Iron and Blood

An interactive forum that focuses on DC and Marvel like superheroes...

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Cazzik
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Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

3 MONTHS AGO

As Alex looked on to the sea of reporters before him he shrugged to himself. It was now or never. Most of them were there because somewhere deep down they knew what was coming. They were about to get the story of a lifetime. It had only been days since Alex, as Iron Man, had taken down the mutant terrorist known as Titan. With help from Vanguard and the Thunderbolts he had managed to repel the other attacks from the terrorist organization known as the League of Mutants. He was still uncertain why they had targeted his company, Stark Industries. But they had done some serious damage to several of his plants before being stopped. The rest escaped but Titan was locked away in Blackwell Prison, the wold's premier holding facility for super villains. As he looked past the reporters he saw two of his employees and dear friends, Natalia and Sam. Their presence made him feel more comfortable. To his immediate right, standing at the podium with him was the director of Vanguard himself, Jackson Cole. To his left was Marvel Queen, current member of the Thunderbolts and former lover of Alex. They were present to show support for Burke by the U.S. government. He looked down at the podium for a split second before raising his eyes back to the crowd and speaking. "So......I'm Iron Man."

The crowd erupted and Sam Freeman looked to Natalia. "Well that was subtle."

********************

NOW

Alex was sitting in his office when Sam, his head of security, entered the room. The African-American former F.B.I. agent smiled slightly at his boss. "We got rid of the reporter. He was sure insistent though."

Alex just nodded and didn't look up from his newspaper. "Thy're all insistent. And obnoxious. And inconsiderate. And...."

Sam raised his eyebrows as he cut Alex off. "And you basically just don't like any of them."

Burke grinned. "Basically."

Alex stood up off the leather couch and walked over to his desk as his phone rang.

OOC: Good place for your phone call to Burke, Aleria. ;)
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Ghost »

OOC: College got in the way and life, sorry Ive been out of the "office" lol.

She held the phone tight to her ear, her heart was pounding in her throat, a little bit unusual considering the friendship she had developed with Alex..and considering it was nothing more than that. Perhaps it was just the ordeal she had just gone through, the excess adrenaline burning off her system, had to be. She let off a deep sigh as she listened to the ringing on the other end, she knew he was a busy man but didn't he have a secretary..some woman, what was her name again? "Meh, she's probably fetching him coffee or something...." And with that she heard the phone pick up "Uhm..hello?"

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

OOC: I'm not really sure where you want the phone call to go so I'll just let you rp it, Aleria.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Ghost »

OOC: LoL, You sir, suck :P I'll post later today by editing this thread.

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

"The problem is, you have an A, my friend, and I don't."

"You have a very good A and you know that. I wish I had your T."

"Well, we can't all be blessed with great Ts, now can we?"

"BItch."

Samantha Walker laughed at this remark. "Now you're sounding like your boss when talks to me."

"So what, you're going to wash my mouth out with 'soap' like you do his and bend me over for a spanking?" Natalia replied.

"I might if you keep it up." The blond haired woman said.

Natalia just smirked and turned to look at the mirror once more. "I needed this trip. I really did." She said.

"Well, there's nothing like going into Manhattan for a quick pick me up at Prada or Louis Vuitton, but why do that when you can just bat your eyes at Burkie and I can tell him that he doesn't love us and he'll fly us out to Lagerfield or Valentino?" Samantha asked. "I mean, I could have done it myself, but I do love the Stark logo and if I don't see it that often I get all pouty." She said as she turned so that Natalia could unzip the dress that Samantha was in. The silk creation fell to the floor and Samantha stepped out of it before reaching down to pick it up so she could set it back properly. "We are still on for a trip to that Turkish bath I was telling you about, right? It's not that far of a flight from here." She added.

"No, I have to get back. Feel free to take the jet and-"

"I can fly, doofus."

"Right, I forget that sometimes." Natalia said as she looked at the three dresses and four outfits that she was going to buy. She smiled, thinking on how Samantha had also pried Alex's Black American Express card from him. Though it wasn't needed. It wasn't like Natalia didn't have all of Burke's financial information memorized because of her job or anything and that she was on the accounts anyway in case anything happened. Still she liked seeing Samantha in action. "I need to get back though. I think there was a news conference that Alex was at, and if he was, then either there are dead reporters, or I need to get some female reporter out of the house. Regardless though, there's PR work to be done."

"DId he text you?"

"No." Natalia replied with a frown. She reached out and checked her phone, but there weren't any texts from Burke in her phone since yesterday, when he had asked her if he could borrow her as a "date" for a charity dinner in order to make some other woman feel jealous and whether or not she could go buy new underwear, since he had forgotten most of his at a vacation house in Aruba. She had said no to the first, and yes to the second. He had complained, she had threatened and then he had backed down.

"I'd go with the second one then. Definitely in bed with some reporter chick, promising her the inside scoop on how hot and sweaty the Iron Man suit gets." Samatha said.

"Oh great. I can't believe someone fell for that one in the first place. Damn thing has climate control." Natalia said, rolling her eyes. "You know, you never did tell me, those jokes you always make about him, are they true or not?" She asked.

"Would you look at the time? I think one of us needs to be going." Samantha said.

"Uh huh." Natalia replied, with a smirk.

Walker shrugged and pressed a small button on the wall by the door to the room. A female attendant came into the changing lounge that they had reserved and picked up what they had decided they would purchase and took it with her to ring it up.

"It was good to see you again, Natalia."

"Same with you Sam."

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Halcyon508
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Halcyon508 »

Iron Lad! The mechanical teenager flew overhead as the crazed maniac in a mechanical Minotaur suit ran below with two stereotypical bags filled with money. Iron Lad didn’t know what insane plan the criminal had but he knew that him and his team would stop them. “Spider-Boy, webbing now!” He yelled.

As he did so the red clad figure shot a line of webbing tripping the mechanical man. A girl in a tight black suit followed up with a black webbing around his feet holding him to the ground. With a sinuous heave the man burst through the webbing. “I AM THE MIGHTY MAN-O-TAUR!” he yelled. “I shall not be defeated by a group of Mini heroes!” he spat out the word heroes.

Iron Lad landed adjacent to the manatour. “Oh really?” he said extending his hands and firing two repulsor beams. The two streams of energy hit the man knocking him backwards. “I AM MANATOUR!” he yelled recovering from the blow and charging the metallic teen. “I WILL NOT BE BEATEN BY CHILDREN!” As he ran forward Iron Lad struck up a pose and smirked in his mask. Suddenly he hit a large blob of webbing and tumbled over as Venom shot at his hands on the ground. His face slammed into pavement and Iron Lad jumped into the air sending a flying elbow into his back. The Manatour groaned as it hit the ground.

“Oh yeah,!” Spider-Boy said stepping over the defeated villain. “And your name sucks!”

“Dude... you really need to work on your quips.” Iron lad said. “I mean your dad is funnier.”

“Yeah yeah tin man!” Spider-Boy murmured. “I’m working on it.”

The group dispersed making their way towards their secret hide out. The black clad figure decided not to follow, Spider-Boys Spider-senses has managed to allow the group to elude her so far and she knew it was useless to follow them alone. “Cute kids.” She said with a smirk. “Little Spider-Man and Girl, and Little Iron Man.” Shaking her head she watched Manatour being pulled away by the police. “Run run little heroes, I’ll find you. The Black Widow is on the case.”

She walked accentuating her femininity and extended her hand.”Mr. Burke.” She said to her new ‘Boss’. She smiling a little she blinked both her eyes fluttering her lashes like butterflies.“My name is Kathrine Howard.” Katarina said smiling, “I’m your new Public Relations Secretary.”
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

OOC: I guess I should get to the posting. ;)

IC:
The beautiful woman extended her long, slender arm and shook Alex's hand. Quite naturally a small grin appeared across his face which immediately made Sam think about how fast Natalia would have slapped it off. Burke had known the woman for a brief fifteen seconds and he was already trying to figure out the fastest way to bed her. Superman's Achilles heel had been kryptonite. It was very apparent to just about everyone that Alex Burke's was women. Alex motioned for Katherine to have seat on the couch in his spacious office. He took a seat at his desk and smiled slightly. "As you can guess by your presence here, Ms. Howard, my last Public Relations Officer really didn't do his job. I hope you are a bit more competent than he was."

Sam approached the woman and shook her hand as he introduced himself as Alex's Chief of Security. "Ever since he told the entire world about his extracurricular activities we've been having some serious PR issues. Not to mention the security issues with reporters. Unfortunately for you, you stepped into a PR nightmare. Other than Paul Matthews and the Fantastic Five I don't think there are any other high profile heroes that revealed their true identities. It turns out people are more interested in super heroes than they are actors and musicians these days."

Alex stood up and walked around to the front of his desk where he took a seat on the edge. "Sam here is such a pessimist. You have to look at all the perks that come with the job as well. Perks such as lunch. Tell me, Ms. Howard, have you ever had fresh baked pizza from Venice? My jet can have us there in no time."

********************

The cars outside rushed by, occasionally honking at each other. The noise used to bother him, but not anymore. He was used to it. In fact, sometimes he even enjoyed it. It helped to drown out the screams he could still hear in his head. The screams of his colleagues, his friends, and his family. He looked around the depressing warehouse he had been calling home for the past six months. It took him a moment but he spotted the last bit of metallic plating he was searching for. He walked over and picked it up and returned to the bulky set of armor he had been working on. As he welded the last piece in place a sense of excitement flooded through him. Just as Stark Tech had taken everything from him he would use it to take everything from the man responsible; Alex Burke. He, Julian Cross, would show the world that the Iron Man wasn't truly invincible after all.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Halcyon508 »

Katrina smiled at the comment. It was no secret that men desired her, it was part of why she was so good at what she did. "I've never been to Venice." she lied. "And as charming as you are and as much as I may want to take you up on your offer, I'm going to have to pass." She pursed her lips into a thin smile and wiped a bit of hair out of her face playing with a strand, her finger curling her red hair. "It's my job after all to help your public image, not ruin it." She ran a hand down her body smoothing invisible wrinkles in her clothing. "I'm more concerned about this little boy running around in a suit of armor just like yours. If people know you are Iron Man, and they thus associate you with the boy..." she paused as if waiting for him to interject and continued when he didn't, "if anything ever happened to this kid it will hurt you. So now I'm asking you to be honest with me. Do you know anything about this Iron Lad?"
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

Alex shook his head, "I know of him. Thats about it. I've never spoken to him nor do I know his true identity. I can tell you that his suit is definitely made up of Stark Tech components though. Not sure how he acquired them but I'm assuming my predecessor may have had a hand in it seeing as how I have no record of him ever pursuing the boy."

Burke gave a slight shrug and returned to his seat behind the desk, "Of course the part about my predecessor helping him is pure speculation. I have no proof. I do agree with you, however. Should something happen to this kid I'll more than likely be blamed for it. What are your plans for this Iron Lad?"
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

OOC: I'm moving this along for the sake of all involved, Hal. I don't want this thread to become stagnant.

IC:
It had been two days since Alex had really spoken to Katrina. They had had a rather in depth conversation about the boy calling himself Iron Lad and then she had somewhat disappeared from Burke's life. He figured she had been taking care of all of the PR crap that Alex didn't want to try and take care of himself. Actually, being realistic, he would do more damage then good if he attempted to fix it. The way he had admitted to being Iron Man was probably the worst possible way he could have done it. Well, not quite the worst, but it was close.

