Tony looks over as the elevator door opens and Coulson walks out. "Canada?"
"We have a rough estimate of how many boxes will be needed, plus ten percent. We're making a list of places to store them in the event they have a major outage like we did. It will take about a year real time to get them all in place. Cities in the provinces are *having* to go over their emergency preparation plans. Because the Canadian grid is just as old as ours and it's going to fail eventually. Hell, where it connected to our grid they lost everything thanks to it frying." Coulson nods.
"Did you pass along that information we got from Jessy about *her* England losing it's entire power grid?" Sam asks as he walks past. He sends Tony a file from his PADD. "The plans for the next block of brownstones." He nods in satisfaction.
"Yes, as well as the information from Becka's world where Europe and Australia were lost to the damn machine. The fools in the government who'd been bleating this wouldn't happen and I was just trying to take over the country turned white as a sheet and very quietly sat back down. The old Queen was *furious*, you know when a face just turns to stone they are so mad." Everybody in earshot nods. "I'd say something about old fools in their government but ours was just as full of morons who didn't do the world a favor and die during the epidemic."
"That type of personality rarely does." Leonard says as he walks past. He sends Tony a file. "Plans for apprenticeships in certain areas?"
"Oh good. I'm sure some damn fools will whine but we *need* people to do that kind of work and schools are *not* reopening those programs because they don't have the instructors."
"These are the same fools whining about afterschool programs until they realize schools aren't teaching that stuff." Darcy says as she walks through. "Pepper, Legal is going to be very mean to some damn fool assholes in Colorado who think they should control the fucking universe and are going to sue to force us to stop offering scholarships. Because if people are attending classes, they're not working twenty hours a day in factories producing shit for them."
Leonard, Coulson, and Tony all stare at her. "More of Trask's asshole followers. They hate the idea schools are open, people aren't kissing their feet for existing. . . you name it. The fools have said it. The state government is about ready to shoot them."
"No great loss."
"No, the little bastards tried storming the schools in their areas demanding they close again and the students be put to work. . .for them. Without pay. To punish them for actually trying to get an education."
"Oh dear god."
"Yeah, too bad the stupid fuckers didn't get beaten to death *then*."
"Over too quick, let *them* work twenty hours a day without pay and see how *they* like it." Pepper says.
"But we meant it for the *little* people. . .not us." Peter drawls sarcastically. "They're at it again."
"That's it, not only am I breaking them up. . .I'm putting them in separate facilities." Pepper storms off while Darcy settles in her chair. Tony chuckles as he wanders off that direction, finding the two employees cowering by a wall as Pepper tears strips off them. They turn pleading looks his direction.
"Oh, I agree completely. You two damn fools were *told* to stop your nonsense and didn't bother to. Now you're *both* out of Stark Tower, pick which facility you want to go to. And no, you're not going to the same facility. I'll be damned if I inflict you two on more of my employees. But. . ."
"No, we're not shipping them off to the fools Darcy was telling us about. That would be cruel to the other employees they want working twenty hours a day. Without pay. Though, I doubt the fools will be in charge much longer."
Tony leaves his employees blubbering as they beg Ms. Potts not to break them up. They didn't *mean* to cause problems for the other employees. They're just high-spirited and their spats sometimes get out of hand.
"Fucking morons." Darcy says as Tony comes out of the elevator. "They've been given multiple chances and keep blowing it."
"Those type of personalities never think anybody will make them take responsibility for their own actions." Coulson says. "I routinely have to tell researchers that they are *not* going to work for SHIELD because they can't play well with others. If they want their own lab they'll have to pay for it themselves *and* in SHIELD they'll have to show progress to keep their jobs."
"Same here at Stark and its subsidiaries." Tony says. Coulson looks at Darcy. "Yep, same thing with Wright. All the old fools wailing that it wasn't right the boss was making them show results. They were gonna *sue*. I told them to go right ahead, and when they *lost* they'd be paying me. Because I learned vindictive bitch from the best. Pepper." Coulson chuckles despite himself.
"But they don't need an education." A fool whines brokenly in a jail cell where he'd been summarily tossed for trying to keep kids from attending school. "If they would just *work*. . ."
"Shut the fuck up shithead, parents don't *want* their children to work 20 hours a day. Except for the youngest, most kids in school are *already* working."
"They . . .they are?" He wails.
"Yes shit for brains, they are. They're just not working the long hours you want for the few pennies you'd be willing to pay. Oh that's right, you don't *want* to pay them. That's why you can't keep any employees." The guard leaves the fool wailing that it's not *right* in the jail cell.
"Did his local government take him out?" Coulson asks at the SHIELD briefing a few days later.
