|gavin owens (newhorizon) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2014-01-23 23:52:00
|Entry tags:||door: marvel comics, gwen stacy, spider-man|
Who: Spider-Man and Gwen
Where: New York
What: Killing Carnage! Kinda.
Warnings: violence. nerds.
First order of business was to take care of the Carnage problem. Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man had read the reports of strange, overly bloody murders in what appeared to be a much calmer version of New York City. Further evidence of Carnage influence included a sample of the corrupted symbiote picked up by one of the surveillance bots. The victims of this new Carnage seemed to normally be female in gender and gifted or motivated. The type made Spider-Man think that either it had a fixation of sorts or the person it was controlling did. Either way, predicting who the monster would go after next was impossible. But, sometimes the spider just got lucky.
His apparent lack of interest in Gwen Stacy was a lie. To see one of the few people Peter Parker failed to save in person was amusing and her interest in science was fascinating. Mary Jane was a bore at best and Black Cat was a thief and a harlot, but a scientist girl was something more his style. Not that Spider-Man needed friends or even had that much interest in the people who inhabited this world. Still, he felt compelled.
One of his surveillance bots that had been apparently deactivated in a boyish fit of rage was actually simply put on sleep mode and turned back on when she wasn’t paying attention. It followed her through the house and out into the city, where her would-be killer was waiting for her. In the shadows, Carnage looked like a red candle’s wax that had been pushed and pulled to create a feminine form. It dripped and slobbered, the mouth opening wide to reveal needled teeth pushed together as a long tongue slithered out. As Gwen walked down the street, Carnage crawled over the buildings in her shadow until passerbyers became fewer and fewer. At last she was alone.
The creature slithered down. “Gwwweeenn Sttaacccccy.” It’s voice wet and high pitched like a silver screened witch cackling from the sky. “Aren’t you just a pretty bag of meat?”
Gwen didn't have a job at present. Harry had fired her for irresponsibility, despite the fact that Mr. Osborn had authorized her work with the symbiote in the Oscorp building. She'd tired of explaining that she hadn't intended to disappear and die and, while she felt responsible for losing the symbiote, she hadn't violated any Oscorp agreements in having the symbiote in the building. She'd successfully lobbied to be allowed to study the alien there, in order to utilize the properties by which the symbiote bonded to its host to further Oscorp's work in medical integration of non-human DNA. And the work had been going well. She had hours and hours of data that pointed to an enzyme in the alien's body as the key to the bonding process. If they could just test and synthetically reproduce that enzyme, then the implications for modern medicine would be amazing. In short, it was awesome. But one badly timed counterpart change, and her entire career had come to a screeching stop. No references from the only employer she'd had since high school, and no valid reason for being fired that held up at other companies in New York, not when everyone knew and respected Oscorp as the leader in genetics and biologic medicine.
Which meant Gwen had nothing to do but spend her days searching for the symbiote that had cost her career. She didn't have any expectation that finding it would get her job back, and she wasn't required to go hunting for it. In fact, Doctor Banner asked her nearly every day not to go looking for it. But she felt responsible, and she blamed that on her dad's memory, the one that lectured her daily on the mess she was making of her life.
And so she was following the map on her phone, GPS markers for possible symbiote activity blinking red and guiding her between buildings and into alleys. Concentrating on something made it easier for her to forget the fact that the current Peter found her tedious, and that Mary Jane had suddenly decided to be conciliatory, and that she currently saw more of Harry's little sister than she did of Harry himself. The lights blinked, and she wound deeper into the city, her messenger bag heavy with the best version of a sonic emitter that she could modify to increase frequency and range.
She heard the voice from over her shoulder, and she stopped on her chunky black shoes. She reached for the flap on the messenger back slowly, and she turned just as slowly. She had no containment unit; she knew it wasn't going to let her catch it. "Hello," she said calmly, as if she was in the safety of a lab, with the symbiote contained behind shatterproof glass.
The red dripping monster cocked its head to the side, arms up like a skeleton tree as it hissed. “HeeeellLLLOOOO well well how polite YES indeedy!” The shrill voice was enough to make someone’s ears ring. Her laugh was cartoonish and screeching. “I’m going to tear the flesh off your bones. I’m going to rip your pretty little face RIGHT OFF.” The red bubbled and then shot forward in an instant, red wrapping around Gwen’s neck, arms and waist as it pulled her towards the darkest part of the alley. It felt like sticking a hand into wet clay. It sank and sank as if the red goop intended to pull her through the street.
