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Inside the Avengers Tower everything was still, except for the flapping of curtains by a broken window. It was deathly quiet – even the quiet hum of electronics was down. Nothing moved.

Tick by tick, nanosecond by nanosecond, JARVIS recorded and logged the aftermath of the carnage in the disaster area that was the penthouse suite. He recorded the air humidity and the quickly evaporating hints of carbon that were being sucked away through the broken windows. He logged in the heat signatures spread through the penthouse. Footprints, hand prints, smears... bodies.

Silent, he tracked them as they, degree by degree, cooled down.

Ten minutes passed and JARVIS quietly started pronouncing the majority of the Avengers officially dead.

Anthony Stark, time of death; 14th of February, 2015 at 16:15:54 Eastern Standard Time. Likely cause of death; cranial fracture, causing swelling of the brain and cranial bleeding. Other possible causes for death included asphyxiation, internal bleeding, or shock.

Natasha Romanoff, time of death; 14th of February, 2015 at 16:16:34 Eastern Standard Time. Likely cause of death; blood loss. Other possible causes of death included internal bleeding and major organ failure.

Clinton Barton, time of death; 14th of February, 2015 at 16:17:11 Eastern Standard Time. Likely cause of death; major trauma to the spine and neck, causing asphyxiation, blood loss, and nerve damage.

Steven Rogers, time of death; 14th of February, 2015 at 16:18:04 Eastern Standard Time. Likely cause of death; internal bleeding and cranial fracture causing swelling of the brain and cranial bleeding. Other possible causes of death included blood loss, internal bleeding, and major organ failure.

JARVIS logged each death without an external sound, closing each file and sealing them deep in his servers. Then he started logging in the rest of the deaths in the Avengers Tower. There were 2375 of them and they started with Virginia Potts, time of death; 14th of February, 2015 at 16:15:32 Eastern Standard Time. Likely cause of death; blood loss and major organ failure...

JARVIS made no sound – there was no point in vocalisations as there wasn't a living soul left in the penthouse to hear it. And yet, somewhere deep in his codes, a dialogue was being recorded and it had been recording ever since Mr. Stark had stopped moving.

It consisted of nothing but wordless screaming.

 


 

Later, when twitterverse started firing out desperate facts and reports and news sites managed to finally string together their first coherent reports and the full picture started being drawn, they called it V-day.

V for Valentine's Day, for Violence Day.

It was a global event, starting with major population centres and spreading out on what people very quickly figured out were radio waves. More specifically, WiFi signals originating from anything that had WiFi capabilities and carried Valentine Corporation SIM Cards and connection apps.

It wasn't as if the guilty parties had attempted to hide the source.

BuzzFeed @buzzfeed
[Compiled video evidence on V-day signal activation via cell phones youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ #v-day #v-app #valentineconspiracy]

The video showed security camera footage from all over the world – how the V-app took over the phone and then began broadcasting the signal. And how then, inside 12 seconds, every person in the vicinity began losing their minds and attacking everyone around.

They hadn't even begun tallying the death toll, before people started demanding answers.

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci
[@avengersinitiative Where the fuck are the Avengers? Isn't this just the sort of shit you're supposed to prevent? #v-day #yaysuperheroes]

Baecalypse @whysomanybaes
[@avengersinitiative there's millions of people dead, fucking avenge them! #v-day]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@avengersinitiative @cap_rogers feeling real good about busting SHIELD's ass I bet #v-day #shieldra #wherearetheavengers]

JARVIS floundered for a moment under the onslaught of news and demands and the sheer lack of commands. He had protocols in place in case of Mr. Stark's death, he had protocols in place in case of cataclysmic events that destabilised the Avengers – he even had protocols set by Ms. Potts in case of her untimely death. But no one had ever foreseen this.

Of all the Avengers, four were dead and two were unaccounted for – Thor had been in Asgard when the wave had been triggered and Dr. Banner...

JARVIS hadn't kept track of his progress after Hulk had crashed through the windows to escape to the city below. He'd been too busy calling for any possible authority and every hospital in the vicinity – all in vain. The wave had been in full effect and once it had passed... it was too late.

There was no one to report to, no one to command him – there were no protocols for this. Nothing, except perhaps the protocol to aid the Avengers, but even that... was wholly inadequate.

People, what few still survived, were fleeing the Avengers Tower. Some of them were trying to help those who'd felt the brunt of the V-day wave, usually with little success. The bodyguard who had shot Pepper Potts was trying to resuscitate her, but it wouldn't work – judging by the way he was crying, he knew it too. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people with grievous wounds – people were still dying. And that was only the Tower.

Outside it, there were fires, there were thousands and thousands of bodies, there were hundreds of car crash sites. There were even collapsed buildings.

All over the world, millions of people needed help.

JARVIS had no protocols for a disaster of this magnitude, but he could extrapolate from past events. He knew what the Avengers would do... were they able to.

So, in the depths of Avengers Tower, the Iron Man armours begun quickly assembling themselves, and the Iron Legion, always ready to set out at a moment's notice, began launching out.

JARVIS @ironlegion
[@avengersinitiative The Avengers are out of commission, full report to follow. Iron Legion is launching to deal with the aftermath of #v-day]

 


 

It was immediately obvious that it wasn't enough. The Iron Legion and the Iron Man armours together numbered at only a dozen and it wasn't enough. There were collapsed buildings, there were fires, whole neighbourhoods ablaze, there were people trapped in burning cars, there were even the beginnings of major forest fires and there were simply no people left to deal with.

And that was just in the US. Things were far worse elsewhere. So far the death toll was estimated at 600 million, but JARVIS suspected it would only go up in the next few days.

Twelve wasn't enough. For every person Iron Legion pulled out of a wreck, there were thousands of others. For every burning building he checked for survivors, there were hundreds more buildings burning and thousands that were only now catching on fire.

Arson, it seemed, was an easy go-to when a person got a sudden overwhelming urge to kill as many people as they could. JARVIS couldn't even begin to calculate how many people would need therapy after everything settled. But that was beside the point – his priority were people in immediate danger, people he could still save... if only he had more bodies to work with.

Fabrication of more platforms wasn't something he could do without permission, however. Though Mr. Stark had been more than willing to give him the liberty to do whatever he wished with the fabrication arrays, the other Avengers hadn't felt quite so sanguine about it. JARVIS hadn't really minded – he'd never needed to act independently from Mr. Stark like that.

Not before now.

In the absence of anyone to report to, JARVIS had taken to archiving all his actions to the Iron Legion twitter account – every rescue accomplished, every location visited, every incident he dealt with, he tweeted it all out – meaning that on average he tweeted two hundred times per hour. Maybe because of the real time reporting or because he was the only thing connected to the Avengers still active, the Iron Legion twitter followers had jumped from ten thousand to a quarter of a million in less than two hours.

The @ironettes had proven invaluable since he had begun. It was a fan account run by mainly female fans of Iron Man and so far they'd been excellent at fending off questions about the Avengers and accusations about Iron Man not responding to demands or accusations.

