Day: 1 - June 27, 2011
"This is your ID badge," the heavyset man with close-cropped hair held out the chip of plastic, his eyes narrowing only slightly as he studied the young woman, hardly more than a girl, in front of him. She brushed her shaggy, strawberry blond hair back from her face with one hand, reaching out to take the badge with the other. He hesitated a moment before releasing it. "I've got to tell you, you're not exactly what I expected."
"Is… is that a bad thing or a good thing, Mr. Hogan? she asked, her brow furrowing curiously.
"In this case," Happy Hogan gave a smirk, reaching for the door of the security office of Stark Tower. "It's probably a good thing." He motioned her out into the hall and they headed toward the elevators.
"I'm not sure what HR might have told you," Happy began, his scrutinizing gaze returning as they walked.
"Just that there was an opening for a very high security courier and that I passed all the checks," the young woman replied. "And you know, any chance to get in the door at Stark Industries." Her voice trailed off as Happy nodded, smiling knowingly.
"Yeah," His serious expression finally broke in a slightly smug smile. "I started out as a doorman at the LA office."
"Is it all right if I ask what you'll have me doing?" She questioned as the elevator doors closed and Happy pressed the button for the lobby.
"Me?" He gave a soft chuckle, "I'm not going to have you doing anything. We're going to meet your new boss now. Well, in a manner of speaking." The elevator opened and they headed across the lobby, turning down the secured corridor behind the reception desk, both of them swiping their badges to get past the door.
"I want you to understand that you won't be allowed to discuss anything you do with anyone outside your immediate management chain," Happy began seriously. "No vague remarks over drinks with friends, absolutely nothing. Is that going to be a problem?"
"Absolutely not, sir," she shook her head emphatically as they descended a set of stairs and turned down another corridor.
"Good," Happy nodded. "Because when this came up I wasn't sure HR would be able to find anyone who'd meet our standards. You made the top of a very short list." They came to the last door at the end of the hall and Happy scanned his badge again, turning the handle.
"Ms, Marshall, this is your new office," He stated. The door swung open to reveal a neatly appointed though comfortable looking lounge with a table in the middle holding a STARK phone in a dock and a large screen TV on the wall playing nature videos. The room was bright and felt airy despite having no windows. At the very far end was a roll up garage door, and parked on the pad in front of it was a cherry red motor bike that could only be described as tricked out and a top of the line titanium bicycle with gold racing stripes.
"Oh wow," She whispered, her eyes widening.
"Jarvis?" Happy called out. "You have a minute?"
"For you, always, Mr. Hogan," a rich timbre answered with a distinctly British inflection.
"This is your new courier, Bryn Marshall."
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ms. Marshall," Jarvis' voice declared. Bryn blinked, stunned, before remembering herself.
"Likewise," she answered breathlessly.
"Jarvis," Happy continued. "Is Mr. Stark's personal… everything."
"Why thank you, Mr. Hogan," Jarvis declared, a touch of amusement in his tone. "I serve as Mr. Stark's butler and general manager of the residential floors of the tower. You'll be assisting me in the acquisition of supplies."
"You'll be taking your assignments and reporting directly to Jarvis," Happy related. "If you just say his name the system will ping him. Jarvis, do you have it from here?"
"Indeed," Jarvis answered brusquely. "I'm sure I can manage to get Ms. Marshall oriented."
"Great, I'm going back to work," Happy nodded. "If you need anything, ask Jarvis." he paused a moment.
"If you have any issues you feel he can't address, please come see me," he added as an afterthought.
"Yes, sir," Bryn nodded. Happy gave a sharp nod of his head and marched out into the corridor. She didn't let out the breath she'd been holding until the door clicked shut behind him.
"I'm the personal courier for Tony Stark," she whispered, half under her breath.
"Not entirely accurate, but serviceable," Jarvis agreed. Bryn tensed only a moment, brushing her hair back from her face.
"Sorry," she said, blushing. "I just, I was prepared to start out a little farther down the ladder than this, especially in this economy."
"You have a degree in Operations Management," Jarvis stated, amusement in his tone. "One I've no doubt you'll put to good use here. If you'll have a seat, we'll go over what you can expect on a daily basis." Bryn nodded heading for the couch, her eye sweeping the room as she sat nervously.
"Um, can you see me?" she asked.
"There are security cameras in every office and hallway in STARK tower," Jarvis replied. "but feel free to relax in this space whenever you have a break in your duties, I rarely feel the need to access the cameras and I certainly would not hold it against you if you make yourself comfortable."
"Oh," Bryn slouched back into the sofa a little, which was far more comfortable than it appeared. "Thanks."
"You surmised correctly that you will be primarily running errands for the top tier residences of STARK tower," Jarvis began, his tone business like. "Mr. Stark splits much of his time between his residence here and the one he maintains in California. Until recently I had been able to rely on standard delivery services to cover the vast majority of his needs, however, the situation has… changed."
"It's true what they're saying, isn't it?" Bryn asked, biting her lip as she looked around the room. "The Avengers are here, they're living in STARK tower, putting together a defense team to protect the planet?" Jarvis was silent for a moment as if in consideration.
"Yes," he said finally. "But I cannot stress enough how important it is that that information not be made public yet."
"My lips are sealed," Bryn replied seriously. "I can't stress enough how important it is that I do well at this job."
