MAU: Can't Take the Sky From Me! Chapters -11- & -12-

Brian had long come to terms that he liked for his partner to take the lead, but that did not mean they or anyone had the right to walk all over him. Someone was about to learn a very hard lesson about underestimating and messing with this 'florist.'

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. None of the characters, places, or anything else is meant to be represented by anything in reality. Duh! Fiction, get it? I the author reserve the rights, so please don't go posting this anyplace else without my permission. A very special thanks goes out to Cathy who spent the time to make this story readable. Another round of thanks goes out to all the others out there in BCTS land who have encouraged and inspired me to write and keep writing. Any remaining mistakes are all mine.

MAU: Can't Take the Sky From Me!
By
Grover

<><><><><>
Chapter 11

Brian

Upton Heights Acres

He rolled over, still suffering the effects of the previous night. Never had he ever had an experience like that before. His entire body had hummed like a high tension line, actually making him pass out because of the pleasure.

Even now he felt nearly overwhelmed by it all. It took all the self-control that years of martial arts had given him to move at all. At least he'd had enough sense to call Marge at his shop and let her know the boss wasn't coming in today. Dragging himself out of the bed, he stood before the mirror, a bit shocked.

Just how in the hell had he let Steven convince him to change into this? Forget getting carded like he'd been his whole life. The damn Truant Officers would want to know why he wasn't in grade school!

Showering was a hell of an experience too, given how sensual this body designed by Steven was. One thing was for damn sure. He was changing this as soon as he could.

Brian had long accepted the truth he liked his 'partner' to take the lead and perhaps he was even a submissive. However, he saw that as a gift he could bestow or take back. It was all about trust. That was precious commodity he gave willingly, but it was still his to give.

Steven was charming and if not perfect, he fulfilled a lot of Brian's needs. However, since that damn alien box had come into their lives, his lover had not only crossed the line, but kept stepping all over boundaries he should not.

He wouldn't pretend that he didn’t have his own issues or that the alien device didn't have its temptations. Even his bit of experimentation while very freeing, didn't convince him to throw away all he and Steven had invested in their relationship. That was too important to him to just discard, no matter his own carefully hidden desires.

No, instead Steven had thrown it all away all by himself.

Another surge of anger hit him when he saw his phone had been turned off. His not so significant other after all, had to have done that after Brian had used it last. Perhaps it was 'only' a florist shop, as his boyfriend dismissively called it, but it was still his business.

Checking the messages, his anger only grew as he read one particular text message. A quick search of Steven's computer showed the engineer had neglected to wipe his privacy information and so it was easy for him to find the exact search string that was used, as well as the results.

“A week, my ass.” He muttered under his breath reading that the device worked only for three to four days.

Knowing now the device was called a MAU, he vaguely recalled Steven had figured out how to shrink it back down into a small box. Normally he gave his boyfriend a bit of slack, but since he was already considering changing that relationship he went immediately to the engineer's study. He knew about the surveillance system Steven had in the house.

As much as he might only be a life sciences major, that did not mean he was stupid nor unable to make a computer dance to his tune. It took him only a few minutes to find the footage where Steven had hidden the alien device.

Then, with a smirk, he erased that footage and turned off the system. Someone was about to learn one very hard lesson about underestimating and messing with this 'florist.'

<><><><><>

Agents in route

Agent G's death grip on the armrest didn't make him feel one ounce safer as M weaved in and out of the heavy traffic, while their wipers failed to keep the downpour from obscuring their vision. Yet another peal of thunder rang out as more lightning flashed, which didn't help things either.

It didn't matter that Tropical Storm Arthur had formed weeks before the official hurricane season was supposed to start. What was important was that it was here now and was keeping him and his partner from their investigation.

The only good thing was that the bad weather was starting to interfere with the power grid. That was a good thing for a pair of agents who might want to bend the rules on searching for an item vital to national security.

He was thrown violently against the passenger door as M whipped into an opening, advancing them another car length towards their goal.

