Collision With Reality
Roleplaying Log: Collision With Reality
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

After a minor close-call, Pepper makes the best of a situation by inviting Dr. Stevens to join herself and Bart for a warm drink.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark, Zatanna Zatara
IC Date: December 09, 2018
IC Location: Grand Central Station, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Dec 2018 05:47
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

A cold and drizzly Sunday never makes for good travelling, but it has to be done and there's no way around it. At least Grand Central Station itself is both warm and dry even if it is bustling with other people arriving and leaving.

Standing near the iconic clocks in the center of the main open area of the Station is Pepper, bundled up in a deep green wool peacoat against the weather outside but currently left open in deference to the building's temperature. A peach-colored scarf with the sheen of silk is draped over one arm, and a slightly incongruous teal shoulder bag is at her side.

She pulls her phone from her pocket to check the time and then starts to walk toward the 'Arrivals' archway. Clearly she's expecting to meet someone.

* * *

Chase Stevens shakes his head as he walks through the station himself, a rather towering figure in a suit and longcoat, his fire red hair like a beacon atop his head. He's trying not to walk *too* fast, in more ways than one, while he type something out on a cell phone. He also seems lost in his own thoughts, shut off to the outside world. Unfortunately, being distracted so many ways seems to have put him on a collision course with Pepper as he heads in the direction of Departures. A collision with reality, perhaps?

* * *

Trains and subways …are not Bart Allen's first choice of transportation. Technically most means of vehicular transport aren't, but then when one can run circles around such things and get from point A to B in mere seconds, that's probably to be expected.

But here he is, anxiously standing behind the other passengers to await the (incredibly slow) doors of the car to open. It had been Highly Suggested that he work on getting used to such mundane things. For all the lecturing that he'd gotten from Max about it, the older speedster had certainly looked (way too) amused when he'd dropped a few reminders and pointers for Bart before he'd set out today.

It's extremely odd, at least to him, to be wearing clothing other than jeans and a shirt and hoodie, but it's another thing he supposes he'll have to be getting used to. As he follows the streaming throng down the corridor he reaches up to brush back an errant lock of hair that's escaped his attempts to slick back. He wears a blazer over a button-up shirt and a pair of slacks, in tones of dark gray, save for a burgundy tie, and even though he more or less blends with most of the working crowd he feels like he sticks out like a sore thumb.

His eyes are ever moving as he seeks out paths through the sluggish crowds, but he tempers himself not to speed up any more than a fast walk by normal human standards. For a brief moment he spies Pepper, but it's enough for him to start angling in her direction.

* * *

Completely unaware of the impending reality collision, Pepper is watching for Bart as the latest train full of passengers stream out of the archway and through the main concourse. When she finally spots the young man, she waves hello to him as he already seems to have spotted her.

Tucking her phone away, she takes a step toward Bart and right into the path of another less-than-attentive passerby.

* * *

Chase Stevens looks up at the very last minute and takes note of Pepper, right in his path. Momentum means there's not enough time to stop, however, in a feat of reflexes that might seem super human, he manages to reach a hand out and place it on Pepper's shoulder, then divert his momentum around her, coming to stop on the other side of her. His hand is quickly retracted as he lowers his head to her, in almost a bow of respect. "Forgive me, miss! I didn't see you there," he says, before putting his cell phone away. "I really should be paying more attention to where I'm going… I might find myself heading to Gotham instead of Metropolis. Or worse yet on an Amtrak heading for Chicago…"

* * *

Bart sees the impending, although only once Pepper starts to move towards him. Normally he'd have moved right then, zigzagged between people as though they were standing still and have been at the woman's side to halt her in a split-second. He very nearly does just that.

Thankfully the redhead that had nearly collided into Pepper manages to salvage the situation before it could poorly. "Nice reflexes," Bart replies, considerably closer than he'd been a bit ago, but hopefully with everyone else wrapped up in their own business no one had noticed how he'd 'cheated', even as he casually approaches the two. He lifts a hand in greeting to Pepper. "Hey Miss Potts," he says, and then after a brief pause in consideration, adds with a nod towards Chase, "Sir."