He continued to stare out of the window at the ocean. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the water looked very inviting. The crowd of reporters and other businessmen and women were clearly enjoying themselves. They had all gathered in Maui to help celebrate the opening of the new Stark Industries Naval Research Facility. It would not be producing ships themselves, but it would be building the most advanced armor and weapons that any Naval force in the world would have. He took a sip of his scotch and smiled slightly as he heard the voice of his personal assistant from behind him, "Isn't it a little early to be drinking?"

He shook his head, "I'm on vacation, Natalia. A drink is always in order when you're on vacation."

She simply frowned at him as she walked over and adjusted his tie, "You're not on vacation. You're here to give a speech and to represent your company." She took the glass from him and put it on the far counter. "Are you ready?"

Burke smiled again and Natalia recognized it immediately as his mischievous grin, "How about we let Sam give the speech and do the representing. He likes all that stuff anyway. You and I can go find some nice secluded little cove and have a romantic picnic with strawberries, champagne, and maybe a little whipped cream."

Natalia gave a flirty smirk and walked back over to Alex where she placed her hands on his shoulders and slowly smoothed out any wrinkles he had in his jacket. "Do you remember that wonderful time we had in Florence last year? We saw all the sights and then went to that adorable little cafe? And you tried a similar thing with me there as well. Recall?"

Burke pursed his lips and nodded grimly, "I remember. The bruise took almost a month to go away."

Her face became serious as she turned him around and shoved him out the door, "The bruise will be much worse this time. Now go do your job!"
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

The crowd applauded as Alex soared over head. The gold and red of the Iron Man suit gleamed in the sunlight. He had given the majority of the speech already. He had always been good with crowds anyway, but throwing the armor into the mix made his appearances even more enjoyable. As he landed on the second stage that was set up for the demonstration the crowd yet again went wild. He held up his arms like he was some sort of rock star. As everyone quieted down he began to speak again, "The hull plating that will be used is immune to many forms of weaponry that are far more advanced then typical projectile fire. This new ship armor is immune even to repulsor fire."

Alex whirled around into an attack position and let fly a barrage of repulsor fire at the hull plating that had been set up. When the sparks stopped flying the crowd was able to see a severely scorched outer layer, but Alex was quick to show that it had not pierced the armor, merely discoloring it. Again the crowd cheered and the military representatives seemed very pleased. It was at that moment that something odd took place. The communication equipment in his helmet shut down for a brief second. When it came back up only audio was working. A deep voice began speaking, "Alex Burke. You do not know my name. You do not know my face. But soon, you will know my wrath. You took everything from me. And now I will do the same to you. And when your life is in ruins, remember this. It was you that put us on the war path."

The transmission ended and regular functions were returned to the suit. Whoever has just spoken they were extremely intelligent. They had managed to bypass his entire security network and access the Iron Man armor. He needed to figure out who this person was immediately.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

ONE DAY LATER; STARK TOWER

Katarina, who was going by the name of Kathrine Howard, paced a bit as she looked at the research in her hands. Several polls created by shell companies or by her contacts in the media showed that the supposed Young Avengers were popular, especially with teenagers and preteens. Adults even found the group inspiring or otherwise comforting. An odd thought, but Katarina still knew how the media would blow things up should anything ever happen to those kids. And Mr. Burke was the logical focus of that outrage being the most prominent hero who has come out of the proverbial closet.

"Miss Howard." The secretary said, "He'll be with with you in just a minute." Howard. Kathrine Howard was a queen of england. She was the same age as the Kings daughter and something of a flirt who later lost her head because of her flirtatious nature and affairs. Katrina smiled, she may be sharing a name with the former queen, but she was by no means the same as that foolish little girl.

She reviewed the Data again. They were very specific stats. Teenage girls liked Spider-Boy, teenage boys liked, well all the female members. No surprises there. Katarina always knew how the males of her species were driven by a certain lower body extremity, and so easy to control.

The secretary let her into Burkes office. She smiled sweetly as she placed the newest headline of the Young Avengers on the desk. "They are making a good name for themselves at least," he said smiling.

Katarina nodded, "I have a professional who is willing to ascertain the identities of these children. I just wanted to make sure I had your approval before doing anything. She is a private eye, comes highly recommended in the field of 'mask' protection and identification. She was the woman responsible for last years case against the Prowler in the court systems if you recall."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

Alex continued to look over the paper as Katherine spoke. The picture itself was very impressive; a very nice close up of the team in action saving innocent lives. And of course, dead center, was the armored teenager calling himself Iron Lad. Just from appearance alone his suit was fairly advanced, and that impressed Burke. This boy reminded Alex of himself at that age. The suit was clearly Stark inspired. In fact, he wouldn't be surprised if the kid had actually obtained Stark tech somehow. Perhaps he had even worked with Ethan Drake, but Alex had no proof of this. He raised his eyes to look at the beautiful red head in front of him, "Yes, I remember the Prowler case."

He stood up and walked over to the window. His gaze looked out over Manhattan. He didn't really want to be dealing with this Young Avenger issue right now. In fact, there was a long list of issues he didn't want to take care of. For example, the official Avengers roster was all but non existent at this point. Patriot had left after being asked to take command of Vanguard. Wolverine had gone with him to be part of some secret Vanguard strike force. American Dream, Arsenal, Spider-Man; they had all left. He needed a new roster. Odd to think that the only Avengers team running around at the moment was a bunch of teenagers. He frowned, "Let's do it. I want their identities. It's the only way I'll be able to protect these kids."

If there was someone out there that could hack into his own armor, then Iron Lad was in trouble as well. And if he was in trouble, then the rest of the Young Avengers were most likely to follow.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Halcyon508 »

Katarina walked among the back alleys. It was easy enough to figure out where the Young Avengers usually showed up. The large man approached her and grabbed at her purse pulling it. "Oh no help me!" she yelled desperately pulling against him. She'd done this before multiple times to no avail, a young Avenger never showed up. Her plan was simple, get saved and then follow the child back to their base. "Oh god!" she said as the man pushed her up against the wall and started to rips strips of cloth off her. "Help me please!" she hired scumbags to mug a woman, they didn't know her identity, and she'd clobber him before he could do any real damage. The man pulled out a knife and threatened Katarina with it. As he did so webbing grabbed his hand and pulled it away knocking him over. Spider-Man Katarina thought with a sigh. She looked up to see a younger arachnid with a redder suit. "Spider-Boy!" she called in a cheer staying in character as the boy beat up the large thug.

"You shouldn't be in a neighborhood like this." The boy said grabbing her by her slender waist and taking off into the air. The two stopped on a buildings roof and he set her down. "You should travel with a friend for now on." he stated, "Its less likely that you'll be targeted if you're with people.

"Oh Spider-Boy." she said reaching a hand and caressing his masked face. "You're such a gentleman." She leaned in lifting his mask a little and preparing to kiss his lips. Suddenly she felt something on the back of her head and she was pulled backward. She fell to the ground and quickly looked up to see Spider-Man looming over her.

"Stay away Katarina." Spider-Man said frowning under his mask.

"Dad!" Spider-Boy yelled the part of his face showing red.

"Dad?" Katarina said with a smirk. "I've seen you under the mask, your not old enough to have a kid his age."

"Time travel thing. He's me from the past."

"So he's that handsome huh? I wish I had kissed him."

"What is this all about?" Spider-Man demanded.

"The Young Avengers."

"Stay away. This is your only warning."
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

The pair stood in front of the massive suit of armor. Between the two of them, his brilliant engineering mind and her resources, they had created a masterpiece of modern warfare. Dinah Frost smiled as she took in the sight. At long last her carefully laid plans were coming to fruition. It had been so long since her adoptive father had killed himself. Then her brother followed suit. All because of Stark and the Iron Man. Now the sins of the original had carried over to the latest bearer of the Iron Man mantle; Alex Burke. He would die for the things he had done. For the things his company had done. She looked at her companion and nodded, "Suit up, Cross. We have a billionaire to kill"

Julian said nothing in return. He touched his creation gently before climbing the ladder to get in. The armor was immense, much larger than the Iron Man armor. And hopefully, far more advanced. As he sat down the systems sprang to life. The computer flickered on and began running start up diagnostics. He smiled. It was much more of a malevolent grin than it was a smile. As the armor closed around him the helmet's eyes lit up with a red glow. He stared down at Dinah. "Ready the automated soldiers. Burke isn't going to know what hit him."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

Sam Freeman burst into Alex's office at a dead sprint. Natalia wasn't far behind him. Burke stared at the pair, slightly amused for a moment. The feeling vanished quickly as Sam spoke, "The Stark Naval Facility in Paragon City is under attack. We just got the call."

Alex frowned. This wasn't the first time that particular facility had been attacked. When it was being built a group of ocean men had wreaked havoc on the place more than once, until Alex and Patriot had put a stop to it. As his thoughts went to his patriotic friend he spoke, "Has Vanguard been notified? I'm sure Brian could send in some backup."

Natalia nodded, "Vanguard is who called us. Agents are already on the scene."

Alex stood up from his desk and started walking past them, "Those damn water people again?"

Sam shook his head as he took up strides alongside Alex, "No. Apparently some kind of robots. They're being directed by someone in a suit."

Alex stopped dead in his tracks. A suit. A suit of armor. Just like his. This could very well be the individual who hacked his communications only a few days earlier. He resumed walking, not saying another word. The group of three made it to the elevator and rode the machine up to the private headquarters of the Avengers, who were all but defunct at the moment. With a hastening walk he made it to the secured Iron Man room and pressed in his code. The blast doors opened and the group stepped through into a lab that housed some of the most advanced technology and weaponry on Earth. He pressed several buttons on a control console and his current armor was lowered to the floor by the automated systems that held it. As he climbed in he could see the worry on Natalia's face, "Don't worry. I'll be back in time for a nightcap."

The faceplate on the helmet slid shut and he stepped down off of the platform. The armored individual was truly a sight to behold. Despite the amazing technology that the suit held, the man inside was even more impressive. He had built the weapon and all the technology it housed. He was truly a genius among geniuses. Repulsor fire lit up as he floated off the ground, "Sam, keep me informed and let Vanguard know that I'm on my way."

The ceiling opened and Iron Man shot up through the exit and towards Paragon City.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

Alex was on his way to Paragon City, but Natalia had changed into a black, lycra form fitting jumpsuit and workout clothing and was currently in Burke's training gym. Earlier that morning, when she had woken up, she had braided her long, raven black hair into one braid. She cracked her neck now, and pushed one hand, formed into a fist into her other hand, alternating between them. She'd tapped up her hands and in front of her was a punching bag. She started with one of the defense regimens that she'd been taught, something basic to get her warmed up. Her fists flew out in a flurry of different strikes, hitting different places on the punching bag. The iPod touch that was strapped to her shapely hips pumped deadmau5 into her Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds. The bass was kicked up. She had disabled her personal communicators ability to interrupt the flow of the music for a while.

Pushing through the For Lack of a Better Name album, Natalia was dancing by the time Ghosts n Stuff came on. She was utilizing Capoiera at this point, and she was moving around the room, having activated a number of personal training robots that she'd cajoled Burke into fashioning for her. He'd said that he'd needed to dock her pay in order to afford the robots, but she'd refused to give him the number to that cute brunette he'd met the night before while a little too tipsy and so he'd given in. That and the fact that she'd told Sam to punch Alex, and Sam liked annoying Burke from time to time so he'd done it. That and the fact that Burke was wrapped around her little finger when she wanted him to be. She'd had the robots for a good two months now and she'd been working with them since he'd finished them for her.

