2010-06-20: Tech Nerd Convention


Theo_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo and Tony ignore Fathers Day in favor of attending a robotics convention that is in town for the weekend.

Date: June 20, 2010

Log Title Tech Nerd Convention

Rating: PG

NYC Convention Center

The weather on Sunday was markedly improved from the previous day where sunshine was intermittent at best. It was the best sort of weather that one could hope for on Father's Day in the States. The parks and recreation facilities would be crowed as would indoor pools and movie theaters. One place that was considerably devoid of festive cheer was the Avenger Mansion. There were a few people scattered about the various floors but it was as if it were just another day for them. Tony was not particularly fond of this holiday due to how strained his relationship with his father had been before his parents deaths. It was more of a reminder of things that he had lost and never found.

With nothing better to do than work on things in his lab or search out information on people he was growing anxious. The four walls he liked to normally box himself into were feeling smaller and smaller every moment he remained cooped up. As he stared at the monitor before him he got a random idea and began searching for events that were taking place throughout the day. His eyes pulled out something right away. There was a robotics convention downtown that was advertising all sorts of events and hands on experiences. A circuit clicked on for him and he quickly searched for the right phone number. He had a glimmer of hope that young Theo would be interested in attending with him. It was worth a call just to see if it were possible but each unanswered ring dropped his hopes down a peg.

"Hello?" comes the voice on the other end of the line. No name came up with the call, and Theo's voice sounds rather hesitant, as if expecting the call to be a bad one. Theo hasn't been doing much either. He's been hiding in Central park, away from everyone in the world today. It's not a good day for him.

“Theo?” The question sounding a bit like a statement more than a question. “I tracked down your phone number, I hope you don't mind. Its Tony Stark, I was wondering if you had a moment.” Tony rises from the chair he's sitting in and begins to pace the lab trying to organizing his thoughts. ”I don't know if you've got anything planned for today but there's a Robotic Convention downtown and I thought you might be interested. Well, interested in perhaps attending, with me. You don't have to but I thought I'd offer.” /Way to go Stark, you sound like a babbling idiot. Why can't you just tell him that you thought it would be a great way to hang out? Because you don't normally hang out!/ He thinks to himself and forgets that he might want to give Theo more information.

There is a silence for a moment from the other end before Theo gives his response. "Um, no, I'm not up to anything," he says. He sounds rather surprised by the phone call. He closes the book sitting in his lap, the latest assignment from Hank McCoy. "I've just been hanging out in Central Park, being bored." He pushes himself up with the tree next to him as support. "You want me to go with you to a convention?" he asks, as if he is expecting this to be some sort of prank by another student.

Tony realizes that it probably sounds completely insane but it wasn't out of character for him to do something like this. He may not have spent much time with the young man but there was something there, something that reminded him of himself that Tony wanted to explore. "I know its rather last minute notice, I didn't even know about it till a few minutes ago. I figured you might like to go. I'm not entirely sure what they're going to be showing but at least we could heckle things if its terrible."

Theo arches his brow. "Sure," he says. Hey, it's in the same line of thought as studying robotics, right? He still sounds uncertain of how to interpret the offer, but it beats sitting around and letting him be consumed about memories of his father, which is what he was really doing instead of studying. "So where is this?" he asks. "Do I gotta wear a suit or something?"

Tony chuckles into the phone, "No, no suit. Least I hope not." Tony quickly searches the information and finds that its basically an all ages show instead of a business gathering. "Looks like anything goes." He relates the location to Theo hoping that he doesn't sound as enthusiastic as he actually is. "I could swing by the park to pick you up if you'd rather not take the train."

Theo considers it for a moment. He actually loves trains, but he worries that he'll sound stand-offish if he declines, so he accepts. "Sure, that'd be really nice of you," he says. The boy starts toward the nearest parking lot. "I'm near the south end of the park, does that work for you? I'll wait at the parking lot by the entrance." He tucks the book under his arm, and starts walking so that he'll be at the said parking lot before Tony gets there.

