Thursday, July 05, 2012

Transformers #7 - Long Road Home

Transformers #7

Co-written by Wes A and Karl V.

"Long road home"

"Burn, blasphemous machine, BURN!!!"

Another blast of hellfire hit Trailbreaker. He got his arm up to block the blast, but it still caused minor damage. Riding on his fire demon, Demogoblin flew in for another pass at the Autobot. Although the fight hadn't lasted very long, Trailbreaker's patience was wearing thin. He had a mission to get back to, and the fight wasn't helping.

"I don't know what your problem is little fellow, but I'm not going to let you hurt these innocent people." said Trailbreaker determinedly.

Down below, the Special Forces unit known as Code Blue was busy clearing the New York Street.

"All right people, get back! You don't want to get involved in this!" barked Code Blue's leader Captain Stone.

Trailbreaker was passing through when Demogoblin began a 'purging of sinners'. The Autobot may not originate from Earth, but he would not allow innocent people to be killed for one maniac's pleasure.

"You stink of a foul breed, machine. For that, you will burn." Demogoblin threw two pumpkin bombs at Trailbreaker, hitting him in the center of his chest. Trailbreaker staggered for a moment but didn't go down. Trailbreaker fired a laser blast from the gun barrel mounted on his right shoulder. He struck Demogoblin dead-on. The creature was knocked off his fire demon and down to the concrete street below. Demogoblin lay motionless for a moment, then staggered to his feet again. Trailbreaker was surprised that the creature could get up after a blast like that. Drunkenly, Demogoblin took a few steps toward Trailbreaker.

"I will......destroy...y-yyooooo-" With a thud, Demogoblin fell forward and hit the pavement face first. He was knocked out cold. Trailbreaker waited a moment to be sure that his opponent was down for good. He shook his head.

"What an odd little thing." he muttered. Trailbreaker heard sirens approaching. Several vehicles stopped a few feet away from the fallen Demogoblin. Half a dozen Vault guardsmen hopped out of a large storage vehicle. The armored men put some sort of metal restraining devices on the creature's arms. Stone and several of his people helped the Vault guardsmen gather Demogoblin.

"Put him inside. We'll let the eggheads back at the Vault deal with what he is." said Stone.

As the others put Demogoblin in a containment unit, Stone turned to Trailbreaker. He looked over the giant robot for a minute. Trailbreaker merely stood there with an unreadable expression.

"I guess we owe you our thanks for stopping that.....whatever he is." said Stone.

"No thanks are needed, just glad I was able to help." said Trailbreaker cheerily.

Although he tried to hide it, Stone had a confused look on his face. He had never seen a robot that smiled, or had a sunny attitude for that matter.

"Well, if that's all, I'll be on my way now." said Trailbreaker.

The large grey and white robot transformed into his camper van form and drove off. That left the confused Stone shaking his head.

"This town gets stranger every day." he muttered.

Trailbreaker had driven for about an hour out of town. He was approaching a wooded area outside of the New York area. He stopped in a clearing where a small red car and a small purple semi were parked.

"You're late, Trailbreaker." said the red car.

"Sorry Cliffjumper, I couldn't help it. I got sidetracked."

At once, all three vehicles transformed into Autobots. The car transformed into a red and grey Autobot that went up to Trailbreaker's chest. The purple and orange semi transformed into an Autobot that was a little shorter than the red and grey colored one.

"You didn't find any sign of the Matrix did ya?" asked the purple and grey Autobot hopefully.

"No Huffer, I didn't." said Trailbreaker with a sigh, "How about the two of you?"

"Nope, not a trace." said Cliffjumper.

"We combed the western part of this continent with no luck. We even ran a few scans into the ocean that borders the western coast area, but we didn't pick up on anything." said Huffer sadly.

"We've been out of communication range for a while, has anyone else found anything?" Cliffjumper asked Trailbreaker.

"I met up with Sideswipe a few days ago, he hasn't found anything yet. Brawn had a lead on Frenzy, but he lost it. As far as I know, nobody has found anything else."

