- "Once I factored in available A.I.M. downlink facilities, I was able to pinpoint the Mandarin's broadcast signal."
"What are we talking? Far East, Europe, North Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Syria? Where is it?"
"Actually, sir, it's in Miami."
"Okay, kid, I'm gonna have to walk you through rebooting J.A.R.V.I.S.' speech drive, but not right now. Harley, where is he really? Just look on the screen and tell me where it is."
"Um, it does say Miami, Florida."
- ―J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark and Harley Keener
Stark found a nearby pageant and broke into a broadcasting van in order to use their computers to find out what he needed to know. While inside, Stark was confronted by the cameraman Gary, who froze upon realizing who was there as he was a huge fan of Stark and the Avengers, who noted that he had not believed Stark had been killed in the Destruction of his Mansion. Stark amused all of Gary's requests to show his tattoo of Stark and recruited his help.
Using Gary's own satellite connection to hack into A.I.M.'s systems, which the file reported was responsible for Chad Davis' death. Stark watched footage of Aldrich Killian recruited Davis along with Ellen Brandt and Jack Taggart before they were injected with Extremis which enhanced their strength and regrew their limbs. Upon seeing one test subject exploding, Stark realized Killian must have sold his technology to the Ten Rings to use as human weapons.
Stark called Harley Keener, to check on how the suit was doing; with it now fifty eight percent charged, and J.A.R.V.I.S. kept saying the wrong word at the end of each sentence. Asking for the Mandarin's location, Stark heard Miami was it; thinking J.A.R.V.I.S. had misspoke again, Stark asked Keener to read the location. To Stark's shock, the location was correct; this sent Stark into a panic attack, as he did not have any of his armors or a to call in the Avengers to help.
Trying to keep Stark calm as he recalled the Battle of New York which made him panic even more, Keener suggested that Stark build his own gadgets if he would now have to defend himself when he would then confront both Killian and the Mandarin. The sudden thought of being independent and focusing on his work snapped Stark out of his panic attack as he drove away towards a gardening store to buy some supplies, McGuyvering several gadgets together.
Stark prepared to infiltrate the Mandarin's home and finally confront and possibly even kill the Mandarin in revenge for all of the lives he had damaged, including Happy Hogan. Taking position outside the walls, Stark used binoculars to spy on the compound, spotting several guards watching the entire area as Stark planned to get past them.
Jumping over the wall, Stark infiltrated the mansion as quickly as he could. Using all his wits and fighting skills, Stark successfully and quickly knocked out several of the guards, using his newly made gadgets to gain the advantage as he fired knock out darts at the guards and using an electrified glove and home made grenades to get past them all and eventually get inside the building were Stark continued to search through the rooms for the Mandarin.
Stark eventually found a large room filled up with movie props, along with the Mandarin's wardrobe; there was also signs that someone was living in the room and Stark found two half naked women in the bed. Hearing someone enter from the bathroom, Stark then hid; the Mandarin entered, speaking in a British accent. Stark surprised him, holding the Mandarin at gunpoint, Stark was surprised by the sudden cowardly reaction from the terrorist and demanded answers.
To his horror, Stark soon learned that "the Mandarin" was nothing more than a character the actor, Trevor Slattery, had been hired to play; Slattery was given endless amounts of drugs and anything else he desired in return for taking the blame for the explosions. The person who had employed him was Aldrich Killian, who needed to cover up the failures of his Extremis program. Stark was however knocked unconscious by Eric Savin who took Stark hostage.
- "We gotta make a decision. We can either save the president or Pepper. We can't do both."
"Sir, I have an update from Malibu. The cranes have finally arrived, and the cellar doors are being cleared as we speak."
"And what about the suit I'm wearing?"
"The armor is now at 92%."
"That's going to have to do."
