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Thread Contributor: 616 Tony StarkDoomed
Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#1
Tony stared at the code on the holoscreen, his vision swimming. He'd been in the lab a few hours, since...he thought back, frowning. Well, he'd got back from Chris's world, and there had been a day or two after that, and then-- okay, so, it had been more than a few hours. Assuming it was really Thursday like the console said it was.

He'd never lost a day when Extremis had been functional. But then, that was the problem.

The problem that fout near-straight days of labwork had failed to solve. Tony pinched the bridge of his nose, willing the last cup of coffee he'd downed (and God knew he wasn't counting those anymore) to work.

He was a genius, but he also knew the limits of his ability and when to ask for help. The issue was that the only expert in this particular area was Maya Hansen and Maya was dead.

Then he sat up in his chair.

Damn it.

Maya wasn't the only one.

Talk about a last resort, though. Doom's niece. Or fake niece. Or something. Assuming he came out of it alive, he'd never live it down. Still. He wasn't getting any closer to a solution, and staring at the code for another week wasn't going to get him anywhere. So he sighed, typed out a message and set it to find her. He knew it would.

Need advice on biolinked software. Willing to negotiate. Try not to kill me. --TS

@mike
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Marvel Comics-Marvel 616-Adjacent

19 Posts
2 Threads
Age:20
Job: Sorceress/Scientist/Dictator-to-be
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Bixexual
Mike

All Accounts Posts: 1,093
Points: 260.5€
#2
It was not Latveria, but Victoria had decided that yes, this place would do. Her uncle might have banished her from their nation, he might have banished her from their planet, from their very reality, but this place he had trapped her in was nothing short of a wonder. In the short months since she’d arrived, she had come across magics that she’d never suspected before, technology that might not have even been possible on her world. This crystal orbs in this bangle she’d just bought from the overly pretentious wizard who bought and sold things, for example? They were much more than he suspected. She could feel the information stored in it, shifting around, organizing with her thoughts, arcane software in a crystalline computer, powered by etheric energy and housed in a metallic element that didn’t even exist on her native periodic table.

The White Witch had grown since she’d been stuck in the Hub. She lived in a small ice castle she’d created over the ruin of… whatever she’d had to depose from this little corner the Hub. The newly constructed Doombots saw to the housework, the laboratory was slowly growing, and Victoria was doing her level best to learn more each day. At the present, that meant sitting in the middle of a summoning circle while divination spells and digital imps tried to pry the secrets from a wand from some wench that had been being confused with her on a regular basis. Well… perhaps ‘confused with’ was the wrong phrase. ‘Coming to people’s minds first’ was more accurate, but it was close enough for the dictator’s neice.

As she was realizing just what a disappointment this piece was, something else came to her attention, a sort of prickling sensation that drew her attention to an approaching doombot. It drew up to her and bowed respectfully before presenting her with a small cell phone on a silver tray, which she took and scrolled through, smiling when she read over the last message.

“Well now,” she mused. “It would appear that if one Tony Stark cannot remember his manners, another might be much more amenable.” She didn’t wait for a response from the Doombot, merely waved a hand as she stood, the circle vanishing, and other robots moving in to clear away her work. “Units one through eight, pack up the castle,” she ordered brusquely. “Store everything in its appointed place for my later retrieval, then disperse and avoid sight. Report to me anything that falls within the normal parameters. Units nine and ten, you are now the designated royal honor guard. Initiate appropriate programs.” She could feel the last two Doombots running through their weapons diagnostics as they followed her from the lab. She swept up the long, flowing hooded green cloak with her gauntleted hand as she approached the door to the castle, swinging it over her shoulders as she drew in the magic that had been keeping her months-long dwelling from melting. “This palace was beginning to feel cramped,” she reflected.

She twisted her hands in a practiced, complicated gesture, thrusting magic through the in an invigorating surge, the fabric of space warping with a whooshing sound as she was thrust forward into nothingness, her attendants along with her, only to appear from thin air with a crack of displaced air in front of the man who had seen fit to beseech her aid, hair and cape blowing in the gust of wind caused by her appearance, eyes glowing with residual magic as she looked down upon this person who at least approached her uncle’s vast intellect.

