Earth-717: Iron Maiden Vol 1

Chapter 12: Honesty Time
The world became bright and full.
“What . . . .”
Tasha's eyes opened, and she saw Pepper's face.
“Pep-Pepper . . . .”
Pepper smiled, with tears in her eyes. She then reached down and pressed her cheek against
Tasha's. Holding her chest against Tasha's, Pepper breathed in and out.
“What is . . . . what . . . . happened?”
Pepper lifted herself off Tasha and grinned.
“You're alive,” said Pepper.
“I am?” asked Tasha. “Well . . . . shit.”
Tasha's eyes widened as she looked around at the empty arc reactor chamber. She then abruptly
sat up.
“The radiation . . . . how are we . . . .?”
Tasha looked down at the wrecked remains of the armour on her body. She then saw the arc
reactor in her chest, which was intact, and had a glowing triangular core in the centre. For a few
seconds, Tasha stared at it.
“The vibranium core arc reactor . . . .”
Pepper smiled and nodded, wiping a tear from her eye.
“You . . . .”
“I remembered,” said Pepper.
Tasha looked up at Pepper and smiled. She then reached around and hugged Pepper, tightly
squeezing her close to her. For a few moments, they just sat there, in each other's arms. Tasha let a few
tears of joy stream from her eyes. They then let go of each other.

“Janice,” said Pepper. “How is she doing?”
“The vibranium core has burned all of the radiation out of Tasha's cells, Ms. Potts,” answered
Janice. “I am happy to report that Ms. Stark is going to be just fine.”
Tasha took in a large breath and closed her eyes for a moment.
“And the building?”
“Out of danger,” replied Janice. “You did it, ma'am. Ms. Potts . . . . shall I tell the others to come
inside?”
“Yes.”
After a second, the door opened, and Stane, Rhodes and Happy walked in. Happy nodded at
Pepper with a smile. Rhodes stood next to Pepper. Stane rushed for Tasha and crouched next to her on
her left side, opposite Pepper.
“Tasha, are you . . . .”
“I'm fine, Oby.”
Stane smiled and sighed, placing his hand on her shoulder. She then grabbed his hand with hers,
returning his smile.
“I just can't believe it,” said Stane, looking down at the armour.
“Yeah,” said Tasha. “It's a bit crazy. There's a story behind all of this, trust me . . . .”
“Why didn't you tell me?” asked Stane.
Tasha's face went straight. For a few seconds, she just stared into Stane's eyes. She looked into
his blue pupils, and saw the pain behind them.
“I'm sorry, Obadiah. I'm sorry . . . . about everything. About cutting you out, about pushing you
aside . . . . about not trusting you with this.”
Stane raised an eyebrow.
“You've always been there for me . . . . I forgot how much I needed you.”
Tasha squeezed Stane's hand before letting it go. She then looked at Rhodes.

“Rhodey . . . . help a girl up?”
As Rhodes grabbed Tasha's other hand and pulled her to her feet, Stane watched with slowly
narrowing eyes.
****
Brandt kept her head pointed down as she approached the door to Killian's office. Stopping in
front of it, she put up her fist, as if to knock. Holding her hand in place for a few seconds, she then
lowered it, before proceeding to unbutton the top two buttons on her blouse. Sighing, she then knocked
on the door.
“Come in.”
Brandt grasped the handle and turned it. As the door opened, Killian came into view. He was
sitting at his desk in a beige suit, his hands against each other, with each fingertip touching its
counterpart on his other hand. He smirked at Brandt as she walked into the room.
“Take a seat,” said Killian.
Gulping, Brandt sat down in the chair facing his desk. She ran her hands down her legs, gently
massaging them for a moment before putting them in her lap.
“Um . . . .”
“Report, Miss Brandt.”
“We, uh . . . . we failed, sir.”
“Explain yourself.”
Brandt gulped again.
“W-We . . . . attacked Stark Tower . . . . a-as you requested, sir. However, we ran into . . . .
complications . . . .”
“Such as?”
“Tasha Stark . . . . she had . . . . some s-sort of . . . . secret weapon, sir. A suit of armour . . . . it
was like . . . . nothing I-I've ever seen.”

Killian sighed as his breathing slowed. Brandt began breathing faster.
“I'm s-sorry, sir,” said Brandt. “Only Forson, DeWitt, Burchill, the doctor and myself made it
back. W-We also brought Anya, but she's in . . . . critical condition.”
Killian narrowed his eyes.
“You're sweating.”
Brandt shook in fear as she wiped her forehead.
“Um . . . . sorry, sir.”
Killian smiled before standing up from his chair. He walked around the desk and sat down on it
in front of her.
“Are you afraid of me, Miss Brandt?”
Brandt quivered in her seat.
“Y-Yes . . . . sir.”
Killian smiled before placing his hand on her cheek.
“My love . . . . I don't want you to be afraid of me,” said Killian. “I would never hurt you.”
“You . . . . wouldn't?”
“Never. Besides, your mission wasn't a failure.”
Brandt raised an eyebrow as she stopped shaking.
“It wasn't?”
“Not at all. We managed to get exactly what we wanted . . . . albeit, not exactly in a way I would
have expected. As well, there's no evidence that could link the attack back to AIM.”
Killian walked back around the table and opened a drawer. He then pulled out the shredded
device that Chen was holding and tossed it on the desk. Brandt's eyes widened.
“That . . . . the doctor was holding that when we brought him back!”
“Indeed he was,” said Killian. “That, my dear, is a portion of a miniaturized arc reactor . . . . the
kind that is in Tasha Stark's chest . . . . and, although it is damaged, it appears that we're going to be