- ―James Rhodes, J.A.R.V.I.S. and Tony Stark
Being held in captivity, Stark learned Maya Hansen was working for A.I.M.; she had used the formula he had written down in a drunken daze after their night together to better stabilize Extremis. Stark had forgotten all about the drunken equation he had given her, chiding her for losing her soul; he was with a woman who had a sense of right and wrong.
Their conversation was interrupted when Aldrich Killian arrived and explained the reasons behind A.I.M. and how he was grateful to Stark for teaching him that he needed to rule the chaos from behind the scenes. Explaining that he was grateful to Stark for leaving him behind in Switzerland as it gave him a sense of desperation which changed his life, Killian went on to discuss Trevor Slattery's role, acknowledging Slattery's over the top personality.
Killian compared Slattery's Mandarin performance to him creating a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden or a Muammar Gaddafi to blame his failures on. Noting his desire for Stark to suffer desperation, Killian revealed he had captured Pepper Potts and was currently infecting her with Extremis; with Potts' life now in danger of ending up like the failures, Stark would be forced to help improve Extremis for her sake, with Killian noting how much pain Potts was currently in.
While Stark struggled to look at the video feed of Potts' suffering, Killian cruelly mocked him by noting how Potts was now at risk of exploding and offering to pay him for helping them. When Hansen tried to help him by threatening to kill herself to deprive Killian of one of his chief researchers, Stark witnessed Killian casually murder her without any remorse. As Killian left, Stark called him a maniac for killing Hansen while Killian claimed to be a visionary.
Stark was left guarded by two of Aldrich Killian's henchmen, one of whom broke Harley Keener's sister's watch. Once he learned the correct time, Stark worked out that the suit would be charged by now and offered the henchmen, one of who he nicknamed Ponytail Express, a chance to escape, believing that it would arrive in seconds, however this led to an awkward period of Stark awaiting his suit which took considerably longer than he expected to arrive.
The reason being that the doors to Keener's barn they were being kept in were chained shut, and therefore the rest of the suit was trapped. Summoning his Mark XLII all the way from Keener's House, Stark was given one of his gauntlets which he used to shoot Ponytail Express and free himself, with a boot then attaching itself to his leg to give him the advantage in the fight against all the men, although Stark still questioned where all of the rest of the armor was.
Having escaped captivity, Stark was forced to fight against several guards from A.I.M., despite only getting a hand and leg part of the suit for the duration of the fight and finding that this greatly affected how he could fight, as he struggled to maintain control of flying while wearing only the pieces of armor he had. When one guard grabbed Stark from behind, Stark used the boot to launch himself backwards and knock out the guard, stealing his gun in the process.
Keener soon freed all the rest by destroying the lock with a powdery substance, knowing that Stark was in need of his armor. Once the guards were all knocked out, Stark prepared to shoot the last one, only to be amused when he quickly surrendered to him as he claimed to hate working for Killian and A.I.M.. The rest of the suit arrived and Stark made his way through the facility. He greeted J.A.R.V.I.S., while seeing the Iron Patriot Armor fly off, and his suit failed to fly.
To Stark's surprise, he ran into James Rhodes, who he thought was in the armor. It turned out that the Armor was being worn by Eric Savin in order to kidnapped President Matthew Ellis. Needing a way to go after Killian, Stark remembered Trevor Slattery, waking him from another drunken stupor. Seeking a way to save the President from being kidnapped. Stark then remembered that Slattery also had been given a speed boat from Killian and demanded it.
Onboard Slattery's boat, Stark called Vice President Rodriguez to inform him that President Ellis was about to be attacked by Savin posing as the Iron Patriot, with Rodriguez informing them that Ellis was about to board Air Force One. However, unbeknownst to Stark, Rodriguez had aligned with Killian, and was planning to take the position of President following Ellis' disposal, granting Killian control over the United States of America. While Rodriguez promised to fix the situation, Stark and Rhodes discussed who they had time to save, Pepper Potts or President Ellis, with Stark deciding to remote control his armor so they could save both of them.