CHALLENGES 14 & 15 from RDJverse
CHANNEL 11 NEWS BREAKING STORY!!
PEPPER POTTS, associate of the business mogul and super hero, TONY STARK, has gone missing and is known to have sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. She was last seen attending a charity gala alongside the likes of Dr. Kozak, Irene Adler, Kirk Lazarus, Harmony Lane, and Mrs. Hudson. The gala was of course, the place to be, as STARK went all out and decorated several rooms to perfection; though now they may very well be considered crime scenes. The 221B Lounge, The Gay Bar, the Scotland Yard, the Shaggy Room, and the Jarvis Station, for example, are all closed down until further notice because of trace amounts of blood found in all five. Detectives at the scene have taken samples of the blood and it is confirmed to be POTTS'. Several items have been noticeably touched by the blood: an ice cream scooper, a cane, a bat, a waistcoat, and a sturdy make-up kit. There have been no further details disclosed to the public, and there have been many attempts to keep the investigation out of the public eye. One thing is certain, however: suspects, there will be many, and a determined TONY STARK will be enough.
The killer/kidnapper is Dr. Kozak
The location was The Gay Bar
The murder weapon was the ice cream scooper
CHALLENGE: The game is afoot! So you've already determined who the killer is, where they killed Pepper, and what weapon they used, but now to answer the BIGGER question: WHY? Your challenge is to write a narration describing your choices' motives! FOR EXAMPLE: Let's say I chose Sherlock with a chainsaw in the library! Well I would write a story about Sherlock's motives behind killing/kidnapping Pepper.
by Maquis Leader
My crossover/AU/parallel universe/weird ass fic. I read the challenge wrong and wrote it from Tony's POV and had to rewrite it to be from the villan's POV, so I just connected the two.
Bad language so… R?
Tony paced behind the barrier of police tape, chewing a perfectly manicured nail to shreds. Pepper was missing, blood was splattered all over the Gay Bar – what the fuck was she doing in there anyway? It was an ice cream bar, and she was always dieting for no reason he could see. And the police were all giving him pitying looks whenever he asked what they were doing to find her.
“Jarvis.” The AI had been silent through all of the excitement of the discovery of the blood and that Pepper was missing.
“Yes, Mr. Stark?” The AI answered immediately.
“Who did this?”
“I don’t know, sir. I was on privacy mode as you instructed.”
“What?” He looked at the ceiling, more out of habit than the need to. Jarvis was tucked safely into several servers in various safe locations. “I never told you that.”
“You did, sir. At approximately 9:15 Pacific daylight time. You instructed me to go to privacy mode for the duration of the party.”
Someone had hacked Jarvis! Tony knew his mouth was hanging open. It wasn’t possible. He was buried behind firewalls and data mazes and sensitive enough to know the difference between a recorded voice and a live one. There was no way to hack into Jarvis. Nobody was that good, maybe not even himself.
“Jarvis, run all security protocols immediately, I want to know how someone shut you down.”
“Scan already in progress , sir. I started it the moment you denied making the command I received.” There was the faintest note of concern in the AI’s proper tone.
“Good, let me know – “
Tony looked hopefully at an officer who ducked under the tape and approached him.
“Mr. Stark, I think you need to prepare for the worst.” The man said, shaking his head. “There’s a great deal of blood and – “
“She’s not dead!” He snarled. “Do you know how much money I donate to the Police Benevolent fund? The widows and orphans fund, the fucking whatever police fund? Get in there and do your fucking job!”
“While I disagree with Mr. Stark’s approach, I do agree that you should do your job.” A cool British voice interjected.
“Who the – “ Tony turned to see Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective who had accepted the Gala invitation at the last minute, and his two companions Irene Adler and Dr. Watson. “Mr. Holmes, thank God you’re here, now we’ll see some results. These assclowns couldn’t find the murderer unless he was covered in donuts.”
“If I may…” Without waiting for permission, Holmes ducked under the yellow tape. He spent several minutes walking around the room, examining items, touching nothing, measuring where some items were in respect to others.
