StarTech and Iron Patriot

Characters: Linda Danvers, Toni Ho
Rated: PG
Summary: Linda Danvers invites Toni Ho to come see her, and offers her an opportunity.
OOC Date: 2018-01-01
IC Date: 2018-01-02
Where: StarTech HQ, Metropolis

"Hi, Sarah." Linda Danvers offers, as she taps the temple of the StarGazeR glasses she is always wearing. "I saw your message. Ms. Ho is here?" She waits until it is confirmed, and then nods despite that won't be transmitted to her assistant. "Could you ask her if she wants anything, and when she's ready, show her in? Thanks."

Outside the office of the CEO and chief braintrust of StarTech, Inc., the African American woman in the ochre-shaded pantsuit turns her head and smiles to the young asian woman sitting in one of the plushly comfortable auto-adjusting guest chairs. "Ms. Ho, would you like anything to drink? Need anything at all?"

Of course, Toni Ho is not here today entirely of her own volition. She is here in response to an invitation delivered to her just a few days ago from StarTech, Inc's CEO, asking for a meeting. The letter spoke with eloquent minimalism regarding Toni's clear brilliance and determination, and the possibilities for collaboration.


And because she was actually invited to one of the biggest companies in tech by its famous CEO, Toni has dressed up, wearing a nice dark blue pencil skirt and jacket, with a white blouse and a little ribbon tied in a bow around the collar instead of a tie. She jerks a bit as the secretary speaks, lost in her thoughts "Oh, ah…um…water maybe, if you have it? In case my throat gets dry. Because I talk a lot. When I'm talking to important people." She claps her mouth shut at that point. "Um, please."

Toni is a bit suprised that she was invited. While she may have been brilliant at Caltech and MIT for her semesters visiting there, she hasn't really gone out of her way to promote herself…and she didn't really go to any tech companies afterwards, preferring to work on her own, payin gfor her lab off the patents she's already sold.


"Water? Sure, we have plenty of the stuff." As well they should. Sarah stands, moving to the side of her desk, and opens a small fridge nestled under its edge, coming around the desk then to offer Toni a sizable bottle, while holding one of her own. "Take a sip. Relax a bit. When you're ready, I can show you in." Sarah is apparently used to folks who get nervous, and she's personable enough to put them at ease in spite of themselves. She might even be willing to tell Toni how they decided to invite her, if the other woman were to ask.


Toni immediately hops up, taking the water. "Thanks…um…now's good." She'll just be fidgeting and nervous if she waits…she's not exactly the best at social interactions. Better than her friend Riri, perhaps, but definitely not at ease with them either. "If she's ready for me, I mean…" she adds quickly, smiling a bit at Sarah.


"OK. Take a sip, and breathe." Sarah offers, warmly. Then, once Toni is prepped, Sarah turns and knocks once on the shaded glass door, then opens it to guide Toni inside.

The first thing that tends to surprise most people about Linda Danvers is how substantial she is. Being that she's openly acknowledged as being such a brain, most people expect her to be some tiny, willowy thing, barely able to support her big brain. But she's pretty solid. She also does not dress like a classic CEO. She's a lot more pocket-protector casual than that, even if her style is classier. She also is never seen without the latest version of the augmented reality glasses she invented.

Once Toni comes in, the blonde at the desk glances up, then taps something on the screen in front of her and stands, moving around the glass surface desk and leading with her hand. "Thanks, Sarah." Linda offers, as she accepts her own bottle of water from her assistant, and watches Toni as Sarah departs.

"Hi, Toni. I hope you won't mind if I call you Toni?" Linda cannot help it; 'Ms. Ho' is just not a phrase she's comfortable with using. "Welcome to StarTech. I'm really glad that you could come out to meet me. Please, if you'd like, have a seat."


Toni takes the offered hand in a firm grip. She doesn't quite have the same height at Linda, but she does have a more wiry, athletic look. It's a bit more difficult to tell in the suit, of course, but she does fill it out well enough that it's easy to tell she's not carrying much in the way of extra weight much of anywhere. Forgetting to eat when you'r eworking will do that.

"Toni is fine…would you like me to call you Linda then?" the purple-haired young woman says. "Um, I was suprised to get the invitation…" she admits, moving over to take the offered seat. Wherever seems most casual.


Linda sits across from Toni, still smiling as she sips some of her own water. "Linda is fine." Then she crosses her legs. "I guess you were, a bit." she admits with a little knowing grin. "You don't publish, you don't do demonstrations or panels at the tech shows. You fly pretty well below the radar. But I get the feeling that's exactly the way you like it. Not that there's a thing wrong with that."

Linda knows Toni wants to know how she came to StarTech's attention, but she lets her stir just a bit before she finally answers. "I make it a point to be aware of people who are making the world a better place, or trying. Which means, amongst other things, that I keep an eye on patent applications. That's where I noticed your name, and I did some research to figure out who this woman was." And then invited Toni over for a visit.


