"Wake up. We have work to do," whispered a voice.
Bella sat up, blinking sleep from her eyes. It was dark in the cave. What time was it? She never knew. "What is it?"
Yinsen gestured to something lying on a bench. In the dim light, it took Bella a moment to recognize what it was. A man's body.
"Is he dead?" she asked.
"Not yet, but he will be. I need help. There's shrapnel imbedded in his chest. They put an electromagnet in him, but I'm not sure if that will be enough."
She nodded. This was not the best place for a medical procedure to be carried out. But it would have to do.
After the procedure, Bella flopped back on her bench. "I hope this works. If the magnet shuts down, that should give him an extra few minutes for someone else to get it working again." She almost didn't want to know whether or not it worked.
"We'll know soon enough," said Yinsen. "Do you know who that is?"
She shook her head.
The incredibly rich weapons maker. She'd thought he'd looked familiar.
"They want him to build a Jericho missile for them."
Bella felt sick for a moment. Merely one of those missiles would be more than enough to wipe out New York City. What the terrorists could do with that… she didn't want to think about it.
Stark soon started to moan and twitch. He started to pull at one of the wires they'd put in his chest.
"Don't touch those!" yelped Bella, jumping and running to him.
He pulled his hand away and turned his head to look at the car battery they'd hooked him up to.
"What did you do to me? What's going on?"
"There was a lot of shrapnel in you. We managed to get some of it out. Not all of it." Bella bent over to inspect their work. "There's an electromagnet keeping it out of your heart for now."
"Who are you?"
"Isabel. Call me Bella."
"What's going on?"
Bella hesitated for a moment.
Footsteps sounded outside. "You'll be finding out very shortly, Mr. Stark."
She doubted he'd enjoy the experience.
They returned him in what Bella calculated to be four hours and thirty two minutes. Time passed so slowly when they didn't want her for anything.
"How did it go?" she asked.
He didn't answer, instead staggering to his bench.
"Anything I can do to help?" asked Bella.
He shook his head.
"You die either way," she said. "The only difference is that it'll be relatively painless if you do what they want."
"Why are you here?"
"About the same reason you are. They have me improve whatever they get, and construct more weapons when necessary."
"What? How old are you, thirteen?"
"Don't know, honestly, I think I stopped counting birthdays at eleven. I was created by an organization that wanted me to design weapons, to be a genius. There was a whole program. We were programmed with information that could be used in the creation of weapons, and the mental capability to use it to its fullest, even at just six years old. I can only remember my life since I was six, which is when they finished programming all the information into my memory. I've been doing it ever since. It's the only thing I know how to do, really."
"They erased my memory of everything I can remember about them and sold me to the highest bidder. I've been passed around quite a bit. I have been here for around six months, which is a record, and have a good knowledge of your weapons. They are truly impressive, by the way. If you agree to build the missile, I will be your assistant to help you."
He was silent for a while. "I'm getting out of here," he said after a while.
"You try that. I did."
She unconsciously rubbed at the small scar on her cheek, the one that had never really went away. The guards had been very mad about the whole thing.
"I'm getting us out of here. You, me, and Yinsen."
"Everyone who they bring here says that they're going to. I always advise them to the contrary. They always try and fail. And they always die. Please, don't."
"This time it'll be different."
"Because I'm Tony Stark, Izzy."
"Izzy?" she repeated.
Bella sighed. "Do what you wish. I'm not going to stop you. But unless you have a better idea than the last person, please don't expect me to join you."
"What idea did the last person have? And hey, are you British? You sound British."
"My memory was erased, I don't know where I'm from. I assume it's England because it's the only explanation I can come up for the accent."
"When we get out, I'll see if we can find out."
"If, Mr. Stark. A very big if. And please remember, if you get caught, that I advised you against it. What's your plan?"
"Still working on it."
"Just don't tell me it's stealing a gun and sneaking out. The last person tried that. It didn't work."
There was a short silence.
"Are you going to agree to help them?"
"I need time to work on my plan. So yes, I am."
The door opened and Yinsen answered. "They want an answer, Mr. Stark."
"Tell them yes."
"Are you sure you know what you're doing, Mr. Stark?" asked Bella.
"Of course I know what I'm doing, Izzy."
"Please don't call me that."
Please read and review! I'm not sure how good I am with writing Tony's character… any words of advice would be welcome.