[The Avengers] Tony Stark Aims to Please

Tony Stark Aims to Please

An "The Avengers" one shot by Andrew J. Talon

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-profit fan based work of prose. "The Avengers" is the property of Disney, Marvel, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Please support the official release.

- - - - - -

Hands on tinkering had not been a pleasure to Tony Stark for a long time - More like a way of life, a life saving habit. Like breathing. He was a mechanic and a superhero and that had pushed his engineering skills in the direction of the practical. Better weapons, better armor, better programming languages, making an entirely new transactinide element.

Well, rediscovering it. How the damn stuff didn't have a half-life of less than a second was still something he was working out.

The point was: All of that had been for pressing, immediate purposes. Like saving the world. Or saving the world again. Or saving his own life, and sometimes saving the world at the same time. He was Tony Stark, master of multitasking when it came to potential...

"JARVIS? What is the plural of 'apocalypse'?" Tony asked as he looked up from his work table in Avenger's Tower. The AI responded promptly.

"Apocalypses, sir."

"Really? Not apocalypsi? Just tack on an extra 's' and you're good?" Tony asked, somehow annoyed by it. It seemed to diminish the fact that they'd gone through more than one potentially world ending scenario.

Then again, he supposed it wasn't the kind of thing most people had to look up.

"I could run through the thesaurus sir, but more than likely your attention will wander by the time I'm done," the AI promptly responded. Tony hummed, and nodded.

"Yep, you are probably right... Entirely right, where was I?"

"Fiddling with the things on your work table, sir," JARVIS said. "Or tinkering, messing with, manipulating-"

"Yes yes, we're all very impressed with your recent vocabulary upgrade," Tony said dryly, resuming his examination of the pieces of hardware on the table. "Especially since I did it. Didn't think it would annoy me quite so much but that's me, optimist."

"What is it you are doing, Sir?" JARVIS inquired. Tony sighed.

"I'm just... Taking something apart, figuring out how it works... For fun! I haven't had a lot of fun involved in tinkering lately. Blowing stuff up can be fun but it gets repetitive after a while and when you find that repetitive, clearly something has gone wrong."

"So taking apart a gamma-"

"Uh uh uh! I'm going to put it back together and then figure out what it is," Tony said. "I might have made it into something entirely different. I've got assorted junk I found in a drawer, I could turn it into a handheld laser or floaty thing to deliver me beer or maybe a se-"

"Does Mr. Banner know you have that item?" JARVIS asked. Tony looked back down at the mess in the manner of a child pretending he had done nothing wrong.

"He'll never know it was gone, because it's a spare I found. Somewhere. Non critical. Besides, I gave him the lab and the stuff but I can borrow it because I bought it for him. It's implied. In the lease... Somewhere..."

"Of course sir," JARVIS said. "Someone is entering the level."

Tony looked up. "If it's Bruce then that makes this a very, very bad joke..."

"No sir, it is-"

Tony felt something pointy pressing against his throat, and the fabric of a certain advanced polymer catsuit pressing gently against his head. Not long enough for him to get a good feel on what said catsuit contained.

There were a lot of SHIELD agents that wore that sexy little number but only one that could enter his tower like this and would be so unfair.

"Natasha," he sighed.

"Stark," Natasha Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow, stated.

"Hello Miss Romanoff, your skill at the evasion of my internal sensors has increased dramatically," JARVIS complimented.

"Thank you JARVIS," Natasha replied.

Tony glared up at the ceiling. "You're complimenting her while she has a knife to my throat. Classy JARVIS, really."

"He must get it from you," Natasha said in a cold, deadly purr. She dropped a small silver sphere on the table, where it landed with a metallic thunk. It was about the size of a grape. "What is this?"

"Would you care to be more specific?" Tony asked, a bit confused. The Black Widow reached down and tapped the sphere. It sprouted four tiny metallic tentacles, and stood up on them like a clumsy spider. It turned, a single blue eye staring up at Stark. Tony's eyes widened in recognition.

