(Author's note: This is not intended to take place within any established Iron Man continuity. It's sort of a fusion of 70s drunkard Tony with modern technobabble and Gibsonian drug use. )
The bartender had called it a Godlike Southern Candle. "Burns all the way down, then it feels like Jesus settin' your spine on fire, startin' at the prostate," his drawled explanation marking him as a native of the lower end of the BAMA sprawl. Stark didn't care what it was called, he just needed a drink before the shakes began. He swallowed a handful of Etinol, the large white pentagonal pills bitter in his mouth before being washed down by the taste of Goldschläger.
The smart drugs took effect almost immediately, 3000 milligrams of genetically-tailored Acetylcholine blasting through his nervous system like a hot desert wind through Martian box canyons. Blood flow to his brain improved, ATP production increased, oxygen and iron in his blood bound with greater efficiency.
HOMER ACTIVATED, came the nonvoice. A bioware processor, Homer had been surgically implanted on Stark's corpus callosum and was capable of, among other things, stimulating his optic and auditory nerves. The end result was an effect much like delirium tremens. It was greedy, though, demanding greater metabolic efficiency than the human body could normally provide, which is how he had gotten hooked on the Etinol.
No longer in the bar, Stark walked the streets at random, his Alston microfiber silk suit hot against his skin despite the cool Boston night. His sensorium was expanding geometrically, his synapses achieving the superconductor levels of performance necessary to control the latest version of the Iron Man armor.
NANOMACHINES ACTIVATED. QUANTUM ARMOR ON STANDBY. INITIALIZE?
"Go," Stark said. Numbers spooled through his consciousness as Homer began the calculations that would bring the armor into being, a thin lumescence entwining itself around him.
Theoretical armor, he had first called it, because armor that never took a hit was useless weight. Better, he thought, to have a suit that existed only in mathematical theory until such time as he actually needed it, and then only in the sections where it was needed. The quantum nature of being in a state of existence-yet-nonexistence until it was observed to be necessary was what gave it its final name. "Fly," he said, or at least thought he said, and decided that boot jets were necessary.
GRAVITON EMITTERS ACTUALIZED.
The Theoretical Iron Man fell into the sky above.
"Theoretical Armor" and "Quantum Armor" are copyright Erin Palette, 2007.
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