rockstark: (they're not rose - they're red. shut up.)
[personal profile] rockstark
History (Iron Man 1 & 2):

"Tony. No more of this 'ready fire aim' business. You understand me?"


Tony Stark leads a charmed life. Not only was he born into wealth as the son of billionaire inventor and engineer Howard Stark, but he was gifted with the luck(?) of being a child prodigy, as well. By the time he was 17, he had built his first circuit board and engine, and graduated from MIT with high honors. Though the death of both parents in a car accident cast a deep shadow over all of Tony's brilliance and fortune, at age 21 he stepped up and took the reins of his father's company, under the tutelage of his father's best friend, Obediah Stane. Stane ran the company itself, handling the business: all Tony had to do was be the brains, to keep inventing. And keep inventing he did: Stark Industries became the number one private contractor for the United States military, supplying weapons and other defense technology. In addition to taking on his father's mantle of the Merchant of Death, Tony also helped to engineer medical breakthroughs and more intelligent ways of growing crops ... though at the time, those were more to balance out his PR more than anything else. On top of the world by the time he was in his late 20s, Tony had gotten everything he ever wanted and more: fast cars, fast women, endless parties and almost free reign to shirk his responsibilities and party like it was never going to stop.

And so he did: until a presentation abroad on one of the Industries' newest inventions, the Jericho missile. After the (very successful) presentation, Tony was headed back to the military base with a small personal escort, when the convoy was ambushed by terrorists. Tony's escorts were killed in front of his eyes, and the last thing he saw before he was kidnapped by terrorists was one of his own missiles landing in the sand mere yards away. The irony was not completely lost on him - even if he was pretty sure he was going to die.

But since his life is, indeed, charmed ... Tony woke up in captivity, groggy, confused, and in pain - but still very much alive, thanks to a scientist named Yinsen who implanted an electromagnet in his chest. There is a cluster of shrapnel still embedded in his chest (yes, even now, RIGHT NOW) trying to find its way into his heart. The magnet repels the shrapnel, keeping it from killing him. It turned out the terrorists - a group of particularly slimy ones called the Ten Rings - kept Tony alive so that they could have him build his Jericho missiles for THEM. When they didn't get the answer they wanted, they tortured him ... and then Yinsen talked him into agreeing, if only to buy himself time. Together, the two of them built a replacement for the electromagnet: a miniature version of a generator Howard Stark invented in the 60s called the Arc Reactor. The reactor, powered by shards of palladium that Tony scavenged from scrap missiles and melted down to repurpose, generated enough energy to run his heart for years - or, he realized, something even bigger for a much shorter period of time. Galvanized by Yinsen's words of wisdom and his own resolve to put it to the bastards who were stealing his tech and using it to gun down innocents, Tony worked around the clock and under a very sharp wire to build a suit of armor and arm it. With this suit, he was able to escape from the Ten Rings' camp and obliterate their cache of Stark Industries weaponry ... but not without a price. Yinsen died buying Tony time to get into the suit, and with his last remaining moments, made the billionaire promise not to waste his gift, or the remainder of his life.

Tony returned home a very changed, yet still very lost man. He made an executive order for Stark Industries to stop producing weapons, and for his effort, was effectively benched by his Board of Directors. That suited him just fine, as he had more free time to pour into his own invention: retooling and perfecting the design for the weaponized suit. He dived headlong into his work, confusing everyone in the process: especially his long-suffering personal assistant, Pepper Potts, who was more used to helping create excuses for his eccentric, loud, outlandish behavior than telling everyone that her poor boss was suffering from PTSD.

"Let's face it: this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing."


Once the next version of the suit was finished - with a questionable amount of help from his cadre of robots and AIs - Tony decided that it was time to start getting out in the public eye again, to start to shore up the rocky return he'd made from captivity. So he went to one of the Industries' fundraising galas. It went pretty well, all things considered. He put the moves on Pepper and tailspun into an awkward mess, got propositioned by a flunkie for some government agency with a long-winded name, found out Obediah had been the one to tell the Board to shut him out, and then learned that the Ten Rings were controlling Yinsen's home town of Golmira and turning it into a war zone. After a night like that, there was only one thing to do: fly out to Golmira and blow off some steam. And a few terrorists. And their weapons storage. And nearly get shot down as a bogey by the US Air Force in the process. Whoops. Thank goodness for having a best friend on the inside (one Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes) to call the planes off.