"Oh! Little camera drone-"

"What was it doing in my shower?" Natasha asked dangerously, the tip of her knife digging into Tony's jugular. The genius coughed. Very carefully.

"Now... Let's talk about this logically, Natasha. You can't exactly kill me in my own Tower. Especially after I got you that nice new level and everything-"

"I can still hurt you in ways you will really not enjoy," Natasha growled deep in her throat.

"And you're kind of failing on denying me enjoyment because that is really-Ow ow ow!" Tony winced. "Look, let me explain-"

"One drone wandering around, inspecting things, accidentally glimpsing me in the shower wouldn't piss me off," Natasha explained, her other hand gripping his shoulder painfully.

"Get that enough on the SHIELD helicarrier, huh?"

"You have no idea... Two? You could make the excuse and maybe I'd just tell Pepper and let her give you hell."

Tony winced. "Now that... That's just not fair..."

"But four. In my shower. All at the same time?" Natasha growled. "And with active camouflage? What are you, a thirteen year old boy?"

Tony was really not entirely sure what part of this incident the Black Widow was more upset about, but he decided he'd just cut to the quick before Natasha got any more murderous.

And fortunately, the truth was on his side.

"It was for Steve."

The knife digging into his neck wavered. "What...?"

Damn the fact he had no mirror-Seeing what had to be a spectacularly wonderful gobsmacked expression on the Black Widow's face would have made Tony's month.

"Steve Rogers, you know, Captain America, our resident all American nice guy has been sneaking looks at you ever since you two met," Tony said quickly. "Guy's got the social graces you'd expect and he's been checking you out. So I thought I'd get him a nice gift, help him loosen up and given the outfit you go around in I didn't think you'd mind-"

"You knew I'd catch you though."

"Thought had occurred, yeah, but think of it this way," Tony went on, trying out his most sincere voice on the irritated assassin. "It would involve you getting Steve Rogers, Captain Freaking America, hot and bothered over you. Now you've got to have some kind of female pride and that has to be one hell of a boost to it, right?"

"Are you saying I'm insecure in my feminity?" Natasha asked in a deadly tone.

"I didn't say that, I didn't-JARVIS! Did I at any point say that?" Tony asked.

"No sir, you did not," JARVIS dutifully replied.

"See? Besides, you get him sputtering and blushing and denying it but you totally know he is going to keep it. Like, in some weird forties romantic sort of keepsake," Tony said.

"Porn. Romantic," Natasha asked flatly. Tony shrugged.

"Romance is porn for women, I thought..."

Natasha sighed. "Well... You're not lying."

"I notice you still haven't removed the knife."

"Nope. I want something in return."

"Again, given you can't kill me-"


"You'd really call my girlfriend on me. Really?"

"I will admit, she's far better at causing you pain. I don't have the patience to figure out all the ways to make you hurt."

"All right... What do you want?"

"Two things. I will let you get away with this little present for Cap... On my terms." She had almost removed the knife entirely from his throat, but he still felt the pressure and really felt no inclination to move.

"I know a guy, great editor-" He tried. The pressure increased. "Ulp..."

"JARVIS handles it and you don't see any of it."

"Oh come on-"


"... Fine. And the second?"

She took the drone up and removed the knife entirely. Tony turned his head enough to see her face.

"... You put these in Steve's shower... For me," she said. Tony blinked, several times.

"And... If he asks me about it?"

Was that...? No. It had to be a trick of the light. The Black Widow did not blush. She gave him a little smirk.

"Just point him in my direction, if he wants some... Answers."

Tony stared for a long moment. "You do realize that getting him to do anything-"

"Who says I want him to do anything?" The Black Widow asked with a disdainful sniff. "I'm just keeping you from getting hurt, Tony. Violating a lady's privacy like that, tut tut. Whatever would Steve think of your little scheme?" She tossed the drone to him, and casually walked to the elevator doors. "Better have five of those things in his shower, Stark - And in HD."

Tony stared after her as the doors closed. He sighed and shook his head... And waited until he'd turned back to the worktable to grin. He turned off the drone.

"Sir, I don't think you're quite as good a matchmaker as you think," JARVIS pointed out.

