2019-07-10 - A Reverberating Conference


Jimmy returns Pepper's phone; Nick and Isis arrive to share information.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Jul 10 06:58:29 2019
Location: Stark Industries

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Theme Song



Jimmy has had a certain phone for a little while now, but hadn't previously figured out just how to get it back to its owner. He knows part of her name — 'Miss Potts' — and knows she's involved with /someone/ in high technology, but that hasn't been enough to bump into her again. He's even come out to the Financial District where they'd first encountered each other, but that's far too big and busy a place to rely on a chance meeting.

But in that first encounter, he'd heard a voice from the phone. Maybe it's like Siri or Bixby or the other voice assistants. He's assumed before that it won't respond to just /any/ voice, but… well, it's worth a shot, right?

Standing on the corner just outside that particular diner, Jimmy lifts Pepper's phone to his mouth. "Pardon, JARVIS? What's the best way to make contact with Miss Potts and return…" Does he say 'you'? Is the phone, itself, JARVIS? "…this phone to her?" Better not open that kettle of fish.

There's a very brief hesitation, and then the cultured British voice emits from the phone's speakers, sounding surprisingly life-like. This phone has shockingly good speakers, apparently. "You are not authorized to access this phone. How did you come by the possession of this device?"

Inside the device, the AI has activated the phone's camera to capture an image of Jimmy, and is using to scan various databases for the man's identity and any available information. Based on the way he has asked for assistance, JARVIS hasn't instantly contacted the local police to have someone arrest the young man with the supposedly stolen phone in his hands.

That may, of course, change in microseconds.

Jimmy's not expecting a photograph, so it gets him at a poor angle: tilted away, getting a disproportionate amount of chin, while he's looking around. But the database search still gets an easy hit: James Baxter, New York driver license. Not very active on social media, mostly just being tagged by others.

He had been expecting to hear a voice, but the sheer clarity — and from a /phone/ speaker, no less — still comes as a surprise. "She dropped it when she was being attacked by a large wolfman, a couple of weeks ago. I haven't been able to find her and return it since."

Again with the brief pause. And then the voice speaks again. "I have notified Miss Potts that you have recovered her device. Please proceed to the Stark Industries building, and a representative from Security will accept it."

At that same moment, Pepper is in her office sending emails when JARVIS speaks up. "Miss Potts, a Mr. James Baxter claims to have recovered your phone. I have directed him to return it to Security; we shall see."

"So negative, JARVIS. It sounds like an honest person who just wants to return it." She finishes her email quickly, then scoops up her tablet and heads for the lobby.

Because she's curious now.

"Stark, huh?" Jimmy muses. So /that's/ whom Miss Potts had been talking about. He turns in a slow circle, picking out his direction… ah, there it is. He's only a short walk from the tower already.

So, soon after, the automatic doors part and Jimmy steps into the lobby of Stark Industries. He self-consciously adjusts his tie as he looks over the area, before turning his attention to find the security people he's expecting. It shouldn't be too hard to recognise him, even without a glowy shield in his hand.

By the time Jimmy enters the building, Pepper's in the lobby, but she's seated at the front receptionist's desk where she's not instantly visible or recognizable. Mostly because she's curious, partly because Security was flatly not allowing her to meet with the erstwhile good Samaritan directly.

There are security guards placed regularly around the lobby. They're in no way obtrusive, and many of them are actually helping other pedestrians passing through, directing them to elevators and so on. For as high tech as the building appears, the abundance of potted plants and the personable behavior of the guards makes the place somehow more comfortable. Inviting.

Or at least that's how Pepper thinks of it.

|ROLL| Jimmy Baxter +rolls 1d100 for: 69

Jimmy begins to relax: partially from the more-personable-than-expected setting, and partially just from feeling the more relaxed mood of the people around. When you're literally (even if lightly) psychic, the general Mood is quite a factor. He spies a less-busy security guard near the reception desk, and approaches. "Pardon me, I'm here to return a phone for" And then he notices who's sitting /at/ the reception desk. "ah, Miss Potts. Hello."

Pepper looks up from her tablet when the man speaks up to the guard right there at the desk and smiles in recognition: he was the one that created a forcefield in the middle of that chaos.

