Technopath – Ch. 5
Tony made his way inside at speed dodging the few lab coated scientists who were running through the halls as they tried to escape before the building went up. Natasha and Steve were working on the bomb while Hawkeye and Thor kept watch outside making sure the idiots were rounded up by the waiting Shield agents. Tony was to try and hack the main computer system and stop the launch of dozens of long range rockets carrying bioterrorism agents.
He reached the computer and started typing letting his hands move while his mind reached out to the machine hoping he would be able to get through. The targeting computers were humming to themselves as they clicked through the next step of the launch. Tony started trying to get their attention but they were ignoring him, too busy with their own tasks to notice the voice nudging at them.
“The bombs have been disarmed.” Steve reported, blowing out a relieved breathe. “How are the rockets coming, Ironman?”
“Working on it,” Tony bit out, fingers flying.
His viruses were barely slowing the count down; he’d need to do something soon. He could lock the missile apertures but that would just have them blowing up the base while people were still inside and releasing the biological weapons into the air here. He needed another option and there wasn’t anything popping up.
“Clint,” Tony said flipping over to a private channel as he franticly typed.
“What’s going on, Tony?” Clint asked once he’d clicked over to the private channel.
“I never force a machine to do something, I ask. If I force them to do something it hurts both of us.” Tony said his fingers still flying on the keyboard unleashing viruses and entering commands that the system was ignoring.
“And you’re going to have to force this one, like you forced the door when we were getting Bruce.” Clint said softly understanding where Tony was going.
“Yeah, but this is going to be worse.” Tony said swallowing, “A lot worse.”
“Can Jarvis fly you out once you finish or do you need me to come get you?”
“Jarvis can fly me out but I’m not going to be up to much for a few days.”
“I’ll make sure the team leaves you alone.”
“Alright,” Tony said with a nod he knew the other man couldn’t see, “Thanks.” He clicked back to the open channel, “I’ve got three minutes on the clock, clear out the rest of the base in case this doesn’t work.”
“On it,” Clint said clearly, ignoring the protests of the other team members.
“Is there a problem, Ironman?” Steve asked.
“Yep, this is either going to work or the entire base is going to be flooded with virus laden gas while the missiles blow. Get everyone back.”
“I’m sorry, sir. Master Stark has turned off his radio.” Jarvis said across the line making Steve curse even as he started helping with the evacuation.
“Get everyone out and back, we have two minutes.” Steve snapped, grabbing up his gear and running along behind Natasha as they pushed the last few scientists into the closest chopper.
They all pulled on a gas mask but there was a chance even that wouldn’t work as they pushed for altitude. Below them Tony was lost in code and the humming machines. He closed the apertures and started pushing the commands he knew the machines would rebel against. No machine wanted to not complete the job it was created for.
He gasped for air as the pressure built. The machines screamed and moaned in his mind as he forced each command through. He could feel blood sliding down his face and tried to distance himself from the pain stabbing through his head and bones. One by one the missiles disarmed and the computer connected to it powered down. He felt the last one click off as the darkness swallowed his vision leaving his body limp inside the armor.
Jarvis double checked that the machines were inactive before he activated the suit and started the short flight out of the base. Almost as soon as he exited the radio started chattering at him. He ignored it for a moment making sure his creator’s vitals were stable before laying in a flight plan for home.
“Stark, damn it, answer me!” Steve snapped over the line as the Ironman armor hovered above the base.
“I am sorry, Captain Rogers. Sir is unable to respond at this time.” Jarvis said, “The base has been disarmed and is ready for Shield to start dismantling the missiles.”
“Is Tony okay?”
“I’m afraid my programming will not allow me to respond, I have orders to take Sir back to Avengers Tower.”
“Alright, we will see him there.” Steve said frowning as he watched the suit launch itself away from them at high speed.
“Clint, do you know what’s going on?” Natasha asked once he’d clicked back to their private channel.
“It’s not my secret to tell, Nat.”
“Is Stark okay?”
“I don’t know but I intend to find out as soon as we get back.” Clint said, watching as the helicopters and troop movers started to land so that they could finish sorting out the enemy base.
“Let me know if you need me to run interference.”
“Think you can scramble me a faster ride home?” He asked already starting to stow his gear as he zip tied the last enemy scientist on his helicopter; really they should have done that before they lifted off he thought with a sigh, Coulson would have been having a fit at the lack of proper protocol.
“Give me ten minutes.”
Clint clicked back to the team line and moved to help out where he could for the next ten minutes. He gave Rogers a shrug when he was asked to fly one of the troop jets back to base while the rest of the team finished helping with the cleanup. He’d be back in New York in four hours and if he skipped debrief to check in his team mate surely even Captain America would be okay with that.
He jogged off the quinjet that had dropped him at the tower and tried not to think about the favors he’d had to spend to get the ride. He was fairly sure that Fury himself had allowed the flight considering they’d suddenly had clearance and no one had radioed in to question the flight plan. He glanced up at the camera as he approached noting that the entire tower was on full lock down.
“Can I check on him, Jarvis?” Clint asked as he entered the tower, the metal barrier rising to allow him in as he approached.
“Sir did not leave instructions beyond ensuring the safety of the tower while he was incapable of protecting it. He is currently asleep in the workshop.”
“Does he need anything?” Clint asked pausing in the kitchen.
“Another blanket would not be remiss.” Jarvis said after a short pause.
Clint merely gathered up some bottles of water, apples, protein bars, and a few blankets from the backs of the couches on the common level. He took the lot into the elevator and waited as it descended to the floor with Tony’s workshop. The shielding was down here as well and Clint waited for it to retract completely before he entered his code and pushed the door open.