"Now now JARVIS, I haven't even gotten to Phase 2 yet," Tony admonished his creation. "Besides... If it does pan out, oh, the sweet taste of revenge is going to make it all worth it."

"And if you are merely progressing in a direction Miss Romanoff wanted you to go in?" JARVIS asked. Tony shrugged.

"I'm still going to be able to laugh at Steve's expense."

He double checked that the drone was really off though. Just in case.

- - - - -



Well-Known Member
Hilarious. I'm interested to see where this ends up going.

The sad thing is Tony can never brag about it, because they'll both try to kill him.
- - - - - -

"You know Clint, I've been meaning to ask you something," Steve Rogers said as he and Clint Barton sat down to lunch in the Helicarrier's mess hall. Clint raised an eyebrow and then smirked slightly.


"Yes... It may be a bit personal but-"

"Ah ah ah, say no more Cap," Clint said, waving his hand. "I understand completely but let me sum it up for you: You don't need to ask my permission to date Natasha."

Steve's eyes widened. "Wait, wha-?"

"Natasha and I... I thought there might have been something there but the truth is we're... Partners," Clint said. He shook his head. "And she can look after herself so I won't make the whole 'Big Brother with a shotgun' speech."

"That's not-"

"But you know, if she is willing to open her heart up to you, you'd better not screw it up," Clint said. "I don't care how super you are, I know lots of ways to deal with you. Not because I'll be wanting to avenge Natasha, oh no." The archer grinned rather nastily. "But because I'll be sparing you from what she'll do to you."

Steve stared at Clint. "... I just wanted to know how you fit so many arrows into that quiver of yours."

Clint's keen eyes stayed fixed on Steve's. He took a deep breath. "Ah... The shafts are made of a nano assembling carbon polymer. Little robots that build the shafts and the fletching from some raw materials stored in the core. The only things I have to carry are the arrowheads, which the shafts fit into depending on what situation I'm dealing with. I can carry about forty to fifty arrows this way-I still reuse as many as I can but it does give me a lot more than I otherwise could."

Steve nodded. "That's good to know for tactical purposes. Still want you carrying a sidearm as a backup defense though, and a knife."

Clint smiled. "Right. They've got a new progressive model in the shop I've been meaning to try out. Looks a little like Sulu's from Star Trek."

Steve was blank. Clint coughed. "Nevermind..." He rose, meal finished. "By the way," and here the archer smiled, "I meant what I said about Natasha."

Steve sputtered, which Hawkeye just grinned at as he headed out.

- - - - -
And now to introduce the Cinemarvel universe versions of Hank and Janet (At least for the purposes of this fic-They'll probably get Jossed by the actual Ant-Man movie but that's not for another year or so).

- - - - -

Janet Van Dyne was a beautiful woman by anyone's estimation. Her family had made money through smart investments of the past and the right connections in the present. But all that hadn't been enough for this young woman, who deeply resented being labeled a "trust fund baby". So she'd started her own company, Van Dyne Boutique, and her fashion designs became world acclaimed.

But she'd wanted more out of life than just that... And so, upon randomly Meeting Up with one Hank Pym on a butterfly collection trip (she'd wanted to try it), Janet had decided to invest in something a little different: Particle physics research.

And surprise surprise, it had actually paid off. As in now.

Or it would, if she could get her top scientist to cooperate.

“Hank, let’s take this from the top,” she said wearily, rubbing her forehead. “Again.” The dry air in the SHIELD Helicarrier’s waiting room was doing her no favors.

Hank Pym, a skinny brown haired man with perpetually messy hair, cleared his throat as he checked his speech on his tablet.

“Right... Ladies and gentlemen, I am Doctor Henry Pym. Thanks to the generous investments in my work by Janet Van Dyne-”

“The lovely Janet Van Dyne.”

Hank raised an eyebrow and blushed slightly. He was rather cute when he was embarrassed, Janet thought-Which was often.

“Er... Th-That kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?” He managed. Janet smiled warmly.

“Why darling, you say the nicest things!”