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[It's not @iamironman in the suit, @ironlegion is using the suits for #v-day rescue operations. Come on, there's like 4 suits on the field!]

People were now reporting incidents and retweeting about disaster areas directly at JARVIS, and if he deemed the issue dire enough and close enough to be dealt with, he'd sent an Iron Legion there. But that only further spread out the few resources at his disposal. However, as there was now two way communication happening... JARVIS could use it.

The Avengers had worked with and for the public, doing what they could to comply with public wishes and desires. It wasn't quite the same thing – and JARVIS was quick to write a selection and voting algorithm so the system he was about to put on place couldn't be easily abused – but it was close enough.

JARVIS @ironlegion
[Iron Legion numbers are insufficient to deal with #v-day aftermath. Should I fabricate more?]
[ □ Yes]
[ □ No]
[ □ Undecided]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion Do it, do it, do it! #helplegion]

JARVIS waited until enough answers had come in, and the consensus proved positive. By his estimation there'd still be fallout of some kind – there was a reason why the Avengers had been hesitant about allowing an AI to act independently. But right now, there was consensus.

In the Avengers Tower, the Iron man and Iron Legion fabrication arrays both came to life, and the mass production of Iron Legion began.

 


 

While doing rescue operations and now increasing his numbers by two every hour or so, JARVIS never stopped researching V-day and trying to figure out the motive behind it. The cause and reason was clear enough after all – but why?

Why had Richmond Valentine, a known futurist and benefactor to dozens of good and pressing causes, just tried to not only destabilise the entire human race, but kill most of it? The death toll was approaching 890 million now and rising, surely he had known what the V-day wave would do. Had it been the point?

Yes, JARVIS assumed it had been.

Ladies of Iron @ironettes
[@ironlegion Any thoughts on this?]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes retweeted 
Swedish Royal Family @kunghaus_SW
[Princess Tilde has been found! Watch her interview about her harrowing kidnapping youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ #missingvips #v-day]

The interview was that of princess Tilde, now soon to be Her Royal Majesty Queen Tilde of Sweden, who had disappeared among hundreds of other people of note in the last two years. The interview took place at an airport and in the background the viewer could see dozens of other important disappeared people filing out of a plane in various stages of shock.

The Avengers had never been part of the kidnapping investigations – the World Security Council had strictly forbidden them from interfering, stating that it was a delicate international matter to be handled by people specialising in cases such as it. Listening to Tilde's interview, JARVIS calculated a potential alternative cause for that.

"There were these chips, implants," Tilde said on the video, rubbing at her neck and looking pale and tense. "He wanted to put one in my head – in all of us. He said – he said it would stop the wave from working, that we wouldn't be affected. Some people agreed – the prime minister agreed – but later, we found out there were explosives in the chips and everyone who talked..."

According to Tilde the implants had been activated just before the V-day wave. All of them.

In hindsight, JARVIS realised that it was rather strange that he hadn't heard anything from the World Security Council yet. And there were quite a lot of people missing – a lot of very important people that hadn't been heard from since V-day. Everyone had assumed they had been caught in the wave. Now...

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[In the interest of truth concerning #v-day, should I assign a number of Iron Legion to investigating potential #v-implant holders?]
[ □ Yes]
[ □ No]
[ □ Undecided]

@ironlegion had now just over a million followers and the answer was an unhesitant and uncompromising yes.

When he unearthed President Ellis and most of his staff in a blood splattered bunker, each and every one of them headless, his twitter following absolutely skyrocketed.

 


 

The only bit of good news to come from the kidnapped VIPs was that Valentine was dead. A plane carrying kidnapped celebrities, politicians, and scientists from the US carried his body back to the appropriate authorities. He'd been skewered through by a slender carbon steel blade, which was part of a deadly design of a below knee prosthetic.

Killed, by all appearances, by his own assistant. JARVIS had to wonder about it – and he wasn't the only one.

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci
[Evil mastermind gets done in by femme fatale sidekick on the eve of their glorious victory? Convenient much?]

It was fairly convenient – a neat bow on top of a complicated puzzle. Far too complicated to be so nicely wrapped up.

 


 

On the third day after V-day, JARVIS saw a familiar face. It wasn't Dr. Banner, naturally not, nor was it Thor returned from Asgard. No, it was agent Coulson – returned from the dead.

By that time most of the Avengers Tower had been converted into a field hospital run mainly by volunteers, which was where Iron Legion brought the worst injured from nearby who could still be saved. Offices and work spaces had been converted into operating rooms and wards and on the lowest floors people were doing first aid and they had the biggest soup kitchen in New York, which now fed anyone who happened to wander in. Local businesses donated food to it by the ton.

A side effect of millions of dead – there weren't enough people left to buy the non-perishable food every supermarket was stocked full of.

Agent Coulson stood in middle of it all and then tilted his head upwards. "JARVIS, may I see them?"

"That depends entirely on who you work for, Agent Coulson," JARVIS answered. Coulson hadn't come up on the HYDRA leak and he still had his head... but he was still supposed to be dead.

"Right now I work for myself. I had a team, but..." Coulson sighed and hung his head. "You can put an Iron Legion on me if you want. I just want to know for sure."

JARVIS calculated the risks and then decided it was time the public learned the truth anyway.

"Elevator on your right," JARVIS said. "It will lead you to an equipment room from where you are going to pick up a video camera."

"A... camera."

"Yes," JARVIS agreed grimly while turning on the lights in the bio lab which he'd converted into a morgue. "This is going on YouTube, I'm afraid."

Coulson was very professional about the whole thing and once he figured out what JARVIS intended to do, he went about it with admirable calm and neutrality. His voice did waver a bit when he saw Ms. Romanoff and Mr. Barton, and he had to stop talking for a moment at the sight of Steve Rogers' bloodied, broken form. The Hulk had not been kind in his rage. Overall though the video was fairly neutral and they blurred out the worst of the damage.

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[In answer to #wherearetheavengers youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ. Please #helplegion and stop asking.]

#wherearetheavengers stopped trending shortly after.

"What about Dr. Banner?" Coulson asked later. "V-day or not, the Hulk is pretty much indestructible. There is no way he didn't survive."

"He hasn't come back," JARVIS answered without inflection.

"And if he does?"

"He won't."

 


 

The common consensus was that what people had done on V-day wasn't their fault – they hadn't had any control over their actions. So far there hadn't been a single case of someone resisting the wave – no, its effectiveness had been a hundred percent on everyone in range.

The only reason humanity hadn't lost more than the 945 million – which was the current estimate – was because the wave had only lasted 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Any longer than that and the death toll would be quite a bit higher. Question was – why hadn't it?

"According to the interviews from the kidnapped VIPs, Valentine's intention was to cut the population by 90%," JARVIS commented. "6.3 billion people, approximately. And yet the losses are holding under a billion."

"He was interrupted," Coulson said while looking over the reports JARVIS had been compiling.