She had a sneaking suspicion that there was someone or something behind her and she turned, jumping into the air. Her leg whipped around in a powerful roundhouse kick that hit nothing but air. She landed to find herself looking up into the eyes of Samuel Freeman, the head of Stark security. She reached up and pulled the red and black earbuds out. "Sam, what's going on?"

"You not answering calls, which is kind of weird." Sam said.

Her chest was heaving, taking in deep breaths. "Yeah, well, you scaring the life out of me, also kind of weird."

"Security, I'm supposed to be sneaky." Sam said with a small shrug.

"What's going on? Is that stupid boss of ours dead?" She asked, pushing the buttons on the iPod to turn the music off. She draped the earbuds around her neck. "Cause that'd be wonderful. I'm getting to the point of being fed up with that man. I swear to God, he needs to take a serious look in the mirror and get his head screwed on straight. He's going to get himself killed one of these days, and then who's going to make sure that the company works? Not that he does that anyway, that's my job because he's too busy playing with woman's body parts, fantasizing about women's body parts, thinking about new stupid armors, and being a juvenile delinquent." She said, finishing her tirade by folding her arms over her chest and daring Sam through her body language to contest anything she'd just said.

"No, he's not dead." Sam said, and then cocked his head to the side. "Are you, um, upset with Alex?"

"You can't tell?" She asked and he shook his head. Her eyes narrowed. "You say anything about not being able to tell because I'm female, and you're going to be in a world of hurt. I will tan your ass, Samuel Freeman, don't think I won't."

He grinned at the woman who had been nicknamed as the Stark She-Devil. Everyone in the entire office, possibly even the entire company feared her wrath, and rightly so. She didn't need Alex Burke behind her to be a threat, she managed that all on her own. No one wanted to tangle with her. Well, Alex did, but that was because he was a thrill seeker in every sense of the word. If anyone was going to take out Iron Man, it would be Natalia taking their boss down. "I get it, I get it. Why exactly are you upset with Alex?"

"Because he's a child running around with a weapon that someone with intelligence should be using. He knows right from wrong, but he thinks that he has a right to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He's a rude man, and some days I can't stand working for him. I had to redo his entire schedule for this Paragon City incident. Vanguard already has people in the field. He didn't need to go out there to be all macho, he wanted to. Why, I don't know. You know he doesn't remember the passwords to anything?"

"That's what-" Sam said and then stopped when she cocked an eyebrow up at him. "Okay, look, I'm just here to tell you that someone's here to see you. You'd know that if you were on your computer thing. Her name's Monica Taylor."

Natalia suddenly brightened.

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Re: Iron and Blood

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As Iron Man entered Paragon City he immediately homed in on the Stark Naval Facility. This one factory had seen more trouble since its completion than almost any other Stark unit. First it had been attacked by human looking people who lived in the Atlantic Ocean. Iron Man and Brian Grace, going by Patriot at the time, had defended the facility alongside Vanguard agents and soldiers. It was funny, because they were about to do the same thing again. Commander Grace was no longer the Avenger, Patriot. He was now the Director of Vanguard and probably the one who had sent in the cavalry. On second thought, Grace had sent in the first wave. Iron Man was the cavalry.

As he grew closer to the factory he could visually see the robots attacking the facility. He saw the blue clad Vanguard soldiers doing their best to fend the enemies off. Alex easily hacked into the Vanguard communication line and began speaking, "Vanguard agents, this is Iron Man. Who's in charge?"

A female voice crackled through the armor. It was a strong voice, definitely belonging to a no-nonsense individual, "This is Captain Reynolds. I'm at the mobile command post on the east side of the facility."

Iron Man flew to the opposite side of the massive building and landed alongside a beautiful, dark skinned woman. She turned and nodded her head at the armored individual, "Mr. Burke. If you know anything about these people we would appreciate the information."

Alex shook his head, "Sorry, Captain. I have no idea who they are or what they want. I'm just here to make sure we take them down and get some answers. Have your troops tried any electromagnetic weapons?"

Reynolds nodded, "One of the first things we tried. They had no effect. Now we're using anti-tank weaponry. It seems to do the trick."

Iron Man nodded. He visually scanned the area, "I was told there was someone directing them. Where is he?"

The Vanguard captain shook her head, "We lost track of him. He keeps flying around, landing for a few minutes, then he takes off again. So far he hasn't directly engaged anyone."

Alex frowned beneath the helmet. Whoever this guy was he obviously had a personal vendetta to settle with Burke. The only problem was Alex had no idea what it could possibly be. He gave Reynolds and her escort a quick nod and then launched himself into the fray. As soon as he touched ground the robots began shifting their focus from the facility and Vanguard agents to himself. They were impressively built, but not a match for the Iron Man armor. Alex easily destroyed several of the drones before a much larger individual landed only a few feet from him. Iron Man turned to meet this new opponent, having his armor immediately scan the enemy's, searching for any similarities in the Stark database. Almost immediately there was a match.

Alex smiled slightly as he spoke first, "Nice armor. I'm assuming you're the new Iron Monger?"

The other individual shook his head, "You recognize the design. I figured as much. Obadiah Stane was a genius in his own right. All I needed to do was update the armor with the latest weapons." The man fired off a repulsor blast from his right gauntlet that sent Alex hurtling into a concrete wall, "And you can call me Warpath."

Iron Man climbed to his feet and launched himself at Warpath. The armor's jet power pushed him forward at an astounding rate until he collided with his enemy, bringing about a massive blow to Warpath's chest, "Who are you? What the hell do you want?"

The other armored figure regained his stance as he spoke. The voice, though metallic, was drenched in disgust. Whoever this man was he hated Burke more than anything else on Earth, "I want you to suffer, Burke! I want you to know that you have lost everything! And only then will I personally finish you off!"

Captain Reynolds' voice crackled through the communication unit in the armor once again, "Iron Man! We just got news. A Stark Research Center in the Nevada dessert has been destroyed. Intel believes it was multiple explosions. Most likely several bombs."

Alex felt his heart stop. It was the middle of the day. That facility had been full of employees. All of them dead. He was forced back to present situation as Warpath took off into the air and the remainder of the drones attack Iron Man in order to allow their master the time he required to escape. The enemy vanished and Alex put the robotic warriors down as one last message came through the armor from his new adversary, "This is just the beginning, Burke. I promise it's going to get a whole lot worse."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

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Natalia stepped into the communications room that they had set up in Burke's home to be able to talk to him when he was in his Iron Man suit. She had the ability to patch in directly through her own communicator, so did Sam, but they often times found themselves in the situation room, because it allowed them to help Burke through different means. Natalia had visited with her friend, but when word of what had happened had reached her, she had been forced to cut the visit short. Duty always called, and making sure that Burke wasn't blown to little annoying, egotistical bits came before catching up with a friend that Natalia hadn't really seen since college. After trading phone numbers and finding out where Monica was staying while she was in town, Natalia had quietly ushered her out of the house before heading over to the situation room.

"What's going on?" She asked when she walked in. Sam was already plugged in and was working on something. He held up a finger, the motion designed to stall Natalia for a moment.

"Uh huh, uh huh. Got it. We've got the response teams on the way? Okay, make sure everyone is in place. Thanks, Freeman out."

He took off the Bluetooth headset that he was wearing and turned in his chair to look at Natalia, who gave him an expectant look.

"One of our Nevada research facilities was compromised. Compromised being the nice way of saying it got blown the hell up. We don't know how many people were-"

"Which one?" She asked. "Stark Sparks Facility or the Reno Institute?" She added.

"Reno."

Her hand moved upwards and she clenched it into a fist over her chest. "Assuming full capacity, that's over two thousand seven hundred people."

Sam had forgotten for a moment the fact that there was nobody more qualified to speak on Stark Industries than Natalia Pera. She had to know all the numbers, everything, and she did. His eyes narrowed though. She was taking this a little too personal. "Did you know someone there?" He asked.

"No, not very well, but I did a tour of the facility a few months ago. There were people there who were gearing up for retirement, and there's a very good children's program too." She looked at Sam, who slowly shook his head. "No confirmation on anything? Anything?" She asked. "Where's Burke, does he know?" She asked.

"Yeah, he's aware of it." He said.

"Get me out there. Now." She said, brushing away at the tears forming in her eyes. "Now."

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Re: Iron and Blood

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The Iron Man armor propelled Burke though the air at supersonic speeds. Under normal circumstances Alex loved flying. The fact that he was doing something only a very small group of other people in the world could do had always brought a smile to his face. The fact that he was able to fly at even faster speeds then either of his predecessors, Stark or Drake, made the experience even more enjoyable. That was under normal circumstances. Not today. Today, it was only a means of travel. The fastest way he could get to the Nevada desert. The fastest way he could get to the mass graveyard that was once called the Stark Reno Institute. The man called Warpath had struck his first blow and it had been a powerful hit.

As Iron Man came within view of the destruction he saw several hundred emergency responders already on the scene. Ambulances were everywhere as their drivers tried to pull people from the wreckage. They were aided by police officers and firemen, all of which were working as hard as they could to save lives. Alex came in for a landing and immediately went to work scanning the area and pulling survivors from the rubble. The whole time he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. This was his fault. Not Iron Man's fault. It was Alex Burke's. Warpath had a personal grudge against Alex. He needed to help as many people as he could and then he needed to figure out how to track this lunatic down. Before someone else died.



QUEENS, NEW YORK
BISHOP HOUSEHOLD


Nathan Bishop, better known to the world as Patriot of the Young Avengers, stood in his kitchen in front of the fridge trying to decide between a Pepsi and a Sprite. There was only one of each left. He figured he would let his friend Katy Ellis, aka Arsenal, choose which one she wanted. As he walked back into the living room he saw Katy on her feet, TV remote in hand. She was turning up the volume. A news broadcast was on telling about a terrorist attack on a Stark research facility that had just taken place. She turned her head and looked at Nate, "We should probably tell Iron Lad."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

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Natalia had known that the first thing that she needed to do was to help coordinate Stark's response. There were, of course, the 911 responders, but Stark had people of their own, and she was in charge of them, even if she in turn had to answer to the local response force. She had certain protocols that she herself had to follow. Natalia had never thought that she would ever have to revisit them, after she had committed them to memory, but she was quickly learning to never say never. The work that she was going to have to do here was huge, and she wasn't going to even get past the tip of the iceberg in the first week or so, she knew it already. The facility would have to be rebuilt, but what was used up in material and construction was nothing in what would need to be rebuilt in the personal lives of the people who had worked here. That kind of reconstruction would take years, if it was ever truly achieved. The people here would always remember this day, for different reasons. Natalia knew why she would remember it. It seemed like hours, hours since she had gotten there. It seemed like minutes from when she had left to get here.

It was only because she had been closer to Reno, that she had managed to get there before Alex. She had been working for a while when he had gotten there. When Iron Man found her, by herself in one of the tents that had been quickly set up, her back was to him, and she was on the phone with a news reporter. With a sigh, Natalia hung up, the conversation over. They were alone in the tent, and Alex let the helmet fall away, revealing his head and face. "Natalia." He said. She turned, a bit startled. "What's the word?" Alex asked.

"You can see for yourself, Alex." She said, before starting to brush past him.