That is if they made it there at all, he amended. He'd had airborne insertions into hostile territory under fire that were less nerve racking than this.

Abruptly, the racing traffic came to a standstill. Expertly braking in spite of the lousy road conditions, M brought them to a stop. That could not be said of the speeding driver behind them.

Already braced, the airbag wasn't quite as bad as running into a wall, but it still wasn't good. Forcing his brains to function, a quick check showed they were both uninjured, but a further evaluation made him realize they were well and truly out of the game.

Their car had been shoved forward by the Buick that had rear-ended them, hitting yet another vehicle which in turn had rammed another. Sandwiched thoroughly in the traffic they weren't going anywhere.

Just to put the finishing touch on everything, M grabbed his arm, pointing at the waterspout that had dropped out of the stormy clouds over the bay.

“Well crap!” He cursed.

<><><><><>

Griffin

Upton High School

The day had gotten exciting, and not in a good way. Just before lunch time a tornado watch for their area turned into a full fledged warning. It'd halted things at school for a while, as the administration debated what to do.

He was rather amazed that common sense overcame their natural butt-covering when they decided not to close the school early. All that would do would be to send more people out into hazardous conditions. Heck, in most cases schools were the best constructed buildings in the area, often doubling as hurricane shelters.

Besides, after discreetly checking with Al, the reported tornadoes and one waterspout weren't very close and were headed away from them. The whole thing made him kick himself for not making a contact lens version of the visor's display. It was fine for Danny, who normally wore glasses, but he never did. Starting now would cause problems, although he had fixed that bit with outside observers seeing the operator's eyes reading the display.

A simple program made it look as the reader was only looking straight ahead. Danny, of course, had immediately modified it to change the innocent image into joke like over large eyes and some other humorous stuff.

It'd also given him a chance to further modify his disguise program by having his suit stiffen itself, making it harder for him to walk and therefore, hopefully, make himself walk more like he had before his MAU change. He based it off the NASA exercise suit for orbiting astronauts which provided resistance to movement and helped fight the debilitating effects of Zero-G.

By lunch time the excitement over the tornadoes had ebbed and his new revised 'fat' suit got its first work out in the most brutal of all scholastic settings, the lunchroom. At his old school it wasn't so bad. The various groups pretty much kept to themselves. Here, each clique was much more aggressive about the pecking order. It also meant open season on any of the loners.

Griffin supposed that, technically, he was one of the nerds. He'd even gamed a little old fashioned Dungeons and Dragons with them, although his playing a female barbarian put some of them off. They had some really strange ideas about women, but he'd gotten his role-model from Grandma May.

Perhaps it was because of his mother's poor example, but his Grandmother made certain he understood that a woman could be strong in ways a man never could be. Such as how to bend with events like the willow in a storm instead of breaking, as well as standing up straight afterward without compromising your beliefs. It was that strength that let her compliment Grandpa Joe and, to his mind, that was what made their love so long lasting.

However, he doubted they intended on him using that ideal as a role-model for himself. Of course his different point of view made him the outcast again. Perhaps that was why he usually kept his gaming to the more anonymous online variety now.

Maybe because Griffin was so lost in thought was why he stumbled over the foot put out to trip him. Robert, one of the school's Mexican Mafia, had a very unpleasant grin at the surprise on the big redhead's face.

However, Griffin didn't fall. Perhaps he didn’t have the reflexes of a trained mixed martial arts fighter like Gina Carano, who he partly based his feminine alter-ego' appearance on, but he did come close. Performing a mad dance he kept his footing. He didn't even spill his food, which was a minor miracle despite that alien machine's improvements.

Everyone laughed of course, but he didn't think it worth pursuing the matter. Robert and his hombres made some unkind remarks in their dialect of Americanized Mexican Spanish that would've had Grandma May, with her strict rules on grammar and pronunciation, whacking all of their knuckles.