“Give him a minute, darling, and he’ll figure it all out.” Irene Adler moved close enough to Tony so that her shoulder brushed his, laying a hand on his wrist. “It’s fascinating to watch him work, isn’t it?”
“I suppose – why is he smelling the ice cream scooper?” His nose wrinkled in disgust. The thing was covered in blood.
“Doubt the methods, but not the man.” She told him.
“I wouldn’t doubt the methods, either.” Watson arched an eyebrow. “I say, is that my waistcoat?”
In the room, Holmes had lifted the edge of a bloodstained garment with the tip of small knife. “Don’t be ridiculous, Watson, it’s my waistcoat. You’re wearing yours.”
“It’s my waistcoat!” Watson insisted. “You’ve stolen it and now it’s ruined!”
Holmes peered over the garment in question. “I haven’t stolen it, we have a barter system. You borrow my clothing and I borrow yours.”
“I have yet to borrow any of your clothing. It’s generally soiled and in need of repair.” The other man snorted.
Tony glanced from one man to the other. He’d thought Holmes was at the party with the redhead, but apparently there was more to this group than he’d thought. “Can you two lovebirds squabble later? Let him work!”
“The amount of blood worries me, Mr. Stark.” Dr. Watson told him.
“It could be someone else’s blood – whoever attacked her, I’m sure she fought back.” He knew Pepper wouldn’t go meekly. She was too spirited for that. “If nothing else, she had those stilettos – they can do some serious damage.”
“It’s possible, but we won’t know until tests can be done.”
“Tests – wait!” Snapping his fingers, Tony called out. “Jarvis! Can you scan the blood?”
“Of course, Mr. Stark.” A nanosecond passed. “There are two blood types. One is Ms. Potts'. The other belongs a white male. I am comparing the DNA to all known databases.”
“Find out who this guy is, and I’ll forgive you for letting someone shut you down.”
“I’m finished, Mr. Stark.” Holmes ducked back under the tape. “The ice cream scooper is gold plated titanium, is it not?”
“What? Yeah, what’s that got to do with anything?” The Gay Bar had been set up with an ice cream bar with a variety of flavors and toppings. There were several of the gold scoopers lying around.
“Heavier than normal, I would say due undoubtedly to the devices inside?”
“Uh, yeah, there’s small units inside that respond to body temperature. They warm up the scoop when it’s held. That way ice cream can be scooped out without waiting for it to soften or pulling a muscle trying to dig it out.” Tony shrugged. “I like my ice cream cold.”
“Just as I thought. This was the murder weapon.” Holmes stepped close to Irene. She smiled at him.
“Murder weapon? There is no murder weapon, because there is no murder! Pepper is – “ Tony reined in his temper. “Pepper has been kidnapped. She’s hurt, but she’s alive.”
Watson looked away and Holmes ignored his outburst, focusing instead on Irene. “My dear, I believe you’ve taken advantage of our host.”
“Only of his wine and caviar.” She said smoothly. “I do love caviar so.”
“I recall your love of fish eggs quite well. However – “ Deftly, he reached down the front of her dress, his fingers sliding into her cleavage.
Tony’s eyebrows went up. “And they think I’m a dog.”
“I hardly think you need these baubles to go fishing with.” He pulled a string of glittering diamonds out of her bodice. “Or these.” His fingers dipped lower and came out with a handful of cufflinks.
Quickly checking his cuffs, Tony found his platinum and diamond cufflinks missing. “Hey!”
“She can’t help herself, I’m afraid.” Holmes carelessly handed the items to Watson, who in turn handed them to Tony.
“You spoil all my fun.” She hissed at him.
“Enough – you can have your ménageohthree later.” Tony had reached the end of his rope. “We’ve got to find Pepper!”
“I believe she’s still on the premises. There wasn’t time for the murderer to get far.” Holmes raised a hand to stop Tony’s outburst. “The kidnapper, if you prefer.”
“I prefer, thank you very fucking much!”
“I believe he struck her with the ice cream scooper – possibly as many as five times judging by the denting on the end of the handle. I would need to see the wound to determine the exact number.” Holmes nodded, pleased with his own assessment. “And then he carried her away.”
