Tony Stark sat at his desk in the basement lab in his house. He'd been working on the prototype designs for his companies latest device; the Stark Industries exo-skeletal multi-environment tactical suit, or 'Iron Man' as he'd nick named it. The 25 year old had been working on it for the last several months, since he had taken over the company following his father's death in a plane crash. There was no time for grief in the life of a multi-billionaire CEO of a multi-national corporation.

As he finished the designs on the suit, he pressed a button on his computer. A holographic humanoid avatar appeared in the room.

"Jarvis, send the specs to the automated manufacturing facility and have the finished device sent here. I want to give it a tune up in here, make sure everything's up to par before we get our test pilot in it." He said, before a tall African-American man in jeans and a leather jacket walked in "Speaking of, there's Rhodey. What brings you all the way out here?"

"Tony, I'm head of your security, I have to check up on you from time to time, it's in the job description." Rhodey replied "So, how's it going with that suit you were saying about?"

"I don't know what you're talking about." Tony said with a grin, before laughing "I just sent the specs off for manufacture before it gets sent here for the final tune up before we put you in it for the test flight."

"Just flight?" Rhodey asked "No weaponry?"

"No internal ones, no." Tony replied "The only built in equipment are the flight systems, though the stabilisers are powerful enough to be considered their own form of weapon. Oh, and it has flares built in, as well as a minor shielding system generated from the chest ARC."

"Right…" Rhodey said "So the flight system works how?"

"Repulsors." Tony said "You know, like the ones me and my dad put in the Stark model XR-18 fighters to enable its flight systems. Now go on, ask what the ARC is."

"What's the ARC?" Rhodey said, rolling his eyes.

"The ARC is an Advanced Reactor Core." Tony replied "The design implemented into the armour's a prototype based on the larger one my dad designed four years ago. I just made it smaller for this. It takes a bit of power to initialise, but once it's powered up, it's self sustaining. Short of several mass power drains in under a minute, it won't die."

"So a super battery basically." Rhodey said "Trust you to use one of those."

Before Rhodey could reply, Tony was back at his computer, typing in more commands, apparently already designing a mark two suit before the mark one had been tested. Rhodey sighed and looked at the holographic avatar.

"Jarvis, make sure he doesn't work himself to death. I don't want him having a heart attack or developing an alcohol addiction because of stress." He said, before walking out as the avatar nodded, tossing back "See you later Tony."

"Yeah, see you later." Tony said, not bothering to look up before saying "I don't work too hard do I Jarvis?"

"No sir." The avatar replied "Unless you count this project, you hardly ever work at all. It's a surprise you don't go bankrupt."

"That was painfully honest." Tony said "Still, that's why I programmed you not to pull any punches in that department. Maybe it's time for a break."

Without another word, Tony got up, pulling a leather jacket off of the hook on the wall and walking out of the lab. He guessed this was the best way to keep Rhodey off his back, and he didn't want to think of what Pepper might do to him if he didn't take a break. Nothing like what she'd done at his birthday party, that was for sure. She wouldn't be drunk for one thing, and nor would he.

As he thought about that, he found himself in the kitchen, pouring himself out a glass of scotch. He wasn't normally one for that drink, but he needed a break. He put the bottle back down, placed the glass under the ice dispenser and pressed the button. As he did, there was a clicking noise, followed by an explosion of metal, glass and ice. He found himself trying to get up in spite of the pain in his chest before collapsing to the floor and passing out.