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Quote1 If this is a practical joke I'm playing on myself, I'm kind of impressed, but-- Quote2
-- Iron Man

Appearing in "Stolen Moments"

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Synopsis for "Stolen Moments"

Brief Summary

Tony Stark has decided to erase the past two weeks of memories to wipe from his mind his relapse and stop his craving for alcohol, but Captain Marvel disapproves this method. Spymaster infiltrates the Stark Unlimited HQ and steals a hard drive containing a back-up of Tony's wiped memories. He hijacks the Manticore, and Iron Man and Captain Marvel give chase. The villain uses the data from the hard drive to override Iron Man's armory and send his armor after him. In the meantime, Arno Stark investigates his brother's use of Mistress and Arsenal, discovering he had placed them in the eScape to look into the humanity of a person's digital engrams since he made use of them to reupload his mind into his new body.

Iron Man finally stops the Manticore, putting an end to Spymaster's havoc and retrieving the hard drive. He subsequently reuploads the memories into his brain in order to confront his relapse without shortcuts. Afterwards, Tony and Rhodey deduce Baintronics is behind Spymaster's theft. Meanwhile, Jocasta began to consider making upgrades in her body to bring herself closer to humanity. To this end, she approaches Arno for help.

Detailed Summary

Iron Man and Captain Marvel are flying back from the Avengers Mountain. A voiceover explains this moment unfolded three hours into the past, and Tony won't remember it. Iron Man explains to Captain Marvel that he can't be her A.A. sponsor since he relapsed while being trapped inside the eScape. He additionally mentions the discovery that he's not the original Tony Stark, but rather a genetic simulation with digital memories. The scene turns out to be a recording being played out by an holographic projection of Tony Stark. He pauses the recording and explains with cockiness to his present self that he had decided to delete his memories back to the point he relapsed, and the current projection is meant to explain to himself what he did. Tony is exasperated at his past self's attitude. The digital projection proceeds to recall recent events, much to Tony's confusion, and explains he told Carol he could sponsor her again and invited her. Carol arrives angry, and rebukes Tony's solution for dealing with his alcoholism. The digital recording tells Tony it is about to self-delete, but before that it points to a hard drive where he stored a back-up of his memories he can consult if necessary. In the blink of an eye, the hard drive disappears, causing confusion to Tony and Carol, followed by an intruder alarm.

At the Stark Unlimited HQ hangar bay, Bethany Cabe bumps into several employees attempting to catch a figure disguised by cloaking technology. Cabe shoots at the person's back, revealing it's Spymaster, holding the hard drive. He flings a knife at her, and while she catches it, he sets off an electric discharge. Jim Rhodes watches from the side and calls for help. Iron Man arrives with Captain Marvel, assuring the situation will be dealt with. Carol takes a jab at Tony quipping if they fail they will delete the incident and pretend it didn't happen. Tony and Carol check up on Bethany and Rhodey, and Jim warns that Spymaster is going after the Manticore. The villain has already boarded the vehicle, and Iron Man comments he can't use it without the passcodes. With the hard drive lodged into his costume's gauntlet, Spymaster sarcastically asks if they happen to be in Tony's memories, after which he sets the vehicle's targets on the heroes.

Across town at a mall on Fifth Avenue, Janet Van Dyne is going shopping with Jocasta and making small talk. She brings up Tony's discovery that he's a biological simulation of his original self, which Jocasta comments she learned from her boyfriend Aaron Stack. Janet tries to find common ground between Jocasta and Tony, prompting Jocasta to accuse her of trying to convince her to return to Stark Unlimited. Jocasta accuses Tony of killing Friday by ignoring her well-being. Janet tries to advocate for him, but Jocasta leaves in indignation.

Inside his private workshop at Baintronics, Arno Stark activates a hologram which shows him the origin of Mistress, and how after successfully downloading the engrams of his wife Maria into digital form, Howard Stark did the same on himself and created Arsenal, a robot which almost defeated the Avengers. The holographic recording proceeds to show Iron Man confronting Mistress, and her apparent self-destruction. Arno wonders how did Mistress' engrams survive, after which the recording shows Iron Man returning to the wreckage and connecting his armor to Mistress' computer. Arno belittles Tony for having returning, signaling out his sentimentalism and humanity as his greatest weakness.

