Mecha Wars: Iron Man Part Three
Tony smiled and even hummed to herself softly as she finished downloading the data she had collected into the mini-projector. When she had met the Knight Sabers, she had wanted to ask one of them to just stand there, while she circled around it. Under the circumstances, that wasn't possible, so this would just have to do.
The hologram formed, an all around view of the leader of the Knight Saber. Tony would have expected the fighter to be the leader of the team, but instead the intense woman with the blades was. 'It really looks a great deal like the older Iron-Tech,' she mused.
She walked around the image, studying the design. 'Primarily defensive, and some strength magnification,' she mused. The suit's components meshed together elegantly, meaning it was a whole design not simply cobbled together parts of other systems. The decision to insert the primary weapons systems in either the gauntlets or shoulders was an inspired move. It meant that many of the parts from all four suits could be swapped into the others in emergencies.
'Swords,' Tony thought, looking at the arm mounts that concealed those deadly weapons. 'Why would someone pick something like that as a primary weapon? Unless it was for some personal reason...' Her eyes widened, and she thumped down to sit on her bed, the cane she occasionally used clattering to the floor.
The memory was crystal clear: a cute, dark haired girl swinging on a rope, waving the sword in mid air playing the swashbuckler. 'Sylia,' she thought, 'could it be?' She closed her eyes, letting herself analyze the situation.
'She certainly has motive, with her father's death,' Tony thought, 'and the know how to repair and maintain the armors.' Even as little girls, Tony had been impressed at how smart Sylia had been. 'No wonder I was surprised to find her running a ladies boutique,' she thought with a sad smile. 'I bet she also has the funds, her father would have made sure she was well taken care of,' she thought to herself grimly.
'But where did the basic design for the suits come from?' she wondered. She closed her eyes. letting her memory play back, trying to ignore the memories of Sylia and instead focus on her father and Dr. Stingray. 'What was it they were always talking about?'
"The potential for Boomer problems," she said aloud. Tony's eyes widened, then narrowed, "Dad gave him this design!"
The laptop was on her bed, and Tony quickly called up her 'Armory' files. She had put together the catalog of her dad's designs as a child, refining and updating it as she drew up. She took the data on the Knight Saber, and ran a comparison to her father's work. A few moments later, and she got the confirmation she was looking for: it matched his designs in all the major points, even though it wasn't listed in her files.
"Now what do I do," she muttered to herself aloud.
"This is what we ran into yesterday, ladies," Sylia said, activating the view screen beside her. An image of an armored figure dressed in red and gold appeared. Muscles were sculpted into the metal, giving the impression of a male bodybuilder.
"The Iron Man is the corporate symbol of Stark industries, and was first created by Tony Stark back in the turn of the century," Sylia lectured. "Primary weapons are the plasma weapons on each palm, the high intensity chest beam, the shoulder mounted rockets," she highlighted one weapon, "and the shoulder mounted cannon." She highlighted the other.
With a grim smile Sylia added, "The suit also operates as an exoframe, providing strength amplification and impressive defense capacity."
"Can we take this thing down?" Priss asked bluntly.
"Probably," Sylia answered her with a sigh, "but it won't be very easy. This suit isn't just cutting edge, I'd call it bleeding edge technology, and at least some of the primary weapon systems are fully automated."
"Which means?" Linna asked quietly.
"The pilot can assign a weapon system to a target, and it with automatically follow it," Sylia said with a certain amount of admiration.
Priss sat forward, "You mean that Iron Man can assign one weapon to me, one to Linna, as well as taking you on at the same time?"
"That's what I said," Sylia nodded.
"But is Iron Man an enemy?" Linna asked.
"That's the most important question," Sylia admitted. "Iron Man is the bodyguard of the head of Stark International, at least officially," she said, "but the elder Tony himself piloted the suit at least some of the time. He used it as an adventurer, as well as actively opposing the agents of other multinational companies."
"Which means he works for your old girlfriend," Nene said.
Both Linna and Priss visibly winced at that bit of pure tactlessness.
"She's not, and has never been," Sylia said frostily, "my girlfriend." She took a breath, "Stark is associated with Genom, but only casually. From what I've been able to glean from newspaper reports, Quincy has managed to antagonize Antonia on several occasions."
With that, the meeting ran down and they moved on to more casual topics. Sylia poured a few drinks, and let the three casually talk about work and their lives. She listened to Linna talk about yet another boyfriend, and wondered if they'd ever see him. Personally, Sylia was beginning to think Linna made up the boys, just to appear straight.
Sylia noticed that everyone was looking at her, and realized that she'd missed something. "What?" she asked.
Priss rolled her eyes, "I asked, how did your talk with Antonia go?"
Sylia just had to smile, seeing all three ladies looking at her and eagerly awaiting her answer. "Not very well," she sighed.
Linna looked a bit disappointed, "That's too bad."
"Hopefully, our dinner tonight will go better," Sylia said casually, and hid her smile as she waited for their reaction.
A moment of silence, then, a shouted "What?"
