When Tony wakes up from the invasive heart operation, he hears voices in his head.
Or, more accurately, a voice.
“Life signs within predicted parameters, no signs of infection or…”
What the –, Tony thinks.
“What the –,” Tony says.
The voice stops.
There is a minute of total and complete silence.
“Sir?” the voice says, tentatively. It sounds very familiar.
“JARVIS?” Tony says. He is confused. He is in the hospital. There is unfamiliar electronics everywhere. No JARVIS.
“You can hear me, Sir?” JARVIS asks, and Tony frowns in concern.
“Of course I can hear you, J, buddy,” Tony says, forcibly cheerful, despite the pain in his chest. Both physical and metaphorical. “You’re talking loud and clear.”
JARVIS’ processing power is much better than any human’s Tony has ever met. Still, he hesitates, which is worrying. “Sir, I am currently connected to your Stark Phone, but I am not engaging the speakers,” his AI says, and then pauses. “It is possible that the use of Extremis may have had some unintentional consequences.”
Tony thinks about it. Then he thinks about alien invasions right over his tower, a mild-mannered doctor turning into a raging green beast, and people breathing fire as they regrow limbs. “Sounds logical.”
So. He can connect to JARVIS. His mind can connect to JARVIS.
Tony pauses. “JARVIS?” Tony thinks at the AI, trying not to feel ridiculous.
“Does this mean I can connect to the internet?”
Tony can connect his mind to the internet.
“I can connect my mind to the internet,” Tony says as soon as Pepper steps into his room.
Pepper looks up from her papers just long enough to decide that he’s telling the truth, sighs, and says, “At least you can’t say that you didn’t see my e-mails the next time you decide not to attend a meeting.”
“I can connect my mind to the internet,” Tony informs Harley during their scheduled weekly call.
The kid’s eyes widen. “That’s awesome,” he exclaims, and Tony has just enough time to bask in the newfound feeling of being respected before Harley opens his mouth again. “Does this mean that now you watch porn with your eyes closed so that nobody knows? Because I still think porn is gross.”
That little shit.
“How do you even know about –?“ Tony splutters. He’s pretty sure that small kids like that are not supposed to know about porn. “No! I don’t even need the porn!”
Harley’s look is skeptical. It’s more than a little insulting. “Sure, old man,” he says, and continues on talking about his newest science project.
Tony really likes the kid. That kind of unintentional put-down takes talent.
“I can connect my mind to the internet,” Tony says when Rhodey visits him after all the fuss with the rewards and the POTUS is over.
Rhodey straightens in his chair and blinks once, slowly. “Well,” he says and looks very much like he wants to scream. “That is the single most terrifying thing I’ve heard in my life.”
Tony grins. Rhodey has always known him best.
Tony can do much more than connect his mind to the internet. The fact stays between him and JARVIS.
It’s not that he doesn’t trust his friends. It’s that he doesn’t trust SHIELD. Pepper doesn’t either, but she likes some of the agents, so she’s out of question. Rhodey’s too much of a soldier to keep secrets from the government and Harley’s still a kid. A smart kid, yes, but no amount of smarts would help him if Natasha decides she’s interested in knowing all his secrets.
So he doesn’t tell them anything too important.
He’s aware he has trust issues. Tony thinks they’re justified.
It takes SHIELD two days to find out about his upgrades.
Fury visits him. Tony supposes that he should feel flattered to warrant a personal visit from the director himself, once again.
“I hear that you can control internet now, Stark,” he says, and tries to loom threateningly over his hospital bed. (Tony tried to have himself released early, but Pepper found out about it and objected. Strongly.)
Tony waves the implied question off. “Oh, don’t kid yourself, Jolly Roger,” he says flippantly and thinks how easy it would be to slip in Fury’s phone. Just a thought would be enough, literally. “I controlled the internet before all this. Now it’s just more… obvious.”
Fury’s face does that thing when it wants to twist in anger but the super spy doesn’t let it. It usually means that the director wants to punch Tony, but stops himself, because he doesn’t want Tony to ruin him. Or worse; for Pepper to find out.
Pepper scares everyone.
Fury grits his teeth audibly. Tony relishes the sound of irritation. “And what are you going to do with your new abilities?”
Tony offers him his best winning grin. “Nothing much, Nicky,” he says, the lie slipping from his lips with the ease of practice. “I’ve always had access to the internet, Fury,” he continues on, sounding more serious, and he can see the minute relief in Fury’s shoulders as he thinks that Tony is finally listening to his concerns. “Just because now it’s more immediate doesn’t mean that it’s wider.”
“Good,” Fury says. “Keep yourself in line then.”
He turns and leaves without goodbye.
Tony totally hacks his phone.
Fury is involved in some really shady shit.
Tony knew intellectually, but to actually see it…
“JARVIS,” Tony thinks. “Are you seeing this?”
There is a small pause as JARVIS processes the information.
“I am putting the Project Insight on the watch list, Sir,” the AI says immediately. “Do you wish me to schedule a flight to DC?”
Tony really doesn’t know what he would do without him. “No, J, let’s take the suit. I suddenly have a strange urge to fly over the Triskelion.”
If he were anyone else, JARVIS would have hummed in satisfaction. “Of course, Sir. Do you wish me to try bypassing the security from the outside?”
Tony grins. “A two pronged attack. Nice.”
Tony goes to the DC, has a few meetings to keep Pepper happy, and flies over the Triskelion.
He explodes a few things in his labs when he finally gets the results.
Four days later, three Helicarriers in the Bay suddenly stop working.
All the information on the Project Insight is leaked on the internet, along with the personal files of each and every HYDRA mole in the SHIELD.
Quite a few politicians do some really entertaining scrambling once the public reads the news.
Tony has at least two unanswered calls from Rhodey – who’s too smart for his own good – one from Natasha and fifteen from Fury.
(He answers all Pepper’s calls, because Pepper scares him.)
He also has a glass of scotch in his hand and no intention of answering them today at all.
“Say, JARVIS,” he says aloud. “What do you think about an AI to defend the Earth?”
There’s a warm rumble of feelings where JARVIS rests in his mind. “If you wish it, Sir, I am sure we can do something.”