Burke lifted a heavily armored hand to stop her. Natalia paused, looking at the red piece of machinery before looking at him expectantly. "I understand you're upset, but-"

"Upset? Upset?! Alex, I heard about what happened at Paragon City. I know about this Warpath guy. These people are dead because of you and your games with this damned Iron Man suit. I don't know why he did what he did, but he believes you've done something to him. These people paid for it, because they work for you and they're connected to you." Natalia said. "Do you see what your behavior is doing to people? You're may be the only actual person in that damned suit, but you're not the only one. Not really. Yet again, I have to clean up your mess, so let me go and do my job." She said, moving past him, and out of the tent.

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Re: Iron and Blood

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Alex watched Natalia storm out of the tent. He knew she was right. All of his genius and all of his power made him a prime target for several different individuals and organizations. The Paragon City incident had been a good example of that. However, Warpath was different. It was personal. Alex had done something to that man to create a deep hatred. He needed to figure out who he was so he could figure out what he had done to make him the way he was. Then he needed to take him down. Hard. This murderer was going away for a very long time.


HOURS LATER

Alex had stayed until every single person had been accounted for, whether they were dead or alive. He had helped to clean up the rubble and get people to the proper medical facilities. He had done everything in his power to assist those that had been hurt. Unfortunately, he still felt like it had been the longest and worst day of his life. As he landed on the roof of Stark Tower he was greeted by the voice of DATA, his automated butler, "Sir, you have thirty seven phone messages to return. Nine of which are from your mother."

Alex shook his head as he removed his helmet, "Later DATA. It's been a..........long day. I need to rest."

He headed down the elevator to his pent house and then directly to his personal lab which doubled as the Iron Man Armory. He allowed the various machines to remove his suit and he took a seat at his desk. He turned on the television which went directly to the recent news of the attack on the Stark facility. Burke frowned and poured himself a glass of scotch and returned to his seat. He was responsible for every single one of the lives lost at the plant. He knew it and so did the rest of the world. Strangely enough, Natalia's disapproval of his actions hurt almost more than the immense guilt he felt for the destruction of his building. She was one of his dearest friends and a close, trusted confidant. He felt like he was driving everyone away by being Iron Man.

DATA chimed on in his usual dull, British voice, "Your mother is on hold on line one, sir. I told her you were available."

Burke took another sip of his beverage, "Well, untell her that I'm available. And leave me alone for the rest of the night, DATA. I don't want to be disturbed."

"Well, if that's the case, sir, then you aren't going to like that you have a visitor approaching your current location."

OOC: Mir, feel free to have the visitor be Natalia. If you had something else you wanted to do with her no worries. I'll have it be someone else.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

OOC: I decided to go a different route. Btw, He who Cries after You Know What's wiki says that his parental units no longer walk amongst the living.

IC:

Fingers tapped at the holographic keypad that gave one access to Burke's lab. The woman that stepped inside of the lab wore a long white leather trench coat. Her long blonde hair was down and she stepped forward, her stride long and purposeful, until she reached Burke. He turned to look at her. "Samantha?" He asked. "What are you doing here?" He asked. "What do you want?" Alex asked.

Samantha Walker, also known as Marvel Queen, gave him a small smile before reaching forward and taking the drink from him. She took a sip before handing it back to him. "Natalia is...well, we both know I don't make it a habit of sugar coating. Natalia is angry." Samantha said, sitting down on the desk. The trench coat opened to reveal not her normal Marvel Queen outfit, but a white dress shirt tucked into white dress pants with white boots. A black belt with a silver buckle offset the brightness a bit.

"That's an understatement." He replied.

"If she hadn't thought she would have hurt herself hitting you in that armor of yours, she probably would have. What are you using these days to make it, by the way?" She asked.

"Trade secret, tell Brian to leave me alone." Alex replied.

"Honey, he'll never do that. He's like a dog with a bone sometimes, even if you are his friend." Sam replied. She could see the look on his face and could tell what was going through his mind. She didn't need to be a telepath in order to figure that out. "Natalia doesn't want to deal with you right now, I just figured I'd tell you that, so that you don't call for her when you forget where something is. You do have a beautiful face, dear, and I'd hate for her to mess it up." She said, reaching out and cupping his chin. She turned his head and lifted it so that he looked at her. "I heard what happened. The Thunderbolts are on loan from Vanguard to help with the clean up and rebuilding. Brian asked for Freeman to liaison with us." She said. "I don't know what's going on fully, but it's possible that we might be being assigned this Warpath guy as an actual mission and situation."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Because I want you to know what's going on. Like I said, it's a possibility, I don't know what's actually happening." She said. Samantha paused then, and her eyes narrowed. She sighed, deciding to break, or at least bend, a personal rule of hers for the next few minutes. "Look, Burke, I get it. I get it, I do. You're upset. This Warpath guy did something pretty fucked up. He killed a bunch of people and you feel like it's your fault. It might very well be your fault. I'm not here to cast blame. I am here to tell you that you need to get out of this funk that you’ve got yourself in. It’s not going to help anyone and you’re not going to be able to do what you need to do.” She said.

She stopped and saw the look in his eyes. No matter what she said, he was going to wallow in it. The guilt that he felt was too big and was too great for anything else. It was possible that this would be the turning point for him that Natalia kept saying that he needed. Walker hoped that it was. Despite the people who had died and despite the tragedy of the situation, this was something that Burke needed in order to become a better individual, in order to become someone who could and should wear the armor that he wore. Samantha bent, and kissed him, long, deep, and hard. “Don’t finish the bottle.” She said. “You won’t like where it leads. DATA, don’t let him finish the bottle.”

“Ma’am, I’m not programmed to follow your-”

“DATA, I’ll rip your CPU out.” She said with a smile. 



“Understood, Ms. Walker.”

She turned to head out.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The nightmare wasn't over. It wouldn't be for a while. Natalia Pera stood on the balcony of her room, in one of her sleeping outfits. She had a glass of white wine in her hand, and took conservative sips at the liquid. She was on the phone with someone, holding the phone up to her ear in the other hand. The person on the other end of the line was speaking to her in a calm tone of voice. "Well, obviously, we both realize that he's not just going to give up the armor, Natalia." The man said. "Something has to be done."

"Do you really think that this is the best course of action?" She asked.

"Trust me, it's the only course of action. People like this guy who attacked at Reno, they're going to keep coming. And Alex, he's a great kid, but he doesn't have the wherewithal to keep doing this. He's going to burn out, and one of these upstarts is going to get lucky. This guy, one of the biggest things he did was show that Stark can be gotten to, and if you do that, you get to Iron Man. Don't be surprised if more start popping up sooner than later."

"Alex will be furious with me." She said.

"I understand. I know where your loyalties lie though, Natalia. You love Stark Industries. More than you care about Burke. As much as you want him to be able to keep playing his game, and we both know that it's a game, you want to keep the company safe more. And most importantly, you don't want anything to happen to the employees, because of their boss' solution to boredom. He's not qualified to save the world or police it. We both know that."

"I just don't think I can do it."

"I'll be there, every step of the way, and you'll have help."

"Okay. Let me think about it and I'll get back to you, Director Fury."

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

OOC:
Due to some serious lag time in this thread I'm bumping this ahead a bit in order to get back on track.

IC:
It had been close to a week since the devastating attack in Reno. The news outlets were in a feeding frenzy, constantly hounding both the authorities and Stark personnel about what the next step would be. The biggest question on everyone's mind was....Where is Alex Burke? Where is Iron Man?

No one had seen Burke since his appearance as Iron Man at the attack site the day of the incident. He had been held up in his penthouse on the top of Stark Tower. Of course he had seen a few visitors, Samantha Walker and Sam Freeman had stopped in. His mother had continuously tried to reach him on the phone without any success. He didn't want to speak to any of them. Samantha had tried the hardest to get through to him, but he had finished the bottle anyway. Then he started another. The trend just kept going. His guilt was unbearable and he didn't know how to get rid of it.

Unfortunately, he knew things would get worse before they got better. Warpath was still out there and he was no closer to discovering who he was or why he wanted to hurt Alex. His buzz had subsided and he realized he needed another glass. As he rose from his couch and headed over to his bar his automated butler chimed on, "Sir, I've been monitoring all police and emergency channels as per your request."

Alex stopped and turned his head back towards the empty living room, "And?"

DATA's English accent was heard once more, "Warpath has been sighted, sir."

Alex felt a wave of anger rush through him, "Where is he?"

The lights dimmed and a holographic image of a map of New York appeared in the middle of the room, "1985 West Hills Road, New York."

Alex's anger became more intense as he listened to the address. His parents' house.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

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She had known that it would take him a while to get back to his usual self. But Natalia hadn’t thought that Burke would still be in his funk, but he was. His and Freeman’s normal daily games of basketball had quickly drifted away, one because Burke had pretty much locked himself away in his iron castle as she called it, and two because Sam and she had been working incredibly hard, putting in massive amounts of overtime, to help fix the Reno situation. Pera couldn’t remember the last time that she’d had sleep. Not a cat nap while flying some where or being driven somewhere, but honest to goodness actual sleep. It was a luxury that she couldn’t afford. Every day that had gone by, that Alex hadn’t stepped out of his lab had made her angrier with him. She understood that he was going through some pain and suffering due to what had happened, but instead of helping, he was just becoming a whiny introvert.

She hated whiny introverts. He wasn’t doing anything to help, and there were people who were honestly affected by this, not in a far off emotional sense, but in the here, now present, all too physical sense. Natalia hadn’t needed to see what she’d seen to know that they were affected emotionally as well. She had had the cameras in the house in the area trained on the exit points of the lab. Wanting to know exactly when he stepped out of the lab, Natalia was preparing for it. She had already written three separate speeches, but each one had ended with her resigning because of him being an asshole, and the last one had included punching him really really hard. Multiple times. 

The scenario had, in her mind, ended with Freeman having to pull her off of Burke in order to save her boss’ life. Everything that was happening had reinforced a few things. But above the fact that Alex Burke was irresponsible, it reinforced what Nick Fury had talked to her about. Though his intentions were good, and his heart was in the right place, Alex Burke could not wear the Iron Man armor. He couldn’t handle it.

It hurt her to see him like this. She knew that he could be a great man, and a great leader, and it hurt her to know that he was letting this event, this attack beat him up so. Natalia didn’t know how to reach out to him.

She was in New Jersey when she got the alert on her personal iPad like doohickey that she’d made Burke make her. Pulling up the security camera footage, she saw him, in Iron Man armor leave the lab. Eyes narrowing as she flew up through the air, she opened her personal channel to DATA.

“DATA, what’s going on.”



“I surmised that you would be placing this call shortly after you reviewed the footage. Honestly, you responded faster than I calculated Ms. Pera. You were approximately-”



“Answer the question.” She said, interrupting the computer.

There was a momentary pause. The computer was having an argument with itself. There was no one allowed a higher clearance level within Stark Industries besides Natalia except for Burke. No one, not even Sam. She ran the company on a day to day level and DATA knew that she needed the information. But need did not necessarily warrant a right to have the information. She knew what was going on. Loyalty to creator and loyalty to creator’s state of mind was battling inside of the processors and circuits of the computer program.

“Please.” She said.

DATA analyzed the voice and the emotional output based on a complex series of algorithms that he had in his memory banks. He found what he was looking for.

Less than five minutes later, a flight that was headed to Gotham City and Isaiah Muir was being redirected to John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport. Arrangements were being made for a Stark Industries car, with emergency clearance to speed and police escort.

And a call was being made to Nick Fury.

