Two news anchors sit at a desk in the center of a studio. One is an older man. The other is a younger woman. There are paper notes laid out in front of them. The man speaks first.
“We have received reports this morning of the NYPD initiating a large-scale search for an as of yet unidentified missing person. At the moment, that’s all we know, although the sudden mobilization of police resources indicates that the missing person is high-profile, perhaps from the government or someone prominent in the public eye. We’ll be sure to update you if the situation develops.”
The same two news anchors sit at the same desk. They are composed, but both have an excited glint to their eyes. This time, the woman speaks first.
“Welcome back. We have an update on the missing persons case we first informed you of this morning. Inside sources have revealed that the NYPD’s continued search is tied to the city’s very own Iron Man: Tony Stark. It is unclear at this time whether or not the search is for Stark himself or someone within his circle.”
The scene is the same. The female news anchor continues to take the lead.
“We’ve just received word that the NYPD will be holding a press conference on the missing persons case that’s been turning heads across the city. We’ll be redirecting you to a live stream of the NYPD’s media briefing room as soon as it becomes available.”
The male news anchor glances behind the camera and nods before speaking.
“Which is right now, apparently. Alright. Let’s see if the NYPD has any answers for us.”
A man in uniform stands behind a podium inside a spacious room. Camera flashes light up his face. Behind him, a line of police officers and men in suits stand silently.
A small title pops up on the screen as the man begins to talk. He’s the police chief of the NYPD.
“We’ve become aware of the public’s interest regarding the search started earlier this morning for a missing person. The NYPD is also aware that, many times, citizens can be some of our greatest resources in situations like this. Therefore, we wanted to give you all the information available to us in the hopes that some of you may have information concerning our search. Sometimes between 7:00 and 8:00 this morning, Peter Parker disappeared while walking to school. As I’m sure you’re aware, Mister Parker’s prominence in the public eye means that we want to investigate the case as swiftly and as diligently as possible. As of this exact moment, we have not ruled out the possibility of a runaway or suicide attempt. However, neither Mister Parker’s aunt nor Tony Stark can offer us any explanation for why he would make either one of these drastic decisions. We are working with Mister Parker’s family, Tony Stark, and Stark Industries as we move forward with the investigation. We ask that anyone who can offer any information regarding Peter Parker’s whereabouts contact the NYPD immediately. More information will become available as we see fit.”
The press conference ends without the police chief taking questions.
Pepper Potts walks onto a stage, lit by camera flashes. She stops behind a podium. A few security guards flank her. Otherwise, however, she stands alone.
“You’ll forgive me if I come across as a little blunt, but I’m afraid we’ve all been through a bit of a shock today.” Pepper’s shoulders straighten. “The NYPD has already given you the executive summary of Peter’s disappearance. I have nothing to add to their timeline. Peter was supposed to be in AP Chemistry at 8:00 this morning, but he never arrived. When he didn’t answer repeated phone calls from both his aunt and Tony, the two made the decision to contact the police. They have both been working diligently with the NYPD since.
“I will not release any information regarding Peter’s disappearance that I have not previously had cleared by the NYPD and a series of experts. This is a decision I’ve made with Tony, and we feel it is best for both Peter’s privacy and his safety.
“We appreciate everyone who has offered their support. If you have any information that could pertain to Peter’s disappearance, I ask that you please contact the NYPD immediately.” Pepper takes a steadying breath. “I’ll now take a few questions, but please keep in mind the guidelines I’ve already outlined about the information I’m willing to release.”
“Miss Potts, will Mister Stark be making any statements?”
Pepper swallows, hard. “As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for Tony. Right now, he’s made the decision to focus his efforts on finding Peter rather than engaging in any sort of PR. I will, however, run the content of these press conferences and any press releases made by SI regarding Peter’s disappearance by him and Peter’s aunt.”
“Do you think Peter has been kidnapped?”
“As the NYPD said, we’ve yet to rule out the possibility of Peter running away. We’d like to focus on that chance before we go jumping to more drastic conclusions.”
“Why would he want to run away?”
“We’re not sure, but the NYPD has made it very clear that it isn’t uncommon for teenagers to do this sort of thing.”
“But Peter doesn’t really seem like the type, does he?”
Pepper’s jaw tightens almost imperceptibly. “No, he’s never been the type. May, that’s Peter’s aunt, and Tony have made this point to the NYPD and the officers in charge of the case are taking it into account as they investigate.”
“Do you hope he’s run away?”
“Obviously, none of us would like to imagine that Peter would do something like that. However, I would certainly prefer it to some of the other options.” Pepper clears her throat. “That’s all the questions I’ll be taking today. The NYPD will continue to update you as necessary.”
Pepper walks offstage without another word.
The police chief from earlier is back in front of the podium in the NYPD’s media briefing room.
“Regarding the Peter Parker case, we now have information confirming that the teenager has not run away, but has been kidnapped. Thanks to an anonymous tip from a vigilant citizen, officers tracked down the vehicle used in the initial stages of the abduction. Tony Stark provided us with a sample of Mister Parker’s DNA, and we were able to match that sample to samples taken from the recovered van. This new information should help us move forward with the investigation and offer us the best chance of bringing Peter home safely. Now, I’ll field just a few questions before we wrap this up.”
“Do you believe Peter was kidnapped due to his relationship with Tony Stark?”
“We believe that it is a significant factor, yes.”
“Has Stark received any ransom demands?”
“As of this moment, no.”
“Do you believe he will receive ransom demands?”
“That is unclear at this time.”
“What DNA did you find in the van?”
“That is not information we’re willing to release.”
“Do you have any idea where Peter could be being held?”
“We’re utilizing every resource in our attempts to uncover that information.”
“Is Tony Stark going to bring the Avengers into this?”
“Mister Stark is very concerned about the safety and wellbeing of his intern. He’s been incredibly cooperative thus far in the investigation, and that cooperation includes allowing the professionals to do their jobs. He understands that any interference could jeopardize Peter’s safety.”
“Do you have reason to believe that Peter Parker could already be dead?”
“Unfortunately, that is an option. However, we’re doing our best to stay optimistic as we move forward. This isn’t the first time the child or ward of a high-profile businessman has been abducted. We’ve brought in experts on these cases to advise us. We’ll do everything we can to get Peter right back where he belongs, safe and sound.”