The Forge

BY : Indigo_Miko
Category: Marvel Verse Movies > Iron Man (all) > Iron Man (all)
Dragon prints: 1191
Disclaimer: I do not own Iron Man, X-Men, Avengers, or any other Marvel verse property. I also don't make any money from writing this. All I do is wile away my free time kicking things around inside my head. It's a mess up there.

Chapter 2: Clyde Loses His Name

“There is a role of a lifetime, and there’s a song yet to be sung. And there’s a dumpster in the driveway of all the plans that came undone.” Black Sun by Death Cab For Cutie

They needed elevators built into the main stage. At the last damn minute. Forge had only been ankle deep in a restoration at her real, real job when Clyde called. A last minute addition to the line up for Friday, he’d said. The lifts needed to be build to hold a shit ton of weight. He and the suits-in-charge had zero time to plan and they were offering to stroke her ego to the tune of lots of money. Forge was a mechanical engineer after all. 

She wondered if Stark was included as one of suits-in-charge.

Frustrated, Forge thumped her head against the newly reinstalled rocker panels on the ‘54 Mercedes SL 300. No biggie if they bent she’d bend them back. The car was due to go out on Thursday. Today was Monday. It was basically done. Another ten hours of work would be all it would take. 

She’d been hoping to power through today and have the rest of the week off. Clyde, the dirty shiftless bastard, threw in bonus pay. Forge couldn’t turn it down. She needed to renovate the outside of her garage and she wanted AC.

So instead of spending Monday working on a metal piece of art, she called in backup. The phone only rang twice before Hay picked up. Sometimes she was tempted to marry that man.

“Boss Lady. Whatcha need?” He had an accent that almost seemed to sing the words. Alabama? Mississippi? She wasn’t sure. Hay came from where farms were, hence the name. He had also been working with her since her garage, Mad Axe Restoration and Fabrication, had opened it’s doors to the Brooklyn streets five years previous. 

“Got the Mercedes ten hours from pick up, but the expo just called. They have a rush job. If I take I’ll be working tail off till Friday, but we’ll have sparo deniro.” Forge popped her neck and then double checked she hadn’t bent the new rocker. Nope. Good.

“What’s the problem? Use your life hack.” That man and his turn of phrase.

Forge blew air out her nose. “Yeah. No. It’s all fiddly work; glass, trim, lights. It’d take more time than doing it by hand.”

Hay made a clicking noise with his tongue. “When’s it due?” His accent made the sentence come out one smushed word. Adorable.

Just to be extra certain Forge double checked the wall calendar in the office. Sexy NY firefighters. Yes please. However the calendar reminded her she couldn’t marry Hay. He didn‘t like girls that way. “Pick up on Thursday. Day buff or sure enough.”

Hay chuckled down the line. “Yeah I’ll have it done by tomorrow. I know you’re madness. A day buffer on appointments or shit goes wrong.”

“Thanks. I’m off to see the wizard.”

“Hope he’s not drunk this time.”

Laughing Forge let Hay go be himself and got her things around. Within fifteen minutes she had gone through the tiny kitchen and out the back door to hop on her Triumph. She motored to the expo humming the yellow brick road. 

Forge wondered if Stark would be there. The man had been conspicuous in his absences. On and off for three weeks or so after what Forge had dubbed Drunken Doom Day, it had felt like she and Stark we’re playing a game of hide and seek. She’d gone so far as to bribe the greenhorn on her crew to sit somewhere high on perimeter watch after the seat-incident-which-shall-not-be-remembered. 

Oh sure, it had apparently taken him a few days to peg her name through employment records, but he was the boss. She’d only known he’d figured out who she was when she showed up for a morning safety meeting, (this one thankfully only twenty minutes) and found a brand new pair of steel toes in front of her locker. They were custom made La Sportiva work boots. They were also pink and sparkly, and so was the thong with them. 

She’d retaliated in a way she thought might have gotten her fired; a twenty foot high, twenty foot wide green chalk splatter with the name Stark in red chalk bubble text inside it. Hay had completed it with a passable cartoon version of Tony Stark modeling said sparkly thong. The whole thing was right on the sidewalk of the main expo thoroughfare. It had been extra special because she’d had to wear a ninja outfit, bribe a security guard, and then spend all night making art. It was a chalk massacre. 