“Ahem,” Hank cleared his throat, and returned to the rehearsal. “By the lovely Janet Van Dyne, a whole new era in particle physics applications is upon us. As many of you know I won the Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of what I call ‘Pym particles’, exotic variants of gluons which mediate the strong nuclear force and produce unusual quantum effects when they tunnel. Further research into the Pym particles has revealed that their quantum tunnelling can be traced into an alternate dimension, termed ‘hyperspace’.”

Janet’s eyes were glazing a bit.

“As the Pym particles tunnel back and forth between realspace and hyperspace their "flow" can be tuned to introduce energy into the system of the strong nuclear force and cause expansion in a spacetime lensing-like effect on a quantum scale that leads to expansion of normal matter on the macro scale, adding mass without violating the laws of thermodynamics and therefore-"

“Therefore it allows you to make things, like people, grow giant size or shrink to the size of an insect dear God Hank I talked to you about this!” An exasperated Janet cried. “You’re not trying to wow them with technobabble!”

“I’m not trying to wow them, I’m just explaining the theory behind it,” Hank replied with great patience. “I’ve summed it up as best I could! I could go far more into it to really make sure they understood it-”

“Hank, darling, you’re not trying to make them fall asleep. If you were addressing a room full of physicists with long gray beards then sure, go the full Monty!” Janet said, holding up a hand to assuage his concerns. “But right now, let’s focus on the basics. The practical applications.”

“Aha... Right,” Hank said with a nod. Janet frowned, a bit concerned.

“I could do this for you, you know.”

“No no, we’re doing this together! I’ve faced down ravenous insects, I can handle presenting and demonstrating my technology to a group of big wigs and superheroes,” Hank said with a nervous smile. Janet sighed and stood up. She patted him on the shoulders and looked up to him with a warm smile.

“You’ll be fine. I’m just tough because you’re no less exacting with your work, right?”


“Okay,” Janet sat back down. She gave him a smile again. “Continue, Doctor Pym.”

“Right,” Pym said. He held up a small orb shaped device, hooked up by a heavy cable to a round backpack. “This is a Pym capsule and distribution system, which is integrated into a Pym suit for the emission of a Pym particle field to cause the shrinking or enlarging effect. While production of Pym particles for large scale commercial applications is not viable at this point in time, for small scale applications such as research into particles, space systems and support of extranormal criminal suppression-”


“Sorry, sorry... Fighting against extraordinary threats are entirely possible now. Enlarging the subject grants the user of the system greater size, speed, and strength, and thanks to the manipulation of the strong nuclear force they are able to support themselves. This form grants the user superhuman strength, speed, and durability. The opposite mode, shrinking, allows for perfect infiltration by an agent or search and rescue as the subject retains the same strength as in their original form, but their mass is being facilitated by the hyperspace tunneling effect allowing for far more flexibility in movement. While in both cases, staying in these forms is limited to a matter of hours, the practical applications are mind boggling and will be a great boon to the cause of world peace!”

He put the Pym capsule down on the table and smiled. “How was that?”

“Aside from the times I wanted to fall asleep from boredom, it was great,” Janet said with a teasing smile. “Now! Let’s get suited up.”

“Us?” Hank asked in confusion. “But, I thought I was going to be using the suit...”

“Remember all that extra work I had you do? You know, on the Stingers and the flight system?” Janet asked with a smile.

“Yes, and I remember the mess you made of my lab while testing it,” Hank said dryly.

“Oh come on, you’ve shrunk and expanded yourself plenty, you don’t get to hog it all the time!” Janet huffed. “Point is, I’m going to show off too!”

Janet rose and walked over to a few pieces of luggage she’d brought with her into the room. Well, that she’d had some strong burly SHIELD crew members carry, really. She pulled one up and set it on the table, opening it up. Hank walked around to look over her shoulder, curious.

“Ta da!” She said with a grin as she pulled out a dark red and black suit. “What do you think?”

Hank’s eyes widened. “Wha... Is that my suit?”

