- "California is going to go to hell in a hand basket."
- ―Peggy Carter
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States of America.
Birth of Jim Morita
Given his Japanese-American ethnicity, Morita's allegiance was doubted by Dum Dum Dugan when Captain America rescued them inside the Austrian HYDRA Weapons Facility. Morita answered that he was an American citizen from Fresno, showing him his military badges to demonstrate his allegiance to the United States Armed Forces.
Recruitment of Howard Stark
Howard Stark, founder and CEO of Stark Industries, hosted a demonstration of his latest technology at Ciro's, a famous local nightclub in Los Angeles. Stark presented Vibranium, a rare metal discovered by Stark Industries researchers in deepest Africa, that supposedly absorbed vibrations and kinetic energy naturally.
Donna, one of Stark's hostesses, was asked to fire a machine gun against Stark, holding a Vibranium shield. Stark was knocked down by the shot, as it appeared he grabbed the steel prototype by accident. However, he managed to get an ovation from the assistants with a little joke.
Colonel Chester Phillips attended the presentation and showed him footage obtained by Agent 13 of the British Intelligence, planted deep within HYDRA, Germany's advanced weapons program. The footage showed the truth about the destruction of the town of Guernica in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. At the time, it was believed the Luftwaffe was responsible, but actually it served as a field test for HYDRA technologies, such as the HYDRA Armored Personnel Carrier or the HYDRA Exo-skeleton, which Stark watched horrified.
Travelling through Los Angeles, Phillips informed that President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested the creation of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, a group that collected the greatest minds of the country, asking personally for Stark to join. Stark tried to decline, but in that same moment, they were attacked by members of HYDRA.
Phillips tried to shoot the agents, but Stark revealed that his car, besides being bulletproof, was equipped with a rocket launcher, asking him to push a button that fired three missiles to the HYDRA members, killing them.
This incident changed Stark's mind about joining the Strategic Scientific Reserve, agreeing as he qualified this whole ordeal as the most fun he had had in ages.
Deportation of Anton Vanko
Howard Stark had to assist to the arrest of his russian colleague Anton Vanko, co-developer of of the Arc Reactor technology as part of 'The Unity Project'. Stark was visibly disappointed that while he hoped to change the future of humanity with this technology, Vanko only wanted to use the research to make money. Over time, Vanko sold these technology and other secrets to the Russian government, prompting his deportation.
Melinda May and Phil Coulson first worked together as field agents during a retrieval operation in a coffee shop in Sausalito. Unbeknownst to them, the commander for their mission sent them without an exit strategy, so May wound up in the bay for five hours until Coulson eventually fished her out.
Design of Tony Stark's Mansion
Tony Stark built a custom mansion in Malibu, California just over a cliff, creating a Artificial intelligence system that helped out in the house, naming it "Just a Rather Very Intelligent System", shortened J.A.R.V.I.S., after his childhood butler Edwin Jarvis.
Tony Stark and his friend James Rhodes went to a night club to celebrate the success of a weapon demonstration in Arizona, seducing two girls named Eloise and Celeste. The four left the club to return to Stark's Mansion in Malibu after a brief quarrel with a jealous man.
Stark met journalist Christine Everhart when leaving the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, flirting with her while deflecting some of her uncomfortable questions, and the two ended up spending the night together in Malibu. The next morning Stark left Everhart to be sent home by his assistant Pepper Potts, while he went to work on his Ford Flathead Roadster. After Everhart was sent home, Pepper reminded him about his trip to Afghanistan, right after sending Everhart home.
National Security Threats
Agent Phil Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division arranged a meeting with Obadiah Stane right after the Kidnapping of Tony Stark, to assess which kind of threats to National Security could pose the information Stark knew.
Coulson met Stane at Stark Industries Headquarters under orders of Director Nick Fury. During the meeting, Stane made it clear that Stark knew very little of Homeland Security topics, as he was very focused with technology development, and trusted the uses of that technology to James Rhodes and Stane himself.
Return of Tony Stark
Tony Stark escaped from his three months kidnapping by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, when members of the United States Air Force, including his friend James Rhodes, found him wandering the desert. Stark was was flown back to Edwards Air Force Base in Lancaster, where he was greeted by Happy Hogan and a visibly moved Pepper Potts.
Stark returned to Los Angeles upon escaping from his kidnapping and asked his assistant Pepper Potts to call for a press conference at Stark Industries Headquarters, where he was greeted by his bussiness partner Obadiah Stane. During the press conference, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson asked Potts to arrange an appointment with Stark to discuss the circumstances of his escape.
Stark declared to the press that his company would no longer manufacture weapons after watching soldiers die with the weapons built to protect them with his own eyes. Stark went to Arc Reactor powering the Headquarters, and tried to propose this technology as a new field of investigation to Stane, realizing that he already knew about the Miniaturized arc reactor in his chest.
Stark retreated from public view, focusing on the design of an improved armor, refining its size and flight capability, going to Edwards Air Force Base to ask for Rhodes's assistance in the project. Rhodes paused his lesson to a group of airmen to attend Stark, refusing to help in this new project even before Stark had a chance of explaining his idea.
Development of Iron Man
Upon escaping from his kidnapping, Tony Stark retreated from public view, spending several days in the basement of his mansion in Malibu, and focusing on the design of his second armor, refining its size and flight capability. He asked Pepper Potts to help him take his old Arc Reactor out and to put in a new one.
S.H.I.E.L.D. detected the armor, as a series of UAV sightings, however, as Nick Fury already was investigating Stark, he deduced that the UAV was actually Stark within a piece of armor, confirmed when he rewatched the satellite footage from his escape from the Ten Rings Base in Afghanistan.
Amending Past Mistakes
Stark attended the third annual benefit for the Firefighters Family Fund at Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall as his first public appearance since the press conference the day he returned to the United States. During the event, Stark met Coulson for the first time and agreed to attend him while distracted by a dazzling Pepper Potts. Christine Everhart showed Stark pictures of Stark Industries weapons in the hands of terrorist groups, including the Jericho missiles he refused to build during his kidnapping, and confronted Stane about the fact, discovering that it was him who has been supplying weapons to the terrorists, as well as being the one to shut Stark out of the board while he recovers.
Over time, Stark realized that Obadiah Stane had been supplying weapons to the Ten Rings, and after watching the news about terrorist attacks over Gulmira, Ho Yinsen's village, Stark outfitted himself with his armor and flew to Afghanistan.
Unidentified Flying Object
The United States Air Force command center at Edwards Air Force Base detected an unidentified presence in Afghanistan responsible for the attack against the Ten Rings in Gulmira. Major Allen was in charge of the contingency, contacting the Department of State, the CIA and the other branches of the United States Armed Forces. Rhodes suspected that Stark was the responsible of the attacks, while Allen sent two F-22 Raptors with orders to take out the target.
After engaging the F-22s, Stark admitted that what was previously thought as an unmanned aerial vehicle was in fact a suit of armor wore by Stark himself and evaded the attacks, but not without being able to prevent a hit against one of the planes. When Stark saved the ejected pilot, the Air Force called off the pursuit.
The following day, Rhodes dubbed the incident as an "unfortunate training excercise" in a press conference in Edwards Air Force Base.
Uncovering Obadiah Stane
Obadiah Stane realized that Potts discovered his deal with the the Ten Rings to kill Stark, and that he obtained the armor prototype and had reverse-engineered his own version, so he went to Stark's Mansion to steal the Arc Reactor from Stark's chest and power his new suit, leaving Stark to die. Stark was able to descend to the basement to retrieve his first reactor and power his latest armor to battle with Stane.
Obadiah Stane recovered the armor prototype used by Stark to escape from the Ten Rings, and moved it to Los Angeles, closing Sector-16 of Stark Industries Headquarters in order to reverse-engineer his own version.
Stark sent Pepper Potts to find the shipping records of Stark Industries, so he can track down the illicit shipments and destroy them. While hacking into the system, she discovered that it was Obadiah Stane who hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark, and his plans for developing a new armor prototype.
Terrified for her discovery, Potts ran into agent Coulson, and asked for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assistance in stopping Stane, who tried to accelerate his plans of activating his armor. Stane found that his team of scientists could not create a miniature Arc Reactor to power the new suit, so he resolved to steal Stark's own reactor.
Potts accompanied Coulson and a team of agents to arrest Stane, but he easily defeated the agents using his new armor. Stane pursued Potts until Stark arrived in his own armor to battle Stane. Although Stane's armor had superior strength and was more heavily weaponized than Stark's, Stark managed to resist and save various civilians endangered by Stane's attempts to kill him. Stark tried to fly away out of Stane's range, only to realize that the heavier armor had also flying capabilites. Stark then devised a quick plan, reaching the Atmospheric freezing level to make Stane's armor freeze and crash into the ground.
Running out of power and with Stane still trying to kill him, Stark instructed Pepper Potts to overload the full-sized Arc Reactor, creating a huge pillar of blue light over the sky of Los Angeles that electrocuted Stane inside his armor, and causing a huge explosion when falling over the reactor.
After the fight, James Rhodes tried to get Stark into an ambulance to be checked for internal injuries. Unbeknownst to them, the ambulance was a cover S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle sent to by Phil Coulson in order to analyze his fighting strategy against Stane. Coulson also explained S.H.I.E.L.D.'s interest in Stark and offered to train him and prepare an alibi for the events surrounding the battle.
Stark checked press headlines dubbing his alter ego as "Iron Man" while preparing a press conference to explain the alibi provided by Agent Phil Coulson, in which Iron Man is announced as one of Stark's personal bodyguards. However, Stark instead announced his actual identity is Iron Man.
Agent Hendricks' First Mission
Phil Coulson received a phone call from Director Nick Fury while he supervised the arrest of a rogue airman. Fury assigned Coulson to supervise a rookie agent during his first field operation, though he offered Coulson some rest and recuperation time in case he needed it.
Coulson assured Fury that he was good, and that he understood the value of such an assignment, so he asked the file of the new agent to prepare for his first mission.
Agent Hendricks was taken blindfolded to an alley, where Coulson introduced himself, and told him that if he expected some kind of ceremony to mark the occasion after years of training, S.H.I.E.L.D. did not do those kind of things.
Coulson explained he would supervise Hendricks' first assignment, a standard surveillance operation. Coulson, knowing Hendricks' specialties, explained the importance of gathering intel, so that Hendricks would not think the mission was beneath his capacities.
Before the mission could start, Coulson received a call alerting him from the presence of Ten Rings operatives in his vicinity, so they had to postpone the mission to intercept the terrorist cell. Coulson and Hendricks used two S.H.I.E.L.D. Motorcycles to catch the terrorist.
A van ambushed both agents, and one of the men inside shot and seemingly killed Coulson, who fell off his motorcycle. Hendricks managed to avoid their shots and jumped to the van, defeating the two men inside while the driver escaped. Hendricks went to check Coulson, but was shocked to see that Coulson's body was nowhere to be found.
Coulson re-appeared, alive, and congratulated Hendricks for efficiently solving the situation, despite having let the driver escape. Hendricks realized the whole chase mission had been staged, and Coulson pointed that one of the most important orders of field work was not to believe everything he saw.
Coulson explained that those manufactured scenarios were the only way to know how someone would react under real fire, but he acknowledged that Hendricks did it very well, and welcomed him to S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Hendricks.
Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tony Stark returned to his house after defeating Obadiah Stane and announcing his identity as Iron Man. He was greeted by a mysterious visitor standing by the window, who revealed himself as Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and warned him that he is not the only 'super hero' in the world. For the first time, Fury wanted to discuss with Stark about the Avengers Initiative.
An intruder managed to break into Tony Stark's Mansion in Malibu, introducing the codes for every door in the house. However, as he tried to entered the basement of the mansion, where all the Iron Man Armors are displayed, he was denied access, entering a wrong code. J.A.R.V.I.S. announced that if the correct code was not entered within 30 seconds, a complete lockdown of the house would be activated.
Tony Stark, chatting inside his car with Happy Hogan about calling a love interest named Lina, was informed about the security breach, and the imminent beginning of the lockdown. Stark donned his Iron Man Armor in order to retrieve Betty, his favorite custom-built car stolen by the intruder.
Lina fled again with the car, contacting with the Ten Rings, who tasked her with breaking into Stark's basement. Although he didn't wanted to damage the car, Stark saw no other option than to wreck it in order to stop Lina before she could endanger any civilian.
In tears, Lina explained to Stark that the Ten Rings blackmailed her into obtaining the blueprints for the Iron Man armor, having kidnapped her son in order to coerce her to do it. Stark believed her story, being surprised that Lina had a son.
Iron Man located two shipments of Stark Industries-produced weapons scheduled to be decommissioned, that had been illegally diverted from a destination where they would have been destroyed. Stark contacted Pepper Potts at Stark Industries Headquarters in Los Angeles tasking her and one of Stark's I.T. Department workers, Jesse to trace the IP address of the responsible of hacking the shipping routes.
However, Jesse was deceived by an e-mail she thought came from his aunt, to let a malicious software sent by Cordo Gaines to invade Stark Industries mainframe.
Two days later, Jesse apologized to Stark and Potts, as it her fault that Gaines obtained access to all information about Stark and his company. Potts discovered that there was Stark's outlays began to be redirected to front organizations with untraceable sources, forcing him to freeze all his assets until the crime is resolved, in order to calm his stockholders.
A few hours later, Potts received a phonecall from Stark, who informed her he managed to arrest the culprits, and invited her to come to Genoa, telling her that he was incarcerated for property damage so that she couldn't refuse to attend to a party there.
Tony Stark, intrigued by Nick Fury's visit to his house, started monitoring S.H.I.E.L.D.'s communications related to him. As such, he recorded a conversation between Fury and the leader of a SEAL team during a mission to board a ship controlled by the Ten Rings in the port of Aden in which Iron Man intervened.
Tony Stark's reveal of his identity as Iron Man brought an unexpected turn to the lives of the people close to him. For instance, James Rhodes, military liaison officer to Stark Industries, had to work hard to keep the United States Armed Forces away from taking actions against Stark. For this matter, Rhodes paid Stark a visit to his house in Malibu, worried about his intervention as Iron Man in military situations around the world. Rhodes warned Stark about a report he had been ordered to write about him, assessing the situation of the Iron Man Armor and offering his recommendations about it.
During their conversation, Rhodes received a call from his superiors to order Iron Man to do reconnaissance in Al-Kut, Iraq. However, Stark decided to solve the situation himself in order to save human lives.
Stark's assistant Pepper Potts had to deal with the responsibles of the Veterans Health Administration while Stark was busy flying with the Blue Angels demonstration squadron near Los Angeles. Stark excused himself saying that he had to save one of the pilots when his plane malfunctioned.
On the party held after the demonstration, Potts expressed her uneasiness by ignoring him and speaking to him in a very formal way. However, she was unable to hide a smile when Stark tried to apologize in his own way.
A few days later, Stark was sent to Afghanistan to launch a Magna-Drone to clean several square miles of a Land mine-infested desert. Meanwhile, Potts had to apologize in his behalf for his absence during a board meeting at Stark Industries Headquarters.
Stark returned from the mission, encountering Rhodes and Pepper Potts in the basement of his mansion. Rhodes warned him this time of Justin Hammer, Stark's business rival, and his new relationship with the United States Armed Forces which, together with Stark's attitude towards his collaboration with the Armed Forces, could be prejudicial to Stark.
Rhodes once again received a call from his superiors, informing him of an attack that shot down a prototype vehicle designed by Hammer in Congo, leaving the pilot alone in unfriendly territory. Stark received another call from General Turner at the Pentagon, lying to him about the incident, wanting him to kill the Congolese Army members in the area without blaming the United States Armed Forces, masquerading as an act of self-defense during the retrieval of surveillance technology in Congo.
Stark celebrated the success of his mission in Congo with a party in one of the beaches of Malibu, flirting with two women before coming across Rhodes and Potts, who informed him of the displeasure of General Turner and the Joint Chiefs for the outcome of the mission in Congo. Stark, on the other hand, described it as the first of many similar good actions to come in the near future.
Pepper Potts, from the CEO office at Stark Industries Headquarters in Los Angeles, called Tony Stark to check his business meeting with the representatives of Gorani Insurance in Germany, a company which backed most of his foreign factories.
Potts spoke to Stark, worried about his continuous delays. While on his way to the meeting, Stark found and captured a group of art thieves, calling Potts about one hour after his confrontation against the thieves to inform her of the situation. Potts lectured him about how these actions wouldn't help him to make to the meeting on time, without knowing that the capture of the thieves saved Gorani Insurance over one hundred million dollars.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, during a mission to hijack an operation of the Ten Rings, was assigned by Nick Fury to infiltrate Stark Industries under the guise of Natalie Rushman in order to get close to Tony Stark.
For that purpose, she was interviewed by Bambi Arbogast and was hired as a notary public working in Stark Industries Headquarters in Los Angeles. Romanoff spent some days undercover at Stark Industries, getting to know her environment and waiting for the opportunity to approach Tony Stark.
When Stark decided to claim Pepper Potts as his successor, Rushman overheard that her co-worker Samantha Carlisle would be tasked with delivering the legal documents for the transfer of power to Tony Stark's Mansion in Malibu.
Romanoff devised a plan to take Carlisle's place, using a trick learnt from a contact retired from the KGB, poisoning her beverage to make her feel sick. Her plan plan worked, and she was tasked with the delivery, meeting Stark and, eventually, been assigned as his new assistant replacing Pepper Potts.
In his absence, J.A.R.V.I.S. calculated the quantity of a liquid Stark should drink daily in order to counteract the symptoms of the Palladium poisoning he was suffering, as the core of the Arc Reactor in his chest that was keeping him alive was slowly poisoning his blood, to the point of death. J.A.R.V.I.S. also run simulations with every known element to replace the Palladium core, that rapidly burnt for the continuous use of the Iron Man Armor.
Pepper Potts entered the basement and confronted Stark over his decision to donate their modern art collection, as Potts considered it hers too, given the time she spent preserving it. Stark's erratic behavior after he discovered his poisoning made Potts infuriated with her boss, as many important subjects were sidelined in favor of the Stark Expo, which she considered a waste of time and a manifestation of Stark's ego, and he should focus in the new projects of Stark Industries, such as the synthetic trees designed to absorb carbon.
Stark decided in that very moment that Potts should become the new CEO of Stark Industries. Potts was startled by Stark's decision. Stark confessed that he spent a great amount of time thinking who should become his heir, but the only worthy successor was Potts.
- "I want one of those."
- ―Tony Stark referring to Rushman
Stark sparred in his gym with Happy Hogan when a notary public from Stark Industries appeared so that Stark could sign the legal documents for the transfer of power over Stark Industries. The notary, Natalie Rushman, physically impressed Stark, who wanted to hire her as her new assistant given her career, skills and beauty, even though Pepper Potts warned him not to hire her as there were other candidates more suitable for the position.
Unbeknownst to everyone in Stark Industries, Natalie Rushman was S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, assigned by Nick Fury to infiltrate Stark Industries in order to get close to Stark after learning of his Palladium poisoning.
Justin Hammer's Eccentricities
Hammer had a meeting with Ivan Vanko right after orchestrating his prison break in France, to discuss the terms of a mutually beneficial collaboration, while Hammer had a bowl of his ice cream flown directly from San Francisco.
- "I'm only gonna say this once: GET OUT!"
- ―James Rhodes
The recent incident in Monaco, with Ivan Vanko's attack revealing that Arc Reactor was not exclusive of Stark, both Pepper Potts and Natalie Rushman had to deal with the aftermaths, speaking with the press, shareholders and authorities.
James Rhodes arrived demanding to see Stark, while he was busy investigating Ivan and Anton Vanko, discovering their deportation from the United States during the Cold War and their subsequent crimes in Russia. Rhodes confronted Stark over the current situation, as Rhodes, given his position as Liutenant Colonel in the United States Armed Forces, was able to avoid a full assault from the National Guard of the United States.
Stark then revealed to Rhodes his current condition as the truth behind his current series of apparent reckless acts, something he could not reveal to Potts, and Rhodes showed his concern over the well-being of his friend.
Stark threw what he believed would be his last birthday party, as he was left 7 days of life, while Rushman flirted with him as part of her cover. As such, Stark tried to do everything he wanted for his last party, and got drunk while wearing the Iron Man Armor.
Rhodes arrived, having guaranteed to his superiors that Iron Man would return to active duty within 24 hours, and got infuriated seeing his friend betray his trust and endangering civilians. Rhodes donned Stark's Mark II Armor and confronted Stark, almost destroying his mansion.
Rushman informed her superior, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, of Stark's loss of control during the party, with Fury ordering her not to blow her cover unless Stark was about to kill himself. Fury also said that he would handle the matter personally.
Birth of War Machine
Major Allen greeted Rhodes as he landed while most of the airmen approached to admire the armor. Rhodes presented the armor to General Meade, who ordered to summon Justin Hammer to weaponize the armor in order to be presented at the Stark Expo.
Rhodes retired the Arc Reactor from the Mark II so that Hammer could not analyze it, and Hammer arrived, presenting a full array of weapons such as pistols, shotguns, a minigun and an exclusive Sidewinder Self-Guided Missile. Rhodes selected all the weapons presented by Hammer to be incorporated to the armor, and it was upgraded into the "JRXL-1000 Variable Threat Response Battle Suit".
Tony Stark flew to Inglewood in his Iron Man Armor after his last birthday party, where he got drunk while donning the armor. To treat his hangover, he ordered coffee and a box of donuts at a Randy's Donuts establishment, and proceeded to eat them inside the giant donut on top of the building.
Nick Fury appeared to talk about Stark's current condition, and what Stark needed from S.H.I.E.L.D. even though he did not want it. Stark's new assistant, Natalie Rushman, revealed herself as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Natasha Romanoff, assigned to Tony Stark after discovering his Palladium poisoning.
Stark's erratic behavior made him become a matter that S.H.I.E.L.D. had to deal with, and Romanoff, fulfilling Fury's orders given before entering the establishment, injected him with a solution of lithium dioxide to relieve the symptoms of the palladium poisoning and to get Stark back to searching for a suitable substitute for palladium; but no known element or combination of elements was appropriate. Fury simply revealed that he had not tried all of them.
Howard Stark's Legacy
Nick Fury returned with Stark to his house, after revealing his knowledge of the Palladium poisoning and Natalie Rushman's identity as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Natasha Romanoff, and helping him to deal with his problems.
Fury revealed that he knew Howard Stark, his role as founder of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that the Arc Reactor was an unfinished technology that Howard Stark intended to use to eclipse nuclear reactors. As such, Howard was confident that his son, Tony, would be the only one able to finish that technology.