Griffin had not fallen, and he'd seen the estimation in his audience's eyes evaluating that fact. Big and agile wasn't a combination most bullies were fond of courting in their victims. He would even hedge a bit that he was still 'moving' oddly which was probably what singled him out as a target. He would have to work on that some more.

But while he was willing to let it go, Danny was more upset.

“They're just going to get away with it.” His friend whispered furiously, as they made their way to the nerd table.

“They usually do.” Griffin replied. “That's the nature of the beast. Not too smart, but you have to respect their animal cunning.”

“That doesn't make it right.” His friend glared at the lunchroom monitor who was content not to address the issue.

“No, it doesn't.” The redhead agreed. “But unless anyone else tries something else, I'm content to forget about it. Okay?”

Danny nodded grudgingly, but Griffin could see this wasn't over yet.

Sighing, he eyed the food that had been deemed healthy by a committee that didn't have to eat it. Just to make things perfect all everyone else wanted to talk about was the UFOs, which was a subject he wanted to avoid. This was turning out to be such an 'interesting' day.

<><><><><>

501st Legion

Diplomatic Detachment

Beth wasn't sure who she expected, but it certainly wasn't Dani herself and a pair of Collective Drones, as well as a bevy of Klingons.

“Sorry for the size of my party, but we had to be certain we had everything on hand to take care of this situation.” She apologized.

“Away Team,” Sean coughed dramatically even as the Klingons glared at him.

“Klingons are not Red Shirts,” The leader of the warriors retorted. “We had to come in answer to your … dubious marksmanship.”

Sean grinned at the reference to the stormtroopers in the movies being infamously bad shots. It was even a Trope on the internet about the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. However, honestly, in real combat it was almost that bad. He'd heard that in WWII it was reported that the average solider fired two shots for every enemy that was hit. Personally, he believed that was way too optimistic a figure, but that was historians for you.

“I hope you'll find that our accuracy has improved,” He said and added diplomatically, “No one is expendable from either of our groups.”

The Klingons nodded, acknowledging his statement.

Dani smiled in agreement with his wife as she gave him her unmistakable 'Men and testosterone poisoning' expression.

The Klingon laughed, clapping him on the shoulders. “Come! We have weapons!”

“We picked up your equipment request from Emmy.” The woman who was the splitting image of Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine character explained.

Sean's grin told it all. “Great! Lets get them inside so we can synchronize them with our helmet’s targeting computers. Ion gun characteristics are vastly different from our usual blasters.”

“Really?” The Klingon leader asked, as the others also appeared interested.

“I'll show you once we get them inside.” He gestured to the door while the 'girls' gave them all that look again.

“Boys and their toys!”

<><><><><>

Chapter 12

Danny

Upton High School

After lunch, the rest of the day passed more or less uneventfully. That did not take away from his anger at Robert and his hoodlums. The way they'd harassed Griff made him burn.

Although the redhead had laughed it off, it was still a big deal to him. As surely as someone jumping in front of a bus or onto the tracks facing down a train, Griff had saved his life. The physical risk had been very real as much as his friend made light of it. Jumping six feet off a picnic table was not the same as hurling yourself from one rooftop to another.

Okay the guard dog had been anticlimactic, but the risk of being caught most certainly was not. Thankfully, it appeared that they had gotten away with their temporary borrowing of the MAU. After thinking about it, Danny had to wonder how much of their adventures the previous day was just Griff getting them both away from their usual haunts just in case Steven came looking for them.

Sighing, he realized it could've been just what it seemed as well. Only a friend sharing his time on a very special occasion. The first day that Danny could really start living.

Trying to distract himself, he unlike Griff, could use his glasses and tricorder without anyone being the wiser. Remembering how his friend the night before related how he changed his bicycle into a motorcycle, Danny decided his own wheels were due for an upgrade.

It was currently your more or less standard electric wheelchair. His hands had lacked the strength to use a normal wheelchair, although he'd kept most of his dexterity. That had been slowly changing, that is until Griff showed up with his bag of goodies.

