1964-11-21 - Dropins Welcome
Summary: Strange comes to visit Tony's lab, unannounced.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange tony 

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 20

It's getting on toward afternoon down in the lab. Tony's mostly cleared it out of scientists because he wants to play with some goodies, but there are still a few trying to work on their projects despite the boss commandeering the place. Interns stand by to assist, and they do the grunt work, mostly the math. Tony has on red and gold boots of metal with some kind of propulsion in the sole that has him hovering in the air about a foot and a half. His balance is iffy, but he's doing it. "Yeah, I think these are going to work out."

"Yeah?" says the intern, a young blonde who's probably still in college. She flutters her lashes.

Tony winks. "Write it down. If you write it down, it's science."

And what's a little science without magic? After all, the ancient people of the earth long thought that fire came from the gods and magnetism was a force from beyond the grave. Reverse propulsion boots in metallic hues would have blown their minds.

It probably registers on some spectrometers around the shop, maybe even a Geiger counter or two pings off. It's certainly bright enough to register on the human visual scale. In a corner of R&D, what appears to be a sudden lighting of gunpowder in a perfect circle takes off — and continues burning, throwing up the same sparks as a welding torch might on resistant metal. No smell of warped material, just the faint sizzling as the floor just…vanishes…and up through the empty space rises a figure back-colored by a slowly rippling crimson Cloak. In battle-blues, a familiar face more often seen wearing the sleek of a black tuxedo allows himself a small smile. The Gate closes off entirely and he drops to the floor, the sound of impact proving himself to be tangible and not a hallucination.

"Mr. Stark." The good Doctor sounds completely pleasant in his greeting.

The intern drops her clipboard and screams, dashing away from the circle of sparks. The other interns startle, and a few of them run. None of them fail to freak out, alas. The other scientists in the area stare, and a few of them back away. Okay, most of them. No one but Tony keeps their cool.

Tony starts, but he's far more curious than fearful — a fatal flaw if he's not careful — and when Strange appears, he remains hovering, bobbing up and down lightly on eddies of air. "Doctor Strange," he says.

"Nice trick, how did you do it?" Because everything has an answer, damn it.

Tucking his hands away behind his back, Strange assumes his usual debonair mien as he walks towards Tony, hovering as he is in those wondrous boots.

"For you, the scientist, I have no answer that would suffice. For you, as the human?" The man's steel-blue irises briefly shine in the violet spectrum and begin to slowly dim out to a candle's glow, a gentle light not intended to be foreboding. "Simply harnessing energy available to me."

A scarred hand appears and gestures towards the other scientists. "I mean no harm," he adds dryly, the comment offered up as reassurance that he's not here to suck anyone's brain out through their nose or curse them with any witchy hoodoo-voodoo.

Tony's eyes narrow. No. Because even magic is just science that's not yet understood. It something can happen, it's natural, so there is no such thing as the supernatural, by definition. He holds his ground. Air. "Huh," he says, that sharp mind working a mile a minute. He might not even be too far off in general principle, except… "How do you harness it?"

The interns are scattering, scientists are chattering loudly. More than a few people are saying, "Mr. Stark?"

Stark waves a hand and says, "Dismissed, everyone. Go home, remember the NDAs you signed." Because the last thing he needs is shareholders calling him about wizards in the basement.

The two men share a curiosity streak…which is how you get wizards in the basement, apparently — or at least, a Master of the Mystic Arts. Strange waits, watching the rest of Stark's hired hands and scientists shuffle out of R&D. One intern, slower to leave than the rest and prone to staring, gets a nice stare back — and a flash of brighter light from those frosted-violet eyes. Skitter-skitter, off they go, and now it's just the two men. His reply is thoughtful and mild, the same tone he might take with an apprentice at Kamar-Taj.

"I draw the energy to my person and then…my willpower takes over from there. Your thoughts do shape your reality after all." His regard lingers on those boots before returning to Tony's face. "Working on technological advances this evening?"

Tony chews the inside of his cheek. Drawing energies to one's person, willpower taking over. "Sounds like new age stuff to me," he says. It's not quite a denial. Just, you know, it really does sound new-agey. "Obviously you're doing something effective," he allows. After all, it did just happen.

Without his hand propulsors, Tony couldn't quite steer. "Hey," he says, "can you help me to…" He gestures to a set clamps meant to anchor the boots to the ground. Tony has the grace to look a little embarrassed about his predicament. When he started this, he planned on a hot intern guiding him back to where he needed to be.

"I'm improving the suit," he says. "You know how it is, ever onward and upward." Forever upward if Strange doesn't pull him back down.

