“You know what we need?” Tony turned to face them, his synthesized voice broadcast loud for the entire team to hear. Even through all the audio filters and layers of paper-thin circuitry, Steve could discern the lack of usual playboy swagger. “We need a system.” Tony concluded before anyone else could speak up.
“Tony, sweetie, you are our system.” Natasha chimed in.
“Yeah, you’re literally a system, that’s your whole deal, you’re a dude in a robo suit!” Clint added.
“First off,” Tony started, pointing his metal-clad finger at them, “yes, thank you for stating the obvious. But that’s not what I meant. I mean, just look at all this!” he said, gesturing to the rubble and debris all around them.
“Property damage! Civilian casualties! And do you know why this happened? Why it always happens?” Tony inquired.
“Bruce?” Natasha replied immediately.
“Bruce.” Steve agreed, lowering his head.
“I’m gonna go with Bruce.” Clint nodded, not bothering to look up from an arrow he was fidgeting with.
“No, not just Bruce!” Tony snapped. “You can’t always only blame him for this. Look, yes, we all know what Bruce is like. But he’s also our secret weapon. Our ace in the hole.”
“Our star quarterback!” Steve remarked.
“Kudos for that riveting sports analogy, Steve.” Tony retorted. “The point is, we need him on the team. Now, as you all know, before getting in the whole ‘saving the world on a weekly basis’ racket, I was a member of the Three Comma Club. And how do you think I made my fortune?”
“You inherited your father’s money and company?” Clint responded.
“You mercilessly exploited the underprivileged working class in order to further your own bourgeois standing and grandiose capitalistic wants?” Natasha smirked.
“Not… technically incorrect, but I was alluding to my amazing managerial skills.” Tony boasted. “I put in place a method to control, supervise, and coordinate my employees’ productivity and work effectiveness. It’s what we in the tech, slash, billionaire game call a ‘PMT.’ And before anyone tries to come off as witty - no, it’s not short for ‘Phase Modulation Turret’, or anything like that. It stands for ‘Project Management Tool,’ and it’s something we could all benefit from. When you think about it, our team is no different than any other regular one - we’ve all got our strengths and weaknesses, it’s just a matter of applying them in the right place and order and keeping us organized. A PMT would help with that - we could map out our sequence of actions, coordinate them, or break them down into segments we can analyze and improve.”
“Well, when I was in the army, we didn’t need all that technobabble hogwash to be combat-effective, our sergeants would take care of all the organizing for us. Ah, those were simpler times… happier times…” Steve reminisced, his voice trailing off, lost in memory.
“Sports and the military. Steve, you’re a regular Renaissance man.” Tony said. “Listen, just give it a chance. You gave Netflix a chance, remember?”
“I still can’t get used to color TVs.” Steve shuddered.
“But it grew on you. Just like this will, too.” Tony assured him. “We’re the good guys; we need every advantage we can get.”
“Tony?” Clint raised his hand.
“Yes?” Tony asked.
“Remember the last time you tried to use your technology to make our jobs easier?” Clint made a big U shape with his hand.
“Yes. Yes, I do. And we all promised never to speak of it again.” Tony dismissed him. “Besides, this isn’t my technology we’re talking about. These guys are pros. They’ve been at this game longer than us, for more than ten years now, I’m a big fan of theirs. And what is this PMT, you ask? It’s,” he turned on a drumroll effect to annunciate the reveal, “ActiveCollab! Which is perfect.”
“Because now our battle cry can be ‘Avengers ACemble!’?” Clint grinned.
“Hadn’t thought of that, but sure, why not, whatever makes you happy. No, the best part about all of this - their name also starts with an A, so we wouldn’t even have to change any of our uniforms or gear! Do you have any idea just idea how expensive rebranding is?” Tony beamed with joy. “See, project management is already paying off - and this is just the beginning!”