Above there was a faint clicking noise. Sharp metal digging into the side of ancient New York buildings. It scurried faster, launching from one side of the alley to the other before landing behind Carnage. “Unhand her you muculent miscreant!” It was undoubtedly Peter’s voice, but it sounded like he was mocking some theatrical themed villain. If she looked behind the consuming Carnage, there was Spider-Man with giant metal spider legs attached to his spine and eyes that reflected back the world. The metal arms stabbed into the red slime, tugging it off her with great force as Spider-Man wrapped his body around the red female frame and dug his thumbs into the monster's eyes.
Carnage let out a sudden SCCREEEEECCCHH, flailing back to attack Spider-Man. “You fool! You’re already dead!” Spider-Man shouted back and his gloves suddenly started glowing, emitting extreme heat from the arms down to his fingertips, which were currently thrust into Carnage’s face. “Gwen, if you do not wish to burn I suggest-” Spider-Man grunted, riding the back of Carnage like it was a bronco. “You MOVE.”
She kept her eyes on the not-woman as she reached into the messenger bag. "Your intonation is female," she said curiously, fingers sliding deeper into the dark recesses of the bag in search of the sonic. "I find it interesting that you chose a female host. Women are ruthless killers, but they're not in the majority when it comes to perpetrators of violent crime. They're considered weaker on multiple levels, emotional and physical. The number of female serial killers is nearly non-existent. Female homicides are usually passion crimes. It was a strange choice. Illogical, especially given potential physical limitations." Her fingers closed on the sonic, and she began to pull it up and out, and then the thing shot forward and the sonic clattered to the ground as Carnage pulled her forward.
In Gwen's defense, she didn't scream, and she didn't flail. The probability of extrication through physical exertion was low. There wasn't any logical point in attempting it.
Still, she heard the noise overhead, but she didn't turn her attention there. She wasn't certain how good Carnage's hearing was; she'd never run those tests, and she chided herself for not being thorough. Regardless, the possibility existed that Carnage might not hear whatever was overhead, so Gwen didn't look. She was panicking, heart racing, pulse flying, breathing dangerously shallow, but she didn't look up.
Until that was, she heard the familiar voice. Her head jerked up, and she stared. It wasn't the most productive reaction, but her mind was trying to process the metal spider legs. Why were there giant metal spider legs?
Carnage's screech made her pull away, even before Peter (and it was definitely Peter) suggested she moved. She edged to the end of the alley, close to the wall, and she slid her hands over herself, checking for anything not her that might be clinging to her; another poorly executed, if logical reaction, but she was too engrossed in the scene in front of her to flee, and that added another check to the illogical choices column.
"You followed me!" she finally said, all ah hah! as the bronco ride continued, and then she started reaching around for the sonic.
“I did not follow you!” Spider-Man shouted immaturely, grunting as Carnage tried to free herself from the hold of his mechanical arms. Its screeches were getting a little old hat now and veering on sad squealing. Spider-Man didn’t seem to notice, the arms pinned Carnage to him like an examination table and he dug his thumbs deeper and deeper into its skull. The red started to boil, turning a yellowish orange color as the heat began to rip the creature apart. It was clear that the bug vigilante had no intention on safely removing the symbiote from whoever it had possessed. He was going to burn the entire monster down to ash.
“Youuuuu don’t have what it TAKESSSSS-” Carnage taunted Spider-Man, her razor sharp mouth slowly morphing back to something more human. The voice lost its cackling witch bravado and turned deeper and raspy. The scars along her face from a life of crime and murder could be seen as the wax curtain of red pulled back. “You couldn’t kkiiiillllllll me.”
Then, Spider-Man laughed. Dry, joyless, cold. “You’ll find I’ve upgraded into a superior specimen of spider.” And, then he dug his fingers deeper and the scream Carnage gave was all human. It was almost a cry.
If the strangely mechanical iteration of Peter looked in her direction, he would see her rolling her eyes at his immature shout. "Sure, bug boy." He'd definitely followed her. That made her feel better in a way that she associated with girls like Mary Jane, but there wasn't time to examination the emotional validation that stemmed from that. Instead, she kept feeling around for the sonic, and she straightened with it in her hand, triumph in her features until she saw Carnage being torn apart. The taunting made her step forward, the progress slow at first, but she sped up when the human voice broke through the inhuman witchiness of the symbiote.
"No!" she said immediate, feel screeching to a halt within feet of the pair.
The sound, the humanity in the cry, it made her think of Flash, and she shook her head, her voice stronger. "NO," you can't kill it. It's attached to a person who isn't responsible for whatever the symbiote has done. We have to force it to let go of the host, to unbond. The sonic might work." They'd risk losing the symbiote again, but that had ceased to matter. It was an irrational decision, one that completely discounted the good of the many versus the good of the few. At that moment, the woman that Carnage inhabited might as well have been Flash.