What? She's a closet nerd.

Standing, she steps around the desk and nods to the guard there. "It's fine, Dmitri. Thank you." The guard nods and moves a few steps away (but too many). She offers Jimmy a handshake almost immediately. "Mr. Baxter, hello again and thank you so much for taking care of my phone."

Had he thought about charging the phone at any point?

|ROLL| Jimmy Baxter +rolls 1d100 for: 89

Jimmy gives the guard an acknowledging smile and nod; he's not here for any kind of harm. He gives Pepper's hand a firm shake, and then immediately dips into his pocket to bring out the phone in question. "Quite alright. You were gone by the time I noticed it, or I'd have handed it straight to you. I, er, couldn't find a charge port. Is it concealed? Or does it, like… charge itself from sunlight, or something like that?" Pause. "I don't think I'd told you my surname earlier? And I have a little information about that question you'd had before." All kinds of questions, mostly starting with 'what the hell is that weirding module thing', but no need to go into all that detail in public.

"Oh, thank you." Pepper takes her phone back, clearly glad to have it. "Oh, it uses wireless charging I think, but I appreciate that you tried." She activates the phone's screen with a simple tap (biometric lock?) and gives it a quick glance before pocketing it.

When he mentions that he'd not shared his surname earlier, she blinks in VERY brief surprise, then pulls her phone back out of her pocket. It's actually not necessary, but it makes it easier to talk to JARVIS in a busy room like the main lobby. "JARVIS, were you snooping around?"

"I was merely ascertaining the identity of the individual in possession of your personal device, Miss Potts, and whether he was earnest in his desire to return it to you."

"Still, JARVIS, not nice."

"I will be more circumspect in future, Miss Potts."

"That's all I ask. Thank you, JARVIS."

"Of course, Miss Potts."

Throughout that entire exchange, Pepper offers Jimmy a smile, and then gestures for him to follow her as she scolds the voice on the phone, holding the device in her hand as if it were a Star Trek communicator instead of a phone. She leads him to a hallway near the elevators, and from there into a small but nicely appointed conference room, where she gestures inviting him to sit while claiming a seat herself.

Then, conversation finished, she sets the recovered phone on the table and clasps her hands together in a loose and relaxed manner next to it. "What's the information? I figured it might be best to not talk about it out in the middle of the lobby."

Jimmy smiles, but keeps from actually laughing aloud, at the interplay between Pepper and JARVIS. "Ah. One of those 'this person tried to unlock your phone' kinds of things, just… plus facial recognition." He follows into the conference room and settles into a chair, hands folded on the table in front of himself. "Yes, makes sense. And it's about the metal involved in the device's construction. Have you heard of reverbium? It's a synthetic version of vibranium, and its resonance can massively amplify sound. Like we saw with your attacker's voice."

Pepper nods with an amused smile. "Something like that, yes." She listens as Jimmy offers what he knows about the device she'd brought back to R&D to study and nods in understanding. "Reverbium. Seems like an appropriate name. We've encountered it a few times, actually." A brief gesture indicates that she means others in Stark Industries beyond herself when she used 'we'. "The voice amplification device itself is … actually something of a conundrum. It's not fresh off the assembly line new, from what we can tell based on the modifications it's had done to it."

She gestures somewhat vaguely. "The tech who's been studying it used a lot of terminology that I'd have to have translated for me, but I can say that it was not built for the military. We'd know about it if it had been."

Jimmy rubs his chin, nodding. "Hmm. The modifications, did it look like they were done by the same people as initial creation, or is it more like an after-market modification? Since you mentioned they could recognise different styles of electronics work." He nods slowly. "And, I don't know if this is a directly relevant lead, but Advanced Idea Mechanics also work in reverbium. My friend didn't know if they make their own reverbium, or if they get it from some other supplier. But either way, /their/ source of reverbium could be connected to where it came from for the weirding module."

"Definitely aftermarket. The device had clearly been used and cared for, but the modifications were more along the lines of sports tuning a car than adding previous non-existent technology." Pepper pauses at that point as if to contemplate her words, and wrinkles her nose. "Did that make sense? I'm not the tech expert here, Tony is. And he's been elbows deep in another project so I've not been able to tear him away to look at this module."

