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Arc Pods and Moon Bases

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Loki was a billionaire by Tuesday.

It turned out he didn't really need a patent, since the methods he used could not be reproduced except by another sorcerer. He would have to do any manufacturing personally.

He had streamlined the process of building the tiny "arc pods" until he could grow 200 dimensionally active crystals simultaneously in 20 minutes. Jarvis and robotics did the rest.

Pepper did the research and went over the numbers, suggesting an initial price of $1,000 each. Even without taking into account investments outside of access to Stark R&D, he would be a millionaire well before he put in ten hours of manufacturing time.

"You could charge more," she had said. "The market would take it. There's nothing else like these, and a thousand years of studying sorcery ought to count for something." Pepper smiled at him, businesslike but friendly.

"Money," Loki said, and shrugged. "I want for nothing but the chance to watch the world change under my guiding hand."

"You know, you may be an Avenger in good standing now but you're still pretty creepy," Pepper said.

"What Avenger isn't, from time to time?" Loki smirked.

"Steve."

Loki nodded. "And he's the only one."

"What about Thor?"

"Some time you should get him to tell you about the time he had to dress in drag to get Mjolnir back."

Pepper frowned thoughtfully with a hint of 'eugh.' "Okay, granted. You're still the creepiest."

He grinned at her. "Why, thank you, Miss Potts. I'd hate to think I was losing my touch."


Arc pods set up to produce electricity would be easy to market. It was basically the equivalent of a tiny battery that never needed to be charged. They could be put into cell phones, laptops, all kinds of emergency equipment. Half the first run was left as is, to be put into other people's tech (mostly Tony's), and the other was put into simple wall socket connection units.

But electronics were just the beginning.

Malls and other large complexes could buy dimensional units for heating and cooling. Loki designed arrays of windows to be set up in Antarctica and the Sahara to dial for the appropriate air temperature. The military was looking into purchasing portable units for the transfer of emergency supplies. Tony was helping him work on a unit which would take water from an array on the ocean floor, and then switch to electrical mode to run the water through a desalination filter made of nanotube membranes.

Each array's electronics was run by one more arc pod, and each portable bridging unit contained a small battery that could be recharged by switching its pod into electrical mode. It was all very practical, solutions to every problem on Midgard springing to mind whenever one was brought forth for consideration.

The thing Tony couldn't get out of his mind was the phrase Loki had used in describing the range of the bridging devices. "...Probably from the Earth to the moon without a boost," he had said.

Well, Tony was just dying to try that out.

He drew up all the specs and plans. First he would set up a research facility, build a medium-sized arc reactor to power it like the one in Stark Tower.

Then, to make it a viable business investment, he would make a moon hotel.

He asked Pepper, and she told him that according to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, he would have to submit a proposal to the UN and wait for them to approve it. "And no using your super secret moon base for testing or developing anything even vaguely resembling a weapon," she admonished. "That could get you into big trouble."

"Well, we'd better get the proposal sent in, I'm already halfway done my first robot," he said. "Does the UN like me today?"

It turned out they did, because they approved his proposal in less than a month. Of course, by then, Tony's robots were already on the moon working away. Tony was allergic to paperwork and waiting for it to go through had made him all itchy.

The first one he sent up was bare bones, light enough to launch itself into lunar orbit using one of the palladium based reactors and containing not much more than a bridging unit and a tiny airlock. The first collapsible robot he shoved into the airlock was the beginning of the real construction equipment.

Every time he dialed his moon unit, the airlock filled up with a "shoop" noise. Tony found this thrilling and may have done it more times than necessary.

Tony requested four slightly larger arc pods from Loki, promising he would guard them like his own reactors, seeing as they were just as powerful. The larger pods had no electrical mode. One of them he attached to a specially made doorway in his workshop. A second he sent off to the moon to be part of a corresponding assembly there. And once the first room on his super secret moon base was finished and pressurized, he stepped through that doorway.

He took his birthday present with him. He set it to "MORE MAGIC" and pressed the top left rune.

When he saw Loki he grinned. "Hey, hon. Guess where I'm calling from?"

"Your super secret moon base?" Loki asked, looking bored.

"Hey, unlike you, I've never stood on a celestial body that wasn't Earth. So can you let me have my moment?"

"Yes, yes, your tiny gray box on the moon is very impressive. Get back down here so I can congratulate you properly."

"Rough audience," he said. "Fine, I won't invite you up here. I'll play in my new sandbox all by myself."

"Tony."

"Josh."

Loki's mouth quirked at that. "If I wanted to come up there it's not like you could stop me."

"Oh yeah? Prove it."

The connection broke, and instantly Loki had teleported to his side. "I am here. What is so exciting about this box of air?"

Tony picked up Loki and tossed him in the direction of the ceiling.

Loki, drifting slowly downwards, unwillingly began to chuckle.

"I suppose the place does have some qualities worth exploring."