2010-06-16: A Few New Tricks


Kaji_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: Seeking a tour at Stark Towers Theo ends up being afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Date: June 16, 2010

Log Title A Few New Tricks

Rating: PG

NYC Upper East Side outside Stark Towers

The Upper East Side of New York City is New York's richest living area. The apartments here are off the most expensive in New York, and in the United States, and the businesses that make their home here are some of the wealthiest companies. Elegant rows of landmark townhouses line the side streets. There aren't as many shops here as there is housing and businesses.

A brief thunderstorm rolled through the city earlier in the afternoon, but it brought the sun in its wake. The roads and sidewalks are still wet, and the smell of rain hangs in the air, having briefly knocked the smog out of the sky. With the wet, however, came the humidity, and while it's only moderately warm, it feels rather moist outdoors. It hasn't stopped Theo, though. Classes are out of the summer, and he's taking the day off. Well, only kind of taking the day off. He has a backpack on, and from the looks of it, it has more than a couple of books in it.
The dark haired and freckled teen is most notable for his companion. It's a robot, perhaps eighteen inches tall, and walking on four legs. It's clearly home made, no fancy outer cover, and from the looks of his actions, he's controlling it with an iPhone. Casually he approaches Stark Towers, and looks up at the massive skyscraper. "Well Proto, this is it," he says, talking to his pet robot. "I can't even think of what I would put in a building this big. How many offices does it take to run a business anyway?" He walks forward to the door, and pulls it open, the custom little bot heading in before him.

On the 40th floor Tony was just wrapping up a meeting with several investors in the market for a company that could actively pursue their dream of making clean energy affordable to the masses. The meeting was casual, at Tony's request, and seemed to go well with everyone that was attending. After a few conciliatory conversations Tony excused himself and his associate. "Now that the agenda is under wraps I need to stop off at the east tower and then we'll go from there."

Though next to Tony, there really isn't a person or anyone there. There's a wolf, or in some people's case a really big dog, walking along with him in time. Kaji's just playing the dog card today, it's rather relaxing.

As Theo enters the lobby of the tower, he looks around for the information desk. He walks up to it, and peers down at the lady at the desk. "Hi," he says, trying to sound more confident than he actually is. "Stark towers has tours, right?" he asks "Where do I sign up for them?" His little bot follows him, coming to rest just to the left of his feet.

The elevator doors open up allowing Tony to walk out with Kaji alongside him. The lobby seems to be particularly busy for this time of day. He sees several people immediately talk amongst themselves with the look about them as if they're about to pounce him. The elevator sadly was too far away to retreat back to. He plasters on a welcoming smile and awaits the mob intent on lord knows what.

Kaji keeps close to Tony, casting glances up at people as they start to come closer towards him. He stays quiet though, he'll only make a sound if someone gets too touchy feely.

Theo's head turns away from the receptionist as the lobby comes bustling to life. The commotion can only mean two things. Either there's a free lunch, or Mr. Stark himself has arrived. Theo examines his options, an annoyed look at the crowd of people who seem to form. He didn't anticipate this opportunity so directly, nor did he anticipate such a crowd should the opportunity arrive. He looks back at Tony, and then at the door.

"Well," he says to himself. "He'll probably exit through those doors before long. No use in becoming part of the background noise." So, instead of joining the crowd, he slips back toward the front door, the small robot bounding ahead of him. He'll wait outside, and put himself between the most expensive car he can spot in front of the building. Then he'll play with Proto, his little science project, and pretend it's just coincidence. Probably not the most believable story, but it's the best he can come up with at the drop of a hat, and the best shot he can think of to be noticed by the billionaire hero.

