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Armored Underworld (fanfiction) pt 6 of 41

Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, continues his presentation. Afterward, he gets some private talk time with Gotham City’s favorite son, Bruce Wayne.

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Iron Man mask

Gordon turned away from Stark. Hill stood.

“An interesting show, Mr. Stark, but some of us do have to do the people’s work in the morning,” Hill said. “Have your people send my office the numbers on these drones.”

“No problem,” Stark said.

“Meanwhile, I’d like Mr. Wayne’s people to look at the viability of your tech,” Hill added.

Stark nearly choked on his martini.

“All due respect to Bruce’s people,” Stark said, “but I’m not sure they’d understand the delicate mechanics behind the Mark Twos. I mean, how long have you been out of the war machine game, Bruce?”

“Waynetech keeps a special projects division,” Wayne said. “They can look over the Legionnaire under the supervision of Tony’s people.”

“Then it’s settled,” Hill said. He approached the raised stage where Tony stood. “Once my people have the numbers and the report from Waynetech, we’ll decide, Mr. Stark.”

Stark came to the edge of the stage. “Guess I can’t ask for more,” he said. “Unless you’d like to join me at the Iceberg Lounge. Getting a few bottles.”

“I’ll have to pass,” Hill said, his tone hinting he wasn’t about to join Stark on one of his tabloid-fodder adventures.

Hill reached up to shake Stark’s hand. Stark accepted. Hill then turned toward the exit. Gordon did the same, leaving with Hill.

“Opening another market before Lex pushes you out of Metropolis?” Wayne asked.

Stark took a long draw on his martini. “You caught me. Lex put in a competing bid with his version of a robot drone. Side note — my lawyers are still litigating possible patent infringements. Surprise there.

“But this isn’t completely about that,” Stark continued. “The Legionnaires can do some good. Despite what Gordon thinks.”

“Jim Gordon is a good man working in a city that actively tries to destroy good men. But I am curious why you chose Gotham.”

“Why not?” Stark said as he returned to the lectern.

“After NYC, Metropolis and Gotham are the two big cities needing protection. New York has not one but two Spider-Men, not to mention Daredevil, and, when I’m in the mood, Iron Man.

“If stuff really craps the bed, SHIELD steps in. Or there’s the X-Men when they’re not unfairly hunted just for being genetically superior.”

“Gotham has Batman.”

Stark heard a bit of an edge in Wayne’s voice. He looked to the man. No, still the same casually slack Bruce he’d always known.

“Yeah, that’s a safe bet,” Stark said. He turned back to the lectern and poured himself another drink.

“Guy who wears a mask and doesn’t play well with others,” Stark said. “Unless you’re a kid in a bright yellow uniform. Good city camouflage that.”

“He’s worked well with Gordon.”

“Until he doesn’t. Even the Mayor had his reservations on that one.” After taking a sip of martini, Stark added, “I went public as Iron Man out of a sense of trust.”

“You did it so you could take the spotlight,” Wayne shot back.

Stark thought on this for a moment. “Not gonna lie. The spotlight is nice. But the public knows who I am. They know where I’m coming from. They can then trust me. Can’t say that about masked guys like Batman.”

“But you trust New York to masked individuals.”

“The first Spider-Man’s was a kid,” Stark replied. “A kid with good intentions who grew up to be a good man. One whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting without the mask.”

Stark’s revelation gave Wayne pause.

Off Wayne’s look, Stark said, “He doesn’t want to go public, for fear of what his enemies may do to his loved ones. I respect that, so I keep his identity to myself. Haven’t met the new kid, but the older Spidey vouches for him.”

“Batman is there when he’s needed,” Wayne said.

“Yeah. That infamous bat-signal you guys have. He’s still just one man. Granted, he’s got some great toys I’d like to check out, but still one man.”

Stark raised a hand, cutting off Wayne’s next words. Stark continued. “And before you say the same of Iron Man, let me let you in on a trade secret. Not every Iron Man appearance is me.”

Wayne’s expression darkened. “I thought you discarded AI and robots after the Ultron affair.”

Stark downed the rest of his martini. “Well, the stuff for public consumption, yes.” He looked at Wayne.

“But crime never sleeps. Neither can Iron Man.” Stark looked thoughtful for a moment. “Iron Man probably shouldn’t be fighting evil with a hangover either.”

Shrugging, Stark picked up the shaker and drank directly from it. Putting both his glass and the shaker back on the lectern, he went to the side of the stage and descended the stairs. Wayne stood to meet him.

“Seriously, though,” Stark began. “It’s nice we live in a world where people have super-powers and want to do some good. But they must be held accountable to the everyday joe, or those joes are liable to rise and do something stupid. Like, vote that orange jackass Drumpf into office.

“You have any idea how many wars Iron Man is gonna have to stop because of him?”

Wayne gave a wry smile.

Stark put an arm around Wayne’s shoulder in a show of friendship. “But enough about all this heavy stuff, Bruce, my boy! I have a booth at the Iceberg with vodka chilled and women to warm it up! We haven’t torn up a town since last year at Cannes!”

Wayne politely removed Stark’s arm. “Thanks, Tony, but I have to check in on a student I’m mentoring.”

“Really? What’s her name?”

Wayne shook his head. “Platonic. She’s studying conflict resolution in urban business settings.”

Stark gave Wayne a sly smile. “Whatever you say, Bruce.” He headed toward the exit. “Just the same. Iron Man suit only holds one.”

Stark turned (awkwardly due to the alcohol) and looked to Wayne while walking backward to the exit. “But when I come back, we’re hitting the town. Can’t stay holed up in some cave all the time!”

Turning from Wayne, Stark added, “Give my best to Alfred!”

With a wave, Stark exited.

Wayne looked after Stark for a moment. He then turned his gaze toward the Iron Legionnaire. His eyes narrowed.

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!

Copyright Info

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.

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