There's the briefest hesitation in her voice before the word 'module', as if she'd almost said something else. "But, I can say that we've been trying to track down the serial numbers we found on various pieces of the device. They're similar to a couple of companies, but no exact match to anyone." And honestly, that's worrisome to her.

Jimmy tilts his head. "I think I get it. More that it's been… not so much 'upgraded' with a turbo charge or anything, but… optimised? Is it something like that?" He shakes his head. "Dammit Jim, I'm a counsellor not an engineer, and all that. So the serial numbers themselves don't match anyone you've found? It's not that it comes from multiple different companies, but that you haven't found /any/ specific company? Do you know anything about Advanced Idea Mechanics?" He draws his chair in closer to the table. "And, do you have contact details for Mr. Gleason? I'd like to let him know about the reverbium connection, too."

Pepper is nodding as Jimmy verbally susses out what she said, but then outright grins when he makes a clearly Trekkish comment. "They don't. They have similarities to two corporations, but not enough to be obviously theirs. And I've heard of AIM, in cojunction with the reverbium, actually. We found a few items being sold over eBay with reverbium in them. A bit of an eye-opener.

When he asks about Mr. Gleason, Pepper's eyebrows quirk upward in brief surprise. "I do now." Her phone. But, instead of reaching for the device, she just says seemingly to the room in general, "JARVIS, call Mr. Gleason for me, please."

"Dialing, Miss Potts." Next to her, the phone's screen lights up indicating activity.

Jimmy rubs his chin. "Curious. How exactly do serial numbers not match a specific company? Is it, like… in their serial number scheme, but they don't have any record of that actual part? Can I ask which two corporations?" He blinks, head tilting. "…over eBay? I'm surprised they weren't using something more… dark net-ish. That's /got/ to be against the terms of service." eBay must have some rules against dangerous exotic materials, right? "My SHIELD friend said that AIM was behind some reverbium being made into a biological weapon, a customised super-virus." He looks down at the screen when it starts ringing. "That is handy. I never trust the voice recognition on mine."

"This is N- Hey ISIS! Give that back!" The sound from the other end of the line is two things. First, it's ruffled like someone has grabbed the phone. Second it sounds an AWFUL lot like the Stark Industries lobby. Something about the way the sound carries, the lobby music and of course the sound voice of one of the receptionists that Pepper walks by every day.

The rustling on the phone continues as Pepper listens, along with the ambient sounds of Hey watch out uh sorry didn't see you there and other associated comments. "Uh hello?? Hello??" Pepper will recognise Isis speaking now. "Uh, I've got it Nick! Don't worry! I just wanted to see your high score."

The phone's actual sounds are audible as if the entire room were a surround sound studio or similar, not just from the phone itself. Pepper startles, her eyebrows drawing together in consternation at the noises now filling the room. After a second, though, she looks at Jimmy. "Excuse me just a moment," she says, then hastily stands and steps out of the conference room, taking her phone with her as she steps out and into the hallway that leads back to the lobby. After a couple of steps, she calls out, "Ms. Marik?" which likely carries through her phone to Isis perfectly clearly. "Are you already in the Stark Tower building?"

Speaking of Isis, a proper-sounding British voice emits from a speaker near her but nowhere else in the room, "Pardon me, madam, but sitting on the display cabinets is frowned upon by the security personnel." As if to prove the voice's point, there is indeed a security guard at the base of the display cabinet, looking up at Isis in a disapproving manner.

Jimmy blinks when he notices that little detail about the phone's audio, turning about and looking for the room's speakers. Now that's some good bluetooth. He chokes back a laugh on hearing Isis' antics, even with only sound to go by; otherwise, he tries to be quiet and let Pepper focus on the conversation. It's enough for there to be Technical Difficulties on just the one end of the phone line.

"And messing up the flappy bird score is frowned upon by your boss." Nick says, apparently able to hear the call either because he has an earpiece or - more likely - the phone is now on speaker.

"Hello Miss Potts. Yes we were dropping by sort of unannounced to see if you'd had any breaks in the case. Were your ears burning when you tried to call us?"

He's having to speak fairly loudly to be talking to Pepper.

"Isis get down from there for God's sake. I'm not picking that thing up to take it into the elevator with us."