"Yep, they took over his businesses and are running them under their control. Employees are actually being paid a living wage, not the few pennies *he* was willing to toss them." Bobbi says, looking at the PADD in front of her. "He was *stunned* that except for the youngest kids still in school, most everybody is *already* working, just not for him. Because they actually want to be paid."
Clint sits bolt upright in bed, panting like he'd been fighting for his life. Amanda looks over at him.
"Gyah, I just dreamed we went in for the ultrasound." He rubs a hand over his face.
"Twins again?" She moans.
"Triplets." Amanda starts swearing. "Yeah, I woke up just as you pulled on a set of razor sharp teeth covers."
"Yes, yes I would." She says firmly. She looks at the time and moans. "Damn it, we overslept." Then she looks around. This isn't the farm.
"We're at the Tower, the kids are with Stark's, Natasha's, and Jane's being watched by the nannies. We came out to do some Christmas shopping and you wanted to look at Jerrold's new building." He says at her look.
"Oh yeah," she gets up and wanders to the shower. "Are you going to wash my back?"
"Isn't that *why* we're expecting again?" He chuckles, wrapping his arms around her.
Pepper smiles knowingly when the Bartons wander out of their room, finding the children settled in a room. The boys are working at small desks with worksheets from the school. The girls aren't at a stage yet where they would *need* to take home worksheets if they have to be gone from school for an extended length of time so they're busy playing.
Tony brays with laughter when he hears about Clint's nightmare and Pepper and Amanda exchange knowing looks. "No, we are not having as many children as Josette and her mates."
Clint nods in satisfaction as he walks through the building. It's an older building but it has good bones and had some maintenance over the years. It needs painting inside and out but that's to be expected. The windows have been replaced over the year with double paned insulated windows and unlike too many buildings, there's easy access to the fire escape.
Which *isn't* the paint peeling off, rusty deathtraps that Clint had to deal with way too often. And not just in undeveloped worlds. He had muttered that out loud it seems and Jerrold nods. "One of the first things Tony insisted on during building inspections was repairing or replacing dangerous fire escapes. He's got three companies making new ones for replacement all over the US. They also deal with circular staircases." Clint nods in satisfaction.
"Added onto when I first brought the building. Foam insulation pumped in both the outside and inside walls." Amanda nods in satisfaction.
"Foam in the building, it's the same system used at Stark around equipment water would destroy. I don't have a full AI but I have smoke alarms on every floor. I have a supply of Peter's foam pellets by the stove in case of a fire there."
"The furnace was upgraded before the epidemic. It's set to 64 and there's extra heat sources with the fireplaces and the wood."
"Gentlemen, thank you for coming. We have a situation. Not a large outage, but an area near Ontario is without power thanks to a *situation* when the government tried cleaning up an extremely polluted area. They had been told over the years it was not possible but you know certain mentalities. . ."
"Who are you to tell me what to do, I know *everything*?" Tony snorts. "Then run off whining it's not fair, somebody sabotaged me, it should have worked when they're proven to be goddamn fools."
"Indeed. Unfortunately due to local phenomena. . .for some reason a *lake* in the area is magnetic and knocks out phone lines, over a thousand homes, businesses, and other buildings are without power in the area. And the experts have no idea what happened. By all the experts. . ."
"The power *should* be on, it just isn't?" Tony says. The prime minister nods. "I will be going out in a couple fo days. . ."
"We can bring out five thousand boxes by then. Is there a relief agency at the area?"
"We'll need to set up a location for them to send their payments. There's already a national bank that handles the payments for the areas that fried when our power grid went out."
"Yes, and thank you very much for handing out the boxes to them too. Despite the complaints of several whining fools who need to be taken out and beaten."
"Oh, but I'm trying to take over the world don't you know?" Tony says sarcastically. "Reed, how long will it take to bring out that many boxes?" He asks after the prime minister ends the Skype call.
"Twenty-seven hours, Johnny already started bringing them out. Any left over can go in a storage facility to be used for a new outage."
"Is that a lake or just a collection of cars?" An engineer moans as he sees the picture on the device Dr. Richards is using to probe the lake depths. It is much clearer than regular underwater sonar and they don't have to actually be on the water to use it. Calling in a car carrier takes a couple of days but by looking at the device Reed is able to pick each car out of the lake and put it on the carrier. Thankfully there's no bodies in the cars.
"How does this keep happening?" The engineer asks. A car comes flying through and lands in the lake. Reed sighs, rolls his eyes, and pulls it out. "Like that apparently." The door opens and a man comes out of the vehicle. "Durn brakes went out. . .again."