Stark really needed to reconsider his vetting process for security.

Well, Forge could admit she didn’t always think things through, but the media loved it. Stark had even made an on the record comment about loving fanart and how the artist really captured his physique. Hay was good like that.

What followed however was a disconcerting amount of stalking by a certain billionaire. Forge was a little bit sensitive about that. 

Including the thong cartoon really gave the game away. She thought it was possible she‘d offended him, and he‘d come to do the leg breaking in person. Until the seat incident. That was dirty pool.

After opening night, which she did not attended, Stark had seemed to vanish into Iron Man business. Senate hearings and crazy people on racetracks would do that. She was sure the weird was over then. Temporary insanity, or boredom, as expressed by Stark, apparently came across as stalking with perverted tendencies. But now she was going back. 

As her bike rolled into the employee parking lot Forge reminded herself that it was only five more days. 

………………………………........................................................................

Clyde had officially lost name privileges. She was bouncing between re-dubbing him Jackass-who-got-me-killed or detail-less. That last one was a high insult in her field. 

They’d been called in the Friday of the presentation. Hammer, (and Forge couldn’t help herself from wanting to add Time to his name, though the man did not deserve it,) wanted the team onsite to fix any possible malfunctions. 

Well, the lifts worked perfectly. PhD in mechanical engineering. Hello. The snag was that Hammer neglected to inform everyone he had built remote control Murderbots. 

So Forge ran. Eventually Forge also had to stop. Oxygen was a thing, but that wasn’t what stopped her. It was the screaming. 

Long ago, when Forge was newer and lived and worked in her Uncle’s garage, it was the not screaming that had stopped her. After all her Uncle couldn’t scream when his chest was crushed by the sudden drop of the ‘82 Chevy Caprice Classic. 

He screamed in her dreams though. She hadn’t been in the garage at the time it happened but she’d imagined it for years. The what ifs and guilt haunted her, nearly killed her. In the end she tried to comfort herself that her Uncle Wall had died shoving someone else out of the way of that car. It wasn’t a way of going out he would have been upset over. Walter Maddix did not run away. Not in Vietnam, not in his garage. 

There was a moment when Forge dithered about bolting anyway. It was her default choice or things got messy. She was not her Uncle, as much as she tried to do what he would have. When she looked back up again a little girl was running towards her and there was a drone flying behind her getting ready to aim. Whether the drone was aiming for the Iron Man who was speeding above, or the girl running painfully slowly on the ground, Forge didn’t know. She did make her decision though. 

Her vision didn’t tunnel. Time didn’t slow down. This wasn’t like the time The Brotherhood cornered her and she had no choice but to fight her way out. It wasn’t like at FOKUS when she was desperately trying to escape, and was happy to leave the carnage dealing to bloodier minded individuals. 

Her hands snapped up in front of her because Forge always leaped before she looked. She may not have been her Uncle, but she had something he didn’t. Forge was also angry, and she did angry very well.

The first time Forge met the Iron Man she was bending reinforced steel beams into the path of the Hammer Tech drones chasing him. It was a fraction of a second. The red-gold flash followed by the silver of War Machine flew overhead as she flexed her fingers and the building in front of her sprouted metaphorical claws. When she ducked back out from behind the truck with the little girl she’d grabbed, three drones were down. There were more though. So Forge got busy.

The first order of business was to get the girl to an adult that wouldn’t leave her behind to be trampled. A security guard ran by her at that moment and Forge used a little bit of power to pull on the metal of his outfit. It was enough to make him jerk back a step and gave her the time to thrust the kid, who looked about eight, into his arms. 

“Get her out. Find her parents,” Forge commanded.

The man, whose name tag proclaimed him Ottinger, blinked glazed terrified eyes at her. Really. That vetting process needed to be addressed. Though Murderbots were a bit much. “Run, Forest!” She shoved the man. That seemed to be enough to get him moving.

Screaming people streamed out of the main stage area in front of her and behind them marched drones. Forge popped the knuckle in her thumb, and pulled metal sheeting off a nearby food stand. It wrapped around her from head to toe leaving only her eyes, and a slit for nose and mouth open. All the drones we’re metal. She could work with that. 