Because, y'know. He could.

"I'm not messing up your score. I'm looking at it." Isis says to Nick, completely ignoring the security guard who's looking up at her. Yes, she's perched on a display cabinet, phone in hand. "Oh, Miss Potts? Yes, yes we are. We were coming to s—— Alright Nick, I'll get down…" There's a visible pout in her voice at that.

Dropping lightly to the floor, handing the phone back to Nick, Isis completely forgets that she was talking to Pepper. "We're going up now?" She asks. Pepper and Jimmy can hear all that and hear her pushing the button to summon the elevator.

Several Times!

Actually, Nick doesn't have to speak that loudly. Pepper's walking up right behind him, and looking up at Isis as well. While not holding her phone to her ear as one would consider customary, her voice — and that of others around her like Nick — carry over to Nick's phone just fine since they're still connected. "I do, actually. Your timing is impeccable."

As soon as Isis is back on the floor she tries to get the distractable woman's attention. "Actually, I've got a conference room just over here we can talk in, and Mr. Baxter is already there waiting for us." She's trying to herd Isis away from that elevator button. Thankfully, since said elevators are controlled by JARVIS, the AI can just choose to ignore all of those button pushes.

Jimmy knows he won't contain that amusement forever, so he draws back slightly from the conference table. A hand comes up to shield his smile and at least partially muffle the giggling. Hopefully the conference room is only one-way, and that won't actually carry to Isis and Nick. Or at least, won't carry to Nick; once she's in range, Isis will certainly feel the laughter from Jimmy's mind, even if he keeps it from actually coming aloud. 'Mr. Baxter' may be a bit of a mystery until they actually see him, however, given he'd only introduced himself via nickname before.

Nick jumps slightly and turns to look at Pepper. Oh. She's here. Ahem. "Hello Miss Potts. Sorry to just drop in on y-Isis come over here. We're going this way now."

It'd be easy to think she's just critically overdosed on sugar but no… this is how she is when she's not in nap mode.

"Mister Baxter? Doesn't he have his own building uptown?" The Baxter building and no… that's not him. "Why did you try calling us again, by the way?" That's something of a mystery to him though he'll find out as he comes to the conference room and-

Oh. Bird guy. THAT's Mister Baxter.

"There you are Miss Potts!" Isis says when Pepper appears. "We were coming to see you!" She's said hasn't she? Or has she, she can't remember and really doesn't hurt to say it again, does it?

"We're not going up? The person over there said your office was up … " Eventually she does let off the button and allow herself to be herded.

The feline-like mutant is wearing an oversized T-Shirt, that looks big enough to fit Nick, jeans and joggers. Nothing particularly new but not quite threadbare either.

"Jimmy's here?" Her head turns to the conference room "Why's he laughing? Are you watching a movie or something?"

Thank heavens Nick's there to keep things on track.

"Hi Jimmy! What's the movie?"

Pepper looks at Nick with her eyebrows raised in a silent 'wow' as Isis finally heads on into the conference room, then closes the door after they're all in and returns to her seat at the table. The phone call already ended, by the time Isis is asking about the movie, none of the sounds picked up by either phone from the lobby are present.

"So, we were just discussing the sound amplification device that was knocked of of that, um, individual that attacked us a couple of weeks ago." She can't but be a little bit glad that the last person who'd jumped in to help fend off the wolfman isn't here. He was … disconcerting.

Jimmy lifts a hand of greeting for the trio as Pepper brings them into the conference room. His unspoken amusement turns to blushing chagrin — with a little bit of the blush visible outwardly — when Isis calls it out. "Ah, no, I wasn't—" He coughs and tries for a restart. "Yes. I was talking with a SHIELD friend of mine, and she told me about reverbium. That's a synthetic, exotic metal that resonates strongly, and can have the kind of effect on sound that we saw from that voice box. It's apparently also used by a group called Advanced Idea Mechanics — AIM — though they don't know whether they produce it themselves or have another supplier." He pauses, and turns more specifically to Isis. "Also, I go by 'Heavensent' in… circumstances like these."

"I'm familiar with it." Nick says, folding his arms. He's seen enough of this stuff to know that it's pretty dangerous if used wrong.

