‘There’s the helicopter, USAgent!’ exclaims Tony “Iron Man” Stark as he takes flight, informing his teammate that he will handle the approaching copter, and telling him to take care of those people up ahead. ‘I still can’t believe we’re doing this, Iron-pants!’ Johnny Walker a.k.a. the USAgent replies as he moves swiftly towards the civilian protesters up ahead. ‘Gangs running wild here in L.A - a crisis to end all crises in the Persian Gulf - and we’re sent here to protect some protesters who’re too dumb to get out of the way of a malathion spraying!’ Walker declares. ‘Let them take a bath - that’s what I say!’ Walker adds.
As Iron Man flies towards the approaching helicopter, Tony thinks to himself that he still has trouble believing that the US government forced the Avengers West Coast to give USAgent the time of day, let alone Avengers membership. Changing the subject, Tony thinks that California may have a med fly situation, which is not doing its agriculture any good, and maybe spraying is the way to deal with it - and maybe not. Tony knows that, either way, they cannot let a big dose of malathion hit the crowd directly, and unleashes a low-intensity repulsor ray, which disrupts the airflow, and disperses the spray, while at the same time creating a portside downdraft which sends the chopper into a spin towards the ground. ‘Well, nobody’s perfect!’ Tony jokes to himself.
Back on the ground, the handsome USAgent has made his way in between the protesters, telling them to break it up. ‘Haven’t you got a Greenpeace meeting or something to go to?’ Walker asks, while one of the civilians points out that the copter is falling. USAgent tells him that is not his problem, and orders everyone once again to clear out. Suddenly, one of the protesters rushes towards USAgent, fist outstretched, he shouts ‘No! They’re spraying at night, too! They’re out to get us, I tell you!’ the protester shouts. ‘I got a family! I won’t let them -’ the protester exclaims, lunging at Johnny, who punches his attacker in the stomach, ‘You’re outta line, mister!’ Walker exclaims.
Grabbing the protester by his shirt, Walker announces that the authorities okayed the spraying, before suddenly noticing a strange rash-like anomaly spreading over his attacker. ‘What’s that rash on your face? It looks like some kind of metal!’ Walker declares. ‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!’ the protester exclaims, calling Johnny a jerk, he says again that the spraying has been happening at night time. ‘I’ve heard them - choppers, the works!’. The protester reveals that he got this way after eating fruit out of his own garden in Pasadena, and points out that the other people have the same problem. ‘Look, far as I know, it could just be from too much iron in their diet. That doesn’t give you any right to block -’ Johnny begins, until one of the crowd shouts ‘Look at Iron Man! He’s almost caught the helicopter - no - he has caught it!’
Johnny looks up and sees Iron Man carrying the helicopter downwards, to the ground, where the protestors begin to turn on Iron Man, ‘They were trying to kill us, man! You should’ve let them crash!’ one of them shouts, to which Iron Man replies that he doesn’t see it that way. The helicopter pilots emerge, apologizing to Iron Man about the spray, explaining that they tried to stop releasing it when they saw the people, but something malfunctioned. ‘I figured’ Iron Man replies, before one of the pilots exclaims that he doesn’t care if the fruit flies eat the crops. ‘Check!’ his colleague agrees, declaring that he is quitting until they figure out how once and for all whether the malathion is safe or not.
‘Quitting your day job you mean, right?’ USAgent asks as he and the protesters walk over to the helicopter. ‘How about all that secret night time spraying these folks saw?’ One of the pilot points to USAgent and asks Iron Man ‘You know that hot head?’, to which Iron Man replies ‘Who really knows anybody?’. The pilot tells Iron Man that he can tell USAgent that nobody is doing any “secret spraying”, day or night. ‘Right! Every spraying time’s listed in the paper long before we do it!’ the other pilot explains. ‘Point duly noted’ Iron Man replies, before the pilots announce that they have to get going. ‘Whoa! I want to talk to you buzzards!’
