1965-05-13 - The Skin Project
Summary: Peter suggests Application B
Related: None
Theme Song: None
peter-parker tony 

Peter is busy working away in the lab, actively mixing some chemicals into a substance that is, at present, a sort of creamy goop on a burner. He's in a pair of jeans, a simple dark blue t-shirt, and a lab coat complete with pocket protector and protective glasses and latex gloves.

Tony comes down, dressed unusually casually, but it's his free time, at the manor. A suit would be excessive. He's in jeans and a long-sleeved tee with the sleeves pushed up. There's a cup of coffee in one hand and a clipboard in the other. The arc reactor in his chest can be seen faintly gleaming and pulsing under his shirt. "Parker," he says, giving hte kid plenty of warning he's there.

"Mr. Stark! I've been studying the prototype work and have been making some adjustments…" Peter gestures to one notebook where a complex molecule is described with several formula under it; its mostly the prototype, but some curious adjustments have been made. Next to it is another notepad, with a much more extensively modified molecule, almost double the size with some very unfamiliar chemical bonds showing. But Peter is indicating the first, "I'm working on elasticity. Skin has a limited give and stretching properties that are a little challenging." He hesitates, "In the meantime, in parallel, I've been working on… another idea I wanted to run by you. Of another application of this research. Not for the skin itself, but for a very similar compound using the skin as its basis." He sounds excited. He pulls away and pulls his safety glasses up to rest them on his forehead.

Tony tosses his clipboard on a workbench and takes up the notebook. "I see what you did here," he says, half-distracted as he reads, then think about what he's reading. "Not bad, kid." He sets the notebook down, looms a little to look down and get a closer look over Peter's shoulders. Then he turns his attention to Peter, and he smiles, even. "I don't get the chance to say this to, well, anyone, but you're smart."

Peter grins broadly at the compliment, and gives a shrug, "Still don't know my IQ. Test doesn't go any higher. Its nice having someone I can talk to and show this stuff who.. understands, Mr. Stark. Most don't. Even most of my teachers." he takes a deep breath, then explains, "The second notebook is my idea, I'm incorporating into it my state-transition tech from the webbing. The webbing exists in three states: in state one its a solid, and certain specific stimuli causes it to transistion into state 2, a sticky liquid. Impact pressure causes it to transition into state 3, a semi-solid with high tensile strength. In the skin project, state one is liquid, state two is sticky, state three is flexible semi-solid. See, the skin will be naturally antiseptic. Apply the liquid skin— in aerosol form— to a wound and it will stick to everything, every part of the wound and adhere. Then it will solidify. See, that would cause bleeding to stop. Sterilize the wound. Stabilize a wound and then, later, a surgeon is given a special solvent to dissolve a bit of the skin at a time and then repair damage as needed. Do you know what that would do for EMT's? Or battlefield medics over in Vietnam?"

"Beats making small talk with someone who wants to give me more money," Tony says. He takes up the second notebook. His focus gets absorbed entirely as he reads, his eyes skimming the pages quickly. "Now this? This is good. This is going to save lives. If you can produce it, I'll see if we can mass produce it. That's usually the kicker with these neat tricks. One on one they're great, but making them standard issue? There's a catch. Like the suit." He offers the notebook back, and he taps his chest with a dull metalic clink. "Without this? It doesn't work. Unfortunately even soldiers object when you start carving out their meat parts to put in an arc reactor. If we could, but what it takes to make one of those things? Mass production is out of the question. At least right now." He's always got to look at the business angle. It's how he continues to afford his toys. "But this is good."

"I _think_ mass production will be feasible, if not _cheap_— but I'm not good at economics of scale like you, sir— because its based a lot on my webbing…" Peter laughs, "And considering how much of it I produce and shoot left and right every night, …." He grins, and doesn't at all get there's possible innuendo in there. But he does tilt his head slightly, "Aren't you like super rich? Why do people want to give rich people more money?" He finds that thought perplexing, but he's pretty close to the poverty line. Columbia practically begged him to accept a full scholarship from them and not MIT or any one of the other every school ever that wanted him. But he looks curiously at the arc reactor, "I can see why some people would balk at that. I know why your suit is designed to be powered by your reactor, but is there a reason it couldn't be reconfigured to house the reactor directly itself?" He's very curious about the Iron Suit. "Or is it the reactors themselves are also problematic to mass produce?"

