2020-02-02 - The Deal of the Deep Blue Sea


Tony Stark and Pepper Potts get a visit from Atlantean royalty. Deals are made.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Feb 2 00:00:00 2020
Location: Stark Tower, Tony's Office, NYC

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Theme Song



Tony is nursing his wounds. He can't BELIEVE his team lost. So much for investing in their training equipment. He has people cleaning up the mess, but he is overseeing the handling of the top-shelf liquor. The Patron isn't going to drink itself, after all.
He's just a little buzzed, the hard stuff softened by a heavy meal of snacks and sandwiches. There was still plenty left, and someone was putting it together to stick in the fridge. He'd have it sent down to the employee break rooms later…

So much for a quiet weekend away from everything. Pepper walks in briskly and plucks the glass out of Tony's hand. "I'm guessing that you've forgotten you have a meeting in twenty minutes?" It would by no means be the first time, after all.

"You've wallowed enough. I can give you five minutes to get changed. Go." Of course, she's fully expecting him to not even remember that there was a meeting today, much less what it was about.

That's what he pays her for.

Mera doesn't like to be late for meetings. She likes to be early for them. That is when you can see how a person really is, and how well they react to the unexpected. Since this is an 'official' meeting, once the redhead has removed her long coat, she is a green, scale armored body suit - she and Poison Ivy must have the same tailor.

Not one to accept being kept waiting - even when early - she simply walks into the office in her imperious way. "President Stark?" she asks, looking him over and not being terribly impressed. Perhaps this is another one of those tiresome security people? A polite nod to Pepper Potts since they have spoken already to organise this get-together.

Tony groaned. "Yes, MOM," he says, but with wry amusement. He may be the smartest man in the world (he thinks Dr. Richards fudged his numbers), but Pepper makes the magic happen in the boardroom. He ponders how much of a raise she deseerves for putting up with his recalcitrant butt.
Ten seconds later, he is in the shower and yelling because of the cold water.

Twenty minutes later, he is cleaned up, shaved, dressed in clean denim jeans and his favorite white shirt (because decorum) and hair combed back. About as presentable as he is going to be at this time of night.

He does smile at the title. "President? Me? Sorry, Your Highness. I have a different title. Chief Executive Officer, Smartest Guy in the Room, or Head Honcho." He chuckles. "But you can call me Tony. All my friends do."

Having spent the twenty minutes making sure Tony had presentable clothes ready and getting him to the pre-arranged meeting place. And, miracles of miracles, they step through the door precisely on time. (Mark this on a calendar. It may not happen again this decade.)

She returns Mera's polite nod with one of her own, then steps through to handle the 'polite stuff' also known as beverages. In short order she's got a pot of tea steeping and a french coffee press brewing. "Is there anything you'd care to drink, Lady Mera?"

"I thought the President was the Chief Executive" Mera replies to the spruced up Tony. "Head…honcho?" Surface dwellers have such strange titles. "My apologies if I am in error with your title. Most of our information comes from intercepting internet traffic. Perhaps, one day, someone can explain Tik Tok to me." Mera is not the only one that has got titles wrong. She is certainly no 'highness' but before she can point it out, Pepper uses the correct term - Lady.

"Water will be fine" Mera replies with an attempt at a smile. "With or without salt." Still standing since she has not been invited to sit, her expression turns serious again. "Has Thor spoken to you at all about my business here? It is very important. If it is not resolved, a war could erupt between our worlds. From what I have heard, there has already been fighting in the streets of this city as our mutual enemy has attempted to gain a foothold."

Tony walked forward. "No, but I'd like you to bring me up to speed." He looks to Pepper. "Some apple juice on the rocks, please." Yeah, it's THAT serious. "Have a seat, Lady Mera, Let me open with my position here. I control a very large company, Stark Enterprises. We have installations in numerous countries, so we are called a 'multinational.' I don't rule people…I EMPLOY them. They work for me, and I pay them the wages they are entitled to. We are focused on next-generation technology. We used to manufacture weapons of war, but we have shifted focus. I provide resources for our group, the Avengers." He shrugs. "A group of extremely-gifted individuals working together to help people."

Tony sits down facing Mera.
"Give me a synopsis of the conflict."

"Please, Lady Mera, do have a seat." With nods to the Atlantean noblewoman and then Tony, Pepper moves to get their requested beverages. She doesn't let it show, but she's duly impressed that Tony opted for a non-alcoholic drink, and that's mostly why she'd already started the coffee.

