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May 26, 2019 9:05 PM
Project Ultron goes better
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"And I think we've been getting lucky. 

Hawkeye's over there getting his insides 3D-printed because he was a human archer in the field with an enhanced. If it had hit a bit higher we'd be burying him. Same for Natasha. And if we didn't bring them, we'd have had four of us, one of whom is from another planet that might just need him back.

And Sam and Rhodey, of course, weren't sitting at home twiddling their thumbs, they were on their own missions, so it's a good thing we didn't have more than three of those at a time. And speaking of four of us-" doesn't really like saying this with Bruce here, but it's not like he doesn't know it's true - "our plan for Hulk problems is that I put on a bigger suit of armor and fight him personally. So that'd leave just you.

 

"But that's us field agent Avengers, how are we doing with support? The US government mostly tolerates me because they don't have better options - not really a surprise, they didn't even know what to do with you. Oh, and that's when the vice president isn't being bribed by evil pretend terrorists. SHIELD had its very own Hydra problem. The World Security Council launched a nuke at New York and that was before we knew that Hydra problem. Dark Elves attacking the worlds? Better hope two Earth scientists are enough to help with that one because there sure isn't a good way to find anyone else.

And if the next aliens attack, or the next scientist making explosive superpowered agents makes a million of them, or the next Hydra plot hides an extra helicarrier a continent away from you, or the next hidden Hydra cell has their own breakthrough, or the next breakthrough on enhanced puts it in the water -

We don't have enough - enough of us, enough of anyone we can trust to help with the next problem and not be it.

We've got a very vulnerable little blue world and a lot of things that even Dr. Helen Cho can't fix. I want a suit of armor for the world. We need it."

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"...can't say that isn't true.

So how is this a solution, and not the next problem again?"

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Breath.

"I have AI. Stable AI, trustworthy AI. It - he - lives in my walls, he helps with my suit, he drives the Iron Legion.

We used to have hacking races for weapons launch codes. ...In my - lack of defense, actually, I was very high at the time. But really - he was around when I was out of my mind and then some, I let him onto the internet for party tricks. He was around when I was dying. And there's never been a problem, never been a breach, never been anything. You came here when he called and you didn't think for a moment if it was actually compromised, because that doesn't happen. Problem number one, according to a lot of folks, and I have it.

What I don't have is - reach, power, whole list of technical words that wouldn't mean anything to you. That - I'm pretty sure it has them. If I can get them from it - that's the missing link." 

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"Oh good, for a moment there I was worried you were planning to just plug it in."

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“Oh yes plugging in the thing that mind controlled Clint and was used by Loki of all people is a great idea, I for one welcome our robot overlords destruction of humanity with open arms.” Snorts and leans back on the desk with his arms crossed, Some popcorn would be great for watching this drama unfold.

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"...If I needed you - or you - to tell me not to do that, I'd be a lot more concerned about myself.

Mind control staff with a mind in it - I think it'd be more than three days to know if I should even talk to it, computer or not. Which I haven't, by the way. Think I'll leave the alien psych to the aliens. But code, tools, pieces - those don't have alignments. Serum plus Schmidt and you get Red Skull, serum plus you and here's Captain America. Hydra could drive our helicarriers just fine if it could get em. Code, tools - I know those. I can do it.

Or else in three days I'll know I can't at all. But if I can then I can do it right."

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"I did a lot of reading, catching up. Way I understand it, there's trustworthy and then there's failsafe. If it is the next problem. 

You have that? Or is it all trust?"

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“Would you be okay if the military put a gun to your head to keep you under control? You were one of the most dangerous people in the second world war and you got trust and not failsafes, Not saying nothing can go wrong but it will go wrong if we chain this thing down.

Take it from experience it does not go well when you chain the scary monster down.”

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She's about to respond to that when And preempts her to it.

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"There's dangerous and there's dangerous. We get ourselves a rogue Cap for some reason - we may know STRIKE team in an elevator's not enough, but maybe we need a few squads with tanks, or two of you and me and Thor if one doesn't do it, or just one if we've got the prep time and better circumstance pick, and a well aimed bomber will definitely do it.

Thing with a suit of armor around the world, the downside's the same as the upside. A well aimed bomber is definitely not going to cut it.

 

Not planning on chains or a gun to the head. But yes, I have a failsafe."

