|PEPPER P. (saltedand) wrote in rooms,|
@ 2014-06-14 15:38:00
|Entry tags:||!marvel comics, *narrative, pepper potts|
Who: Pepper Potts
What: ID cards & moving on
Stark Industries took ID photos every five years. The bio-signature of every employee in the building was recorded alongside the squinty-eyed, poor-lit photograph that was enshrined in plastic and pinned to a pocket before you got in the building. Finger-prints. The further up you went, the greater the collection of data amassed to codify building sections and files you could access. Stark Industries was very careful about privacy.
Her ID card still worked. Her twenty-nine year old face looked up at her mistily from behind plastic. An incredibly ill-thought-out chin-length hair-cut. A lipstick that was a little too pink for her skin-tone and a blouse she still liked, somewhere in her closet. A smile. At twenty-nine, she'd been more than an accountant, she'd been running backstage and she'd been madly and quietly in love with her boss for a year. No Afghanistan. No secret tech, no arc reactor: just a series of mad parties and phone calls and flowers to schedule in alongside the meetings with major security sector companies.
Her ID card still worked and Pepper supposed that meant no one had yet been hired - or stepped in - to replace her. It was the first thing, the minute after resignation or firing. Remove the employee from the systems, delete the electronic signature that wrapped fingerprints around iris scans, the agreement any employee gave to having their identity encoded onto Stark databases dissolved the second they walked out that door and off the payroll. Sometime -- soon -- she would be wiped out and her twenty-nine year old face would disappear from the employee archives. Her pass wouldn't swipe and the doormen who smiled at her as she walked past in the lobby would stop her, polite hands and wide shoulders.
She'd given it a week. A week since the hotel, and of hospitals and the smell of cleaning fluid and hospital laundry clinging to her. A week to confirm he wasn't dead and that the stock-prices would, eventually, level out. A week, as her checking account dropped in a lazy but precipitous decline from the reassurance of numbers to the trickle of rent and bills and the cost of cabs and arrangements she couldn't in good faith put on the Stark Enterprises company credit-card she'd left on his desk. She had taken back the ID card temporarily, but today it was plastic on her dressing table and the smile of her twenty-nine year old oblivious self lay face down, among a tangle of jewelry.
The new one pinned into place did not show her fingerprint beneath her photograph. It called her Coordinator of Administrative Operations which was a very long way of saying making things tick. They'd asked her about her accountancy training; she smiled faintly and thought of books and numbers and accounts and said she thought she could manage.
She surveyed an office that was breeze-blocked into a corner, clean paint and a view of the parking lot. She didn't think (deliberately) about the career now plummeting like a stock-price after over-evaluation, she thought market-correction, and she put the new files on her desk and sat carefully in a black impossibly tailored suit and unremarkable heels.
He hadn't asked her to stay. He hadn't asked her to go, but he hadn't asked her to stay and the ID card pinned to her suit pocket didn't smile in too-pink lipstick, cheerful certainty that there'd be another photo to follow at thirty-four. He hadn't asked her, and she opened a file and began perusing the collective list of suppliers across the company, with Oscorp written at the top of each page.
She wasn't twenty-nine and she didn't think she would run the place when she was older, confidence laughing on the phone with her father and impertinent in her boss's office. She was told the boss didn't care for administration and she'd never see him as if they were looking for the woman who'd been briefly newsprint and she shook her head, and said administration worked perfectly well when the boss stayed out of it and watched them look approving. It was just a job and it had been a long time since it had been just a job, but the ID card pinned to her pocket was, she was told, renewed every year. It was impermanent, and she thought she liked it that way.