Tony Stark, given his father's attitude towards him while he was still alive, found Fury's words hard to believe, as his father never showed a sign of affection.
Fury delivered Howard's belongings while agents Romanoff and Phil Coulson would assist him and make sure that Stark dedicated himself to work in improving the Arc Reactor and solving his Palladium poisoning. Coulson warned Stark that if he tried to exit the house, he had been allowed to whatever means he considered necessary.
Stark began checking his father's belongings, finding original blueprints for the Arc Reactor, newspaper clippings, film reels and his notebook. One of the film reels had a message recorded for him by Howard Stark, saying that the scale model of the Stark Expo represented his life's work, and the key to the future, being confident that he would be able to solve it. Howard Stark remarked that despite this, his own son was his greatest legacy.
Stark Industries New CEO
Tony Stark drove to Los Angeles to meet Pepper Potts at Stark Industries Headquarters, trying to make amends with her for his behavior during his last birthday party, where he got drunk while donning the Iron Man Armor and confronted his friend James Rhodes.
Bambi Arbogast, announced Stark's arrival to Pepper Potts, now CEO of Stark Industries, who, at the moment, was dealing with the confiscation of the Mark II Armor by Lt. Colonel Rhodes. Potts was very mad at Stark for his behavior, and eluding the responsibilities he assumed when he revealed to the world that he was Iron Man.
Potts prompted Stark to abandon the office, when Natasha Romanoff entered to confirm Potts' flight to New York City in order to attend the Stark Expo. Stark was amazed how Romanoff maintained her cover as Natalie Rushman in Stark Industries.
Tony Stark, after a brief visit to Pepper Potts at Stark Industries Headquarters, returned with his personal belongings, including the Stark Expo scale model, coming across an operation set up by agent Phil Coulson to study a series of atmospheric disturbances above New Mexico, while maintaining his surveillance over Stark.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s technicians evaluated that each flare over Earth's atmosphere resulted in a Gravitational lensing effect, something that theoretically would indicate that something was trying to push trough the space-time continuum.
Nick Fury returned to Malibu to rendez-vous with Coulson, who informed Fury that the "atmospheric disturbances" detected could now be considered the precursor of an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a wormhole open to another point of the universe.
Coulson, despite the importance of the assignment over Tony Stark, requested to be sent to New Mexico, given the importance of the discovery, and that they were not the only ones who were interested in the atmospheric anomaly, as Doctor Jane Foster of Culver University was already in New Mexico and requested the help of her mentor Erik Selvig whom Fury recognized as Bruce Banner's old colleague.
Tony Stark realized that the structure of his father's Stark Expo scale model was similar to an atom, and he was able to rediscover a new element hidden in the model, amazed by his father's work. J.A.R.V.I.S. informed that although the element should be a viable substitute for Palladium, its synthesis wasn't viable.
Stark then constructed a small Particle Accelerator in the basement to synthetize the element. While finishing the machine, agent Coulson descended to the basement to bid farewell, as he had been reassigned to New Mexico.
Stark then turned on the Particle Accelerator, triggering a reaction that created the new element, compatible with the Arc Reactor. Even before he was able to finish diagnostics, Stark received a call from Ivan Vanko, threatening him to destroy him just as his father destroyed his family.
Realizing that the Stark Expo was Vanko's target, Stark outfitted himself with the new Arc Reactor while J.A.R.V.I.S. assembled a new Iron Man Armor compatible with the bigger energy output of the new element.
Tony Stark called Pepper Potts during the press conference where she announced the construction of Stark Tower in New York City, to congratulate her, and ge told her that he was waiting for having a date with a bottle of Dom Pérignon. Potts told Stark that she was going to give him the benefit of the doubt, and told him she assumed that he remembered their date was the following night. Stark replied that he obviously remembered, as he was in his house altering one of his armors.
Stark removed all technology from Hammer Industries that was added to his Mark II Iron Man Armor to transform it into the War Machine Armor. James Rhodes noticed that he removed all the offensive weapons added to the armor, what would be a problem when the armor would be used in the front lines.
Stark told Rhodes that he wouldn't be wearing that armor again, as it wasn't properly calibrated for him. Rhodes complained, saying that the Pentagon agreed to let Stark keep all the Iron Man technology on the express condition that War Machine was on loan to the Department of Defense. However, Rhodes misunderstood Stark, as Stark constructed an entirely new armor for Rhodes.
As Rhodes was skeptical for Stark's motives, Stark answered he needed to focus on Stark Tower, but the world still needed Iron Man. Stark dismissed the conversation as he had to answer a call from Phil Coulson regarding S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant business.
Date with Pepper Potts
Tony Stark went to have a date with his former assistant Pepper Potts, having started a relationship with her. Potts chose the basement of Tony Stark's Mansion in Malibu as the place for the date; though Stark noticed that that was not his first choice for a romantic dinner, Potts insisted that as she learned long ago that Stark practically lived in his basement and that was the only way to get a date. Potts gave Stark a gift to celebrate their date, a pair of Colantotte bracelets used in Magnet therapy.
The next day, Stark researched about the bracelets, founding information about how the bracelets used alternating north-south polarity orientation to maximize magnetic field flow. This effect supposedly improved blood flow among other benefits for the body. Potts appeared and revealed she thought it would be a good gift, given Stark's complaints about his hurts after each battle as Iron Man.
Beginning of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.
The World Security Council decided to re-start a project dedicated to the analysis of, and to eventually weaponize, the Tesseract, inside the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility in the Mojave Desert.
Recruitment of Erik Selvig
Erik Selvig, having impressed S.H.I.E.L.D. with his discoveries following Thor's arrival on Earth and the reveal of other inhabited planets that could be reached by opening stable Wormholes, was called to the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility by Director Nick Fury.
Fury wanted Selvig to examine and study the Tesseract, describing it as an object belonging both to history and mythology, and a source of unlimited power. Loki, having survived his fall into Yggdrasil, became aware of the Tesseract's location on Earth, and started manipulating Selvig's decisions in order to eventually gain access to it.
Erik Selvig's First Tests
Erik Selvig received a call from Jane Foster, who wanted to consult him about data she collected to reproduce the same Wormhole that was used by Thor to come to Earth. Both Foster and Darcy Lewis noticed that something was happening to Selvig, but he dismissed them telling that he simply was not sleeping well, as the Tesseract was experiencing energy fluxes.
Assignment of Clint Barton
Director Nick Fury assigned and personally took agent Clint Barton to the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility, with orders of both guarding the Tesseract as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most important possession, and investigating Erik Selvig's strange behavior.
Upon arriving, Selvig informed Fury of some advances made thanks to the new element discovered by Tony Stark, that allowed the scientists working in the project to create several power surges, hoping to stabilize the direct current and maintain a safe level of input and output energy over time.
Fury introduced Barton as one of his best men, and departed to take a plane to the Arctic. Selvig, under Loki's influence, asked Barton if he was one of the men deployed to New Mexico a year before, as Loki noticed him then and remembered his face.
Destruction of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.
Nick Fury and Maria Hill arrived to the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility in order to check a spontaneous activation of the Tesseract, that forced to apply a protocol to evacuate the facility. Agent Phil Coulson, already stationed at the facility, was ordered to improve the evacuation time.
Hill noted that the evacuation may be futile, as if the Tesseract couldn't be controlled, may there couldn't be a minimum safe distance, while Fury ordered the evacuation of the technology pertaining to the project only known as Phase 2.
Erik Selvig briefed Fury about the status of the Tesseract, and how they were not ready to handle what was coming. Agent Clint Barton informed him that none could have activated the Tesseract, and that Selvig was not suspicious of anything. However, Barton noticed that, as the Tesseract was a door to the other side of the universe, it could have been activated on the other side.
During the conversation, a portal was opened and Loki appeared, coming from a distant point in space. Fury asked him to drop his weapon, but Loki attacked without answering, killing many of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents securing the room. However, he decided to spare Barton's life, mind-controlling him to gain his assistance, and went to control other agents.
Fury tried to leave with the Tesseract, and while politely asking him not to leave, Loki introduced himself as denizen of Asgard, sent with what he defined as a glorious purpose. Selvig recognized Loki as Thor's brothers from the legends, and Fury tried to appease him claiming Humans had nothing against the people of Asgard. Loki gave a speech about his purpose of unifying the world under his rule and controlled Selvig.
Fury tried to stall Loki after realizing that the energy liberated by the Tesseract would collapse the room and probably the entire facility over them, but Barton warned Loki about the ruse. Barton shot Fury on Loki's orders and then left with Loki and the people under Loki's thrall.
As the group left the facility, they passed by Deputy Director Hill who questioned Barton about Loki's identity. After failing to receive a substantive answer and upon being warned by Fury, who survived Barton's shot, the group were enemies, Hill pursued Barton and Loki in a vehicle. She was attacked by Loki and trapped by the facility's collapse.
Coulson informed Fury of the full evacuation of the facility, and Fury himself managed to board a helicopter before the ground collapsed. Meanwhile, Barton managed to escape Hill after she was trapped by debris falling from the tunnel as it collapsed, but his vehicle was pursued and attacked by Fury's helicopter. Loki shot at the helicopter and, although Fury was able to jump and survive its crash, he couldn't prevent Loki from finally escaping with the Tesseract.
Fury informed Hill and Coulson that the two priorities for S.H.I.E.L.D. would now be the rescue of the people trapped in the ruins of the facility, and the search of the Tesseract, as from that moment, they were at war.
Tony Stark invited Pepper Potts to move with him to his mansion following the Battle of New York, and Potts seized the opportunity to redecorate the house, making sure Stark wouldn't stick one of his armors in the middle of the living room, although she left the basement untouched, which continued to be Stark's workshop.
James Rhodes visited Potts during the move, and congratulated her for such an important step on their relationship. Rhodes visited Stark in the basement, changing experiences of the different threats each of them faced in the previous days. Stark realized that he needed to be prepared for a wide range of situations, opponents and environments, and that's why he showed Rhodes the latest he had started working, not just a new suit, as Iron Man was not enough even with War Machine watching his back.
Scott Lang, one of the chief engineers at Vistacorp, finished one of the routine updatings to the security systems of the Vistacorp Headquarters with his partner Bryan, having implementing a Qubit Defense Matrix capable of encrypt itself every 1.5 seconds.
Lang was angrily called by the Geoff Zorick, CEO of Vistacorp, though Lang was oblivious to his calling, as Zorick was apparently calling for someone named "Chang". Zorick demanded to know if Lang was the one that updated the payment systems. Lang had discovered what appeared to be a mistake in the systems, that made the company overcharge customers in their transactions, so believing it was a clear error in the coding, he easily fixed.
Zorick angrily asked who told him to fix it, and as Lang explained he did it for himself as he felt it was a clear error, Zorick ordered him to change it back immediately. Lang was stunned for the demand, believing that doing something like that was illegal. Zorick threatened Lang, telling him to stick to his pay grade and do his job, as Lang was not a member of the accounts team. As Zorick left, Bryan asked Lang what was he going to do, and Lang headed to the Human Resources section.
Due to trying to do the right thing, Lang was fired from Vistacorp, and accused of trying to extort the company.
Set Things Right
Scott Lang spent several days at his apartment after he was fired from Vistacorp for trying to reveal a fraud committed by his former employers. Lang's wife Maggie supported him over this, but as Scott was thinking of how to make things right, Maggie, knowing what her husband was thinking about, asked him to get over it and find a new job.