Glancing over at the clamps and back, the good Doctor allows himself another little quirk of amusement at his lips. With two subtle gestures just behind his hips, he rises up to hover at eye level with the man.

"We can have a discussion at this height if you're not in too much discomfort. I can see that you're actively working on improving your kinesthetic response time in terms of balance." The crimson Cloak slowly undulates in an unseen wind as he hangs there, his expression a tiche more pensive than mocking in the end. "Insofar as harnessing this energy… It is very…New Age, I suppose, though the teachings and concepts reach back beyond the Bronze Age. If you're familiar at all with reiki healing, pioneered by the Buddhist Mikao Usui, you're dabbling fingers in my pond."

Or universal ocean, rather, given the pool of energy available to the Sorcerer Supreme.

"Oh, I'm quite comfortable at this height," Tony says. He eyes Strange's feet. How is he doing it?! It's frustrating not being able to point out the elements easily. Tony's not used to that. Usually the how and why of things come together for him effortlessly. He tilts his head. "The cloak," he says. "Somehow."

"I've got a passing familiarity," Tony says, "it just seems too implausible to pay much attention to it. By hovering one's hands over someone else, they can heal them? We've got something called medicine. It's pretty cool."

"Mmm, yes, medicine," replies Strange mildly with a flick of dark brows high. "My familiarity in Western medicine is well-known, Stark. Don't knock the Eastern arts in healing simply because your machines cannot quantify its characteristics."

With a fluid ease, he drifts backwards about a foot, chin slightly tucked and the shadow of mirth lingering about his eyes. "Indeed, the Cloak augments my ability to do as such. It would take more willing on my part without it. Consider it…a larger battery pack."

Upon a nearby table, near a pen-sized soldering tool, are matching gauntlets in red and gold. The Sorcerer notes these and gives Tony an inquiring look. "I presume these help you retain control over your boots?" He nods towards the metal gloves, with their cylindrical nodes embedded in the palms. Extending out a hand in the mudra Varada, a thin ribbon of cerulean light wraps about them in a loose encircling. Curling his fingers in a slow manner, the minor charm heeds his whims and they defy gravity to float over. They pause in the empty space between the two men, within easy reach of Tony.

Tony holds up his hands and says, "I'm not knocking them. I'm just saying that they way we do it here in the good old U.S. of A. isn't so bad." He studies the cloak though. There has to be some kind of propulsor woven into the fabric. Schematics will be drawn, oh yes. Somehow, he will crack this. He should be thanking Strange for giving his questing mind something that is truly a challenge.

Tony nods when Strange indicates the gauntlets. "They're designed to work in concert." he says. As they float over upon spindles of light, he says, with humor, "Now you're just showing off." He put the gauntlet on, and there must be some internal switch, because the palms come to life and start to glow blue.

It might be worth noting, a blue circle glimmers through the fabric of Tony's t-shirt, just over his chest. Given the dimensions, it's got to be imbedded there.

"I rather think of it as giving you something to consider late at night," Strange states with an honest little half-grin, watching the gloves go on and gain sudden radiance upon the inventor's hands. "Now…I can sense that it's energy… Electrical?"

He levitates closer still to Tony, squinting at the light in the center of the man's torso. "It seems to share a color, at least, with…whatever it is within your chest cavity. I might need to start calling you Frankenstein, Stark, if you've begun implanting machinery into your own body." An eyebrow rises in frank curiosity.

"Electrical, yeah," Tony says. "Beneath the bells and whistles, it's all just electricity and how you use it." He holds his hands at his side and steers himself with them in quick bursts of blue light. There, that's better. He's rather nimble in the air now that he's got his propulsion gear on. He snorts and turns away from Strange, going to pick up the helmet of his suit. He brings it back, just checking out its inner workings out of habit.

"It keeps me alive," he says. "There are tiny shards of metal trying to make their way to my heart. This electromagnet keeps them from doing that." He smiles fleetingly. "Not quite medicine as most people understand it, but it works."

Drawing up and back slightly, Strange gives Tony a lingering look. The flickering of his attention flips through the catalog of human physiology reactions to such a health issue: skin pallor, heart rate, perspiration — all things that can be visually measured with the knowledge of long practice.

"This tastes of a necessity brought on in desperation and lack of immediate medical care," he murmurs with a questioning lilt.

Tony points to Strange and says, "You got it in one. I was kidnapped by terrorists in Berlin who said they didn't work for the Soviets, but who are you going to believe, you know? Long story short, there was shrapnel, and I had very little time and the stuff they'd given me to make them a weapon.

