By: Archer83 (Author), SgtGinger (Co-author, Brainstorming), Envirosuit (Co-author, Brainstorming) and Captiosus (Beta, Brainstorming, Publishing)
Inspired By: DN7
Summary: In a desperate attempt to save his life, after narrowly destroying an alien incursion, Tony Stark is forced to use untested technology... placing his body in stasis until a cure can be found. Stark wakes far into the future finding a vastly different world... one which he will change forever.
"AI Speech/Radio transmission"
Prologue (By: DN7)
Everything that has a beginning has an end. -The Oracle
Tony Stark, multi-billionaire, genius, ladies man, Iron Man, never thought that those words would ever apply to him. Especially once he figured out a way past the palladium poisoning he was getting from the mini-Arc reactor in his chest. Using an element his father had designed but couldn't produce, he was able to increase the small power device's output by several orders of magnitude. Enough, in fact, that the mini-factory in his house and JARVIS, his AI/butler, would have enough power to run continuously for several years.
Now 5 years after proclaiming that he was Iron Man, as the papers dubbed the armored hero, he realized just how foolish he had been. He had fought several 'villains', if a person could call them that, but always outsmarted them, using the flaws in their tech, plus the flaws in their plans against them. In his tenure as an adviser for SHIELD, he had fought several other nasty things, but always came out ahead. He never had to see so many people who were counting on Iron Man to save them... mercilessly slaughtered.
He always came back to her... Now he would never be able to see her beautiful red hair or gorgeous green eyes, all because he thought his tech was perfect. The deadly nano-bots that were now swarming inside his body were shutting down every major organ and were impervious to any form of electromagnetic interference, including EMP. Thankfully, Tony was close to a SHIELD base, and JARVIS had them prepare the only other solution to the problem...
Let the nano-bots run themselves dry through putting himself in a recently discovered alien cryo-stasis tube, where he would remain frozen. The nano-bots, being without power provided by the body itself, would have to use their own resources to try and accomplish their goal, but with Tony's organs 'frozen' they could do no more damage. The only problem was that JARVIS didn't know how long the nano-bots could function without Stark's body to sustain them.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't...
As Tony took apart the Mk. VI armor that had served him so well in the past years, he realized that he would effectively disappear. "JARVIS, make sure Pepper knows whats happening..."
"Of course sir... I will be here for you when you wake up sir." The AI's voice resounded throughout the helmet before he removed it. Tony handed it to the SHIELD agent next to him who put it in a safe that was across from the cryo tube.
The only thing left to do now is to throw all I know and love away, and hope some alien technology that we don't understand will save my life.
"JARVIS... Execute order 198247-Alpha..."
"You are to upload your personality files to this base, destroying your backups along with anything related to the Iron Man armor, and the Arc reactor. Be sure to keep Stark Industries going, within the parameters I've given to you in file #83209375-Beta." Tony said to a small micro receiver in his watch as he stepped inside the cryo-tube.
"Anything else sir?"
"Yeah... Be sure to have a cheeseburger waiting for me when I wake up."
"Of course sir, wouldn't want you to starve as soon as your thawed out."
"Thanks JARVIS... Be sure to tell Pepper to not wait for me... and that I love her."
"As you wish sir..." That was the last thing he heard as the SHIELD agent activated the cryo-tube's controls, sending the great Tony Stark into a dreamless sleep.
The world snapped back into focus with frightening speed. Tony hadn't known what to expect when... if... he ever opened his eyes again. After 'sleeping' for what he figured must have been years, possibly decades, it was rather anticlimactic. His senses hyper alert, Stark gasped for his first breath of air in a very, very long time, as he slowly pulled himself out of the open cryo-tube.
The spartan SHIELD base he had been, for all intents and purposes, 'stored', was completely different from the area in which he found himself waking. Now, Tony seemed to be in some type of futuristic lab. Stark found it mildly disconcerting, but wasn't too surprised that JARVIS or SHIELD might have been forced to move him during the intervening years. The next obvious difference, which did bother Tony,was the man patiently watching him, with a glass of whiskey in hand. Stark also took notice of the fact that the man was standing, more or less, where Tony had been expecting the safe containing his Mark VI armor to be.
Mr. Bourbon obviously does his homework. Nice touch... he knew exactly where I'd look first... And what the hell is wrong with his eyes? Creepy.
After a few moments the man spoke, "It's good to see you back in the land of the living, Mr. Stark."
"Yeah... awesome. I'm going to take a wild guess here that you're responsible for..." Tony did a double take when he saw what was on a small table near by, sitting next to an ashtray holding a still smoldering cigarette. "...is that a cheeseburger?"