Maggie reminded Scott the promise he made that once their daughter Cassie was born, he would stop committing crimes, even if he called them to be just stealing from crooks. Despite Scott's claims that what Vistacorp was doing was criminal and was not right, Maggie simply asked him not to do anything stupid.
Scott Lang broke into the Vistacorp Headquarters in order to get revenge from the whole situation that got him fired. He managed to cut the fence and enter the building while reciting the steps into a successful break-in: To know the location, to know the way around security, and to be awesome.
Lang managed to avoid being caught by security guards or cameras due to his knowledge of the security system, and entered the mainframe of the building, successfully hacking into the Qubit Defense Matrix that he installed prior to his firing. Lang entered into the accounts of the company, and returned the money that it had been illegally charging from their customers to their legitimate owners.
Just like he did at Vistacorp Headquarters, Lang entered the mansion while reciting the steps to a successful break-in: To know the location, to know the way around security, and to be awesome.
Lang avoided Zorick's dog by feeding it with a piece of meat, and began to steal some of the jewels kept in the mansion, with the intention of giving them to his own wife Maggie. When he was about to leave, Lang could not resist the opportunity of taking Zorick's car as he remembered how Zorick used to yell at him.
Lang drove Zorick's car inside the garden, leaving the tracks of the vehicle all over the estate, until he lost control of the car and fell into the swimming pool. However, the police arrived to the mansion and arrested Lang, as he forgot the most important step in a successful break-in, to not get too carried away, or somebody would put you away.
Scott Lang was caught breaking into Geoff Zorick's Mansion and judged for it, much to the amusement of Geoff Zorick, his former boss. Lang was found guilty of his charges, and sentenced to serve in San Quentin State Prison, leaving behind his wife Maggie and daughter Cassie.
Lang was placed inside the same cell as a man named Luis, who had heard about Lang's work in Vistacorp, and arranged a "meet and greet" with some of the most important inmates in the prison. However, Lang got involved in a fight and was severely beaten by a fellow inmate known as Peachy.
Attack of Melter
James Rhodes went to visit Tony Stark at his mansion after they were both attacked and defeated by a man who called himself the Melter, who used a weapon that was able to break down the interior circuitry of their respective armors.
Stark tried to make some modifications in their armors to make them able to withstand his Melting Ray, while realizing the danger he might pose if he managed to sell his technology, but Stark didn't recognized his technology, as there had been dozens of attempts to copy the Iron Man Armors.
Military intelligence sent an e-mail identifying the Melter as Bruno Horgan, owner of a robotics company attempting to build a suit similar to Iron Man. Horgan devised a method of powering the armor without the use of an Arc Reactor or repulsor technology, but the power source literally melted the armor during a presentation to military officials. Although he claimed to have improved his technology, he was rejected further chances.
Stark analyzed the Melting Ray, and was able to realize that it actually loosened the bonding forces between the molecules of non-organic matter, more dangerous than the intense heat he thought it was at first.
Stark and Rhodes discussed the need of finding Horgan before he managed to sell his technology, with Rhodes wanting to use the formal procedures of a military intelligence officer to find him, while Stark wanted to do it his own way. Stark and Rhodes then made a friendly wager, the one who didn't find Horgan had to polish the other one's armor by hand.
Test of the Iron Man Armor: Mark XLII
Tony Stark implanted a series of micro-repeaters into his own arms, that allowed him to summon his latest Iron Man Armor with a gesture, greatly improving its portability. Despite the advice of J.A.R.V.I.S., who wanted to calibrate the systems of the armor and reminded Stark that he had been awake for nearly three consecutive days, Stark went on to record a test of the armor, even introducing it to his former armors as their new brother.
The test seemed to be successful at first, with the different pieces of the armor attaching to Stark. However, the pieces started flying out of control through the basement of his mansion, almost knocking him down when taken by surprise. The faceplate of the armor proved to be a challenge, as Stark had to fly face down so it can correctly attach to the rest of the armor, but he managed to land in his own unique style. But, when the armor was starting to activate, the last piece hit him from behind and Stark fell to the ground, with the armor dismantling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Tony Stark met with his friend James Rhodes, mocking the rebrand of his War Machine persona into Iron Patriot, while Rhodes defended it as it was popular in surveys and it sends a less aggressive message.
Rhodes shared classified information regarding the Mandarin, telling Stark that he was responsible for at least nine different attacks, although the public was informed of only three. The explosive devices have proven impossible to be identified, and Stark offered his help using newly designed technology.
Rhodes showed concern about the well-being of Stark, while two kids approached Stark to sign a drawing depicting him during the Battle of New York. Remembering the events as Rhodes explained that the Pentagon wanted to handle the Mandarin after what happened in New York, Stark suffered a severe anxiety attack.
As one of the children asked Stark how he was able to exit the Wormhole, Stark rushed to the Iron Man Armor parked outside in order to check his vitals. J.A.R.V.I.S. found no evidence of anomalies in Stark's heart or brain, and as Stark thought he had been poisoned, J.A.R.V.I.S. diagnosed an anxiety attack. Worried, Rhodes tried to talk to Stark, but he promptly left inside the armor.
Reunion with Aldrich Killian
Happy Hogan, now head of security at Stark Industries Headquarters, went to brief Pepper Potts about a idea he had to increase security in the building, while reminding every employee that they have to wear their security badges. Hogan suggested to replace the entire janitorial staff with Tony Stark's unused Iron Man Armors, as Stark had them in the basement of his mansion wearing party hats, as he felt the human element of Human Resources was the biggest security point of vulnerability.
Potts, congratulated Hogan for his new position as Head of Security, but also revealed that the staff complaints rose a 300 percent since he was appointed. Hogan took the comment as a compliment, as he considered it a proof that there was something to hide.
Bambi Arbogast announced Potts that her four o'clock appointment had arrived, and as Hogan tried to interfere, Potts dismissed Hogan in order to deal with her appointment, Aldrich Killian, a former co-worker who flirted with her and made her feel uncomfortable.
Potts, surprised to see the former disabled Killian, asked what happened to him, and Killian lied to her saying it was just spending five years with physical therapists. Hogan asked Killian about his security badge, but Potts told Hogan he could left them alone. Hogan came across Eric Savin, and asked about his security badge, feeling something suspicious about him.
Killian explained Potts one of his think-tank's project, Extremis, previously banned for being considered immoral Bio-Tech research. Killian showed Potts a holographic image of the human brain, particularly his brain, and explained that the goal of Extremis was to harness human bioelectrical potential in order to upgrade the human brain and its entire DNA.
Hogan received a call from Tony Stark, who taunted him about his strictness as Head of Security, and Hogan replied saying that he quit being Iron Man's bodyguard due to the laughs it caused. Hogan briefed Stark about Potts' reunion with Killian, describing him as a rich and handsome scientist. Having run Killian's credentials, Hogan remembered that they met Killian at a 1999 science conference in Switzerland.
Hogan revealed the weirdness of Potts' reunion with Killian, as he was showing her his own brain, and adviced Stark to pay more attention to Potts, as she the best thing ever happened in his life. Hogan announced he was going to follow Savin, Killian's companion, as he looked very suspicious, and revealed he missed how things were with Stark before he mixed up with the Avengers.
Killian continued explaining the potential of Extremis, however, Potts also believed it could be easily transformed into weapons such as enhanced soldiers or private armies, something that Stark would not approve. Killian revealed that he invited Stark to join A.I.M., and he was waiting that now that Potts was the new CEO, he hoped she would help him, but Potts refused even though she would like him.
Potts accompanied Killian to the exit, who expressed his disappointment for the failed opportunity to cooperate, although he assured Potts they we would meet again, kissing her on the cheek. Hogan told Potts that her car was ready, but she had to return to her office to retrieve her belongings. Meanwhile, Hogan took a photograph of the plates of Killian's car to investigate it.
Pepper Potts returned to Tony Stark's Mansion, having moved there following the Battle of New York, and found a giant stuffed animal waiting for her as a Christmas present from Tony Stark. Potts entered home and found the remotely controlled Iron Man Armor: Mark XLII waiting for her at the living room, as Stark tried to make her believe he was inside the armor, excusing himself as he had to stretch the armor.
However, as Potts wanted to kiss Stark, she asked him to remove the mask, but Stark told her he could not open it. Potts opted to go to the basement and look for a crowbar to open the mask, discovering Stark training in the basement controlling the empty armor.
Potts was angry at Stark, seeing that he not only deceived her, but he also had dinner alone even although they were supposed to go on a date. Stark replied that he ate as he did not know for sure if Potts would return home or she would go to have drinks with Aldrich Killian.
Potts tried to leave, disappointed that Stark spied on her. However, Stark sincerely apologized, confessing that he was not the same after the Battle of New York. He felt that after living that experience, the only reason he managed to hang on was that Potts moved with him. Stark confessed his insomnia, and that he dedicated that time to construct new Iron Man Armors in order to protect her, as she was the only thing he could not live without. Potts, moved by Stark's sincerity, lovingly hugged him, and invited him to share a shower.
Later that night, Stark had a nightmare remembering his near-death experience in New York City. Potts tried to wake him up, but Stark unconsciously summoned his armor, that attacked Potts. Although Stark woke up and deactivated the armor before it could harm Potts.
Stark tried to explain that he was not supposed to be able to call the armor while asleep, and that he would solve it recalibrating the sensors, but Potts, still in shock for the attack, decided to sleep downstairs.
Explosion of the Chinese Theatre
Happy Hogan, suspecting Eric Savin had something to hide after his visit to Stark Industries Headquarters, where Savin went to accompany his boss Aldrich Killian, tracked Savin to the surroundings of the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, where Savin met Jack Taggart. Savin showed concern about Taggart's self-control regarding the use of Extremis, and handed him a briefcase containing injections to regulate himself
Hogan watched the encounter, and purposely collided with Taggart in order to check the briefcase. Hogan helped him to pick up the injectors, but witnessed the Extremis effects on Taggart's face. Hogan tried to flee the scene with one of the injectors, but Savin collided with him, recognizing his face.
Savin taunted Hogan, but Hogan revealed the injector thinking Savin was involved in drug-dealing crimes. When Savin tried to take the injector, Hogan punched his face and broke Savin's nose, that healed quickly due to the Extremis, and Savin violently threw Hogan across the square. Meanwhile, Taggart started to succumb to the effects of Extremis, and although he asked Savin for help, Taggart violently exploded and destroyed the Chinese Theatre, killing many people.
Hogan was able to hide behind a cart, and although he barely survived the blast, he used his remaining strength to point at Taggart's location during the explosion. Savin regenerated from the damage suffered during the explosion, and left the scene.
Taunting the Mandarin
Happy Hogan was hospitalized due to the injuries he suffered in the explosion of the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, and Tony Stark visited his friend at the hospital, asking one of the nurses to leave the TV on as Downton Abbey, Hogan's favorite TV series, was airing.
Stark asked the nurse to make sure everyone wore his security badge, as it is something Hogan would like, and the men Stark placed to protect him would not let anyone pass without the badge.
Stark exited the hospital, and a large number of reporters was waiting for him to give his reaction to the attack. At first, Stark wanted to leave without speaking, but the particular question of the men gathered at the hospital, when someone was going to kill the Mandarin, prompted a reaction.
Stark publicly threatened the Mandarin, leaving aside politics and the Pentagon, as he simply wanted revenge. Stark revealed his particular address to the media to taunt the Mandarin even more, and left after breaking the cellphone of the man who asked the question.