He pats his chest lightly, and there's a clink of metal on metal. "They didn't get their weapon, but I got free and a great idea for a new suit." He sets the helmet aside. It has passed visual inspection. "Now it's just part of me. It lets me fight the bastards who did it to me, and I enjoy the irony."

Strange listens and by the end, his expression is rather grim.

"I'd extend my sympathies, but you do seem to have found a way to cope. It's no longer a weakness, but a strength. Well done, Stark." He seems to be mulling over something else, the words an admixture in his mouth, but in the end, he sighs and keeps the thought to himself. "As a doctor, I am going to recommend that you drink less, however. Drinking and flying?" There's the impertinent click of his tongue to boot.

That's what I do," Tony says lightly. "I cope." He propels himself closer to Strange, the movement tight and controlled from practice. "I've cut back," he says. Which is true. He was blacking out before and doing things like entering into relationships without really remembering them.

With a nod toward Strange's hands, he said, "There's a story there." Hello, topic change. "But you don't seem to have let it stop you."

True enough, and the brash man points out the scarring in his blunt manner. Strange closes off in how he holds Tony's dark eyes even as he lifts his chin minutely and how his hands disappear away into folded arms.

"I haven't let it stop me in the least. Western medicine failed me and I found that my Fate led elsewhere than the surgical suites. The metaphysics of magic are more fascinating than neuroscience, I'll have you know." He attempts a topic change himself now.

Tony gestures to Strange as he says, "I wouldn't hide it if I were you." He floats around the lab the way another man might pace at a mindless amble. There are things to check on, things to finish before the night is over, so he looks at this and that amidst talking to Strange.

"Scars are stories of survival," he says. He gestures to his chest and says, "If this showed through a three-piece it would be all the better. I want every Rusky to see it and know I'm still here." He lifts his chin, not shy with the defiance flashing in his dark eyes.

He spreads his hands, then, offering a concession to the failure of Western medicine. "You found a way," he said, "and you survived. I imagine it's all incredibly fascinating, I just can't wrap my head around it and that feels… impossible."

The faint laugh from the Sorcerer isn't quite a scoff and not intended to inspire insult, though there's a world-weary coloring to it.

"As my old mentor used to tell me…the impossiblities are endless. While you may flaunt your scars, I risk them insinuating to an enemy of mine that I am worth testing more than once. You have the edge of humanity in your foes, Stark. Unfortunately, I rarely do."

Tony mulls the words over, and he nods slowly. "Okay," he replies. "Though don't think having a human edge gives my enemies that much of a sense of… what's the word we're looking for? Restraint? Intelligence? They test me plenty, but I say let them come. I suppose when people start working on the level of impossible things, the stakes are different."

He floats to a cabinet wherein there is a bottle of scotch and a couple glass tumblers. "The cosmic scale is impressive, enough, but there's just something about making it personal that appeals to me."

"Yes…the cosmic scale. May you never encounter the tentacles of the thirteenth dimension, Stark." Strange could be construed as joking save for that faintly greenish look about his gills in the end. "May it always be angry Russians and those stupid enough to underestimate you."

He lifts an invisible glass in his hand before changing the gesture to one of polite refusal in Tony's direction. "And no, thank you, before you ask. Alcohol inhibits the workings of the tea I need to drink once I return to the Sanctum."

Tony pours two tumblers of damn fine scotch. Smooth and smoky. "I'd be okay with never encountering tentacles of any sort," he says. He flies one of the tumblers over to Strange, and he sighs quietly. "I know it won't. It never is. I live on the edge of impossible, and there be dragons. Just not literal ones, thankfully."

His smile is lightning quick. The refused glass is retained, and he takes a drink. Ah, that' hits the spot. "Circumstances have evolved in such a way that you have to drink tea?" Tony says. "Keep your 'magic.'" Scotch, please. Liquid comes in booze form.

"Unless you've been too drunk to notice it, Stark, I do indulge in a glass of whiskey now and then," Strange reminds him with a wry smirk and subtle tilt of head. "Just not tonight, after the literals." Wait, what did Tony just mention as being literal?

"And thank you, I shall keep my magic," he adds — and even as he hangs there, the same faint twinkling that Tony's seen time and time about his fingertips at social gatherings suffuses the space around the Sorcerer. Ooh, a visible aura!

Tony points to Strange and says, "Just keep your literals off my lawn." There are literally dragons? That does beggar belief. Tony might need to chew on that before he can accept it. Not that he wouldn't be flippant about it if he did. And Tony, he remains hanging in the air because he refuses to be ground-bound in front of this showoff. Hmph. Technology keeps him aloft just fine. Only after rigorous practice.

