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Crime Deterrent

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“Is that an iPhone 7?” Tony asks, looking at the phone in Steve’s hand.

Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, aka Pain In Tony’s Ass, And Not In A Good Way, God Damn It, looked up from his piece of frankly appalling inferior technology. “Yes?” he answers.

Tony looks at him.

Steve looks back.

“You’re going to hell,” Tony tells him.

Steve blinks in confusion, as Tony stands up and stalks out of the room, looking absolutely furious.

“What did I do?” he asks the now empty room.


Maria Hill looks at the phone in Steve’s hand, then at Steve’s face. Then back at the phone.

“Why is he upset?” Steve asks. He’d tried to corner Tony in the mess, in the elevator, in the Tower, and yet he’d been thwarted on all counts. Tony, despite being a civilian and a public figure, is extremely difficult to get ahold of when he doesn’t want to talk to you.

“I’m sorry,” Hill says, patting him consolingly on the arm. “But you’re on your own, Rogers. Nobody in the world is going to take your side on this.”

Steve watches her walk away. “But what did I do?” he asks plaintively.


“The Starkphone 10 has over a hundred gigabytes of internal memory storage,” Tony says, apropos of nothing.

They’re sitting in the quinjet, on the way back from robot-bashing training in Northern Canada.

“I don’t need a hundred gigabytes of internal memory storage?” Steve replies, quirking an eyebrow.

Crossing his arms, Tony turns his back on Steve and doesn’t say anything else for the rest of the two hour flight.


“Did you know that Starkphones are made with 78% recycled materials,” Tony says, in the middle of a debriefing on the sociopolitical and economic structure of Asgard.

Thor looks at him. “Yes?” he hazards.

“I knew that,” Natasha agrees.

Bruce frowns, and then adds, “I was the one who pushed you towards using recycled electronics to cut down on mining natural resources."

“Right,” Tony says.

“Does this have anything to do with Asgardian economics?” Steve wonders aloud, looking back and forth between Tony and Thor.

“Perhaps,” Thor muses, peering at his own Starkphone. “The recycling of old items into new and more efficient technologies has been extremely important in Asgardian science. The bifrost, for example, was built on a foundation of millennia-old magicks which were used to harness...”

Tony looks like he’s sulking. Steve isn’t sure, though. He tries to pay attention to Thor’s speech.


“Bruce’s Starkphone has a spectrometer built in,” Tony says.

“I know,” Steve replies. “Bruce uses it all the time. He loves that thing.”

Tony nods. “Your iPhone doesn’t have a spectrometer, does it?”

Steve shrugs. “Tony, I don’t even know what a spectrometer does. Why would I need one?”

“Your new uniform makes you look fat,” Tony says.

Steve glances down at himself. “No it doesn’t, Tony,” Steve replies slowly. It’s fine. Maybe it fits a little snug. But it’s fine.

“Shut up, Steve.” Tony says, glaring. “Just... shut your whole face.”

“What?” Steve says, even more confused. That doesn't even make sense.

Tony glares.


“Still using that old thing?” Tony asks, looking down at Steve’s phone.

Steve pauses. He’s been using his phone to type up his mission reports, mostly because the new iPhone has an option to customize the touchscreen keyboard. “Yes?” he says. “I don’t want to have to catch up on SHIELD paperwork, it’s movie night tonight.”

“That’s a dumb looking app,” Tony says.

“It’s not dumb, Tony,” Steve reprimands gently.

“There isn’t even an ampersand on that symbol board,” Tony continues, as if that had anything at all to do with the phone.

“That’s because it’s a customizable keyboard, and I only put symbols on the main keyboard if I use them.” Steve explains. “I’d never use an ampersand in my report.”

“Customizable keyboard?” Tony squints at it. “Huh, that’s. That’s kinda neat. QWERTY keyboards are on the out, but I didn’t know that Apple was offering options other than Dvorak or Colemark.”

“Yeah,” Steve says absently as he continues typing. “I usually use a modified version of Dvorak, it’s way faster than the alternative.”

“Stark Industries was the first company to include an alternate keyboard in the design for smartphones,” Tony tells him.

“Yeah, I know,” Steve nods. “But the keyboard app on the iPhone let’s me adjust the size of the keys so I can actually type on this tiny thing.”

Tony stares at him.

“It’s really cool,” Steve adds.

“I think I might hate you,” Tony says, squinting at him slightly.


“Does your iPhone 7 have a 10.8 megapixel front-facing camera with adjustable controls?” Tony asks.

“Why would I need a camera on my phone?” Steve asks him.

Tony stares.

“Let me check.”

After he reads the specs for his phone’s camera application -- the future is so snazzy, who would have thought to combine a phone with a camera! Tony’s shoulders slump down and then he sends Steve a wounded look before slinking away again.


“I upgraded the new Starkphone,” Tony says, while they’re all spending some quality time playing Cupcake Avalanche online.

Steve uses a bonus to unleash a horde of yellow-sprinkled cupcakes on his teammates.

“Hey!” Bruce says, squinting at his phone.

“Hah!” Clint says, having successfully eluded the torrent of cupcakes, and managing to achieve a bonus of his own.

“Now, there are over six hundred games included in the default operating system,” Tony adds.

Nobody replies, as Natasha has just jumped into the lead by eating most of the yellow-cupcakes and then kicking Clint back to the bottom of the hill.

“Including Scrabble!” Tony continues. “Everybody loves Scrabble!”

This is true; Scrabble is the only game they’ve ever played as a team that has gotten more violently competitive than Cupcake Avalanche.