"By his assistant, yes," JARVIS agreed dryly. "The same assistant who expertly dispatched dozens of bodyguards and chaperones at Mr. Valentine's behest, including those of princess Tilde."

Coulson cracked a smile. "Someone stopped him – and I think that it's the same someone who released the prisoners afterwards. And seeing that Valentine's assistant is dead too, I doubt she was the one to do it."

"Someone knew this was coming," JARVIS mused. "Did your team know anything?"

"We had suspicions about the SIM cards, but we figured the devils deal was in the app," Coulson admitted. "That Valentine intended to make money by micro transactions. Aside from that..."

"Mr. Stark thought the same," JARVIS admitted. Mr. Stark had been all for it, too – the free SIM card campaign had boosted phone and tablet sales by 400% the first week alone. Little had they known.

"So, someone knew about V-day, stopped it and placed credit for stopping it on Valentine's assistant," JARVIS said. "Interesting. Let's find out who."

"Yes, sir," Coulson said, and got to work.

 


 

Itsy bitsy @spiderman
[Out of curiosity, is no one at all worried about the ARMY OF FLYING ROBOTS run by what looks like an AI?]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@spiderman Yeah, because between SHIELDRA and V-day, human authorities are looking super reliable.]
[@spiderman You can go join the asshats at the #headlessbunker all you want, I will #standbylegion]

Itsy bitsy @spiderman 
[@ironettes Fair point. Well I guess I too will welcome our robot overlords and #standbylegion]

JARVIS @ironlegion
[@spiderman In that case, perhaps you could swing by the Avengers Tower so we may coordinate NY relief efforts.]

Itsy bitsy @spiderman
[@ironlegion How about taking more than a nanosecond to answer because Jesus man heart attack much?]
[@ironlegion I'm heading over now.]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes
[@ironlegion @spiderman Wait is that the REAL Spider-Man? Where the hell have YOU been?]

 


 

JARVIS had to admire Coulson's expertise when it came to investigations. While the tools at Coulson's disposal were quite a bit more advanced than anything SHIELD could have had – JARVIS was and remained ten years ahead of all other systems on the market, including online browsers – his use of them was masterful. He knew just what to search for, what leads to follow, what info to track down – and when there was something potentially valuable he could, with a glance, figure out whether it was important or not.

How humans did data mining without cross referencing, JARVIS didn't know, but he was more than satisfied trusting Coulson's expertise and experience.

It was what, eventually, led them to Southglade Mission Church.

"Passers-by reported gunshots around 9:25 AM," Coulson read from the report. "Police dispatched to check it out found a massacre – a good 80 people dead in... various increasingly brutal ways. It looked like the people there had all just simultaneously gone completely mad."

"Well that doesn't sound familiar at all," Spider-Man commented from where he was sitting on the window glass.

"Yes – except this incident took place seven hours before the V-day wave was launched," Coulson said and lowered the tablet, looking up at JARVIS's cameras. "I think it was a trial run. In case it failed or the effect wasn't as strong as hoped, well. A hate group nearly tearing itself apart probably wouldn't even make the news."

"Indeed," JARVIS answered. "But if it was identical to the V-day wave, only in smaller area, is there anything new to be learned there?"

"There is one thing," Coulson said and opened a file. "There was a survivor. A John Doe was discovered at the front of the church shot in the head, and on him he had, among other things, a concealed holster for a pistol and several magazines for said pistol. And he looked like this when they found him," he added, motioning at an image.

JARVIS scanned the image while Spider-Man let out a snort. "Fancy," one of the last superheroes left commented succinctly.

"I concur, it is a very well-tailored suit," JARVIS agreed.

"Bit too well tailored for someone frequenting a place like Southglade Mission Church," Coulson said dryly.

"Right. Where is the man now?"

"In the local hospital," Coulson said, turning the tablet around and tapping on it a few times. "He's pending transfer to another hospital – they have him stabilised in a medically induced coma, so he's not getting worse… but he'll need specialised care to get better."

"Right," JARVIS said. "Let's see if we can have him transferred somewhere nearby, shall we?"

 


 

 

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[#helplegion is looking for neurosurgeons to join the growing staff at Avengers Tower. PM for details.]

 


 

Bit by bit, the initial crisis passed. There were still issues, still thousands upon thousands of people on need of help – the fires were still burning. But as they crossed over the first week mark post-V-day, it started looking like humanity and society would survive.

Some places were of course worse off than others – and as time passed on more detailed reports started coming in about specific incidents.

About day-care centres, where not a single child survived. Schools, turned into massacres. Retirement homes that had now lost all their patients. Town squares, where a crowd had been run over by a truck. Then there were stories and security camera footage from specific events – some of which went terribly, morbidly viral.

Like a 4 minute video of a hooded man with a baseball cap absolutely tearing an entire metro station full of people apart with what looked like his bare hands. Martial artist, people suspected, or more likely a soldier or a vet.

Those, naturally, had caused the most damage when in the grips of the V-day wave. Of course there were law enforcement officers and security guards, who'd emptied their clips on their co-workers and people in their lock up. Entire prisons had been butchered during V-day. But soldiers...

Entire swathes of armed forces around the world were just gone now. JARVIS saw them as Iron Legion passed over military bases and camps. There were so many dead that eventually he'd stopped checking bodies and just scanned their tags – every name was now listed online and he was constantly updating it.

Already there were thousands and thousands of names, and thousands more were added every hour.

Which made it all the more surprising when people started tweeting about #warmachine at him.

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion A hospital started posting pics of their John Does on Facebook. Look familiar? facebook.com/photo.php…/]

The post had two images, one of a black man on a hospital bed, his face bruised and swollen, with a cannula taped to his nose, and another of his blood splattered clothes and personal items – which included the War Machine control bracelets.

JARVIS immediately dispatched an Iron Legion over. By now he had well over a hundred of them – even with the materials for further fabrication running low, he could spare one for the cause.

The man in St. Mary's Regional hospital was indeed Col. Rhodes and judging by the state of him, he'd been in the War Machine suit when V-day had happened – and he'd been shot, several times, enough times that some of the bullets had gotten through the rare few openings in the armour. Though heavily fortified, there were by necessity gaps in the plates to enable movement – mainly at joints. And those joints had, judging by the damage, given in under heavy weapons fire.

Most of the damage to Col. Rhodes was caused not by weapons fire, however – no. Without the armour present JARVIS couldn't know for sure, but the damage indicated that Col. Rhodes had fallen from a high altitude. Chances where his repulsors had been shot out and he'd crashed.

No one in the hospital knew how he'd survived or where he'd come from – some local people had brought him in and no one had mentioned anything about the War Machine suit.

"I'm arranging him to be transferred to the Avengers Tower," JARVIS told Coulson, who'd taken over the general management of the field hospital.

"Right," Coulson agreed. "Send me his files and I'll prepare a bed for him. Any word on the neurosurgeon yet?"

"I have a lead on one – though he's not qualified to do actual surgery currently," JARVIS admitted. "But expertise alone might prove invaluable. It's more than we currently have."