Having some fun, he wanted to outdo his friend by a few magnitudes. First he took Griff's motorcycle and worked out a program so as many as the components as possible were reused in that power armor that had been hinted at. Danny figured that wasting as little time as possible changing from one form to another would be at the very least faster and more efficient.

The idea was to provide additional protection and, to his reasoning, that usually meant you needed it fast. With that in mind, he set the transformation to cover the most vulnerable body areas first. Next, remembering about the flying part, he added a sub-mode so that the suit would be very maneuverable in flight. That lead into a dedicated flight form that resembled a flying wing.

Again he sought to make the process where the nanotechnology mini-factory had to change as little as possible. Danny also tried to prioritize the 'transformations,' concentrating on the health and welfare of the 'pilot.'

Then he duplicated the same process, but using his 'wheels' to substitute for Griff's bicycle. Almost as an after thought, he decided if you had mecha, you had to have a weapon. Remembering the Metal-Storm concept where you had one round stacked behind another, he combined that with a gas propellant. Danny reasoned that since the Universal Survival Kit had a Mr. Fusion, producing hydrogen would be easy, and the bullets could be almost anything you could feed into it. With a tri-barrel, design by the time you fired one dry, the next should be refilled and ready to go.

'More Dakka!' Danny chortled to himself referencing a trope where problem solving involved firing as many rounds at the trouble as is possible. Mini-guns, Gatling-guns and all other multi-barrelled machine-guns designed to throw a storm of bullets at your problems were the weapons of choice.

However, he reminded himself to provide some non-lethal options for his creation. He never intended on using it, but with Iron-Man running around he would rather have the design handy just in case.

By the time he finished all of that class was about over, so he set Jeeves to running simulations to find the faults and design problems and fix them. Just saying his computerized assistant's name made him smother his laughter so nobody in class thought he was crazy talking to himself.

Once he'd learned Griff had named his, Alfred, Danny just had to rename his too. Jeeves was a natural, even if not as tongue in cheek as AL, which looked a lot like the initials for Artificial Intelligence. Sure, Lara Croft's butler was named Jeeves, but PC Wodehouse's long suffering valet was named that too. That was where the whole 'Ask Jeeves' search engine had come from, although newer ones like Google and the Collective had pretty much taken over the market.

Just while he and Griff waited for his Mom to pick them up after school, Jeeves had finished the simulations and had even refined the initial idea though trial and error. The pure number of simulations that took was staggering, which reminded him again that Jeeves was an out of this world supercomputer.

The bottom line was, his designs worked great ... in simulation. The real world was another story yet to be told.

The ride home was a little tense with the heavy weather. Danny followed Griff's lead in keeping quiet so his Mom could concentrate on her driving. It wasn't real bad, but adding in the drivers who didn't make allowances for the slick partially flooded roads, didn't help the conditions.

“I hate to ask, Griffin, but would you mind staying here with Danny?” His Mom asked his friend. “With this storm we're short handed at the hospital.”

“No problem, Mrs. Cee.” The Farm-boy answered. “I was planning on staying over anyways. My Mom won't be back from her Charity club meeting until later, and Chris is working late as usual.”

“Good,” She declared, opening the garage door to give them some cover as they unloaded Danny's wheels, using the van's lift.

“Feel free to help yourself to the fridge.” His Mom told them. “Just remember to leave something for the rest of us.”

“Mom!” Danny tried not to whine. “I didn't eat that much this morning!”

“You should've seen him this morning.” Her eyes twinkled in merriment. “I'm surprised he left anything for us.

“Really, it'd only been a regular size meal.” He protested, although he knew her point was that he never ate that much. Of course she didn't know how he'd been eating like crazy today, taking every opportunity to snack. Dr. Otto advised him to continue. It was the old 'you are what you eat' thing. His body needed plenty of building materials to put things right.

“I'll try and hold my own.” Griff grinned.

“Here is his father's and my cells.” She handed the redhead the numbers. “And of course you both know to call if there are any problems.”

