12:26 - August 22, 2008.
Stark Industries, Los Angeles branch.
“Sir, I have located Miss Lehane,” JARVIS announced, bringing Tony Stark’s attention up from the piece of ‘Borg technology’ he had been working on.
“Well?” Tony asked, sliding the holographic display of the technology he was working on out of his view.
“Miss Lehane is currently in Scotland after her escape from Valley State correctional facility.” The AI explained. “Miss Lehane was remanded there in May over two thousand after handing herself in to local authorities. Charged with multiple counts of homicide and assault, she escaped with the help of an unknown associate, no efforts to apprehend her have been entered.”
“They didn’t go after her?” Tony asked, raising an eyebrow at this as he pulled over another screen to check over the information JARVIS was displaying for him.
“Miss Lehane’s records were sealed sir, though testimony from inmates of Valley State facility indicate, and I quote, ‘the guards would be crazy to mess with her’, and ‘ain’t no one taking that girl down, she like crazy or some shit.’”
“I’m seeing that,” Tony commented with a smirk. “Find out what you can, location and contact information would be good. She’s probably flighty given she escaped from jail, make sure she knows we’re not interested in returning her to Valley State.”
“Indeed sir,” The AI Commented.
“And I’ll hold you to that,”
Tony turned to face the door, knowing from the voice who it was that would be standing there. “Can’t you just knock like anyone else?” Tony said, glaring over at Director Fury.
“What’s your interest in Miss Lehane?” Fury asked, ignoring Tony’s comment as he walked forward.
“None of your business,” Tony said idly. “Is this some sort of second attempt to talk to me about this Avengers stuff, because I told you, not interested.”
“This has nothing to do with that,” Fury said simply. “This has to do with you researching and contacting a known criminal who was marked as dangerous by the highest levels I’ve ever seen. You don’t think you could pull something like that and it not come to my attention do you?”
“I didn’t know she was dangerous,” Tony said with a shrug. “Not that it matters because it’s none of your business.”
“It’s my business when you’re contacting someone like Miss Lehane.” Fury frowned. “Your research into her was flagged the moment you ran her name through the database. Now, what’s your interest in Miss Lehane?”
“Land,” Tony said simply.
“Sunnydale,” Fury replied with a nod.
“She became the sole beneficiary of Richard Wilkins on his death; the land was in his family for generations. I’m interested in acquiring it.” Tony explained simply.
“And this has nothing to do with whatever you’re excavating from the Sunnydale crater,” Fury said idly, ignoring the annoyed look on Stark’s face.
“I’m actually looking for a new place, beach front, underground expansion, Sunnydale just fits the bill.” Tony said flippantly.
“Even ignoring Miss Lehane’s criminal status, she alone is one of the largest landowners outside of the US Military…”
“Land she’s done nothing with,” Tony interrupted Fury. “In fact, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know she inherited the land from Wilkins, along with a trust fund that puts my annual bonuses to shame.”
“We’re aware of her financial records as well,” Fury said with a shrug. “Miss Lehane has shown no interest in her financial or any other ties bequeathed to her by Richard Wilkins.”
“Which she hasn’t touched either.” Tony commented. “You think a twenty eight year old girl isn’t going to want to know she has a trust fund that puts her in the stupidly comfortable bracket?” Tony snorted as Fury rolled his eye. “She has a right to know.”
“And I’m telling you to leave it alone.” Fury practically ordered.
“Sorry, but not interested,” Tony said flippantly. “Private citizen, I don’t take orders from you.”
“Stark Industries has several military contracts, including S.H.I.E.L.D, which makes it our business when you contact a woman with Miss Lehane’s record.” Fury said firmly.
“What, you’re going to go elsewhere?” Tony snorted in amusement. “There isn’t a company around that can match what Stark Industries is doing for you, and you know it.” He said, walking towards Fury to face him fully. “So don’t come in here with your bluster and try and intimidate me with your veiled threats.”
“That wasn’t a threat,” Fury said calmly, stepping right up into Tony’s space. “Stay away from Miss Lehane, that’s a warning, not a threat by the way.”
“Noted and ignored,” Tony said, staring straight back into Fury’s face. “You know the way out.” He said simply, turning away from Fury and dismissing him mentally.
“You’re making a mistake here,” Fury said, standing there and glaring at Tony’s back as he walked away.
“It wouldn’t be the first,” Tony said with a shrug as he sat back down at his work bench and pulled over the screen displaying the readings from the ‘Borg technology’ he was working on. He waited a few seconds until he heard the door close, then flicked over the screen to security and locked the doors against further intrusions. “JARVIS, when he’s out, scramble lock codes and issue new key cards and passwords to all staff. I want to know how he got in here without a pass and that hole plugged.”
“Yes sir,” The AI responded quickly, devoting runtime directly to issuing the new passwords and key cards immediately.
“Display information from Sunnydale, screen four,” Tony announced as he pulled another screen across, which instantly pulled up the information he’d requested about their makeshift operation in Sunnydale.