Galvanized (haha, get it) by the success of his first independant mission, Tony sets out to make good on his newfound purpose: to find out where all the weapons Obie has been selling to terrorists under the table are hidden, and take them all down himself. He sends Pepper in to download Obie's files, since he can't go himself - and she discovers that Obie's been trying to kill him. Gasp, shock, horror, he was even the one who asked the Ten Rings to kidnap him in the first place! Before Pepper can get back to Tony to warn him, of course, Obie already makes it to Tony's house and paralyzes him with one of his own gadgets, stealing the Arc Reactor straight out of Tony's chest to power his own suit-in-progress. The rat bastard.

But as you may recall, Tony Stark has a charmed life. Alerted by Pepper, Rhodey arrives to find Tony - who was able to install the old spare reactor from Golmira, just in time - and tell him what's going on. There's not much time for thanks, just a promise of a later show of gratitude in the form of an armor test-drive before Tony zips off to save the day: and more importantly, his lady fair. Pepper's in the middle of leading a squad of agents from said secret government agency to Obie's door when he busts loose with his own suit of armor, the Warmonger. To make a long story short ("Too late!"), Tony kicks Obie's metal ass by outsmarting him exploiting the flaws in his earlier designs, blowing the development lab sky-high in the process. The secret government agency gets a nice fancy acronym - SHIELD - and tries to tell Tony to keep it under wraps. Older, wiser, and about ten times more badass, Tony takes his cue cards to a press conference and prepares to walk the line ... and then throws it all out the window anyway.

"I'm just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I've made... largely public ... Truth is? ... I -am- Iron Man."


Six months later, Tony Stark has pulled himself together. He's stabilized East-West relations, been voted Time Magazine's man of the year, renewed his focus, started a year-long Expo for new inventions in New York ... and been summoned to a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee. Oh, and he also realized he's going to slowly die of palladium poisoning from having the arc reactor constantly in his chest. Bummer, man. After realizing that he has no possible solutions or cures for the problem, Tony decides there's only one thing to do: make every bad decision he could possibly have left for himself, while foisting off all the things that really matter to him to the people he knows can handle them - case in point: making Pepper the CEO of Stark Industries.

The problem is, he's not even very good at bad decisions. When he takes a vacation to Monaco and decides to go out recklessly driving his own car in the Grand Prix, he's attacked by a crazy Russian who's invented his own arc reactor and weapon ... and ends up having to kick his butt and be a hero. On the way home, he tries to tell Pepper he's dying, but she just misinterprets it as him being flippant and irresponsible and shuts him down. He tries to tell Rhodey that he isn't sure who to trust with the Iron Man suits, but Rhodey brushes him off and keeps pushing him to let the military have control. At his own birthday party, he tries to have a good time by getting crazy-ass drunk in the suit and having a good time ... but Rhodey crashes the party, takes another suit, and the two of them beat each other into the ground, wrecking most of Tony's house in the process. Pepper's disgusted with him, Rhodey takes the suit to the military, and Tony's left still alive, drunk, in a wrecked house, with nothing to show for his bad decisions but the fact that he's got to live with them - along with a massive hangover.

"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to exit the donut."


In the course of nursing that hangover, Tony's approached by Nick Fury, director of SHIELD, who tells him that he's got the key to Tony fixing his palladium problem: and that he's putting him under house arrest until he can do it, because he's needed as Iron Man. Left in the wreck of his house with a trunk full of his late father's belongings, Tony sobers up and tries to crack the code. It turns out that Howard had found the formula for a brand-new element, but lacked the technology in his time to actually synthesize it. Yet again, Tony has to reinvent something to save his own life ... and yet again, he pulls it off and gets his feet back under him. Just in time, too, since it turned out that the crazy Russian from Monaco, Ivan Vanko, was hired by his business rival, Justin Hammer, to try and invent a suit of armor to rival Tony's. Hammer says it's to take the Department of Defense contract from Stark Industries, but really, the final word on it is, it's because he's a jealous little doucheweasel. Vanko - whose father worked with Howard to invent the original arc reactor - is out for Tony's blood, too, but in a more literal sense: so he's created an army of drones for Hammer to show off at the Stark Expo, wired with live weapons and explosives, intent on drawing Tony out into the open and wrecking not just the man, but the legacy he's become so determined to create and pass on.

