Igor Vanko sat in his small, cluttered lab in the basement of his Russian suburb home, working on his latest project. His son, Anton, was upstairs trying to fix the heating. While not nearly the genius his father was Anton was especially gifted. However, he'd never been given the same opportunities his father had been given. And squandered.

His latest project was based upon his most recent squandered opportunity. He'd been working in America, for a company called Stark International. He'd found some interesting designs and decided to take them to adapt for himself. After the head of the company had got wind of it, Vanko had been fired on the spot and all properties related to the designs had been confiscated. Fortunately, he'd copied them all and had then returned to his homeland with his son, knowing that his government would never extradite him, not with his skills.

As Igor finished the current system, he paused to look at his work. It was a suit of dull grey armour with a glowing circular power source in the centre of the chest piece. There were shoulder pads at the top of each arm and gauntlets that looked slightly too thick to be part of the armour around the wrist. The helmet had a mane of green hair, tied into a pony tail, attached to the helmet with it's black face plate with little more than the two eyes.

He'd also constructed one of his own innovations as part of the design; two long, flexible metal whips, one on each gauntlet, sharpened to the extreme, capable of retracting into the gauntlets and able to be super charged with energy. Due to the energy requirements, there was a miniaturised version of the power source housed inside each gauntlet.

As he looked at the armour, Anton walked in, a bottle of vodka in one hand with two small glasses in the other. He set the glasses down on a small table, pouring some of the clear liquid into each glass, putting the bottle down before picking up the two glasses and walking over to his father. He handed his father one of the glasses before drinking his own vodka.

"Thank you." Igor said, seeing his son looking at the suit "This is it Anton. This is what I've been working on. My gift to you; the ability to repay the man who caused us to have to return to this hell hole."

"Using his own weapons as well." Anton said "Father, you've outdone yourself."

"Thank you son." Igor said "Now, go and show Anthony Stark he should never have punished me for trying to improve the quality of life for me and my family."


Tony pulled himself out of his bed. At least, he was pretty sure it was his bed. After he'd left the lab the night before, he'd decided to hit a nightclub and ended up drinking what most would consider an excessive amount of alcohol. All he knew was there were two women he recognised as super models still asleep in the bed, so he had to presume it was a good night.

He walked down the stairs into the kitchen, scratching his chest. He hated wearing a shirt to bed, he always came up in a rash. He'd need to get to work on getting the junk that was still left from the explosion out of his chest so he could have the ARC taken out and go back to sleeping without his shirt when he had company.

He walked over to the bar and poured himself a scotch, taking a sip as he looked at the time. 8 A.M.

Rhodey would kill him for drinking this early, and he hated to think what Pepper would do. Actually, he had a lot of fun imagining what she might do, however unlikely his imaginings were. As he considered it, he heard the front door open and close before Rhodey walked in, holding two cups of McDonalds coffee and a paper bag with some food.

"Figured you might want some food and a drink." He said "I see you already have the latter taken care of though."

"Only live once." Tony replied, downing the rest of his scotch before taking one of the cups from Rhodey and taking a sip "Black no sugar, Rhodey, you know I have it with cream and three sugars."

"Yes, which is why that's my one. Want to swap?" Rhodey asked, smirking as he put the other drink and the paper bag on the counter "You want the sausage and egg muffin or the bacon roll?"

"I'll have the muffin." Tony said, switching the coffees "So, how come you're here so early, with breakfast no less."

"Well, Pepper wanted me to come and find out what this new project of yours' is, and I haven't had breakfast yet." Rhodey said, pulling the bacon roll out of the bag before sliding the bag over to Tony "Then again, I'm guessing you have company, given the shirt."

"You know me so well." Tony said, pulling out the muffin and taking a bite "Okay, whoever says McDonalds breakfasts suck has never had one of these."

"Yeah, well, anyway, what is it you're working on Tony?" Rhodey asked "I know it's got resources being diverted to it like crazy, so guessing another suit. If you want to keep that stuff secret, take resources little by little."

"Funny, I thought that with it being my company and my stuff, I could take as much as I liked." Tony replied, getting up and pressing a control on the wall "Jarvis, call pepper and tell her to dry clean and press the clothes of my guests. Then get her to ask them to leave. Give them something about me going out of town on business."

"Very good sir." Jarvis' voice said as Tony walked out, grabbing his coffee as he did before going down the stairs to the lab, calling back to Rhodey "You coming buddy?"

Rhodey took one last bite of his bacon roll before setting it down on the counter and following Tony down the stairs. When he got down there, he saw Tony had wasted no time in pulling up a holographic mock up of the current design he was working on. Cosmetically, it looked similar to the mark two, albeit slightly more streamlined on most of the suit and the gauntlets being slightly bulkier around the wrists and fore arms.

"It's about two thirds into the design phase." Tony said "I'm planning on using the new neural interface I've designed. I'm testing it in the mark two, the mark one's been fitted with it, more for the sake of keeping up to date than because of any intention to use it."

"Right…" Rhodey said, not entirely convinced.

Tony was a lot of things, but one for keeping things up to date as opposed to replacing them, he was not. He was the one who had once had a perfectly good Porsche sent to the scrap heap because it was a year old and he considered that too old. Tony wouldn't admit it, but he was keeping the mark one because he wanted something to play around with, rather than breaking his shiny red and gold armour. Before he could call Tony out on it, Jarvis' holographic avatar appeared in between the two men.

"Mr. Stark, it appears there is some trouble over at your company." Jarvis said "There are some men in green body suits trying to break in. What appears to be the Crimson Dynamo is with them."

"Okay, tell them that, uh," Tony said, not sure of what to say for a second before deciding "Tell them I'm sending my new bodyguard to help deal with the problem."

"New bodyguard?" Rhodey asked "I wasn't aware of any changes in my department."

"There haven't been any buddy." Tony said, turning to Jarvis "Prep the mark two for suit up."

"Yes sir." Jarvis replied, a section of the floor opening up as a large amount of machinery came out of it.

"Right." Rhodey said "Hey, tin man, get the mark one ready as well, it still has that thing you wanted me to test on it, right Tony?"

"Yeah." Tony replied, stepping into the middle of the machinery that had came out of the floor, adding as the suit was assembled on him "And you are not testing it right now."

"What if you need back up?" Rhodey asked as the armour was completely assembled on Tony, leaving just his face visible through the open faceplate.

"Then I'll call." Tony said, the gold faceplate snapping down "Don't wait up."

As he said that, he lifted slightly into the air before shooting out of the large skylight in his ceiling.