Investigation of the Mandarin Attacks
Tony Stark started investigating the Mandarin, in order to enact revenge for the explosion that almost killed Happy Hogan. J.A.R.V.I.S. created a database about the terrorist using the data obtained by S.H.I.E.L.D., the FBI and the CIA. Stark analyzed the personality traits and the etimology behind the name of the Mandarin, realizing there was many There's pagentry and theatre in his personality.
Stark holographically reconstructed the scene of the explosion, and J.A.R.V.I.S. informed him that the heat from the blast was more than 3000 degrees Celsius, instantly vaporizing anyone nearby, and as usual in the bombings, no rest of the explosive device was found.
Stark noticed that Hogan was pointing at something, and the reconstruction showed Jack Taggart's military badges, with Stark becoming suspicious as there weren't any military victims according to the public records. Stark then studied the different thermogenic occurances to study other cases based on the particular temperature of the explosion, discarding all the thermogenic signatures related with the Mandarin, and also others signatures that were not as high as that of the explosion, such as one in the nearby city of San Rafael.
Only one thermogenic signatures matched the requirements, the use of a bomb to assist the suicide of Chad Davis in Rose Hill, Tennessee, that predated any known Mandarin attack. J.A.R.V.I.S. created a flight plan for Tennessee, when Stark got distracted by the ring of the mansion's door bell.
Stark was surprised to hear Hansen ringing the bell of the mansion, as the mansion was supposed to be on a total security lockdown after the threat issued by Stark, and donned his latest Iron Man Armor to check the visitor.
Stark found Hansen at the entrance of the mansion, and pretended not to know her identity asking her if she was the Mandarin. Hansen demanded to speak in private in another place, and Stark dismissed her, treating it as a private proposal and telling her that she was now in a serious relationship.
Pepper Potts threw her luggage from the top floor of the mansion, in order to leave the city as a security measure regarding the threat to the Mandarin. Stark introduced Hansen, showing that he remembered her, but discreetly asked if their brief affair resulted in having a son together, something that Hansen first recognized but quickly revealed as a joke before revealing the true reason of her visit.
Hansen needed to speak to Stark before it was too late, as the threat upon the Mandarin endangered him. Potts and Hansen had a quick conversation regarding the past affair she had, as Potts knew very well of Stark's reputation with women. Potts revealed her intention of leaving the town despite Stark's refusal and although Hansen offered to help carry the luggage, Stark though staying at home was the best chance to protect Potts.
Stark and Potts began to argue much to Hansen's surprise, but Hansen watched through the news programs covering the mansion a missile approaching the structure, launched by one of the three helicopters commanded by Eric Savin with orders of destroying the house.
Upon the impact of the missile, Stark ordered his Iron Man Armor to be worn by Potts, in order to protect her despite the risk he might run. Potts protected Stark from the falling debris, and acknowledged Potts' proposal of leaving the town. While the helicopters continued attacking the mansion and separated Stark and Potts, Stark ordered her to run and take Hansen with her, while he would try to leave the mansion using another path.
Potts and Hansen abandoned the structure before the entrance collapsed, and J.A.R.V.I.S. informed Stark that Potts had abandoned the mansion, so he retrieved the armor to defend himself from the attacks. The armor was an unfinished prototype, and therefore it lacked the flight capability and weapons to properly engage the helicopters, as such, he cleverly used one of the few available features, the repulsors, to disable the helicopters, one by launching the piano he had in the living room, and another manually throwing one of the missiles of the armor and detonating it with the repulsor.
However, one of the helicopter crashed into the house, making it to fall to the ocean along with Iron Man. Potts approached the cliff to check if Stark had managed to escape before falling, but he was trapped by the debris at the bottom of the ocean.
Savin left the scene with the remaining helicopter, thinking that Stark was dead. J.A.R.V.I.S. deattached one of the gauntlets of the armor to use its individual propulsion and liberate Stark from the debris, reattaching to avoid the armor being filled with water. As the flight capacity was restored, the armor followed the last flight plan calculated by J.A.R.V.I.S., automatically flying to Tennessee.
Following the whole attack, Stark was considered deceased.
Aftermath of the Destruction of Tony Stark's Mansion
Following its destruction, the former location of Tony Stark's Mansion filled up with policemen, firemen and reporters that intended to cover the news regarding the attack, speculating that Stark fell to the ocean and died.
Pepper Potts, devastated by the loss of Tony Stark, found the one of the helmets of the Iron Man Armor, and heard a recorded call made by Stark, now stranded in Tennessee, letting her know he was alive, and apologizing for putting her in danger.
Potts abandoned Malibu with Maya Hansen, asking her why she come to the mansion precisely that night, and Hansen revealed that she was not a simply botanist as Stark considered her, but biological DNA coder, and that she thought her boss was working for the Mandarin. Potts was shocked to hear that her boss was Aldrich Killian.
The following day, cranes arrived at the former location of the mansion, and started to clear the debris that blocked the cellar doors containing Stark's Iron Legion. J.A.R.V.I.S. informed Stark of the news as he headed was travelling from Miami to Pensacola.
Stark later ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to deploy all the armors, and the cellar doors opened to let the Iron Legion flew to Pensacola to assist Stark in the rescue of President Matthew Ellis and Pepper Potts.
Awakening of Happy Hogan
Happy Hogan awoke from his coma following the death of Aldrich Killian, indirectly responsible of the explosion that injured him. Hogan awoke just in time to see his favorite TV series, Downton Abbey.
Tony Stark returned to Malibu, to the remains of his former house and threw the now-useless Arc Reactor that was in his chest to the ocean, as he was operated to remove the shrapnel in his heart. While there, he retrieved some items, such as one of his screwdrivers, and the rests of Dum-E.
The Hooded Hero
The Centipede Project mounted a laboratory in Los Angeles, with the intention of creating a device capable of granting superpowers. The newly-created Centipede Device was tested in many subjects, despite the unstability derived from the Extremis component employed in the Centipede Serum.
Skye, member of the hacktivist group Rising Tide, discovered the location of the laboratory and was performing surveillance on it when one of the test subjects inside succumbed to the side effects of Extremis and exploded, effectively destroying the laboratory.
Michael Peterson, another test subject, was in the surroundings of the laboratory with his son Ace, trying to comfort him over the difficult situation they were having after Peterson lost his job, as despite Ace wanted the action figures of the Heroes of New York for his birthday, he told his father it was ok not to buy them.
During this conversation, Peterson witnessed how the laboratory exploded and rushed to see if someone got trapped inside. Using the strength derived from the Centipede Device, Peterson climbed the wall and rescued Debbie, the doctor in charge of the laboratory, safely landing at the street despite jumping from the top floor of the building.
Many pedestrians, including Skye, filmed Peterson's heroic rescue, and the TV news dubbed him as the Hooded Hero, for the hoodie he was wearing to conceal his identity.
Meeting Mike Peterson
Skye was able to locate Michael Peterson, the Hooded Hero she filmed rescuing a woman, and followed him to Ruthie's Skillet, a diner in Los Angeles. Peterson watched the TV news about the woman he rescued trying to contact him.
While Peterson was looking for employment, Skye sat with him, excited to finally meet a "superhero". Peterson tried to dismiss her, telling her she was mistaken, as he was just a factory worker, but Skye warned him about S.H.I.E.L.D., a government agency that would come after him, and that the solution for that was to come out as a hero, using an entirely new identity she could create for him.
Skye invited him to her office, which was actually her van to further discuss the need to confront this instead of hiding, but Peterson left the diner. However, Skye was able to pickpocket his driver license, learning his identity and address.
Rising Tide Transmissions
Skye, a member of the hacktivist group Rising Tide, began posting information about different events tried to be covered by S.H.I.E.L.D., such as evidences of Hulk's existence or footage from the Stark Expo attacks, from Los Angeles, where he lived in a van situated near Ruthie's Skillet.
Skye recorded one of her messages in her van, warning S.H.I.E.L.D. that now the public knew the existence of heroes and monsters despite their efforts to hide the truth, and now there were no more shadows to hide in.
Notice of Vacancy
Michael Peterson received a notice of vacancy to abandon his house, so he is forced to contact one of the doctors that outfitted him with the Centipede Device that gave him powers to try to convince him of coming out as a hero, as the device worked. However, Peterson was forced to remain discreet and not reveal his identity.
Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons approached the remains of the Centipede Project laboratory in Los Angeles, accompanied by agent Melinda May, in order to investigate the explosion that destroyed it. Simmons realized the building was a laboratory upon entering, but given that it had the latest technology in security systems and its own power sources, she theorized it was a secret laboratory, and that its relationship to a man with superpowers was not coincidence.
May adviced Fitz, impressed after sawing the burnt corpse of one of the victims, to be accustomed to get his hands dirty while doing field work, but Fitz replied that it was not necessary, as he had a set of drones in order to retrieve forensic data, each designed with its own capabilities.
May retrieved a burnt surveillance camera found by one of the D.W.A.R.F.s, but Fitz was confident to retrieve the data from the camera and the motion detectors of the laboratory in order. Simmons found the remains of a Centipede Device under the debris, recognizing it as alien technology.
Michael Peterson went to the factory where he worked before having a back injury to reapply for his former job. The supervisor of the factory, Gary, refused to give him a second chance, justifying his decision to fire him as he couldn't meet the quota, and he had already been replaced, and even there were many too applicants to consider Peterson again.
Peterson tried to reason with Gary, telling him that he was alone with his son now, but Gary replied that Peterson's injury was a simple complain. Peterson started to be affected by the Extremis in the Centipede Serum, and lost control, demonstrating his strength and then attacked Gary, trying to defend his former co-workers that didn't deserve to be treated as replaceable parts. Peterson continued his attacks, critically injuring Gary and damaging the factory.
Visiting the Doctor
Peterson noticed himself being surpassed with the whole situation, but Debbie, knowing that meant he was suffering the side effects of Extremis, told him that the former test subject went to the laboratory with a bomb, and that Peterson exposed the whole program, something her superiors would not like the whole situation.
Debbie announced that Mike Peterson would disappear, and Peterson, out of his mind, told her she was right, he was not Peterson anymore, he was something else, and the whole situation was just his origin story.
Abduction of Skye
Skye returned to her van in order to send the audio from the surveillance she was running on the Centipede laboratory before it exploded, that allowed Leo Fitz to reconstruct the images from the events that happened inside.
Showdown at Union Station
Peterson took Skye to Union Station in Los Angeles, forcing her to delete all information regarding his identity and his son's before leaving the city, something she had done before, but sending a signal to Coulson's Team at the Bus to let them know her location. Peterson tried to explain the situation to his son, that they were leaving the town to start a new life.
Phil Coulson and Grant Ward arrived at Union Station, and though Ward tried to convince Coulson to sacrifice Peterson in order to save civilians from the potential explosion derived from the Extremis in Peterson's blood, Coulson tried to convince Peterson to surrender himself.
Peterson attacked them and tried to escape with Skye and his son, but Skye soon was able to distract him attacking a group inside the station. Ace was moved aside by his father to protect him, who easily defeated the men attacking him thanks to his strength.
Coulson found Ace, asked a police officer to accompany him outside, and promised him he will find his father. Ward tried to subdue Ward, but easily defeated the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to follow Skye. Debbie sent an assassin disguised as a policeman to kill Peterson, and the assassin started to shoot him on sight. Coulson gave orders to Ward and May, realizing that maybe a third party was involved trying to reach Peterson, stressing Ward that he should only shoot Peterson if absolutely needed.