"We found an old lab that they'd been using. We think that they've been working with someone to augment mutants like Isis with Reverbium, we're just not sure for what purpose."

He looks over at Isis. "Do you have those pictures? We found some photos. They look like they were taken from some kind of in person surveillance or maybe… culled from files during the Registration period. We're not sure but we think these people might be in danger if they're not already missing."

Heavensent? "Interesting kind of nickname you've got there, though."

"Oh. Alright then. Heavensent." Isis looks at Nick he might need to clarify situtations like this and promptly sits on the table. Yes, there's lot of nice chairs there, but … table.

"I do, yes." she nods slowly, a slight feline growl coming from her at the mention of the voice box. "Those things are bad. Hurt Isis, they do." She often talks in the third person when she's trying disassociate memories.

The file is handed over with the photo's in it. "These first three photo's we found in a car that was Nick was buying. That's where we found the first piece of noisy metal. Then these … were what we found in the facility we looked through." There's also the correspondance with the Lobo Tech logo on it, in the file.

Pepper looks between the three people, mentally noting Jimmy's … nom de guerre, of sorts. She seems completely unperturbed by Isis sitting on the table. Heck, she might do the same herself but, you know. Pencil skirt.

"And our examination of that voice device has found serial numbers that don't match any manufacturer we know, but have similarities to two different companies: Cadenza Industries and Targo Corporation. JARVIS, if you would, please find out what you can about these companies. See if any of the technology in the device has been patented anywhere including outside the US, and cross reference those patents with those two companies. We might find a correlation to investigate further."

"At once, Miss Potts."

Call it a nom de plume. Jimmy's wings may have flames rather than feathers, but it's close enough.

Jimmy tilts his head as he looks at Isis and her perch on the table. That gets him curious. He asides to Pepper, "Is it alright if I get a glass of water?"

The mention of Registration makes him purse his lips. "Are they going specifically after mutants, or just anyone who'd have been registered with extra-normal powers?" He draws the file closer to peek through, particularly the photos. He has other questions, but he'll see how much the files answer before he goes asking aloud.

"Mutants, I think. But I haven't been able to confirm that yet. I run a pretty small investigatory agency. We don't really have huge databases at our disposal and our access to police knowledge is… limited."

The wolfman takes a breath and then lets it out as JARVIS comes back with his results.

"Miss Potts, several of the inventors have worked for one or both of those companies, though none are presently in their employ. There is some question about the dates of those patents but it is possible that Targo was employing at least three of the patent holders at the time those patents were registered."

"In the facility where I was raised, there were lots like me. Not all cats but mutants…" Isis adds. That's new information for all but Nick. "We were used and trained. Some of us were experimented. Most of us … I think those were mutants too."

She nods to the pictures in the folder. Her previously 'up' nature is taking a bit of a dive.

When Jarvis speaks, the feline-like mutant looks to Nick again "What is it saying? That the people who made this stuff were what?"

Pepper leans over to look at the photos alongside Jimmy, then nods when he asks about getting a glass of water. She indicates the pitcher and glasses on a sideboard nearby.

"Patent holders. This is all guessing at this point, Isis. But if the manufacturing numbers we found on the voice device are actually from the two companies I named, they had access to the people who knew the technology to use, and the permission to use the technology. However, that doesn't rule out the possibility that these companies simply were hired by some outside third party to make test batches of separate pieces without knowing what they'd be used for. It actually happens a lot in technology equipment."

Well, not by Stark Industries. Because Tony. Everything that has any of his tech in them are built in-house only.

Jimmy sorts the photos, laying them out so they're all visible at once. "And this is the kind of clue where access to police databases, or whatever other kind of facial-recognition database, would be quite useful." With that said, the recently-identified James Baxter gives a hard stare in the direction of Pepper's phone.

Even while looking in that direction, he reaches across to lay a hand on Isis' arm. It's simple, but it's done with well-wishing thoughts, too; the kind which bring supportive emotions to the surface. "We'll find what they're doing, and we'll stop them."

After a moment, he rises to his feet, nodding his thanks to Pepper as he heads to the pitcher. "Anyone else?" He pours as much water as requested — at least one for himself, just a half-filled glass — and brings it back to the table. Beyond a sip, it doesn't look like he's actually drinking the water. He just sets it on the table, nearby.