able to obtain some very valuable data off of it.”
Brandt smiled.
“Wow.”
“There's something else, too,” said Killian. “Our green asset sent me a very interesting set of
schematics.”
Killian tapped a button on his remote, and a hologram screen appeared over his desk. It then
showed a three-dimensional schematic image of a suit of power armour.
“I didn't even know that this project existed . . . .”
“Sir,” said Brandt. “What is that?”
“That, my love, are the prototype schematics for the Mark Two Sentinels.”
“Mark Two?”
“They never left the design stage, and of course, the rights now belong to Bolivar Trask . . . . but
apparently, these designs are part of what inspired Stark's . . . . 'secret weapon'. Now, they belong to
AIM, and I have the perfect idea of who to sell them to.”
Brandt raised her eyebrow again.
“Call General Ross,” said Killian. “Tell him I've found a solution to his . . . . problem.”
****
Tasha stood still as Stane buttoned up the top button on her shirt. He then placed his hands on
her cheeks and smiled at her.
“Am I going to be okay?” asked Tasha.
Stane blinked and nodded as he took his hands off her cheeks.
“You're going to do great,” replied Stane. “You always do.”
“Thanks, Ob . . . .”
Tasha stopped as Stane turned his head slightly to the left.
“Obadiah. Thank you.”

Stane gently slapped Tasha on the shoulder.
“I'll always be there for you.”
“I know.”
Pepper walked into the room.
“The press is ready for you, Tasha,” said Pepper. “Also, I just got off the phone with Doctor
Hall. Him and his team are moving to the other Project Pegasus facility in Miami.”
Tasha nodded and gave Pepper a thumbs up. She then patted her chest down and walked past
Stane, who watched her leave the room. Walking down the hallway with Pepper, they passed both
Rhodes and Happy, who were standing guard at both sides of the hallway's entrance into the press hall.
Around two hundred members of the press were in the hall, all watching Tasha as she walked around
them and stood up on the podium.
“Members of the press,” said Tasha. “Thank you for coming.”
The press members all watched her as she stood still for a moment. She looked past them to see
Stane, Pepper, Happy and Rhodes all looking at her with smiles.
“I called this press conference so that I could address the terrorist attack on my tower. Two days
ago, at nine thirty four in the morning, four shuttles of currently unknown origin assaulted Stark
Tower.”
Tasha looked down to see Christian sitting in the first row of the press group. He had his arms
folded and was looking at her with a face of disdain.
“They killed seventeen members of my staff, and caused billions of dollars in property
damage,” continued Tasha. “Now, no one has taken responsibility for this act of violence, but rest
assured . . . .”
“Excuse me,” interrupted Christian. “Ms. Stark?”
“Yes?”
“What about the dozens of eye witness accounts of some sort of flying armoured hero that

stopped the attack?” asked Christian. “The military did not respond in time to combat the terrorists . . . .
and apparently there were sightings of this . . . . superhero, who has been dubbed 'Iron Maiden', during
the day of the attack. Are you saying that you have nothing to do with that?”
Tasha chuckled.
“Look, I don't want to give anyone a false impression . . . .”
Christian rolled his eyes. Tasha sighed as she looked at the faces of the press. She then looked
again at her friends in the back, who had faces of concern. Taking a moment to breathe, Tasha then
looked at the press members.
“The truth is . . . .”
Tasha smiled.
“I am Iron Maiden.”
THE END
Iron Maiden Will Return

Epilogue
Killian sneered as he looked into the operating room. On the table, was the damaged, naked
body of Anya, who was being operated on by several mechanized surgeons. She was screaming in pain
as they installed an artificial leg where her organic left leg had originally been. Brandt was standing
next to him, with tears in her eyes. DeWitt was sitting at the computer console in front of them. He was
staring at the operating file, which read 'Anya Vanko'.
“Will she be alright?” asked Brandt.
DeWitt sighed.
“Yes, but these experimental mechanical implants are the only way to save her life.”
Killian narrowed his eyes.
“We're going to make her better than ever,” said Killian.
Brandt raised an eyebrow.
“How?”
“DeWitt, I want you to re-open file one eighteen. Designation . . . . Crimson Dynamo.”

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful