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Feb 03, 2023 8:37 AM
Unable to defeat Thanos, Tony Stark gets sent back in time to fix the last decade.
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When Tony wakes up, there's a bag on his head, a camera pointed at his face, bloody bandages over his heart, and of course, a battalion of armed soldiers surrounding him, ready to shoot.

He'll probably pass out again soon, or be knocked out, so the next time he wakes up, he'll find himself back in that familiar cave, on a bed, with a tube in his nose and wires hooked up to his chest.

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Across the room, shaving in his reflection on a pole, is a man he'll definitely recognize.

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Tony is very much out of it as he wakes up, and on enough painkillers that everything feels a little unreal. The tube in his nose, the cave, Yinsen, the car battery attached to his chest, this must be the usual nightmare again.

”Yinsen… You’re dead… everyones dead…oh god Steve… Rhodey… Peter…” Even as the emotions hit him, there is still a part of Tony’s brain that is noticing more freedom than usual in this nightmare. Usually the nightmare was a straight play-through of events and he would be taking the tube out of his nose and scrabbling at his chest by now. Thinking of wich, the tube did not feel great so he does move to pull it out even if this was a dream.

Oh god, nope! That nausea from pulling the tube out was real! This was real! Ughhhh keep your stomach down Tony. As Tony Stark sits himself up and tries not to bring up bile from a empty stomach, the attack on the convoy comes back to him. He’s back… Strange sent him back in time.

What the Actual Fuck.

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Yinsen looks at him, confused. And even a little surprised Stark still remembers his name. "I'm not dead, no," he says, "although I'm surprised you aren't. A dozen or so pieces of shrapnel are just inches away from your heart. Stay close to that battery, it's powering a magnet that's keep them from killing you, at least for the moment."

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“In my atrial septum…” He mumbles. It has been almost ten years since it happened but Tony remembers his time in captivity by the ten rings quite clearly. He remembers where Yinsen told him the shrapnel was the first time around. Sometimes he curses his good memory but this time it could be useful. This time he can change things.

He remembers how confused he was that the ten rings had his weapons during his first life. But he already knows it was Obadiah who sold them, and sold him out. It still was incredibly galling to be blown up by his own bombs.

”When I get my hands on that son of a bitch…” Tony is a little lost in his own mind, imagining doing much worse things to Obadiah Stane than throwing him in an Arc reactor. 

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"Yes... how did you know that? Were you awake earlier?"

They're interrupted by a noise from outside. "Stand up," whispers Yinsen, pulling Tony to his feet. "Do as I do. Come on. Put your hands up." He raises his hands.

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Oh, this again (or maybe technically not again? Time travel was weird). The plan this time is for Tony to avoid pissing off his captors and getting water boarded. Tony stands up and puts his hands up, careful to keep the battery attached to his chest, wouldn’t want a stray hand yanking the cable out.

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Ten Rings agents enter the room, guns pointed at them. One of them comes forward and speaks to them, and Yinsen translates. "Welcome, Tony Stark, the most famous mass murderer in the history of America." And apparently he wants Stark to build him a Jericho missile.

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Tony subtly waggles his eyebrow to Yinsen and crosses his fingers behind his back where Yinsen can see. “I will cooperate if you let me live, but I am unsure if something as sophisticated as a Jericho will be possible to create outside of an advanced workshop. A Jericho Missile requires a lot of advanced components and complicated programming.” Tony is already designing a better mark 1 suit in his head and thinking about what he needs. 

Instead of refusing and getting tortured until he agrees, and since he is already planning to kill them all, just lying that he will give them whatever they want from the start is a much better plan.

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They have an abundance of parts, and can procure anything else he might need to build the missile.

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He already has a rough draft of the new suit in his head. He gives the usual materials he used last time and he adds more to the list this time, hoping his cooperation will get him better supplies. “I need multiple powerful computers, and as many iPhone’s and Pocket Pc’s as you can get your hands on.”

He remembers the iPhone only just came out around now, and he needs as many chips as he can get. “The sub missiles inside the Jericho all use sophisticated targeting algorithms, to make sure they hit on target and do not hit each other in the air.” Sort of true, he could have made a bargain bin Jericho without them using dumb-fire sub missiles, but he wasn’t making a Jericho at all.

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One of the Ten Rings soldiers writes everything down as Yinsen translates. "Good. We'll bring you what you need, and in the end, you will be set free."

They exit.

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“No they won’t” Says Tony as the insurgents leave the cave, fake smiling at the ‘good news’.

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"He's not being honest, of course," replies Yinsen. "Were you?"

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Tony holds up his crossed fingers from behind his back with a look of fake hurt on his face. “This means I'm lying! I am hurt you would think so badly of me.” This Yinsen doesn’t know him very well, he has to remind himself.