The area of the park is familiar to Tony. He informs Theo that he should be there in a few minutes give or take the traffic. With the call ended Tony searches around his room grabbing keys, wallet, shades and whatever else strikes his fancy. He makes sure to pick up his trusty computer pad and pockets that as he grabs his coat. With a quick word to Jarvis about his plans he heads out to where the cars are and fires up his Audi. The drive over to the park doesn't take long at all. The silver car with the Stark license plate pulls into the southern parking lot with the drivers side window rolled down so that Theo might be able to see him and flag him over.

Theo is there, just as expected. No toy robot with him today, so he can't show it off. But then he wasn't expecting a call from Tony Stark when he left, either. He jogs to the passenger side of the car, and opens the door to hop in. "Audi, huh?" he says, glancing around at the interior. "Thanks for inviting me. So if this isn't a business convention, what is it? Guys trying to get their patents bought so they can make their millions? They'll be on you like flies on poop."

Tony finds himself laughing at the truth in Theo's comments. "I flew this car in from the west coast. It handles a bit better than some of my others," He waits for Theo to settle in and is squared away before raising the window up on his side. Tony pulls the car back out into traffic heading towards the Convention Center. He's not dodging through traffic like he would normally do. "I'm glad you accepted the impromptu invite. This is probably going to be a nightmare once the companies figure out I'm there so feel free to ditch me if it gets too bad." At a red light Tony looks across his shoulder to Theo. "Are you fond of robotics only or do your interests go beyond that?"

"Well," he says, "I might've mentioned that my dad worked on trains. So I know more mechanics stuff than anything else. Only started playing in robotics like…I dunno, six weeks ago or something. And I want to work in computer stuff, but right now I only know the basics. Forget being a jack of all trades, I want to be a master of them all," he says with a grin, one cocky enough that he might actually believe it.

"See, there we might have something in common." Tony doesn't point out what he's referring to specifically but he likes Theo. The gifted tend to have a lot more confidence than the average person who simply dabbles in something that they're interested in. "You have the right idea, Theo. To get to where I am you would have to master a few fields. The ability to branch out in several directions works but I caution you that it can get incredibly stressful." Tony pays attention to taking the right streets for several minutes as they approach the exit for the Convention Center. "I think over time you mind find something that you're passionate about and focus on that. For me, its electrical engineering."

"So why'd you end up doing all the military stuff?" Theo asks. "Is that where the best electrical engineering stuff is?" Of course, maybe he's not thinking of the money factor. "I think I really like robotics stuff so far, but I really want to do robotics with some kind of brain. I mean, what's the point of automated stuff if it doesn't know what to do and has to be told what to do all the time?" he asks.

The car is slowing down to cue up for a ticket to park in the parking structure next to the convention center. "I agree with you when it comes to robotics. Robotics is a lot more than just a hunk of metal performing a task. I've been working on an Artificial Intelligence system for sometime but that is a bit different." Tony slides his window down in order to accept the parking ticket from the automated device. Once he's got it the window slips back up and the car pulls through the now opened gate. "As for the military," he sighs rather heavily. "It was my fathers pursuit. Its what Stark Enterprises is founded upon. I was making bombs and guidance systems for him long before I had graduated from MIT. I did it because its what was needed. Not necessarily because I liked it."

The young technopath nods. "I guess that makes sense then," he says. After all, Theo wanted to go into trains because that's what his father did, and that's where the connections were.
"So when we go in there and they swarm you. I can knock over somebody's display if you need to draw their fire. But you get to pay for the damages," he suggests with a grin.

Tony finds himself laughing as he pulls the car into an available space. When they've exited the car Theo might notice that the car seems to lock and activate its security system without the use of an electronic key lock. "I hope it won't come to that to be honest." He takes a look about the garage searching for the elevator to go down to the main level of the structure. "I could have worn my t-shirt that says, Aerospsace Engineers do it with lift and thrust. We'd be swarmed with fangirls on top of the fanboys. Then again, I don't think you'd complain if I have to pawn a few women off on you." Tony smirks.

Theo gives a wide grin in response, "I think I'd manage," he says. The automatic locking system catches his attention, but he doesn't let on, because he wasn't looking at Tony when he locked it. "Maybe we can get some fangirls anyway." He spots the elevator as it comes within his senses range, and adjusts his path accordingly. As they reach the elevator, he hits the button.