She pointed the sonic, and she pressed the button before he could talk her out of it. Or, even worse, before he could kill the host in his moment of perceived superiority. Peter would never kill someone, not if it could be helped, and she wondered how Peter Parker had turned into this man with the metal appendages and the joyless laugh.
Spider-Man found it increasingly difficult to fight Carnage and have an ethical debate with Gwen Stacy. He tried to force out words, but she was already pointing the sonic at the monster he was wrapped around. “You FOOL!” He ripped the metal out of Carnage’s body and tried to crawl away before the dizzying power of the emitter could affect him. Those things made his teeth chatter, his skin feel like it was dialed into the wrong frequency. The metal claws pulled him up to the side of the building, crunched over and looking like a spider that had been hit with a newspaper too many times.
Below, the red wax melted off the form of a rough looking woman. Her hair was scorched off and face covered in fresh burn marks. The sonic emitter and pain caused by Spider-Man’s heat gloves had knocked her out as the red goop was reduced to nothing but a tiny, tiny glob on the pavement. “Gwen!” Spider-Man called from above, metal clanking and clawing to get between her and the red gunk before it could jump her. “Stay back!” His legs weren’t working right and he crashed down across from her, crawling to his feet to save her.
Gwen thought her ears might be bleeding, but she didn't care. She didn't care that Peter was calling her a fool either, though she did rush forward when the metal claws yanked him upward. "Pe- Spider-Man!" she called out, the worry in her voice entirely emotional, no logic in the tone whatsoever. But the wax was melting off the woman, and she knew how resilient Peter was. Hadn't she patched him up more time than she could count? Okay, no, that wasn't true; she could count higher than that. But the concept remained valid, and she reached for the woman without care or concern for the red gunk that remained of Carnage. Guilt was starting to build in her ventromedial prefrontal cortex, neurons firing and causing carelessness. Her irresponsibility had caused the burn marks on the woman, had caused that horrible scorch of hair. "I'm calling 911, okay?" she asked the woman, as if a response would be forthcoming. She was already reaching into her bag, fingers prepared to dial emergency services, and then the metal clanking overhead registered.
She wasn't a damsel, despite her unfortunate death in a bridge incident, and she stepped back when Peter called down. She could dial 911 just as easily with some distance, though it would affect her ability to check the woman's vitals. A momentary delay, she decided, already putting the phone to her ear.
And then the strange and not-quite Peter crashed down in front of her, and she realized how close the gunk was to her feet. Okay, not her best moment. Please state the nature of the emergency, echoed the voice from the phone, but she was too busy backing up to answer for a moment. And then she realized Peter was having a hard time with his motor skills, and she pointed the sonic at what was left of Carnage and gave it one burst, fearing that it would get to Peter before Peter could get to his feet.And then her legs started shaking, shock kicking in, knees buckling.
Spider-Man reached behind him, pulling out a containment tube and gave himself a tiny pep talk. You’re a super genius. You’ve sustained much worse injuries. Save Gwen. That last one had to have been a bad symptom of the sonic emitter. Still, his crawl forward turned into a mechanical leap into the air and he landed dramatically, shoving the tube down on top of the goop. A moment of quiet passed over the alley as he breathed heavy, making sure that the goop was safe inside of its case and then let out a long sigh of relief. “You called the POLICE?!” He shouted up at Gwen, bug eyes scrutinizing her terrified face. He got to his feet, the mechanical arms hoisting him up before twitching in the air as if they were thinking along with him.
Carefully placing the remainder of Carnage into his back compartment, he turned to look at the barely breathing woman on the ground. He held out his hand, a blue light scanning over her facial features before he turned back to Gwen. “She’s a wanted killer, drug trafficker and thief. Saving her life was beyond unnecessary.” No are you okay? no funny quip. Just more lecturing from the know-it-all bug. “And, now you’ll have to explain yourself to the police because you were stupid enough to call them on your personal cell phone.”
She watched, unmoving until he shouted at her. The shout was enough to make her knees remember their physiological purpose. It was enough to make her shoulders straighten, and she pointed at the woman with the life-threatening injuries. "She needs emergency services," she said, momentarily distracted by the sight of those mechanical arms hoisting him up. Like any good scientist, her mind derailed to hypothesis and theory, and there was a slight, birdlike tilt of her head as she focused on him more fully. "Is that attached to your spinal cord and communicating with your primary motor cortex somehow?" she asked. She'd never known anyone with a similar contraption, or she would have put it together. But there was no Doc Ock in her world, and this was a new innovation, as far as she was concerned. There seemed to be no delay between relayed movements and mental cognition, which meant the mechanical limbs weren't part of his suit-
The information that the woman was a wanted killer didn't faze her; she'd been a policeman's daughter all her life. She believed in the justice system, in process. Even her dad's death hadn't changed that. "If she's what you say she is, then it's for the legal system to try her for her crimes. She deserves medical attention until she's deemed guilty by a jury of her peers," said the Captain's daughter, diminutive, yes, but with a firm voice that said he wouldn't shake this particular conviction. She missed her dad, and she wouldn't give up the things he'd believed in so fervently. "I'll explain everything to the police," she said. "I'll tell them Spider-Man saved her from some red goop, and they'll believe me." They would; that was just how things were when you were Captain Stacy's daughter. And everyone in the city knew about Spider-Man.