Setting a glass of cold water on the table for Mera and apple juice on the rocks for Tony, she moves to finish the tea and coffee preparations before pouring herself a cup of the former and finally joining them at the table, seemingly idly tugging the bracelet length sleeves of her blouse down just the tiniest bit.

A nod of thanks before Mera settles into an offered chair, back straight, chin up. "You fund the Avengers? As I mentioned, I have explained to Thor the danger and he is assisting me. I went to him first because one of our antagonists is an Asgardian god. Namely, Aegir, God of the Sea. This Aegir is working with, or for, something called the…thank you…" That was for the water. "…the Gorgon. Have you heard of this entity?"

A sip of the water before Mera continues. "I encountered them when employees…or subjects…of this Gorgon were attempting to destroy New York with a crystal based weapon tht was destroyed in the encounter. I interrogated one of their soldiers to discover what I knew." Atlantis not having signed the Geneva Convention. "They were also attempting to find an ancient weapon of Atlantis, which was Aegir's purpose in all this. No offence, but surface dwellers find it hard to differentiate between those who attack them, and those who do not. Once they see attacks from the sea, they will assume that everyone under the sea needs to be attacked in return. This I do not want. For either of our peoples."

Tony exhaled. All right. Time to put the big brain to work. "Pepper, draft up a trade agreement between Stark and Atlantis. Have Lady Mera approve it and then ramrod it into active status." He looked to Mera. "This will legalize and resources my company can provide to your people."
He paused. "Next, we'll need every scrap of info on these artifacts. Nothing too obscure or esoteric. The more we know about what we're looking for, the better shot we have at keeping this weapon away from Aegir. Also, we need a media infodump. Regular AND social media. We want to market it as a threat against Stark Enterprise interests, naming NO names, but getting pictures and info out. Burn it into the minds of the world who the bad guys are."

With a nod, Pepper sets her tea cup down and pulls a tablet out of her shoulder bag sitting on the floor by her chair. She taps at the device's screen with the speed and ease of much practice, starting the process of the trade agreement documentation with JARVIS' help, though being careful to not address the AI aloud and instead using her tablet to type to him. She's seen how people don't seem to respond well when she talks to seemingly no one, so she'll refrain for now.

"Lady Mera, if I may ask, how many different groups reside under the oceans for whom you are representing? Being able to quantify who specifically we are making this trade agreement with will be crucial."

"A trade agreement? Legal? Atlantis does no subscribe to the laws of your world, Mister Stark, there is no need for such documentation, is there? And our technology is probably as advanced as yours" Mera points out. Nothing demeaning or mocking in her words. And could she even sign for Atlantis? "The King would need to approve of any treaty. We have no embassies in your world. I am sure we could help each other without paperwork." Paper under the ocean is not something that is used often.

"As for what the artefact is, I am afraid I have no idea. There are many Atlantian artefacts that have been lost to time. What they are after may not even be real, but it would be foolish not to assume it is. Thor has been at sea attemtping to call on Aegir but he has had no luck so far." A polite smile for Pepper. "I represent all that matter under the ocean." That may have sounded a bit haughty. "Those that dwell outside of Atlantis' loving bosom or those involved with our enemies. The Merpeople, for example. Though I would not be surprised if they were being mind-controlled."

Tony chuckled. "You may not need the documentation, but a landlubber like me will find it makes it easier on my end." He lifts his wrist to his face, then says, "JARVIS? Suit 37."

Deep in the bowels of the skyscraper, machines are set in motion to deliver a payload up to the office.

"This is not a political agreement, but a matter of commerce. And technology is not the ONLY thing we can provide. To put it bluntly, it means that we won't get any noise from OUR government when we decide to help you where we can. That means educating those above sea level that you aren't the enemy…and illustrate who IS."

Pepper raises an eyebrow at the 'all that matter' comment, but she's dealt with people raised to that mindset before. She doen't take it personally, even if that does put a tiny point against the Atlantean woman in her mind. And, Tony said it simply but truthfully.

She glances at him when he asks JARVIS to send up a suit, but doesn't otherwise question him. He's got his reasons, and she's now hoping they're not frivolous ones.

"Still, any formal agreement with the surface dwellers must be approved by the King. You will find, Mister Stark, that many of my countrymen would disapprove of my presence here." Mera smirks a little. "Almost as much as they disapprove of me. It is only my relationship with the King that enables me to conduct business such as this. Communicating with, and assisting, surface dwellers to maintain peace. You could say my visit is…on the sly? If there are formal agreements, we may have a rebellion to deal with as well."

