"For the last time, General," Pepper told the infuriating man over the airship's radio, where she'd been sitting trying to contact Mr. Stark once again, "he's not here. We haven't seen or heard from him since you sent him off on that ridiculous solo mission to the Pacific. In fact, given that Mr. Stark hasn't made contact in more than a week, I'm inclined to declare him missing and pry the information out of you about where exactly you sent him!"
"Now see here, Potts," he growled back, "I could have you jailed for that kind of talk."
"Come off it, Fury," Pepper didn't give an inch. "I'm not under your chain of command, and neither is Mr. Stark. Your threat won't hold water, and I know several damned good lawyers."
She could hear the nearly subvocal wordless growl come down the line in reply. It felt like it lasted hours as she waited him out. "I should court martial all of ya'," Fury muttered, but he gave her what she wanted. "Fine. Go get his accident-prone ass back Stateside. I need that information, hear? No side trips."
"Give me his itinerary, Fury, and his last known location, or so help me--"
"Fer Pete's sake!"
"I'm waiting. The longer you resist, the longer you'll have to wait to get that information," she taunted him.
"Pack yer bags," Fury shot back, clearly angry and not caring that she knew it, "yer goin' to Hawai'i first. Refuel at the army base, then continue on to Midway Island. That's where we lost contact with him. The army base reported that he arrived at Midway but never made it back. They assumed he simply flew straight through to California or stopped elsewhere, when they couldn't raise him, since they were informed he was on a top secret mission for SHIELD."
Nodding to herself Pepper started planning. "See you in a few days, then, General."
Fury hung up on her without another word.
Pepper sniffed at the receiver she still held. What an aggravating ass. At least he was effective as a commander.
Standing, she left the room. "Mr. Jarvis!"
There was a clatter and a string of curses that turned the air blue before the grizzled old veteran, mechanic, and field medic appeared in the doorway of his workshop. "What is it?" he grumbled, rubbing at the back of his head.
"I'm filing our flight plan," Pepper told him, and watched the man come to attention with satisfaction. "We leave for Hawai'i the moment air traffic control clears us."
"Fury told you where we can find him, then," Jarvis guessed shrewdly.
"More or less. He didn't have a precise location, but it should be enough. Mr. Stark is far from subtle."
Jarvis huffed. "That's an understatement. I'll lock down the 'shop. Give me fifteen minutes."
Pepper smiled. "Let's go get the idiot back. He owes me a damned good story to publish."
The flight out to Hawai'i would take about twelve hours at the airship's top speed. With any luck -- if Tony was alright -- they'd have him back in about sixteen. If Pepper was any judge, Mr. Jarvis would put on the War Machine armour and physically haul Tony back aboard if that became necessary.