When what remained of Carnage had been scooped up, she stepped forward, and she dropped on her knees in front of the woman and checked for vitals. But she spoke to Peter as she counted beats. "Are the limbs attached? They have to be attached at the cervical vertebrae, to have optimal response. Or are they dispersed throughout the spinal cord, using stimulus from the different nerves areas, lumbar, thoracic?" She still thought the latter would cause a delay, a hiccup, as it were. She saved the most crucial question for last. "Are they permanent?"
Spider-Man was on his way out, leaving the concerned Stacy with the serial killer since she likely wasn’t getting up anytime soon. There was a good chance the woman was blind now or something as equally permanent, which to Spider-Man simply meant less deaths. The claws gripped into the pavement so that he could leap back up the buildings and crawl off to continue his patrol, when she asked about the arms. Using scientist speak. He turned his head swiftly to look at her, surprise elongating the Spidey mask.
“No, my dear. Nothing so archaic. If they were attached to my spinal cord, I’d have great difficulty removing them at night when I go to bed. Don’t you agree?” He couldn’t help but boast. Spider-Man knew the right plan was to simply swing away by now, but this Gwen girl really did seem to have the mind for science. And, science was his favorite thing. “I also have control over the Spider-Bots and they aren’t attached to my body. OBSERVE!” He pointed to a scuttering Spider-Bot on a nearby dumpster. “Dance!”
The Spider-Bot shook, its little arms flexing before it started to attempt something that looked like line dancing. Two steps this way, two steps back. Circle, circle. “The arms operate with the same system in mind.” He didn’t want to admit that it was a scientific accident that gave him such abilities (or that they had mysteriously transferred over to Peter’s body). “I shant make them dance, however. If you wish to be a true scientist, you should study more than basic biology, my dear girl.”
"You could sleep on your stomach. Spiders tuck their legs in and slow down their metabolism. They don't sleep on their backs," she said, simply explaining the sleeping habits of the air-breathing arthropods. When he mentioned the spiderbots, she turned to look at the one near the dumpster, and then she immediately turned her attention to this weird version of Peter. "They can't be IR or RF remote. The response time wouldn't be quick enough, and you don't have anything in your hands. You can't have a remote device embedded in your cortex, can you? That kind of technology isn't available yet, though there have been test cases." She paused, considering this new puzzle that had fallen in her lap. "It can't have anything to do with the spider. Irradiation can't cause this. I've studied you extensively, and there's nothing in your altered genetics to allow this kind of manipulation." Her cornflower blue eyes narrowed, and she tipped her head again, that curious little bird with a mind like a whirring computer. "You integrated something. It's the only explanation. What did you integrate?" Whatever it was, maybe the spider DNA kept it from being rejected. But there was a more important question - why?
She didn't rise to his taunt; she didn't need to. She rolled her eyes, and she shook her head, blonde hair making the movement more exaggerated in the darkened alley. "You know what I studied, but I applaud the attempt at insulting something we both know I excel in." She smiled then, as the sirens began to become audible in the distance. "I'll figure out what you did to yourself, bug boy, and how they work. More importantly, I'll determine why, which is something scientists tend to overlook when sticking to only quantifiable areas of research."
She turned her attention back to the woman. But, a second later, she looked back up. She smiled at him, sunshine bright. "Oh, and thanks. I'm kind of glad you were following me."
Spider-Man should have felt defensive at this chattering box of knowledge, but she was so lovely and wise that he couldn’t help but feel a little charmed. Only a little. This was Gwen Stacy after all, another simple woman who fell for the antics of Peter Parker. What did she have to offer the superior mind of Otto Octavius? “If you do find the answer, I’ll let you tour my laboratory.” That seemed like a good deal for anyone interested in science and he wouldn’t mind watching her marvel at all the wondrous things his mind could come up with. Blasted intelligent women!
“Oh, yes. You’re welcome. Thank you for your gripping trivia about spiders.” Spider-Man said awkwardly, starting to crawl back up the building. “And, I did not follow you! Tell no one!” He called from up high before jumping off into the night.