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Re: Iron and Blood

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The neighborhood was just as Alex had remembered it. He had grown up here and even after inheriting Stark Industries from Carter and becoming one of the wealthiest men in the country his parents hadn't wanted to move into a larger, fancier house. They were content in the home they had raised their son in. The only difference was the sheer panic that spread through the streets. Police cars had surrounded the block and SWAT personnel were attempting to take down the armored Warpath. The number one thing going through Alex's mind was the safety of his parents. He landed in between the police and Warpath and turned his back on New York's finest as he spoke, "Who the hell are you?! What do you want with me?!"

Warpath's face plate raised up, allowing Alex to see his enemy's eyes for the first time. He was a normal looking man with an intense hatred written all across his face, "You want to know who I am, Burke? I'll tell you exactly who I am!"

Warpath stepped aside and behind him were two bodies, face down on the ground. Smoke rose from their charred backs. Warpath's mouth curled into a wicked grin, "I'm the man that killed your parents!"

Alex saw red. Nothing else mattered except the death of the man in front of him. He charged Warpath, repulsors firing barrage after barrage at his enemy. The two armored soldiers collided and weapons fire and punches were exchanged. In an attempt to escape the villain turned his sights on nearby civilians. Targeting the house behind them he fired. As the building collapsed Alex felt the hero inside of him pull away from combat and rush to the aide of those in need. Igniting his shield he covered the civilians as the house came down all around them. Making sure they were okay he turned his attention back to Warpath who was now airborne.

Alex's eyes narrowed. He was done with this man. He had crossed the line and he didn't deserve to go to prison. He deserved to die. The shoulder on the Iron Man armor opened up and reveal a miniature rocket launcher on each one, six projectiles in all. Alex fired all six. Warpath was blown out of the sky. He landed one block over. Iron Man was on him within moments. Warpath would never see the light of day again if he had his way. He continuously pummeled the damaged villain, not allowing the man to regain even a minuscule foot holding. After it was clear that Warpath had lost and his armor was damaged beyond repair Iron Man ripped the face plate off of his helmet, "I just wanted to see your face when you realize my helmet will be the last thing you ever see."

Warpath's eyes went wide as Alex stepped back and activated his most powerful weapon.....his uni-beam. Within a flash Warpath was gone.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

The car was speeding towards the address that she had. She knew it by heart, it was where Burke’s parents lived. She always needed it at least four times a year, twice for each birthday, once for mother’s day, and once for father’s day. Natalia had met Emily and William a much, much, more than a few times in the past. His mother had realized long ago, that Natalia was a good influence on her son, and someone that could guide him down the right path. It had been a few years since it had happened, but Emily had taken Natalia aside at one of the family parties that Burke had unwillingly dragged Natalia to in order to make her life miserable. She had told Natalia that she wished for her son to find a strong woman, someone who matched him in every category and could keep up with him. A woman for him to love, but one that would be able to give him the tough love that he needed. Natalia had really not been sure with why Emily had been telling her this.

Emily had said that women like Samantha Walker were great, they were, but it was a different kind of woman that Alex needed in his life. Simply, she had asked Natalia to make sure that her son made the right choice. The older woman had realized that Natalia was just around him more often, and was able to influence him more than she could at this stage in his life. Natalia had agreed that she would do this, and even now, as the car drove through Queens on the Grand Central Parkway, she wasn’t sure what his mother had meant. His father had been a lot more straightforward about things, after seeing that the Brazilian woman could put up with Burke’s bullshit sometimes. He’d smiled and told her that he liked her style and to keep an eye on his boy.

That had been a lot simpler to understand. Neither of them had ever spoken about it again, knowing that Natalia would follow their requests.

She still couldn’t believe that they were dead. It was a little too harsh, a little too jarring. It was one thing to see what had happened in Reno, but Natalia wasn’t sure if she was ready to see what had happened here, in New York. She could understand better now, what those people had gone through. These two were a lot like family to her.

At the end of the day though, that didn’t justify what Burke had done. He’d killed Warpath in cold blood, and, there was no way that anyone, let alone her, could spin this properly. He’d just become a murderer and he was unsanctioned by any governmental agency. The Avengers hadn’t done anything in a while, and they weren’t controlled or really licensed by the government, otherwise they’d fall under Vanguard. They didn’t have any real connections to S.H.I.E.L.D., either. Which meant, that if the police wanted to, they could arrest him. Let alone what would happen to the stock price. This was a nightmare of rather large proportions. In the end, what it came down to, was the ability of Burke to take a step back and think of the larger picture and what his actions would mean for him and for the people in his life and the world as he knew it.

Fury had been right. Burke was not ready for the armor.

OOC: More coming soon.

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

Natalia was almost there. She had been to the house enough times to remember where it was and what the surroundings were. Her ear was glued to the cell phone in her hands. Getting the latest update on what was going on, Natalia was about to put her phone away when there was another call. Looking at it, she then closed her eyes, steeling herself for the conversation that was going to come next. She had known that this was going to happen, the moment that she had found out what had happened at the house. It had been inevitable and Burke had put her in this position, through his actions and his inability to be responsible with the gifts that he’d been given.

“Hello Fury.”

“By now, you know what’s happened in Queens. I’m pretty sure that you’re almost there. I’m half tempted to send in people to restrain him before he causes any more damage or kills anyone else. I’ve never tried to get involved in Alex Burke’s house, but this is going to cause problems for more than just him and his publicist. How are you going to spin this, by the way?”

“Weapons malfunction. Burke is going to look into it, he never intended to kill Warpath.” Natalia said, unconsciously defending her boss. “That’s good, but we both know that he won’t admit to that in any interview. He’ll say that he did it on purpose.” Fury said. She could tell that the man was sitting in his office with a smug smile on his face through all of this. “Natalia, you can’t run from the truth anymore. I know you want to, I know it hurts.” He said.

“I can’t just betray him like this. He’ll never trust me again.” She said.

“If he never trusts you again, because you did what was needed in order to protect him and keep him and others safe, then is his trust, his company even something that you really want?” Fury asked.

That was the crux of the problem. She didn’t know if she could betray his trust, but at the same time, she knew that she needed to do this and that if he couldn’t understand that, then she really couldn’t help him. Why had he felt the need to put on this suit? He wasn’t a child, but some days, Alex Burke did indeed act like one. She knew that he was brilliant, but he was so used to doing things his way, that he didn’t understand sometimes that there were rules and that you had to follow them. He couldn’t kill people in cold blood like he had no matter what they had done. They had the right to a trial. He put people in danger by doing what he did, and he wasn’t able to protect them so what gave him the right to put them in danger in the first place?

It was selfishness. Alex hadn’t found his purpose in life yet, and so he had latched on to this. Natalia didn’t doubt that maybe that this was indeed Alex’s purpose. He just needed to mature. He couldn’t do it the way he was now, that was for sure.

“Natalia, I need an answer. I’m done asking for permission.” Fury said, bringing her back to what was happening around her.

“Fine. How are you going to do it?” She asked.

“We have our ways and our people. Don’t worry about it. Whatever we needed you to do, Natalia, you already did. You made the right decision. Make sure he gets help.” Fury said, before hanging up.
Last edited by Mir on Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

Getting into a Stark Industries building was hard, but not that hard. It was doable. Especially when someone knew how to get in and was already on the guest list. There was a midnight blue Maybach 62. The back door to the car opened and a woman stepped out. She wore a simple business suit, and she walked towards the front door of Alex Burke’s home, as though she knew that she was going to get in. Because she did. While Alex Burke’s home was incredibly technological and secure, DATA knew to let certain people in. Ever since she had come and visited her friend, Monica Taylor had been put onto that list. The woman walked up and opened the front door. DATA had a control panel on the side of the wall as soon as one walked in. Adjusting the oversized bag that she had with her, Monica reached out and touched it.

There, there wouldn’t be any problems as she did everything that she needed to do. Walking through the house, Monica knew where she was headed. As she moved down the stairs, she thought to herself how important this job was, how much the information was needed. Soon, she was looking at the door to Burke’s lab. With a smile, she placed her hand on the control panel. A few moments later, the door shuddered open. Perfect. Monica made her way over to the main computer terminal, where she sat down. The computer was on, and she moved the mouse, pulling it out of it’s sleep mode. Reach into the purse that she’d brought with her, Monica pulled out a small USB drive. Reaching down, she looked around until she found a place to plug it in. As soon as she plugged it in, the little drive got to work. There was a powerful series of viruses set up on the USB drive, powerful enough to take down almost any computer on the planet.

For Monica’s purposes, it would get the job done. She waited a few moments, to let the viruses do what they needed to do. Looking around the lab, she had to admire the work that Burke had put into the place. It was a beautiful, high tech lab, it really was. If she was inclined to work in a place like this, she would want it to look like this place. Her eyes drifted back down to the computer screen. She watched as the screen was unlocked. Perfect. She reached into her oversized purse again and pulled out a small paperback book sized black object. It was an external hard drive, a multiple tetrabyte one. Soon it was plugged in, and she was cruising through Alex Burke’s lab computer mainframe. She couldn’t believe some of the designs that she had found.

She had found everything that Fury was looking for. The motherlode. All of the Iron Man suits, even ones that were still at the theoretical stage, and being worked on. Monica smiled. This was perfect. Pressing a few buttons, she started the transfer. It wouldn’t take too long. She already knew that everyone was gone, all the people who lived in the house. There was no one to stop her from what she was doing. Leaning back in the chair, she waited.

When she had come to work for Fury, at S.H.I.E.L.D., Monica had been rather amazed at how well that man worked. Simply put everyone and everything that Nick Fury encountered were filed into different parts of his brain. He remembered everything, seemingly, maintaining various ways and paths to make everything work for him and work to his benefit. What his end game was, his end goal, she wasn’t sure, and she doubted that anyone truly knew. But something she did know, was that Fury was damned good at his job. Few people knew that they were being expertly handled by a man who, it seemed, was born to do the job that he did. He was needed, he was necessary. And he knew it.

Once the transfer was done, Monica packed up everything that she had brought with her. She had the power to disrupt mechanical things an electronics by touching them. Suffice to say, DATA hadn’t been compromised, not totally. But he would be out of commission for a few more hours. There would be no trace that she had been there, and there would only be a slight glitch in DATA’s memory systems. She would be long gone by then, and on her way out of the country. Monica had a few meetings to go to on behalf of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. and she didn't want to be late for them.

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

It had been almost twenty four hours since the........incident. Burke sat slumped over on the bench in his cell. He hadn't been taken to a regular jail. Instead, he had been quickly apprehended by Vanguard agents and escorted to a maximum holding center in the lower levels of the New York branch of Vanguard. He had gone willingly without saying a word, despite being questioned by several different members of the organization. He had refused to remove his armor upon arrival at the detention center. Everyone knew that he was staying of his own free will and unless they received backup from the Thunderbolts there was no way they could force him to stay of he decided he was going to leave.

His helmet sat on the bench next to him, untouched by anyone else. He had messed up and he knew it. Warpath was an evil man and he deserved to die but not by Alex's hand. Despite the atrocities the other man had committed it wasn't Burke's right to play God; to decide who lives and who dies. He wasn't sure what to do now. He knew there would be consequences but he had no idea what they would be. He heard the electronic door slide open at the end of the hallway and a single pair of foot steps echoed through the corridor, growing closer and closer. A figure stopped at his cell and turned to face him, "Alex Burke. Never a dull moment with you."