* * *

Pepper startles at the man's hand on her shoulder and then his suddenly speaking to her from the side opposite where he'd just been, and it takes her a moment to mentally parse that he'd rather neatly avoided running smack into her with a move on par with a professional dancer. She stares at him until Bart speaks up, which is thankfully only about a second or so.

"Oh, it's, um, quite all right. I'm sorry I got in your way. And Bart, I'm glad you made it. I know you're likely not used to public transit." She's going by what little she knows about Alabama… that is where Bart said he was from, right?

* * *

Chase Stevens smiles gently to Pepper, but shakes his head. "I really should have been watching where I was going, otherwise I would have seen you in my path sooner. Though, if I may say, it's a pleasure to meet you?" It's then that he looks to the approaching Bart, inclining his head to him as well. "Sir. Dr. Chase Stevens, Emergency Room Physician visiting from Metropolis General. I was just getting ready to pick up my train back in a couple of hours."

* * *

"Well, there's public transit and then there's New York public transit," the teenager replies, smiling crookedly. At least in Manchester, Alabama you had personal space and then some. Life out there is slow, but not backwater. It's a complete 180 from the thirtieth century, which Bart might venture to say is like New York but crazier and with flying cars and science police. …and his grandfather as president of the world.

"Hope you weren't waiting long though." Was he late? He's used to being super early, but having to rely on outside circumstances and someone else managing the speed is almost nerve-wracking.

Smiling at Chase, Bart offers a hand. "Nice to meet you, Doctor Stevens. Bart Allen…" he says, glancing hesitantly at Pepper. He's not quite sure he's ready to tag on the name of his sudden inheritance.

* * *

"Likewise," Pepper offers with a smile to Chase. "Good to meet you, Dr. Stevens. I hope you've had a good visit, even if it nearly ended on a less than stellar note." She then offers Bart a smile. "No, I wasn't waiting long. Your train was only a couple of minutes late." And she can tell that the young man isn't entirely accustomed to NYC public transit. Lucky for him, he likely won't have to spend too much time learning. If he's not flitting about under his own power, he'll likely be travelling in a Stark company car.

A small but supportive smile reassures Bart that he doesn't have to append his name if he chooses not to. "Well, Dr. Stevens, since I did nearly cause a collision here, how about we all get some hot chocolate before we go on our respective ways?" Because yes, there is a vendor here in the Station selling hot cocoa. It's the perfect time of year for it.

* * *

Chase Stevens takes the offered hand in his and gives it a strong, firm but friendly shake. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Allen." He then blinks to Pepper's suggestion of hot chocolate, the offer taking him somewhat by surprise. "Ummm, only if I'm not interrupting, miss…?" he says, pausing a moment as he doesn't think he's caught her name.

"I can say that my trip has been a learning experience, in more ways than one. Besides a medical presentation I was attending, I had a run-in with some of the local super heroes, as well as three rather ill-mannered giants. It was very … thought provoking."

* * *

You can bet that the first thing he'll ask once Pepper mentions the company car is if it flies. Seriously, what's the point of having a fancy car if it can't get around traffic?

Bart manages not to bounce on his heels at the mention of hot chocolate. After all that waiting he's definitely in the mood for something sweet. At least he's not famished like he might usually be. "Sounds great!" And maybe a donut. He could totally go for a donut.

He blinks in Chase's direction, brows lifting as the man relates his recent experience. "Yeah? I hope it wasn't as bad as it sounds. New York is definitely a…lively place." He smiles awkwardly. 'Lively' probably isn't the best descriptor, if an extreme understatement.

* * *

Any minute now, Bart will realize what Pepper's super power actually is: the skill to read a person's non-verbal cues and predict what it is they want or need. Like right now. He mentioned hot cocoa, and Bart started bouncing. So she knows she guessed correctly that he's got a sweet tooth and that he'd appreciate something after having to deal with the train ride.

"Please, call me Pepper," she offers to Chase along with her hand. "And I would normally say that the more colorful of New York's residents take some getting used to, but you mentioned that you're from Metropolis, so I'd willing to bet that you're already an old hand at that kind of thing." She gestures toward the hot chocolate kiosk then leads the way.

