Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, finishes his presentation of a new civil defense robot for Gotham City’s Mayor Hill, Commissioner Gordon, and industrialist Bruce Wayne, a man with a secret of his own.
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Gordon, who sat next to Wayne, nudged the sleeping man. Wayne abruptly woke. “Huh? Sorry,” he began. “Long day, longer last night.”
“I can only imagine,” Hill said, not bothering to hide his disgust for Wayne.
“I don’t have to imagine,” Stark said. “We billionaire industrialist playboys are a rare breed. Maybe if Lex joined the club, he’d take things a bit better.”
“Sorry, Tony,” Wayne said. He looked to the drone onstage. “Interesting piece of machinery. I take it you’ve modified it since the Mark Ones.”
“Yes sir, thanks for asking,” Stark replied. He walked to the Legionnaire. “The Mark One could lift a bit under a ton. We’ve doubled that with the Mark Two, making it better for search and rescue in fire or collapse situations.
“The added strength also went to the legs, making it faster on the ground. It still has its flight capabilities, but instead of jets we’re using anti-grav technology, housed down in the feet.
“For offense, I know you boys love the non-lethal stuff. The Legionnaire is armed with two restraining nets. They can carry an electrical charge, just like a taser. They pop up from the forearms here —”
Stark touched the left forearm — “and here” he said, touching the right forearm.
“Up on the shoulders, compartments slide away to reveal cannons. Keeping with the non-lethal, I cooked up some pulse cannons that stun humans and create a targeted electromagnetic pulse for tech targets.
“The operator can fire both cannons at one target or swivel in a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree arc to either side to aim at individual targets.
“The onboard computer assist can lock on to anything the operator can detect through the sensor array and fire at the operator’s will.”
Stark turned his attention back to the three men.
“That sensor array is a complete surveillance package: standard vision, telescopic vision, night vision, infrared. It can discern a sound a quarter of a mile away, making locating those in distress easier.
“All that surveillance data is recorded to hard drives back with the operator via the same satellite link that controls the drone itself.
“Those tapes can be used for quality assurance and training future operators.”
“Any chance a third party could modify those cannons or anything else?” Wayne asked.
Stark laughed. “They’d have to crack some serious encryption first. Oh! They’d also have to steal one, which is why we’ve also placed a card key lock on the Iron Legionnaires. Without the card —”
Stark hit the side of the robot, creating an echo in the hall. “It’s just dead weight.”
“And how much collateral damage did your robots cause in Metropolis, Mr. Stark,” Gordon asked. “Not just on the Intergang case, but in general? Even when used to police minor offenses like graffiti or stealing tires?”
“Some of that collateral damage was due to inconsistencies in control,” Stark replied. “With the Mark One model, we tried running them like remote-controlled Iron Man suits.
“By that I mean we had a more traditional drone control, dumbed down to run like a video game controller. That didn’t take into consideration impulse lag between operator motion, the sensors, and the drone.
“Also didn’t consider the inability of some people over thirty being able to coordinate all the button mashing. It also lacked total sensory utilization.
“With the Mark Two, we switched to controls that work like a motion capture suit. The operator moves, the drone moves.
“We also added a virtual reality package that ties into the surveillance package, affording a more immersive feel. Now the operator sees and hears what the drone does.
“I’ve made them so easy to control, any one of your patrolmen can run them.” Stark held up his glass but stopped shy of taking a drink. “Hell. You could have the patrolmen’s kids run the damned things.” Stark threw back more vodka.
“Using existing personnel to run the drones would cut down on the overhead of hiring a team of operators,” Hill mused.
“I would assume there are also costs for maintenance, storage, and the like,” Gordon said.
“If Gotham wants to pay for a set of drones, Stark Enterprises can eat maintenance,” Stark offered. Hill nodded in acknowledgment.
Gordon squirmed in his chair. “I would just prefer not to escalate the already fragile balance in firepower in Gotham,” he said. “As much as I appreciate the vigilante help we have, I can’t ignore the fact that it forces people like the Penguin or Black Mask to up their weaponry.”
“At least Stark’s drones would be directly under our control,” Hill added. “Not some fly by night masked men and women we can’t rely on because we don’t know if they’ll show when we need them.”
“Batman and his assistants have always been there,” Gordon cut in.
“And the Iron Legionnaires will always be there too,” Stark added.
Gordon started to comment, but a look from the Mayor silenced him. Stark had hella respect for Gordon but still took his silence as a point for him.
It also meant he’d earned another sip of martini.
To be continued…
While writing this fanfiction, I used Green Ronin’s Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition RPG, to leave some things to chance. Check it out!
Like this fanfiction? Check out Mark’s original “Shadowdance” saga books!
DC Adventures, Copyright 2011, Green Ronin Publishing; Author Steve Kenson. It’s now Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition
Advanced Player’s Manual, Copyright 2005, Green Ronin Publishing: Author Skip Williams.
The characters Iron Man, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Vanko, Black Widow and Nick Fury are Copyright Marvel Comics
The characters Batman/ Bruce Wayne, Batgirl/ Barbara Gordon, Black Mask, the Penguin/ Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, Renee Montoya, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Robin/ Dick Grayson, KGBeast and Bane are Copyright DC Comics
The character Juri Han is Copyright Capcom
None of the characters belong to me as this is fanfiction, done for fun and as a creative exercise.