Tony makes it to the Expo just in time to see Vanko hijack Rhodey and his suit, and set off the drones. Typically epic fight scenes ensue, the drones are wiped out, Tony and Rhodey reconcile and become badass bros, Vanko bites the dust, and oh yes, Tony finally manages to admit to Pepper that he loves her, after saving her fine posterior from crazy guys in suits trying to kill him for the second time. The proverbial curtains close on a new heart, a new love, a renewed friendship, a saved legacy, and a consulting contract with SHIELD... the final proof that despite his best efforts to screw it all up, Tony Stark's got a charmed life.


Personality:

"Personality overview: Mr. Stark displays compulsive behavior... In my own defense, that was last week. Prone to self-destructive tendencies -- I was dying! I mean, aren't we all? ... Textbook ... narcissism?! ... Agreed."


Even if the only instrument he plays is piano, Tony Stark is a goddamn rockstar (hence the username) - and he knows it. While all the things he's gone through in the last four years have changed his outlook on life itself very drastically ... his opinion of himself remains very much the same: stratospherically high. His ego isn't ill-placed, though: he really is a legitimate genius, as his technological accomplishments can prove. He's also extremely good at reading people - a skill that he mostly keeps to himself, preferring to let people make their own assumptions about the "billionaire playboy philanthropist" and not take him seriously. Being betrayed by Obie was Tony's wake-up-call to be more shrewd about who he lets into his inner circle, and as such he's become quite good at playing "dumb like a fox". He prefers to play naive and amiable to those who would try to deceive him, learning as much as he can about their motives and their mindset before pulling out his wit and shutting them down. He prides himself on his ability to be able to get the last word, either with a well-placed fact-based shutdown, or a scathing, sarcastic zinger. He's rarely ever at a loss for words, and even if he is, it never lasts long. In fact, one of the first things anyone is likely to notice about Tony is that he loves the sound of his own voice, and it's almost physically impossible for him to stop talking longer than thirty seconds. He talks constantly, even while other people are trying to speak to him ... and it's not necessarily always because he's trying to be rude. For Tony, talking to himself is the best way he can keep track of his thoughts. His mind is constantly going, running a mile a minute, noticing details, putting pieces of things together, going off on tangents, keeping track of conversations and ideas and what he wants for lunch all at the same time. Talking aloud is how he stays on track and keeps his mind from going too far away for too long (not that it always works).

On a related note, because Tony's mind is always running, there's not much he doesn't notice. The "dumb like a fox" approach works for his observations, too: he may come across as dazed, distracted, or just not paying attention, but in reality he's capable of taking in every last detail of a situation. While he's in the Iron Man suit, he gets several detailed observations from his AI, JARVIS, so most people would think that he gets all his information from the computers. The truth is, Tony is less reliant on his technology than the appearance he's projecting would have people believe. Yes, he loves his tech, and he's very proud of it and all the shiny impressive things it can do ... but he was also able to build the most influential piece of it in a cave. With scraps.

Tony's work is something that he manages to take lightly and extremely seriously, all at the same time: he's found ways to make inventing and engineering fun for himself, but once the finished project is out and in play, he'll defend it as much as is needed, office or national politics be damned. He goes to extreme lengths to keep the Iron Man armor safe - password encryption, a state-of-the-art security system, and backup failsafes, should anyone unauthorized get control of a suit. He also monitors worldwide attempts to discover or create anything comparable to the armor - so far, Vanko was the only one able to successfully create something, and his secrets died with him. Tony considers the suit a part of him, beyond the literal application of the arc reactor. Developing it saved his life in more ways than one, so he has a fondness and an obligation to it deeper than he might even be willing to admit to himself.