"The giants didn't happen to have blue skin, did they?"

* * *

Chase Stevens takes Pepper's hand in his, shaking it more gently, but it's obvious he seems to be holding a lot of strength back. "The names are different, the adventures are different twists, but yeah. It's not something I haven't bore witness to before. Especially in the ER. More often than not, I've seen its human aftermath before anything or anyone else…" he says gently before following along to the hot chocolate kiosk.

"Come to mention it, they DID have blue skin… And about twenty or so feet tall. Why do you ask?" he inquires curiously.

To Bart, he smiles a touch. "No one got hurt except the giants, though one of the super heroes got knocked around, a store display was disheveled and I lost my fresh coffee to the sidewalk…" he says in a somewhat playful manner.

* * *

Following Pepper's lead, Bart slips his hands into pants pockets just so he won't be tempted to fold them behind his head as they walk along. At least the conversation seems interesting enough that he's not terribly distracted by other things. Also, the promise of hot chocolate's a great incentive. Or any food, really. The station sure has a few places, but at least he feels he can make do with something minimal.

"I passed through Metropolis once," he says, which…is meant as literally as one can possibly expect but no one needs to know that. "Blue-skinned giants?" His curiosity piqued, he looks between Pepper and the doctor. What's he been missing out on now??

"-that's good. That no one else got hurt, I mean." Property damage is to be expected in such incidents. "So the only casualty was your coffee," he notes, smirking a little. "Where'd they come from? The giants?"

* * *

Oh, interesting. Pepper immediately recognizes the way Chase shakes her hand — it's almost identical to the way Steve would behave around her as if she were made of spun glass. The realization does not make it to her facial expression, though. "I have my guesses," she tells Bart as they walk. "Did the giants appear to be using weaponry made from ice, Dr. Stevens?" When the reach the kiosk, there is of course a waiting line.

"If they were, I think I need to get in touch with Thor. I didn't think Frost Giants had any reason to be bothering us, but we can't take that chance."

* * *

"I don't think you need to get in touch with Thor. As my memory serves, I believe he was one of the super heroes that was there to stop them, and in fact I think they singled him out to begin with. I know the gentleman who took the massive beating threw the hammer that smashed one of their jaws. One one hand, I kinda felt for the giant. Just from the crack, I could tell he'd normally have to have his jaw wired shut for weeks if not months."

He then looks at Bart, shaking his head slowly. "I really have no clue as to where they came from… Only that they came in an explosion of light, and after being knocked around some, left in the same manner. Though I suspect Pepper knows more about their origins?" he asks, looking back to the woman in question.

* * *

"Sure sounds like Thor," Bart says, nodding as he imagines the Asgardian swinging that massive hammer of his. He has to wince as Chase describes the frost giant's unfortunate encounter with said hammer.

Great. More waiting. Swallowing a sigh, Bart looks around towards the head of the line as he takes a quick headcount.

"At least they disappeared again," he rejoins the conversation with. "But doesn't that just mean they can come back again? Wonder what they wanted."

* * *

Pepper ohs faintly. Frost Giants for sure, then, and Thor was already there. "Well then. I'm not sure what can be done to prevent that, Bart, but that is something that Tony's working on." She watches the young man already getting antsy about the cocoa and can't help but be amused.

"I'm fairly sure that's one of the reasons Tony made the decision he did, so he could do things like that without having to worry about governmental oversight." She glances up at Chase, then. "Sorry, it's too easy to fall into work mode. What was your medical presentation about, if I may ask?"

* * *

Chase Stevens looks a little confused at Pepper then, tilting his head a moment. "Tony?" he asks, missing the context of the conversation. "If he can prevent people from popping in and out like they own a starship transporter, I'm sure plenty of people would be clamoring for his invention. Unless of course they invent a transporter, at which point such devices might become problematic. Of course, if people are already popping in and out like they own a transporter…"

He then brings a hand up to his head, kinda facepalming at himself, kinda groaning at the headache he just gave himself. "Nevermind… I think I just had an attack of severely circular logic." He then looks to Pepper and nods. "It was about some of the latest in Emergency Room techniques. Part of my continuing education requirement to keep my practicing license up to date."

