|Captain Steve Rogers (rightoutoftime) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2018-04-10 21:29:00
Steve's idea of a bar wasn't the same as Tony's idea of a bar. Tony's bars tended toward the top shelf stuff, although he had been known to hang out in a few places with Rhodey that were more down-to-earth. Steve's choice definitely reflected that.
And since Tony checked out where he was going, he opted for a jacket and t-shirt type of ensemble. It was a casual dressing down, for him at least. He walked in only a few fashionable minutes late to the meeting, looking around until he spotted Steve. He managed a smirk as a greeting, avoiding a wave that would call any attention, and made his way over so he could sit down.
"Hi," Tony said. "Fancy meeting you here. For the meeting. We're meeting about."
He took off his sunglasses so that his 'whatever' eye roll wasn't hidden behind them, since Steve knew damn well they weren't there to hang out or exchange pleasantries. The situation didn't call for that. And Tony wasn't sure if Steve wanted to hang out with him outside of 'work stuff' anyway. That might be...weird.
Steve found it interesting that Tony always felt the need to be the way that he was, constantly on and always quipping. It was like he was permanently set on being the Tony Stark that the whole world believed he he was, confident and smarter than everybody else in the room. Also, heartless, that was another trait he liked to portray.
“I ordered you a beer,” Steve remarked as he tilted his head to regard Tony. “Figured if we’re going to talk about what we’re going to talk about we’ll need a drink.”
Tony was right about one thing though, this meeting was all business.
Heartlessness might be conveyed to the outside world, but it certainly was a maelstrom of intense feelings and worries on the inside. It was true that coping and self-defense mechanisms were among Tony Stark's many quirks. And what news he had compiled didn't point in a great direction at all. Tony hoped Steve would do that counterbalance thing he did so well.
"...'kay? Thanks." Tony slid the beer over more toward him. He put his network phone down, fingers moving over the screen so he could bring up files and relevant images that he kept on the server, where he knew they would be safe.
"I downloaded everything from Parker's suit. Confirms that some shifty characters at Hammer Industries are up to their usual shady crap. That place needs flattened. Pronto. I'd do it myself, but I know you're going to frown down on that. Because you're a party pooper. There's bigger problems if we rushed in, anyway. Fallout, aftermath, whatever. We know they're leaking out weapons, sure. But it's not like it wasn't sanctioned on the down-low."
And Tony was taking a long drink of that beer when he brought up the first of some top secret defense department contracts, turning the phone around so that Steve could read one in particular. Some top generals asked for specialized weapons to be developed to combat 'various threats', in 2010, after the Hulk broke Harlem. At the top of those pushing for it the most, was Ross. Five years before he became Secretary of State, and before he came to the Avengers bearing that well timed 'peace offering' of the Sokovia Accords. Tony stopped drinking with a shrug and looked everywhere but at Steve. It was an obvious sign of discomfort, because no one liked finding out they'd been played like a fiddle. He wondered if that grieving mom hadn't been asked to cut him off at the pass that day. In retrospect, it seemed awfully convenient, considering how much security was on site.
"They can't do that sort of weapons testing under normal conditions," Tony said, looking away. "They waited until they had an excuse to put those conditions in place, to start the test phases. On the street, then giving watered down versions to the NYPD. And then orchestrating this shit fest we've been dealing with. Kinda like how they already had The Raft ready to go, that none of us were aware about? They've been prepping for it. Way before you guys were crashing helicarriers in the Potomac."
Steve merely lifted his eyes to regard Tony when he mentioning flattening Hammer Industries but the other man had already moved on so Steve said nothing. He instead took a long hard look at Tony's phone and it didn't surprise him that Ross' name came up, especially given recent history with the General.
He could tell Tony was uncomfortable but who could blame him, Ross had definitely done a number, not just on Tony but on the Avengers as a whole. Completely divided them.
"That sounds awfully familiar," Steve remarked with a shake of his head. "If I didn't know any better I'd say this had the makings of HYDRA."
The fact that Ross did a number on all of them wasn't lost on Tony, and he looked agitated at the thought. Any irritability wasn't directed at Steve in any way. It was all aimed at himself. Tony chalked it up as yet another fail in a long list of fails. He'd keep trying to plug along, regardless, and his mind was already formulating potential fixes at the rate of an avalanche in the Alps wiping out everything in its path. That is to say, it was moving at its usual pace.