Tony acts graciously to everyone who wants a moment of his time. It was better to placate a small mob than to try and rush through them. He signed several autographs, answered a few questions and took some rather uncomfortable photos. One middle aged woman decided to press her luck by hanging off him. Tony's threshold for unwanted contact had tipped over the scales. A low growl issues causing the people around Tony to step several steps back including the groping woman. "Heh," He tries to shake things off as best he can. "Don't mind him, he's mostly harmless." Fake grin still in place he begins parting the mob as if he was Moses heading through the parted seas. "It was nice meeting each of you and I thank you for your interest in my company and myself but I really must go. Enjoy the rest of your day." A quick retreat out of the front doors was his goal.

Kaji lets out a huff as Tony says that he's mostly harmless. His eyes flick to the people around him as he follows his boss through the mob of people as they're parted.

And…cue adorable robot! Proto isn't the most attractive looking little creation. It looks like it was put together with scraps in a garage, some sort of robotic four-legged spider. All the same, it bounds around like a puppy. Theo is leaning against a parking meter, watching the little machine rush around. "Proto," he announces. "Play dead," he says, and the toy lets it's four limbs flop out to the side. "Good, reset," he says, and it gets back up. "Proto, roll over," he commands. The little machine tries, but instead of rolling over, it ends up stuck on its back, the legs flailing in the air next to the car. So much for showing off.

Tony sucks in a breath of fresh air while mentally shaking off the feeling of tons of fingers grasping at him. He's about to say something to Kaji about detouring from the intended plan to go directly for the car when he spots a robot bounding around not too far way. Folding his arms across his chest he watches as it moves fairly well and performs a trick. When it fails to roll itself over Tony chuckles watching its legs flail about. He looks around and notices a young man, obviously the owner of this interesting creation. Tony walks over towards man and bot, clearly curious, "Interesting piece of work you have. Build it yourself?"

Kaji looks up at Tony, and then shakes his fur out as he reaches the outside. He just pads around to stand in front of the fallen toy and leans down to sniff at it. He quirks a brow before he lets out a huff and sits on his haunches. It's a metal thing. On it's back. Yay?

Theo glances up at Tony, as if he didn't know he was there. "Yeah," he says, "Just was playin' around with some spare parts in the garage," he says. Amazing what you can do with a circuit board and some old car parts, huh?" he asks. He steps over to the robot, and grabs it by one leg, dragging it over onto its feet again. "Close enough, reset," he says. The small robot goes back to its default position. "Proto, shake," he says. It rears back and raises one leg, offering it to Tony.

Tony is amused by the robot. Even though it might look silly to do so Tony leans down and shakes the mechanical appendage. "Nice to meet you, Proto." He seems to be taking a closer look as if inspecting it to figure out why it may have failed on its roll over. With an idea he rises to his feet as he speaks about shortening the length of one particular leg and or creating a sort of retraction where the limb may retreat into the casing a half inch or more. "Or it may be a simple matter of allowing one of the external legs to have a bit more kick to it." Tony absently rests a hand atop Kaji's head, scritching behind the wolfs ears.

Kaji blinks a bit as a hand rests upon his head, but he can't stop his tail from wagging behind him slightly as he tilts his head to let Tony scritch behind one of his ears more than the other one. He looks down at the toy for a second before he lets out a huff at it. His version of a scoff.

Theo smiles at Tony's interaction. "Yeah," he says, "I've been wanting to give it some more kick, but I need to trim the upper housing, then I can get a little better articulation vertically," he says. "I want to make it flexible before it's strong, but just a personal preference, I guess." He glances over at Kaji. "That's one hell of a big dog," he says. "Looks like a wolf."

Meanwhile, as Kaji lets out the huff, the small robot approaches him, and then offers a leg to shake again. "I figure once I get all the bugs worked out, maybe I can make some more and sell them. Who knows, maybe one day make them into something more practical," he says idly.

Tony has to admire Theo's ideas and vision. Anyone that could build something such as this robot out of spare parts had considerable talent. If Theo was the age Tony was guessing he was then he had something in common with the young man, a kindred spirit. He laughs as the bot offers a leg up to Kaji. "He's a purebred wolf. Least, that's what was on the papers." Tony mentally snickers to himself as he takes in the scene before him. "I think you've got sound plans for your friend here. In a few years I may have to watch out for you in the industry."

