Tony Stark’s duties with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Initiative take him to Omaha, Nebraska, where Iron Man encounters an old hero with a grudge, and two all-new superhumans!
Paragon and Gadget investigate a security alarm at a pumping station and find Graviton, but the building collapses and Gadget is killed.
In Avengers Tower, Stark dreams that Captain America is there. Cap says he is a figment of Tony's imagination, and tells him the writing he saw in the asylum was Makluan. Later, Stark tells Kooning that the writing proves the Mandarin is involved. Kooning insists the Mandarin is dead, but Stark is unwilling to be dissuaded, recounting his findings regarding Najeeb and Faraz's hunt for ten rings, and hypothesizing that Mandarin's real goal is to get hold of Extremis. Kooning informs Stark that Farz was recently arrested and has claimed he was behind the bio-enhanced terrorists, informing Tony that Maya has recently commited suicide, and telling him to stop chasing ghosts.
Later Stark reports to Nebraska where he's brifed about the Graviton incident. He meets Captain Ultra at the hospital, who admits regretfully he let his team check out the call without him because he thought it merely the latest in a long line of false alarms. Then together they interview Paragon. After being tols how Graviton attacked Gadget, and that Graviton said "the machine is behind you", Tony directs a SHIELD tech team to find Gadget's remains, compressed into a billiard ball sized mass. As Stark and Hill examine it, Stark hallucinates Gadget speaking to him, mentioning Graviton's words. Stark tells Hill to get Graviton transferred to SHIELD custody.
At Gentech's nearby offices, Maya watches the Helicarrier hovering in the sky only a few miles away and tells Mandarin that Tony is too close for comfort. When Mandarin tries to motivate her by mentionning the potential benefits to mankind of her Extremis work, she reminds him that they are decades away from clinical trials on humans, unaware that elsewhere in the facility, dozens of human subjects have already been experimented on.