"Yeah, not the sort of confirmation I wanted to hear. But here we are." He tried to shrug it off and look dismissive, but when he glanced at Steve, his eyes were wary and apprehensive. He reached over to swipe the screen and bring up further information. "Here's worse news. Those social media accounts? Traced 'em. There's an overseas network. If it's HYDRA, then it's a resurgence movement. And a lot of countries have the Accords cemented in place."
Well that wouldn’t make any of this any easier, Steve had read those Accords inside and out, one of the many reasons he’d refused to sign them.Not to mention the fact it basically was red tape wrapped up in more red tape and was in effect tying their hands behind their backs until some five star general or bureaucrat decided they could act.
He glanced up to watch the way Tony’s gaze changed and then as he glanced back at the phone, brow furrowing when Tony revealed that the social media accounts traced back to an overseas network.
“And there’s no way they could…” Steve trailed off as he still wasn’t entirely clued up on the more technical aspects of the modern day technology. “Route them through false servers?” He tried, hoping that he had at least got that much right.
"Yeah, checked that. Noooope," Tony said, popping the p for emphasis. "Russia, China, Eastern Europe, and parts of Africa. Same accounts hidden in the midst of actual fanboys and fangirls. Same hubs. They tried to mask it, but c'mon. It was as easy to uncover as it was to hack into the Pentagon."
Not to toot his own horn, but that was child's play. He was doing that before he even graduated from high school and went to MIT at age seventeen. Tony swiped a finger toward the screen again to bring up some shipping manifests from Hammer industries.
"Here's a neat trick I learned too little too late from my ex-business partner, Obadiah," Tony said, without any of his usual sarcastic mirth. There was nothing funny where Stane was concerned. "How to cover up overseas shipping, so even the government contracting you doesn't know what you're doing. This chain's getting longer the more I dig into these links."
Steve took a much closer look at the shipping manifests and blew out a breath as a picture was definitely forming and he wasn’t liking how it was shaping up.
Not at all.
“So basically what you’re telling me is that Hammer industries is part of a much larger overseas network which for all intents and purposes looks very much like a HYDRA operation and our government is either complicit or just has zero idea what they’re buying?” Just to make sure he fully understood the whole picture.
It was not a great picture, once those puzzle pieces fell into place. Tony was normally an amped up personality. Even with a lot of the puzzle pieces lost or missing, the picture so far was large enough that he knew where the rest of it was heading. He felt so edgy about it, he was about to log onto Twitter and declare himself to be Earth's biggest edgelord.
"Yep. Nailed it," Tony said, before taking a drink of beer that would have rivaled anyone at a college kegger party. Polished off, he set it aside and drew in a deep breath. "Whatever it is, it's bigger than us. And there's a whole lot of countries that still have the Accords in place. So it's going to be fun trying to get overseas right now. The minute any Avengers are sighted, it's going to be a real shitstorm."
“Well,” Steve began. “The Avengers no longer exist. Said so yourself.” His own beer sat untouched as he’d been too involved in the conversation to really enjoy the drink. “So won’t really be the Avengers now will it?”
He glanced up at Tony and lifted an eyebrow.
Tony was a smart man, let him make of that what Steve hoped he might.
Tony was contemplating potential fixes, but when he locked his gaze with Steve, there was the slightest hint of a conspiratorial smirk on his lips.
"Yep, that's right. Oops. How did that happen," Tony nonchalantly blurted out, with a shrug that looked lighthearted. Underneath the surface, Tony didn't think that Steve would be asking for his help...much less anyone else he used to be teammates with. The Secret Avengers had Shuri for designing things they might need. So it suddenly cemented in his mind what his next steps were going to be. That didn't mean he couldn't share intel. "I'll keep an eye on it. And I'll go blab at Fury. Keep him in the loop."
There was a moment of silence so intense that Tony appeared uncomfortable. Enough that his hand patted on the table just to make some noise.
It seemed short but sweet, as far as meetings went. Might as well end on a high note and not a sour one, which was the primary reason that Tony asked, "We done here, Cap?"
Steve gave a simple nod of his head, tapping his fingertips on the table as he did so. “Yeah, we’re done here.” Short and sweet but definitely one of the better meetings they’d had in the last few years.
And maybe just maybe Steve could finally enjoy a beer.