Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers or Iron Man.
Summary: NEST contact Tony Stark, who comes to help them take down the Decepticons. He brings Pepper and Rhodey along with him. Set after Revenge of The Fallen, and after the first Iron Man film.
Warnings: There may be bad language and hints of slash in later chapters, though nothing explicit.
"NEST." Tony Stark mused. He was sitting between James 'Rhodey' Rhodes and Virginia 'Pepper' Potts on the way to Diego Garcia, some sort of coral island in the Indian Ocean, all because the US military had decided that he being Iron Man could be useful in some sort of secret operation. Tony was sitting buckled into his seat, with a shirt half undone and a suit jacket over it. Rhodey was in a perfectly ironed military uniform, and Pepper was dressed in her usual suit with high heels that clacked on the floor when she tapped her foot, giving Tony an impatient glare. She knew what he was going to ask. She knew what Rhodey was going to say afterwards."Rhodey, explain to me who they are again." Tony said, sighing deeply. Yep, she knew he was going to say that.
"Tony, did you read any of the files I gave you?" Rhodey sighed, almost copying Tony's sigh. Pepper's lips twitched into a slight smile. Rhodey really should've known better by now.
"No. Pepper read them for me." Tony scoffed, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Why do I even bother?" Rhodey asked aloud, though the question was mainly directed at himself, and he wasn't expecting an answer from Tony or Pepper – they probably didn't know either.
"That's a good question." Tony said, turning to his other side to look at Pepper. "Pepper, why does Rhodey bother?"
"I'm not sure." Pepper said, with a slight smile. "Maybe it's because you're unable to make sensible decisions by yourself."
"How long does it take to get to Diego Garcia?" Tony asked.
"We should be landing within the hour." Rhodey replied. He had only been there once, and it had been with the strictest security escort he had ever seen... and he understood why once everything had been explained to him.
"If this was my plane, there would be entertainment." Tony grumbled. "Wouldn't you say so too, Rhodey?" Rhodey smiled at the memory of his trip on Tony's private plane, with the air stewardesses.
"That's why you weren't allowed to use your plane." Pepper smiled. "By the time we reached Diego Garcia, you and Rhodey would've been far too distracted to deal with any business."
"Pepper, I'm sure you would be able to handle whatever NEST threw at you, even without me there." Tony said, he turned back to Rhodey, frowning. "So. What does NEST actually stand for? You're going to have to keep telling me. I forget easily."
"Well, it can stand for several things. I'm not sure anyone knows what it really stands for." Rhodey shrugged. "It's either; 'Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers', 'Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty' or 'Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Team'. I just stick to saying NEST in the hope that I don't offend anyone. I suggest you do the same, Tony."
"Oh, but you don't have to warn Pepper about offending people." Tony sniffed.
"Tony, Pepper doesn't offend people."
"Wait – you said something about transformers, and you also said 'non-biologicals' and 'extraterrestrial'." Tony grimaced. "Do NEST want me because they've discovered some sort of alien tech and they want me to improve it?"
"Tony, they have discovered the alien tech..." Rhodey said. "But I don't think there's anything you can do to improve it. Do you remember all of the rumours about giant alien robots in L.A. a couple of years ago?"
"Of course I remember." Tony said. "I wanted to go and check it out in my Iron Man suit but nooooo... someone wouldn't let me." he folded his arms and glared at Pepper.
"Tony, you had only just started recovering from your fight with Obadiah." Pepper scowled, she folded her arms and mimicked Tony, then laughed. "Of course I wasn't going to let you get into that death trap and fly from New York to L.A. to get yourself beaten up again."
"The suit is not a death trap. If anything, this plane is a death trap." Tony insisted. He turned to Rhodey. "You have to get me off this plane, before I start tinkering with the internal systems and kill us all – I'm dying of boredom, Rhodey!"
"It's okay. We'll be landing soon." Rhodey laughed.
"So why do we need this Tony Stark guy?" Lennox asked. He and Epps were standing at the airfield, waiting for the inbound C-17 to land. "We've been able to handle this by ourselves for a while. What makes Morshower think he can help us?"
