RISE: The Mandarin
Location: London; Hammer Industries Main Office
"Please... Stop this."
Ezekiel Stane ignored this plea. He was distraught. He was looking into the eyes of the Mandarin, a dead man.
"This isn't possible!!! You DIED!!! I KILLED YOU!,"" He screamed as he fired yet another volley of repulsor blasts only to see them ricochet away from their target. And yet even though the area around them was being demolished and building edged towards collapse, the man who called himself the Mandarin found himself strangely unenthused.
Casually raising his right hand, he calmly said, "Enough."
Stane's armor simply fell apart, turning to dust before his eyes. The boy genius was now simply another man compared to well dressed figure standing before him.
"How? How can you be here?!" Ezekiel stammered.
Sitting in a nearby chair, he answered, "I would rather not go over all the details, but as my rings were attempting to build a body that could hold my mind once it was retrieved from what I assume was Hell, I received help from my new associates. They perfected this new body and made... special arrangements for my return."
Before Mandarin continued, another suit of armor erupted through the floor beneath them. They both recognized the armor as Detroit Steel.
"Hello, Sasha," he stated with a friendly tone. "It is good to see you."
"Father," she replied while cautiously aiming all her weapons at him. At the same time, security troopers filled the room with their sights set on the eerily calm intruder. Sasha Hammer stepped forward in the deathly silent room and said, "State you business, Dad."
Observing the young woman who is brave enough to make demands in his presence, he feels a slight inkling of fatherly pride.
"Very well," he said. "As I told your... boyfriend... I simply came here to talk. I admit my arrival was a shock to him, but he should not have attacked me."
Readying another repulsor gun, Stane yelled, "Pardon me for thinking I lived in a world where people stayed dead!!"
"Yet you think reminding me of that... unpleasantness... is helpful to the situation," Mandarin said while glaring at the young man. The room somehow became even quieter.
"Zeke, let me handle this," Sasha stated. "Talk faster, Dad."
Calming down, the Mandarin continued. "Well first, I wanted to thank young Ezekiel."
"WHAT???" both Sasha and Ezekiel exclaimed.
"When we last encountered each other, my rings had begun to overtake my mind more and more. By the time you and Stark waged war on me, I was a raving lunatic. But when you killed me, Ezekiel, their influence broke. Since then, I trained my mind with meditation while my rings tried living without me. Upon my return, they were aware of who was in charge. So, once again: Thank you, Ezekiel."
Ezekiel Stane was genius of great renown, but he couldn't think of a single response to this. Likely no one could.
Shaking off whatever just happened, Sasha spoke up. "Is there anything else you'd like to say before you leave?"
He said nothing.
He said nothing.
Clearly uninterested in continuing, Sasha signaled her guards. "Get him out of--"
But, before she could finish, her secretary ran into the room screaming.
"Ms. Hammer! We've been bought out!!"
"...What?" she said in disbelief.
Pulling out her phone, she was stunned. The news had stated that the majority shares for Hammer Industries along with Stane International were bought out by a single person. And everyone in the room knew who that person was. Before anyone could react, he spoke.
"There has been a gathering. Ezekiel knows this. The age of heroes is in turmoil and my allies intend to strike in unison. Stark and his company are weakened while SHIELD had been silencing your competition. These two companies have had hard times due to the loss of your mother, whom I know you killed, and your father, Obadiah, who ended his own life. I have come back to set these organizations on their proper path in order to prepare for what is coming."
Stane was livid. He tried to shoot the Mandarin, but his attack had no effect on the man's force field.
"Dammit, Zeke! Stop!," Sasha screamed.
Accepting that he couldn't touch this man, Stane tried to compose himself while the Mandarin spoke.
"Upon my return, I retook control of Prometheus Gentech and my 193 other companies. Then I became the primary stock holder for both of your companies. I did this because intend to merge them all into one."
The room was in shock. To most of the occupants, such a move would make little sense. But to Stane, the possibilities were numerous. He quickly looked into many of the companies the Mandarin owned before saying anything else.
"If you do this, the resulting company be ahead of every other weapon manufacturer on Earth. Only Roxxon would be able to match us in profit and resources. We'd be a global superpower overnight," he said in a calmer, more understanding tone.
"But there is more. Once SHIELD falls, there will be not one, but three organizations that will achieve what they could not. I have taken steps to build one of these armies for ourselves."
Sasha heard all of this and openly agreed that there was potential in this plan. But even then, as she was CEO, she had to ask, "What is your endgame?"
Rising out of his chair, he proclaimed, "I will make the Hammer-Stane Conglomerate the leading force in weapons development and we will arm and enhance our allies for the coming Uprising. Once the dust settles, our army, H.A.M.M.E.R, will strike down the corrupt governments and businesses of the West. The new world will rise from that battle like a perfect gem. That will be my legacy. That is my goal."
Stane and Sasha stepped forward in agreement. They knew this was the best way to survive what was to come and they knew they had no other choice.
Looking out of the window as everyone else left, he only thought of one thing.
"Your move, Stark."