Skye tried to convince Peterson that S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to help him, but the assassin was able to hit him with a shotgun and make him fall to the ground floor of the station. May arrived and defeated the assassin before he could kill Peterson or Skye to avoid leaving any witness.
Coulson found Peterson, with evident signs of the Extremis side effects, and they discussed the possible outcome of the situation. Peterson assured that being a good person should matter in the outcome, and Coulson reminded him of his son Ace needed him. Peterson replied that his son was another thing that had been taken from him, just like his wife, his house or his job.
Nothing that Coulson said was able to convince Peterson, thinking they needed to make an example out of him and society lied to everybody, specially now that beings above men had been revealed, and they had become the things they stepped on. Coulson, having died for having the privilege of being near those superior men, assured him that the only thing that mattered is what they chose to make with his gifts, and that Peterson was right, what really mattered is the type of person someone was. Peterson, touched by his words, regretted not having become a hero, but Coulson said he was counting on it just before Peterson was hit by a bullet.
Jemma Simmons run to check Peterson, as Ward shot him with the newly developed Night-Night Gun that Leo Fitz brought to him. Simmons smiled as a sign that their plan worked, and Peterson's explosion had been prevented without harming him.
Skye and Coulson left the station to accompany Ace Peterson to the house of his aunt Mindy Peterson, where Coulson asked her about his offer to join his team, having only the time it would take to reach the airfield in order to depart to their following mission, investigating an 0-8-4.
Oakland Centipede Laboratory
Edison Po was taken to the laboratory, where he was greeted by Raina, who updated him about the status of the Centipede Soldiers, as they had managed to stabilize the Centipede Serum using Chan Ho Yin's platelets, and added the Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant to the soldiers to ensure their loyalty, but they needed the Clairvoyant's help to find the key to "Stage Three" of the project, something that, according to Po, the Clairvoyant had trouble seeing.
Raina was concerned about the interference of Phil Coulson and his team, who had destroyed two of their operations and forced them to move every few days, something that causes even more problems due to the drained status of the Centipede Soldiers after every mission, that forces them to maintain regular injections of the Centipede Serum to the many Centipede Devices they were outfitted now the serum was stable.
Coulson led Melinda May, Grant Ward and Michael Peterson to attack the Centipede laboratory, situated inside an abandoned factory, intending to obtain as much information as possible from the facility and the men inside. However, unbeknownst to them, it was a trap set by the Centipede Project, as four Centipede Soldiers, including Hayward, were hiding inside waiting to strike.
Coulson ordered Leo Fitz to dial Hayward's number to find out if they arrived too late, and the phone started ringing inside one of the cargo bins. Hayward appeared and attacked Coulson and Peterson throwing the cargo bin he was concealed inside, but Peterson managed to stop it before it crushed Coulson. Coulson tried to stop Hayward shooting him with the Night-Night Gun, but he managed to overcome the effects of the weapon and get up,
Another Centipede Soldier ambushed Ward and May, preventing them to assist Coulson, and he managed to knock Ward down when he shielded May from a direct punch. Hayward disarmed Coulson and threw him against another cargo bin, and May was also knocked down by another Centipede Soldier.
Peterson managed to overcome one of the soldiers, but as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were down, the Centipede Soldiers centered their attacks on Peterson, with Hayward managing to stab him with a metal rod. Ward and May got up, and Peterson, despite his serious injury, managed to subdue Hayward.
The remaining Centipede Soldiers were ordered to escape, and as Coulson was beginning to interrogate Hayward, he plead for his life, assuring he wouldn't told S.H.I.E.L.D. anything. However, Hayward was killed using his Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant as Raina and Po observed the whole situation through it.
Surveillance of the Ambush in Oakland
Raina and Edison Po left the Centipede Project laboratory in Oakland and traveled to Long Beach, in order to monitorize the trap set to Phil Coulson and his team through the Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implants installed the Centipede Soldiers.
Raina recognized Michael Peterson as one of their earlier test subjects, being impressed that he maintained his powers without having received injections since before the explosion of their laboratory in Los Angeles. Po saw Peterson as an opportunity to obtain the information they needed for "Stage Three" of the Centipede Project.
That same night, Po informed Raina that he spoke to the Clairvoyant, and although he couldn't reveal anything about him, as the last person who asked too many questions was stabbed in the eye by Po, he told Raina that he spoke about her and her many virtues to the Clairvoyant, something that Raina glad to hear.
In order to gain access to the information that Phil Coulson could have about his own resurrection, Centipede Project staged a meeting kidnapping Michael Peterson's son, Ace, to force him to hand Coulson, making it appear he was going to surrender himself in exchange of his son's safety.
Coulson and his team took positions at a bridge near the port of Long Beach, designated as the location of the exchange, with Grant Ward acting as a sniper and the rest of the team staying behind as backup, in order to track Peterson using a Tracking Scent developed by Jemma Simmons.
Despite Melinda May's insistence to escort Peterson during the exchange, Coulson went himself as Peterson requested him, and he needed May to take point of the team if things wouldn't go as planned. Simmons applied the scent on Peterson's hand as Leo Fitz explained to him how they would track him when the exchange was finished.
Raina appeared escorted by the Centipede Soldiers, hiding out of Ward's sight behind a concrete mixer truck, and greeted Peterson as if he was an old friend, and tried to introduce herself to Coulson. Raina thanked Peterson for fulfilling his end of the deal and delivering Coulson in exchange for his son.
Peterson become enraged for allowing such a reprobable act, and took Raina through her neck, threatening her to liberate his son in exchange for his life, but as her employer didn't care for her life, if she died, Ace would die too. Coulson agreed to go with Raina in exchange for Ace's freedom. Peterson apologized to Coulson, and let Raina go.
Ace was liberated, and his father took him to Skye in order to protect him, while Coulson was sedated to be taken without resistance. May ordered Ward not to engage or they could end up killing Coulson, and she contacted S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters to know how to proceed.
Peterson told his son to stay with Skye while he did the right thing. However, as he approached the bridge again, an explosion occurred, while Raina and the Centipede Soldiers departed with Coulson in a helicopter, attacking Ward before leaving.
Flying over the city, Raina revealed to Coulson that they wanted to know what happened after his death.
Arrest of Vanchat
International criminal Vanchat reunited with Emily Deville in Los Angeles in order to sell her a piece of Chitauri obtained from the equipment left behind during the Battle of New York. Deville was gladly surprised that Vanchat managed to obtain the metal, and asked him the price he wanted for it.
However, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Grant Ward and Melinda May hijacked the transaction, sending a Flash Bomb to help them defeat Vanchat's and Deville's bodyguards. While May and Ward were busy, Vanchat seized the opportunity to escape, shooting at May while she was pursuing him. Vanchat found his way blocked by the D.W.A.R.F.s remotelly controlled by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, forcing him to take a elevator that was easily hacked by Skye and setn to the rooftop of the building.
Vanchat exited the elevator trying to escape, but a full tactical team was waiting for him. May disarmed Vanchat and Victoria Hand, special agent in charge of the operation, revealed him that the purpose of his arrest was to help S.H.I.E.L.D. find the recently-kidnapped agent Phil Coulson.
Skye was relieved from helping with the investigation of the kidnapping of Phil Coulson by Victoria Hand, a decission supported by Melinda May. The rest of her team helped her to escape the days of debrief ordered by Hand, so that Skye could conduct her own investigation regarding Vanchat's financials to locate Centipede and Coulson.
Skye tried to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D. databases from a Internet café. However, the Tracking Bracelet she was wearing had restricted her access to technology, and all the computers in the café were blocked by S.H.I.E.L.D. She quickly found another way of investigating the financials through Lloyd Rathman, a senior executive of a company investigated by the Federal Government for tax-dodging.
Skye stole Rathman's car and faked an accident to figure out his address, and she was transported to Rathman's house, where she called to his office to know when he would return home, masquerading as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department with a report of his stolen car.
Skye investigated Rathman while waiting for him, and posed as Melinda May to make Rathman help her hack into the bank accounts by using his private corporate I.D. In order to gain his assistance, Skye told him that S.H.I.E.L.D. had evidence that his company had been siphoning funds into offshore accounts for some clients, and threatened him to freeze all of his assets. She offered him a false offer of retiring the charges if he helped her, otherwise he would spent the next five years in the Fridge.
Rathman tried to gain some time until his private security agents appeared, as he activated a silent alarm, asking to see Skye's badge, as letting her enter into a Swiss bank account with his private corporate I.D. was a crime. Skye lock Rathman's phone using her Tracking Bracelet and revealed some data she obtained to make her identity even more believable, such as her knowledge of his gambling addiction and his divorces, his account in the Cayman Islands
Skye easily disarmed the two private security agents, and Rathman started to cooperate. However, it soon became apparent that he had no idea of how to navigate through the bank accounts, as his assistant usually did that for him. One of the security agents had to act under Skye's guidance to obtain the information, managing to backtrack the large payments into Vanchat's accounts to the buyer's account, using it to track him down.
Phil Coulson was kidnapped by the Centipede Project and taken to an abandoned nuclear test site in the Mojave Desert. Edison Po tortured Coulson hoping that would make him surrender and let the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine unlock the real memories of Coulson's resurrection.
Coulson was able to resist Po's tortures, and even mocked him revealing that the memories he saw were those of a basketball match. Po revealed that if Coulson fought back the machine's process, he may not survive it, though Coulson told him that he preferred to die before revealing something to him, like he did with Michael Peterson.
Po felt no guilt over Peterson's death, as he felt that they offered him the chance to have his son unharmed, and that Coulson felt so bad about it because it mirrored the death of his own father, something the Clairvoyant was able to see.
Coulson discussed the veracity of the powers of the Clairvoyant, as if he was a real clairvoyant, he could have seen the answers he was looking for. Po acknowledged Coulson's statement, but revealed that the Clairvoyant saw Coulson's death with detail, and the only thing he couldn't see is what happened to him after his death. As Coulson would not reveal any information, Po ordered one of the Centipede Soldiers to continue torturing Coulson.
Coulson was later taken to a room in order to rest between sessions, being handcuffed and chained to a bed. He managed to free himself, and hid under the bed to take a guard by surprise. Coulson suffocated him and exited the room, finding he was in an abandoned ghost town in the desert. Po, who was calmly waiting outside, explained that it was a nuclear test site built in the 1940s that was spared when the Cold War ended, and that it was surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert.
One of the Centipede Soldiers grabbed Coulson before he could attack Po, and took him to the chamber to submit him to the process again, torturing him. Coulson did not lose hope that S.H.I.E.L.D. would find him before Po broke him, even though Po claimed that the Clairvoyant saw how their efforts would end.
Raina arrived and noticed how Coulson looked after hours of torture, and claimed that she was tending to their other subject. Po told her that she must have been there to help break Coulson with her persuasion skills, but she told Po that she would not have used brute force to achieve their goals.
Raina and Po were interrupted by the Clairvoyant himself, who demanded to know the progress of Coulson's interrogatory. Seeing that Po didn't achieve any results, he demanded to speak to Raina, putting her in charge of the interrogatory and the whole Centipede Project, and killed Po through the phone.
Raina acted more friendly towards Phil Coulson than Edison Po, offering him a glass of water, although Coulson was not deceived, as he saw what happened to Po, even though Raina claimed he was just a murderer incapable of remorse. He reminded her what happened to Mike Peterson and Chan Ho Yin, though Raina said she gave them what they asked for, as Peterson wanted to be a hero for his son, but she didn't answered when Coulson asked if Akela Amador also wanted a bomb in her head, replying instead that S.H.I.E.L.D. had also used cruel means to achieve its ends.