At first he couldn’t spot Tony but he could see Dummy hovering to one side of the shop, swiveling to watch him approach. Tony lay sprawled on the worn couch his face still smeared with dried blood. Clint set everything down and went to find a clean wash cloth he could dampen in the sink with hot water. He went back to the couch crouching next to Tony and nudging Dummy back.
“It’s okay, Dummy. He’s going to be fine.” Clint said soothingly as he eased the man onto his back.
He wanted to wake him up and get some food and water in him but it had only been a few hours since the mission, he could let him sleep for a while longer. Clint cleaned off the blood as gently as he could, also cleaning along his neck and hands where the mess had smeared as he took off the armor. He tucked Tony under two blankets since his hands were cold and made a small pallet next to the couch so he could stretch out and keep an eye on the engineer.
“His vitals are okay, right Jarvis?”
“Yes, Agent Barton. He appears to merely be exhausted.”
“Yeah, I’ve slept for almost forty eight hours straight once after a bad mission.” Clint said with a nod setting his bow and quiver to one side where it would be in easy reach, “Can you set a reminder or something for both of us to get up and eat in twelve hours. He probably won’t want to but you need calories after a bad mission.”
“I will wake both of you in twelve hours.” Jarvis said as Clint settled on his stomach on the pallet he’d made.
“I’m not planning to sleep, Jarvis. No offense, but when someone’s out for the count after a mission, on my teams at least one member keeps watch until they’re able to protect themselves again.” He said shifting until he was comfortable in his normal prone sniper position, “It’s why we take shifts when someone’s in medical. We make enemies in the field and the best time to hit someone is when they’re at their most vulnerable.”
“I understand, I apologize if I’ve offended in any way.”
“It’s fine, Jarvis. Just wanted to make sure you understood. If I couldn’t do it, Natasha would be here, maybe even Steve or Bruce.” Clint said letting his muscles relax as he settled into wait. “Phil normally watched for us when me or Natasha were injured.”
“Would you like to talk while you keep watch, Agent Barton? Often, Sir will converse with myself or the bots while he waits for something.”
“Only if you’re not busy, Jarvis,” Clint said with a shrug, “I know how to keep myself entertained considering how many missions I get stuck on a roof with nothing to do but people watch.”
“May I ask; how do you believe the team will react to the news of Sir’s abilities?”
“Generally, I think they’ll be fine with it. Normally, Natasha would be pissed that he hid something from her but there is a note in his Shield file about possible psychic abilities that were never verified. I think his dad had him tested at some point but I’d have to pull the records again.”
“That was not in the file I access when researching the initiative.” Jarvis said a screen coming on to one side as Jarvis reviewed the files he had access to.
“How were you pulling the files? Shield shorts it’s paperwork kind of weird.”
“Sir asked me to pull everything associated with the Avengers Initiative.”
“Yeah, that’s where you went wrong. Only the base files have everything about the person or case. Each mission file only has directly pertinent information, stuff that might cause issues with an op. Even then we go by a lot of call signs on missions; often they won’t even identify who the person is outside of a call sign in the mission file. You have to go back to their base personal file to find their list of call signs and match it up to missions.”
“I take it, Hawkeye, is not your only call sign?”
“Nope, and Natasha has way more than I do since she tends to do more sensitive missions.” Clint said with a tired grin.
“Who would have access to these files; surely they are not only hard copy?”
“Only your handler for the mission and their supervisor would have the call sign list or access to an agent’s full file.” Clint said with a shrug, “For me and Natasha that would have been Coulson and Fury most of the time. We do work for other handlers as the situation called for it but not a lot. Phil liked to keep an eye on his specialists.”
“Would you be willing to give us a list of your more well know aliases? Sir has asked that I compile as much data as possible on the members of the Initiative in hopes that we can anticipate any issues that may arise.”
“He does know what we are right? I mean, sniper isn’t the only title I can claim, Jarvis. A lot of those missions are out right hit lists or us going in to take down dirty politicians and cops. We play the parts of the bad guys to get the intel. It’s not a pretty read and that’s not including the ones that went FUBAR ten seconds in.”
“Sir has asked that the information be stored in his most secure drive, the one that also houses my own code. He has no intention of allowing anyone other myself and Sir to read the files.”
“Alright, I don’t mind but I’ll check with Natasha first. We worked on a lot of the same missions for a while.” Clint said with a nod, “We were talking about doing some security sweeps of the tower anyway, testing the alarm systems like we were going to break it, see what can be improved.”
“I would be happy to assist in any testing and would help implement any changes that would improve the tower’s safety.”
“Awesome, it depends on Nat but last time we spent a lot of time in one place we had mortars in the vents and crawl spaces between floors. Paranoia kind of is a job requirement with assassins.”
“Sir did have several items in the files that he wished to discuss with you however the mission interrupted his research. When he wakes I will remind him.”
“I’m not going anywhere until I’m sure he’s okay, Jarvis. We can talk shop as long as he likes once he’s up and moving.”
“I believe the issue is a sensitive one that may compromise your position in Shield. He put off revealing the matter until he was able to show definitive proof.”
“If it waited this long it can sit a while longer.” Clint said with a frown. “Do I need to get Natasha here for the big reveal?”
“I would have to defer that to Sir however I would hazard to say it might be prudent. It is a matter that affects both of you.”
“Alright, I’ll ask Tony after we get him to eat something.” Clint said with a nod, not voicing that the man would probably collapse back into unconsciousness as soon as he finished eating. He settled into wait, scanning the room every five minutes but keeping his eyes on Tony for the rest of the time.