“Yes Hank, it is your suit,” she said in a slightly mocking tone of voice. “And your helmet’s in the other briefcase! I just modified it a bit.”

“Y-You modified it?! But Janet, the distribution system-!”

“Is fine. I just added some color and cut it a bit better so you can show off in it,” she said patiently. “I know better than to screw with anything I don’t understand, now go and put it on!”

Hank gulped. “You mean... In this room?”

“Yes,” Janet said cheerfully. “Now go on, relax. I’ll keep my back turned.”

Hank sighed in relief. “Oh... You will?”

“Yes silly, if you do the same,” Janet said with a wink. Hank’s jaw dropped as his cheeks turned bright red.

“I... But...!”

“It’s faster, silly, so relax!” She gave him a pout. “Unless you don’t like the idea of being in the same room as me when my clothes are off~?”

“Uhhh... Um... Er... I-I’ll just change. Quickly,” he said, turning away and walked to the far end of the room. He started to change, eyes firmly on the wall and definitely not on the lovely, naked body of his employer, partner and friend.

“Okay, you can look now~!” Janet said in a sing song voice. Hank had just finished affixing his helmet, making sure the unlocking mechanisms were set for when he expanded-It contained a small lifesupport system for when he shrank down, allowing him to breath normally. He turned around...

And was wondering which would be better - If he would have seen Janet naked, or in this outfit.

“Well, what do you think?” Janet asked with a sly grin. She wore goggles and a translucent face mask over her mouth and nose, hooked up to her own life support system for when she shrunk. Said goggles had earphones with antenna sticking out to facilitate the communications system when she was shrunken. His helmet had similar antenna.

Her original shrinking suit had been a bit spartan-It was a working prototype - but this new one was pitch black, skin tight and accentuated every part of her svelte, athletic body. The Pym distributor system had been emplaced in a network of thin cables, the majority of which laced the front of her suit in a pattern very much like a wasp’s abdomen, and was painted gold. On her wrists were mounted the Stingers-Energy weapons that worked quite well at normal size, but at small size the energy bursts gained a kind of voltage from what might be called a current flow due to the mass of the person using the system displaced into hyperspace, like a temperature differential causing electrons to flow. This same energy powered the flight pack, with artificial wasp wings plugged into a motor that would allow flight at the size of an insect.

All this Hank knew but putting the combined package on Janet van Dyne... He was speechless.

“Uh... It’s... Um... Gr-Great,” Hank managed. “Really great...”

“Thank you so much darling. How’s your suit, by the way?” Janet asked.

Constricting, he thought. He checked a nearby mirror, placed for guests to check their appearance one last time, and nodded.

“It... Looks satisfactory,” he said. “Though... We are going to be a little hard to take seriously in these getups, you know.”

Janet huffed. “No appreciation for fashion...” She then grinned. “Change of plans, Hank. Your speech?”

He nodded and reached for it... But she swatted his hand away.

“Forget it. I’ve got a great idea...”

- - - - -

Nick Fury was not a man who enjoyed being made to wait, especially not by some socialite and her pet scientist. He impatiently checked his watch and scowled over at his assistant sitting next to him in the briefing room.

“Get those two up here now before I find a broom handle to break in their asses,” he growled. The assistant coughed.

“Ah, sir, isn’t that a little... Extreme?”

“They promised me the moon. They have been promising me the moon for the past year, and I want the goddamned moon, or brooms broken in their asses! Their choice!” Fury stated flatly.

“Ooh, aren’t we in a foul mood today?” Janet Van Dyne’s voice came in clear across the PA. Fury looked around.


“He sounds kind of upset, Janet.”

“He always sounds upset, Hank,” Janet huffed.

“I’m really not in the mood for any tricks, you two, so if you’d kindly get in here,” Fury growled. He’d had a rough day with a few new supervillains on the prowl and as said, this had been a long project.

“Oh, uh, but Director Fury - We’re already in this room!” Hank Pym said. “I-I mean, we’ve been here a while.”

“Yes! But it is my custom to arrive fashionably late,” Janet said. “Besides, this is going to be worth it.”

