The Battle on the Norco was a mission conducted by Tony Stark and James Rhodes in an attempt to rescue Matthew Ellis and Pepper Potts from Aldrich Killian, following an attack on Air Force One. Previously, Killian instigated a terrorist campaign across the United States, using the Mandarin and the involvement of the Ten Rings as a front.
Motivated to save Potts from Killian's clutches, Stark and Rhodes infiltrated the Norco where they were confronted by the Extremis Soldiers. The two were outnumbered by the soldiers, resulting in an explosive confrontation where Stark had to bring about the Iron Legion, defeating the large count of Extremis adversaries by using his suits to gain the ultimate combat advantage. By the end of the battle, Stark and Rhodes had successfully escorted Ellis away, and in light of the Clean Slate Protocol, Killian was defeated by Potts.
- "This is the Roxxon Norco!"
"And of course, you'll remember that when she spilled a million gallons of crude oil of the coast, thanks to you, not one fat cat saw a day in court."
"What do you want from me?"
"Oh, nothing, sir. I just needed a reason to kill you that would play well on TV."
- ―Matthew Ellis and Aldrich Killian[src]
Tony Stark was assumed dead after his house was destroyed with him inside, but he escaped and managed to fly to Rose Hill, Tennessee. After being attacked by and killing Ellen Brandt, Stark went to Miami, Florida to Aldrich Killian's Mansion. Stark was captured by Aldrich Killian and forced to watch him kill Maya Hansen before escaping.
Aldrich Killian managed to get James Rhodes out of his Iron Patriot armor and ordered Eric Savin to use it to kidnap Matthew Ellis. Killian was also holding Pepper Potts who was injected with Extremis. Ellis was hung by his hands in the Iron Patriot Armor over a trap where, if he fell, would explode and kill him. Once Ellis was dead, Killian planned to have Rodriguez assume the presidency, granting the former near total control over the United States of America. Tony Stark and James Rhodes got to the drill, armed only with pistols.
Tony Stark and James Rhodes managed to sneak into the loading docks where Matthew Ellis was strung up inside the Iron Patriot armor over the adjacent oil tanker, the Norco. Without their armor, they were left with the prospect of facing Aldrich Killian's men and Extremis soldiers, armed only with their wits and a pair of 9mm pistols.
They were soon discovered, and found themselves facing a force of several dozen Extremis Soldiers. Those odds were evened shortly thereafter when Stark's Iron Legion arrived in force and engaged the soldiers, after he used the House Party Protocol. When the structure became unstable due to one of the Iron Legion crashing into it, Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to have Igor to stabilize it.
Stark donned one of them himself and flew through the fray to find Pepper Potts. The Extremis-enhanced Killian blocked Stark's rescue attempt, but was fended off long enough for Stark to make a second try. Stark was unsuccessful however, and watched in horror as Pepper fell and was engulfed in flame. When Killian approached again, Stark got into another Iron Man suit and began a lengthy exchange battle, with Killian systematically wrecking one suit after another.
Rhodes was taken to the top of the catwalks by Heartbreaker. As soon as he took out two Extremis soldiers by dropping a cargo container with them on top, he jumped to the cable holding Ellis up. Rhodes used the repulsor to cut one of the cables and the two swung to safety. Rhodes put on the suit and flew Ellis to safety.
Stark and Killian then battled, with Stark eventually ensnaring his opponent in the late-arriving Mark XLII and triggered its self destruct. Killian survived the explosion, and when he was about to kill Stark, Pepper was also revealed to have survived her assumed death.
Pepper first bashed Killian away with a metal bar, then followed the surprise attack with a Stark explosive and a repulsor ripped from the passing Mark VIII. Detonated by the repulsor, the explosive munition obliterated and killed Aldrich Killian.
When Tony Stark and Pepper Potts were reunited, Stark promised her he could find a cure for the Extremis in her body, but also that he would no longer be obsessed with his job. He ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to activate the Clean Slate Protocol, which caused the remaining Iron Legion to detonate and explode.
Remanded in Federal Custody
Following James Rhodes' successful rescue of President Matthew Ellis, he alerted the authorities that Aldrich Killian and A.I.M. were responsible for the terrorist attacks committed by the "Mandarin", that the "Mandarin" himself was a figurehead being portrayed by actor Trevor Slattery, and that Vice President Rodriguez had been aiding Killian. As a result, Vice President Rodriguez was arrested and ushered out of the White House while Slattery was apprehended by local law enforcement officers and incarcerated at Seagate Penitentiary.
Removing the Arc Reactor
With his new take on life, Stark not only managed to remove Extremis from Potts' body, but also to extract the shrapnel from his chest. Having no further use for the Arc Reactor in his chest, he went to the ruins of his mansion, which was brutally destroyed in an attack, and threw the device into the sea, stating that even if his "toys" were taken from him, he would always be Iron Man.