into the woods to find a gem...

After days in the wilderness, if this could even be called such, Tony was ecstatic when Jane had revealed she had pinpointed a general area in which the gem could be. By general area, they still had a few square miles to comb over, but there were enough of them that it was easy to divide the work. Because he had the advantage of a bulking metal suit that could fire rockets, he branched off on his own to survey a spot near their encampment, first flying above the tree lines before he landed to survey the land on foot. Though the area was small, the mass of trees and mud made it difficult to see anything other than foliage. When he spotted a cave, though, he found himself being pulled towards its entrance, as if some force was beckoning him forward.

Before entering, he gripped the walkie talkie he had been given to communicate with the others, pulling it up to his mouth as he pressed the talk button. "Found a cave, gonna take a look inside," he informed the others before continuing forward.

He took a few steps inside the cave, ignoring the various acknowledgements and be carefuls from his team, and soon realized it was more of a cavern. The back was not immediately visible, even with the reactor in the center of his chest providing more than enough light for him to see in the darkness. He raised his hand, prepared to defend himself should any predators be lurking, but the cave itself was quiet. Too quiet.

The more he walked, the stranger he began to feel. There was a minor throbbing in his head, but he it wasn't enough to really bother him. Is this gem royally screwing with anyone else? came Clint's voice over the walkie, followed by a few others agreeing. Before he could concur, a blinding pain hit him behind the eyes, and Tony was forced to stop dead in his tracks. Unable to lift his hand to tell the others, he leaned against the cold wall of the cave, hands and mask of his suit peeling away so that he could grip at his head as he tried to pull himself together. The walkie talkie made a loud clattering sound as it collided with the floor of the cave, breaking into pieces as it did so. "I didn't know infinity gems had a sense of humor," he muttered under his breath, the last word turning into a groan as a rush of pain flew through his head.

It was as if lights were flashing all around him, and then he was walking, as if in someone else's body. A container of something, the label of which he couldn't quite read, sat a few feet in front of him. Water was all around him, clean and ready to drink - a city's water supply. This person was too far away, but, as they walked forward, he could see that it was clearly labeled Extremis 3.0.

What am I seeing? Is someone planning to push this on the city of Boston?

Then the person whose eyes he was seeing out of picked up the container and dumped it into the water. Their arms were armored unlike anything he had ever seen before, though he could see similarities between his own armor and this gray armor.

Tony's heart dropped. Whatever was happening, it was too late for him to prevent it. The man pulled his phone out of his pocket, and, as they went through their contacts, Tony realized that he recognized all of them. Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, and Rhodey were among the ones he noticed. A suspicion started to build within him that he knew this person, the person who had just poisoned an entire city, but he kept watching, certain that his mind was playing tricks on him.

The person continued walking as they dialed a number he didn't recognize. "Is the app ready?" the voice asked, and Tony froze. It was a voice he knew well because it was his own.

He refused to let whatever mind game this was influence him any longer. He was stronger than that, so he forced himself out of the place his mind had gone to and was surprised to see he was back at camp. He looked down to see a vial in his hand. It was a mixture of chemicals he knew did not mix well, that could make humans ill upon ingesting or even kill them, and he was standing over their makeshift water supply, seconds from tipping his hand to pour the liquid into it. He took a step back and gripped the vial tightly, knowing he had to properly dispose of it so it didn't get into the ground water.

He looked around, glad no one had their eyes on him in that moment, and quickly fired his boosters and took off towards the helicarrier.