Burke didn't need to look up to know it was Brian Grace that was speaking him; his friend, his ally. A former Avenger just like Alex himself. He raised his head and nodded to the other man as he stepped into the cell. He wore his blue uniform with his symbolic white star on the chest. Grace may not call himself Patriot anymore but he still dressed the part. He put his hand through his blonde hair as he stared down at his old teammate. Burke lowered his gaze to the floor again, "You here to lock me away for good, Brian?"

Grace shook his head, "You're not going to prison, Alex. You won't be going to trial and no other authority will be coming into your life to arrest you either."

Most people would have jumped for joy. Burke wasn't most people, "What's the catch?"

Brian stared at him for a long moment before answering, "I pulled some serious strings to make this happen. I called in a lot of favors in Washington. You need to know that."

Alex raised his head. His eyes met Brian's gaze, "You want the armor."

Brian nodded, "There needs to be an Iron Man. The armor is a deterrent to war. We have a few agents selected for the trial process. We just need the armor."

Burke let a sad half smile grace his lips, "You can't have the armor. I won't allow the government to control it. If I'm not in the armor then Iron Man won't be on watch, period. But I may have an alternative."

"I'm listening," Grace replied.

Alex stood up, "I built a new suit. It was designed for someone else other than me. You want Iron Man protecting the U.S., but that isn't going to happen. I've failed in my mission, Grace. You don't need Iron Man. You need War Machine."

Grace smiled, "And who was the suit designed for?"

"Sam Freeman."

OOC: Mir, feel free to RP Burke and Grace giving Freeman the War Machine armor back at Stark Industries. You know how to RP Burke already. I like to think of Grace as a cross between Nick Fury and Steve Rogers. Obviously, Sam Freeman is your character to RP as you will now. :)
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

The flight home had been short. Grace had come on board the Stark Industries jet, because apparently he'd wanted to talk to Burke about a number of different things. That had been fine with one of the occupants of the plane. Natalia Pera had given the crew strict orders not to disturb her. She'd also told Sam, Burke, and Grace this. She had known Brian for some time now and the fact that he was in charge of Vanguard didn't faze her. He was still Brian Grace. So she'd told him off, telling him that he could have taken the damn armor away from Burke some time ago. Then she'd given him a hug and asked how his cousin and half brother were. Derek Sheppard, he didn't know much about him, but they weren't too close. Sarah Grey, American Dream, was currently in New York City as well, but she was working on the far more volatile Phoenix situation, working with S.H.I.E.L.D. After that conversation, she'd headed into the master bedroom suite on the jet, locked the door, had a glass of a nice, nutty white wine, and then she'd gone to sleep, not waking up until they'd reached their destination, Burke's home, and one of the nearby Stark Industries locations.

While everyone had thought that all four were in the cars headed to Burke's home, the truth, in fact, was far different. She was the only one in the car, and Natalia had already headed back to work. Her fingers flew over the tablet that Burke had built her, sending out emails and getting updates on everything that had happened. Analysts at Wall Street were expecting a serious drop in the company's stock price and she had already given DATA instructions to prepare the media interview room. Damage control was part of Natalia's job description. But it seemed that it was the only thing that she was doing recently, considering Burke's actions. Something about that definitely needed to change. Her only hope was that the actions that she'd taken had been the right thing to do. The decision to act had been right, but Natalia worried about what exactly would happen.

CNBC was going to be the first interview and after that, she was going to do a phone interview with someone from Townsend Media. After that, Wayne Enterprises' media division had already gotten in touch and she was definitely going to respond there. John Isaiah Muir and Alexander Nicholas Burke had long ago competed for a number of things. They were two of the richest men in the world and Wayne Enterprises was Stark Industries greatest competitor in a number of things. There was no way that she could turn down a call from a group as powerful as Wayne Enterprises. That was suicide.

There was work to be done and she knew that she was going to at the heart of this image rebuilding campaign. If she knew anything about Alex and she did.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Sam Freeman wasn’t sure what the hell all the activity going on around him was. As head of security for Stark Industries, this actually kind of worried him. He, Burke, and Grace were in a car that was headed directly for Stark Industries. Everyone in the car was silent. Sam didn’t know Grace at all really, and Alex was in his own little world. That left little room for conversation. That didn’t bother Sam too much. He was content with being left to his own thoughts, which amounted to wondering a lot about what the hell was going on. Suffice to say, he was positive that something was happening to the Iron Man armor. He hadn’t been told anything, and he was speculating that this was going to be the transfer. What didn’t make too much sense, however, was the fact that there was no one else with them. Grace wouldn’t be able to take the suit out by himself, it was fairly heavy and all. He doubted that the man intended to fly the suit out personally, that just didn’t make sense.

So what was all this about.

They were soon on Stark property and were moving quickly through the compound. They were headed towards one warehouse in particular, and the large doors were opening to reveal the cavernous insides. The car squealed to a stop once they were inside. The three of them stepped out, and all regarded the mysterious object in the warehouse with different looks on their face. Burke’s held indifference. Grace’s held a sense of interest and a hint of calculating thoughts. Freeman’s was simply confusion.

“Someone want to tell me what’s going on?” He asked.

“Sure thing.” Grace said. “Alex is giving up the Iron Man armor.” He said.

“That I knew.” Sam said in reply. “What’s with the big production then?” He asked.

“Simple. We need an Iron Man.” Brian said. “At least, we need someone like Iron Man.” He said and turned to Burke.

Alex gave a non committed shrug and walked over to the mysterious looking box. His mind was elsewhere, that much was obvious to the other two men in the room. It was large, taller than all three men. It was also wider than all of them. It was definitely big and there was a small keypad on it. Burke stepped up and pressed a combination of buttons on the keypad and then he stepped back. Parts of the large box started to move away and revealed a suit of armor, almost identical to the Iron Man suit. Except that there were weapons arrays built into it, and the color scheme was black and silver. Alex turned to Grace. “War Machine armor, like I promised.”

“Alex, in his state, can’t really be trusted to utilize the Iron Man armor. Also, he doesn’t exactly have the backing of the United States Government, or Vanguard, or S.H.I.E.L.D.” Brian said looking at Sam.

“You’re...you’re talking about me?” He asked. When Brian nodded, Sam shook his head slowly. “I was blacklisted by the FBI.”

“Expunged.” Grace said, making a small hand gesture.

“I’m head of security for Stark.”



“Shows responsibility.” Grace replied with a smile.

“I...I can’t do this.” Sam said, shaking his head. He couldn’t believe that they were talking about this. It didn’t make sense. He was a former FBI agent, not a soldier of war. This suit and everything that it entailed, it was far above what he was used to, and he didn’t think that he could handle something like this. Burke was his friend, but he didn’t want to turn into what Burke was becoming. He looked at Alex. “Alex, tell him I can’t do this.” He said.

“Someone has to.” Alex said in reply.

“Alex knows the suit and he can fix it if anything happens. You work autonomously however, you will also work hand in hand with the Thunderbolts if need be. I’m the leader of that group, and you know Samantha Walker already, she’s the field leader.” Brian said. He produced a small folder, that had been in a briefcase that was in the car. He handed Sam a folder. “I’ve selected a member of the Thunderbolts to work exclusively as your partner for the time being, until you get situated properly. He’s already waiting for you at the Burke residence.”

“It’s like I don’t have a choice.”


“You don’t. Not really.”

“The War Machine armor huh? What’s the worst that could happen?”


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The last meeting had just been finished. Natalia was done for the day. She was tired, she was exhausted and she wanted to get out of her business suit and into far more comfortable attire. From what she’d just been told, Sam and Alex were on their way back from whatever it was that they’d needed to talk to Grace about. She could only venture to guess what the topic of discussion had been, but hopefully it was about what was going to happen to Alex. She liked her boss and on most days she considered him a friend. Natalia didn’t want anything bad to happen to him. Brian had used up a lot of political capital in order to get Alex off the hook for what had happened. She had spent a lot of time, energy, and business political capital to get the brunt of the damage that would have hit the company to go away.

Everyone around him was working to protect him, to shield him from himself. It pained her that he couldn’t grow up, but she knew that it was a process. It would take time. She just wished he could invent a damn time machine so she could jump to when Burke was more than tolerable on most days.

Walking into her part of the house, she had shrugged off her jacket and thrown it onto one of her chairs. She was wearing a sweater underneath and a dress shirt under that. The change from the New York weather had been affecting her, but she hadn’t had time to properly change before the interviews and meetings, adding to her discomfort. Reaching down, Natalia grabbed and lifted up, sweater and shirt coming off. She was about to reach for her belt when the door on the other end of the antechamber opened.

Natalia froze.

Who in the hell?

A man stepped out of her bedroom and then stopped, lifting an eyebrow as he saw her. “Who the fuck are you?” She asked, eyeing the area to see what she could grab to use defensively.

The man, dressed in a suit lifted his hands up. “Easy ma’am.” He said. “I’m here under orders.”



“From who?” Natalia said, before realizing that her dark blue lace bra was all that she had covering her from the waist up. It didn't help that it was a plunging bra. Thankfully, she was Brazilian in her thought process and wasn't prudish, but still she felt the need to cover up. She took a few steps backwards and then knelt, eyes on the man the whole time as she grabbed her jacket.

“Director Brian Grace, Ms. Pera.” The man said. “I’ve been assigned to Samuel Freeman as a partner.” He said.



“Sam? But why?”



“Something about a suit of armor, ma’am.” He said and her eyes widened in response. What the hell was Grace playing at? I’ve been given permission to keep you directly in the loop.” He said. “I was just checking the premises with DATA, talking about any security risks.” He said. “My name is Duncan Strega or you can call me Caliber.” He said and then he started to walk past her. “I’ll be heading out of your room now, Ms. Pera.” He said, but he stopped when he reached the door. “I would be remiss if I didn’t state that Director Grace seriously undervalued your appearance. You’re a remarkably, striking woman, Ms. Pera.”



“You’re just saying that because you saw me half naked.” She said, turning with the jacket buttoned.

He turned. “Seems to me you had your slacks on, ma’am.” He said. “One quarter seems to be the proper fraction.” He said.

“Add three quarters to it, and get used to that being what you’re going to see.” She said with a sarcastic smile.

“Even that’ll be beautiful, Ms. Pera. Good day, ma’am.”
Last edited by Mir on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

He felt foggy, like he had been heavily drugged or just couldn't shake the feeling of waking up. Whatever the cause, he certainly wasn't feeling like himself. He tried to move but couldn't. His eyes wouldn't focus so he was unable to see where he was. His mind was racing. He couldn't remember what had happened or how he had gotten wherever it is he was.

He closed his eyes, hoping that would help with the fogginess. As he did he recalled a massive flash of light. What was it? He tried so hard to remember.....and then it finally came to him. Iron Man had used his Uni-Beam. That bastard Alex Burke had taken everything from him and then he tried to end his life?! Now he was wide awake. Still not fully able to focus his eyes or move, his mind was much clearer. He attempted to talk but the only thing that came out was a gurgling sound. He stopped as he heard what he thought was a door slide open. The sound of high heels on hard floor echoed in the distance. Wherever he was he could tell the room was of considerable size.

The figure of an attractive woman grew closer to him until she was standing next to his bed. He could now see several other people in white coats just beyond her. She had shoulder length blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Despite her beautiful complexion he could tell she harbored a dark side. However, it was the dark side that had helped bring them together in the first place, Dinah Frost and Julian Scott. She was the owner and CEO of Stane International and she had been the one to find him in the hospital eight months ago, after the death of his family. Frost had brought him a proposition; work together to destroy the man that was responsible for the death of his family. He had gladly accepted.

