Disclaimer: See previous.
Tony and JARVIS had switched places while JACOSTA distracted the Kree-Lar’s AI and Tony fooled around with the internal sensors net. The Life Model Decoy inside the Iron Man armor that would be taking his place soon had changed the external color scheme to match Tony's armor and visa versa.
The ten o'clock daily meetings Tony insisted on had started on time. Nothing ever got done at these meetings; but that was fine by Tony. This asshole was ridding his last good nerve. The problem wasn't just the guy himself. It was almost the entire ship. The only one that was half way decent was the medical officer Lt. Una and sometimes Lt. Mara. Mara was more of the kind that couldn't be bothered by the stupidity of spending the extra effort to antagonize a backwater accredited diplomat.
Tony didn't mind really. He was almost done copying and digesting the Kree intergalactic data base. This information was well worth the aggravation the entire crew put him through.
Yon-Rogg again began with the same spiel about how mighty the Kree Empire was and how the human race should consider themselves privileged and should beg the Kree Empire to join them, no. Beg them to be accepted as a vassal state for the protection they offered against the hostile aliens that will start to show up in their backwater planet now that the rest of the universe was aware of them.
Tony let him yak-yak away while he finished downloading the last of the data base. He had been checking their technology and it was impressive, but a lot of stuff Reed had already came up with was beyond what these guys were working with; and he just downloaded the stuff they didn’t know about. He was impressed by the fact that these guys have bheen an empire for about a million years. He gave them credit for longevity at the very least.
The technology was neat and all but in the long run it would be better to develop a home grown version of it by themselves. This way they could compete against everyone, on an even footing when the time came to join the rest of the galaxies and not as some vassal state in the ass end of nowhere.
"This concludes today's meeting. I will see you at the next meeting."
"One last thing before we adjourn..."
"Could this not wait until the next meeting?" Yon-Rogg had grown tired of these pretentious but dangerous people; had his ship not been crippled in battle with them. He would have quickly brought them under his heel, but he didn't have the power to do so. A fleet was needed to accomplish this job. Hopefully Minister Zarek would arrive with just such a fleet to accomplish this very enjoyable task. By then the Kree-Lar’s engines should be ready to join the fleet when they arrived in the Solar system.
“No it can’t. I’ve run out of a diet supplement I need. I’ll be sending my personal servant to fetch some more from my private supply from the Solara I.”
“Couldn’t someone from the Solara’s crew fetch it for you?” Tony could tell that the Kree commander’s irritation was building fast.
“No they can’t. They have important tasks, and something as trivial as fetching a supplement should not be this difficult to accomplish. Aside from that I don't like anyone getting their hands on my private resources.” Tony firmly stood his ground. If this clown was going to raise a stink over something as simple as fetching a dietary supplement, then there was no hope for dealing with these people peacefully.
Yon-Rogg was about to deny the request until he remembered that while he represented the mighty Kree Empire the military might in this system belonged with the Solarians. Sentry 459 had confirmed Captain Mar-Vell’s intelligence reports of a formidable fleet of ships in this system. Three of the dreadnought class ships were close enough to back up the Ambassador’s personal vessel the Solara I; the very same ship that defeated the Kree-Lar in a ship to ship battle. There was another small fleet closer to the planet and the skeletons of another dozen ships of various sizes were being built. He did not believe the rumor that there were three or four other such fleets in the system, and he wasn't in a position to verify if this information was true or flase. It would take a formidable fleet as is, to defeat these people and at the moment a fleet he did not have. He decided that the easiest option would be to let the automated servant fetch what the blasted Ambassador needed. “Very well make sure you have what you need for a while.”
Tony would have argued at this point, but the ass had given him an out and he was going to take it.
The JARVIS LMD ordered Tony to hop to it and Tony complied. He made his way to the nearest shuttle bay and sent a clearance request signal to the Kree-Lar's AI.
The Kree-Lar responded by lowering the intensity of the force field enough to allow Tony to exit the ship, and still maintain a barrier to prevent any breathable air from leaking into space.
Once outside the ship Tony made his way straight to the Solara I. A HERBIE unit provided landing directions to the nearest hatch.
Once inside the Solara I Tony went straight to his suite. Xander, Clint and Natasha were waiting for him at the door.
"Inside..." Tony held up his hand to stop them from saying anything, "Hold on..." he released a fleet of nano robots and had them track every molecule in the room. A few Kree nano-bots were found and Tony had them neutralized. He took over their programming and followed their signals back to their network to take over the communications and information gathering array Mar-Vell used to seed the Solara I with.
Xander and the others waited patiently until he was done. Xander had been aware of the bots and used the Slayer code to maintain the charade of deception for the last week. It was tough. Mar-Vell was one smart and resouceful cookie.
"Annnnd we're done. Nasty. He managed to infect the entire ship while I was away. What did he get?"
"Hardware specs. Xander warned us before it was too late. We stayed with the bluff scenario. As far as they're concerned there are at least four fleets with another more modern fleet in the building process around the moon base. They also know about the new Mars base Fury's building on the Martian moon Demos." Natasha reported.
"Are you going back or staying?" Xander asked.
"Staying, but I'm sending the clone back to the Kree-Lar to take my place."
Xander sighed, "I don't think that's wise..."
"We don't have a choice..." Tony began to download a copy of his brain to the clone tank that had a copy of his body inside it. The changes Odin made to his body were on the clone as well. A secret panel slid open and the clone tank slid into the room, "An LMD wouldn't pass the security screen for very long."
"You should turn around Nat." Tony smirked.
"Why? Did you have any extra attachments added that I don't know about?"
"It's not like this will be the first time I'll see little Tony." she teased.