 

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"You're sure?

Because I got the impression it's much easier to think you have it than to have it."

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"You know what happened when Loki tried that staff on me? Bounced off the arc reactor. Great news, at the time, but not really the kind of thing you want to count on. Guessing Jarvis showed you my clean bill of non-mind-controlled health on the jet. Also great news, doesn't change the fact that she walked up behind me and right into my head.

While we're on the control and danger subject -

Clint shot his way through the helicarrier with arrows and banged around Natasha before she knocked him out. You know what happens if it's me next time? Because I sure had a while to think about it.

I've got my suit, I've got the Legion now, I have Jarvis. We've got VERONICA in orbit for me - speaking of failsafes, sorry Bruce. I know exactly how fast I can make a new suit if I want to. And how fast I can hack into the Pentagon. Or the Kremlin. Don't know how fast I can find a smallpox repository, but don't think it would take that long.

I had a while to think about it; I had a while to do something about it. I did it.

I know exactly what it takes to handle your problem, if your problem is a sudden rogue with a lot of dangerous metal and a network to play with. If we don't trust me to make that then either I need to jump off this tower hard enough to be sure I smash my head in, or we're all already dead.

Not saying it's the same - if I thought Ultron would be no better than me we wouldn't need it. Different abilities, different scope. But I think I can say I've got more practical experience on this than most people writing what you're reading. And while I'm not going to argue I can be trusted to make great decisions, I think the record shows that when I make something, it gets made."

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“Stark...did you hand jarvis a kill switch for you...” glaring because that is exactly the kind of fool thing Antonia would do.

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She's finding herself having pretty much the same thought. (This was not exactly the pronouncement she expected here...)

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"No. A bad failsafe's just another name for a core vulnerability; wouldn't be much of a good failsafe if I went telling everyone else how it works, or if it was the first thing anyone would think of.

But I'm not the topic here; you can all yell at me about it if you want three days from now while our glowing friend here's back on Asgard."

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“If this is a kill switch on either you or the AI I will be very angry Antonia Stark, you would not like me when I am angry.” Sarcastic smile but the worry is still evident in his eyes.

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Is she having some feelings here? She may be having some feelings here. Is she going to talk about them no she is not. (Really, they have quite enough to talk about don't they.)

"Yes that will certainly not benefit my life expectancy much.

But in fact I don't really like killing much these days, I do like being alive, if there's a problem that's getting me mind-controlled I'd actually like to be around to help fix it afterwards, I already said what I think of vulnerabilities, and you're right that holding guns to people's heads isn't usually the best start to a relationship."

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(She's similarly worried, and this hasn't entirely assuaged it, but Antonia is right that this is not actually the time.)

"I won't say that doesn't sound better than its alternative. But I'm not sure it's all the way to safe."

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“And dont you dare think VERONICA is a gun to my head, I helped design her that was my choice. Now continue guilting yourself about playing god and finding ways to control your creations if you will.” 

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"Yes, as you may have noticed I have refrained from wearing it and following you around telling you to do what I want at every moment or else. Also we're pretty sure it can't actually kill you, also kind of un-gun-like there."

And oh good they can get back to talking about Ultron and not everyone's sudden opinions on suspecting her of suicidality. She turns back to Ghenia.

"No.

There's not going to be 100% here. But it's not we're-fine-so-why-bet-on-this. It's bet on this or bet on what happens if the next alien invasion shows up - not tomorrow, even I don't program that fast - shows up next week. Or whatever else shows up after Earth-which-is-apparently-some-artifact-magnet."

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"Every time someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time."

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"Yes, if they try to win the war by killing people. This isn't about winning, this is about preparation.

And knowing there's a threat out there but things are quiet now so let's say we're at peace till it blows up on us - lots of innocent people dying in that one, too."

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She thinks.

She thinks about newspapers saying "Peace for our time". She thinks about standing on the streets of New York while Leviathans poured out from overhead, about Antonia flying into the portal. She thinks about her speech to the Triskelion, knowing she was condemning people to death, knowing she needed them. She thinks about fighting on the Helicarriers, knowing what would happen if they lost, if they were too late. Knowing it was much too close.

 

"I want all your notes on Project Ultron. Everything you have. And if I come up here in the next three days because of something I read, you're going to hear me out."

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Nod.

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"I hope you're right."

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