Tony looked into the mirror, wondering if she should wear the suit she had packed, or the dress she had just bought today. She thought of Sylia, her presence and intensity, and smiled. "Dress," she said with a nod.
The black one piece was a bit unoriginal, Tony had to admit, but it suited her nicely. She wore dark stockings, and smiled at how they hid her prosthetic leg. Her hair was styled, and she had used her makeup cautiously, just a bit to highlight her eyes.
"I'm acting like I'm going out on a date," Tony muttered softly. She blushed, remembering the childhood games that she and Sylia plaid. Playing house, Sylia the daddy and her the mommy. It had meant a lot to her as a child, more than she had been comfortable to admit.
A soft chime gently reminded her that it was nearly six. 'Time to go,' Tony thought as she grabbed a light coat and headed out into the hallway, locking the door behind her. She fretted in the elevator, wondering if she had made the right choice. The doors popped open, she got a good look at Sylia, and had to sigh in relief.
Sylia's light blue suit looked good on her, a man's style but tailored to hug her form nicely. She was obviously a woman, even if she was a handsome, boyish young woman. It should have startled Tony, thinking like that, but it didn't, somehow.
Sylia's smile warmed Tony as the dark haired woman said, "You look marvelous."
"So do you," Tony smiled back. Sylia offered her arm, gentlemanly taking the weight from Tony's injured side. 'Smooth, very smooth,' Tony thought as they walked outside together.
"Your chariot awaits," Sylia smoothly opened the passenger door, helping Tony in. She went around to the driver's side and gracefully climbed in.
"Where to?" Tony asked softly.
"I was thinking of the Rose," Sylia said as she pulled out into traffic, "they serve a good variety of both Western and Asian foods." Privately, she added, 'And they don't throw a fit if two girls are there on a date together.'
"Sounds good," Tony smiled.
Tony looked over at Sylia, noticing the care the woman had taken. Her hair was neatly gelled, the suit was crisp, the creases starched, and she smelled wonderful. 'Obviously, Sylia is taking this seriously, too,' she thought, a warm feeling welling up inside her.
Sylia took a breath, "I wanted to say I'm sorry, for how I grilled you before."
"Don't apologize," Tony said quietly, "I was out of line, too. I assumed I could just waltz back into your life like nothing had changed."
Sylia chuckled softly, "We're quite the pair." She smiled slightly, looking out at the road, "How about we both start over, then, as if the past day or so hadn't happened?"
"I'd love to," Tony answered quietly.
They drove on silently for a few moments. "So why are you visiting Mega-Tokyo?' Sylia asked her conversationally.
"Business." Tony smiled, "we're looking into opening a new office in town." A soft laugh, "And I was hoping to look up an old friend while I was here."
"Thanks," Sylia reached over, gently squeezing Tony's hand.
They coasted to a stop in front of a little restaurant on the outskirts of the bustling city. An old fashioned kind of building, it reminded one of an earlier era. Sylia got out first, going around to help Tony out, then they walked to the door together.
The girl at the front desk confirmed their reservation, and a young waiter led them to a back table. He passed over menus, offered drinks, then made himself scarce.
"Nice place," Tony looked around, "have you been here before?"
"Once or twice," Sylia smiled, sipping her glass of ice water. "Are you planning to stick around after opening your new office?' she asked softly.
Tony met her gaze, a little smile on her face. "Yes, I am," she admitted. She took a breath, "I wish I had let myself come back here to see you sooner."
"I guess," Sylia said softly, "I'm just glad to have you here, now."
Tony blushed, taking a moment to sip at her glass of water.
'God, that was just too soon,' Sylia fretted. 'I should be pumping her for information on Iron Man, not sitting here flirting,' she thought.
'She's cute when she blushes,' Sylia looked up to meet Tony's gaze. The little black dress she was wearing had nearly made Sylia's eyes pop, and her gentle, ladylike manner had nearly disarmed her.
"I'm glad to be here, too," Tony reached out, putting her hand on top of Sylia's. The waiter arrived, and with a blush Tony drew her hand back. He took their orders with a gentlemanly smile before politely excusing himself.
Sylia leaned forward, putting her head on her hands as she asked, "What happened, Tony? Why did you end up marrying Franklin?"
Tony smiled wryly, muttering, "I knew that question was coming." She took a deep breath, "To convince myself I was normal."
Sylia blinked, looking at her in surprise. "Normal?" she echoed.
Tony slipped her fingers into Sylia's as she confessed, "When we were girls, I loved being with you." A sad smile, "I'd look forward all year to being in Japan with you, and the boys back home just couldn't compare." A sigh, "I realized, eventually, that it made me unusual. And poor Franklin was my attempt at a cure."
"I looked forward to your coming back, too," Sylia admitted. The food was delivered, but they didn't separate, still holding the other's hand. "So what now?" Sylia asked her gently.
"I'm not so scared of being unusual any more," Tony looked up to meet her eyes.
'I'm in so much trouble,' Sylia found herself thinking.
"There's something I have to tell you," Tony said softly. Sylia saw her take a deep breath as Tony said, "I know about your connection to the Knight Sabers."