* * *

Being antsy is going to be a common theme when it comes to dealing with Bart Allen. He taps a foot as it's about the only other thing he can do to hold still while they wait their turn.

"Seems like I get the short end of the stick," he mutters as he thinks it's probably typical of Tony to do more hands-on things now that he's back and able to.

A corner of his lips tugs up in a lopsided smile as he looks over at Chase again. "I wouldn't put it past Mister Stark to pull something like that." And never mind that the Titans had the means to do so even without technical assistance, not that he'll mention it.

* * *

"Well, he can't. But he's sure trying." Pepper's convinced that the only thing keeping Tony from having mastered intergalactic travel like the Bifrost (or, maybe a Stargate) is Earth's current level of technology. He's consistently pushing the boundaries, but there are still limitations. "And it's so easy to get trapped in circular logic. I find myself always going back to the classics. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. It's a shame that humans aren't there yet." Hopefully soon.

She takes a step closer to the cocoa kiosk as the line gets shorter.

* * *

Chase Stevens follows Pepper along, piecing things together as they move along. "Mister Stark… Tony… Tony Stark…?" he says quietly, the last even more gently as his eyes widen considerably. A hand is raised to his mouth in a fist as he clears his throat a bit, deciding not to let on that he's figured THAT part out, if they haven't figured it out already.

Looking back to Pepper, he can't help but smirk. "If we all followed the notion, the world would be a better place. Yet by the same token, if all were Vulcans, it might be a whole lot better but a whole lot more boring. Logic brings peace. Emotion brings life. I think even Spock figured that one out, at least by Star Trek 1."

* * *

A step closer is still a step too long. The line is moving sooo slooooow. Part of Bart just wants to bolt off for a quick lap, and as he casts a careful look between the other two in his current party he decides it won't go amiss.

He doesn't get the references anyway.

While visually it might not register at all that he's left for even a heartbeat, there might just be the briefest wafting of a breeze in their vicinity. Bart flicks his bangs back from where a few locks have been displaced from his quick jaunt.

* * *

Pepper blinks and glances around at the slight breeze, but then mentally dismisses it. She can't help but smile amusedly at Chase's reaction to realizing that they were referring to Tony this whole time, but she's kind enough to not poke at him about it.

"Well," she offers when Chase not only picks up her nerdy Star Trek reference but keeps going with it, "from what I gathered, it was either peace through logic, or complete annihilation of their people. I can't really say they chose poorly in those circumstances. That doesn't mean I don't think we humans can't take a page from science fiction and perhaps try to find a logical and peaceful way to coexist. I just am also not so naieve as to think that it would be just that easy, you know?"

* * *

Chase Stevens also takes note of the breeze, maybe getting just a slight chill from it that runs down his spine, but he pays it no mind otherwise. These large, enclosed spaces tend to be drafty at times anyways.

"If more people just followed the clause 'live and let live,' we could get a lot closer to that IDIC ideal. However emotions run high, certain people through their experiences just seem terminally broken, and there always seems to be someone trying to dictate to others, either how they should live or how they should serve. All we can do is continue to do what we can to be good examples, hold up the law, challenge and repair the law where it needs it and otherwise d our best to be good people. Even the Vulcans, after seemingly turning off their emotions, discovered that they were just doing a really damned good job at bottling them up. Picard got a taste of that first hand with Sarek."

* * *

Again, Pepper chuckles. "True." There's only one customer left between them and the hot cocoa. Glancing at the kiosk menu, she adds almost idly, "Though then the question arises, what is the best route to be a good example when the law IS the problem?" Oddly, her eyes fall on Bart for a moment.

Mentally shaking off that moment of contemplation, she looks at Chase again. "Sorry, getting a bit maudlin. Bart, maybe you should decide what you want now." She's expecting one of every pastry the kiosk has available, plus a quart of hot cocoa… with a full can of whipped cream on top.