Cliffjumper grunted with amusement. "Yeah, count on Brawn's stubbornness to lose something important."

Huffer couldn't help but smile. Brawn was so headstrong that he'd probably deny losing Frenzy for as long as he functioned. Trailbreaker filled Cliffjumper and Huffer in on the encounter Optimus and Ironhide had with the X-Men*(*see X-Men: MUTF #4-5).

"There are humans with THAT kind of power?" asked Huffer in shock.

"Uh-huh. And from what I've gathered, there are many of them on this planet. Some use their powers to help others, some use it for their own personal gain."

"Great, like Decepticons aren't enough trouble." muttered Cliffjumper.

After a few more swaps of reports, the three Autobots transformed and began their journey back to the Ark. They were driving for about half an hour when they got to some hilly area. Above their location, two jets were flying above. They looked like air force fighter jets, except they had Decepticon insignias on their wings.

"I'm don't see why we get all the slag assignments." complained the blue jet.

"As much as we don't like it, it's gotta be done. Soundwave said we need to find energy sources so we can make energon cubes. And until Megatron gets back, we don't make any big moves. You know that, Dirge." replied the crimson colored jet.

"I don't care Thrust, I'm sick of waiting around for Megatron to get his skidplate back to Nemesis. We should have been on our way to conquering this planet by now. But all we've done is--Wait a cycle! You picking up anything on your scanner?" asked Dirge intently.

Thrust did a short-range scan. He was surprised at what he found. "Autobots! Three of them, not very far from our course."

"That's right." said Dirge with haunting amusement in his voice. "Let's scrap 'em."

"But our orders sai-"

"To the pit with the orders! If we bring back the heads of three Autobots, we'll be in Megatron's favor. Beside, it's not like these three are Optimus Prime. How difficult could they be to defeat?"

Thrust considered the options for a moment. As much as he might have disliked it, Dirge actually made some sense. Besides, he was Decepticon, he was created for combat.

"I get dibs on the red one." said Thrust as he streaked toward the Autobots.

With a shout of excitement Dirge followed suite, and the two jets primed their weapons for combat.

"Hey guys, I think we have company!" alarmed Huffer.

The two jets streaked down at the Autobots, their weapons blazing. Gunfire erupted all around their location, a few striking the three vehicles.

"Decepticons! Quick, scatter!" ordered Trailbreaker.

The three Autobots all broke off in separate directions, hoping to draw the attackers away from each other. Thrust went after Cliffjumper while Dirge locked in on Trailbreaker. Dirge scored a minor hit to Trailbreaker's side.

Trailbreaker cursed his slowness. "If only I was built for speed." he muttered.

The large Autobot transformed into his robot form. He used his shoulder-mounted gun to lock in on the Decepticon Seeker and fired several shots. Dirge evaded the first two shots but was hit on the wing with the third. Dirge began to waver in mid-air.

"Slag! Guess I'll do this the old fashioned way."

Dirge flew down to ground and transformed. The Seeker aimed his arm-gun at Trailbreaker and fired off numerous shots.

"Die you piece of Autotrash!"

Trailbreaker's tough armor took most of the punishment, only leaving a few marks on his surface. Dirge was surprised at the lack of damage his blasts just did. This gave Trailbreaker enough time to open fire with his shoulder cannon. With one direct hit, the Seeker was thrown off balance and hit the ground hard.

"Not so cocky now, eh Decepticon?"

Trailbreaker kept his gun locked onto Dirge. But after a few minutes the Decepticon hadn't made a move. Cautiously, Trailbreaker walked over toward the unmoving body. Trailbreaker was just an arm's length away from Dirge.

"I don't care if you're damaged, get up." he said.

In a sudden blur, Dirge's left leg swept out and knocked Trailbreaker to the ground. Trailbreaker fired his gun but the blast struck nothing but air. Within a split-second, Dirge leapt on top of the large Autobot and began to viciously punch him in the faceplate.

"Is this better for you?" said Dirge with a cold smile.

As Dirge and Trailbreaker were struggling, Thrust continued to take shots at Cliffjumper. The small Autobot managed to evade the shots, but they were getting too close for comfort.

