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Artificial Heart

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Steve wasn't aware of waking up - or even passing out for that matter. He just suddenly found himself cornered and panting in some kind of medical facility, an honest-to-god robot staring him down from the other side of his shield, shining blue palms outstretched toward him in warning.

"Guys, hold back," the machine, all gleaming red and gold under the flourescents, motioned for the small crowd around it to stand down. "I think he's okay now." Accordingly six men in gray suits lowered their guns, and an unnervingly tall, barrel chested blond lowered his hammer.

"Where am I?" Steve asked breathlessly, the sound of the crash still thundering in his ears, the taste of salt water still rushing past his lips. "Are you Allies?"

"You're on a military vessel in the North Atlantic. My name is Iron Man, and yes, we're all American here."

The machine, this aptly named Iron Man, offered a gracefully articulated hand and tilted its head as if it was actually thinking.

"What are you?" Steve remained crouched behind his shield and did not offer his own hand. Who had the technology sufficient to build such a machine? Did Hydra? Did the Russians? Who were these people who claimed to be American military?

"I'm a friend."

"Did Howard build you?"

"Let's just say I couldn't have been built without him."

Iron Man's voice was difficult to read, his face even more so, and Steve was not happy in the least with that non-answer. He still didn't take the patiently outstretched metal hand - the one that had just been aiming what he assumed was a weapon at his forehead.

"What aren't you telling me?"

"Are you sure you're ready to hear anything I have to say? Can you handle any of the consequences of crashing that plane?"

Some of the suited men glanced at each other warily. The big guy tightened his grip on the hammer.

"Try me."

"You've been asleep, preserved in the ice, for many years, Captain."

"How many? Ten? Twenty?" Steve's head spun, too terrified it was the truth to believe it.


"A ... hundred?" It couldn't be true ... but he was talking to a goddamn robot.

"Not quite that long. You've been hibernating for sixty-nine years. I was built by Howard's son."

It had to be a lie ... but if he was going to be lied to anyway, then why did the lie have to be so bizarre?

"Prove it." His voice wavered. He was starting to feel a little faint.

"I can, but you need to rest now and let the doctors take a look at you. We're a few days away from New York. When we reach land, Mr. Stark will show you everything you need to see."