2011-02-28: Planes Trains And Automobiles


Theo_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: It's the big day for Theo's presentation, and it seems to go well!

Date: February 28, 2011

Log Title: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Rating: PG

NYC- Stark Towers- Main Tower

Random conference room in the main tower.

It's the beginning of yet another winter work week at the Stark Towers with the rain pouring down in buckets outside the the structure. Upstairs it's warm and dry in the conference room set up for today's meeting between research and development and Tony Stark. The meeting basically consisted of Bambi ready to scrawl down the meeting notes, Bob as the supervisor over at the RnD department and Theo. Tony himself was just getting to the conference room clad in a snappy business suit and tie for once. With a brief hello to everyone he takes up his seat at one end of the long table leaning back heavily in the chair and pulling over a glass of water.

Theo's dressed in a suit and tie as well. After all, he's been working for months on this presentation. He wouldn't tell Tony much about it in all of their casual meetings, outside the fact that it would cost an astronomical amount of money. So he's turned to Bob for more advice on this matter. But two weeks ago, he finally realized a way to cut the cost to approximately one tenth of the previous budget he had figured for the project. Now he's ready. "Hey Tony," the teen says with a grin. It's a nervous smile. He likes Tony, and he knows Tony wants to support him. Still, what he's about to propose will take more than a friendship to get approval on. He has his laptop under his arm, and opens the top as he reaches the presenter's position. The laptop comes to life, and he connects it to the main screen manually, rather than use his powers. After all, Bob is in the room, and he still doesn't fancy letting other people know about his ability. He takes a deep breath, and smooths the sides of his suit jacket.

Everyone around the room, those that normally see Theo on a daily basis, are settling in at their various positions around the table. Tony offers up a wave, "Good morning, Theo. I'm looking forward to this presentation you've been hinting around at for weeks now." Shades are removed then set down on the table next to his glass of water. A datapad makes its way out of a pocket to be placed upon the table next to that while Bambi offers everyone a drink at the table and to Theo himself before the young man begins his presentation. Tony smiles warmly and waves with both arms outward, "The floor is yours Mr. Fegenbush."

Theo nods, "Okay, well, let's begin, then." He accepts a glass of water from Bambi, and drinks about a third of it straight off. A title screen comes up on the main screen. "Mag Lev: Ending Dependence on Fossil Fuels and Bigotry" A strange combination of claims.
"So," Theo says. "I'm sure that you all may be somewhat familiar with magnetic rails," he says. All the same, he gives the definition in case anyone isn't quite up on that area of expertise. "Mag lev technology is being used in a few countries already. Wheel less ground transportation which can go just as fast as a jet, but is infinitely safer and spends less than twenty percent of the energy cost as a plane. By infinitely safer, I mean there has never been a rail accident involving a mag lev train. It is next to impossible for them to derail, and even if they lose power, there would only be some track damage, with minimal risk to human injury.

The title of the presentation is an interesting one to say the least. Tony sips at his water as Theo begins speaking about the Magnetic Levitation Technology which specifically points out the functioning trains that are in service all over the world. Knowing Theo's family history Tony smiles behind the rim of his glass before setting the glass down on the table. Fingers intertwine then he folds them across his chest listening further to the set up. Bambi is typing away into her datapad and Bob is looking over the provided information on his datapad.

"Mr. Stark," Theo says, not sure whether to call him by his first name in such a formal presentation, "You've had me working on the car that is powered by an arc reactor," he notes. "You've shown that we can make a car that eliminates the need for fossil fuels." The screen advances. "There's only one problem with that, and it's not with the car. The problem is that the world's economy is heavily fossil fuel dependent. If we came out with these cars tomorrow, it would cause global economic bankruptcy." He's been doing his homework outside of just technology, and the charts that are on the screen indicate the economic state of the global economy, and what resources drive the most income, showing oil at the top of the list. "That means nobody would have money to actually buy the cars. But what if we first introduce the mass transit market without oil?" he asks. "Then the market would take a smaller hit, and it would allow a gradual transition, because people would start making new investments. New
investments in Mag Lev transportation." Of course, thus far there's a good reason that mag lev hasn't been invested in. It's good, but it's extremely expensive.

Bob is now looking over the information about the world economy and what the introduction of Stark reactor tech would do to said economy. There's not a pretty picture being painted but he was just the scientist not the boss man so he looks over at Tony to see what he thinks about all of this.
Tony has gone over the information given to the others without picking up the datapad from the desk as it's mostly there for show. Theo had a great idea, and a valid point about the economical turn. "There are problems with mag-lev technology being extremely costly as well as problems with how to deal with inclement weather and power failure to the system." Turning around in his chair Tony rests his forearms down atop the long glass conference table looking thoughtful. "So you are suggesting that Stark Enterprises funds the construction of mag-lev rails and trains throughout the United States to soften the impact releasing affordable reactor tech will cause?"