“Interesting,” she mused. “Your message intrigued me, I will admit. The reasons for your asking intrigue me even more so.” Her interactions with Avengers had been… limited, of course, but this man was most certainly not at the peak she might have hoped. She may be mistaken, of course (probably not, but maybe), but she strongly suspected what sort of assistance he needed.

Never turn away from a negotiation in which you hold the advantage of leverage. Her uncle had taught her that lesson time and again.

“Greetings, Anthony Stark,” she said, stepping forward, lowering her hood and waving the Doombots back away from the situation. It wasn’t like she was likely to need them to protect her in the near future, after all. “My uncle has told me much of your accomplishments. Your technology has always been quite interesting to study. I found the design of your time dilation accelerator to be particularly inspired. I prefer sorcery for such uses, of course, but the technological approach was very… elegant.” It never hurt to show respect where it was deserved, and in this case it was reasonably fitting.
@starkly
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Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#3
Jesus. Tony jumped at the sudden appearance of Victoria von Doom and half a dozen doombots. In his lab. Without warning. He'd expected a response, but not one this quick or...personal. For about half a second he wondered if the sleep deprivation was getting to him, but, no it was really happening.

He salvaged his composure--he was practiced at that, at least--and folded his arms. "The reasons for my asking are that I need help from a dead woman, and you're the next best thing," he said. The last thing he needed was for her to get any ideas. The Dooms were notorious for their overblown senses of self-importance.

His frown deepened as she spoke of his work on the time dilation accelerator. It HAD been innovative and had probably changed the field of time dilation technology forever, but the fact that Doom was trying to butter him up over it made his distrust surge. Calling her in had been a bad idea. He was half-tempted to send her away again, but that would leave him in exactly the same place he'd been before.

He sighed. "Doom. What do you know about Extremis?"

@mike
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Marvel Comics-Marvel 616-Adjacent

19 Posts
2 Threads
Age:20
Job: Sorceress/Scientist/Dictator-to-be
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Bixexual
Mike

All Accounts Posts: 1,093
Points: 260.5€
#4
Victoria didn’t like this man’s tone. She was beginning to see now why Uncle Victor always made a point to punish these people, they had no sense of propriety. Nevertheless, he was (irritatingly) someone whom she could benefit from an association with, and therefore she would need to put on her big girl pants and not react to the barbs prodded at her by the broken man. “A dead woman?” she asked dryly. “Perhaps you would like me to summon her spirit to you so that you might reminisce over old times?” Her expression made her disdain for this course of action fairly clear. He might read it as a dislike of necromancy, particularly for frivolous purposes. Really, it was just that she was much more than a glorified telephone.

The question he asked caused her to raise one pale eyebrow at him. She sat down on a chair that coalesced beneath her midway, crossing her legs primly and folding her hands (gauntlet and all) on her knee. “Please, darling, if we are going to be working together, my name is Victoria. Extremis…” Well, now, was this a time to play coy, or was it a time to be honest? After a brief internal debate (verging on an argument), she gave him an answer. “Biology-altering nanotechnology. Technological eugenics in a sense, rewriting a body’s baseline into whatever you wish it to be. The sample that we studied was of… limited scope, but it told us enough. Our studies showed that at its greatest potential the results upon the psyche were too extreme to allow its use in anything but an expendable soldier, even if it were not limited by the genetic sequence it requires to take hold. I assume that this is the biological technology you require assistance with?”
@starkly
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Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#5
Tony closed his eyes briefly as Doom...Victoria...made the jab about Maya. She couldn't possibly know what she'd meant to Tony (Tony hardly understood it himself), but her death had been painful and his fault and hearing Victoria joke about calling on her spirit stung. Or maybe she wasn't joking. That was possibly worse.

"That's not what I want," he said, using the practice that came with a lifetime in the public eye to mask the emotions that thinking about Maya stirred up. He nodded at Victoria's explanation, which was unsurprisingly correct. That was why he'd come to her, after all. "Yes. I need assistance. But before I get into the details, I'll need to know something. What's your price?"

@mike
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Marvel Comics-Marvel 616-Adjacent

19 Posts
2 Threads
Age:20
Job: Sorceress/Scientist/Dictator-to-be
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Bixexual
Mike

All Accounts Posts: 1,093
Points: 260.5€
#6
At Tony’s question, some people might gloat and lord over the other person that they needed them, that they could ask for anything. Victoria, thankfully, wasn’t most people. She had much more dignity than that, and she’d learned from her Uncle that negotiations over favors were not anything to take lightly. What Tony Stark was asking was something that he was likely desperate about. Desperate men, in her experience, tended to be quite stupid if provoked into being heroically sacrificial.