"Lennox, have you ever heard of Tony Stark?" Epps asked. "He's a genius, and he's good with machines. He'll be able to help Ratchet fix up the Autobots and he might be able to invent some tech to help us fight the Decepticons... I wonder if he's bringing the Iron Man suit." Epps gasped. "What if he makes Iron Man suits for all of NEST? That would be so cool... we'll be able to fight the Decepticons effectively without relying on Optimus and the others so much."
"Oh... this is a techie thing." Lennox realised, his eyes widening. "That's why I have little or no idea what you're on about. I'm sure you and Ironhide will keep an eye on Tony Stark and make sure he stays out of trouble."
"I doubt it." Epps chuckled.
"Lieutenant Colonel Rhodes who serves with the USAF will also be arriving with Tony Stark and Miss Potts."
"Rhodey?" Epps asked.
"I thought you might know him." Lennox smiled. "I remember meeting him at some fancy-to-do... some sort of officer's meal or something. He seemed like a pretty awesome guy, even though we spent most of the time talking about you. He asked why you weren't there, so I explained that they didn't let NCO riff raff into places like that. He laughed when I told him that."
"Always nice to know when people are laughing at your expense." Epps grinned and touched his beret in a gesture of sarcastic thanks. "Oh well, I'm sure I'll be able to spend the duration of his stay plotting my revenge."
"Oh, so typical of you, Epps."
"Why thank you."
"When are they supposed to get here?" Lennox sighed, checking his watch.
"Soon." Epps said. He raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sun. "In fact, I think that's them coming in now."
"Hopefully..." Lennox said, taking a deep breath. "Because it's far too hot out here and I'm getting hungry. It's lunch time, and they're going to make me late."
Lennox and Epps watched as the C-17 came closer, and touched down on the Diego Garcia runway. The C-17 taxied towards them, and eventually came to a stop. Lennox and Epps approached the plane, both of them neatening their uniforms and talking about something completely pointless. Lieutenant Colonel Rhodes came down the ramp at the back, followed by Tony Stark and his secretary, Virginia Potts.
"Tony Stark, I'm Major William Lennox, and this is USAF Technical Sergeant Robert Epps." He held his hand out, and Tony shook it. "We'll be here to look after you and Miss Potts for the duration of your stay at Diego Garcia." He turned to address Rhodey. "Hey Jim, how's it been?"
"I've been pretty good. The only problems are keeping this guy out of trouble." Rhodey gestured to Tony. "How's the army treating both of you?"
"Oh, we're not too bad." Epps said. "Just had a couple of big problems trying to knock us out, but otherwise we're fine."
"Okay." Rhodey laughed. "Guys, this is Miss Virginia Potts, though she's known as Pepper to all of us. I'm sure she'll be more than happy for both of you to do the same. She's Tony's secretary, so if you ever need him talk to her – she'll probably have a good idea of where he is..."
"... And if I don't know where Tony is, no-one does." Pepper smiled.
"Sounds pretty straight forward then." Lennox said. "Right, we'll show you to where you'll be living for the duration of your stay and then we'll take you all for briefing."
"That sounds good." Tony said, speaking for the first time. "Will we be able to get something to eat? I could kill a cheeseburger right now."
"Well, it's lunch time now." Lennox said, looking at Epps and back again. "We'll show you to your room and then we'll all go and grab a bite to eat."
"Good." Tony said. "They better do good cheeseburgers here, and there better be some sort of lab – I'm still trying to fix up my Iron Man suit, after that attack in New York. I just wish I knew who was in the other suit." He glanced at Rhodey, wondering if he should've said that. He was never good when it came to cover stories, hence his announcement of 'I'm Iron Man'.
"Mr Stark, we know it was Obadiah Stane in the other suit." Lennox said. "There's not much NEST don't know."
"Please, call me Tony."
"Wait – you brought the Iron Man suit with you?" Epps exclaimed.
"What else would I do with it?" Tony asked. "The only people I trust are Pepper and Rhodey. I'm not going to leave the Iron Man suit in New York where S.H.I.E.L.D – or anyone else – might break into my house and steal it."