Iron Man tells Walker to take it easy, and steps between Johnny and the pilots, but Johnny exclaims ‘Cram easy! I said I want to talk to - heyyyy!’ he exclaims as Iron Man picks up all 270 pounds of USAgent and carries him into the air. ‘See? What did I tell you? They’re all in it together!’ one of the protesters exclaims. As he is carried through the air by Iron Man, Walker asks him what the big idea is, to which Iron Man replies that it is not their job to take sides in the malathion thing, as they were just there to prevent violence, which they did. ‘Yeah, well, we’re Avengers, aren’t we?’ Walker replies, before telling Iron Man that if he had gotten a close look at the skin on some of those people - ‘as metallic-looking in spots as your fancy-pants armor’ - then maybe he too would feel it was high time the Avengers West Coast finally started doing some real avenging.
Soon, Tony and Johnny arrive back at their home - the home of the Avengers West Coast - the Palos Verdes Compound. As they land near the swimming pool, Iron Man tells Walker that, if what he has told him on the way back here is true, the maybe they should let all the Avengers in on this, though Tony adds that it still doesn’t mean it is county pilots who are doing the night spraying. ‘Haah! It’s all done by gremlins who joyride in the county’s choppers at night, right?’ Johnny retorts. ‘Give me a fragging break!’
Up ahead, Iron Man sees Greer Grant Nelson, better known as Tigra, and exclaims ‘So they finally found you, and -’ Tigra interrupts, ‘-made me free, stripped and 5’10” again!’, before informing her teammates that Hank and Jan have called an emergency meeting. The trio race to the meeting room, and Iron Man asks Tigra if she is okay then, to which Tigra replies that she has never felt better, and reveals that Agatha Harkness found her and fixed her up. ‘Long story’ she adds, before USAgent tells his teammates that he thought Pym and Jan drove up north to see if they could rekindle the flame.
‘Well, whatever they did or didn’t do up there, tall-dark-and-hunksome, they’re back - so it must’ve happened fast’ Tigra replies, smiling at Johnny, before suggesting that she can ask Hank and Jan to give the two of them lessons sometime soon. ‘What do you say?’ Greer asks. Somewhat taken aback, Johnny replies ‘Er…yeah, sure. Anytime’. ‘Great. I’ll pick you up at eight tonight’ Greer replies. ‘Uh…fine’ Johnny remarks, still puzzled, while Iron Man mutters that Greer is back to normal all right, as he opens the conference room doors, and the trio enter, to find, as Iron Man points out, that the entire gang is here. Tigra jokes that if Agatha Harkness had stayed around then they would have enough for a basketball game.
Dr. Hank Pym tells Tigra that it is great to see her feeling her oats again, but that they have far more important things to do. Motioning to the sack that her ex-husband is holding, Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp tells Hank to let the others see. ‘Yeah, show-and-tell time’ Clint “Hawkeye” Barton remarks, pointing out that Hank and Jan have been doing the “mysterioso” bit ever since they returned an hour ago. ‘We just wanted everybody together, before we trotted out…this!’ Hank exclaims as he opens the bag, and tosses onto the table the robotic heads of two apparent people they recently encountered.
‘What in blazes?’ Hawkeye asks, to which Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, ally of the Avengers West Coast, and brother to the Scarlet Witch, points out that it is clearly the remains of two humanoid robots, to which Clint replies that he meant ‘So what? We’ve all seen enough androids to last us a lifetime’. Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch reminds her dear friend that some of them even married one, referring to herself. Hank explains that these robots were under remote control, and that the Rover’s motor put them on the fritz somehow.
Iron Man asks his long-time teammates where they encountered the androids, to which the Wasp explains that they were disguised as the “proprietors” of a small wheat farm, and wonders why anyone would stick robots on a farm unless it had something to do with the food supply. ‘See what I mean about this being important’ Tigra mumbles, to which Johnny remarks that he wonders if this has anything to do with the metallic rash on the malathion protestors. Johnny tells his teammates that the protestors complained about night-time spraying, but admits he cannot see the connection. ‘Malathion spraying? Get serious, Agent!’ Hawkeye tells his rival. ‘You think the Earth’s being invaded by robot med flies?’ Clint asks.