“You think he killed her with the ice cream scooper?” The police detective laughed. “Seriously? There’s a ball bat in there with blood on it – that’s our weapon.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. The bat has spatter marks on it. The blood would have had an entirely different pattern if it was there as a result of a blow. The same applies to Mrs. Hudson’s make up box, Watson’s waistcoat, and the cane. Spatter, nothing more.”
“I’ve heard it all now.” The officer rolled his eyes. “I suppose you know who the killer is, too?”
A twinkle appeared in the dark brown eyes. “Of course, don’t you?”
“Really, Mr. Stark, as a fellow American I’m embarrassed by the level of incompetence of the police here in Malibu.” Irene shook her head and tsked. “I know who the felon is and I daresay even Watson has figured it out at this point.”
“Certainly – what?” Watson glared at her.
“It’s Dr. –“ Holmes began.
“ – Kozak.” Jarvis finished.
“Even the computer knows.” The detective chuckled.
“I am an artificial intelligence, not a computer.” Jarvis informed him. “And Dr. Kozak is in the workshop with Ms. Potts.”
“How did he get in there?” Tony scrambled for the stairs, Holmes and Watson hot on his heels.
“I am not certain at this time.” Jarvis sounded miffed. “While in privacy mode, the video surveillance was not on.”
“This doctor, he was not an invited guest?” Holmes asked.
“No – “ Tony paused just long enough for the glass door to slide open and let him into his workshop. “No fucking clue who he is.”
“Dr. Kozak was arrested and charged with kidnapping, illegal experimentation, perjury, corruption, and attempted murder.” Jarvis informed them. “However, due to illegal procedure and other technicalities, he was not convicted.”
“Why was he here?”
“Why? I’ll tell you why?” A familiar voice shouted. “For the money! It should be mine!”
Tony skidded to a halt next to his workbench. A man stood next to the cases holding his Iron Man suits, a man whose face was too recognizable.
“That’s right, take a good look.” Dr. Kozak smirked. “Look familiar? That’s because we’ve got the same genes, Tony.”
“You’re full of – “
“He is correct. DNA match to within zero point nine four percent.” Jarvis informed him.
“That still makes you full of crap.” Tony continued. “Who are you?”
“Dr. Kozak, son of Dewey Stark. Your grandfather.”
“My father was an only child.” Howard Stark hadn’t had any other siblings, or even any cousins that Tony knew about.
“No, your grandmother was the only woman he married, but not the only one he knocked up.” Kozak gestured with the gun he was holding. “Now, if you’ll just be nice enough not to move, I’ll grab your newest Iron Man suit and be on my way. The North Koreans have offered me a nice sum of money for it.” His free hand reached for the access panel.
“Jarvis, lock down the suits.” Tony ordered.
“Yes, sir.” The access panel for the suits immediately turned red.
“That’s not going to stop me!” The other man pointed at the two robots standing nearby. “DUM-E, U – capture them!”
DUM-E and U rolled forward obediently, startling Tony. “DUM-E, U – halt!”
They paused. DUM-E cocked his head, trying to compute the odds of his father’s voice coming from two places at once.
“Get them! Don’t listen to him, listen to me!” Kozak yelled.
Clearly conflicted, the two robots rocked back and forth on their treads. DUM-E rolled next to Tony, plucked at his shirt, and chirped before shutting down. U simply went into sleep mode where he stood. Their processors assumed they were malfunctioning and waited for repair.
“Jarvis, unlock the suits.” Kozak ordred.
“No.” The AI replied. Unlike the two robots, he was sophisticated enough to compare what his visual input told him and disregard the matching voice prints. “Mr. Stark, I have alerted the police upstairs that Dr. Kozak is here. You will find Ms. Potts behind the Camaro.”
Ignoring Kozak and his gun, Tony ran for the pony car and slid down behind it just as a shot smacked into the fender. Thankful for Detroit steel, he crouched over Pepper’s still form as more bullets hit the car. “Jarvis! I need help!”
“Mr.Stark, I’m afraid there is no way to help Ms. Potts.” Jarvis’ voice was tinged with sadness.