It took her a few moments of internal debate to reach an accord with herself. “I do not know why you are in this place, Anthony Stark. Possibly you are stranded here, possibly you are curious about its nature. Possibly it is even a combination, but it matters not. I…” She straightened in her seat, her face proud, her jaw set defiantly in the face of her own admission. “I am here because I attempted to depose my Uncle and failed. I am presently in exile, and it is… uncertain whether I will ever be welcomed back into my uncle’s good graces.” ‘Unlikely’ was more like it, but there was no need to belabor the extent of her fall from grace. “I am not without resources, but allies are not among those resources I can claim. You, on the other hand, seem to be in the thick of matters of this place, which admittedly comes naturally to you.”

Was she really going to make this her price? ”Yes, we are.” “In return for assisting you with this project, I wish you to accept an offer that I made a lesser Tony Stark upon my arrival. I am in need to continue my studies, and you are in need of an assistant. I will assist you, and you will teach me. I wish…” She paused, scowling slightly at the idea, but continuing nevertheless. “I wish to join your inner circle here, such as it were. Agree to this, and I will be at your disposal for this task and more.”

@starkly
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Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#7
Tony's mouth set in a grim line as Victoria speculated as to how tenure in the Hub. The truth was, he knew it was past due that he went to Wanda and resumed his place as Director of SHIELD in his own timeline. The only real reason he was stalling now--well, the only one he'd admit to--was that without Extremis, it would be impossible to pick up all the duties he'd left behind. He'd been working nearly every available hour, doing ten things at once. Directing with the Mighty Avengers while out overseeing a mission with SHIELD while running a press conference, answering his emails and planning upgrades for the armor. Sleep had been a luxury, an hour or two here or there. Extremis had made it all possible.

Without it, there would be no way to resume his old job, run SHIELD the way he wanted, without delegating half of it. And here was no way he was going to do that. There was simply too much at stake.

Victoria's offer didn't surprise him, exactly, if somewhat bolder than he'd anticipated--"join your inner circle" was a bit on the head, even for a Doom. He made a show of considering anyway.

His previous experience with Victoria was limited, but he knew that, compared to her uncle at least she was less of a two-bit villain. Not trustworthy by any means, but also considerably less likely to declare herself dictator of the world on any given day. Accordingly, he wasn't actually opposed to living in a world in which she'd managed to depose her uncle, which undoubtedly remained her ultimate goal. If she failed, Doom would never have to know his involvement, and nothing would change.

He smiled at her. None of that made him feel any less dirty for negotiating this, but then, he'd gotten into bed with worse people in the last year.

"You can't be a part of my inner circle, because I don't have one," he said, still smiling. It was mostly true. "But how about this. Help me, and I'll teach you. And I'll support your bid for power when we return."

Worst came to worst, he'd betray her, and deal with the fallout. He wasn't Steve. He wasn't a man of his word no matter the consequences. But if all went well... There were worse things than delivering an opponent to Doom.

@mike
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Marvel Comics-Marvel 616-Adjacent

19 Posts
2 Threads
Age:20
Job: Sorceress/Scientist/Dictator-to-be
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Bixexual
Mike

All Accounts Posts: 1,093
Points: 260.5€
#8
Well now, this Tony Stark had the sense to consider her offer. He wasn’t simply accepting, which was irritating, but it was still much better than the last time with the last, less advance Stark. This one had… promise. And, besides that, his need for an Extremis solution told her that he probably had used Extremis, which meant that he would be an excellent subject to study.

Still, he was being evasive. “Please, darling. You are not a simple soldier, or an adventurer who slinks off into his little hole after saving the day. You are a general, a leader of men. You gather to you those who shape worlds, who touch stars. If there is no inner circle, very well, is because there is no outer circle here. In that case, I ask to be in only circle there is.” She cocked her head at him, folding her hands on her knee as she considered him, a slight smile playing at the corner of her lips. “Your Avengers have always been prepared to take on those who wish to… mend their ways, yes? And really… what crimes are held against me? Being born Latverian? Being taken in by my Uncle for the promise I showed?” She leaned back in the chair, giving him a knowing smile. “Come now. I can see you working through the possibilities this presents. I’m sure some of the possibilities do not even involve using me against my uncle.”