“Well by all means Miss Dyne, Dr. Pym, show me that you’re not wasting my time, again,” Nick Fury said with a low growl.

“If you insist~..."

A buzzing filled his ears, and a bright yellow and black thing flew past his face. A red and black object flew behind his head, faster than he could swat. Both objects flew to the front of the room... And glowed with white light as they expanded in size. Fury’s eye widened as a smirking Janet Van Dyne, and an embarrassed Hank Pym now stood before him.

“Introducing the Fabulous Wasp, and the Amazing Ant-Man!” Janet cried, holding her arms up over her head with a grin. “How’s that for an entrance?” She asked, putting hands on her hips. Fury looked back and forth between them, and very slowly nodded.

“Well... I’ll give you this, Miss Dyne. When you deliver, you deliver.”

“It’s mainly thanks to Hank here,” Janet said with a warm smile at the tall scientist next to her. “I just made us... Presentable!”

“If that’s what you can call it,” Hank sighed. Janet elbowed him. “Ow!”

“So! Shall we begin?” Janet asked with a bright smile.

- - - - - -

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
I like this.

Please write more when you can.
Well, since you asked...

- - - - -

In the quarters of Thor aboard the Helicarrier...

"... And thus did I smite the great troll, with a final blow of my hammer!" Thor finished his tale, posing dramatically with his hammer. Jane Foster frowned in a bit of concern from the bed she was sitting on.

"You didn't kill him, did you?" She asked. Thor shook his head.

"Nay, nay! I would have lost an able sparring partner! I merely stunned him so that when he might awake, he would be in a foul enough mood to challenge me again!" Thor grinned and set Mjolnir down, the enchanted hammer humming gently. He sat down next to Jane Foster. "Even before I met you, I would not so easily slay a troll who proved himself a worthy foe."

"I see," Jane said with a smile. "You think... You think you could let me see your world, some day?" She asked a bit shyly. Thor laughed happily, and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. "Ah!"

"Of course, Jane Foster! A clever being such as yourself coming to Asgard? You will have me as your personal escort," Thor grinned. "Across Asgard's fields and city I will take you! Such wonders you will behold!"

"Ah, well, that's great," Jane said, nuzzling into Thor's side. "Mmm... Though I can think of a few other wonders I'd like to behold right now," she said with a naughty grin. Thor frowned.

"... Would you like me to show you my hammer again?"

Jane couldn't help it. She laughed into Thor's chest, practically cackling. Thor blinked.

"... I'm afraid I don't understand Midgardian humor, what is so funny?"

"Heheheheh... Not... Not quite what I meant," Jane said with flushed cheeks, "but I'm thinking a different sort of... Hammer."

Thor blinked a few more times. Jane sighed.

"Let me show you, hm?"

- - - - - -

Several hours later, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark were walking down the corridor of the Helicarrier. Steve was in his more subdued standard uniform, while Tony was in an AC/DC shirt and jeans.

"You know, I don't see why they have to call me in every single time they have an emergency. I've got a life of my own, stuff to do, my own villains to smash," Tony grumbled. "They could consult via this amazing thing called the telephone. I mean, you've heard of it so obviously they have..."

"What, you don't like visiting Fury and the rest?" Steve asked with a grin. "Popping by to hit on attractive SHIELD agents?"

"If I want to hit on attractive SHIELD agents, I've got plenty to choose from in my company," Tony snorted. "Besides, the only reason I come out here is when you all are here, and you are all more than welcome to come to the tower. One with a great big 'A' on the side of it." He shook his head at Steve's chuckling. "So, why is Thor taking so damn long anyway?"

"Guess we'll find out," Steve said. He knocked on the hatch to Thor's quarters aboard the helicarrier. "Thor? You there?"

There was some movement behind the door, before it opened. Thor greeted them... And Steve immediately covered his eyes as Tony looked away, for the Thunderer was wearing nothing but a broad grin.

"Greetings friends! What do you need of me?"

"Woah! Woah! Woah! Pants, Thor, pants. They're a wonderful invention and you definitely should grab yours," Tony coughed. "That's the first thing we need of you!"