He grins, despite himself, and he says, "You know, if we ever joined forces we'd either fix reality or break it really good."

Tony gets a dry half-smirk he's probably familiar with about the dragons. Yep, no dragons on earthly lawns, much less the front lawn in front of Stark Tower — not on Strange's watch. Now that last statement? That makes the Sorcerer straight-out chuckle.

"Reality rarely needs fixing. I have my ways of keeping it intact." — and doesn't he look Cheshire Cat sly here for a passing second. "I doubt you could do much damage to it, Stark, but do me a favor and don't attempt to do so out of idle curiosity."

Tony admits, "You do have me curious," he says. "I mean now I'm wondering what I could do. There's so much unexplored potential in radiation, tinkering on the atomic level. I'm sure if someone forgets to carry the one sometime soon it'll erase all sorts of things." Then again, his dad worked on the project that erased a good portion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He eyes Strange, and his grin is just as bright as anything. Who wouldn't trust a smile like that? "I'll be good."

Strange snorts. "Won't you."

The Sorcerer sounds somewhat convinced…except not really. Tony gets the mildly unimpressed look, like a tiger watching a cub about to pounce upon its tail. "Remember that I deal in literals regularly and they tend to fear me shortly afterwards, hmm?"

Tony spreads his hands and says, "If science and technology get to a point where it starts leaving things on your doorstep, don't you want someone you know to be the first one to say hello? At least you know I'll know who to call." Besides, he's just a little too arrogant and curious to be truly afraid. More fool he.

"We're not acting at cross purposes," he says, "Quite the opposite. If there's something out there I don't understand, I'm glad there's someone like you dealing with it."

"You can count on my presence if any literals end up on your lawn, Stark. In fact, I'll even close up the tear upon reality possibly created by your technology. However, you can expect me to be less than appreciative about it." Yep, he's a prickly one, this Sorcerer.

With arms folded, Strange eyes Tony. "I'm reminded, speaking of creations, that you mentioned biosciences and the wedding of technology. You haven't actually been engaging in experimentation on cadavers, have you, Stark? There's a fine line between science and insanity." The Sorcerer isn't about to mention necromancy. Some things just aren't discussed over drinks, not even stiff ones.

Tony says nothing to his technology and ripping holes in reality. Look, he wouldn't mean to. He would never be cras enough to tell someone like Strange 'that was cool' if it did happen. No problems here, nope.

The question gets an odd look from Tony. He finishes the scotch and sets the glass down on a table, still floating along for as long as he'll have power to do so. "No, I'm not doing anything with cadavers. I'm talking about artificial intelligence, technology so advanced it's indistinguishable from sentience." He lifts his voice. "JARVIS?"

From speakers in the walls, carefully hidden, a pleasant English voice says, "Yes, Tony?"

Tony says, "Say hello to my friend here, Dr. Stephen Strange."

The voice says, "Hello, Dr. Strange. I see you don't want scotch, may I get you tea instead?"

One eyebrow of curious concern is quickly joined by another and the good Doctor's eyes slightly widen. Instinctively, his hands reappear, wreathed in misty violet comets of trailing light — a shielding spell on the tip of his tongue is then averted for the catch-up of common sense. The visual effects of the spell die away, leaving behind the scent of petrichor and high-altitude chill.

His eyes, still a-glow, slide to one side before his head follows and he looks about, spinning in place so that the Cloak follows in gracefully-slow motions, as silk might flow in water.

"Er, yes, hello…?" Feeling mildly foolish, he then continues after clearing his throat. "Thank you, but I'm absolutely certain that Mr. Stark does not have the blend of tea I need at the moment. I'm fine," he adds, giving Tony an amused scowl. Hah-hah, very funny, startle the Sorcerer.

Tony grins. Oh, that response will continue to please Tony long after Strange is gone. Knowing he's unsettled the man with something as simple (ha) and nice as JARVIS. Tony's still got it. He never lost it. He flashes Strange the broadest of grins. Ha ha. What.

JARVIS says, "Oh, we have all sorts of things available for guests," JARVIS says. "Don't let Tony fool you. We're quite hospitable. If you change your mind, just say so. I can have the water on in no time."

"Thank you, JARVIS, buddy," Tony says. To Strange, he says, "There are some kinks to work out, but you're listening to the future. Right now, JARVIS just mimics sentience, but one day, he'll have it."

Strange nods, still not accepting of this miraculous protocol able to speak. His hands are folded away again and he's eyeing various points about the R&D lab with mild suspicion.