"Whatever..." Tony began the process of bringing the clone to wakefulness. After a few minutes it was done. Another panel slid open and an identical Mark VIII armor slid out. Tony grabbed a fresh suit he usually wore under the power armor.
The clone slowly opened his eyes when the cloning chamber removed all the fluids back into the tanks in the back. He blinked a few times to clear the liquid rapidly drying on his body. The panel slid open and the new Stark walked out on unsteady legs. He looked at Tony and said, "I'm not calling you dad!"
"How about Howard?" Tony suggested.
"Howie it is." Howard Anthony Stark agreed.
"There's two of them. That's it we're doomed." Clint groaned.
"It's not so bad bro. One of them stays behind while the other comes along." Xander put his arm around Clint's shoulder in sympathy.
"Yuk it up you clowns. Paybacks a female sheep dog."
"Har hardy har har, I say to you. I am not afraid of the small yapping, but persistant bitch." Xander laid down the gauntlet for a prank war.
Tony accepted the challenge, "Where's my glove?" He looked around.
"Why do you need a glove?" Natasha asked.
"So I can slap him with it. Duh'" Tony replied.
"I'm going to miss out on a prank war. No way. I'm not going." Howie declared.
"What? You can't? You have to go. If I stay on that ship for one more minute I'll blow it up with everyone on board, except maybe for a couple of cuties..."
"I have the same memories you do. I ain't staying either." Howie got dressed and Natasha openly checked him out.
"You do realize that I'm the only one that's engaged to Pepper..." Tony left the thought hanging.
"That mean the field's clear..." Howie took the bait. He was thinking about Lt. Mara and how he'd like to melt her icy exterior. He always did love a challenge.
"Yep, it's a Stark all right. I swear you're honor. I was there when it happened..." Clint jumped out of the way of Howie's slap, "You're a lot faster than your old man." Clint noticed that Howie was in better shape than Tony. Much better shape.
"That's because I don't have to worry about correcting a life time of substance abuse, and then there's that thing in Afghanistan." Howie explained.
"How did you grow up so fast?" Clint asked.
"He got Willow's help. She did this spell with time, and I still don't know enough about it to explain it properly, but what it did was speed up the time in the cloning pod to bring me to maturity. I even got a fake belly button courtesy from the red haired beauty." Howie explained as he finished putting on the slippers.
"And she did that out of the goodness of her heart I suppose?" Xander asked.
"That and I threw in the Malibu beach house. I'm having another one built next door. I do own the entire beach, and I felt like building something new." Tony shrugged as he took off the Mark VIII, "You wanna trade?" Tony asked about pointed to the brand new Mark VIII.
"...might as well, just in case they painted you with some exotic crap while you were on the Kree-Lar." 'I'm going to smell like the old man.' he thought.
'Tough deal with it junior.' Tony thought back.
"Willow mentioned there might be a side effect. Not too bad. I wonder what's the range on something like that?"
"Range shouldn't matter with magic like this. I was worried about communications, but this is way cooler than anything you or Reed could come up with, especially when you consider the fact that you can both convert your thoughts and transfer the information to digital media." Xander saw the potential before the two geniuses did.
"We're not telling Fury." the two Starks spoke as one.
"Agreed." replied the other three Avengers.
"You should get going. Remember to grab the box of laxatives. I want you to slip them into Colonel Yon-Rogg's food whenever possible. I'd suggest a lot of diplomatic functions. Butter him up. He's the type who'll eat that crap up. Also if you try a play on my Pepper I'll remove your reason for being; by the root. Slowly. You know what I'm talking about."
Howie did know what he was talking about. He scratched bedding Pepper while the old man was away from his to do list. He could already see the problems with Telepathy. 'Gotta look into building some shields, or maybe learning from Xavier?'
"You do that. Remember no Pepper..."
"Yeah I get it already." the ,'or else' was left unsaid, and unthought. It was however most definitely implied.
Howie got into the Mark VIII and grabbed the box of laxatives from the closet. He left the same way that Tony had come in.
"What are you going to do about Mar-Vell?" asked Natasha.
"Personal Holographic projector. I made a couple of these for Charles Xavier a while back. It'll come in handy until the Space Carrier Excelsior relives us. It's construction's done and with the new systems we've installed it shouldn't have a problem dealing with the Kree-Lar. Reed will also be adding a few surprises to even out the odds and to study the Galactic portal in the area around Jupiter. I've even told him about the hidden Kree weapons depot around Uranus. It'll give him something to study and reverse engineer. It probably won't impress him, but it'll keep him busy.
"How many ships are ready to deploy?" Clint asked.
"The two carriers around Mars and the Excelsior will be the forward fleet, and the two back around the planet should be ready in time before the Kree get any reinforcements. Plus Reed and JARVIS will be busy building a defensive ring around the planet. I've also designed a new smaller warship less than a quarter the sise of the carriers, that will only take one tenth the time to build and it'll have three time the punch of the current model Space Carrier models. No fighter support, means more weapon blisters. These will be pure destroyers. They should be heavily automated and will require a lot less life support, living and medical space. These will be pure weapons of war. They can also be crewed entirely with AIs if need be. I doubt Fury will allow it, but a crew of ten should be more than enough to handle a ship on this size."
"We're moving way too fast." Xander was worried about the arms buildup. He knew they couldn't go head-to-head with the Kree Empire. Their best options were to trick them and keep them off balance. Fox vs Wolf tactics. "I'm going to get Willow and the council in on this. They should be able to come up with something to help out with the distractions; while we're out in deep space. Maybe even get Thor and a few friends to help out in case we need it. They do owe us..."
"That they do, but I don't think they'll commit any resources to our defense." Natasha guessed.
"Probably not, but Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three would be a great boost to Steve's team should he need them." Xander told her.
Natasha agreed. They would be a great asset and the Scarlet haired Witch knew how to contact them.