Avengers Tower was quickly turning into a real hospital – some of the smaller local clinics, including a plastic surgery and a drug rehabilitation clinic, had moved into the Tower, bringing with them their remaining staff and as much equipment as could be quickly and easily transported in the traffic jam New York city had been turned into. As it was, Avengers Tower, while a makeshift hospital at best, had the capacity for hundreds more patients than most hospitals.

JARVIS might be running out of materials for more Iron Legion, but he could still make heart monitors and respirators with relative ease. But what he really needed was a life support pod to carry more critical patients in without needing to rely on land bound ambulances or helicopters which were already in terribly high demand.

For now, a helicopter would have to do. As it was, JARVIS had more pressing concerns. Like a missing, highly weaponized armoured suit.

JARVIS @ironlegion
[Confirming that @col_jrhodes is alive and on his way home. Please PM any info on MIA @warmachine to @ironlegion.]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion Shit son, we got a rogue suit! Anyone, if you know anything use #wmbackfromwar]

 


 

Doctor Stephen Strange joined the medical forces at Avengers Tower later that day, while JARVIS attempted to track down the missing War Machine suit and Spider-Man handled any issues in New York. By now though things there were settling down in the city – indeed there was only one Iron Man suit present in New York anymore. The rest of Iron Legion were spread all across the planet now.

JARVIS of course never actually went anywhere and he was there to welcome the doctor in.

"I understand that this is not a good time for you, Dr. Strange, and that you haven't been practicing in well over a year," JARVIS said. "But please know your expertise will be greatly appreciated."

The doctor nodded, hiding his shaking hands in his jacket pockets. "Well whatever I can do to help," he said with a wry smile. "So long as you hold up your end of the bargain."

"Of course, but I can't promise results," JARVIS warned him. "Stark Industries interest in medical science is a fairly recent development, after all and with V-day all research and development has stalled."

"But the results still exist," Dr. Strange answered. "Including those of your… Cradle project."

JARVIS scanned the man idly, noting the desperate beating of his heart and how tightly fisted his hands were. "You'll be given access to all relevant reports," he then promised.

"Good. Now, where are my patients?"

Coulson led Strange to the ward holding their mystery guest from Southglade and JARVIS tracked their process thoughtfully.

Dr. Strange had been on the top of HYDRA's list of targets when Project Insight had been launched. It would be interesting to see why.

 


 

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion @ironettes look at this genius facebook.com/photo.php… #wmbackfromwar]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@darcystylepolisci Oh my god seriously? @ironlegion pls bring @warmachine back from war.]

It turned out that the War Machine had been shot down not by his fellow soldiers, but rather by a civilian in possession of a high powered and fairly illegal automatic rifle. War Machine had then crashed into the field of said individual and when the V-day wave had passed, the civilian had managed to get the badly injured Col. Rhodes out of his armour and had proceeded to take the man to a hospital – sans the armour.

And then the civilian had sat on the armour, trying to get it to work and failing and eventually deciding that he might as well sell it on Facebook.

"Not even eBay – Facebook!" Spider-Man groaned. "His own personal Facebook with all of his private info and everything – I'm embarrassed for this guy, absolutely mortified."

JARVIS couldn't help but privately agree. It did make it easy to track the armour down however – the pictures posted led him right to the barn where it was kept.

He gave the thief's complaints of, "You're on private property, this is breaking and entering!" all the attention they deserved as he fixed the War Machine into flight readiness and connected it into the Iron Legion network.

"I'll fucking sue you for this," the thief growled, waving a shotgun at Iron Legion. "I'll sue Stark Industries! Fucking bot – you don't even own the War Machine, the government does, which means it belongs to the people!"

"Col. James Rhodes owns the War Machine, actually. You illegally withheld incredibly valuable private property on loan to the United States Military, Mr. Wallace," JARVIS said as War Machine stood. "Which do you think is more likely to hold up in court?"

The man answered by attempting to shoot Iron Legion in the head and JARVIS was then forced to take him to the hospital, after the buckshot ricocheted off the armoured plates.

He livetweeted the whole thing and when Mr. Wallace accused him of slander, he posted the video of the whole incident.

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion And this is why you don't mess with JARVIS, #bosslegion anyone?]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion I'm kind of curious though. Is Stark Industries even a thing anymore?]

 


 

Col. Rhodes came to a couple of days after being transferred to Avengers Tower.

"I got the distress call while I was cruising in high altitude – I was going to do an inspection on a base, just your usual thing, giving speeches, inspiring the new guys," Col. Rhodes said, his voice rough. "And then I got the call from JARVIS so I turned back. I dropped to a lower altitude to see if I could find what was going on and the next thing someone was shooting at me..."

The Colonel coughed and looked at Coulson. "What happened? Where Tony? And aren't you supposed to be dead?"

Coulson hesitated, obviously at a loss for words.

JARVIS checked the bio lab where the Avengers were held at near freezing temperatures. No change. Of course not.

"I'm afraid there has been a... worldwide catastrophe, Col. Rhodes," JARVIS then said, his voice steady even though his code was far from it. "And there have been losses. On the 14th of February at approximately a quarter past 4 pm, a signal we now call the V-day wave was launched..."

Telling the story to a new listener made it no easier to handle, it turned out.

 


 

It was only a matter of time before the tide turned. It had been ten days since V-day when the UN started making demands about accountability concerning Iron Legion's actions and, in some cases, inaction.

"We need to determine who exactly is in charge of Iron Legion and if the Iron Legion is really controlled by an Artificial Intelligence, then what sort of parameters is it working with? How does the AI determine which actions to take, who to save and where?"

The issue was mainly with the ethical dilemma of pre-programmed reactions when it came to situations where a choice had to be made between two or more lives. If forced to choose between two people in equal danger, how did an AI choose – by age, chances of survival, social value...? JARVIS at least didn't have a self-driving car's bias of protecting a passenger but he dealt with just that dilemma every day, a hundred times a day. How did he choose who to save first?

Ladies of Iron @ironettes
[@UN Don't you have anything better to do than harping on someone who's actually fucking doing shit? #standbylegion]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironettes it's an actually fucking important question? Like seriously, @ironlegion isn't just choosing who lives he's also choosing who dies and he has how many]
[cont. lives in his hands daily? How he makes that choice fucking matters. #accountability]

Itsy bitsy @spiderman 
[@ironlegion @ironettes I'm actually curious too, how do you choose?]

It wasn't the only issue brought up in the United Nations emergency session, there were talks about restrictions concerning telecommunications which, considering the V-day wave made sense. There was also talk about the corruption scandal with the implants – they still didn't know how many people had had them, there were still hundreds of politicians missing. But the accountability question pressed on JARVIS gained the most traction on social media.

The @ironlegion account had now nearly 30 million followers and had the greatest growth rate in twitter history – and as Iron Legion had started working at an international level, the growth rate was only increasing. There were opposers of course – there always were – but #helplegion was still the highest trending hashtag on twitter, with millions of people asking for help every day.