“Don’t say that!” He lifted Pepper into his arms, ignoring the blood that smeared his suit. “Pepper, come on, talk to me. Yell at me! Anything, come on!
“Pepper, please!” Smoothing the bloody, matted hair out of her face, Tony pressed a kiss to her cool lips. “Please don’t leave me – I don’t have anyone else – “
He heard scuffling in the distance, another shot and Kozak yelping like a girl. Jarvis softly informing him that security was coming. Happy falling to his knees beside him, the big man moaning.
None of it mattered. Pepper was gone.
“I should have known, I should have known!” I raked my fingers through my hair, not caring that I was ruining the hundred dollar haircut and style I’d used the last of my money on. That was the least of my worries. “It was just too perfect, something had to go wrong!”
They were staring at me, eyeing me like some lab animal or organic sludge they’d found on the bottom of their shoes. Staring because they couldn’t believe how much I looked like Tony Stark – yeah, I’d seen that stare before.
“Quit fucking staring at me!” I bared my teeth and growled before I could stop myself. Damn Douglas anyway for biting me and turning me into a dog part time! Never at the right time, like when I needed to get away! Let someone toss a tennis ball and I was Rover all over, but with that damned detective and his friend beating the crap out of me, I didn’t sprout so much as a whisker!
“Tell me again, why you killed Ms. Potts.” The FBI agent asked me for what was probably the twentieth time.
“I’m not admitting to killing anyone. Not until I have my lawyer present.” I’d gotten off last time on technicalities, but it never hurt to play it safe. “I merely hit her on the head… a few times… with the ice cream scooper. That’s hardly a deadly weapon, unless you're a gallon of Rocky Road.” No Miranda rights had been read so this would all be tossed, that much I did know.
“It is when it’s gold plated titanium and you hit her ten times.” The man arched an eyebrow.
Smug bastard! “I don’t recall that.” Honestly, I didn’t, I lost count.
“What do you recall?”
“I recall asking for a lawyer, and yet – “ I looked around the room and even under the table as if expecting to see a lawyer there. “One hasn’t appeared.”
“You’ll get a lawyer when – “
There was a noise outside and then the door burst open. Tony Stark, Mr. Tony motherfucking Stark himself stormed in. It was eerie, like looking into a mirror. A mirror that had a boatload more money than I do and can afford four hundred dollar haircuts.
Tony reached across the table and grabbed my lapels before I could move out of the way. I didn’t expect a self indulgent drunkard to move that fast. Of course, being handcuffed to the table didn’t help any. His eyes locked on mine and I couldn’t look away, couldn’t stop the whine for mercy. Some weird instinct made me roll my head and expose my throat to him. Damn dog DNA! “Please! Please!”
“Why? Why would you hurt her?” He was shaking me so hard my head was snapping back and forth and my teeth caught my tongue. ”What did she ever do to you?”
“She knew I wasn’t you!” I choked out around the stranglehold he had on my shirt.
Two agents pried Stark’s fingers loose and forced him to sit down. The coffee colored eyes never left mine, like a laser ready to fire. “Tell. Me. Everything.”
I tried to play it cool, like what had just happened didn’t matter. Like I didn’t act like a bitch to the Alpha male of the pack. “Watch it, buddy!” My voice squeaked and I cleared my throat. “I paid fifteen hundred dollars for this suit. And it’s a knock off! I don’t have to talk to you; I have a right to a lawyer.”
“Mr. Kozak, under the Patriot Act, you have no rights.” The first agent said.
“The what – wait, that’s for terrorists, I’m not a terrorist!” I shook my head frantically. “Okay, I killed her but that’s a domestic crime! You’re FBI, you can’t use the Patriot Act!”
“We never said we were FBI, Mr. Kozak. You stated you were there to get the Iron Man weapon – “The agent looked sideways at Stark when he growled. “ – suit for the North Koreans. That makes this case treason.”
“What?” I felt really, really cold all of a sudden.
“Buying and selling weapons technology is treason.” Stark smiled that smug smile of his at me.
“Now you want to call it a weapon?” I snorted. “Typical! Changing your mind when it suits you! Oh, no, Mr. Senator, it’s not a weapon! It’s a shield! It’s a symbol of my big dick! And you get away with it! You’ve got everything your way and I have nothing! Nothing!”