The excavation was proceeding slowly, with work being done carefully around the warehouse to reinforce it while moving away the rubble encasing it. The technology within the Calax warehouse had actually gone deeper than they’d originally discovered, with five alcoves leading away from the one they had discovered Doctor Giles inside. Two more bodies had been discovered as well, both with the same cybernetic implants as the one he had personally found by the stairs, subjects three and four showed signs of animal attack, with scratches and damage to their cybernetic armour. Subject three even showed signs of a bite mark on its neck, though cause of death on either of them had yet to be determined.
So far, after three days of research and exploration of the Calax warehouse, Doctor Giles had been the only survivor and the most puzzling of the lot, discounting the technology found with him of course.
Medical exams show the cybernetic implants were threaded through his entire body, with cortical implants linking directly to his brain, neural processors, sensory nodes and micro-circuitry through his entire nervous system. Whatever had been done to Doctor Giles was years, centuries ahead of its time, leaving him practically dependant on the cybernetic implants to keep him alive.
They’d discovered early on that Doctor Giles had a physical dependence on the alcove they’d discovered him in, needing to return to the alcove at least once a day for the alcove to maintain his cybernetic implants. Which had proved an inconvenience in their plans to disassemble the technology housed there and bring it back to Stark Industries in pieces, instead practically the entire R&D team from Stark Industries Los Angeles branch had been moved to their makeshift camp just outside of the Sunnydale crater where they could work on the ‘Borg technology’ there before finding parts that weren’t integral to the alcove’s operation and shipping them back to the Los Angeles branch.
“What’s the progress on the Electro-plasma chamber?” Tony asked aloud as he leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. The fact that this technology existed was both confusing and amazing at the same time. Every piece of technology they examined was literally centuries ahead of anything else that either Stark Industries, or any other tech based company could dream of.
“The electro-plasma chamber is operating at one hundred percent efficiency,” The AI responded, bringing up the information on the screen for Tony to examine. “Less than point one of a percent is being regulated by Doctor Giles’ alcove during his time spent there.”
“Where’s the rest of the energy going?” Tony asked aloud.
“It is simply being stored within the chamber itself sir.” The AI explained. “Simulations indicate the electro-plasma chamber is capable of an output in the region of two thousand terajoules per second given optimal conditions.”
“Incredible,” Tony breathed out. “Display medical scans of Doctor Giles.” He muttered, rubbing his face as he tried to figure this puzzle out. “What’s this?” He asked, flicking the display in on Doctor Giles’ respiratory system and enlarging it on the screen.
“Cybernetic enhancement was performed on fifty four percent of Doctor Giles’ body. His respiratory system and heart were completely reinforced and reconfigured to allow for cybernetic integration. Doctor Giles’ right eye is a replacement as well, cybernetically enhanced and linked to the cortical implant fused with his brain.” The AI explained, bringing up scans the Stark medical team had done over Doctor Giles in the past two days.
“This is beyond advanced,” Tony frowned, glaring at the cortical implant that was nestled in Doctor Giles’ brain. “We’re taking two, maybe three hundred years beyond current technology.”
“This technology does not conform to current day technological progress sir,” The AI informed him.
“I noticed,” Tony muttered to himself. “Have we got anywhere on locating any information on who could have made this?”
“None sir,” The AI responded. “There are no identifying marks on the technology itself, nor on the implants within Doctor Giles body.”
“You know, I’m beginning to hate Sunnydale,” Tony muttered to himself as he flicked through another medical scan of Doctor Giles’ body. “The nanotechnology is present throughout his entire body.”
“Indeed sir,” The AI agreed with his observation. “Blood samples taken show the nanotechnology is present and active outside of his body though requires instructions to be sent from Doctor Giles’ implants for it to activate any further functions.”
“Keep it contained,” Tony said with finality, knowing all too well what cybernetic implants were like, especially if your life depended on them like his did. The niggling worry about allowing nanotechnology to interact with Stark Technology was another thing that was on his mind, especially nanotechnology as advanced as what they were dealing with here. They had no reference for where it came from, or what control the people who designed it might have. And with the advanced nature of the implants and technology around the warehouse, it was a good bet that they would need everything Stark Technologies had to contain it should Doctor Giles prove violent.
“Is there any further information on Doctor Giles family?” He asked, taking his mind off of the puzzle of the ‘Borg technology’ for the moment.
“None sir,” The AI informed him. “Doctor Giles had no children and was an only child. I have been unable to locate his parents to advise them of his condition.”
“Keep looking,” Tony said as he stood up. “Has he asked for anything? Within reason of course?”
“Clothing and entertainment materials,” The AI explained. “Larger clothing was provided to him to wear over the cybernetic suit that appears to be bonded to his body. The books he requested were provided in hard back form as per your instruction to keep technology away from his body.”
“Good,” Tony nodded, wanting to keep Doctor Giles comfortable for the meantime until they could actually figure out exactly what to do with him. He knew eventually he’d have to inform Director Fury about this, if the resident spymaster didn’t already know about it that was. But until then he was going to do his best to keep Doctor Giles onside while they worked on understanding the technology that had been found alongside him.