She smiled down at him, "Oh Julian. What a mess you've made out of yourself. You're lucky you're even alive."

Julian let the words sink in. He was unable to see himself but he understood how bad it must be. His eyes locked onto her as she continued," You need not worry. We are rebuilding you. Better than you ever were before. In fact, when we are finished you will be the true Iron Man."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

“Caliber. Duncan Strega.”

He waited, noting the quickly confused look on Sam’s face.

“The file said Talon.” Freeman replied.

“First name changes a lot. Call me Duncan.” Caliber said. “Or Caliber. Or you with the gun. Don’t really matter to me, kid.”

Sam just nodded slowly. Why this guy who didn’t look to be that much older than him was calling him a kid, he didn’t know, but he let it slide. They were just meeting each other for the first time and they needed to work together. Sam wasn’t about to start an argument in the first few minutes. That went against the Partner Code. Everyone knew that. He was back at Burke’s place, the armor safely stored inside of the house now. He was meeting with the guy that was supposed to be his partner. They were in the one of the kitchens in the house, the one that Sam referred to as the cozy kitchen. He liked it because it was the smallest and the warmest out of all of them. It felt like in belonged in a house that wasn’t ridiculously expensive to buy and maintain.

There were two beers of the Heineken persuasion, both opened, one in front of each man. “So, how much of this file should I try to remember and take into consideration?” Sam asked, indicating the folder that was also in front of him.

“I wouldn’t pay attention to any of it. Most of it is redacted or shit that didn’t actually happen. I’m the guy who’s got to remember it because that’s the story of my life, at least the story that Gracie boy wants the public to know about.” Duncan said. “You just act like you normally do and I’ll take care of the rest. Sound okay to you?” He asked.

“I suppose. Did DATA find you a room?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, the old punch card found me a spot to lay my head.” 

Sam laughed at the analogy of DATA being an old punch card computer. DATA spoke.

“Mr. Freeman, I would like to implore you to council Mr. Strega on the proper workings of my mechanics and my capabilities. He asked me earlier if I could open a can of tuna for him.”



“Couldn’t find the can opener.” Duncan said. “House is too big.” He said with a small shrug and a smile. “Also, I wanted to see if I could freak him out.”

“You succeeded.” Sam said.

“When you get to be my age, you realize it’s the little things in life.” Duncan said. Looking around, he took in the room that they were in. “I like this kitchen though. Warmer than the rest of the place. Say, how well do you know Ms. Pera?” He asked.

“Decently. She’s Alex’s personal assistant. Realistically, she basically just runs Stark Industries. Heart and soul of the place. Never really stops working.” He said.

“Gracie boy wanted me to take a look at this whole set up and see if there were any dangers or threats. This guy that targeted Burke, there may be more like him and the last thing we want is a repeat of everything that just happened first in Reno and then in New York.” Duncan said.

“You think Natalia’s a threat?”



“Not at all. I need to know everything about her though.” He said. “Same way I need to know everything about you.” He added, quickly. “Both of you, personal information, and personal relationships. If you’re dating and all that. Walker didn’t tell me too much. Outside of telling me you’re cute, but really that doesn’t do much for me. I need to know what to expect.”



Sam smirked at Samantha Walker’s statement that he was cute. “Well, what do you want to know?” He asked.

“Everything.”

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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

Samuel Freeman was nervous. He didn’t get nervous often. After all, he’d built a reputation at the FBI back in the day for being a guy who didn’t back down. If he did get nervous, he never showed it. This, was not one of those times. He was in Burke’s lab. A part of him didn’t know if he was ready for this. He didn’t think that he was. This was a monumental decision, an important step that he was taking. Was this something that he could do? He looked at Burke, who was sitting in the chair behind the main computer array. Burke was leafing through some magazine about something. “You’re sure about this?” He asked.

“Positive.”

“I’m not feeling your enthusiasm, Alex.” Sam said in reply. He turned and looked back at the suit in front of him. Then he turned and looked at the other person in the room who simply shrugged and continued to stare at the suit of armor.

“It’s not that big of a deal, kid.” Caliber said, his arms folded over his chest as he continued to lean against one of the pillars in the lab. “Look, I’m just saying. It’s a suit of armor, you put it on, you do what needs to be done and you do it smart. That’s all you need to do.” He said.

“But the decisions I make, they’re going to influence the rest of the world. Millions of lives.” Sam said. Strega rolled his eyes in response.

“Boy scout wouldn’t have picked you if he didn’t have his reasons. Put the damn thing on, take a test drive. You’re wasting my time.”

Freeman just nodded and stepped up. The suit opened up and started to convalesce around him. Less than a minute later, everything was booted up. He looked around the room, the targeting reticle following his eyes movements. Phenomenal. Dropping into a ready stance, Freeman watched as he could activate the weapons packages by highlighting them with his eyes. Thankfully, Burke had given him a quick crash course on how the thing worked before he’d decided to try the thing on. He didn’t think that it would have boded well for him to accidentally shoot a missile or something. This thing could be all kinds of bulletproof but Natalia would have his head for that.

“Time to test the flight capabilities.” He said, his voice sounding mechanical and automated. He looked up and watched as the roof started to pull away, creating a small opening for him to fly through. He did just that, moving through the air. Smiling to himself, he hit the boosters, shooting up through the roof. The suit was incredible, able to respond to his commands perfectly, fluidly. It was almost as though it was nothing more than a second skin, albeit a highly powered one. It was time to really take this thing for a test drive. He knew that it could get up to Mach 6 and last he checked, that was really freaking fast. So he let the throttle go, and accelerated. This was amazing. He could understand why Alex loved being Iron Man. Maybe even Natalia would begin to understand, if she had something like this. But then again, he didn't want to give the woman anything that would make her more dangerous than she already was.

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

War Machine flew through the air, executing a complex series of aerial maneuvers. She flew like a charm. He’d been up in a Cessna once or twice some years ago, but that had been the extent of Sam’s piloting experience before this. This was a different kind of flying altogether and it was one that Sam was pretty excited for. He’d already been up in the air for a good twenty minutes, just seeing everything that the suit could do, when he got the call over his communications system. Activating it, he spoke.

“This is Sam, I mean, This is War Machine.”

“Right. This is Caliber. We’ve got a mission.”

“Already?” Freeman asked as he turned towards the house. It was in the distance, but not too far away. “Where are we headed?” He asked.

“North Africa.” Caliber said. “There’s a bit of a situation and Vanguard was called in to help smooth everything out.” By the time he finished the sentence, Sam was hovering over the hole that he’d used as an entrance. Dropping downwards, he landed back in the lab, and the helmet pulled away, revealing his smiling face. “Now that was exhilarating.” He said with a smile. “I can see why you like it.” He said turning to Alex. Then he saw Caliber step in front of him. “This is such a rush, it’s a great feeling.” Sam said and then frowned when he saw the look on Strega’s face and the fact that he was shaking his head.

Sam closed his eyes and winced. “Hey, Natalia.”

“Hello, Freeman.” She said and he turned around, to see where she was.

He was six one to her five foot nine, but with the suit, he got an additional six or seven inches of height, putting him almost a foot taller than her. He smiled down at her. “They, uh, gave me the War Machine suit.”

“I can see this.” She said. “Be careful.” Natalia added, looking past him at Alex who was showing extreme disinterest in everything but whatever he was doing on his handheld.

“What about me?” Caliber asked as she walked out of the room.

“Jump in a lake.” She called out over her shoulder before the door closed.

“She’s crazy about me.” Duncan said with a smile, the only thing that elicited a response out of Alex, grabbing his attention and his eyes flicked up and locked on to Caliber.

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

North Africa

Sam would have rather flown there himself, but he understood that Caliber couldn’t just fly over to Africa. So there they were in a Vanguard C-130, on approach to North Africa. They had their objective. It was a terrorist camp that was located in the western part of the country. There had been rumors going on about someone there working on a few projects that weren’t exactly geared towards world peace. Algeria was stretched thin at the moment and so had turned to Vanguard for help. S.H.I.E.L.D. had expressed an interest in the work going on there as well, and so Grace had jumped at the chance to go after something that Fury was interested in. The two were always trying to one up the other, but it was a friendly rivalry that, in the end, got the job done around the world.

The doors to the C-130 parted and Caliber gave him a salute before jumping out, strapped in his parachute. Sam, in the War Machine suit followed, activating his boosters and flying through the air. They had their location, and Caliber was planning on dropping in near, but not too close War Machine on the other hand, had different plans. He was planning on coming in hard and fast.

He was pulling up his target list that was programmed into the suit’s targeting package. They had gotten a series of aerial photographs and then it had been converted into a three dimensional situation that he had in front of him, located in the bottom left of his vision. He knew where he was headed and he activated his rockets. They streaked out, shooting towards his targets. Explosions rippled on the ground and he zoomed in, seeing the soldiers in the area start to run around and the mass confusion that set in after the missiles hit.

Landing in the middle of the encampment, War Machine got to work.

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

He could feel his pulse quickening. He knew he needed to make it to the Iron Man room. He needed his armor. There was no way he would survive this attack without it. He had been running away from the other man for what felt like an eternity, however, in reality it was closer to one minute and thirty seconds. He could hear his enemy behind him, tearing through the metal security doors that had been slammed shut by DATA. His automated assistant was attempting to give Alex the time he needed to arm himself with his armor. Unfortunately, the newly upgraded Warpath was showing them both just how useless Burke's defenses were at the moment. He had finally made it to the vault door and and ran through the security procedures in order to get it open. As the large entrance revealed itself Warpath came tearing through the final security door. He stood in front of Burke, a true mechanical horror. Alex would have bet that Warpath's previous armor wouldn't have been enough to protect him from Alex's uni-beam. However, he was clearly wrong. The armor had protected him enough to keep him alive. It appeared, though, that extensive damage had been done and someone had rebuilt the man, turning him into a vicious looking cyborg.

The villain stared down at Alex with a cold smile on his face, "You tried to kill me, Burke. I mean, I do understand the feeling. After all I took your parents from you. Unfortunately for you, I'm not done with my version of revenge."

Alex narrowed his eyes, "Sorry, but you'll be waiting a bit longer."

An unmanned, earlier version of the Iron Man armor flew at full speed and crashed into Warpath, sending him back through the entrance in which he had appeared. Alex climbed to his feet and sprinted into the Iron Man vault and over to his current suit, the Centurion Armor. He grabbed the mechanical suitcase and threw it on the ground, activating it. The device sprang to life and immediately began covering Alex in the armor. Outside the vault Warpath had finished tearing through the armor that had attacked him. He laughed hysterically as he crushed the helmet under his metallic foot, "Is that the best you can do, Burke?!"

Iron Man appeared in front of the man and raised his hand, "That was just a distraction from DATA. I'm the real thing." A bright light lit up his gauntlet and repulsor fire sent Warpath to the ground hard. The two engaged in a battle that tore part of the building apart. DATA evacuated the premises while Iron Man attempted to keep Warpath contained. Despite knowing that he was probably going to jail for putting the armor back on he had instructed DATA to contact Vanguard immediately and let them know that Warpath was still alive. Near the end it seemed the fight was going in Alex's favor, until he was taken by surprise. Warpath lunged at him and Alex felt a sharp pain in his chest.