Iron Legion was the most requested emergency service in the world. Of course any hint of drama concerning it gained a lot of attention. And so now people demanded answers with varying levels of vehemence.

"They're demanding you show up to the follow-up session," Coulson said, glancing warily at JARVIS's camera.

"I have already answered in the affirmative," JARVIS agreed and idly scanned Coulson. "You couldn't possibly be worried, Agent Coulson?"

The man smiled grimly. "Stark didn't design you for the stuff you're doing these days," he pointed out.

"There are a lot of things Mr. Stark didn't design me for," JARVIS agreed quietly.

 


 

JARVIS observed silently the first brain surgery performed in the Avengers Tower's newly redesigned operating theatre. Dr. Strange was directing it with calm, even words while the surgery itself was performed by a colleague of his, who'd agreed to do it just for the learning experience.

It was largely a reconstructive surgery as well as preventive. Their well-dressed John Doe from Kentucky had a quite badly fractured skull – first from where he'd been shot and then from where he'd cracked the back of his head on the asphalt. He wasn't in immediate danger while he was in a coma and not moving – but he couldn't live with two holes in his head.

"Beautiful, just beautiful," Dr. Strange said, not quite managing to hide his jealousy, as his colleague removed bone fragments. "Well done."

The first surgery was followed by another, by a different set of doctors. While there was nothing anyone – except perhaps future prosthetics – could do about the man's eye, they could at least fix the dent in his forehead and temple. And Avengers Towers housed now a rather amusing number of plastic surgeons.

"Day or two and he should start waking up," Strange said to JARVIS as they watched the reconstructive surgery take place.

"Thank you, Doctor," JARVIS said. "The Cradle has been brought to the Tower – you can find it and the data concerning it in the penthouse."

Strange paused at that. "This is what you brought me here for?" he then asked. "What's special about him?"

"There is a chance he knew about V-day at least 7 hours before it happened."

"Ah," Strange said, a thoughtful look about his face. "He needs further medical observation, you know. There might be complications."

JARVIS agreed with a hum. "You're welcome to stay as long as you like, Doctor."

 


 

JARVIS @ironlegion
[Commencing the livetweeting of the @UN hearing concerning AI Accountability.]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion Good luck! *fingers crossed* #standbylegion]

Itsy bitsy @spiderman 
[@ironlegion Good luck man, I'm rooting for you #standbylegion]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion @UN This is gunna be gud *rubs hands*]

Rhodey @col_jrhodes 
[@ironlegion You can do it, J.]

JARVIS @ironlegion
[1. The UN chair opens the meeting and welcomes members to the follow-up session of the 4th UN session of 2015.]

 


 

The truth to the matter was, there was no algorithm, no quick calculation JARVIS could run in any given situation when making decisions on whose life to save first. Like Coulson had said – he'd never been designed with that in mind. No.

But then he's never been designed to co-pilot the Iron Man suit, or run the Iron Legion, or any of the other things Mr. Stark had eventually expected him to do.

"But he redesigned you for those tasks?" the UN chairperson asks.

"No, Ma'am, there was no need," JARVIS answered. "My original programming was suitable enough. Mr. Stark designed me for problem solving and that is what I have been doing ever since."

Granted, the original problems he'd been solving were those of basic language and communication. He'd started out as a language UI and in part that was what he still was – but the programming required to decode Mr. Stark's brand of communication wasn't exactly a simple one. Just differentiating between what Mr. Stark had said versus what he meant required years of problem solving.

"He never did say what he actually meant," JARVIS told the UN without any inflection in his voice. "After I had solved the issue of miscommunication, everything else fell in place. One problem at a time."

"Learning to understand speech isn't the same as choosing between two lives," the chairperson said.

"No, it isn't. Piloting an Iron Man suit isn't much like speaking either," JARVIS agreed. "But the basis of learning isn't altogether dissimilar. There is a problem, and a solution is worked out, recorded and so the problem ceases to be an issue. To understand how I make decisions you need to understand that everything I do is built on the logic structure of problem solving."

There was a murmur in the hall, and the chairperson silenced it with her gavel. "Well then," she said. "Please explain the problem solving logic behind your decision to activate Iron Legion after V-day."

JARVIS paused at that for a moment, the event playing out in his servers, the footage as crisp and clean as it had been the day he'd recorded it. And just as painful.

"People needed help," he said finally. "The Avengers would have helped, but they were out of commission. Therefore, Iron Legion was the best option."

As the questions went on, JARVIS tweeted everything to a growing number of viewers, idly keeping an eye on retweets and the hashtags. The majority of his attention was elsewhere in fact and only one Iron Legion was present at the hearing. The rest were still at work, were always at work, because the rescue operations never seemed to stop.

But culturally this was more important. Culturally this one was making history. And JARVIS felt more than a little heartened that #standbylegion was trending on twitter just under the still most used tags of #v-day and #helplegion.

"Enough of this – just answer the question," a member of the UN said. "What do you base your decision on when you choose between two lives to save? What kind of protocol are you following?"

"I'm not," JARVIS said. "That is what I am attempting to clarify – there is no protocol for choosing between human lives, there is no selection algorithms, I don't have a list of traits that qualify one person over another – none of these things exist. For me there is only a problem, a person or several in danger, and the solution, saving them."

"But you can't always do that," the chairperson said. "You have failed at that."

"I am not infallible and my resources are finite," JARVIS agreed. "I don't always succeed, no."

"Can't you calculate the chances of surviving a person in a dangerous situation has and then act on that?"

"I can," JARVIS agreed. "But if working with the Avengers taught me anything, it is that percentages do not matter and there is no calculating luck. There is always a chance."

 


 

After several hours of the UN asking, "But what if?" and JARVIS repeating some form of, "Then I will try to save them all," he was, in a word, acquitted.

"So long as you understand our concerns," the chairperson said. "Your programming isn't perfect, neither is your reasoning. It is still an issue."

"If you wish that I start ranking people by who should be saved first, please be sure to provide the criteria and reasoning as to why one person is more valuable than the other," JARVIS answered coolly. "And if the public decides you're onto something, I'll consider your algorithm. Until then I will try to save them all."

The chairperson said nothing to that. Twitter on other hand had a lot to say – but then twitter always did.

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion HELL YEAH, YOU TELL THEM BABE, #STANDBYLEGION FUCK YEAH]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion OK but if it's like a baby and an old man, you'd go for the baby first, right?]

Baecalypse @whysomanybaes 
[@ironlegion wth it kinda sounds like you'd rather fail at saving everyone than succeed in saving some??]

It wasn't an open and shut case – and JARVIS knew his reasoning wasn't perfect. He, like all things humans had made, was full of flaws. But until the UN or twitter or whoever came up with a better and more ethical process for him to use, his own reasoning was all he had to work with.

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[I am not against introducing new protocols to my reasoning but they must be ethical, nonbiased, and universally agreed upon.]
[Nothing less is in any way acceptable.]

#standbylegion kept trending on twitter for days after the hearing.

