Title: R:AP it up
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Genre: Fix-it, Pre-Iron Man 1
Warnings: Major Character Death (Obadiah Stane)
Author’s Notes: You should know I’m not a fan of Pepper Potts by now. Seriously, if you’ve read anything MCU by me, you should know. I don’t consider this fic character bashing because it’s all supposition and she never comes on screen—but, I will admit that I am not kind to her character. Also, Amnesia is a terrible trope. I hated writing this but it was on my damn card. I don’t care if you don’t think it works for the trope.
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo, Square: Amnesia
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 1,582
Summary: An unexpected accident kills Obadiah Stane and leaves Tony without his memories. His learning process teaches a great many people this little thing called consequences.
“Sir?” a melodic voice asked worriedly. “Sir, are you alright?”
He sat there staring at the body of a dead man he could not name, and he could honestly say that no, he was not alright. “My name is Sir?”
“Your name is Anthony Edward Stark; you prefer Tony.”
Tony nodded. That name didn’t sound too bad.
“I am programmed to call you Sir,” the voice continued.
“Programmed?” Tony asked. “Are you a robot or something?”
“I am an Artificial Intelligence. My name is JARVIS and I was your final project when you received your doctorate from MIT.”
Doctorate sounded…good. And MIT felt impressive…though he couldn’t say why. “So, I’m smart?”
“You could say that, Sir. You have been qualified as the smartest man on the planet for more than a decade.”
That sounded like someone blowing smoke up his ass but, okay.
“And this is…” he pointed at the man in front of him.
“Your godfather and the COO of Stark Industries. Sir, I believe you will want privacy for the rest of this conversation.”
“Alright. Weird but alright,” he got up and silently followed the blinking light strip down the stairs and into a glass-walled room full of interesting looking tools. As far as he could tell there was no one else in the house. He instinctively grabbed a tablet to make sure.
There were no other people, but there were some energy signatures he wasn’t sure of. Not that he was sure of much, but still.
“Are we in privacy mode, JARVIS?”
Several of the energy signals suddenly changed. “We are, Sir.”
Tony glanced toward a nearby cabinet. “Are you sure?”
Tony went to the cabinet in question. There were several weird plastic cartridges stacked in the back. He pulled them out one-by-one until he got to the last one. It was heavier than the rest. “So, what’s this?”
“Scanning.” Beams of light shot down from the ceiling to actually scan back and forth over the thing. It was a pretty cool display. “It appears to be an audio-visual transmitter/receiver. One of your father’s designs that Mr. Stane leased to a government agency known as SHIELD after your father’s death.”
“The dead guy gave my dad’s stuff away so the government could spy on me?”
“Sold, not gave—but essentially…yes, Sir.”
“Clearly we need to find out why the government would want to spy on me like this?”
“Respectfully, Sir, you are the owner and CEO and the head of Research and Development for Stark Industries.”
Tony felt like that should be vaguely panic inducing, but he wasn’t sure why. “And what is Stark Industries?”
“A multi-billion-dollar international business conglomerate that profits primarily off of weapons development for the United States government,” JARVIS answered.
“I assume that is the government that is spying on me?”
“That is who SHIELD works for—yes, Sir.”
“So, the people I effectively work for don’t trust me?” Tony frowned. That was fucked up. “Why do I keep working for them?”
“I…do not know, Sir.”
“Clearly we need to do some investigation into Stane and SHIELD.”
“Yes, Sir. I do have one concern, however.”
“Only one? You had to tell me my name and you only have one?”
“Sir, your instructions in the event of a Temporary Memory Loss were very clear. Recovery: Amnesia Protocol is in full effect. I am to maintain your privacy at all costs and answer every question you have to facilitate the return of your memories and increase your sense of calm.” Clearly, he had known himself fairly well. “The problem I can see is that Ms. Potts, your personal assistant, is part of the plan to help maintain your physical privacy against outside sources.”
“The receiver you have located has a very short range and a functionally small memory core. Someone must receive a transmission from the device every day or risk memory loss and damage to the device—damage which could cause a number of issues leading to the device’s exposure, including a house fire.”
“Okay…?” Tony drawled. “Wait, Ms. Potts is the only one that comes to visit me every day, right?”
“That is correct, Sir.”
“So, my assistant is a government plant?”
“That would be my guess, Sir.”
“My father is dead, my godfather sold me out to the government, and my assistant is a government plant. Is there anyone in my life I can actually trust?”