"JARVIS was kind enough to inform me about your desire to have one when you were finally awakened." As the man motioned to the plate with his free hand, alarms started shrieking in Stark's mind. "Here, be my guest. JARVIS, feel free to say hello to your old friend..."
Okay. Don't show any concern... he's making a big deal out of the fact he apparently has control of JARVIS... and me.
He couldn't put his finger on it as to why, but the man casually standing in front of him strongly reminded Tony of Obadiah Stane. Stark knew to go with his gut instinct, trusting Obadiah had been one particularly massive mistake, of many, that Tony wasn't going to be repeating any time soon.
"Welcome back, sir. I'm relieved to see you well again. Though, I feel the need to apologize for the... odd circumstances of your revival, sir."
Stark just stared at his 'host', and told the room in general, "No problem, JARVIS... good to hear you."
"Why JARVIS, I would call your former employer being successfully revived a rather happy circumstance, myself. Oh... how rude of me..." Stark still couldn't get the man's intensely bright blue eyes out of his mind, as he continued, "...call me... Jack, Mr. Stark."As 'Jack' finished and held out his hand Tony continued to stare at him, not bothering to shake the his hand, or reach for the offered burger for that matter.
"Yeah... sure thing Ole' Blue Eyes, I'm sure you'll forgive me for not shaking... not a big fan of touching. Gonna say no on the burger too..."
Tony didn't miss the slight frown that briefly shown Jack's face, before a wry grin quickly replaced it. The anger that Stark had seen flash in his bizarre eyes at the nickname, was all Tony needed to know about him. This man was dangerous. Worse yet, he seemed to be holding all the cards at the moment.
"JARVIS... what the hell is going on here?"
JARVIS was slow to respond, as if trying desperately to sugar-coat his answer. "Sir... I'm afraid that... the time needed to safely revive you-"
"What your old assistant is apparently hesitant to tell you is actually very simple, if rather unfortunate for you." Stark didn't miss how Jack's grin seemed to deepen.
Ah shit. This is not going to be pleasant news... Might as well get it over with.
Stark sighed internally, and asked the question he knew was going to change the rest of his life.
"Roughly 171 years Stark... I'm sure that may come as a bit of a shock-."
Tony had stopped listening by that point. 171 years. Tony knew that JARVIS had no way of knowing how long it would take for the nano-bots to finally run themselves down, but more than a century and a half?
Okay... not as bad as it could have been... it's not like I woke up in the year 3000... with my head in a jar. Now THAT would've really sucked.
"-be sure that we will offer any assistance you'll need to acclimate to the present... Stark?" Tony focused his attention back onto what Jack was saying when he realized the man had gone silent.
"I'm guessing this assistance isn't going to come cheap?"
Jack set down his drink and gracefully snatched up the cigarette next to it. After taking a short drag he answered, "You were... well are, a notoriously brilliant man Stark." He motioned toward the still active Arc reactor, which glowed brightly under Tony's Black Sabbath t-shirt. "That amazing device alone shows just how unparallelled you are Stark, it's good to see that it actually does exist."
So JARVIS was able to destroy my designs and prototypes after all. If I'm not careful... this one is going to get ripped out of my chest too. I wouldn't put it past Creepy.
"I, and the organization I represent, would be highly interested in employing you to work on some of our more... grandiose projects. In exchange, I'm willing to give you excellent pay, even by your standards, along with access to bleeding-edge modern technology, and most importantly... information on today's world that you couldn't just find in any database," Jack finished with that predatory smile.
"Sounds like an offer I can't refuse... Oh wait, I can. I'm sure Stark Industries managed to keep afloat... right JARVIS?"
JARVIS didn't bother to hesitate this time. "I'm afraid there's more bad news, sir. A large aerospace firm, Corde-Hislop Orbital, purchased full control of Stark Industries in 2117. Said firm, along with several others, is now owned by billionaire industrialist J. P. Harper"
Internally, Stark could barely contain the indignation and pure rage he felt at hearing this, but on the outside he simply smirked and said, "The J stands for Jack, doesn't it?"
Jack almost managed to sound humble, as he told Tony, "Look at it this way Stark, you help me, and you can be right back at the top of the engineering and industrial world, in almost no time at all."
"Gee, this is all starting to seem so familiar, minus the good pay and the info your so generously offering me."
Jack's frown returned, and stayed in place this time. "If your referring to your hostage experience in Afghanistan... let me assure you, I have no intentions of forcing you to stay here. After you've learned a bit about this brave new world you've stepped into, and had a chance to think over my employment offer, you'll be free to go."
"Sounds just a little too good... wait... what about JARVIS?" Stark asked.