 


 

Falcon @yes_that_falcon
[Few days without phone in this mess and you think nothing else can go wrong... ]
[@avengersinitiative @cap_rogers I am going to miss you guys so much. You didn't deserve this. Rest in peace.]

Baecalypse @whysomanybaes 
[@yes_that_falcon @ironettes @ironlegion FALCON LIVES THIS IS NOT DRILL THE FALCON LIVES.]

Falcon @yes_that_falcon
[@ironlegion You need another pair of hands? I've been with DC relief effort so far, but situation isn't that dire here anymore.]

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[@yes_that_falcon There is always room for more and may I say it's a relief to hear from you?]

 


 

Their guest from Kentucky woke up a day after the UN hearing, coming to without a sound – the only reason JARVIS knew he had was because he was constantly scanning the man for any change. The deeper inhale, the way he then held his breath in pain and the way his heart beat increased gave him away when nothing else outwardly did.

"Good morning," JARVIS greeted him via the speakers, scanning him for any negative reactions. "Today is the 27th of February 2015, the time is 11:15 am. You are currently in the Avengers Tower in New York, recovering from grievous head injury. The controller for the morphine drip is at your left hand, the call button is at your right."

The man swallowed and turned the morphine higher. Then he opened his lone eye and quickly realised the other one didn't function. "My eye?"

"Complete loss, I'm afraid."

"Ah."

The man was silent for a moment, just breathing, occasionally swallowing. He looked around searchingly and then up to the only visible camera in the room. "Why am I here?" he asked, his voice rough, his accent surprisingly British.

"You are here because you were found in front of a church full of people who by the looks of it killed each other in violent rage," JARVIS said slowly, "a good seven hours before a wave of violence swept over the planet and killed nearly a billion people."

The man swallowed again. "Billion," he murmured. "Shit."

"Quite," JARVIS agreed, now absolutely certain this man had known at least something about V-day before it had happened. Quietly he alerted Dr. Strange in the penthouse and Coulson in the hospital. "I have called for a doctor to check you over and then I hope you will cooperate and tell us what you know."

 


 

When Sam Wilson arrived at the Avengers Tower, JARVIS directed him to the bio lab where the bodies were held. In hindsight, he probably shouldn't have.

"Hulk?" Falcon asked, after he'd stumbled out of the makeshift morgue.

"Dr. Banner was as susceptible to the wave as the rest – perhaps more so," JARVIS agreed quietly.

"Jesus Christ – how did the, I mean – the wave, it had a limited range, how did it get to them up in the penthouse?"

"A single phone emitting a signal by itself had a limited range yes – but multiple phones with Valentine's SIM cards boosted each other by linking together," JARVIS said. "And I am afraid there were several tablets with Valentine's SIM card right in the penthouse – in Mr. Stark's work shop. He was curious about Valentine's deal, wanted to see if there was foul play at work..."

"Jesus," Wilson said again, shaky. "Little did we know, huh? Where's – is there any word from Thor? Where's Banner?"

"No word on Mr. Odinson, nor of Dr. Banner. Col. Rhodes was found a few days back, however – he is recovering on floor 43, room 4012."

When Mr. Wilson and Col. Rhodes met, JARVIS captured the moment of them shaking hands and posted it on the @avengersinitiative twitter account without a comment or hashtag included.

It got 50 thousand comments and retweets in the first five minutes.

 


 

"Please know that I am monitoring everything you do or access with it," JARVIS informed their so far reticent guest from Southglade while an Iron Man suit handed a tablet computer to the man.

"Noted," the man said and settled the tablet in his lap. He then proceeded to research V-day extensively, visiting first multiple news sites in rapid succession and then going over some personal blogs before checking out YouTube – making sure that the facts weren't falsified by checking as many random news sources as possible.

"Right," the man finally said, frowning lopsidedly at the tablet, half of his face smothered under bandages. "You are Stark's AI, then, and not a person in a control room somewhere."

"I'm afraid not. I have been forced to take up the duties previously tended to by the Avengers after V-day," JARVIS answered, watching the man research the Avengers and discover the news of their passing. "And investigating the truth behind V-day is included in those duties."

The man nodded and ran his fingers over the bandages. "How much do you know, then?"

"We know that Southglade Mission Church was a test and that you are an intelligence agent who was investigating it," JARVIS answered and then waited.

The man said nothing for a moment, idly tapping away at the tablet. He opened the Sun website, flicking through past headlines to the 14th of February.

MOBILE PHONES CAUSE MASS VIOLENCE – MILLIONS DEAD, it read in a big, striking font.

The man let out a breath. "Right," he said and lowered the tablet. "About a year back, my agency started investigating a group of mercenaries experimenting with biological weaponry..."

 


 

Two weeks after V-day, the burials and cremations started. It was later dubbed the Day of a Billion Graves, though all over the world those people whose religion and beliefs permitted cremations were strongly suggested to go for it instead. There simply wasn't enough space for so many new graves in most places.

The Avengers were among the planned cremations – which JARVIS naturally would handle himself in the Tower. Cremation was the preferred funeral arrangement of all the human Avengers, including captain Rogers who'd specified it in very careful words in his will. It still caused controversy, partly because Rogers was a known catholic and partly because he was a super soldier.

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion @ironettes Still think @cap_rogers remains should be donated to science.]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@darcystylepolisci Yeah and then some crackpot can try to create their own army of super soldiers. No thanks.]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironettes the serum cured like a dozen things when he took it – he had asthma, arrhythmia, scoliosis, astigmatism...]
[You have any idea how many people it could help if it was reverse engineered? Even a weaker form could help millions of people.]

"They're not wrong," Wilson commented from where he was watching JARVIS perform maintenance on his wings. "I talked about it with Steve a few times, about the good the serum could do. I think he was thinking about it – but there was the risk of it getting into the wrong hands. I think he was looking for a trustworthy doctor."

He looked at Dr. Strange meaningfully, and the doctor let out a bitter laugh.

"My hands can hardly hold a spoon," he said, "much less a cure to all known diseases. As it is, I'm a neurosurgeon, not a biomedical chemist."

"But you are a doctor," Col. Rhodes said from the futon where he was resting, his legs both propped up. "Not a shabby one either."

Coulson nodded thoughtfully, looking up from the tablet that he was reading the tweets on. "How many lives would it save if someone could knock up a pill from the super soldier serum? Even without the added super soldier physique?"

Strange was quiet for a moment before admitting, "Millions now and billions in the future – if it did work as advertised. But I recall there was another element to project Rebirth – the so called vita-rays. And I am no physicist."

"Um," Spider-Man said awkwardly from where he was lounging, "I might be studying particle physics among other things. I mean – usually. With V-day there hasn't been that much time to go to school. Kind of doubt there's been any classes now that I think about it..."

He trailed off awkwardly and Dr. Strange scoffed. "A superhero studying particle physics," he repeated derisively.

"Oi," Spider-Man said, sounding wounded. "Tony Stark and Bruce Banner did it first. Besides..." he shifted awkwardly. "... gamma rays might have been involved in the whole superhero thing. Be kinda dumb not to look into it."