Warpath had managed to drive his mechanical claws through the Iron Man armor and into Burke's flesh. There was a pounding in Alex's ears as his body quickly weakened from blood loss, "Do you like that, Burke? The blades on my hands are made from adamantium. They can cut through anything, including your armor." Warpath made several more jabs, tearing parts of the armor off and ripping into Alex's skin. He let the bloodied man drop to the ground. The villain circled him slowly, smiling all the while. He eventually stopped in front of him and dropped to one knee so he was at eye level with Iron Man, "My name is Julian Scott and I used to work for the military as a Weapons Developer. You and I even met on occasion."

The cyborg stood up and walked away from the bleeding Burke. His back was to the hero as he continued to speak, "I was stationed in Iceland with my family at Fort Terrier. Do you know what we did there, Burke?"

Alex was having trouble concentrating. He knew he was losing too much blood. He would be dead soon, "Fort Terrier was a.....research facility. I...I was only there....once."

Warpath didn't turn around, "That's right. It was. Do you know what happened to Fort Terrier?"

Burke was struggling to keep his eyes open at this point. Having a conversation was almost impossible, "I..it....was destroyed. By terr....terrorists."

Warpath whirled around and was suddenly back in Burke's face. His eyes were filled with rage and hate, "Yes. Destroyed by terrorists. Terrorists using Stark tech weapons!"

He grabbed Alex around the throat and began to squeeze. Small drops of blood trickled out from cracks in the helmet, "Had they attacked with conventional weaponry we could have stopped them! But we had no defense against the technology they came at us with! There were nine survivors of the attack! NINE!"

He lifted Burke off the ground and slammed him against the wall, "My wife. My daughter. They both died because you couldn't control where your weapons were going! They died because of you and your company!"

He slammed his fist into Iron Man's stomach again and threw him to the ground, "I have only begun to cripple your company, but I will finish that mission. I promise you. My primary focus is still to take everything you hold dear. Your parents are dead. You are about to die and as you lay here in your own blood I want you to think about my next stop. The only other person you really care about on this godforsaken Earth is my next target, Burke. As the life slips out of you I want you to know that very soon I will be sending Natalia to join you."

Warpath took a few steps back and smiled, "I will tell her you said hello."

The cyborg's chest lit up and a brilliant beam of light shot forth and pounded into Alex. Just before the uni-beam hit him his final act was to speak to DATA, "Vanguard. Protect Natalia." Then everything went black.
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

When it was not in use helping Burke play big boy, the Situation Room served it's normal purpose. It was a room dominated by a large projector that could display holographs through the place. A combination of StarkTech and Fantastic Research Inc. technology, the room was state of the art. Currently it had Stark Industries' projected quarterly earnings from a number of different critics and pundits. Natalia was looking at their actual numbers which were all around the projections. That was good. But at the same time, some of the places where they'd missed the mark weren't good. They needed work. Stark Industries was burning through cash and their cash flow projections weren't looking as hot as they had six months ago. There was good reason for that. Everything in business was interdependent on each other. Just because someone who bought Stark stock was not indeed handing over their hard earned money to the company to invest, that didn't mean that it didn't affect the bottom line for the company.

Natalia had implemented a buyback of Stark stock not too long ago. It had been a move implemented to increase public perception that the stock and by extension, the company was doing well. A tactical move, and one that had eaten up a chunk of their money that was floating around. A good twelve billion dollars to be exact. But the move had been needed and had been one that had shored up investor's worries. Now she needed something else. The company itself was solid. The books were balanced, though of course, they had to be, and the cashflow was there. Their earnings to price share ratio was pretty decent too. Stark was a conglomerate, a big one at that. She was going to have to have a chat with Britney Harmon over at Wayne Enterprises, to see if the two companies could do some business together. That would be a great move for both of them, often times considered competitors.

The problem was with investor perception. If investor perception wasn't good, then no matter how solid your numbers were, the company didn't look good. That could negatively affect how you were able to set up new contracts and renegotiate old ones. That was all Natalia's job, and Burke being Iron Man had drastically negatively affected investor perception.

Especially now that Stark Industries locations had been directly involved. That hurt the bottom line a lot, far more than Natalia wanted to admit. She had been ready to pack everything up and call it a day, to go down and see how Sam and that Duncan Strega man had been doing when there was an explosion that rocked the whole house. “DATA?” She called out. “Please tell me that Alex didn’t try to blow his face off again.” She said. She remembered the last time that there had been an explosion like that. Trying to work on the Uni-Beam he’d said. Trying to scare the shit out of her was what he should have said.



“He did not blow his face off. However, Warpath is here and he is attempting to, as you put it, blow Master Burke’s face off.”

“What in the fuck?” Natalia said and ran out of the room. She was headed down the stairs when another explosion rocked the house, tossing her down the rest of the flight of stairs. A bit bruised, she rose and continued downwards, past the first floor until she was headed into the basement, into Burke’s laboratory. This wasn’t going to end well and she knew it. Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, she saw the man, if that’s what he could be called at this point, and she saw what he was doing to Alex. “DATA, you have to do something.” She said. “Call Sam, tell him to get back here.” She said.

“War Machine is too far away.”



“Call Vanguard. Call Fury.” She said, tears welling up.

“Vanguard is on it’s way. Please, vacate the area.” DATA said and she started to head back up the stairs, but then she saw the final uni-beam streak out and hit Burke square in the chest. 



“I am done with Uni-beams, with repulsors, with ‘they pick up kinetic energy so they hit harder’ whatever they’re called.” She said, walking into the lab. “Most of all, I am done with people in armored suits.” Natalia had reached one of the tables, and there was a piece of new technology, something that had been a work in progress. A newer version of the repulsors in the Iron Man Mark XI. She grabbed them and turned. They had a limited charge since they weren’t connected to any real power source. However, she was planning on hitting this guy with them and moving to the next big weapon she saw. Burke’s laboratory was more like an armory, all things considered.

Taking aim, Natalia fired two repulsor shots. Warpath, who had turned to leave the laboratory, got a look of surprise off, before he was shot backwards. She kept firing, until the charge was done. Lowering her arms, she looked to survey her handiwork.

“So, the great Alex Burke’s little bitch has come. Sad to say he never was able to tell you that he was so in love with you. Why don’t I tell you what I told him? That I’m going to kill you.”

“I am nobody’s little bitch. And Alex is not in love with me.” The Brazilian said, next weapon in hand. She had a particle beam launcher in her hands and she had it leveled at Warpath.

“Please, it's so painfully obvious.” Warpath said, as he climbed out of the hole in the wall that the repulsors had put him in. He wants you. Wants to bed you. Well, from the state of things I guess it’s more like he wanted to bed you.” Warpath said with a smirk. This drew the response that he was looking for.

Natalia fired the particle beam, which he dodged and then he put on a burst of speed, crashing into her. This knocked her back and knocked the particle beam launcher out of her hands. He towered over her. Well, this couldn’t end well.

“Make sure you tell him hello, I told him I’d ask you to.”

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Mir
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Mir »

Heavy rounds moved through the air as War Machine took apart the camp. He was the one drawing the heaviest amounts of fire from the enemy which made sense, considering he was also the heaviest armored out of himself and Caliber. This left the more nimble and incognito man the task of getting to the information and finding out what was going on in the camp and how it could best be neutralized. If the information could be recovered and brought back to Vanguard, that was even better. Caliber was moving through the camp as fast as he could, his two pistols, chambered for forty five caliber rounds firing as he saw targets and could pick them off.

He found himself in one of the control rooms and he saw a computer terminal that he could use. Plugging in a USB drive that contained a powerful hacking program courtesy of Alex Burke, Strega let the program do it’s thing, as he reloaded his weapons. “How’s it going out there?” He said into his communications device built into his mask. “You out of bullets yet?”


“Not particularly.” War Machine replied. “This armor is amazing. I got hit by a tank round a few seconds ago. Nothing. Not even a dent.” He said.

“Don’t get cocky kid.”



“Don’t call me a kid, old man.”

“I’ve had way too much practice in during mission banter. You will lose.” Strega said with a smile. “But I appreciate the attempt.” He added, looking at the computer screen. “We’re done here. The program should wipe out all of their copies of the data.” He said, and pulled the USB drive. Pocketing it, he turned and headed out of the room and the small makeshift building. When he came back out, his mask’s built in anti-glare lenses kicked in and he saw War Machine pummeling the tank that had fired on him not too long ago. “You’re having way too much fun. And I can’t fly myself out of here. Let’s go.”


They were in the air a few moments later, War Machine holding onto Caliber as they flew back towards the C-130 which had taken up a holding pattern high up in the air. It wasn’t until they reached the C-130 that they received word on what was happening back at Burke’s home.

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Cazzik
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Re: Iron and Blood

Post by Cazzik »

OOC:
Whoops! Sorry Mir. I almost forgot about this thread. Especially sad since I'm the one that started it. :p

IC:
Gunfire came ripping through the room as Vanguard agents poured into Avengers Tower in order to protect Burke and everyone else. Warpath seemed to forget about Natalia for the moment as he turned to face his new enemies. They wore the standard blue uniform of their agency with the blue and white star logo of Vanguard represented on their shoulder. Several heavily armed agents were now attempting to subdue Warpath. Assault rifles were pummeling the cyborg with extreme prejudice as more soldiers fell in line to back up their companions.

Warpath was not taking kindly to his new adversaries. He began firing back. His hands lit up as repulsor fire erupted from his palms and impacted several agents. There was no way for Natalia to know if they had survived or not. Her only priority at the moment was Alex, who was still unconscious, if not dead. She looked around for an exit strategy, but before she could formulate a plan the rest of the cavalry arrived. The windows crashed in as several more agents entered from the roof. The immediately formed a wall in between Warpath and his potential victims, Alex and Natalia. The other group of agents were still pushing their way through the doors, effectively boxing Warpath in.

Another agent came through the window on another grappling line. This one was a beautiful, blonde woman in a white combat suit. She had her gun out as she landed on the ground. Raising the weapon she was the first to speak, "Warpath! Stand down! Under the authority of Vanguard I am placing you under arrest!"

Warpath smiled slightly, "Not today."

His hands lashed out with bladed fingers, ripping into flesh left and right as he made his way to the windows and jumped out. The blonde woman didn't skip a beat. She raised her left arm as she spoke into her wrist mounted communication device, "This is Agent 13. Warpath is on the ground. I repeat, Warpath is on the ground. I want a three block perimeter cleared out now! Let's bring this guy down!"

The other agents were already on their way down to the ground level before Agent 13 ordered them to do so. It was a well oiled machine. The woman turned to Natalia and helped the woman up, "My name is Emma Wade. I'm an agent with Vanguard. Mr. Burke's automated system alerted us to Warpath's invasion of the building. We have troops swarming the area. You're safe now."

She looked at the mangled body of Alex Burke. She knew he was near death. Agent 13 turned and motioned for several medics to do their jobs, "Ms. Pera, we have some of the best doctors in the world working for us. They are standing by right now and ready to make sure that Mr. Burke survives. We are evacuating him to our medical facility. I want you to go with him, get checked out. We will handle things from here."

She stood up and briskly made her way to the door. Running through the hallways on her way the the street below she again started speaking into her communicator, "Caliber, this is Agent 13. We have an incident unfolding at Stark Tower. Burke is down. The rest of your team is on assignment elsewhere. I could use some Thunderbolt backup. And bring the new guy. I think a tank will come in handy."
"I'd like to nominate Cazzik for the Sexiest Man on Earth 2010." --Balsa

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