"I'd love some. Put it there please, though." Nick points to the center of the table and it seems like Jimmy's hunch - if a hunch it was - may have been correct.

"I'd like to arrange to share information with you both if you don't mind? You both seem interested in this and anything we can find increases our chances of stopping this cold. I'm going into the Disaster Zone soon. I've heard rumors of weird things going on there and it might provide cover for the kind of shady operation we're worried about."

It might also be other kind of trouble but there's only one way to find out.

"Wh, the people who made this stuff have had several jobs Isis. Isis. Isis. Isis look over here. Isis… don't even think about it…"

Isis is still trying to work out what JARVIS had said. It's probably telling she's not looking around for the embodied voice, she's preoccupied by her thoughts on all this. "We can find these people, yes?" she says to Nick and Pepper, blue/grey catseyes fixing on the glass on the table.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the woman reaches out and nudges the glass - a little bit, then a little bit more … she really can't help it. Right to the edge of the table and then … a bit more…

|ROLL| Pepper Potts +rolls 1d20 for: 12

Pepper shakes her head no at Jimmy's offer to pour her a glass of water as she studies the photos. "JARVIS, do a facial recognition scan on all of these photos, please, and find out everything you can about each person here. Anything that isn't public domain information, send to my phone."

It's at that point that she notices what Isis is doing, and she snaps out a hand to catch the glass before it falls to the floor and breaks. Of course, the water still splashes everywhere.

"If you insist on doing that, at least let me go get the non-breakable containers."

|ROLL| Jimmy Baxter +rolls 1d100 for: 84

Jimmy sets the water down where Nick indicates, while he insists on living more dangerously with his own. Even knowing, or at least suspecting, the risks. When Isis goes for the bait, Jimmy's jaw tenses with the effort of containing his urge to laugh. Though his face remains mostly straight, Isis still gets the sense of suppressed giggles, like bubbles slipping from an underwater chest.

Aloud, he says, "I'm with you on that, Nick. Both sharing information, and going into the Disaster Zone. I'd like to try to make that area a little safer anyway."

He actually has his hand out and ready for the glass already… which looks like it may lead to some clashing with Pepper's attempts to catch it, but he leaves it to her. "I wonder. Isis, would you still do that if the containers /weren't/ breakable?"

"Do what?" Isis asks Jimmy, peering at him intently. "Why are you laughing? Are you laughing at me?" She has no idea what is so funny. Yes, she'd do it if the cups were unbreakable, it's not the fact that things break - it's that they topple. But she's pouting now, a little bit.

Oh yes. Business!!

"I'll send you the information over, when we get it." She agrees. More likely though, Nick will remind her to - several times - and then end up doing himself.

There's one though, they'll have noticed. The feline-like mutant doesn't seem quite so preoccupied with the fact they're taking mutants and experimenting on them.

Must be time to go, though.

Pepper is for sure not laughing, even she WILL find this amusing later. She sets the glass back on the sideboard well clear of Isis' reach. That will NOT be allowed to happen again.

"And I'll share what I find out from JARVIS' searches. He's very good at digging up all kinds of interesting facts." She stands and follows the investigators to see them out, though she pauses at the conference room door to look at Jimmy. "Thank you again for returning my phone. And, if you need anything, or if you find out anything else about the reverbium, let me know, all right?"

At almost the same instant, Jimmy's phone will indicate a received text. From Pepper's phone number. Even though her phone is still sitting on the table.

Jimmy pouts at Isis, that chagrined feeling rising again, like a cat caught by its scruff. "I am not laughing aloud." Because, well. He can kind of understand someone needing that clarified. Empaths gotta empath, dawg. He gets to his feet too to help see them out, adjusting his coat. "Yes. And we should trade contact infor—" He gets his phone out as he says it, to find a text just then arriving. He blinks. "Did JARVIS give you my number, too? A-Anyway. Isis, Mr. Gleason, could I grab one of those business cards? I'll text you." He nods to Pepper. "Definitely. Though I think you'll have more information from this than I do, until we make that… excursion." He's more likely to go on the front lines than Pepper, no doubt.

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