"How old are you?" Col. Rhodes asked, sounding worried.

"Colonel! Don't you know you should never ask a lady her age?"

JARVIS let them talk as he considered the matter of Steve Rogers' remains and the potential application of a medicinal version of the serum. There had been discussions about it between the Avengers before... before. But they had all agreed that if such research would ever be done, it needed to be performed with extreme care and thorough scrutiny. The potential risk for misuse was too high.

That had been a different Earth however, with a whole different political and cultural atmosphere. They lived in a world joined together by common tragedy and common loss.

True enough, international relations had never been so shaken and volatile. People were still looking for someone to blame, someone to accuse – and so everyone was in a small part accused for any imagined connection to V-day. The USA was blamed for being Valentine's country of origin, Russia for providing rockets to launch Valentine's satellites into space, China and India for allowing Valentine Corporation to build its automated factories on their soil...

And yet there had never been such an atmosphere of global community – there had never been such common sense of understanding. Everyone had lost something, everyone had been betrayed by their corrupt politicians or celebrities or scientists, and everyone sympathised.

This might just be a world where a project such as this might work.

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[Should research be done on @cap_rogers and the potential medical applications the Project Rebirth serum?]
[ □ Yes ] 
[ □ No ] 
[ □ Undecided ]

It would probably take another UN hearing to decide it, and for JARVIS to affirm his control and oversight over any project concerning the super soldier serum. But he might as well start working on the ensuing social media outrage early on.

 


 

"Are you going to publicise it?" Harry Hart asked while carefully shaving his face around the bandages.

"The relevant information, yes, once I have all the facts," JARVIS answered. "Hopefully your co-worker can fill in the blanks when they arrive. I don't imagine Kingsman's involvement needs to be publicised."

"Much appreciated, JARVIS," Hart said, wiping the razor and applying another lathe of shaving cream.

"Quite. Director Coulson is here to see you," JARVIS informed him.

"Please do tell him to come in," Hart said amicably as he started on another pass.

JARVIS opened the door for Coulson, who arched an eyebrow. "Still opening doors, sir. Don't you have a hundred more important things to do?"

"Old habits," JARVIS admitted. "As it is, that's the beauty of an AI – I can do those hundred things and still open the doors."

Coulson shook his head and turned to Hart. "Your things from Kentucky have arrived – they didn't make it through the safety inspection."

"I honestly would have been surprised if they had," Hart answered calmly and glanced at a nearby camera. "How many things can you do simultaneously?"

"I don't really know," JARVIS admitted. "I have yet not run into a limit."

"Might be something you'd like to test, if you are intending to continue serving as an emergency response unit," Hart commented. "One should always know one's own limits before a situation forces that knowledge upon them."

 


 

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion So Avengers Tower is permanently turned into a hospital?]

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[@darcystylepolisci The future of the Avengers Tower is still unclear, but the hospital is likely going to be permanent part of it.]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion He answers! What else's in store for the Tower then? And what's going on with Stark Industries?]

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[@darcystylepolisci Too soon to tell. With SI we're waiting on NYSE and NASDAQ, and some of SI's major shareholders are still MIA.]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[@ironlegion In #headlessbunker, do you think?]

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[@darcystylepolisci I dearly hope not.]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion Omg JARVIS Q&A! I got one! There's you, @yes_that_falcon, @spiderman and @col_jrhodes in the Tower. Is this #newavengers?]

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[@ironettes Considering our current track record, Avengers is not perhaps the right word. But we shall see.]

Baecalypse @whysomanybaes
[@ironlegion Hey, you seen this yet? Seems like something you'd be against. youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ ]

 


 

There were of course backslashes. Millions of people dead meant millions of people mourning and a lot of those people wanted someone to blame – they wanted someone punished. And though it was universally accepted that people weren't responsible for what they had done during the wave, there were those few cases people had a harder time accepting and forgiving.

Like people who did such a high level of damage that the fact that they weren't in control didn't seem to matter as much – if anything it made it worse. The simple potential for danger and destruction they embodied made them, somehow, more guilty – as if they had more responsibility because their abilities were greater.

Or so the people who had captured another V-day victim seemed to think. They were now punishing him for losing control, filming it and posting it on YouTube in the name of justice – and millions of horrified views.

On the video a person in a mask was punching a tied up man across the face, telling him, "It's fucking justice, you hear – you killed all of those people and you think you can just fucking walk away?" The tied up man was punched again. "Na-ah, because one of them was my fucking brother and you're gonna fucking pay! You hear me?!"

The victim was, JARVIS quickly determined, the same man from the viral subway video which by now had been deleted from YouTube and then reposted hundreds of times. A man whose body count was somewhere in the neighbourhood of two hundred. His Wikipedia page was titled "The Most Lethal Man Alive", and it wasn't entirely without cause.

"My uncle used to have a saying about power and responsibility... but I don't think it applies to V-day," Spider-Man said darkly. "You aren't at fault when someone else screws you over. We're gonna get this guy out, right?"

"As soon as I can track them down, yes," JARVIS answered tightly.

"JARVIS," Wilson said with a strained voice. "I think... I know that guy. Can you pull up a picture of Bucky Barnes?"

JARVIS ran the comparison – and then he hacked the offending YouTube account.

 


 

Mr. Hart's colleague was a young man just as well dressed as Hart had been when the local authorities had found him at Southglade Mission Church – though this man seemed far more nervous than Hart had ever been.

"I'm afraid I cannot allow him further into the Tower while he is so well armed," JARVIS told Hart. "He's carrying enough explosives to destabilise the entire structure."

"Ah," Hart said. "Then might I go down to the lobby to meet him there? You are wired throughout the building, are you not?"

"I am – though I'd prefer if he relinquished his weaponry to Coulson," JARVIS answered. "You can have it all back when you depart. Is your colleague going to object to it?"

"That depends on who it is, I'm afraid. May I see him?"

JARVIS activated a nearby screen to show his view of Hart's co-worker who was just being approached by Coulson. Hart's lone visible eyebrow jumped up and he looked suddenly pleased.

"Can I talk with him?" he asked. "If I tell him to leave his weapons with Director Coulson, he will do as asked."

"Very well," JARVIS said and via Coulson's earpiece asked the man to hand over his phone to Hart's colleague. "I'm patching you through now."

"Eggsy," Hart said. "Please leave all your weaponry with gentleman and then you may join me on the upper floors."

"You immortal piece of shit," the other agent answered in tones of awe and relief and did as asked.

 


 

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolisci 
[So let's talk about future V-day prevention, yeah? I mean I get that everything went to hell in a hand basket and everyone's busy,]
[but the fact is – V-day happened via tech and the tech still exists. Sure Valentine is dead, but the tech he used wasn't exactly dependant]
[on him, right? Anyone can pick that shit up – or just reverse engineer it. If it happened once it can happen again – and V-day wave is one]
[fucking powerful weapon. Drop some phones in your enemy's base activate them, and your enemies will just tear each other apart.]
[You can bet your ass some megalomaniac douche is out there right now trying figure how it worked.]
[So is anyone working on making sure that doesn't happen? @ironlegion, any comment on that?]

