Tony had been seriously peeved about being left out of the loop when everything went to shit because half of SHIELD were secretly nazis.
So, after some not-so-subtle comments and pointed complaining, Steve had eventually caved in and brought his new best friend around to Avengers Tower to be introduced to the rest of the team.
“Good to finally meet you,” Tony said. “Cap hasn’t shut up about you, and I have to admit I’m keen to get my hands on those wings again.”
“First things first- you’re not touching my wings. No offense, but I’m not trusting anyone with them. And second, it’s good to meet you properly this time,” Wilson said.
“We’ve met before,” Wilson answered.
“Oh? Must have been a while ago, then. I would’ve remembered meeting one of the pilots of the EXO-7 program.”
“It was at Kirtland Air Force Base, January 2004.”
That didn’t make any sense. He had spent that entire month practically in lockdown with the rest of the R&D department trying to make the deadline for the first launch of the new StarkPhone. “JARVIS, I was busy then, wasn’t I? Crunch time for the first phone release?”
“That is correct, Sir.”
Tony was used to meeting people who thought they knew him, because that was just something that came with being a public figure, but this was different. Wilson didn’t seem like the type to buy into celebrity hype, or to be making a shitty joke.
Steve was looking between them with concern. “Are you sure you’ve got the dates right, Sam?”
“I meet a lot of people, so I’m not saying I don’t believe you’ve met me before, but it definitely wasn’t then,” Tony added.
“I’m sure- it was just before we were preparing to graduate from the pararescue course, no way I’m forgetting that. Let me contact a few of my old buddies from that class, see if any of them have a photo or something.”
The conversation shifted to other topics after that, like his work at the VA, until Sam’s phone pinged with a new message. He pulled up the photos, a group of airmen posing with a guy in a suit.
That… That definitely looked like him. “JARVIS, run facial recognition on those photos.”
“At once, Sir.” There was only a moment to wait before JARVIS spoke again. “Analysis complete. As far as I am able to ascertain, they are genuine; however, the quality of the images is low, which means I am unable to make such a determination definitively.”
This was potentially a very big problem. Tony glanced over at Steve, who looked just as concerned, so at least they were on the same page about this.
“JARVIS, start combing through social media and paparazzi shots. Look for any photos featuring me, or any of the other Avengers, that don’t match up to our known whereabouts when they were taken.”
“Is this really such a big deal? What if it’s just some lookalike cashing in on the resemblance, like all the Ellis impersonators doing weddings and shit?” Sam asked.
“Hopefully that’s all this is, but if it’s not we could be in real trouble,” Steve replied.
“I don’t know how far they got with it, but at one point SHIELD was working to develop LMDs. Life Model Decoys, designed to be indistinguishable from a real person, often a specific person,” Tony added.
Understanding dawned on Sam’s face. “And if SHIELD had them, now Hydra has them.”
“Bingo. There’s no limit to the havoc they’d be able to create with a few LMDs at their disposal. Avengers, politicians, access to top secret locations,” Tony said.
“Sounds like you’re going to need all the help you can get,” Sam offered.