Kaji raises up a paw and pokes at the robo-dog's foot before he puts it back down. He tilts his head slightly as an ear flicks a bit. At the mention of being a purebred wolf, he does puff out his chest a bit. Ego swelling.

Theo arches his brow at Tony's statement, though his eyes are still on Kaji and Proto. "I got plenty to learn," he says. "Only so much to learn from books. People who write them usually lack the originality to come up with cool ideas. That's why they write boring books." After the statement's out, he suddenly regrets it, trying to think if Tony's written any books.
The little robot sits in what is vaguely similar to a dog's sitting position in front of Kaji, though still quite different, given the way the joints are structured on the robot. That, and of course it doesn't really have a head, just a body.

Tony grins at Theo's description of the available reading materials for robotic engineering. Now ignoring the robot he stands closer to Theo. "I would leave off of the books if I were you. Look into technical papers, see if you can't get access to MIT's database. There's also running a search on Japanese robotic advancements. Look for the actual work, not the press statements." Tony tries to think of more that he might be able to offer Theo as a place to look. "My best advice would be to keep tinkering. Its how I started and nothing will trump a persons imagination. The skill will come into play later."

Kaji tilts his head at the headless robot dog and he stands up a bit, starting to circle it as he lowers his head down to sniff at the small mechanical creation. His tail swaying a bit before he gets back to his original position and tilts his head the other way.

The teen tries to hide his disappointment in the statement. He seems to be fishing for something else. "I'll have to do that," he says. After all, Tony's one of the brightest minds in the world, he must know what he's talking about. "My old man was a train engineer," he says. "Smartest man I ever knew. No offense. Nobody would ever give him the shot to be the guy designing stuff. Hope I can fare better."
Proto smells like grease. It doesn't seem to respond to the sniffing at first, but a few moments later, it stands as well, and starts a counter circle, mimicking Kaji's moves.

Tony listens to Theo speak about his father and his hope to do better than his father. The more Tony learned of Theo the more they seemed to have in common. "If you don't mind the personal question. How old are you?" He has an idea that he wants to share with Theo. As the robot starts stalking Kaji, it catches his attention again. Tony tilts his head to the side, "Proto has the ability to mimic?" Tony considers that he may have just run into an engineering prodigy. He's not able to give in fully to the geek spazz because he's afraid Kaji may sit on the bot if it keeps following him.

Kaji is more amused right now as he stands back up and prances around Tony a bit. Having the robot follow him as he looks a bit more happier right now. His tail swaying back and forth happily.

"I'll be sixteen in three weeks," he says. In other words, he's fifteen. But he wants to make sure that Tony knows he'll be of hiring age soon enough. The question about Proto mimicking catches Theo like a deer in headlights for just a split second. "Mimic?" he echoes, realizing that he may have overdone it a little. Proto stops for a moment. He looks back at the robot, and then at Tony, not sure whether to play this up or down. He chooses down. Proto begins to move again, following Kaji's path imprecisely. "No, after he doesn't get any commands for a while, he just goes into follow mode. Your wolf is the closest moving object. Something I gotta work on. I have to watch him in public if I'm standing still, because sometimes it will start following people at random that pass by."

Tony thinks that its just a simple glitch that could easily be fixed. The potential for the robot is clear and the future of this young man is much clearer at least in the industrial giants eyes. Tony reaches into a pants pocket to pull out his cell phone, placing a quick call to his research and development unit at the New York plant. "Hey, Bob around? Tell him I want a word the second you see him." Tony lowers the phone away from his ear and looks over towards Theo. "What's your name?"

Kaji would smile and laugh if he could before he walks around Tony and moves to sit next to him. His tail swishing behind him before he looks over at Theo. His ears perked up and the glint in his eyes shows that he's actually having some fun now.