Toni copies Linda as she leans back, still a bit nervous but more set at easy the more Linda acts more casual with her. "Oh? Well…yeah, I've got a view. I didn't think they were big enough for someone like you to notice them, honestly." she admits. "They're more…perfecting existing tech in some cases, or using principles in unusual ways." She mmms. "…and yeah, I haven't really found anyplace I trust with my inventions. They have applications that could easily be turned into weapons, instead of something to help people." She wiggles in her seat. "I mean, Stark Industries tried to scout me, but…meh." She rolls her eyes. "Wouldn't work for them."


"I do my best to notice all of them. Anyone." Linda offers, with a little smile. "And I know what they are." She is pretty casual and calm, as if she knows that the one thing that will help her guest to relax is doing so herself. "We don't do weapons. Ever. At all. What we do is about making the world a better place, in whatever ways we can figure out. And Stark isn't all bad. Not all good, either. Definitely a bad past reputation. But no one is perfect. Remember that." Not even Linda.


Toni frowns. "Stark -does- do weapons. Even after claiming he was stopping, he made the Iron Man suit, perhaps one of the deadliest and most adaptable weapons on the planet, that turns him into a one man army almost. Not to mention he's a conceited, arrogant jerk outside of that." She pops her water to take a sip from it. "Maybe no one's perfect, but he's done nothing to convince me he's changed his spots. I have a friend who thinks he walks on water…sooner or later it's going to come back to bite her on the…uh, to make her regret it." she says, hastily changing terms mid-sentence. "I'm not looking for someone perfect, but I'm not looking for someone who will want to put my ideas, my mechanics, into his personal battlesuit."


Linda listens. She doesn't interrupt. She lets Toni have her say, and she quite clearly is considering, thinking hard, about what the younger woman has to say. She may not agree entirely, but she does get it. "He's not selling weapons to anyone. Not like he was." she offers. "But I get what you mean. It's true, the Iron Man suit could be considered a weapon. There are certainly a lot of people in the world who want that tech and would use it that way." And she cracks a wry grin. "And you're right. He can be quite the jerk. But he can also be a compassionate idealist who wants to help make the world a better place." No one is all bad, or all good.


The other woman wrinkles her nose a little, then smooths her expression. "I haven't met him in person, so that may be the case. But if so, he hides it really well in public." She shrugs her shoulders. "But I wasn't interested in Stark Industries for that reason. Or Hammer, either..he's got all the problems of being a weapons manufacturer with substandard and dangerous cutting of corners. So, it seemed like I should just work on my projects independently for the moment."


"I can respect that." Linda offers, nodding. "I confess, I'm not a huge fan of Justin's." She's really not. The number of times Superwoman has faced criminals with Hammertech weapons? Incalculable. "How are your projects going?" she questions. Then she holds up her hands. "I'm not asking what you're working on, unless you really want to share. Just wondering how well it's going."


Toni hesistates a bit. On one hand, she has been trying to keep her work under wraps, both because she wants it to be ready before it's out in the world, and because she's not unaware that people might try to steal it from her. On the other, she really hasn't been able to talk to many people who can appreciate what she's designed thus far. "Well…I've been branching out from force field emitters to a search and rescue exosuit…." she says, a bit slowly. "It's pretty operational, but…I feel like I might need to add a few systems to it yet." No weapons, even non-lethal ones, on the original design makes it harder to be a vigilante, after all. "I call it the Iron Patriot."


Linda considers that for a bit before she speaks. She wasn't really expecting Toni to share it, and she wants to offer honest and potentially useful feedback. "Well … I admit, I haven't done a lot of work on exosuit approaches. How are the sensors?" She has done lots of work in that area. "Or the onboard computer systems? Or your power matrix, storage and delivery? I assume you're pretty happy with your materials science efforts, or you'd still be in the design phases rather than prototyping."


A long drink of water, then Toni explains. "Well, I designed it originally as a search and rescue exosuit. Currently, wide spectrum electromagnetic scanner, so infrared to ultraviolet vision, termal, lowlight, radar, sonar, and I'm working on getting magnetic resonance working, though it's a bit tricky to fit in right now. Have to move some parts around. The computer system is a simple voice activated one right now, custom OS for it. Tweaking it as I think of more efficient ways to get it to operate the armor. The material for the armor is very tough, resistant to temperature extremes for operating in fire situations or subzero weather. Pretty good with that."

She frowns a bit. "…the power matrix is still giving me trouble." she admits. "It's kind of an energy hog when I'm using its main systems for extended periods. I have a solar recharge system set in place that helps when it's not in operation, but it's a very low charge right now…can't really coat the armor in solar collectors.


Linda listens, taking it all in, and nods at parts without interrupting. When Toni runs down, at last, she speaks up. "Sounds like you need a power-generating system, and a high-end capacitance system to maintain sufficiently high power for operation while recharging. And that sounds to me like a technological advancement that could have a wide array of non-weapons applications to make the world a better place, over and beyond your own project's uses."