"Fair enough." Epps shrugged.
"You seem enthusiastic about technology, Epps." Tony said. "Maybe you'd like a demo of the suit and how it works?"
"Are you being serious?" Epps asked.
"Of course I am." Tony replied. "In fact, invite your families, your friends... hell, invite everyone! We can make it a party!"
"This... this is why we need Pepper." Rhodey grinned. "She's the only one with any sort of control over him... she stops his crazy ideas."
"Anyway, some of us are hungry." Tony interrupted. "Can we hurry up and get some food, because I get cranky when I'm hungry."
"Right. Follow me." Lennox said, heading towards one of the large office blocks, followed by everyone else. Epps was at the back, having a catch up with Rhodey, whilst Tony and Pepper walked on either side of Lennox. "We'll be taking you to one of our conference rooms and you can eat lunch in there without being disturbed."
"Oh, no, no, no... you don't have to do that." Tony said. "I'll eat in the mess hall with everyone else. Whilst I'm here I want to get to know the guys. Just because I'm arrogant and rich it doesn't mean I'm not going to mix with everyone else here."
"Well... erm..." Lennox wasn't sure what to say. He was sure he wasn't the only one who hadn't been expecting that. "Let's... go to the mess hall."
Pepper was sat sandwiched between Tony and Rhodey in the mess hall as they both tucked into the mess hall food of burgers and chips. Lennox and Epps were sitting opposite them, talking animatedly to Rhodey about missions in the Middle East. She felt slightly nervous, due to the large amount of attention the group had attracted, mainly because of Tony. They all wanted to know what the famous billionaire, Tony Stark, was doing in their mess hall, sitting on a rickety table, eating a burger and chips.
As a matter of fact, Pepper was wondering exactly the same thing. No-one had told her and Tony the real reason why they were there. Rhodey had told them before they had got on the C-17 to get to Diego Garcia that it was some sort of 'military experiment', and Tony had laughed, telling Rhodey he needed to get some new cover ups. Then on the plane, Rhodey had mentioned something about alien tech and the fiasco in L.A. a couple of years ago. Just what was this about?
"Pepper?" Tony asked.
"Yes." Her attention snapped to him.
"You seem distracted. Are you okay?" Tony asked. His PA was rarely distracted, and when she was, it was usually because she was nervous about something.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine."
"It must be because you're surrounded by all of these strapping young men... and all of them are in uniform." Tony grinned and winked. Pepper blushed furiously. "Keep your mind on the job, Miss Potts, and we'll be fine."
"I'm sorry, Tony, but did you just call Epps a 'strapping young man'?" Lennox grinned. "I think you might be misinformed."
"Oh, like you can talk." Epps rolled his eyes.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Lennox frowned.
"I noticed that you were having problems keeping up in Egypt."
"Epps, stop making stuff up. I was just as fast as you."
"Sure you were."
"Okay, once we've sorted them out –" Lennox gestured to Tony, Pepper and Rhodey, then glared at Epps. "– We'll have a race down the runway. There shouldn't be any more flights coming in, and we can see who the fastest is."
"Oops, looks like I just set off a testosterone charged rivalry." Tony shrugged. He looked from Lennox, to Epps, and then back again. "Can I join in?"
"Why not?" Lennox asked. "It means that's one more person to beat Epps. Rhodey, do you want in?"
"Ah no, I'm fine." Rhodey laughed. "I'll just be there to congratulate the winner, and laugh in the loser's face." He checked his watch. "Damn, we have to go and meet Morshower in about ten minutes."
"Oh yeah, we should get going." Lennox said, wolfing down his food. "If there's one thing Morshower hates, it's people being late."
"Good afternoon." Morshower said, sitting behind his large desk. Lennox and Epps stepped to the side of the room, as Tony, Rhodey and Pepper walked in behind them. Morshower stood up and walked over to Tony. "It's great to have you here, Tony. I'm General Morshower, and I'm in charge of NEST operations. I'm the one who brought you here."