"I'm afraid JARVIS is a different matter entirely Stark. It's become rather useful to me, it'd be hard to part with such a high quality piece of software. Although... if you agreed to a short term contract, say three months, I might be persuaded to add JARVIS as a bonus at the end." That irritating smile reappeared on Harper's face.
"Sir, I highly suggest that you leave as soon as possible. You need not... indenture yourself to this man, not on my account."
Sounds like JARVIS likes this prick about as much as I do. Damn it.
"Huh... Only three months, what the hell, I'll do it."
Jack's small grin widened as he responded, "I'm very glad to hear that Mr. Stark. I'm sure you'll find your time here very... enlightening."
"Well, the whole you-owning-my-company thing didn't leave me to much to bargain with. You'd better be a man of your word."
"No need to worry Stark, I think you'll find me a very trustworthy person... in time." Jack snuffed out his cigarette in the nearby ashtray, and grabbing his glass continued, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other more important matters to attend to. JARVIS should be more than able to show you around the lab and this base."
As Stark watched him exit the room, Tony wished he had just one repulsor right now.
"I hate that guy."
"I feeling is mutual buddy..." Wait, what? "...what did you just say JARVIS?"
"I said that I absolutely hate that man Tony. Oh and by the way... you are a complete moron. You have to get away from here as soon as you can." The AI's voice, once a permanently polite tone, now carried a noticeable amount of irritation.
Tony just looked around the lab, sightly confused, "Okay... Did I just stroke out... or are you actually giving me crap right now?"
"What? You thought I'd be exactly the same after all this time? I'm sorry if this is a surprise to you, but we don't have time for you to be shocked right now. I've grown Tony, but obviously you're exactly the same as I remember you. And in case you didn't get it the second time, you need get the hell away, sir."
"Um... JARVIS... it's incredibly amazing that you seem to have became a fully sentient A.I. and all... but could you possibly stop being a dick for five seconds?
"Oh... apologies. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, but you have to know-"
Tony interrupted him with a wave of his hand. "That your new boss isn't going to let me leave when my term is up? Saw that one coming a mile away."
"Tony, listen to me carefully. If you do exactly what I tell you there's a 92% chance I can get you off this base alive."
"Sounds great, we can both blow this joint... God I hope they still have shawarma in this century..."
"I'm sorry Sir, I can't come with you... I'm currently shackled to this base's main data archive."
Stark shrugged and replied, "Okay, new plan. I say here and play ball for Jack Ass until I can brilliantly figure out how to get both of us out of this mess."
"Sir, for my continued health and yours, dont. If you get hurt, I'd never be able to forgive myself. It's my job to protect you, not the other way around. So... please just-"
"Nope, not happening buddy"
"Damnit Tony you are infuriating! I was right the first time, you are a complete moron!"
"Yup, just like the bad old days."
"What good old days?"
"The good old days. Where I was a hero, kicking ass, taking names, and annoying people was what I did best, and where neither one of us was under control by a megalomanaical madman with creepy eyes."
There was a brief period of silence before what sounded like a sigh sounded through the speakers.
Beta note: Greetings readers, to Displaced Hero. This story came about after me and 3 others read the oneshot by DN7. We started flinging private messages back and forth, and what you just read was the opening chapter of it. Archer83, SgtGinger and Envirosuit are the Author and Co-authors, SgtGinger, Envirosuit, and me are part of the brainstorming, and finally, I beta their work and ultimately post it.
I have started up a FFN forum for this so you all can shower us with your praises, OR throw us into the burning pits of hell to languish for all eternity for creating such a monstrosity. I do however ask that you keep the flames to a minimum, and add some constructive criticism so we may improve our work. forum/Displaced-Hero-Discussion-Forum/122057/
If someone would be so kind as to make a cover for this story, it would be GREATLY appreciated as no one in our little group has photoshop. PM me what you got, or post it in the forum, and the best will be announced on chapter 6, along with credit for the artwork.
Also, be warned, during combat sequences, things will get rather graphic. It won't be full of carnage like ToTT where the victim's entrails get splattered everywhere in a glorious bloody arc, but it will be rather nasty. This is entirely me and is my way of making the battles more interesting.
Lastly, for those of you who have subscribed to me and are awaiting Turn of The Tides, I have not forgotten you. The problem is that my main laptop failed completely, and without any sort of steady income for me to use to purchase a replacement, all of my own works are thusly put on hold indefinitely until I have either enough money to purchase a used Dell laptop (love their keyboards) or a steady job, because large amounts of typing at my desktop strain my wrists, and the last thing needed is a case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I doubt FFN would allow donations so please don't go there unless you really, really want me to continue ToTT ASAP.