‘You brainless -!’ USAgent shouts as he lunges across the conference table, scrambling for Hawkeye, Johnny reminds everyone that Uncle Sam put him on the team to keep an eye on all the clowns here, not to take any of their bull. ‘I’ll show you what you’re gonna take, mister…’ Clint replies, egging Walker on, until the Scarlet Witch tells both men to stop it. Iron Man and Hank hold USAgent back, while Quicksilver keeps Hawkeye at bay as he remarks that his sister is correct. ‘I realize I am no longer an Avenger, but -’ Pietro begins, until Clint interrupts, declaring that the worst day Quicksilver ever saw he was still more of an Avenger than the poor man’s excuse Captain America. ‘Hey, I was Captain America, you stupid -’ Johnny shouts, only for Iron Man to interrupt, telling both of them to knock it off.
Dr. Pym tells his teammates that they can settle their personal feud later, but that right now, the seven of them have to go check out the other farms in the area - ‘No’ Simon “Wonder Man” Williams, silent until now, suddenly interrupts. Hank ignores Simon, and tells everyone that they can look into the “metallic rash” USAgent mentioned too. Hank adds that he will get onto their computer and see if he can dig up any data to support the idea of a threat to the food supply. ‘Didn’t you hear me?’ Simon asks, frowning. ‘I said NO!’ Simon shouts, smacking a powerful fist down upon the conference table, splitting it down the middle.
‘Look out everybody! Wonder Man’s gone out of his skull!’ Tigra exclaims, but Simon shouts that it is the rest of them that have gone crazy. ‘Wanda and I told you how me dead brother’s come back - as the real Grim Reaper this time - now he’s drinking up people’s lives like so much Miller Lite!’ Simon declares, annoyed that now they want to charge off and look for robots on the farm. Wanda puts her hands on Simon and tells him not to get upset, and that she is sure Hank has his reasons for suggesting they concentrate on the robots first. ‘Matter of fact, I do, Wanda…’ Hank explains, before reminding everyone that it was only a suggestion, since nobody elected him Chairman of Avengers West.
Hank points out that since Simon’s brother, Eric, seems to have gone underground with the whole LAPD looking for him, it seems that this wider threat ought to have priority. ‘Threat? What threat?’ Simon asks, clearly annoyed. ‘A tinker-toy version of Ma and Pa Kettle - some bozo with zits whining about how somebody sprayed insecticide on his face - and you jokers start worrying someone’s going to cause rust of the food chain!’. Iron Man tells Simon that they all hope he is right, and that it is just a false alarm, before asking him if he thinks he may have lost his objectivity. ‘I don’t want to be objective, Tin-Man!’ Simon snaps back. ‘I want to find my brother - and that’s just what I mean to do!’ he shouts, storming out of the conference room, he smashes the doors from their hinges.
Wanda races after Simon, telling him to wait, to which Simon asks ‘What for? So you can try to talk me out of leaving?’ he tells Wanda to save her breath. Wanda catches up with Simon outside, telling him that she wont argue with him, as she knows how he feels. ‘If it were my brother out there -’ Wanda begins, before telling Simon that he mustn’t hate his fellow Avengers for doing things in the order they feel that they must. ‘Stuff my fellow Avengers! Wanda - you saw Eric - how he is!’ Simon replies, asking Wanda to come with him and help find Eric. ‘Stop him - maybe even help him!’. Wanda looks intently at Simon, telling him that she wishes she could, even without her hex power, but she is not sure what good she could be to him. Wanda tells Simon that if she has a place at all now, it is as an Avenger. ‘You’re an Avenger too, Simon. You know we’ll all help you find Eric, as soon as -’ Wanda tells her friend, but Simon interrupts: ‘Couldn’t resist, huh?’ he asks Wanda, before taking flight, ‘Well, to blazes with you - all of you. I’ll find Eric by myself! I don’t need any of you!’ Simon shouts angrily.
Shortly, Iron Man radios in from over Riverside, and announces that there is no sign of any suspicious activity, at least none related to their mission, that is. USAgent reports in from the Hollywood area, announcing that there is just the usual tourists and other lowlifes, while the Wasp reports in from Pomona and announces that there is nothing shaking there, as per usual.
In a computer lab at UCLA, Wanda asks Hank what it is they are looking for - besides incognito helicopters, that is. ‘They’ll know it if they find it, Wanda’ Hank replies, before remarking that he wonders why their other scavenger-hunters haven’t checked in yet.