"Nice to meet you, sir." Tony said and shook hands with Morshower. "This is my assistant, Miss Potts. I take it you already know Lieutenant Colonel Rhodes?"
"Yes, I do. We've worked together briefly..." Morshower smiled. "And he also helped me get you here. Without him, I think it would've been impossible to drag you away from the city. I heard a rumour that you were bringing your Iron Man suit with you. Is that true?"
"You guys asked me to bring it." Tony shrugged.
"Good. Is it ready to go?" Morshower asked.
"Yep." Tony replied. "You want a demo, don't you?"
"Yes." Morshower smiled. "A demo of how your suit works and a combat demo, if you're up to it."
"I'll be fine." Tony said, holding up a hand to shush Pepper before she could start to protest. "I was planning on doing a demo anyway."
"Yeah, he loves a chance to show off." Rhodey smirked.
"Then you're going to fit in just fine around here." Morshower said and turned his gaze to Lennox and Epps. "Anyway, have you taken them to the Autobot hangar yet?"
"Not yet, sir. We were waiting for you." Lennox said.
"Right. Let's get moving." Morshower said, shepherding them all out of his office and locking the door behind himself. "I'll warn you three now – you might be shocked by what you see in this hangar. You are not allowed to discuss anything you see on Diego Garcia on an open phone line or to anyone without security clearance."
"Morshower, who would I tell?" Tony asked. "Rhodey and Pepper are the only people I talk to. In fact, I think they're the only people I know or even see." Tony turned to Pepper. "Pepper, do I socialise with anyone other than you and Rhodey?"
"Not really." She said.
"There you go." Tony said, turning back to Morshower. "I'm not going to tell anyone. I don't know anyone to tell."
"You've proved your point now." Morshower nodded.
"Welcome to the Autobot hangar." Morshower said, as the doors rolled open behind him. "Lennox, Epps – take the rear. Make sure you catch anyone if they faint." The General smirked.
"I'm betting Rhodey will faint first." Epps said.
"Yeah, definitely." Lennox nodded with a grin. "Maybe we should both just stand behind him to catch him when he does."
"Yeah, let's get the medical team on standby too." Epps said. "He might hit his head on the floor when he falls."
"Oooh, initiative. I like it." Lennox grinned.
"I can hear you two." Rhodey turned around and hissed at them both. Lennox and Epps suppressed their hysterical outburst to giggles. Rhodey rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Morshower, and the Detroit diesel that had appeared out of nowhere.
"Gentlemen, lady – It's my pleasure to introduce you to Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots." Morshower said, and gestured to the diesel. Parts of the diesel began to shift and change, forming different shapes. The diesel stood up.
"Damn." Rhodey said, his mouth agape. Lennox and Epps walked up behind him and stood with their arms outstretched, ready to catch him. Rhodey turned around and shooed them away, scowling.
"Whoa..." Tony said, staring up at the diesel, which now resembled a man. "That's just cool." He looked at Pepper. She looked at him sternly.
"Before you ask, you can't have one."
"That's not what I was going to ask!" Tony protested. Pepper raised an eyebrow and he grinned. "I was going to ask if I could have two."
"Figures." Pepper rolled her eyes.
"Optimus, meet Tony Stark, James Rhodes and..." Morshower turned to Pepper. "I didn't quite catch your name."
"... And Pepper Potts." Morshower finished. Optimus studied the three of them.
"I am pleased to meet the three of you." Optimus said. Pepper's eyes rolled back into her head. Epps caught her when she fainted.
"At least we know she's normal." Lennox shrugged. "That's the most common reaction we've ever seen."
"We'll wait for her to come around before we proceed." Morshower said.
A/N: I really wanted to write something for Iron Man, but I didn't think I would be able to write a full scale story, and I need stuff to keep me occupied now that my exams have finished... Then I was laying in bed a couple of nights ago and this bunny came and bit me *shakes fist* and this was born. Make sure you leave reviews! You can have cookies if you do! I love reading the comments people leave me, and I always find that they help me to get motivated.
I Caught Myself.