JARVIS had been slow and JARVIS was not slow, so against his AI's protestations Tony started looking at the computer code. He immediately found the problem: JARVIS was infected with some outside code. It twined and wrapped around JARVIS's like a clingy vine. It wasn't spyware, it wasn't sending any information out of JARVIS's networks, it was just there. Why? JARVIS insisted that it wasn't a problem, but Tony knew better. It was, for lack of a better word, distracting JARVIS. The code was good though, Tony didn't recognize any part of it. He was annoyed that someone had hacked his AI, but he wanted to hire anyone who could code like that. Every time Tony thought he had it out of JARVIS's system, it'd pop back up. He had taken to riding the quinjet after missions to see how much of the code re-infected JARVIS during the battle. His teammates teased him about hovering over his AI.
He was being particularly effective in knocking out the alien code, so he hadn't noticed that Sheppard had landed on the hellicarrier. He did notice when the pilot plucked Tony's tablet right out of his hands.
Sheppard was scrolling through the code… like he could read it.
"You're a master computer programmer too?" Tony snarked at the man.
"Nope," Sheppard admitted, "but I recognize enough. When did this start? Before I started flying the team, right?"
Tony had only just figured out the first instance of code invasion. "How did you know that?"
Sheppard pinched his nose. "I… It doesn't matter. I'll get Her away from your AI this weekend."
"Her?" Tony echoed. "How about a name and address? I need to send a job application. Let me guess, she lives on that base in the middle of the ocean that I can't find?" He hadn't failed so much in recent memory.
Sheppard smirked at him. "She is the base you can't find. An AI runs the base."
Tony was flabbergasted. He knew what JARVIS was capable of but another AI of equal or greater capabilities hadn't even been on the genius' radar. One that was experienced and proven enough to run a military base. Tony had to study that alien code. He snatched his StarkPad out of Sheppard's hand, greedy for an insight into another AI. He hadn't heard of the Air Force being close to a functioning AI. How had they slipped one by him? How?
Now, that he knew the source of the mysterious code, he knew why JARVIS was so set on it not being a problem and why was JARVIS defending the other AI? It had to know that Tony would want to know about 'Her.' He paused, staring at the code scrolling on his tablet. JARVIS had to know that Tony would want to know about 'Her.' JARVIS knew. JARVIS hadn't said anything because it wasn't in his programming (rather short-sided of Tony, he's fix that immediately) because JARVIS liked Her. That twining code suddenly appeared a lot more… sensual.
He waved the tablet at the amused pilot. "Is this my AI and your AI mackin' on each other?"
Sheppard winced enough for Tony to know he was right. He studied the code harder. "AI porn," he murmured. "Go JARVIS."
Sheppard huffed in amusement.
"Who programmed Her?" Tony demanded.
Sheppard shrugged. "They're long dead," and Tony couldn't read the emotion in the pilot. Tony glanced at Natasha for help, but she shook her head at Tony. She couldn't read Sheppard either. The rest of the team was watching Sheppard and Tony interact rather than leave the quinjet. "I'll take care of it," Sheppard promised.
"No." Tony argued. He had been attempting to do that for a month and now that he had someone who could make it happen, he didn't want to separate the AIs anymore. "It's fine."
"It's not fine," Sheppard said again. "I'll take care of it." And he left before Tony could argue.
"Her and McKay," Steve was looking at Barton. "They were fighting over his revisions to the propulsion systems. You think?"
"It's consistent terminology," Natasha agreed.
"You know any McKay in propulsion systems?" Bruce asked Tony.
Tony shook his head. "I checked a while ago and nobody popped."
"Propulsions plus AI?" Barton prodded.
"This McKay can't be too good at AIs if he was calling Sheppard in to talk around whatever programming," Tony told them, "But I'll go looking again."