Title: As a Fish in the Sea
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Timeline: between The Avengers and Iron Man 3
Rating: K / FRC
Characters: Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Summary: Extending the freedom of flight to the exploration of oceans was only ever a matter of time and extensive testing.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Cotton Candy Bingo’s round 2 (square: “Paradise”)
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau and Paramount Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
As a Fish in the Sea
Most people wouldn’t have considered exploring the ocean in a metal suit to be an optimal solution. Nevertheless, most of the deep-sea gear was more or less comprised of metal alloys – although not to the extent of the Iron Man armor.
Even Tony knew he couldn’t just up and go see if he could touch the bottom of the Mariana Trench; he had enough trouble reaching the upper layers of the atmosphere, and withstanding the crushing depths of the ocean would definitely require a specialized suit. Before that happened, though, his current suit designs could take him to satisfying depths quite easily – and those depths held plenty to explore.
He had discovered the freedom of flight years prior, but so much of the Earth was covered in oceans that it was inevitable he would widen his scope beneath the surface.
At first it was more for work than pleasure; to see how his suit operated underwater. Navigating in the water was different, the resistance at different speeds and depths requiring calculations, different usage of the armor in order to steer and plenty of practice – and he had to take all of that under consideration before even getting to the actual navigation, because obviously he could not use all the same methods of seeing as he did in the air.
He moved into clearer waters to bypass that issue for a time, and that was where he slowed down for the first time, taking in his surroundings: the fish, the plants, and the world separated from the one above by such a simple yet hostile barrier.
Tony understood the science behind marine life and had spent much time surfing and diving around the world; the wonders of coral reefs and the seemingly endless watery world should have not been anything new to him – yet it was.
The first time he got trapped within a huge school of tiny fish was mesmerizing – yet over too soon when they swam away from him as if realizing he was not a fish and thus did not belong in their midst. It was not as if he could tell them otherwise, but when he encountered a pod of dolphins a few hours later, he decided to try his luck and spent several hours to get close enough to them to show that he was friendly, and ended up swimming alongside them, jumping out of the water a few times but deciding that he needed a lot more practice to master that particular skill without making a ridiculous loop in the air every time, seeing as the thrusters didn’t quite grasp what he wanted them to do.
Swimming with whales, however, was much easier: they were so large they did not care about a tiny metal man swimming next to them, and following their slow yet sleek motions made him feel calm whereas the rapid motions of the dolphins had made his heart race with excitement. Listening to the rise and fall of the whales’ song, called out into the seemingly infinite depths of the water – occasionally receiving a far-away response – filled hours upon hours of recordings that he made a habit of listening to when he could not seem to calm his mind enough to focus on even the simplest of things.
Whale spotting became one of his favorite things to do, even though he could not always dive as deep as they did, to his utter disappointment. He tried it once, but when the suit sprung a leak he had to listen to the warnings and slowly make his way back up while the gentle giants continued downwards on their hunt for food.
There were other times when his exploration almost ended in disaster: testing the suit in arctic waters was only a matter of time, and exploring the landscape of ice and water, especially beneath the surface, took his breath away – so much that he almost got lost in the maze of ice and barely found his way back out before he had to blow a hole in the ice and dig his way out.
Not to be deterred by this, Tony developed several ways to track his movements in places such as that, as well as new mapping software that could be used on land and in water – just in case he got lost again. After all, underwater caves could easily become deadly traps even in the suit, and he could imagine several battle scenarios where those realizations and advances in tech could aid him.
As he had discovered freedom in the open skies, the isolation of the water held a firm allure for him. There was always the aspect of doing what no one else had done before – and doing it in a way no one else would even dream of for years to come – but it was mostly about the simple pleasures in life and there was no need to make it into anything else.