“Mom!” Danny complained, as his friend wisely kept silent. “We're not kids anymore.”

“I know that, dear.” She replied, diplomatically not mentioning his disabilities. “However, the unexpected does happen, and TS Arthur is coming closer to us than fore-casted for all, it's to make landfall north of us.”

“No problemo!” Griff never stopped grinning. “It's better to be prepared, even if nothing happens.”

“Exactly,” Danny's Mom agreed, as she got back inside the van to go back to her part-time job.

As soon as the garage door closed, Danny activated his 'suit.' The exhilarating feeling of just being able to stand made him want to dance and do all the other things he'd never been able to do. However, right now he wanted to take a shot at emptying the kitchen. His Mom might've only been joking, but on the ride home, he'd been unable to indulge in the snacking he'd been doing at every opportunity.

He just couldn't get enough to eat, and Griff had only a small variety of food 'templates' to share with Doc Otto. For his whole life, his diet had been carefully watched which meant many foods that most people took for granted were denied him. With his nifty nanotechnology hospital replicator thingie, it could make exact copies of those foods, but make certain they were healthy and nourishing.

However, he also understood what it meant to take care of yourself. That was why he scanned the food he took out of the fridge and then put it inside the 'thingie' to be transformed. After all, the lunch bag looking device used nanotechnology to 'rebuild' one thing into another. It didn't come from nothing. That was why the several bottles of water he'd put in his bag this morning were now gone used as building materials and as fuel to power all the machines Griff had made for them on Sunday.

“You know your Mom was just joking, right?” Griff asked, watching him take out the food to eat. “You don't really have to try and eat everything in the house.”

“She might've been.” Danny bit into a muffin, mumbling with his mouth full. “But I'm starving!”

“I guess you are.” Griff reasoned. “With your body repairing itself as rapidly as it is, it's got to take a lot of fuel.”

“You got that right.” The boy stuffing his face agreed. “Doc Otto is having to slow things to how fast I can eat.”

“You know, it might not be a bad thing to go slow.” Griff replied, diplomatically. “Too fast and you could make the wrong people suspicious.”

“I get that.” Danny said, between bites. “Most of what is going on right now is rebuilding serious stuff like my heart muscles and other really vital stuff. The only possibly visible things are my posture, which is improving, and some muscle tone.

“Doc Otto is still advising me to use the suit to be as active as I can.” Danny repeated his doctor's instructions. “My doing ordinary things is good physical therapy, helping all the medical stuff work better.”

“Well then!” Griff bounced on his heels. “You know what this calls for, don't you?”

“More food?” Danny asked, finishing his plate.

“Grocery shopping!” The redhead's eyes shined.

“Shopping?” The still hungry boy asked. “You mean go out? Haven't you noticed it's raining and storming like crazy.”

“Exactly!” Griff explained. “No one will notice a pair of bikes leaving your house in this weather. Everyone is inside.”

“That's because they want to still stay nice, safe and dry!” Danny replied, “Besides, I don't know how to ride a bike. Remember the only wheels I've ever had? They're side by side.”

“No problem.” The farm-boy grinned. “I've got it covered.”

<><><><><>

501st Legion Outpost
Danni

Collective's briefing

“That Air National Guard commander was just trying to find opportunities for his people to fly with the current budget cuts in place. From all accounts he didn't expect for his pilots to find anything. When they did, the incident was too visible and too many didn't take it seriously at first for it to be easily covered up.” Danni explained to her Jedi hosts, as their group prepared to foray into the storm.

“No fewer than a half dozen alphabet agencies have reacted to this. The Agency-with-no-name.” Danni smiled, “Has classified everything up into the stratosphere, but that has only slowed the others, not stopped them.”

“And if I don't entirely trust 'our' MIBs,” She continued, making ditto marks in the air. “We're not even going to talk about the others.”

“So that is why you came yourself.” Beth reasoned it out, as she watched the troopers conceal their armor under rain gear. “We need to resolve this quickly and quietly.”

