situation during the demo. Justin gets a nervous grin and chuckles lightly to cover up his clear irritation at the kid's words. "Well, that's a different story, there," he comments quickly before his attention returns to the lovely Miss Collins. "Absolutely, I agree. A lot of emphasis is falling on the 'supers', and we're forgetting all those with no powers who are risking everything to keep us all safe and free."
And Justin learns an important lesson in watching what you say around 157. The boy is clearly unaware of--or at least uncaring of--any distress he caused Justin, and turns to face the others again, his study of that particular control panel complete. Thankfully, he doesn't see fit to bring up any /other/ Hammer quotes at this moment. "Statement: There are tons of ways to be a hero. Probable meaning: There are many ways in which a person can participate or aid the cause of saving lives and opposing criminal or harmful action. Statement accurate. Further analysis: Development of 'super-powers' primarily unable to be controlled. Development of equipment essential to success of non-powered personnel and some powered personnel."
"Well, that is true one five seven," Millie confesses. Though she then smiles at Justin before her phone rings. She moves to pull it free from her purse and take a look at it before she answers it quickly, "Sebastian," her voice having softened. "Can I call you back in three minutes?" A pause. "Certainly, talk then." She then hangs up. "I have to take this," she says. "Especially considering he's my ride," light humor there. But she does say to Justin sincerely, "It was a pleasure to get to know you more. Please look after Fern, she is my darling friend, and I am protective of her," the smile extra, extra sweet there. The meaning hopefully obvious however. But she then moves toward one five seven and gets down more on his level. She blows him a kiss, "Try to be more caring. You will be happy with the rewards I believe." She winks. "Take care in the meantime," before she rises to her feet. "I want to bother you with questions later though Justin! And don't forget to buy the calender when it is released!" Millie is soon gone, and calling Sebastian back excitedly. Yep...girls...geez.
Sebastian is Millie's ride? That gives Hammer a pause. He decides to start treading carefully there, just in case it's more than a colleague giving another a ride to the Expo. He may already be in hot water with Shaw after the Asgardian wedding, it's best he doesn't push his luck. The subtle threat, if it can be called that, is noted with a grin. "You have my word," he says, and he actually means it. "And feel free to call anytime. Maybe we can do lunch or something." As Millie departs, the CEO looks back toward 157. "So, I see you found the control board..."