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Meet and Greet

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He was unceremoniously pushed into the lab by the helpful henchmen armed with rifles.  The doors slammed shut behind him, and he could hear the lock bolt in the sudden quiet.  He sighed softly, taking in the state of the art lab equipment and barred windows.  


“Why do they always think locking the scientist in the lab will actually work out well for them?” he said to himself as he scanned the room for some idea of what they wanted.


“I know, right?  Doctor Quest, isn’t it?” another man stood up from where he’d been examining some circuitry.


“Doctor Stark?” Benton Quest asked incredulously, getting over being startled rather quickly.


Tony Stark grinned, “I’m flattered, I never get called Doctor anymore.”


“Well, you put in that much work into a phD or three and it’s nice to get a little acknowledgement,” Benton shrugged lightly.


“Exactly,” Tony nodded, then grimaced slightly, “I’d say it’s good to see you again, but under the circumstances…”


“I quite agree,” Benton sighed, “They didn’t exactly give me many details.”  He took a slow circle of the lab, but there was any number of things they could want with the way the facilities were stocked.


Tony picked up a file folder from where he’d been crouched, “Details, I’ve got.  Is there anyone else in the building we should be worried about?”


Benton shook his head, “No, I was alone when they grabbed me.  Their timing couldn’t have been worse, I’d been waiting for two days for Doctor Parson’s lecture.”


Tony raised an eyebrow, “You were in Boston for the lectures too?  I’m surprised we didn’t run into each other sooner.”


“It’s a smaller and smaller community every day,” Benton acknowledged, “We probably can’t be that far off the coast.”


Tony shook his head, “No, it doesn’t seem that way.”  He set the files down. “The way I see it, we have two options.  Stick around, see if we actually can make heads or tails of what they went and have a decent chance of disabling it.  Or…” He grinned. It was not a reassuring grin.


“Or?” Benton prodded, just to see where he was going with it.  Tony Stark’s reputation had a way of proceeding him; he had a fairly good idea of where the other man might be headed.


“Or, we blow this popsicle stand.  Literally,” Tony smirked.


It was an appealing notion, Benton decided.


He rubbed his beard, pretending to think it over, “Well, Race always says it’s easier to find me when I make it really easy for him to have somewhere to look.”


Tony clapped him on the back, “Nothing like a bonfire to help out anyone searching for you. Frankly, the only reason I stuck around this long was because they kept talking about the second scientist joining me and I wanted to see who they had in mind.”

“Not that I’m not always pleased to see you, but this isn’t my idea of a good time either,” Benton agreed.


Tony was already rummaging through a cupboard and held out a labeled container where Benton could see it, “I think this will do.”


Benton grinned.


Race and Rhodey stared out through the windshield of the Quest Jet at the blaze that formerly was the small lab installation on a private island owned by a series of shell companies so long Race still wasn’t sure they’d gotten all of them, but he was pretty sure it didn’t matter too much at this point.


“Found them,” he deadpanned.  


Rhodey just sighed at the two figures strolling down the beach toward them as they landed.  He was pretty sure Tony was holding a smoldering marshmallow on a stick.  




“Doctor Quest!”


“Boys!” Race vaulted out of his seat and bolted after them, “I told you both, you could only come if you stayed in the jet!”


Rhodey raised an eyebrow as he followed at a slower pace.  Whatever they were paying him, Race deserved a raise. At least Rhodey only had Tony to try to  keep out of trouble.