"Come on down here and fight me Decepticreep!" barked Cliffjumper.

"Unlike my partner, I prefer to avoid the 'hands on' method."

This time Thrust shot two blasts. Cliffjumper avoided one, but was struck in the side by the other. Cliffjumper was turned over on his side. Knowing he couldn't roll himself over in vehicle mode, he transformed. Cliffjumper saw that his side had moderate damage. No sooner had he got the idea to run, he saw Thrust standing before him with his gun barrel directly aimed at his

face. Unlike Trailbreaker, Thrust knew to say a good distance away.

"If you're gonna finish me, then do it. Don't talk my audio receivers off." growled Cliffjumper.

"I will," said Thrust nonchalantly, "I just wanted to savor this for a moment."

Thrust was about to fire when a purple, grey, and orange object flew through the air and knocked him to the ground. Huffer landed on top of the Decepticon Seeker and smashed his fist into the side of his head. Thrust knocked Huffer off of him.

"Slagging Autobot! You'll never leave this planet alive!"

Cliffjumper used this opportunity to whip out his gun and fire on Thrust. The crimson colored Seeker took several hits to the chest. Without taking any particular aim, Thrust shot off random blasts. The fierce barrage caused Cliffjumper and Huffer to seek cover in the nearby woods. Thrust knew that he took some good hits and wouldn't last long against two Autobots. He

turned to his right and saw Trailbreaker knocking Dirge off of him. The large Autobot was about to open fire on Dirge, but Thrust got a few shots in to knock Trailbreaker.

"Dirge, let's go!" he barked.

Dirge looked at Thrust as if he was spouting gibberish.

"But we can destroy them. I know we-"

"I said NOW!!" thundered Thrust.

Thrust transformed into his jet mode, as did a hesitant Dirge. Within seconds, the two Decepticon warriors were out of range. Down on the ground, the Autobots were assessing their own damage.

"You guys alright?" asked Huffer.

"Just a few scratches. Nothing a little bodywork can't fix." said Trailbreaker with a grin.

"I'll be fine." said Cliffjumper, who was covering his damaged side.

Trailbreaker nodded. "All right then, let's get back to the Ark. Prowl's probably expecting us."

With that, the three Autobots transformed into their vehicles and headed out. Unknown to them, a figure was watching from the woods. If it was possible for a cyborg, it would have smiled.

"Same old Autobots, even if in different world, yes?" it said to itself.

Thrust and Dirge touched down in the Nemesis's landing bay. It was not quiet trip between the two.

"I could've handled that clumsy oaf myself!" snapped Dirge, "Just because you're too slagging scared to handle two measly little-"

"Oh shut up! We were in a tight situation and you know it." said Thrust,

"Remember the last time you could've 'handled yourself' with an Autobot twice your size? Shockwave's repair droids spent nearly a week reattaching your arms."

Dirge gave his partner a dirty look as the landing bay door slid open. In the dark entryway was the form of Megatron's trusted lieutenant, Soundwave. Thrust was the first to address him.

"Soundwave, there you are. We had a run-in with a few Autobots and need repairs."

Soundwave merely stood in the doorway mutely.

"Hey, Soundwave! Are you here or in deep space?" snapped Dirge.

"Sorry fellers, the big guy ain't exactly in a sociable mood. Maybe ol' Mad Dog can help ya out?"

Dirge and Thrust turned around to see where the voice was coming from. Dirge's mouth dropped and Thrust's eyes widened.

"Frenzy?! Is that yo-"

In an instant, the two Decepticons were knocked offline. After another minute, their bodies' surfaces began to move like they had a life of their own.

Blaster was at a loss for any vocalization. The Lost Cybertronian just volunteered to retrieve the Cybertronium for the Decepticons. Surely, this was not his best day since arriving on the planet Earth through the Space Bridge. His friends had managed to escape the entire Decepticon population on Cybertron only to land smack in the middle of the Earth’s full compliment of the Autobot’s adversaries. The Decepticons agreed to not imprison the Autobots while the Lost Cybertronian retrieved the much-needed Cybertronium to revive the Decepticons to full operating capacity. Then, Blaster thought, The Lost Cybertronian will get a rude awakening to the truth about the war he has missed while in stasis on the planet Earth.