I was growling again, and drooling a little, but I’d had enough! “I am a scientist! You’re just an engineer! An Oompa-Loompa of the science world! I – “ I tapped my temple. “I have talent!”
“You – have a screw loose!” Stark slapped his hand down on the table and I jumped in spite of myself.
“Why? Because I’m daring to take what should be mine? Huh?” I leaned back and gestured as best I could with these damn handcuffs on. “You’re the first to hear it, boys, a world exclusive! Tony Stark is my cousin! My father and his father were brothers – only his grandmother was lucky enough to get a ring on Grandpa Stark’s finger! Mine, she got nothing!”
“You had plastic surgery, right?” Stark was eyeing me like I was a defective part.
“No, this is my face – my face! Everywhere I go, ‘you look like Tony Stark’, ‘hey, it’s Tony Stark’. No one recognizing me for my own brilliance, just like at Grant and Strickland!”
“Where you tried to kill your boss, Mr. Strickland?”
“Whatever! I just… injected him with a paralyzing agent.” I shrugged the accusation off. “He’s fine now, just married his ninth or tenth wife.”
“You know, the only good thing about looking like you?” I told Stark. “I got laid a lot.”
Stark closed his eyes and the sight made me laugh.
“Treason still carries the death penalty, Mr. Kozak.” An agent said so softly I almost didn’t catch it, but I got the threat. He meant it.
“I’ll talk if you guarantee no death penalty.” So I’m a coward, everybody has to be something.
“A little less on your love life and more on your plan.”
Death versus life in a cozy Federal pen? Where to begin? “I was approached by a North Korean agent who said they’d pay me for the suit. They had a doctor do surgery on my vocal chords so that my voice prints match Stark’s perfectly. Getting into Stark’s house wasn’t a problem, I just mingled with guests coming up the driveway, and they all assumed I was him.” I made a face at my nearly twin cousin. “I shut off that stupid computer of yours so he wouldn’t realize there were two Tony Starks at the party, I’d grown my beard – and by the way, what the hell is up with your beard?”
“Yeah, that thing!” I said as Stark raised a hand to his chin. “The fucking angle thing is a pain in the ass! You can’t have a regular Van Dyke like everyone else?”
“You killed Pepper and you’re bitching about how I trim my beard?” His expensive haircut nearly stood on end after he ran both hands through it. And the bastard still looked good!
“She recognized me! Well, she didn’t recognize me, but she knew I wasn’t you. She was going to call security – I couldn’t let her do that.” I rubbed at the spots of dried blood on my cuff, no way was I going to be able to return this suit now. “She just wouldn’t shut up, so I clubbed her. A couple of times.”
“A couple of times? You bashed her head in! You son of a – ” Stark was back on his feet and the agents were pulling him away again. They were a tad slow, and he made my ears ring by introducing his fist to my nose.
“I didn’t mean to! I just got – carried away!” That was true, it had felt good, so good and had relieved so much of the frustration I’ve carried around for years. “If she hadn’t recognized me, I wouldn’t have had to do it. But I need the money – and they promised me a lab of my own where I can do any experiments I want. I’m a doctor, for God’s sake! I have to work! I could cure cancer and the common cold and who knows what else if the damned FDA and ASPCA would just cut me some slack!”
Stark got up and I flinched back. My nose was already bleeding and I like my face like it is, even if it does look like his. He didn’t try to hit me again, instead he walked to the door. He stopped with his hand on the knob.
“How much?” He asked.
“How much?” He asked again and this time I got what he meant. The suit – how much had they offered me for the suit?
“Twenty-five million?” Stark started laughing, chuckling and then sobbing. “You – are a moron – it’s worth a thousand times that much – a hundred thousand times that much – “
“Really?” Those North Korean jerks had only given me five grand up front.
“And it’s not worth a penny to me. Money won’t bring Pepper back.” He turned and I could see tears on his cheeks. “It will, however, ensure that you never see the outside of prison walls again.”
He left and a chill ran down my spine. Being a dog part-time suddenly seemed the least of my worries.
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