As much as Tony says he isn't sentimental or nostalgic - the only person he's fooling is himself (he tends to do that a lot, when it comes to his emotions, as a matter of fact). Even though he was very young when he lost his father, and Howard Stark spent most of Tony's childhood days either drunk, working, or both, it's clear that he had a deep, lasting effect on his only son... and not just in terms of his bad life decisions or his intellect. Tony also inherited his father's fondness for the idea of a lasting legacy: something good and enduring that could be passed on to future generations. For Howard, it was the blueprints for the arc reactor and the new element (which canon never names, but I am having Tony name legatium for rather obvious reasons). For Tony, he considers his legacy the suit, and hopefully the peace he's able to create with it. The legatium will be part of it, too, but that's something he's not entirely willing to share with the rest of the world until he understands it more fully. He doesn't want to unleash anything on the world that he doesn't completely understand: he made that mistake with the Jericho missile, and it was a hard, fast lesson that he won't need to learn again.

The other thing his time with the Ten Rings taught was the importance of other people's safety ... and how it can be obtained. Tony thought that keeping people safe meant just having a bigger stick than the other guy, and a weapon you only had to fire once. In captivity, he learned that it's not what weapons exist, it's how they're used, who they're used by ... and that sometimes the best way to keep people safe is to just remove the weapons from the equation altogether. Whenever any sort of conflict breaks out, now, the first thing Tony is sure to do is make sure that innocents and other people he cares about are safe and far away from anything that might happen. He knows the risks of combat, but he wants to be sure that the only people hurt in the process are the people who are willing to be there, if at all possible. This concept of safety doesn't stop at fighting Bad Guys, though: it also extends to his reckless behavior.

Tony's come to realize that he'll always have an itch to scratch somewhere that's going to end up making him bleed - or get hungover, or break something - and he's totally fine with that. He's seen the consequences of letting other people get wrapped up in his own self-destructive tendencies, though. So while he's still prone to reckless, spontaneous behavior, there's still some level of control in the fact that he'll almost never consciously do anything that would cause anyone but himself (or his personal property) any substantial, lasting harm. The biggest reason for this, of course, is that between his initial lack of redeeming social qualities, and his outwardly egotistical, aggressive, sarcastic nature, Tony doesn't have many people that are close enough to him to get hurt. In fact, at the end of the day, there are only two: Pepper and Rhodey, and he is fiercely loyal to them. Realizing how much of his crap they put up with before he started getting his act together has made Tony decide that he has a very large debt to both of them, and he's never going to stop working to pay it back, in any way he can. He's still working on learning how to emotionally reciprocate things like friendship and affection without completely making an ass of himself, but he's starting to move past thinking that throwing money and shiny gifts at people can take the place of a kind word. So he's at least making progress on that front. As far as playing well with others, though ...

... that's definitely still a work in progress. Tony's ego and arrogance already make huge marks against him, and don't win him any fast friends. He makes easier rivals than allies, more content to snipe at people who could come close to being his equals. Part of that's his ego, but another part is caution: he doesn't want to risk being betrayed again, and he's still not entirely sure how to figure out who he can trust, preferring to learn by watching people and how they react to things. If, over time, someone proves themselves as trustworthy, loyal, and generally a good person, he'll let his walls down, and the snark will become more friendly and less caustic. If Tony mocks you incessantly, he either loves you or hates you - the actions that accompany the mockery are what help tell the difference.

At the end of it all, though, the most defining part of Tony, the thing at the heart of all the ego and the loyalty and the self-destruction, are two simple philosophies. One: try anything once. Two: if it ends up being fun, do it again. As much as possible. Tony loves life, and all of the good things in it ... so when he finds out he's dying, it's no wonder he wants to go out fast and pretty - going slowly, miserable and in pain, doesn't fit his worldview at all. The world is good, life is short, and there's no point in spending it doing things that either don't help anyone, or aren't any fun. If you're not here for the party, Tony Stark will be more than happy to show you the door... close up, and at high velocity.

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Tony Stark

December 2012

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