"We've... Got a mission, but I see you're a bit indisposed," Steve said a bit more delicately. Thor looked down, and then back up. He was still grinning.

"Ah, yes... Sorry, Jane Foster was showing me wonderful things to do with my..." And here Thor raised his eyebrows. "hammer."

His fellow Avengers were silent. Thor blinked, confused, before his grin returned to his face.

"The hammer in this case is my pen-"

"Yes Thor, we get it!" Tony shouted.

- - - - -


Well-Known Member
WhiteKnightLeo said:
That's so perfect I don't even know where to begin.
He could include Spiderman for starter.:p
Well, no Spider-Man yet. However...

- - - - - -

"Um... Ororo?"

Storm lowered her sunglasses, the Weather Goddess a vision of perfection in her red bikini as she sunned herself by the Xavier Mansion's pool. She looked up at Kitty Pryde, one of the younger members of the X-Men.

"Yes Kitty?"

"I'm a bit concerned about the ground staff," she admitted. "The guys the Professor hired?"

"Temporary staff? What about them?" Ororo asked. Kitty coughed.

"Well... Isn't it a bit odd that they're all... In trenchcoats?"

And indeed, they were. All of the temporary groudskeepers were done up in fedoras, trenchcoats, and striped slacks. All were working at the shrubs and at the pool with various tools and implements.

"A bit, yes," Ororo allowed.

"And that they don't seem to actually eat... Or sleep?" Asked Kitty.

"Admittedly, that is strange."

"And that whenever someone seems to be paying a lot of attention to them... Like this," Kitty demonstrated as she looked suspiciously at one of the workmen. He stood up, mechanical gears audibly whirring as he stared back with glowing red eyes.

"... It is a beautiful day to work on the shrubs for minimum wage," he said in a dull, monotone voice. The gardener next to him was watering a plant.

"Yes. That woman over there has large breasts and is scantily attired."

"She is extremely attractive. We should keep such comments to ourselves or else she may sue us,"
his companion said.

"Without water, these plants would die," another gardener opined.

"This pool must be cleansed if anyone is to swim in it,"
the workman at the pool added.

Kitty slowly looked back at Storm. Ororo sighed.

"I believe I'll let the Professor handle explaining this."

Right. Professor? Hello? Can you hear me?

A familiar telepathic voice was soon speaking in Kitty's head.

<Hello Kitty. What can I do for you?>

Well, I think you should be more suspicious of these gardening weirdos, Kitty thought back. What are they and who sent them?

<They are called 'Sentinels', autonomous robot infiltrators designed to observe superhuman beings, mutants in particular,>
the Professor replied. <They are armed with a variety of weapons that allow them to deal with lower level threats.>

Kitty's eyes widened in fear. You mean that these things are from the Government?! Mutant hunting robots?!

<Yes, but there is nothing to fear,> Professor X replied. <I allowed them on the premises... And Beast promptly reprogrammed them just enough that the government will get no useful data.>

Kitty frowned. So, you're making it look like we're cooperating with the government's invasion of our home?

<That, and I'm getting free labor for the entire manor's upkeep until the program runs out of money after finding nothing and will have to be shut down, in at least two months,>
Professor X replied cheerfully. Kitty raised an eyebrow.

Exactly why couldn't you just hire one of us or have the students do the upkeep rather than a plan that involves government Terminator hunter killer robots on our lawn?!

<Well... It was a bargain,>
Professor X said. <Besides, they can be quite... Flattering.>

"That woman walking nearby is very attractive. It is a shame I must go home to an overweight wife," one of the Sentinels said as Rogue walked by. Rogue smirked and rolled her eyes.

"Damn right it is, sugah."

"Thank goodness, it is Friday."

"Besides," Ororo said, "should any of them try anything... Well..." the weather goddess smirked. "I don't think lightning is going to do them much good, do you?"

"Good point," Kitty allowed.

- - - - -

Yes, the Sentinels for this fic are basically like the Agents in Psychonauts. Here's a link so you can be familiar with them: