The very first story I can remember writing was a fan fiction about Duke Nukem. I was maybe 10 at the time and could only type with “hunt and peck” much like my father. So this one page story took the better part of an hour to write. I wrote in a character I created called Raven. He was like a Duke Nukem partner/sidekick/student type deal. They flew around the galaxy blowin’ up aliens to the left and to the right like some GD badasses. While most of the stories I write now are of my own creation, I have been known to write a fan fiction from time to time, and this one in particular has been floating around in my head for a while. So for today’s Sunday Edition I present to you an original(ish) piece by me!
The wrench slips off the nut and Ryder let’s out a choice word or two before putting the cut to his mouth. He grabs the rag next to the overturned photograph atop his tool chest and covers the wounded hand. He doesn’t notice it but he’s beginning to vibrate, and a moment later he kicks the oil can across the room and screams until he’s horse; this has been building for a while. The garage answers his outburst with silence and tears well up in Ryder’s eyes as he slides down the wall to the ground. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”
The silence is only broken by the occasional sob for ten minutes as his mind races in sorrow and regret. After a long while he stands and goes back to work on the ATV. No better therapy than busy hands, his dad used to say. He smiles briefly thinking about his father up in Montana, rustling cows and helping convert a town over to green energy. And for the briefest of moments his mind isn’t on the nightmare that has been his life for the past 3 years. Until…
“You uh, trying a new art style? Painting with oils is fine but…” the well dressed man says walking through the service entrance. He wears the three piece Armani like a second skin, but he looks and analyzes every part of the room; an engineer through and through.
“Don’t you have better things to do with your time than criticize my artwork?” Ryder asks only briefly looking up from the ATV.
The 43 year old isn’t used to people talking back to him. The only person whose attention he doesn’t automatically command when he enters a room… well he hasn’t seen him in a while. So an 18 year old doing it causes him to pause. His face suggests he’s considering a quip, but the guilt resigns him to a “Probably.” He continues to saunter over.
“What do you want Anthony?”
He considers the boy for a long moment, “I did what I could you know.”
“What was I supposed to do Ryder?”
The boy looks up, rage painting his face. “Are you kidding me?”
“We didn’t-” He stops as the boy’s eyes pierce him. This is something he’s been trying to get used to for the past while and hasn’t fully caught on yet. “I didn’t… I didn’t know what to do.”
“So you turned them into-” Ryder breaks down in tears and falls to his knees.
Uncharacteristically Tony moves around the ATV to catch the boy and holds him as the tears poor out. Though the look on his face does clearly suggest he will be burning this suit when this is over. “What Dr. List was doing… The extent of his work on the stone it…” Explanation does nothing to calm the boy and Tony just holds him awkwardly for a long moment, Ryder gripping his suit jacket like a life line. “I had a dog when I was a kid.” Tony breaks the silence, as much out of desperation as a desire to help.
Ryder stops crying and looks up at Tony. “Seriously?”
“Why is everyone so shocked when I tell them that I was a regular boy once?” Ryder’s response of a cocked eyebrow is enough. “Yeah alright. Anyway, me, dog, kid. I loved that thing. My old man not so much. One day Dummy ran into the road-”
“What do you want, I was 10… Anyways it’s… it’s why I-”
“-Wait Dummy was the name of your robotic arm that you-”
“-Yeah kid so how about you let me finish my story?” Ryder lowers his head a bit and looks away before standing up.
“You built that thing to replace your dog?”
Tony brushes off his suit and looks at Ryder handing him a socket wrench. “Something like that, yeah. I’d have given my whole world to have my dog back even 6 years later at MIT. And you got them all back.”
Ryder looks down for a long while. When he first found out that his dogs had been found, he’d been overjoyed. Soldiers had broken into the garage he was working in two years ago, kidnapped him and the dogs in the house. Doctor List who had talked to one of the soldiers over a video communicator said he could use the animals… And he did. Humans weren’t the only thing he was trying to enhance it would seem. So when he went to see them, and they talked to him, actually talked to him it was the most terrifying moment of his life. And then when they stepped out of their cages and he saw the body modifications… He was sick to his stomach.
“What do you want from me Tony? You want to recruit a kid into your army?”
“No I’ve already got one too many…” He sighs, “look… I basically built this entire town including the tower as a pet project 5 years ago. The genetic and mechanical modifications to the dogs… they’re perfect for search and rescue and that’s all I want from you. No space aliens, no superhuman combat just… Just keep building what you’re building and keep the dogs and this place-”
Ryder’s communication pad laying on the ATV seat starts to beep and flash. Ryder looks at it nervously then back to Tony who just looks back expectantly. The boy takes a long breath and grabs the pad. “Ryder here.”
“Oh Ryder!” A frantic black woman shouts back into the video screen swinging the camera around to the scene of a fire.
“Mayor Goodway! What’s happened?” The kid’s voice betrays a calmness not normally associated with someone his age and Tony recognizes that face; the kid is already working out how to solve the problem at hand.
Tony smiles as he backs away slowly before turning to leave. Happy is standing in the service entrance doorway looking as serious as ever. “Sir?”
“Kid’ll be fine.” Tony smiles. The pilot-less chopper starts spinning up as the pair approach. “F.R.I.D.A.Y.?”
“Yes boss?” the Stark AI replies in his and Happy’s earpiece.
“Make sure Ryder and his team have all the funding help they need.”
“You sure that’s a good idea sir? Kid seemed pretty shooken up.” As the chopper takes off and pulls away from the tower Ryder’s ATV and 3 other rescue vehicles take off down the road toward the suspension bridge and past that the fire raging in downtown Adventure Bay.
Tony takes a beat and motions out the window. “Paw Patrol is on a roll.”
This story is actually inspired from a friend of mine who has young kids who LIVE to watch Paw Patrol. As she watched the show and the various gadgets she wondered aloud on Facebook “Who funds the Paw Patrol, Tony Stark?” As best as I’ve ever been made aware, the PP and Avengers do not co-exist within a shared universe… but it got me thinking. What if they did? How would I integrate it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? And I wrote this.
We’ll be back to some regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise. In the meantime, sounds plausible to me Alison.
Have a Good’er.