Mera sighs as she considers her options. "Very well. To maintain impetus on this affair, I shall sign what needs to be signed. This is for your benefit and I ask you to keep it as secret as you can." Her neck is now on the chopping block.

Tony nods. "All right. Pepper, let's use the Phouka protocols." He pauses, then looks to Mera. "A Phouke is a mythical ghost horse. We use the name to specify an agreement that is legally binding but completely covert. A little bureaucracy, a little legal smoke-and-mirrors…and presto, an agreement legally binding but known to a select few."

There is a muted "ding," and Tony smiles, standing up. "And, just so I can prove I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is…" He walks towards a column set into the wall as the panel turns and slides into a recess on the left side, revealing a silver-and-green set of Iron Man armor, bulky and streamlined. "…I've been meaning to put this design through its paces, to be sure. I'll be able to travel underwater with this,:

Pepper nods to Tony and makes a few deft changes to the documentation taking shape on her tablet. She then reaches to tap at the table itself, causing most of its surface to light up like the tablet in her hands. With a gesture, she 'throws' the documents from her tablet onto the table's surface, then activates an in-surface keyboard, with which she starts typing at a nearly frightening pace.

Emails are quickly drafted and sent to the SI legal team for the Phouka protocols, along with the documents themselves starting to take shape visibly on the table surface. She glances over her shoulder to where Tony's gone, then clearly does a double take and turns to look at the green and silver Iron Man suit more directly.

She doesn't say it out loud, but she might as well have: When were you going to mention this, Tony?

It seems even important surface dwellers need assistance in the sea. Mera rises from her seat to follow Tony to inspect the personal submarine. "Why silver?" she asks. Mera certainly won't complain about the green. "You will investigate personally? Why not work with the rest of The Avengers? Thor is already involved. I believe he was going to tell Captain America. The more of you the better I would suggest." A glance over at Pepper and that 'look' she's giving him before Mera adds, "That would be best for everyone, would it not?" A beat. "Why would you put your money in your mouth?"

At Mera's last question, Pepper blinks then turns back to the table and her tablet to hide an amused smile.

Tony looked over his shoulder, and caught her look right between the eyes. The You-Didn't-Bring-Me-Up-to-Speed-AGAIN look.
"Sorry, Pepper. I worked on this a few months ago after watching DAS BOOT. I had the whole weekend to myself, and the momentum carried me."

He looked back to Mera. "Okay, in order…Silver, because the alloy just turned out that way. I do work with them, as the one known as Iron Man. And I'll be sure to get as many on this situation as I can. And that is what is called an 'informal' phrase. It means to follow through on what you promise." It is a colloquial term and we can go over your knowledge of modern culture at another time."
He raps lightly on the metal skin of the armor. "Rated for 8 miles below sea level, can travel at Mach 2 above water, 75 knots top speed underwater. Set up with various defensive measures."

Still with her back to the pair examining the green and silver suit, Pepper can't hide her amusement as Tony answers each of Mera's questions completely reasonably. It makes sense, the noblewoman likely isn't prone to asking rhetorical questions. But still. Highly amusing.

She keeps working on the documents, making them precisely perfect for this situation, and keeping the wording of the documents themselves strictly OUT of Legalese-land. "Lady Mera, I suspect you'll want to review these documents before agreeing to anything. How would you like me to transmit them to you?" She's… not sure that Atlantis has email accounts.

Mera does comprehend the mouth-money interaction now. Typical surface dwellers. It's not 'put my courage where my mouth is' or 'put my skills where my mouth is', it's always about money. She will keep her distaste to herself and simply nod in understanding before looking back over the armor. "Seventy-five knots?" Mera purses her lips in thought for a moment. "I will be able to carry you if we need to move quicker." And she will refrain from asking what boots have to do with anything.

"You have been most accommodating, Mr Stark, Ms Potts. I have faith that our alliance will be able to defeat the dangers that threaten us both." Mera offers a device the size of a small phone - where was she hiding that - to Tony. "Call me on this when you have anything, and I shall call you on the same device if I have news." She looks to Pepper. "Scan the papers with the device. Just put them in a pile and run the it over once, it will get everything." They may not have e-mail accounts but all those undersea internet cables are theirs to monitor at will. "Good luck to you both." A polite bow of her head before she is heading off. "I can show myself out."

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