"I am," Theo starts, "But…not yet. I propose that we start with the tri-state area, and then expand next to the eastern seaboard. As far as inclement weather, we have more than enough technology already in the market to predict such situations. The train can be brought to a stop if needed in the case of weather, without the problems that planes have of needing to fly in circles and expend more fuel. Regarding power failures, I think that shouldn't be as much trouble if we implement arc reactor technology for the track. Any shorts in the line can be detected long before they become a problem for a train in movement."
"Cost effectiveness is where I came against the biggest wall," Theo admits, "Until I considered the building cost breakdown. While it's true that the components will be expensive to produce, the construction costs can be cut to less than eight percent with the construction process I'm going to propose." The slide changes to a picture of Quicksilver, the Hulk, and Hellion. The boy clenches his fists momentarily. "We have in America, access to many mutants. Mutants who have been neglected in their abilities. People fear their powers, but many of their powers can have very practical applications in various fields."
This is the controversial part. "If we choose to train and employ mutants with specific skills take the place of machinery that would be needed for the construction, we could not only construct the mag lev at an effective rate, but we'd also provide a platform for mutants to be seen in a positive light without needing to take a political stand on the issue. We'd just be making a wise economic choice. It wouldn't be any more discrimination than it would be to hire the workers we need who have construction experience. It is simply an ability they possess which we would need."

Familiar with the pros and cons of mag-lev tech Tony ponders whether or not the company should take on the task of creating something that will make a considerable dent in the company's funds but provide a wealth of benefits for the community as a whole. Having a system that could work in all weather, be backwards compatible, produce very little noise and require very limited maintenance was certainly a draw. Cost was always an issue and this is why most countries would never see this tech put in place. Even if reactor tech was used to power the system the cost of putting together the trains and the guideway was still relatively steep.
So the proposal is to use mutant abilities to construct the system faster and cheaper than others that have tried to build a over 1.5 billion dollar system. "Your work around to make construction more cost effective does have potential. It would certainly help for people as a whole to see mutants in a positive light though you have to mind how you market something like that. Entitling your presentation as you did lends a weight to things that needn't be applied."
The fingertips of one hand drum lightly against the glass table for several moments as Bambi pauses in her typing and Bob looks between the men at opposite ends of the table. "You have something there, Theo. I'll have to consider your proposal given a bit of time to flesh it out." Already having gone into environmental causes and alternate sources in other fields this is a step in the right direction. However, there are problems with the project as well as the fact that Tony does his own thing regardless of the rest of the world.

Theo nods with another, more hopeful smile. "The cost of laying one mile of Mag lev track right now is just over a million dollars. This proposal would drop that cost to approximately $350,000 to $400,000. Depending on what skills we could receive, and how effective they'd individually be." He bounces on the balls of his feet. "Not to mention by starting with a smaller area, the Mag lev system would be financially self supporting and would pay for itself within an estimated four years. After that it'd be almost pure profit. That would allow it to be expanded exponentially over the next twenty years to cover both coasts, and at least one transcontinental line." It's pretty clear that Tony's acclamation of the idea has put some spring into his step, but now he's starting to ramble off information that would be quite a bit down the line. He certainly didn't go into this without some serious thought.

Tony drains the rest of his water glass then leans back in his chair once again. "The board is of course always interested in where money is going and what projects are to be taken on but I am the bottom line. I am more concerned with doing what is best for the country above all else and you've certainly put a lot of work into this proposal." After a moments pause to gather his thoughts Tony taps the table with a palm and then rises from his chair to walk across the conference room to stand close to Theo. "Give me some time to tinker with your proposal and to speak to a few of my colleagues. I can't give you a thumbs up at this juncture but I can start the ball rolling as it were."

Theo really isn't the hugging sort. He doesn't go for sappy emotional responses. However, that being true, he's still sixteen, and just made a major proposal to one of the most significant minds on the planet, and managed to get a positive response. So his response? He doesn't go for the handshake, he goes for a full hug, whether Tony responds well or not. He suddenly wraps his arms around the CEO, "Thank you!" he exclaims, having fully broken formal behavior.

Suddenly the billionaire finds himself being hugged by his normally standoffish protege. This is quite a telling gesture which Tony eventually returns as there's nothing wrong with Theo's response other than clearly shocking the man. Would another be able to get away with embracing Stark in such a way? Depended on who was doing the hugging and under what circumstance as its public knowledge that Tony doesn't like people invading his personal space.
"I'm pushing other matters with the board at the moment so by the time I can iron this out they'll be softened up for the initial blow." With a smirk he turns towards the others giving Bambi the signal to close the meeting notes. She then brings Tony his shades which he puts on. "This is a good start Theo. The world won't change over night but it is ideas such as this that have potential to slowly change opinions. As for me, I must hop aboard the jet to pick up my bike that I left on the West Coast. If you need me you've got my digits." A patented million dollar grin and a shoulder squeeze that shows Tony's pleased with Theo's work on this before he takes his leave of the conference room.

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