He looks around himself at all the Stark industries weapons parts they brought him. “But I will build something for them. A gift just as nice as the one they gave me…” Tony’s expression is dark as his fingers circle around the electromagnet and the shrapnel in his chest.

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Most of the construction will proceed without interference! Yinsen helps him build the core of a nonfunctional Jericho missile, and they also build a few additional parts that... don't look much like they would fit on a missile, but they should fool their captors? Hopefully?

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Raza, leader of the Afghanistan branch of the Ten Rings, makes a stop or two to threaten them with various deadly weapons and complain about their wasting time, but other than that, they're free to work on whatever they're building!

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February 14th 2009

After the 10 rings bring in his supplies, Tony makes a plan of action.


Tony has 75 days before the day the Ten rings had gotten suspicious in the original timeline. May 1st was the date of the great cave escape the first time around. This time around Tony is going to be making sure to hide the function of the parts much better, underestimating technical knowledge of the people observing them less. He thinks he will have more time before they get suspicious than the last time he did this, but May 1st still seems like a good goal for when to escape, and he knows for a fact Rhodey will find him in the desert on that day.

Time to get to work.

 

February 15th 2009

After nearly a decade of making them, Tony has much more experience with miniaturised arc reactors and with combat suits than when he made the mark 1. He can probably build an Arc reactor with his eyes closed. Even with the same substandard tools it takes him way less time this time around, only a day, and he knows how to push as much juice from it as possible.

As he finished the palladium core and the Arc reactor powers up for the (first? Time is weird) time Tony smiles. These assholes wont know what hit them. “If my math is correct, and it always is. I can get 6 Gigawatts out of this thing.”

 

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Yinsen nods. "Good work. And your... weapon? Your suit? How is it going?"

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“It’s going to look like the ugliest son of a bitch you’ve ever seen, all ugly cylinders, even these morons would notice if I made it form fitting to the human body.” Tony actually feels like he was incredibly stupid himself with how obvious the suit parts were when he made the mark 1, and how that was probably was what got Yinsen killed before. Not this time however. 

“Its going to only really be good for two things, blocking bullets, and flying out of here. The weapons will be seperate.” Tony had become quite fond of homing micro missiles since he developed the mark L, so he was planning on just strapping a whole bunch of launch tubes to the suit, and that meant he could take out Ten Rings troops at range. “They wanted me to make missiles… oh I’ll give them missiles.” 

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For once, Yinsen smiles. "Good."

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And so, work begins. Armor panels that could plausibly look like missile casings are forged, even if the insides are full of servos and pneumatics to make the limbs move. The flight system is made as advanced as possible using the shit tools available and keeping in mind it is using chemical rockets instead of repulsers. Smart micro missiles are made, so so so many smart missiles, using more smart phone chips than can be found in your average Genius Bar. A very basic railgun is installed into each wrist with a few armor piercing darts. Back up napalm launcher like in the mark 1? Hell yes why not. Tony even made a innocuous seeming little seat for Yinsen, to be quickly bolted on when the escape attempt is to be made so he can sit on it for the flight out of there. 

And when the terrorists come to check on them. Tony has lots of tiny missiles to show them as proof hes been working on things, and very complicated looking tubes that could plausibly be missile casings, and lots of computers that they are told are for programming the Jericho. Tony acts like the most well behaved hostage engineer you could hope for.

But there is plenty of downtime from waiting for parts to cool, or for code to compile. Time enough for Tony to get to know Yinsen all over again.

 

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Just as before, Yinsen's not much of a fan of Stark, at least not at the start. The weapons his company sold have killed many thousands of people, after all. But he's at least starting to realize that maybe Tony Stark has a heart, that maybe he's trying to make things better.

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After a few months, Raza comes in to threaten them again, and delivers a sharp deadline.

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April 29th 2009
Tony has been given more time this time around, but he knows Rhodey will be looking for him on the 1st and He would rather not spend weeks lost in the desert by escaping too late for the Rhodey pick up. The new mark 1 as of a week and a half ago had already technically been finished, but being ever the perfectionist Tony keeps tinkering and adding more missile tubes for as long as he can. It Truly was a Jericho’s worth of sub missiles strapped to the suit, only all of these micro missiles had target acquisition programming and could reorient in mid air after launch. There were only maybe 30 soldiers in these caves if he was remembering the last times escape correctly, but he had made 104 missiles, Tony has had a decade of good reasons to be really fucking  paranoid.

Tony sets the claymore traps, straps a simple titanium sheet vest on to Yinsen just in case, and they get to work bolting the suit together.

It pains Tony how ugly this thing is as they assemble it, all ugly cylinders, it kinda looks like the tin man from wizard of Oz. 

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