"Me?" Theo asks, as if there was someone else around. "Theodore Fegenbush." It's all he can do to keep from jumping around like a toddler at the moment. The scene before him seems too good to be true. He does indeed look like he's about to explode. It comes out in his robot, though, as it begins to shake. Quickly, he pulls his backpack off, and sets it on the ground. He digs into the bag, and fishes out a screwdriver. He crouches down by his robot, and tightens a screw, as if this were a recurring problem. His eyes fix on Kaji, however. He seems like a nice wolf, but…he's really big, and thus a little intimidating still.

"Well, I don't have all day to wait for Bob to reappear. Tell him to call me." Tony hangs up the phone. "Man down," he jokes looking at the robot. Since they are close to one of the fountains he ends up walking over to sit down. "I think you could possibly have a talent for this and with your learning curve being stunted, I have a proposal."

Tony looks laid back as he sits near the bubbling fountain watching Theo work on his bot and Kaji at least looks amused. "In three weeks, if you're still interested, I want you to put in a call to Bob Roberts in my Research Department here at Stark Enterprises. Strictly a learning position. You will be paid of course but until you're able to back your skill with a degree I wouldn't be able to go any further than that." Tony lets what he's offered sink in, part of him jumping at the chance of having Theo in the department. He could stop by from time to time to see how the young man was doing and maybe work with him on a few things.

Kaji levels his gaze onto Theo, and he tilts his head for a moment.

Theo follows Tony to the fountain, maintaining a cool exterior. Well, sorta. "Sure," Theo says. "I was hoping to get a job when I hit sixteen anyway, and I think it'd be helpful to be able to work under people who really know what they are doing and can help fill in the holes that I've been missing." How long was that sentence anyway? Then again, how many people can say that their first job was offered to them by Tony Stark?

Tony pats one hand down upon the fountain wall that he's sitting on. "I'll have a talk with them. Of course you won't be able to work on anything too sensitive but at least you'll be able to gain some experience and ask questions." He wasn't entirely certain what he could setup for Theo but that could be thought about another time. After all, he did have three weeks to sort that out. If this turned out the way he was hoping it would then at least feel like he could physically see something good coming out of his actions. Most of his work never afforded him the chance to see the long term benefits of his actions. Tony pats the fountain wall again before popping up to his feet. "Is there a place I could send you some information? I hate to cut out on you but if I don't feed the wolf he's liable to gnaw my leg off."

As if on cue, the wolf clicks his teeth a bit as he gives Tony a rather hungry look. Though his tail is still wagging happily as he lets out a playful growl. Then Kaji just hops up onto the fountain's ledge and lays there in the mist.

The technopath pauses. He could give the school's address, but then there's a possibility that Tony would recognize it. Theo glances at the wolf, and then the robot, and decides that he should just hope that Tony has more important things to think about than the physical address of Xavier's Institute. "Yeah, I live at 1 Graymalkin Drive, Westchester." He glances back down at the large canine. "What's his name, anyway?" he asks.

"Greymalkin Drive," Tony mutters while sticking his hands into his pants pockets. "His names, Fenrir. No, not named after that Harry Potter character." Tony smirks as he glances over to the wolf getting sprayed by the fountain. Tony appears to be chatting but part of his thoughts are elsewhere as he's accessing his computer via his abilities. As the information pulls up for Xavier's Institue his eyebrows lift in surprise but quickly drop so as not to give anything away. Was Theo a Mutant? Did he go to Charles' school? He would keep this to himself for now and allow Theo to present himself as he saw fit. "I'll send something over, Theo. You and your bot take it easy." With a quick wave he calls Kaji over and heads off towards where his car's parked.

Kaji stands up on the ledge of the fountain, shaking a bit of the water off before he hops off of the stone wall. He flicks his tail at Theo in kind of a wave before he follows Tony to the car.

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