Steve jumps over a cupcake-bomb and eats three more cupcakes, closing in on Natasha’s lead.

“You people suck,” Tony mutters, leaving the room.


“What’s the battery life on that thing?” Tony asks, leaning over Steve’s shoulder to look at his phone.

Steve ignores him, completing his note to Ms. Potts and hitting ‘send’. “I don’t know,” he says.

Tony nods understandingly. “I think official specs released by Apple said it was around fourteen hours.”

“Sounds about right,” Steve says, nodding. It’s never died on him.

“Did you know the Starkphone’s average battery life is thirty-eight hours?” Tony asks him cheerfully. “Thanks to my advances in renewable energy sources, the customer appreciation surveys have said that most users only need to charge their phones two times a week.”

Steve smiles. “That’s great, Tony!”

Tony grins at him, looking proud. “It’s decades ahead of Apple,” he boasts.

“Sure is!” Steve agrees.

“I bet you wish you had a Starkphone, don’t you?” Tony asks.

“Why would I need a Starkphone?” Steve asks. “My phone is great.”

“But your battery only lasts fourteen hours,” Tony protests. “You have to charge it every single day! Think of all the time you’d save with a Starkphone!”

Steve blinks. “I charge my phone while I’m sleeping, Tony.”

“Yeah, but--”

“Besides, I like the routine,” Steve interrupts Tony, because otherwise Tony is probably going to keep talking over him. “Plugging in my phone every night is how I remind myself to go to sleep. Otherwise, I’m likely to stay up for days at a time. Once I lose track of my sleep cycle, it’s easy for me to stop eating as well.”

Tony has stopped talking.

“Without adequate sleep or nutrition, I’m more likely to succumb to exhaustion mid-mission,” Steve continues, sounding like a medical text book. “Especially considering my enhanced metabolism. I use my routine to maintain my body at peak health, because I don’t actually need to eat or sleep or drink water in order to function.”

“Oh,” Tony says, a furrow appearing between his eyebrows. “I didn’t know that.”

“Really?” Steve tilts his head. “I jog every morning. I cook breakfast for the team, every day. I go to SHIELD for training every weekday, and tourist attractions every weekend. I keep a very strict schedule in all areas of my life.”

“That’s. Actually pretty interesting, I didn’t realize that.” Tony says slowly. “That’s. Good. I guess.”

“Sure is,” Steve says. “Besides, I bet if I had a phone that didn’t require nightly charging, I’d forget to charge it when it did need to be charged.”

Tony scowls at that, but doesn’t argue.


Steve is trying to fit his shield into his overly-full duffel bag when Tony walks into the helicarrier locker room. “Hey, Steve,” Tony says, opening his own locker.

Tony’s locker is actually a whole row of lockers, because he’s bribed several SHIELD operatives into giving him their space in exchange for Iron Man merchandise. Steve frowns at him. “Tony.”

“Did you hear about Hill?” Tony asks. He pulls a row of designer suits out and inspects the sleeves before shrugging off his current suit jacket, throwing it in the direction of a garbage can. The replacement jacket he chooses still has a tag on it.

“I don’t gossip, Tony,” Steve reminds him, reaching out and tugging on the tag. It snaps off, and he hands it to Tony without comment.

“It’s not gossip, its about her recent promotion!” Tony says, pretending offense. “She’s an extremely competent agent who has finally gotten some recognition for all her hard work. Now she’s the second-in-command to all of SHIELD. That’s not gossip, Steve. Gossip would be talking about her rumoured sexual relationship with Agent Coulson.”

“Tony,” Steve groans.

“Which is totally not a thing,” Tony quickly amends. “That was a hypothetical example, it’s actually not Coulson she's banging, it’s--”

“Please,” Steve interrupts before he can continue. “Stop. Please. Can’t you just try to sell me a Starkphone like you usually do?”

Tony stops talking, a strange expression on his face.

“Or talk smack about Apple products?” Steve suggests. “You love talking smack about Apple products!”

“Life hasn’t been the same since Steve Jobs passed away,” Tony snaps, looking hurt. “Innovation and design were exciting when he was around, there was some real competition.”

“Sorry?” Steve says, not sure what he’s apologising for. “It’s just that you’re always complaining about the--”

“I’m not complaining.” Tony says cooly. “And I do not try to sell you Starkphones!”

Steve shrugs and finally gives up on putting his shield away. Maybe he can hook one of the straps through the handle on his duffel?

“Starkphones are better,” Tony says, after a minute of silence. “It’s just scientific fact.”

“Sure,” Steve says easily.

“The Starkphone has the longest battery life of any phone on the market, the most high-quality camera, the most free games, the largest internal memory, the only mobile spectrometer, and is made from the highest percentage of recyclable materials,” Tony says.

“The iPhone has plenty of battery life,” Steve counters. “Its camera has been hailed as the highest-quality equivalent to Starktech at a fraction of the price, there are hundreds of free game downloads available, more internal memory than I’d ever need, a customizable keyboard that lets me use larger keys, is made from 45% recycled materials -- plus, Apple is the only company that has openly campaigned for people to reuse or recycle their products as well as providing the facilities to the consumers.”

“Hey,” Tony says, sounding outraged. “Have you been researching this?”

“And,” Steve adds, triumphantly. “I still don’t need a spectrometer.”

“Yeah,” Tony retorts, narrowing his eyes at Steve. “Well, the fucking iPhone doesn’t have Crime Deterrent.”