"At least your disembodied voice has manners. Normally, when I deal with these voices, they preclude a demonic entity." Can the man be blamed for being cautious as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs then? "Is your JARVIS only capable of speech at this time?"

Tony watches Strange with equal parts satisfaction and curiosity. The R&D lab is harmless! Okay, that is an absolute lie, but everything here fits within the human parameters of science and technology. No demons. Probably. "JARVIS is nice," Tony says. "I'm not going to program an artificial intelligence to have a chip on its shoulder."

He'll be eating those words if Ultron ever comes around.

He shakes his head then and says, "Not at all. JARVIS can man most of the electronics here and at home. If I need him to record a meeting, he takes better notes than a secretary, and he can play them back endlessly. He's tied into the security system, so if there's a problem, he can tell me."

He then says, "Hey, JARVIS, we had a security issue when the good doctor came into the lab through a hole in nothing. Why didn't you say anything?"

JARVIS replies, "You seemed to have it under control."

Tony considers that, then nods. "Fair enough."

"A very talented system," Strange comments. Finally, he caves and nods, admitting to himself that it's a rather astounding accomplishment. "Your JARVIS, however, is buttering you thickly, Stark. Nothing technological in your laboratory can keep me from entering it."

Lifting a hand, he gathers a portion of the ambient light from the room to a sphere above his palm. The orb bobbles like a cork on the surface there. "Magic is everywhere, you see. We're but one universe amongst many." There you go — another thing to mull over late at night, maybe over a drink or three.

Tony admits, "I don't think he can conceive of what you did, so he's not really sure what kind of threat level to assess you at. He sees me not freaking out, so he doesn't freak out." Tony doesn't seem all that alarmed by Strange's comment about nothing being able to stop him from coming in. These labs are protected by all sorts of 'so you're in a lab with a bunch of weapons technology' technology. It's not just not on while people are in the building.

Tony watches the light being gathered, and he gives the ball of it a somewhat annoyed look. Stop not behaving right. Still, the news that there are other universes? In the moment, Tony actually perks up. "Thank goodness for that," he says. "It gives us something to shoot for after we've figured out this one."

Strange indulges in further torquing the laws of physics by willing the collection of pale-cream light to act as if it had weight. At the height of its toss, it arcs and falls back down towards his palm — but wait, now it's yo-yo-ing back upwards towards the drawing motion of lightly crooked fingers. Pfft, what's gravity?

"You'll have a task ahead of you, Mr. Stark, should you choose to chase the realms beyond the veils," he comments, grinning to himself. The ball of light is flicked upwards past his fingertips and then a sudden spread of digits disperses it back to whence it came. The room brightens once more. "Mind you don't attempt it without my company." He glances at Tony. "Speaking of company, I expect you may have some rumors within the confines of your staff in the near future. What explanation will you give, since what I have done is…impossible?" Cheeky bastard, even with that smooth mask of interest.

Despite himself, Tony regards the light with fascination. How is Strange doing it? He's doing it, ergo it can be done. Just… how? That'll drive him nuts for awhile. He watches the light disperse and his brow knits. No wait, come back! Explain it!

"I've got enough trouble in this, uh, veil," he says. "We're on the brink of war, and while that's great for business, it's bad for humanity. I've got enough to worry about in this world for now." His gaze goes off into the middle distance. "It's just something to think about. Something to strive for beyond the wars and everyday trouble. Something cool, something worth it.

The mention of his staff gets a wave of his hand. "I'll put out something about a piece of stealth technology being tested, and if that gets out, they'll lose their job."

"I think a memo in that vein is sufficient. It'll keep them quiet…that and perhaps the tactful reminder that magic doesn't exist while insinuations of insanity do." The suggestion may be a bit cold, but then again, humanity does like to ignore what's in front of their faces. If it can't be replicated by science, it must not exist and be a trick of the mind…right? Easily excused, all of it, by the simplicity of stealth technology.

Strange turns to face Tony and while he gives the man an enigmatic smile, he floats backwards a handful of feet. "I can see calling upon you, Stark, should the technology be complex and beyond my immediate comprehension. Bear in mind, I will be as abrupt if not more so." Nothing like a sudden visit by the Astral form too! "In the meantime, guard against the physical dangers. I shall deal with the Mystical."

He flicks a wrist and another Gate opens upon reality, this time in mid-air to the vertical. "Another time, Stark." With that and a little nod, Strange flits through the sparkling oculus, leaving the inventor to his musings of the metaphysics of reality. And a memo to write to the staff.

Strange goes home.

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