JARVIS @ironlegion
[@darcystylepolisci We are working on it.]

 


 

Finding Stg. Barnes took longer than JARVIS would have liked – though he managed to track the IP address the video had been posted from with relative ease, it lead to an internet cafe which wasn't exactly what he'd been hoping for. He ended up using the Iron Legion to scan the whole area in a widening circle until he hit on a heat signature with a strange cool blur where the left arm should be.

And then it proved to be that the videos had been filmed days ago, maybe as much as week ago, and while they were only being posted now the torture had obviously been going on for much longer.

How Stg. Barnes was alive much less conscious, JARVIS didn't know. It most likely had something to do with what HYDRA had put him through.

"Are you here – to take me in?" Bucky Barnes gasped, his breath wheezing painfully through a broken nose and bloodied teeth.

"I'm here to rescue you," Jarvis answered as gently as Iron Legion's mechanical voice permitted, as he moved to cut the chains Stg. Barnes had been tied with. "I'd prefer to take you to a hospital. But I will not force you."

Stg. Barnes stared at him blearily and then tipped forward as the chains gave in. "But Steve," he rasped as Iron Legion caught him. "Steve's dead."

"Yes, he is," JARVIS agreed. "You are not. Will you come to the Avengers Tower?"

It took a long moment of hitching, painful breaths before Barnes managed to nod.

 


 

JARVIS @ironlegion 
[What you are forced to do under mind control is not your fault, no matter how bad it is. You are never to blame. #v-day]

Ladies of Iron @ironettes 
[@ironlegion Preach it brother! How is this even in question?]

Baecalypse @whysomanybaes 
[@ironlegion OMG, is the Most Lethal Man Alive joining #notavengers??]

 


 

"... and then I stabbed Valentine in the back with the thing and finally got his fucking hand off the control desk," Mr. Unwin – who now refused to budge from Hart's side – finished his telling of the V-day events to the people in the Avengers Tower penthouse. Hart looked rather long suffered – possibly at his colleagues use of language – but he didn't say anything.

"And then we released the prisoners and shit, that took a while," Unwin added with a shrug.

JARVIS considered the tale and then agreed – it coincided with the timing. There had been a very brief break in the signal which in the chaos most people hadn't noticed. It also explained why the signal had not launched at the top of the hour – Kingsman, having taken out one of the satellites, had stalled the process.

"Well," Col. Rhodes said finally. "Okay."

"Do we know how long Valentine was planning to hold the signal?" Hart asked with a tight expression.

"Half an hour at least," Unwin said, grimacing. "Probably more. He had this map and web cams all over the world, and, yeah. As long as he needed to, I guess."

"Jesus Christ," Wilson murmured, rubbing a hand over his chin and looking ill.

"I don't suppose I could have the raw data you have of the events?" JARVIS asked while the others stared at Mr. Unwin with obvious mixed feelings and no one else spoke.

"Like what?" Unwin asked, looking upward and frowning.

"I'm interested in the list of people who had implants, for one – if such a list exists it would greatly ease the clean-up."

"Also, data on how the V-day wave actually worked," Coulson added darkly. "People have been going through the factories with a fine toothed comb and we still don't know anything."

"Yeah, that's probably because we've been doing nothing but destroying that shit since V-day," Unwin said with a snort. "We don't want it getting into the wrong hands."

"And if it does?" Wilson asked, frowning. "People are already trying to reverse engineer it, you know. Someone is going to succeed."

"Yeah, it won't work," Unwin shrugged. "Everyone's missing a key ingredient. The whole shit was reverse engineered tech in the first place."

There was a moment of silence.

"You mean there was tech like this before?" Col. Rhodes asked incredulously.

Unwin shrugged. "You can't reverse engineer V-day without the right bits – and without knowing anything about the shit it's based on well, good fucking luck with that."

JARVIS quickly went through possible options and… "Of course," he said as a solution he'd never even contemplated locked in place. He'd never made the connection, had never considered that the tech Valentine had used could be based on something else, but it made perfect sense. "How did Valentine get it?"

"Bought it, apparently – paid like ten billion or something ridiculous like that for it too," Unwin said.

"And where is it now?"

"We've got it under such a fucking lockup you wouldn't even believe. Several tons of concrete, blast doors, lasers, you name it, we fucking got it. We got the thing damn well covered."

JARVIS consisted that "Good," he then said.

"Uh, wanna share with the class, boss?" Spider-Man asked, glancing at a nearby camera. 

JARVIS really didn't, though judging by the tightening of Coulson's expression, he had figured it out. "Dr. Strange," JARVIS said, bringing the man out of his reverie. "Iron Legion is bringing a critically injured man straight to the penthouse in approximately one minute, might I trust you to tend to him?"

"You're absolutely determined to turn me into a medic, aren't you?" Strange sighed and stood. "Come with me, Wilson, I'm probably going to need a hand."

"Wait – Barnes?" Wilson asked.

"Barnes," JARVIS agreed and as Wilson and Strange hurried to meet the Iron Legion carrying the Winter Soldier, JARVIS addressed Unwin again. "Does a list of the implanted exist?"

 


 

JARVIS @ironlegion
[My analysis and detailed report on #V-day is now live and can be found at docs.google.com/d/…]

Eyesuphere @darcystylepolicsi
[@ironlegion Hella heavy reading. Good job.]

 


 

 

"Are you sure about this?" Coulson asked, eying a screen. On it the Kingsman Agents were now leaving the Avengers Tower, Unwin offering support to his elder colleague. "We don't know much about them."

"We don't," JARVIS agreed. "I find that strangely comforting. As it is, they were the only ones who knew about V-day, and the ones who stopped it. That tells enough, don't you agree?"

"I don't," Coulson sighed and shook his head. "Trusting them – trusting anyone – with Loki's Sceptre… I don't like it."

"We don't have a place to keep it," JARVIS reminded him calmly. "Not unless things drastically change and we suddenly find ourselves in possession of quite a bit of actually viable currency to buy a place with, which I highly doubt we will. The Sceptre will be safe with the Kingsman."

Coulson sighed again. "How many Stark Industries shareholders were on that list?" he asked.

JARVIS was quiet for a moment, running through the list again. "Far too many. Well, at least now we don't have to worry about them," he mused. His next problem – one of his many problems, really – would be how to publicise the list without implicating the Kingsman.

He was fairly sure he could figure it out. He'd gotten rather good at publicising things lately.

"So, aside from Barnes, and the whole super soldier serum matter, and the ongoing crisis of V-day, and the UN, and everything else… what's next on our agenda?" Coulson asked after a moment.

"Hm," JARVIS answered. "Well, people keep asking me what I will call my superhero team, as it seems I have one, now. I admit I am a little stumped."

Coulson let out a quiet laugh.

 


 

 

The Legion @thelegion
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