* * *

Chase Stevens hmmmms to that a moment, before he nods gently. "It is a good question, all the same…" he says gently, but wanting to allow Bart the chance to answer first, he refrains from giving his own answer, looking to the youngest in the group instead, even if he might be chomping at the bit.

Glancing at the menu himself, he arches a brow. "For some reason, I always seem to be famished lately…" he idly notes to himself, maybe having an inkling of what Bart is feeling.

* * *

"Huh? Oh, um-" Bart fumbles a bit as he finds himself suddenly put on the spot. "Well, maybe there are ways around the law that might still allow for doing positive things. And hopefully things don't implode before people realize just how bad a problem the law really is before finally trying to fix it."

The last part comes out tipping towards a question. It's a tough thing to answer, and Bart knows first-hand how difficult decisions are to be made especially with recent laws. It's all largely playing by ear, and now he's stuck playing it on two fronts.

Saved by the front of the line! He peers at the menu, seemingly already tossing the earlier question far from his mind in favor of deciding on snacks. "Aside from hot chocolate, Iii can't decide between a donut or a cinnamon roll- ooh but that blueberry scone looks good too…"

* * *

Pepper blinks at Bart's answer. Not because it's ill-considered. Quite the contrary. He clearly put a fair bit of thought into his words, and she's inwardly proud of him for it. Only one tiny thing done wrong: she'd been asking him what he wanted from the kiosk.

"Well, if you truly can't decide, get all three." Then she realizes how that might sound, and adds quickly, "After all, you always save the rest for later." Did she recover that adequately? Maybe? She is careful to NOT glance at Chase and give away her near-slip.

* * *

Chase Stevens looks to Bart, listening to his answer, nodding slowly before looking to Pepper. "The way I see it, if a law is a problem, you change the law. You can either attack it in the court, usually with other, superseding laws, or you convince the people and thereby the legislature that the law needs be changed. At the same time though, don't overlook the intent of the law. While some laws, like segregation, had flawed reasons from the start, most laws have good intentions and were just written or implemented badly. Sometimes it's easier to repair or replace a bad law and satisfy its good intentions than to get rid of it altogether."

… that's when he realizes he's been rambling. "Pardon…" he says, lowering his head a little in contrition before looking at the menu again. "All three does sound good…" he says, glancing to Bart. He grins a bit though. "Growing young men need to keep their strength up." He looks back to the kiosk. "Just a hot chocolate for me… with extra marshmallows." He can keep it at that. Looking back to Pepper, he offers her a smile.

* * *

To his credit his eyes don't glaze over at Chase's response. Bart's trying his best to follow, and from what he can grasp, it makes sense and he nods for it. Zatanna was saying something about doing things by the law too.

His eyes practically light up at Pepper's suggestion as if to ask 'can I??' "I am so getting all three then." He grins at Chase before blinking as the man makes his own request.

Extra marshmallows?? You can do that? "-times two," he says.

* * *

Pepper just chuckles and nods at Bart's perking up like a puppy dog hearing his humans at the front door after being gone FOREVER, and then sees something on the kiosk menu that appeals more than the cocoa. "And an Earl Grey for me, please."

It takes a few minutes and an almost ninja-like swipe of Pepper's phone at the payment device to prevent either of the others from trying to foot the bill, but finally everyone has their beverages and Bart has his trio of sugary treats. "So, when is your train set to leave, Dr. Stevens?" Because as pleasant as this conversation has been, she'd feel bad if she made him miss his train back to Metropolis.

* * *

Chase Stevens laughs gently and happily as he hears the young one's order, then looks back to Pepper, tilting his head a moment. He glances over at one of the station clocks. "I still have a little time left, but probably sooner rather than later, I'm sad to say…" he notes softly. He also eyes her for a moment as she covers the bill. "I think I may have to find more reasons to come back to New York," he says warmly. "If for no other reason than to return the favor," he says with a soft grin.

* * *

With pastries tucked into pockets and his hands warming around his cup of hot chocolate, Bart steps away from the kiosk with the others once things are done and paid for. "Thanks Miss Potts," he says, after making sure he doesn't have a marshmallow mustache from a decidedly careful first sip of cocoa.