She held her gauntleted hand out, and in it, a three-dimensional program began to construct itself. It was partly computer code, and partly arcane invocations, all woven into a single whole that began to take on a human-like shape. “I am not asking for you to serve me, as Uncle Victor would do. I am not even asking you to make me your equal partner.” Much as that might sting her pride even now… “I am simply asking what any cast-off human might. I am asking… to belong. Answer me honestly, Anthony Stark: Is my proposition really such a terrible one?”
@starkly
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Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#9
Tony rolled his eyes at the praise. It wasn't that he was particularly surprised that Victoria sounded just like her uncle, but it didn't exactly make him like her any better.

Still, he was considering her offer. It was true that she hadn't committed any crimes that he was aware of, but she was dangerous, and there would be no way to go back on the choice he made now. On the other hand, he had always believed in redemption. It came with the territory. And if there was a way to help her, to bring out the best in her... surely that was worth the risk.

He wondered, distantly, what Steve would have done. Was this a deal with the devil? Or a chance to save a lost soul? Funny, how little difference there was in practice. Cap never saw it that way, though. There was right, and there was wrong.

And there was necessity. He understood what he had to do.

"It's not," he answered, peering at the model--fascinating, intricate work. "All right, Victoria. You want in, you're in. I can't promise that means much here, but as long as we are here... I'll help you. But when I go back," he shrugged. "politics is politics. Do we have a deal?"

@mike
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Marvel Comics-Marvel 616-Adjacent

19 Posts
2 Threads
Age:20
Job: Sorceress/Scientist/Dictator-to-be
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Bixexual
Mike

All Accounts Posts: 1,093
Points: 260.5€
#10
Half of Victoria’s mind, the half that was aching for a challenge like this, continued the technological invocation that she was weaving before his eyes. To that calm, analytical mind, it was a simple matter that could be solved through a methodical application of adaptive programming and microsentient installation. It would need to be altered to fit the hardware he had installed, in this case partly his own body, of course, but it would lay a new groundwork for the existing code to re-grow into. Perhaps some functions would activate differently, but when one grew a new arm, one had to learn to use it, yes?

The other half of Victoria’s mind, thought… well, she turned a warning look that Tony had probably seen many, many times in his life just before his life got infinitely worse.

She gave him the look of a woman who was on to his bullshit and was not going to put up with it.

“When we leave this place,” she said, her tone still pleasant, belied only by her gaze, “I will endeavor to not allow my personal politics to run afoul of our arrangement. You will notice that I am not offering you a solution that will cease operating when we leave the boundaries of this dimension.” He couldn’t even try to make it sound like he was giving her something that was worth her while, could he? Well, he might not be looking at anything here as important, but perhaps she could impress differently upon him. “And come now,” she said, her expression softening again. “Are you so sure that you will want to be rid of me when you return?”

@starkly
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Marvel-616

380 Posts
15 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 576
Points: 4,039.91€
#11
Tony folded his arms, resisting the urge to wither under that look. He was a grown man. He was Tony Stark, for God's sake. In any case, he hadn't said anything that should have come as a surprise to her.

Being in his "inner circle," such as it was, in the Hub? Sure. Easy enough. He'd made a couple friends here, and those friends brought with them connections that could probably be leveraged if needed. But that was worlds away--literally--from what it meant to be in his inner circle on their own earth, where as Director of SHIELD and leader of the Avengers and CEO of Stark Industries, he was without any exaggeration one of the most powerful people on the planet. She couldn't really expect it to be that easy, could she?

"Didn't say I'd want to be rid of you," Tony murmured. "But it's different. You know it's different." He stared down at her, matching her steely gaze with his own. "I have plenty of power. But I don't make decisions unilaterally. A lot of people have a lot of interests in what happens to SHIELD, to the Avengers, to SI. Like I said. Politics. You can't be a team player on the other side...you even hint of holding Extremis hostage in exchange for what you think I owe you in power...I'm out. You rot here, your uncle does what he does best, and I find someone else with a head for biotech. So. What'll it be?"

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