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The Mark VII's battered beyond the telling of it, scraped and dented with microfractures along the joints the clear signs of a strain that even Tony never thought to anticipate. There's no hope that he'll be able to repair it. JARVIS tuts as Tony examines it, and Tony tells him not to be such a party pooper; JARVIS tells Tony that he concurs with Ms Romanoff as to Tony's definition of a party, and Tony makes a probably ill-advised 2001: A Space Odyssey reference.

"Ad hominem attacks do not become you, sir," JARVIS says.

"Ad machinem," Tony says automatically, "whatever, just see what you can salvage from the suit's sensors."

"The suit's external temperature had dropped to almost 100 Kelvin by the time I lost contact with you," JARVIS says, even while a new computer screen shimmers into life in the air around Tony. "That combined with the previous damage you'd sustained to the sensors means that there's no guarantee that I can accurately reconstruct the data."

"I can tweak partial data later," Tony says, distracted by what JARVIS is showing him on the screens. Some of the video comes from the tiny cameras embedded in the suit, showing the dizzying rush through Manhattan and up into the mouth of the maelstrom; other clips came from shuddering news cameras and blurry video phones, all of them struggling to keep up with the twinned speed of Iron Man and a nuke. It's not that Tony's not used to seeing footage of himself, but there's something surreal about this: watching himself disappear from the galaxy for sixty-seven long seconds before he plummets back to earth like a stone.

He pulls up a seat and cracks open a bottle of beer as JARVIS pulls the data from the suit and extrapolates from it. "I feel obliged to mention, sir," JARVIS says dryly, "that Ms Potts has made her views on drinking at 4a.m. clear on several occasions."

"Special dispensation," Tony says distractedly. On the screen, he sees the skies over Manhattan shade into the dark of a field of stars; the sprawling mass of a mothership, silhouetted against a blazing purple nebula. "On account of... extraterrestrial intergalactic superhero travel." He can pretty much hear JARVIS calculating all the ways to point out the illogic of that statement, so Tony distracts him by asking for estimates of velocity and location, of the number of ships he'd taken out with the nuke and the length of time between him reappearing over the city and the time the portal closed.

JARVIS reels off the stats, says 0.457 seconds, and Tony leans back in his chair, closes his eyes for a moment and murmurs, "Well, fuck," under his breath. He hears Cap's voice in his head, saying you're not the guy to lie down on the wire, and thinks maybe not; maybe not, but maybe he's turned out to be the kind of guy who'd go beyond it, who'd disregard all boundaries if he had to. He takes another slug of his beer and taps the reactor in his chest and says, "Real boy after all, huh?"

"Sir?" JARVIS says.

"Disregard," Tony says cheerfully, and then says, "Pull up the Guinness World Records regulations page, would you? I want to see the look on Fury's face when I get a certificate for being the world's most traveled person."

"Director Fury has noted that the Avengers Initiative would benefit from more positive press," JARVIS notes and calls up a new browser window. Tony grins.