One such scavenger-hunter, Hawkeye, crosses some police barricades, and finds some access points to the metro rail tunnel that have been closed down. Clint stares through the grid, when suddenly, Tigra and Quicksilver appear behind him. ‘Isn’t he just the most incurable romantic?’ Tigra remarks, getting Clint’s attention. ‘All set to take a quiet midnight stroll through the metro rail tunnel! And here we thought this downtown section was closed since that fire in July’ Greer adds. ‘Perhaps that is why he has an acid arrow in his hands’ Pietro points out. ‘You two comedians ought to take your act out on the road, like, right now!’ Clint exclaims. ‘You’ve been following me!’ he snaps.
‘Well, well…give the man an exploding cigar’ Tigra remarks, while Quicksilver points out that Hawkeye was acting so mysterious when he left the meeting, and that he aroused their curiosity. Hawkeye gives in and explains to Pietro and Greer that some of USAgent’s jawing about malathion touched a nerve with him, so while Hank went to use some fancy computer at UCLA, Clint reveals that he punched a few numbers into their own computer, and explains he came up with a nice circular ring of reported “night time sprayings” in this area. Pulling out a map, Clint remarks that smack in the center of the sprayings was the site of last Summer’s tunnel fire. ‘Coincidence? I don’t think so’ Clint declares.
‘But you weren’t about to tell anyone, and let the Agent get any credit, huh?’ Tigra asks, telling Hawkeye that he is lucky she and Quicksilver showed up to save him all that nitric acid. With that, Tigra uses her enhanced strength to pull apart the bars blocking the tunnel. Hawkeye tells Tigra that she does good work, and lights a flare arrow, remarking that it will cost him a few of those to find out if his hunch was right, as he leads the others into the tunnel. ‘The place still looks pretty much fire-gutted, even after -’ Clint begins, when Greer alerts him to a crack in the wall. ‘Huh? Oh, yeah’ Clint replies, before firing an arrow at the crack, and busting the wall open.
‘Where? I saw no particular crack…’ Quicksilver remarks, to which Hawkeye tells his former teammate that he hasn’t go eyes like a cat - or even like tinsel-town’s answer to William Tell. As the trio enter the next compartment, through the gaping hole created by Hawkeye, Tigra explains to Quicksilver that the crack was far too regularly spaced, to be as natural as it was obviously supposed to be. Pietro replies that he won’t argue, and as they look around the chamber, he declares that this sealed-off tunnel was clearly not built to be a part of Los Angeles’ proposed underground.
‘Sheesh! Haven’t you been in this country long enough to know we call ‘em “subways”?’ Clint asks, before announcing that there is a funny kind of light around the bend. Approaching the light, Clint jokes ‘Somehow, Toto, I don’t think we’re in the Metro Rail Subway System anymore!’. Gazing upon a large factory of sorts, with computer equipment lining the walls, and a helicopter bay in the center, Tigra exclaims that they have struck pay dirt. Tigra motions to the helicopter and points out that it looks like the one the city uses for spraying, and that there are a couple of people on board. However, Greer announces that she doesn’t detect a whiff of any human beings in this place.
Quicksilver points out that may be because the pilots are no more human, than the foursome which has just stepped out of the shadows. ‘Now he tells me!’ Hawkeye mutters as four beings approach him and his allies. ‘Robots!’ Greer exclaims. The robots say nothing, and as Quicksilver points out, they just attack. ‘Let your fingers do the talking, speedy, after you roll them up into a fist!’ Clint replies, while Tigra takes on another, and asks Clint if he can handle two of them with his arrows. Quicksilver shoves his opponent into another robot, and tells Hawkeye and Tigra that they must allow him to contribute something to this joint venture.
‘Now, if the two of you need any assistance…’ Pietro begins to ask, standing over his downed robots, he looks up to find Clint and Greer standing over theirs too. ‘Bite your tongue, Pietro!’ Tigra exclaims. ‘Four up, four down. All out super hero free-for-alls should be that easy!’ Hawkeye declares. ‘Perhaps it was a bit too easy’ Quicksilver points out, to which Tigra agrees, and remarks that whoever built this set-up under the very noses of Metro Rail could afford watchdogs with more teeth. Hawkeye points out that the robots more or less match the ones that Hank and Jan found up North however, an Tigra agrees, boasting that until she finds out why, she isn’t leaving this place.