"Then we each have something the other wants," Jarvis answered in amusement. "I give you my word, Ms. Marshall, if you maintain discretion and perform to expectations, I will be only too happy to recommend you for any future openings you might like to apply for, indefinitely."
"Life time job reference from Stark's butler," Bryn whispered. "Quest Accepted." She drew in a steadying breath, her eyes sweeping the room once more.
"Okay, expectations then?"
"Your regular shifts will begin at eleven A.M, Monday through Friday," Jarvis began. "The last order should be completed by seven P.M. You will of course be compensated for overtime. You are not permitted to leave during your shift except to attend to your duties, however please be certain that you are allotted a minimum of ninety minutes of downtime during your shift. It is STARK Industries policy that regular breaks make for better efficiency. If you feel that your expected work load is in anyway unreasonable, please do not hesitate to mention it."
"I think I'll manage," Bryn replied confidently. "If you don't mind my asking, have you been handling the shopping yourself up until now?"
"I have standard groceries and supplies delivered every morning," Jarvis stated. "This has, however proved inadequate, partly because of the sheer volume some of our new residents consume and in part because of some of their unique… tastes."
"I had a bet with my granddad that Captain Rogers would freak out over the bananas," She blurted out before she could stop herself. She clamped a hand over her mouth, her cheeks turning pink.
"I regret to inform you that your nondisclosure agreement prevents you from collecting on that bet," Jarvis sighed. Bryn was half way into a victory fist pump before she thought better of it. "But, yes, among other things. Certain residents also have a taste for more exotic fare. Additionally there is an element of danger in trusting someone without the proper security clearance to deliver fresh items for consumption. All of this will now be your task. I will supply you appropriate lists and directions on your Stark issued phone, you will complete them as efficiently as possible."
"So, delis, asian markets, speciality stores," Bryn nodded. "Anything that doesn't come pre-packaged."
"Indeed," Jarvis confirmed. "Feel free to use either of the bikes at your discretion. You may also adapt your dress to more casual attire if you wish. My primary concern is to keep the tower as completely stocked as possible, not with the standard dress code. There is a dumbwaiter to this floor directly beside the parking pad, you can place all deliveries there." Bryn stood, checking over the dumbwaiter controls.
"Beside that is a secure panel that can only be opened by your biometrics," Jarvis added. "Please feel free to utilize it for personal items, it also contains a hand gun and SI's latest in taser technology." Bryn pressed her hand to the plate and the locker door slid back, revealing both guns.
"Okay, that's kind of awesome," she admitted, taking the taser off its rack and checking it's over.
"You'll be required to keep your conceal/carry permit up to date," Jarvis stated. "I would highly recommend for your own safety that you not leave without at least the taser. Your days will vary in activity, please feel free to utilize internet services or engage in other recreational activities here when you are not on assignment."
"Jarvis, I think I'm going to like this job a lot," Bryn declared.
"Do you have any questions, Ms. Marshall?" he asked, his tone amused.
"Bryn," She declared, her cheeks flushing almost instantly. "Um, you can call me Bryn, if you want. I mean, I'm probably more comfortable with that."
"An uncommon name," Jarvis observed, though he sounded flattered.
"It's short for Brynhildr," Bryn admitted.
"Daughter of Budli," Jarvis declared. "Shieldmaiden and valkyrie, hero of the Völsunga saga."
"You're good," Bryn struggled to hide her grin, her eyes widening in surprise and delight. "Most people don't get that."
"I am rather fond of the classics of literature," Jarvis admitted.
"That's pretty classic," she teased lightly. "My dad's a professor of ancient mythology. What's your excuse?"
"A voracious appetite for information," Jarvis replied, impassively. "Shall we begin?"
"Indeed, Jarvis," she nodded.
"If you'll direct your attention to the screen, Bryn," Jarvis stated as the picture of honey bees was replaced by a map with corresponding markers and lists. "You will see orders pending for pickup at the Japanese Deli on 47th, Le Pain Quotidien, and Radio Shack."
"Anything hot and toasty on that deli order, Jarvis?" she asked, taking the motorbike keys off their hook.
"Refrigerated and fresh items only," He replied.
"Great, I'll go there first, stop at the bakery and swing by Mr. Stark's toy store on the way back," She advised.
"Please, remember your company cell phone, Ms. Marshall," Jarvis added.
"Got it," Bryn nodded, stuffing the phone in her pocket and fixing the bluetooth bud in her ear. "Buzz me if you need me, Jarvis."
"I have you on speed dial," Jarvis replied. There was a pause as she snapped on her helmet. "Oh, and Bryn?"
"Yeah?" she stopped, looking up at the ceiling.
"I look forward to working with you."
"Thanks Jarvis," she grinned, swinging her leg over the motorbike. "Me too." The rolling door to the parking garage opened and she sped out, passing Mr Stark's limo, several sports cars and a truly beautiful antique motor cycle before exiting the secure garage, heading up the ramp and turing onto the street.
This was going to be a great job, she just knew it. She even had a cool boss.
This story is part of a series called "Coulson Lives but the Avengers Might be the Death of him." The full list of stories and their chronological order can be found on my profile page. This particular story will span the entire timeline thus far and the story might not make sense if you haven't read at least some of the other works.