At her question he looks from Pepper to Chase, head tilting before he nods.

"Well, if you do, you better stop by and say hi or something," he grins.

* * *

"You should. Or, Bart and I can always make a trip to Metropolis," Pepper offers. Though, if Bart thinks about that, there would have to be a business reason for that kind of trip most likely. Which would mean having to actually do work. "In fact…" she pulls her phone from her pocket again and holds it in one hand. "FRIDAY, when is my next trip to Metropolis scheduled?"

"Not until mid-January, Miss Potts," replies a voice from the phone, clearly feminine and with a lightly Irish lilt, but for someone with particularly good ears familiarity, there's something slightly … artificial about it.

"Ah, well, it was worth asking. Thank you, FRIDAY." She returns the phone to her pocket, having never once so much as tapped on the screen.

* * *

Chase Stevens hmmmms at that for a long moment. "Miss Potts…" he notes idly to himself, a soft grin painting his lips as he shakes his head. He doesn't let on, but now he's certain he's talking to one of the NY area's movers and shakers.

"Well, if you ever need a consult on anything related to Nanotechnology, you can look me up? My specialty outside of the ER is in fact medical nanotech. I'd been working on a project until an accident last year put the project on hold, indefinitely."

It's then that he hears a train announcement, blinking a moment or two. "That train's closer to departure than I thought…" he says before looking back to Bart. "It has been a pleasure getting to meet you, Mr. Allen. Definitely, the next time I'm in New York, I'll have to seek you out. If you're ever in Metropolis, you can usually find me at Memorial General Hospital." He then looks to Pepper. "Pepper, what would be the best way to get a hold of you two the next time I'm here?"

* * *

It doesn't look like Bart gets that far into the idea of seeing a trip to Metropolis as something of a business jaunt more so than for sightseeing. He'll find out eventually.

He's fished out his donut package from his pocket for a nibble, brows arching as Chase speaks about his specializing in nanotech for medical means. Huh.

He lifts his head at the announcement for the train before glancing back at the man with a nod. "Oh sure, was good to meet you too, Doctor Stevens. Catch you around," he grins.

* * *

Nanotechnology? Pepper blinks and looks at Chase squarely at that. "I just might. I think we'll need to be in touch."

She also hears the train announcement and reaches into her shoulder bag and produces a crisp business card with the Stark Industries logo on one side. "I can be reached at this number, Dr. Stevens. I hope you have a safe trip home."

The phone number connects to FRIDAY, who regularly pretends to be Pepper's executive assistant.

* * *

Chase Stevens returns Pepper's squared look with a rather Vulcan raised eyebrow and a rather un-Vulcan warm smile. He takes the card and squirrels it away in his coat. "Thank you, Pepper. I hope your travels are as equally uneventful. And please… Call me Chase." He lowers his head to the pair in farewell, before he starts off for his platform. While his gait is an easy one, he seems to move … fast.

* * *

It's probably a bit uncouth to do so but Bart holds the donut in his mouth long enough to wave his freed up hand at the departing doctor. He tracks him well enough, arching a brow as he has to note that the man does navigate pretty smoothly and quickly through the crowds. Pausing to swallow another bite of donut, he then looks back at Pepper.

"What a nice guy. So…I guess that means we're heading to work..?"

* * *

Pepper also waves after Chase before turning to Bart. And she doesn't comment on the donut in the mouth thing. She's seen Tony do far, far worse. "Yes, but I suspect that'll be easier if you have some lunch first." She sips at her tea and leads the way to the street level exits.

Pulling her phone again as she walks, she again speaks to it without ever pressing a button. "FRIDAY, we're ready for the car, please."

"I am notifying Dmitri now, Miss Potts."

"Thank you."

* * *

As they pass a trash receptacle Bart tosses the crumpled paper that had held his donut, having another sip of cocoa and a mouthful of marshmallows.

"I could definitely go for lunch," he grins. He's debating on whether to polish off the remaining sweets in his pockets until then or to (try and) hold off. After all, it might be nice to have something for later depending on how long the day seems to go on afterwards.

…it's a nice thought anyway.

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