"Well, it's a test bed, so it's using a lot of systems at once. A final mass-produced version would be more specialized…probably the same environmental armor and strength, but more oriented towards if it's used for firefighting or search and rescue or deep sea operations." Toni says, frowning. "And yes, I do, but we can't all have an arc generator, unfortunately. I'm not sure what to use. I could try fusion packs, but those would be very expensive to manufacture and replace. A small pebble reactor would be fairly safe in terms of breach, but getting it small enough to be useful would be really hard and probably not worth the time."


Linda nods. "All of those are systems, inventions, that already exist. What I think you need is something that doesn't already exist." True, an arc reactor would be perfect. But something else could also be useful. They just need to do the research and try to find that new way; to open up their minds to the possibilities and explore. "I think we need to open our minds and search for a new solution. Something better."


Toni sighs and frowns. "I've been considering options, but I'm a little limited in what I can afford to play with. I mean, I'm comfortably wealthy with my patents, but a lot of the materials I might need are restricted for a reasion. And really, the thing that's new for it is the most energy intensive, the force field emitters and generator system. They can create fields on a massive scale, but it's a strong drain on the power systems to hold something like that. Which might be needed if you were trying to push debris away or to shield someone from a sustained effect." She takes another sip from her water.


Linda sips her own water while she listens, and thinks. Her eyes have the look of one always thinking, always weighing, always considering. "Well, what you need is a relationship with an established firm you can trust. One with the history and permits to have access to those materials, and the safety systems for proper work and containment." It's surely not an opening Toni would have failed to expect. But Linda doesn't deliver it with a side of smarm; it's just truth. "That, at least, would be one solution."


She knew it would be coming sooner or later, probably. So there's only a thoughful rather than suprised expression. "I…don't know. Your company does mostly consumer goods, doesn't it? Like those glasses you're wearing." Toni notes.


Linda just smiles and shakes her head. "No, that's not all my company does. Not even close. We have funded SpaceX research flights. Drones used to fight and clean pollution. Safer, cleaner recycling processes." The blonde doesn't seem offended at all. "We're best known to consumers for our consumer electronics, I'll grant you." And they should be. That's their consumer products, after all. "But we make a point of working in virtually every area of science and technology, with the consistent aim of making the world a better place." And wouldn't a powerful, compact source of clean, safe energy benefit an awful lot in the world?


Toni hesistates. "Well…yes. But surely you have scientists and engineers who work on that already?" she questions. "It would undeniably be good to have a power source like that, though, yes. There would be lots of possiblities it could be used for, from remote facilities to portable generators, if nothing else.


Linda nods. "Sure I do. But one of the reasons I pay attention and look for talented people, like yourself, is on the off chance that I can convince those folks to bring their talents and passions to StarTech, to work together towards that better world. They say two brains are better than one. Well, a hundred and one brains is better than one hundred." Linda smiles a bit. "I don't do the hard sell. But I'm not above pointing out the possibilities in a friendly manner. At least then the decision made is an informed one. And if I'm that interested in your brain, then I have to respect the decisions that brain makes when given the relevant facts."


Toni rolls the water in her hands absently. "What are you proposing then, to put me in an existing lab group? My own space? Am I working at the research campus here? Would I just be working on the one project?" she says, one question after another as she thinks of them. "I don't know how well I'd do with a lot of excess supervision…."


Linda smiles. "Well, I figured if you were interested, we'd have a conversation. Maybe more than one. We'd discuss which sorts of ways would work best for both of us and see if there was a compromise we could reach that would be acceptable to both." See? Partnership, not dictatorship.

"My instinct would be to minimize the number of people on your working team, since you're currently used to working alone. Maybe an assistant or two, just to help out running down lab tests." Linda explains.

"Given the materials in question, I would prefer that either you worked in one of our research campuses - here, or elsewhere, we have several - or that we at least examine and certify the available safety systems and environment in your existing lab, should you prefer to work there." Linda continues. "Then we would underwrite insurance and safety coverages for that location, so that we could extend our materials licenses to your lab."

"As for one project or more than one, I think you already have one project which is in fact an umbrella for at least two dozen different lesser projects." Linda opines. "I don't see much need to saddle you with more. On the other hand, as time progressed perhaps you would be able to find time to collaborate with other groups, sharing in their developments and sharing your own in return."


Toni worries her lower lip with her teeth a bit. "Mmmm. True. I'm…not against collaborating, maybe down the line." She hesistates, then says slowly. "I could…try this as a…a contract employee for you, maybe. To start. Any patent would be in my name? Or in your company's name?"


Linda smiles softly, letting the other woman work it through in her own mind. "Well, that would be nailed down in the contract. My instinct would be to consider the patent in your name, but grant my company a work product exception and rights to the patent for … maybe a five year option, and a chance to expand to a ten year option prior to the expiry of the five year standard."


The purple-haired engineer turns that over in her mind. "Well, that does sound…fair…" she says, a bit cautiously. "If you're this interested, we'd both benefit if I could come up with an energy system storage or power system like that." She bites her lower lip thoughfully. "Mmmm…I'd be interested as well, at least on a trial contract basis to start. So we can see if we…fit?"

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