Tony smiles crookedly. He doesn't get into the economics of it, though. That's nothing the kid should be troubling himself with. Bad enough Tony has to divide his attention with it. He shake shis head, too, and says nothing of innuendo, except, "Yeah, you keep doing that kid." He takes a drink of his coffee and grimaces. It's gotten cold. He sets the cup aside where it can be found in a few weeks. "They want to give me money in exchange for goods and services." He takes up his clipboard again. He has to be messing with something, those hands don't like being still. It's how I stay rich." He doesn't read anything off it. Just taps it in his hand. "You could do that, but it doesn't change the fact that arc reactors don't grow on trees, and it's just not the same. When it's plugged into me it's more intuitive. It's part of me."

"Oh, I was … dur, not thinking of them buying stuff from you." Peter shakes his head and chuckles, "I had a dumb moment." he admits with a helpless shrug, "I always thought you didn't trust what other people would do with the suits without your… oversight. My webbing isn't — exactly — an offensive weapon, but it could be made into one with some tweaked properties. I don't kill people so I'm not going to make it a weapon, and I'll use what I learned to do things like the Skin A and Skin B projects, but I wouldn't give anyone else the full formula lightly. I figured you probably didn't trust, say, the US Government, with the power of an Iron Army."

Tony claps Peter on the shoulder and says, "Nah, your mind was on more important things." He may be good at business, but he's only as passionate about it inasmuch as it keeps him in cool toys and comfort. "There's also that factor," he agrees. "I don't want just anyone getting their hands on this tech, not even the good guys. These days, I'm not sure there are any good guys left, just a lot of people who think they're right." He wags a finger at Peter. "Yes, the US Government with the power of an Iron Army. What you do? You get to be the good guy. Hold onto that."

"Yes, sir, Mr. Stark." Peter nods eagerly; being the Good Guy? Is all-consumingly important to him. "My uncle told me, right before he died, 'with great power comes great responsibility', and no disrespect to you or how awesome— really awesome!— your suit is, and how brilliant you are because you know more then I'll ever learn, but I've got more then my fair share of power, and owe a whole lot of responsibility in return." He hesitates a moment, "Mechanical engineering isn't my focus, but am I allowed to look into the Suit at all? After this project is over. I admit… curiosity. I don't want or need a suit— my powers would directly compete with the strenths it gives— but it seems like something to study to *learn* mechanical engineering better then any coursework offered at the university."

"Yeah, you do," Tony replies, not too proud to admit that Spidey here is a power unto himself. "I'm starting to agree with your uncle. I wanted to do it like Dad did, but Dad lived in a different time. We can't trust the hands we place our power into anymore." Back in the day, give Cap a shield and be a hero. These days? Well, he's been phasing out his weapons deals slowly but surely. He nods as he says, "Sure, I'll bring it out for you to take a look at sometime. If anyone can figure it out, you might."

"The world seems… unjust. Corrupt. People are driving to war, and while part of what made me think about Skin B was a desire to have that in the hands of soldiers and medics on the battlefield to save lives, I hate war, don't understand it at all. I don't know if I ever will." Peter shakes his head slowly, "This isn't one of those things that are intellectual, I mean, I can sit down and analyze geopolitical forces and sociopolitical forces, sure, yeah, but this doesn't get past that war not in defense of self or ally is morally *wrong*." It is Peter's certainty of morality that is either a strength or a weakness. He Does The Right Thing. But he is still, really, 19. "But I'd like that, Mr. Stark. I don't want my science education to be focused entirely into what I learn at the university, because they expect you to… specialize. I don't have any intention of blinding myself to half the world."

"I understand it too well," Tony says with a brief, tight smile. "It's good you don't. Keep that frame of mind. Some people get to live in black and white. You and Cap do your best work coloring inside the lines." There's nothing derisive in the way he says it. Hell, it's a luxury he'd like to have. "You're too smart for a university to know what to do with you," he says. "In another life, they would've let you test out early and you'd be two years past your Ph.D., but we deal the hand we're dealt. Tell you what, if there's anything they're not teaching you that you want to learn? I got you."

Peter doesn't at all mind a comparison to Mr. Rogers, even if — as a scientist — he has this hero-worship going on for the much more gray Mr. Stark, who he has difficulty seeing as anything but white. But, its this last statement that has Peter smiling, "Thank you, Mr. Stark. I really appreciate the opportunity you've given me— this internship means the world to me, sir— and will make you proud, Mr. Stark. NOw? I'll get back to work. I have some ideas I need to finish testing tonight. I'll file a status report when done."

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