Coulson tried to learn more about the Clairvoyant, with Raina revealing that she had never spoke to him before that day, and she was excited for it, but he gave them guidance and formulas to navigate through the changing world that S.H.I.E.L.D. have been living on for years. Raina revealed that they needed Coulson to bring back to life their Centipede Soldiers, now that they managed to make them strong, control them and instantly kill them.
Raina explained the purpose of the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine and how it would help him uncover the secrets buried in his subconscious, but it would kill him if he resisted the process. Coulson told her that either he would die, or hold out until his team found him.
Raina started to persuade Coulson that both of them wanted to know the same, the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. was keeping from him, and started revealing personal information given to her by the Clairvoyant to prove his powers, such as that Coulson was denied for the answers regarding his recovery when he asked for them, that the missing memories kept him up at night. Coulson trusted the system, and that all those secrets were kept for a reason.
Raina tried to persuade Coulson again, this time with personal information regarding the loss his mother, and how his death prevented him from having a normal life, and how she know that Audrey Nathan loved him. Coulson was visibly moved by her sole mention, and Raina asked him if he missed the things he used to with her, and told him how Nathan cried when S.H.I.E.L.D. told her that Coulson died, how they shattered her heart with a lie.
Raina finally told him that it was impossible that he couldn't have doubts and wonder about what happened in Tahiti, and Coulson replied with the trigger response implanted into his memory, revealing he couldn't stop saying that. Coulson finally agreed to be submited to the machine in order to gain some answers.
Skye was able to locate the nuclear test site in the Mojave Desert using Vanchat's financials to track the different accounts used by the Centipede Project to acquire the Chitauri metal used in their devices. She informed the rest of her team, and they decided to follow Skye's lead despite Victoria Hand wanted them to assist into a major assault to one of Centipede's laboratories, with Melinda May revealing that her support to Hand's decision to relieve Skye from the investigation was a ruse to let her investigate without S.H.I.E.L.D.'s interference.
Phil Coulson, having agreed to be submitted to the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, asked Raina why was she so sure that the machine would work, and she revealed that she submitted to it herself. Coulson also asked why she always used flower dresses, and she simply told him that everyone like flowers, but she was glad that he noticed it.
Skye arrived at the site and started to search for Coulson. She was ambushed by one of the Centipede Soldiers, who started to pursue her, although he was hit by the S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV driven by the rest of her team.
Raina sent another soldier, while she checked Coulson, who centered into his first memory after his death, reliving again his time in Tahiti. Coulson started to remember doctors Streiten and Goodman treating him in a dark facility, and told Raina that everything was dark.
Grant Ward battled the Centipede Soldier while the rest of team started searching the place looking for Coulson. May defeated two guards while Ward resisted the Centipede Soldier's strong attacks. Seeing that the Night-Night Bracelet developed by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons had no practical use as a weapon in battle, Ward extracted the dendrotoxin capsule and managed to make the soldier swallow it, rendering him unconscious.
Coulson started remembering the different procedures made to resurrect him, and how a machine rewrote his memories while he begged the doctor to let him die. Coulson started feeling a great pain and repeated the begging, allowing Skye to find him following his screams.
Skye entered the room and though Raina claimed all the process was for Coulson's own good, she knocked Raina unconscious with a single punch. May disconnected the machine, and Coulson was able to recover, with a moved Skye hugging him.
Return of Michael Peterson
Michael Peterson returned to Los Angeles outfitted with a Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant and a Cybertek Prosthetic Leg replacing his missing eye and leg from an explosion in Long Beach, now acting as an unwilling Centipede operative.
Visibly scarred from the burnings he sustained in the explosion, Peterson hid in one of the bushes of a park, and asked his handler if he could see his son, Ace Peterson. However, his handler's only answer was that "Not Yet".
Hiring Maria Hill
Maria Hill went to Los Angeles in order to join Stark Industries following the reveal of the HYDRA infiltration within S.H.I.E.L.D.. Hill was submitted to a series of polygraph tests at the Human Resources division.
She later revealed her motivations to do it were to protect herself from being incarcerated in the aftermath of the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., using Tony Stark's army of lawyers to remain active and join Stark into his plan of privatizing global security.
Kidnapping of Skye
Grant Ward took Skye to Los Angeles in order to make him decrypt the hard drive containing the research made by their team, without knowing that Skye had discovered his true allegiance as a HYDRA operative.
Skye told Ward that the encryption of the hard drive was attached to a specific location, Ruthie's Skillet in Los Angeles, the diner where she had her van stationed before joining S.H.I.E.L.D., that she never changed from her encryption. Besides, she felt it was a fitting place, as it was the place where she met Michael Peterson and her interaction with S.H.I.E.L.D. started. It even was a tactically logical place, as it was a public place with lots of people and multiple exits.
Skye seemed hesitant to enter the diner, as it had been a long time since she last went to a restaurant, wondering if she could get pie for dessert. Ward, that acknowledged that it seemed they only visited tubes and tunnels, and ate plane food, thought the decryption could have been done by the time he finished a coffee.
Skye started to speak with technical language to confuse Ward and make it appear the decryption would be slower than he thought, saying that if she managed to do it in an hour, it would be a miracle. Though Ward tried to pressure saying that Phil Coulson needed it to be done as soon as possible, she said that she couldn't do it any faster, so Ward guessed they would end up having dessert.
Skye spent quite some time using her laptop and making Ward believe that she was decrypting the hard drive, and often Skye told him he was uncomfortably staring at her. Skye showed Ward a screen frame that looked like a decryption information from the hard drive, and Ward calmed himself a little, saying that she was mistaking his admiration for impatience, though Skye said it was impatience.
Ward apologized for stressing Skye, and she suggested him to get outside of the diner, calling their team with the sat-phone, but Ward refused, saying they would stay together and proceed according to the plan, as the sooner she decrypted the hard drive, the sooner they would rendezvous with the team, something Skye had already heard him many times.
The computer showed a message saying that the location of decryption was invalid, and Skye looked nervous for a moment, something that Ward realized, analyzing her behavior, as, for example she was staying unnaturally still to keep from fidgeting, and maintaining eye contact to give the impression of confidence. Skye excused herself saying that the last time she was there, she was with Michael Peterson, who was a good man then but now he was a murderer, and they were ones of the FBI's most wanted. Skye felt that at any moment something could go wrong.
Ward told her to relax, as she was doing great, but she said that hiding what she though and felt was not as easy for her as it was for him. Ward simply said that it all came with experience, while he noticed two cops entering the diner.
Skye continued with the rush, with Ward starting to become more and more impatient, with Skye even mocking him that he was the one who told her to relax, but Ward was worried that the cops were watching them. Skye dismissed his theory, saying they were just looking at the waitress, because they did not know he was not the one he was pretending to be, her impatient boyfriend.
Skye began a conversation about Ward's previous missions, and he revealed his longest undercover mission was a 16 month assignment to pose as a Russian attaché at the embassy in Warsaw, five years after leaving the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. Skye commented the difficulty of living a double life, and how someone must get close to people, only to turn on them, and wondered how John Garrett was able to deceive anyone, specially Ward, spending years as his Supervising Officer, knowing him just to betray him.
Ward, still trying to maintain his cover, said it was difficult to accept, but now it was over as he managed to kill him, but was uncomfortable with having that conversation in a public place, realizing more and more policemen kept passing near the place. Skye insisted, wanting to know what would have he said to Garrett if he had a moment before killing, and wondered if he would say he was a "disgusting, backstabbing traitor", or he would have sent him to rot in hell.
Ward asked what the true intention of that was, and Skye said she was trying to have an honest conversation for once. The cops inside the diner started to ask the customers to get out of the establishment, and Ward, realizing without doubt they had discovered them, told Skye they should go too, though she insisted to stay, because the cops had not discovered them, it was she who alerted them, finally revealing she knew Ward's true allegiance.
The cops approached Ward and Skye trying to arrest them, and Skye warned them that Ward was armed. However, Ward easily fought and knocked out the policemen, while Skye seized the opportunity to escape, approaching a group of cops in the outside to make them arrest her. They first hesitated, but then she attacked the cops to force her arrest.
Ward exited the diner and shot the two policemen arresting her, so she ran to steal the police car and escape from Ward, who started to run behind the vehicle saying she did not understant what was happening. However, she could not escape, as Deathlok was waiting for her down the street, jumping to her vehicle and capturing Skye to take her back to the Bus.
Phil Coulson boarded the Bus with the intention of rescuing Skye and taking out Grant Ward to retake the plane. However, he wasn't aware that Deathlok was inside the plane too, and he was forced to escape with Skye, jumping outside of the plane inside his car, Lola.
Lola was damaged in a gunfight, where Coulson used its weapons to fire at Deathlok while Ward retaliated fire from above. Coulson pulled back the car to evade one of Deathlok's rockets, though Coulson managed to activate the thrusters in time in front of the Nokia Plaza in the L.A. Live entertainment complex in Los Angeles.
Night at the Motel
Coulson started to plan their moves against John Garrett, requesting a base of operations, weapons and tactical backup from Hill, asking what operatives where still working for Hill, but she told him to wait, there were no more hidden bunkers despite Coulson knew Nick Fury had many others, but she told him they were not reconstructing S.H.I.E.L.D., and though Coulson said that S.H.I.E.L.D. was not going to be officially reconstructed, Hill denied his intentions.
Hill acknowledged that Coulson needed to stop Ward and Garrett, but he could not act as it was an officially sanctioned mission, it was just a personal vendetta, and he should move on with his life after that.
Coulson sarcastically asked what the options where for him and his team, to turn themselves to the military and make a deal with them, or to work in the private sector, something that Hill knew would work for Coulson, as Tony Stark would be very pleased to hire him, but Coulson said that was not his style.
Hill said she needed to go, but that Coulson would know where to find her if he needed her. Coulson told her to say hello to Stark for him, before realizing that Stark still believed he was dead.
Outside the rooms, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons discussed Ward's treason, as Fitz still believed Ward could be redeemed and looked for an explanation, theorizing that maybe Ward was brainwashed. Simmons, being more practical, simply said that some people were just evil, but she though they would better at realizing things like that.
Fitz asked Simmons to tell him she was not a member of HYDRA, already knowing the answer, but needing the comfort of hearing out loud. Simmons agreed, and said she was not HYDRA, to which Fitz answered he was not either and he did not know what he would do if she ever betrayed him like Ward did.
Skye chatted with Antoine Triplett, who afforded to eat junk food as he considered himself on vacation until Coulson told him it was time to work. Coulson, who exited the room at that moment, told him to live a little that night, and Triplett went to share his food with Fitz and Simmons.
Coulson started a conversation with Skye, who told her that he had never been homeless before, something that, in her experience, was not fun, but at least that time they had a pool. Coulson went to assure Skye that they would capture Ward, and she revealed that she left something in the hard drive when she decrypted the it for Ward, relaxing a little after all they went through that day.
Melinda May's Return
Coulson tried to reveal Grant Ward's true allegiance, but she already knew, as Maria Hill informed her about it. May revealed what she discovered about the person behind Project T.A.H.I.T.I., showing him the footage she retrieved from Coulson's empty tomb.