Suddenly, a voice booms ‘Who told you that you would be allowed to leave?’ and as Tigra rounds a corner, a hulking figure picks Tigra up and tosses her across the lab. ‘What in blazes?’ Hawkeye asks as he can Quicksilver rush over to Tigra, where a metallic figure also approaches: ‘You know my name well, even if you may be ignorant of my current numbering. I am Ultron-13!’ booms Ultron, standing over Tigra. Hawkeye reaches for his bow and an arrow as he warns Ultron to step away from Tigra, threatening to blow the Avengers’ deadly foe away.
Hawkeye’s arrow explodes against Ultron, but causes no damage, and Ultron suggests to the marksman that with such a primitive weapons in his arsenal, he would be better advised to request, rather than to command. Hawkeye responds by firing some net-arrows at Ultron, as Quicksilver warns him to be careful, as this model may be even more dangerous than previous ones. ‘You sure you’re only Ultron-13, pal?’ Hawkeye asks. ‘I figured your numbering system would be up to at least 89 by now!’ Clint exclaims. ‘You would try to net me - like some floundering fish?’ Ultron asks, grabbing the electronic nets, Ultron then blasts Hawkeye, telling him that he has only snared himself.
‘We shall see if you feel so cavalier about hurricane-force winds!’ Quicksilver exclaims as he begins racing around Ultron in a circle. Ultron boasts that, in earlier incarnations, he created the Vision and survived his betrayal, that he faced Avengers and Fantastic Four together in the Inhumans’ Great Refuge. Ultron boasts that he even triumphed in battle with Ultron-12, who tried to usurp his identity and his station. ‘And now they send a mere jogger against me?’ Ultron asks as he casually raises an arm - which Quicksilver smacks into and falls to the floor, next to Hawkeye and Tigra. ‘It is almost…insulting!’ Ultron declares.
‘Do you not think it is insulting, archer?’ Ultron ask Hawkeye, who has begun to come around. ‘Who -?’ Clint asks, weary. ‘Questions, Avenger?’ Ultron replies, standing at a console, while the Hawkeye, Tigra and Quicksilver find themselves trapped in cylinder tanks. Ultron boasts that, until now, questions have served men well, for questions are the beginning of knowledge. ‘Nut now, alas, for humankind - I am the answer!’ Ultron exclaims. Hawkeye calls out to Greer and Pietro, asking if they are all right, to which Greer replies ‘Well, I had a bit of a cold, and Pietro’s been complaining about an ingrown toenail…’, annoyed at Tigra’s jokes, Quicksilver tells her that this is hardly the occasion.
‘Treasure her false bravado, mutant - for it is the only kind left to you lesser Avengers!’ Ultron announces. Hawkeye admits that he should have shared his hunch with his teammates when he had the chance, and exclaims that Ultron is behind the robots Hank and Jan ran into, and the praying that has been turning people into metal androids. ‘Who else, you carbon-based cretin?’ Ultron replies, revealing that many “farm couples” were already in place even before he caused the tunnel fire to prevent men from finding this hidden sanctum. ‘Their mission is to add a certain crystalline substance to this state’s widely distributed wheat crop - while the spraying is merely an alternative means of accomplishing the same goal‘, Ultron reveals.
‘You trying to poison the word?’ Clint asks. ‘Rather, I am trying to evolve humanity to my own level…to “robotize” them, you might say’ Ultron explains. ‘You mean - by getting people into ingest some weird kind of crystal?’ Tigra asks, telling Ultron that even if he slips by Ralph Nader, that scheme is going to take a long time. ‘Not so long as you think’ Ultron replies, informing the heroes that in the half hour since their capture, the three of them have been bathed in the same spray. ‘Already it has begun to transform you’ Ultron informs them, remarking that, in the past, he made the fundamental error of wishing to conquer the human race. ‘What use could I possibly have for me, either free or slaves?’ Ultron asks.
‘At last, I see what should have been my true goal: to replace every man, woman and child on the planet - with living robots who are nothing more nor less than four billion extensions of myself!’…Ultron reveals, holding his fists in the air, as if he was already a champion.