Pursing her lips and taking in the fact that yes, her hands we’re shaking, Forge squinted into her best glare. She was pretty sure her face said “I am gonna shit my pants.” 

The first flick of fingers turned the nearest one’s guns onto their brethren. Forge didn’t bother waiting and instead blew the chests apart on two others before molding a beam into a spike to kabob a third. These drones were easy. No flight capabilities for the army bots. How sad. 

A half dozen destroyed Murderbots in, Forge realized she should probably be moving, as she currently made a fat stationary target. That Stark shaped omen of doom feeling crawled up her spine and she barrel rolled left. Ouch. People who did things like that in real life must be made of bricks. There was no padding in the thing she was wearing after all. 

On the plus she did dodge a blast, on the minus she rolled into another bots feet. Well fuckity fuck. Acting on pure animal instinct to move! Her! Ass! Forge sprung up with a blade like motion from her right hand. The Murderbot split groin to head. Even in metal it was kind of gruesome. 

Whipping one side of the dissected bot in front of her saved her another death, but the blast sent her back a few feet on her ass anyway. Oh her poor tail bone. That was going to bruise. Forge rolled, got her feet under her, and started running again.

She was going to have nightmares. New ones. That was entertaining right? 

Forge ducked into the expo uni-sphere and hid behind a thick steel support. She just wanted to catch her breath. Before she could the sound of repulsers came through the sphere. Forge had enough time to look up, have the impact sound of a few Murderbots on the sphere make her deaf, and then run like hell so she didn’t end up medium rare. When she landed, hard, on her left side, she rolled, and rolled. 

For a moment memory superimposed itself on the present. The gray cement of the Expo was replaced with scraggly grass and loose tan dirt. The shadows around her danced from the flames.

It was almost out of body. Forge hurt, all over. There was nothing but ringing in her ears, like the one time she’d gone out hunting with Uncle Wall and he’d shot the gun in the blind. Any minute she thought for sure she’d run out of breath, her legs would collapse, a dart would hit her out of nowhere. Forge had never killed a person before, but she thought she might be able to blank out long enough to show Hammer some things about old school Wallachia. 

When her mind came back from that side trip Forge was running again. She didn’t even remember getting up off the ground the last time. She ran and when she came across a Murderbot she mangled, and sliced, and used all the wonderful metal all over the expo to shred them. She had no idea how many she’d actually taken out. It didn’t matter. She was just trying to survive now. 

It seemed like every time she turned around a drone popped out and tried to kill her. Rude. Also they could fly. Not so easy to destroy them when they weren’t gravity locked, also unfair. Forge couldn’t fly. She changed her mind when all the remaining drones took to the air at once. 

Forge watched as they all turned to head toward the same spot in the expo. Whoever was there was going to have a bad day. She figured it might be the Iron Man. Whatever. She was tapped out and he had a super suit. She was just a woman in a can.

By the time Forge felt like her brain had stopped spinning somewhere outside of her skull she realized her knees were all watery, the shaking was full body, and she was sucking in wind like a bellows. Forge hadn’t been pulling G forces, but she sure felt like she could upchuck her toenails. Repeatedly. Unfortunately she wasn’t allowed to brace on her knees and make like a Hoover. The greenhorn, her bribed greenhorn, (with a hand to Jesus bow on his back) ran up behind her. 

He eyed her outfit but didn’t comment, just ushered her on, away from the expo. “Everyone’s evacuating. We need you to get as far away from the expo as you can.” Once the guy got her running again he split off. 

Forge took a moment to strip the metal pieces off of her as she jogged toward the mob running away. When the explosions started behind the herd of humanity she’d become a part of, she got her second wind. 

In her memory there was nothing but candlelight and the smell of plastic. Forge told herself repeatedly she was in Queens. She focused on the bright blue shirt of the man in front of her. There had been no one in front of her before. Her side ached from hitting the ground, not because of a biopsy. It was not Texas. She was not in Texas.

Far away, a dim part of Forge was thankful for her greenhorn. If not for him she would’ve gotten blown up just sucking air.



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