The footage from the project's supervisor showed Coulson himself giving his final report about the project to Director Nick Fury, handing his resignation because he could not allow the testing to continue, given the regenerative properties of the guest-host tissue also caused in the subjects a mental deterioration with symptoms such as hypergraphia, aphasia, catatonia, or psychosis.
In the report, Coulson continued by saying that the reasons of the deterioration were not clear, as it could have been the biology used in the project or just the awareness of the process. The only course of action to reduce the side effects was to replace the memories of the process, completely erasing it from the subject's memory; but nevertheless, Coulson recommended the complete termination of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., without administering its procedures or drugs to anyone ever, given that their cost was far too great.
Coulson was left speechless by all the reveals the footage brought to him.
Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and Skye watched the news reporting how Deathlok killed Alejandro Castillo, one of Colombia's most important drug lords, having managed to obtain an image of Deathlok and speculating about his nature.
Fitz wondered what was Deathlok doing in Bogotá, while Simmons was more concerned about why he killed a drug lord with known ties to HYDRA, and Skye realized that maybe the Bus was not even in American airspace, so she had to expand the search.
Phil Coulson called the three to the next room, where he and Melinda May had planned their next movement. They had drawn a diagram tying everything their investigation had came across: HYDRA, the Clairvoyant, Ward & Garrett, Ian Quinn, Deathlok, Centipede Serum, GH.325, Hard Drive and The Bus, with Cybertek at its centre.
Analyzing their past encounters, they realized that John Garrett had been developing the Centipede Serum and wanted GH.325 to stabilize and regenerate the Centipede Soldiers, sending Grant Ward to retrieve the hard drive that contained Simmons' research about the drug.
But Skye also planted a Trojan horse in the hard drive, slowly mapping all the systems where it had been uploaded it, but she did not have enough time to properly build it, and they needed to upload another component into one of their computers to activate it.
May proposed using one of Cybertek's systems, as Garrett and Cybertek had been working together for years, having developed the idea of infiltrating one of their offices. However, Coulson reminded that they had no authority to do it, as S.H.I.E.L.D. did not exist anymore. Fitz said they were vigilantes, though Coulson considered they were doing it because it was the right thing, both because he was not going to let Garrett and Ward escape, and because he wanted to claim back his plane.
Howling Commando Gear
Leo Fitz was concerned about the idea of handing their designs to Cybertek, though Coulson said that would not give them anything; they would only need to enter and plug Skye's flash drive into a computer to complete the trojan horse she planted in her hard drive and that had infested all the systems where it had been uploaded.
Fitz continued to worry about Grant Ward, refusing to believe he was simply a traitor, and continue to theorize why did he betrayed them, guessing he maybe was outfitted with a Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant to control him. On the other hand, Skye simply believed he was evil; though people were not born evil according to Fitz, something must have happened to Ward.
Antoine Triplett arrived with a suitcase containing his grandfather's Howling Commando Gear, spy technology used in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s early years. Coulson explained to the rest of the team that they should take an inventory of every item, but then he realized one of them was a Hand-held Hypno Beam, and become amazed by how Triplett explained its details, bonding with him after the distrust of their earlier relationships, as Coulson was a collector of vintage items related to espionage.
Skye was surprised by the innocent look of most items, activating an EMP Joy Buzzer before Triplett had a chance to explain it would produce an electromagnetic pulse in a 10-foot radius. Fitz explained the reason of these appearances; most S.H.I.E.L.D. vintage items were designed to look innocent in case a spy was caught, activating a Cigarette Laser to prove its true nature.
Coulson thanked Triplett for letting them use the items, which gave them a chance to defeat John Garrett and his subordinates. The smoking alarm interrupted Coulson, as Fitz inadvertently set the drapes on fire with the Cigarette Laser, which he hurried to deactivate. This blunder prompted Melinda May to sarcastically warn HYDRA of their impeding retaliation.
Cybertek Undercover Mission
Phil Coulson and his team realized that Cybertek was a key piece in their mission to stop John Garrett, so they decided to infiltrate one of their offices to get information about Garrett and Deathlok, and to upload the last component of the trojan horse that Skye managed to place in all the systems where her hard drive had been uploaded. Coulson arranged an appointment to infiltrate the Cybertek Corporate Headquarters posing as former S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists looking for a job at Cybertek.
Coulson and Melinda May where interviewed by the senior vice president of Research & Development, Ott, and another Cybertek scientist, Diaz, introducing themselves using the aliases "Theo Tittle" for Coulson and "Doctor Roum" for May.
Coulson realized that a secretary was typewriting the entire interview, and Ott began saying that they had interviewed many former S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists since the agency was dissolved, but they were underwhelmed by their knowledge and skills; HYDRA scientists had their minds more open to certain types of research, and were much younger than Coulson and May.
Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons assisted Coulson and May via radio from a Rush Cleaning Service Truck outside the offices, in order to guide them through the technical questions that may be posed. May activated an UHF Pin while Fitz and Simmons discussed their looks, and Skye used the signals from the pin to try to locate Cybertek's mainframe, as it used UHF instead of wi-fi to search for data, a frequency that was not usually monitored.
However, Skye was unable to locate any digital data from the Corporate Headquarters, and Antoine Triplett guessed its source was protected or even insulated inside the building.
To buy some time for scanning the data, Fitz told Coulson to show an I.C.E.R. bullet, while guiding him through the specifications to impress the Cybertek scientists, with Simmons guiding May to explain her improvements and role in the development of the weapon.
Ott and Diaz said that they had already seen one of those bullets before, from the I.C.E.R.'s previous version, the Night-Night Gun, and they transformed it into a much more efficient aerosol grenade. Fitz, upset with the comment, began to defend his design, embarrassing Coulson as he repeated all that Fitz said when he inadvertently said that one of the improvements for the weapon was a "much cooler name". Ott and Diaz, not impressed by the I.C.E.R., asked Coulson and May what else did they have, but as they hadn't any other design to impress them, the interview ended and they were not hired by Cybertek.
Meanwhile, Skye managed to obtain the building permits and a map of the Corporate Headquarters, that showed a secure room with a reinforced door in the fourth floor, and informed Coulson and May that they should go to the fourth floor.
Coulson and May left the room where they were interviewed, saying to Diaz and Ott that it was a shame they weren't hired, and they were accompanied to the elevator by a security guard, whom they knocked out inside the elevator to gain access to the fourth floor. Coulson and May carried the unconscious guard outside after checking there was none watching, and May complained about the sweater she was wearing.
As they approached the secure room, Coulson and May were spotted by another security guard, who ran to sound the alarm through a red phone. However, May was able to catch him before he could call with the phone, knocking him out too using her combat skills, which made Coulson remark how glad he was that May came back.
Coulson used a Cigarette Laser to open the door of the secure room, finding the reason why Skye couldn't access the mainframe or any digital data, as Cybertek kept all their files on printed copies instead of digital files. Coulson and May started to search for useful files
May located a full cabinet about Project Deathlok with Michael Peterson's file and other files that dated back to the 1990s, learning that John Garrett was the first subject in 1990, but before they could study all the files, they heard a radio transmission outside of the room.
Coulson and May threw the whole cabinet through the window, and while Fitz and Simmons hurried to take it into their truck, Triplett used a Zip-line Gun to create an escape route for Coulson and May, descending through the rope.
Phil Coulson and his team reviewed the files about Project Deathlok they managed to obtain from Cybertek Corporate Headquarters, and realized that John Garrett started the whole project in 1990, and his goal was not to obtain the GH.325 to stabilize the Centipede Soldiers; he wanted it for himself, with creating the soldiers being just a mean instead of a goal.
Leo Fitz continued to be unable to accept the idea that Grant Ward was simply a traitor, and maybe he was programmed like other Centipede Soldiers. Jemma Simmons asked him to stop thinking Ward was a victim and not a perpetrator, something that Fitz said he would do when he saw something to prove it with his own eyes.
Skye tried to convince him with a crude fact, that Ward was a murderer, and thought out loud that she should have let Michael Peterson kill him, but she was stupid and weak. Coulson disagreed, saying that what she showed was not weakness, but compassion, something harder to attain.
However, before they continued arguing about the fact, they were interrupted by a pizza delivery boy who brought food, with Coulson having used an alias to order it.
New Supervising Officer
Melinda May visited Skye in her room, as she had not exited since the argument about Grant Ward's guilt she had with Leo Fitz, and tried to comfort her by saying that Fitz could not process the truth about Ward yet, and he needed to believe in his innocence.
Skye asked May if she thought that Ward was controlled, something both of them thought was false, and Skye ended up praising May's ability to control her feelings; even though she and Ward had a relationship, she did not show any kind of external feelings about it. May confessed that she was indeed furious, but she was very sure not to waste that wrath in a tantrum; she would save it until she confronted Ward, to use all of it to defeat him and take him down.
Skye was impressed and said she wished to know how to do something like that, and May offered to teach her, saying she got up most mornings at five to train.
Phil Coulson interrupted them, announcing that Antoine Triplett managed to identify many Cybertek shipments that traveled around the world to different countries but all of them ended up in the city of Havana, where S.H.I.E.L.D. had a base. The whole team left Los Angeles and traveled to Cuba in their S.H.I.E.L.D. Jump Jet.
Schneider, Pete's best man, gave a speech about how people want to change and become something better, relating it to Pete's decision to join the Navy, especially after an event that happened in Tijuana in 2009. Out of boredom, Cindy, one of the guests, asked the waiter for a stronger beverage, but all the waiters, who were secretly HYDRA operatives, only offered champagne.
Schneider congratulated the newlyweds, and asked everyone to raise their glasses for a toast to the Leitners. However, as Schneider drank from his glass, his mouth started to petrify with effects similar to those produced in the Obelisk. Other guests suffered the same effects, causing panic in those who did not drink or suffer the effects.
The disguised HYDRA operatives quickly left the scene, contacting Sunil Bakshi at the HYDRA Laboratories to inform him that eight men died, but the rest, despite being sick, had survived the attack. Bakshi considered the results to be disappointing, and ordered the men to return immediately and give a report personally to Daniel Whitehall, who would surely not be pleased for another failure.
|Appearances for California|
In chronological order:
- ↑ Captain America: The First Avenger
- ↑ Captain America: First Vengeance
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Iron Man 2: Public Identity
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.04: Face My Enemy
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Iron Man
- ↑ Iron Man: Fast Friends
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Iron Man: Security Measures
- ↑ Iron Man: Fast Friends
- ↑ Iron Man 2: Phil Coulson: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- ↑ Iron Man 2: Security Breach
- ↑ Iron Man: Will Online Evils Prevail?
- ↑ Iron Man 2: Nick Fury: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- ↑ Iron Man 2: Fist of Iron
- ↑ Iron Man 2: Black Widow: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- ↑ 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 Iron Man 2
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Iron Man 3 Prelude
- ↑ The Avengers: Iron Man Mark VII
- ↑ The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 1
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 The Avengers
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 8
- ↑ Thor
- ↑ Thor: The Dark World Prelude, Volume 1
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Ant-Man - Scott Lang: Small Time
- ↑ Iron Man: The Coming of the Melter
- ↑ 26.00 26.01 26.02 26.03 26.04 26.05 26.06 26.07 26.08 26.09 26.10 Iron Man 3
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 27.7 27.8 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.01: Pilot
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.10: The Bridge
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.11: The Magical Place
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.13: T.R.A.C.K.S.
- ↑ Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.20: Nothing Personal
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.21: Ragtag
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.05: A Hen in the Wolf House