LAST EDITED ON Apr-05-16 AT 08:30 PM (EDT)
So I guess it's my turn to do the detailed read-through with notes?
Bit surprised no one's beaten me to it by now.
I noticed the latest Forum teaser for this last night, and figured it
was a good time to reread the series from the beginning; by the time
I'd finished, the new installment was up. These notes are from a
second read today.
(Yeah, I read all three back issues plus the new installment in one
evening. I read really, really fast. Always have.)
> Wednesday, July 14, 2032
For reference, this is about a month after the end of the previous
> "Two 55s... and that brown one's a military boomer,"
> "Sixth AD Mobile is engaged with another military boomer in Tinsel
I think it's safe to say GENOM has spotted the connection between
Stark and the Knight Sabers ...
> "Now, I'm not a paranoid man, but if I were I'd maybe suspect there
> was a connection."
... which is not lost on Stark, or Stingray. Good.
> "This is private property," the red-and-gold figure announced in an
> amplified, slightly distorted voice. "I'm afraid I'm going to have
> to ask you all to leave."
Snappy entrance quip, check.
> Six hours later, Benjamin Stark sat at the JARVIS console in the
Taken as a whole, this episode's general slower pacing and lack of big
set-piece battle scenes makes a nice contrast with the previous three.
But I'll admit I'm a little disappointed not getting to watch the fight.
> "We agreed that you wouldn't associate Iron Man with Stark
> International until Legal finished researching the position."
On the first read-through I missed that this is setting up Linna's
delivery of her thesis.
I think I like Ben and Pepper's working relationship better than where
the movies went with Tony and Pepper.
> "We're gonna have to bring her into the loop sooner or later. She
> runs the company, not him."
This bit of setup I did catch.
I'd guess Pepper already suspects some sort of connection with the
Knight Sabers at this point...
> "Oi, Zoner! Tell Stark to come catch my show Friday night at the
> Tunnel Rat. I want to show him what I think of my new toy."
Did he make the show? It's never mentioned again.
> "We've got all this cool stuff. We'll be seeing a lot of it this
> week. Between us we could make the whole world, measurably better,
> not just within our lifetimes but within the decade. So why don't
This entire keynote is, I think, basically unchanged from when it was
posted StarkWire a few years ago, and I don't have a lot to say about
it except that I really appreciate an Iron Man who realizes how much
more can be done with the tech he's developed than just cranking out
> "C'mon. Let's revolutionize the world."
I do think Utena would approve.
> "After thirty years in the service of Soviet science, I have learned
> to trust my instincts."
May as well stick this query up front. Clearly this universe's Soviet
Union is much more in the traditional Cold War mold than what we have
over in NXE. Did the collapse of 1989-93 in the real world just ...
not happen? (It's certainly imaginable.) And is that canonical for
BGC, or specific to this version? (I haven't watched any BGC at all.)
> "Can it be that you find yourself... drifting away from journalism?"
I didn't actually expect to see Stark's prior history with Natasha
appear at this point—I thought its presentation as a Forum
standalone meant it would be omitted. Probably the right choice in
terms of pacing, though.
> ... my other 'assistant', Boris ...
It had to be.
> "...You see, I'm a student at the Mega Tokyo University School of
Sylia picking this approach to Pepper says good things about her
skills as a businesswoman. Not a side of her we get to see all that
> I WISH TO DEFECT TO THE WEST. CAN/WILL YOU HELP ME?
The way this was set up, I didn't realize it was Vanko who wanted to
defect until I got to the bathroom scene. I thought it was a Soviet
AI inhabiting the "Tireless Worker," or else possibly Natasha.
> "I do believe I can get you in touch with some...let's say 'deniable
> contractors' who would be happy to help for the right price."
It's good to have contacts, isn't it?
> When she turned to return a greeting from the hotel doorman, Nene
> caught a flash of chin and profile—and her heart stopped. It can't
I thought Natasha and Nene would turn out to be related somehow...
> Nene was dressed in her Knight Sabers datasuit, augmented by a
> headset that was projecting a small holographic HUD for her at eye
I'm a little surprised it's Nene running the tin suit for this show.
Would have expected Rhodes.
> "Weight, about four pounds; electrical output, three megawatts. [A]
> compact, safe, highly efficient, and completely clean source of
> uninterrupted high-density energy, which works at room temperature
> and without emitting dangerous radiation byproducts....not a nuclear
> fusion device. It is, rather, a straight-up matter-energy
Because I am that kind of nerd, here's a little back-of-the-envelope
analysis of what must be going on inside an arc reactor. It's good
for ten years (or "over 3,500 days", if you prefer) with no servicing.
Assuming it can run continuously at three megawatts of output that
entire time, and achieves perfect overall efficiency, that comes to
roughly ten grams of mass consumed (0.3 ounces, if you prefer). The
efficiency has to be damn close to 100%, because even 1% overall
losses would be 30 kW of waste heat, and neither the Iron Man nor the
Black Widow suit seems to be equipped with that much of a cooling system.
(By way of comparison, a 3MW steam-turbine electric power plant is
lucky to do better than about 35% overall efficiency.)
(The arc reactor must also be capable of throttling back to only about
ten watts at idle, or it would always be too hot to touch! Think
about how hot a 100W incandescent bulb gets.)
Total matter-energy conversion is not that far beyond understood
physics. You don't even need antimatter; you just need proton decay,
which has never been observed to happen in nature but is expected to
happen (very, very slowly) and could conceivably be forced to happen.
Assume the fuel is hydrogen (so there are no neutrons to complicate
things). Each atom's proton becomes a pi-zero meson and a positron;
the meson decays to two gamma photons, and the positron annihilates
the hydrogen atom's electron, producing two more gammas. As subatomic
physics goes, this is neat and tidy—no particle showers, no neutrinos,
nothing but electromagnetic radiation.
"All" that's left to do is convert the energy of those gamma photons
into electricity. That part might actually be harder than making
the proton decay happen in the first place: gammas generally go
straight through everything without even slowing down. Doing it
inside a four-pound ball the size of an orange, with no dangerous
radiation whatsoever escaping ... well.
What I'm saying is, I understand why Benjamin Stark doesn't like to
call himself an engineer, but this thing is one damned impressive feat
of engineering, even if it's not yet ready for mass production.
> oddly hesitant to strap unlicensed nuclear accelerators to their
I seem to recall RL!Gryphon observing that "you're not one of me
unless you can produce a Ghostbusters quote appropriate to any
situation." Possibly in the annotations on EPU Destroys the Marvel
> О божэ, это она
Machine translates as "Oh [my] God, this is it." I'm not sure it got
the "это она" part right; "it's her" would make more sense in
context... maybe those are the same phrase in Russian?
(Possible typo: GTrans thinks it should be "боже" rather than "божэ.")
> She's a good girl—a gentle girl! Like her sister was, before you
> people got your hands on her.
So, Natasha went through something like Red Room training at a very
early age, and her parents wouldn't have that for both daughters;
perhaps now we know why Nene's living in Japan...
> "I'm not sure if I'm more surprised that Zoner decided to make a
> move there, or that he's apparently her type."
Are we sure it isn't Sylia who made the move?
> "On a point of order, Ms. Potts," JARVIS put in, "while the Mark III
> can fly, all available test data indicates that Mr. Stark, as yet,
Made me chuckle.
> "I don't... I don't talk about this a lot, and there's a lot of
> things I didn't know were going on back then. But, I had... I
> have... an older sister."
And ... yep. Poor Nene.
> "C'mon, Dr. Valuk. How many times have you seen every tech outfit in
> this room, including your own, each come up with a new, competing,
> mutually incompatible standard for something, then all try to take
> them to market against the Giant Competition at the same time? I can
> think of five such occasions in the last six years, and that's just
> off the top of my head. And what happens every single time? We all
Stark demonstrating a good solid head for business is also a nice
change from movie Iron Man.
> "The market will grow, and our monolithic friends will find that
> iron-fisted grip of theirs loosening as they start finding less and
> less people are interested in putting their money into a dying
One could read this as a criticism of Soviet central planning, if
one were so inclined. :-)
> Nene hesitated, half-in and half-out of the hole they'd entered
> from, feeling as though her sister's angry gaze would melt the
> faceplate clean off her helmet.
So I guess there is a bit of a set-piece power armor battle? More
of a face-off, really. Nice job doing tense and climactic without a
single shot fired.
> "You will hear from me again once I know what part you played in
> it... because I know you played one."
So I have to wonder, to what extent is Angry And Not Even Pretending
Not To Be A Spy an act, versus her more congenial bodyguarding-the-VIP
persona (in which she was at least smiling at Stark's jokes) or the
five-year-old honey trap persona? Are they all an act? I do hope
we get to find out if there's still someone in there whom Nene would
recognize as her sister.
> «I know that bastard Stark had something to do with this, and I am
> going to need everything to find out what. He won't outmaneuver me
> this time.»
This sure does make a pretty sharp contrast with "...but she wouldn't
mind encountering this American again" from the flashback.