"Much more preferable in the long run than hovering execs pawning their wares." Tony admits as they wait for the elevator car to arrive. Once it does they manage to squeeze in for the uncomfortable ride down to the main level. Tony is thrilled that the ride down to the main level is short. "Maybe you'll see something that you're interested in." He walks alongside Theo to the entrance where he pays the admission and receives the lanyard like passes. He hands one over to Theo then places his around his neck. The open area before the sets of doors is crowded with people trying to organize themselves but once past the doors into the spacious room it looks like heaven to a tech geek. "Hey, good to know they're playing up the cheese factor," Tony comments as he points out the robot from Lost in Space.

Theo takes the lanyard, and tosses it over his own neck. "Yeah," he says, though he's personally never seen Lost in Space. It's a bit before his time. He watches all the people scanning back and forth. "So," he begins his question. "Which way first?" He looks down each direction. "We have the house of tomorrow on the right," he says, "And it looks like a transformer on the left."

Tony shoves his hands into the pockets of his jeans and offers a tilt of his head in the direction of the Transformer wannabe. From one display to another Tony finds himself looking critically at the designers work instead of simply enjoying the displays. When he and Theo arrive at the next table in line he notices the display of several pieces housed in a case that could be seen through. It turns out that guests can pick up the varying devices on the table to use the tech that's in the box. Tony opts to pick up something that looks like a gauntlet. He slips his hand into the device and watches across the way as a similar hand begins to move as he operates each finger. "Not bad, I take it they are designed to be used in situations where a person would not be possible?" As the man speaks Tony partially listens as he sets the device down to try another.

Theo watches as Tony operates the device, and uses it after him. He doesn't try to pick anything up, but instead, he closes his eyes, as if listening closely for something. He's waiting for the fanboy rush, but he won't bring it up. It never ceases to amaze him that people often don't notice what they aren't looking for.
He opens his eyes again, and looks across the table, taking another device. As he operates it, it turns out that it's some sort of robot. Not as unique looking as Proto, but much better thought out in its design. He closes his eyes again, running his hand across it.

Some of the devices in this display have useful applications. Tony speaks to the person responsible for this display and offers some helpful ideas on what might make the creations a bit more marketable. He watches Theo go through the display and notices that across the way lost amongst the machines are the computer engineers. Like a tractor beam he feels the pull to the row of displays."I'm going to wander over there a minute." He all but jogs over to the nearest table. Within a few minutes he's drawn a small crowd while using someone's software to operate a mechatronic aircraft display.

Theo snaps his eyes open, conscious of the way he might have appeared. "Sure," he says, not following. He chooses to stay at the current display for a bit longer, asking a few questions to the creator. He is in mid conversation when he notices that the crowd is starting to grow. "Oh boy, here we go," he says. He thanks the man for explaining things, and moves to the back of the crowd, trying to see how things are going.

Tony is oblivious to the fact that there is quite the small crowd gathering around him. He's far too caught up in working with this particular software program. He's also answering questions on how he's been able to take control of the next tables aircraft without using their software program and particularly the device that they had to run it with. "You've got a very stable program," he says to the people at the booth he's at as he pilots the aircraft back down to its table and sets the device he's using down on the table he's in front of. "I'd like to talk to you a bit further but not here," he says. The guys at the table are ecstatic and even more so when Tony says to contact a particular person at Stark Enterprises. The cats been let out of the bag now. There is talk around him that spreads beyond that table then another. "No, I'm not here looking for anything to acquire, yes…I am enjoying myself," he is answering as many questions as he can keep up with. "No, I am not demonstrating today."

The crowd is relatively small at the moment so its easy for Tony to spot Theo in the back. He waves the young man to come forward to where he's at. Once Theo is there he turns away from someone who was asking a question to point out the device resting on the table. "Have a look at that, its pretty slick." Tony tries to be as gracious as he can to those who are wanting a piece of his time. "Please, enjoy the other exhibits, I'm a limited engagement." He turns around to see what Theo thinks of the software and ignores those around them.

If he were honest, Theo would have to say he's a little jealous of Tony's fame. He tries to shove his way to the front, but the fifteen year old boy is much smaller than most of the other patrons, and none of the patrons are interested in surrendering how close they are. As Tony gets him an in, he squeezes through two stubborn people by ducking between them. He stumbles out of the crowd and to Tony's side.
Then the boy understands what the limelight is like, if only a little bit. Suddenly several eyes have fallen on him, doubtlessly curious about his preferential treatment. The same jealousy he felt he now sees looking back at him. A smile crawls across his face briefly, and he looks back at the exhibit. His attention, however, is clearly not his center of focus. Even though he isn't looking at the people still around, his gaze seems to stare straight behind him. "Um, yeah, what does it do?" he asks. He wasn't paying close attention to the display itself. He can tell it's an aircraft, but he isn't sure of the purpose.

Tony fends off a pair of women who are intent on checking out his assets. He notices a few security officers heading their way to lend out a hand just as Theo asks his question. Tony beams as his attention turns towards the device. He picks it up and runs through several pages of the software before handing it over to Theo. "Its the program. I think their scope is a bit limited. It could have applications in many fields rather than what they had intended it for." He uses a finger to point something out, "I rewrote that a moment ago, if you want fire it up. Should get the table overs aircraft prototype in the air." He feels a hand slide down his forearm. Turning in that direction he notices a rather attractive woman who asks for a photo. "Of course." He slips an arm around her and poses for the photo. She giggles and runs off giggling with some of her friends.

Theo watches as Tony explains. "So," he says, taking the keyboard. He starts to operate the aircraft and knits his brow. "So…" he looks around. "Could it coordinate a control tower and the aircraft? You could have automated landing and take off. One more way the pilots can just sit around in the cockpits and get paid to do nothing."

"I think its not to that point but the possibility is there." Tony leans over to point something out. "It would be better to have an automated real time access to control tower functions available for a pilot. It takes out at least half of the error factor." He feels the press of more people even as security arrives to disperse the crowd. The head of security is less than thrilled that Stark is there. Tony handles the situation calmly and within a few minutes the crowd has gone back to enjoying exhibits and security feels their level of panic recede. Now that he has a moment he wonders if Theo is enjoying himself and seeing anything that sparks his interest. "I think there's a demonstration area where you can build your own creation and fight it against others. We might have to go take out a few people before we leave."

Theo watches as the crowd moves along to the next big thing. "Wow, that was kinda fun," he says. "You can create your own robot? Like some kind robot wars. I think I could manage that. Where's that at anyway?" He looks around, and briefly notices a glimpse from a girl that is about his age, and gives a goofy grin in response.

"I think its off to the right a bit more," Tony replies. He flags over a nearby security guard who is trying to be helpful but sticks out like a sore thumb. The guard agrees to show Theo and himself over to where the action is at. "Robot Wars was a great show. I was sad to see it go. I always wanted to enter something like that but it wouldn't be fair." He says a brief goodbye to the people at the display. He notices where Theo is looking and offers up an idea. "You ought to invite her to come along. She looks like she's by herself."

Theo looks back at Tony, and shrugs. "Why not," he says. "Hey, you wanna join us? We're gonna go try our hands at smashing people with little robots," he says. Great pickup line. Well, maybe it is here at least. The girl grins, but shakes her head. Theo doesn't push it. He doesn't really know her, and it was just for kicks that he asked anyway.

The guard starts leading them past the girl then toward the battling robots. The area before them has several tables where people can build a small creation and in the space next to the tables is an area where the robots can fight each other. Apparently it was setup for kids to enjoy and its attracted the biggest kid of them all. Tony finds an open table where he and Theo can construct something. "I'll try to go easy on you, being that its your first time." Tony is in teasing mode as he looks at the vast collection of pieces that can be cobbled together.

Theo smiles, "That's a good out for when I beat you," he taunts. He picks up a torso. "Let's see, what to use." He starts sifting through the pieces, and chooses a set of legs. "I should build one of these sets for the school," he suggests to himself.

The building of small robots commences as Tony spies upon Theo's creation from time to time. His has two short legs attached to a torso piece. The arms are too long and it reminds Tony of the old boxing game where the two figures stood in the ring till you scored a perfect blow causing the head of a figure to pop up signaling the win. "Your confidence shall be your downfall youngling," he adds as he works on the power system to the creation. Tony is having a great time at the convention and suggests grabbing something to eat when they leave before he drops Theo off wherever.

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