Title: Evolution of Warfare
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Timeline: between ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘The Avengers’
Rating: K / FRC
Characters: Tony Stark (Iron Man). Mentioned: J.A.R.V.I.S., Obadiah Stane, Howard Stark, Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U).
Summary: Tony reflects on how he left the weapons business behind, and how his peace-keeping efforts have actually made him a fighter.
Complete. Part of “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: Fills a prompt on my table (sci-fi, MCU/Tony Stark) at fc_smorgasbord (square: war).
Warnings: Mentions of canonical violence, referenced drinking.
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.
Evolution of Warfare
No one ever wanted to admit they were profiting from war; it was a statement that had a nasty connotation for a large part of the population, marking anyone associated with such behavior with an ugly stigma. Those who advocated for peace would loudly protest against those few whose business was dependent on armed conflicts around the world.
Tony had grown up in the weapons-making business. His father often went on drunken tirades about ‘peace-loving hippies’, most of which were not suitable for a young child to hear.
It wasn’t that his father liked war. Far from it. After all, he had lived through the Second World War, and while not fighting at the front lines, he had seen plenty.
However, Howard Stark was a big believer in the ‘bigger stick’, especially after his involvement in the creation of the first atomic bomb. If their country had a stick big enough, no one would dare to defy it.
Tony was almost glad Howard hadn’t lived to see events such as 9/11, or the way his company’s weapons were funneled into the wrong hands in under-the-table deals.
Howard used to have enough reasons to drink even in his day.
When Tony was in charge of the company, he learned to understand why they had so many military contracts: the buck stopped there. The reporters would ask him about it, time and time again, and he tried to remind them that the contracts with the Department of Defense were what kept their other, more peaceful, projects well-funded. It was something his father had accepted in his time, and Tony tried to maintain a similar balance.
That was, until the illusion of control was shattered and Tony had to face the fact that someone else was running the show, selling his technology to the enemy for a bigger margin.
If Tony had found out in a way that didn’t include being a prisoner for three months, forced to build a weapon for the same people who had been buying his weapons illegally, who knew what Tony’s reaction would have been. Perhaps he would have simply sought out new ways to ensure their weapons stayed in the right hands.
Of course, he doubted Obadiah’s betrayal would have ever become apparent if he hadn’t managed to miniaturize the arc reactor and build an invincible suit of armor to boot.
Tony had never fought in a war, but after he put on the armor, it almost felt like he began waging one against whoever got in his crosshairs: terrorists, guerilla groups, super-villains…
New threats popped up everywhere, either in direct response to Iron Man’s existence or just because it was an opportune time to make trouble.
Occasionally it was hard for him to remember that he had, indeed, made great progress in fields that had nothing to do with weapons. It was easy for his attention to linger on his regrettable past making weapons, and coming up with new offensive technology for Iron Man.
He didn’t ever admit his suit was a weapon, but from the moment he first walked out of his prison in the Afghan desert, it hadn’t been an entirely peaceful technology either.
Iron Man turned him into a fighter.
In his moments of crisis, though, he would look up from his work and see the bots bustling around; awkward robotic arms that served no great function, but which were proof he could do more than just make things that blew up.
Granted, the bots had caused their fair share of explosions, but that was beside the point…
When he felt low, he would talk to J.A.R.V.I.S. and take pride in the conversations they could have.
He had created many wonderful things, and those who claimed otherwise were just choosing not to see it.