“Even in the comics, Tony Stark didn't want the government to have that technology.” Danni agreed. “I think it would be wise to follow that same policy.”

“I just hope talking to them works.” Beth said. “It could get nasty if they react as badly they did with the Air Force jets.”

“We will do our best to insure a peaceful outcome.” The Jerry Ryan look-alike replied serenely. “Our aim is to offer assistance if their MAU has stopped working and left them in an awkward situation, as well as warning them of the Men In Black. It's almost a certainty that they will try and confiscate those Iron-Man suits.”

“People are freaking out about guns.” Beth rolled her eyes. “Can you imagine the reaction about anyone owning a set of Iron-Man Armor?”

She recalled the first movie where just the Mark III had taken out a small army, including a tank. What could War-Machine, which was much more heavily armed, accomplish?

Danni only nodded. The Borg Drones and the Klingons clearly demonstrated that she was prepared for the worst, however much she was hoping for the best.

Beth didn't miss the Federation 'dust-buster' phasers the warriors were wearing. At least they weren't disruptors, which lacked a stun setting. That is if the stunning effect would work against the hi-tech comic-book armor.

It'd long been a SF fan's fantasy of matching one fictional universe versus another. Which would win: Imperial Star Destroyer or the Federation USS Enterprise? The list went on and on. Who was stronger, faster or the best fighter; Superman or the Hulk? The Flash or Quick-Silver? Batman or Captain America?

Or this one: Just how effective Star Wars or Star Trek weapons would be against Iron-Man? In the first movie, they saw it take a shot from a tank's main gun! Some might argue that it was a glancing blow or that it'd been loaded with an anti-personnel round instead of armor piercing, but it was still a tank's main gun, a very powerful cannon.

As good as a blaster might be, it wasn't that good. Beth found herself touching her 'elegant weapon from a more civilized age,' her light saber. She was having one of her feelings that she was going to need it.

Looking up she saw Danni nodding again as she held up her hand, extending her 'nano-probe.' If there was a problem, they would solve it, one way or the other.

<><><><><>

Steven

In Flight over Tampa Bay

The pure joy of flying was nearly enough to make up for his utter stupidity. He'd left Brian passed out on their bed when he went to work this morning. It was only after he'd arrived at his office and began to work on his current projects, that he realized what he'd done.

Steven had been so intent on fulfilling his fantasies that he completely overlooked the practical considerations of what the technology behind an MAU could mean. It was the old proverb about the difference of giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish. Instead of making Iron-Man suits, he should've had the MAU teaching him how to build them.

Just the insight he'd gotten from examining and using one greatly helped the project in progress at his company. He found himself missing the JARVIS interface, which was his first clue on how badly he'd erred.

In the movies, the 'Just A Rather Very Intelligent System,' was a main frame which was data linked to all the Iron-man suits. He, in his tinkering, had instead, given the impossibility of building Tony Stark's laboratory, settled for a distributed network with each suit being a node.

However, that meant he was without JARVIS's services when he wasn't in a 'suit' and he, being the bigger fool hadn't set up any alternative communications. Steven, however much he'd let himself get fixated on the Iron-Man suits and the mind-control thing, wasn't actually an idiot.

While at work he developed a list of things to 'build' with the MAU, hoping that whatever problems that made the machine balk at the mind-control, wouldn't come up again. Time was getting short and very near the time it would stop functioning.

If even a small part of his list worked, he would revolutionize the robotics field overnight. Once he had the tools to make the tools, Hell, he would change the world!

That was why he'd told his executive assistant he was taking a late lunch, and used his Iron-Man armor to fly home. With Tropical Storm Arthur’s heavy rains and winds, as well as the tornado watch, it was perfect weather, allowing him to fly without having to worry about more Air Force jets or being seen.