“I don’t know, Sir.”
“Let’s find out,” Tony decided. He sat down on a stool and pulled the tablet he had found closer. “You start with this Potts and then have her deal with the dead guy upstairs. I’ll start with SHIELD.”
“I will manage my tasks and endeavor to keep you from revealing your interest in SHIELD,” JARVIS confirmed.
“Smart ass,” Tony muttered and started poking around. If SHIELD was invested in him, that meant there had to be access points between them. He just had to find them and use them.
There was a tug on his jeans, and he looked down to see a weird arm with a pincher and a camera looking at him. For some reason, the bot made him think of a puppy. “What?” he asked it.
The bot snapped its little pincher claw at him twice.
“That is DUM-E, he is your main assistant bot.” JARVIS told him. Apparently, the bot could not speak for himself. “He wants to destroy the transmitter/receiver you’ve found, Sir.”
“Alright,” Tony handed the device over and the puppy-bot gripped it in his pinchers. “See if you can find any more like it, okay?”
The puppy-bot nodded with its mouth full. Then it crushed the transmitter/receiver within its grippers. The different pieces fell to the floor and the bot made sure to pick them up and crush them, too. A very thorough—if not the most speedy—little guy.
“Sir, Ms. Potts would like to see you,” JARVIS announced like he hadn’t seen the pretty red-haired woman tapping a shoe impatiently outside his lab. “Mr. Stane’s remains have left the premises and the police have accepted the video of the event in lieu of a statement from you. She asks that you reinstate her access.”
“Have we proven she’s not a government plant yet?” Tony asked.
“Then no access. I’m busy.”
“What do you mean, I have to fly? In a plane?”
JARVIS started, “Mr. Stane said…”
“That guy’s dead and we don’t trust him anyway,” Tony cut him off.
“Then how do you intend to get to New York, Sir?” JARVIS helpfully provided a map with two blinking dots on it. “New York is on the other side of the country.”
“Still don’t need a plane. I’m going to Superman that shit.” How else was SHIELD going to not see him coming?
“Superman does not exist, Sir,” JARVIS told him.
“Superman does not exist yet, J. He does not exist yet.”
“How did you find me, Mr. Stark?” Colonel Director Fury asked from across his own dining room table.
“Is that really a question?” Tony asked. “And it’s Doctor. I’ve gotten the degree three times in three different fields, do you not think I deserve the salutation?”
Fury glared at him. Tony thought maybe it was supposed to be intimidating but the guy worked so hard to be intimidating that he came right around the other side to ridiculous.
“Dr. Stark,” Fury finally corrected himself. “How did you find me?”
“You’re in the phonebook,” Tony said flippantly. “Why are you spying on me?”
“It’s nothing personal—”
“In my house, feels kind of personal,” Tony interrupted. He wanted answers, not spin. “With my Personal Assistant, feels kind of personal. In my company, using my intellectual property—that I made and the stuff I inherited from my father. All of it feels pretty personal.”
“People like you are dangerous, you have to be watched.”
“People like me,” Tony repeated. “Do you mean the rich or the intelligent? Are you spying on other billionaires?”
Fury ground his teeth rather than answered.
“I’m going to go with intelligent, then,” Tony decided. “Seems pretty authoritarian. I thought you were supposed to hunt Nazis, Nick, not imitate them.”
“I live in a black and white world, Stark. You’re either with me or against me.”
“And we’re back to authoritarianism.” Tony shook his head and stood. His flight system began to automatically wrap itself back around him. Inside the suit under JARVIS’s control was, honestly, the most safety he could remember feeling. “Well, this was fun.” He started to walk away. “I guess I’ll just have to take your little Hydra infection to the President. I hope you don’t die for all the treason they’ve talked you into.”
“Stark!” Fury stood in, well, a fury.
Tony just kept going, the helmet of his flight system forming around his head.
“STARK!” Fury shouted again.
“Sir, I have located the cargo SHIELD misappropriated from the Stark Seeker.” JARVIS put an image of a man half buried in ice on Tony’s heads-up display. “He is in the research sub-basement of the SHIELD New York Headquarters.”
“Who is he?” And why was he important enough for a government agency to steal?
“It appears the Stark Seeker has finally completed the mission your father set for them back in 1945 and located the remains of Captain Steve Rogers—also known as Captain America—within the Arctic. Sir, he appears to be alive and I believe SHIELD is experimenting on him.”
“Son of a bitch.”
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