At Washington Square Park, Iron Man and Captain Marvel give chase to Spymaster, and he fires rockets at bystanders. Iron Man intercepts the missiles and shields the civilians and orders Captain Marvel to take down the Manticore, but she's reluctant to endanger the hard drive. Spymaster uses its contents to override Iron Man's armor and forces him to fight Captain Marvel, prompting Tony to ask sardonically for Carol not to kill him again. Stark manages to use his direct neural interface to rewrite the armor's security on the fly, quickly breaking free from Spymaster's control. The villain mocks Iron Man, sarcastically lamenting he doesn't only have one suit.

Back at the Stark Unlimited HQ, Andy Bhang is checking up on the Hall of Armor with a co-worked named Jerome, who expresses relief that Andy decided to stay even after Amanda Armstrong left. Andy explains he was tempted, but chose to pursue his dream of making a difference with technology even if it required sacrifices. With the armor secured, Andy and Jerome prepare to leave. When roller shutters begin to enclose each booth of the Hall of Armor, the Silver Centurion Armor suddenly stops it with its hand, with its system announcing it has been overridden. The armor and other several suits take flight, and Iron Man and Captain Marvel see them blasting out of the building from a distance.

At the Uncanny Valley, Jocasta is having drinks with Aaron when she notices two androids being harassed by patrons for their human appearance, namely their use of artificial flesh. Jocasta brushes off Aaron's comments not to get involved and steps in, causing the impressionable patrons to go away. Jocasta recognizes the two androids as robots who were part of the Make-A-Match attack on Stark Unlimited. The androids explain in gratitude that they weren't deactivated due to Jocasta's constant advocacy for robot ethics having changed the law for corporations everywhere, forcing Sunset Bain to help them reintegrate into robot-human society, which resulted in the entire Make-A-Match robot fleet receiving personality upgrades and skin coverings. Jocasta returns to her table afterwards. Aaron notices Jocasta is contemplative, to which she reveals she is considering making upgrades to her body. Aaron tries to reassure Jocasta she doesn't need upgrades and begins to ramble about getting boot jets and sneering at Iron Man's armor. Jocasta remains pensive, catching her reflection in a frame on the wall.

Resuming Arno's research, he reaches the point to discover why did Tony reactivate Mistress and Arsenal after holding on to their engrams for years. A holographic recording of Tony shows him being assisted by Friday, contemplating the difference between the engrams of his parents to his own use of engrams to reupload himself into his new body. Tony ponders how real they are, if they should have fewer rights than himself, and if they deserve a corporeal form. Tony decides to give them virtual forms first, uploading them into the eScape and visiting them to find his answers. Arno proceeds to reproduce the final confrontation between Iron Man and Motherboard. Arno points out that Tony believed the engrams might have been his parents, but killed them anyway. Arno moves closer to the projection of Motherboard, and accuses Tony of murdering their parents to satisfy his own ego. Arno shuts down the holograms, declaring that he will never understand his brother.

In Manhattan, Iron Man flies through his rogue suits, lamenting having to destroy them. Finding themselves outnumbered, Tony suggests taking the fight directly to central control node, the Manticore. Continuing the fight, Carol lectures Tony that he shouldn't run from his problems, but instead face them down. Iron Man manages to outmaneuver the suits, but Carol continues being attacked. She cheers for Tony while he flies up to the Manticore. He uses the unibeam to blind Spymaster and rips the vehicle's engine out of its hull, causing the suits to deactivate. He additionally recovers the hard drive intact.

Some time later, back at Tony's laboratory, he has finished uploading the back-ups back into his brain. It causes him to crave alcohol again, but Rhodey and Carol offer him their support. Bethany steps in, bringing up the security issues regarding Spymaster's attack. Due to the small window of time since Tony came up with the memory wipe and Spymaster's infiltration, and the fact that they had access to the company's systems recently, Tony and Rhodey deduce Baintronics is behind the attack.

Returning to Arno's laboratory, he is going over his research when Sunset Bain introduces him to Jocasta. Jocasta explains she encountered some of Baintronics' old androids and wishes to upgrade her humanity. Arno guarantees Jocasta she has come to the right Stark.

Solicit Synopsis

“THE ONE-STEP PROGRAM”

When Iron Man tells Captain Marvel that he can’t be her sponsor because he may or may not have fallen off the wagon, Carol doesn’t it take it well. What is Tony Stark’s new high-tech solution for sobriety? Find out why this might be his worst idea yet. Featuring the villainy of the all-new Spymaster. And follow Jocasta as she decides to go all in for “the ultimate upgrade.”

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