His Iron-Man MK 42's JARVIS was tapped into the local air traffic control system, which gave him plenty of warning to avoid other aircraft. He at first had considered taking the MK V 'briefcase' armor to work with him, but it was honestly too limited in capabilities. It couldn't even fly. Fortunately, the remotely operated MK 42 could be carried in pieces and stored in his Jag. All he had to do was operate his car's remote to pop the trunk and then fly the armor out in peices, easy.

Down below, he could see the interstate and the huge pile-up that'd been caused by rubbernecking drivers when a waterspout had appeared earlier. It would've been only poetic if the spout had struck the gridlocked highway, but no, it had disappeared back into the clouds after touching down only briefly in the bay.

Besides, his next door neighbor should be getting home about now. Steven's smile was not nice. He kicked it up a notch. There were places to be and people to do.

<><><><><>

MIBs

Stranded in traffic

Agent G was beyond irritated. Their ride was 'crunched' fore and aft. That rental care wasn't going anywhere even if the massive pileup hadn't bought everything to a standstill. The only good news was that waterspout had stayed offshore before it'd disappeared.

By the time the local traffic enforcement officials, the rental company's representatives who were actually based on another continent, the wrecker company, and finally the rental company's customer service had been contacted and dealt with, he had lost any inclination he had for being diplomatic.

Once again their partnership worked, as Agent M smoothly talked their way into a replacement vehicle. She even managed an upgrade by pointing out the 'accident' had been judged not their fault.

Still, he thought, she'd shown her own temper as she 'smoked' the tires leaving the lot. They were hours behind schedule which meant they had missed their window of opportunity to snoop around. The kids would be coming home from school and the working part-time mothers would be with, or right behind them.

This mess had likely cost them their chance at procuring a still active unit. There was a private betting pool among the agents just who would be the first to bring in an active unit. Agent P had so far been the closest, but it was an open secret he'd been at least temporarily compromised in some fashion.

Personally Agent G thought they were all cursed to come just so close and then have success snatched from their fingers. He'd almost come to expect to see Murphy hovering over their shoulders, waiting for a chance to strike.

It was always 'something' that caused them to be too late to get a still working MAU. Again and again, all they could do was try and then help the victims who were casualties of their own … curiosity and inventiveness. Mischievousness though a few were, most weren't.

Knowing human nature he was honestly surprised that someone with less than sterling character hadn't used one of the damn things to turned themselves into some variant of a super-villain. He could think of any number of changes that could give someone a definite advantage in profiting at others expense and make it very difficult for anyone to stop them.

Even with that in mind, that paled beside a Code Critical. It wasn't enough that Mr. DeWitt had recreated Iron-Man's armored suit, but he had to make it stealth as well. It was a one man army and air force all in one package. It was no wonder that both he and M had received strongly worded orders that, if there were 'suits,' the devices had to be recovered.

Unusually, they had been 'called' while in the 'field' which was something which never happened, given the Agency's paranoia. He knew it was because this was one of the few times that they had a chance to recover something that didn't just stop working like a broken toy.

“The Iron-Man devices were powered by a tokamak, a type of fusion reactor, but it takes more energy to maintain the reaction than it actually produces.” Agent M had explained the possibilities to him. “The Tony Stark character had solved that problem, as well as making it portable and safe enough to wear.”

“Well almost.” Agent G had added thinking of the health problems the character had in the second movie.

“But,” She smiled, “He corrected that error, and improved it even more. “The important piece of information is that it was made by a human using more or less our technology. There is a reasonable chance that experts examining it could get that crucial clue they need for us to build them. It goes without saying that the rest of the technology is also of interest.”

Agent G thought that was the understatement of the century. However, he had his doubts about it being reproducible. The fictional Tony Stark was a maverick genius on the order of an Archimedes or a Nikola Tesla. Even in the film, other scientists who were familiar with the larger reactor couldn't duplicate it.

That however, thankfully wasn't his job. Let someone else worry about finding out these things' secrets. They want an Iron-Man suit, so that's what they're going to get. That is if they could ever get anywhere in this rush hour traffic.

His thoughts turned back to Murphy again. “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

To Be Continued!


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