"I appreciate your assistance with our current predicament. I realize that I may not be an optimal performer when it comes to scenarios such as this. But, I would like to have you as second in command of my leadership function. At least, until we arrive at our original intended destination." The tall red robot with an apparent cannon mounted on his shoulder stated with a smile.

"It’s cool. But, we can’t back out of our end of the deal. And, maybe we should call him by his name."

Perceptor nodded. "Yes. Unfortunately, his nomenclature has two distinct variations in the human English language. The literal translation of his nom de plume is jet that lights the sky with fire."

"Well, you know this whole discussion could be pointless. He may want to be called by his Cybertronian name. All though, the humans can't really pronounce it correctly."

Perceptor allowed a slight smile, then decided to turn the topic of discussion. "Indeed, what do you propose we do when he arrives?"

"Well, I'd still say our primary objective is escaping. And, we'll have to see how much of a chance we have left to do so when he comes back."

As if by cue, a loud thunderous boom was heard overhead. Pereptor and Blaster gave an all knowning glance. But, the look was instantly replaced with one of perplexion. The Lost Cybertronian was rather early for retrieving a full shipment of Cybertronium.

"Perhaps our scanners are malfunctioning." Perceptor noted with pessimism.

Blaster shook his head. "No, he's carrying a light load. What that means is anyone guess."

The Lost Cybertronian transformed and carried the precious material in his hands. Blaster and Perceptor it was just enough for a few of the Decepticons to be fully functional.

"Do not worry. I do not intend for any harm to come to anyone here. But, I will not allow myself to go blindly into a situation in which I am not familiar. I will let them heal those that can transport the material they need, and I shall transport you to where ever you need to go. I doubt they will argue with me."

"Well, that settles that." Blaster sighed with a bit of relief. "Now, we just need to disable all the internal thermite bombs the Deceps put in us."

"After The Lost Cybertronian has delivered us to a desolate area, then I can proceed with the operations. Then, we can report to Optimus Prime. Let us make haste and inform the others."

"You...promised...to...repair...us." Shockwave attempted to state in between various system glitches and circuits frying from the loss of Cybertronium.

"All though I stated that I would help you, I did not state the manner in which I would do so. I scanned the robots you so blantantly called the "enemy". They have internal thermite bombs hence my apparent hasty decision to appear to join your side. These very same bombs are in one of your armories I scanned from the air as I left your base. Truth be known, I have no idea who really started this war. However, it is obvious that you are now the aggressor. All though I fear the repurcussions, I will not allow any sentient being to die slowly in such a manner. I have just enough materials to heal a few of your soldiers. And, I shall deliver the others to a safe place of their desire."

The Lost Cybertronian dropped the materials in front of the large purple monocle eyed robot . He departed in the direction of the Autobots so they could leave before they had a fully functional Decepticon army leaping upon them. Shockwave knew he would not have the opportunity to destroy the Autobots. However, he knew it was also of no consequence. He grabbed the Cybertronium and proceeded to make internal system repairs. As he did so, he noticed a host of other Decepticons all waiting around him. They had a gold and black material swarming around them. He scanned the material and noted it was a sentient techno-organic virus.

"Though the others escape, you shall not." One stated.

"It is logical that you are not immune to the Cybertronium that I have reintroduced into my systems. It is also logical that you can not infect me to gain control of my primary functions."

"Who said that we were going to follow logic." Another menacingly raised his gun to Shockwave's head.

Shockwave quickly processed a means to escape his dilemma.

Spider-Man #2 - A Boatload of Consequences Pt 1 of 2

Spider-Man #2

Original Plot by Aldalin

"A Boatload of Consequences" Pt 1 of 2

Through the starry night, a lone black spider spun his web to avoid the eagle eye of his enemy. As he continued to swing deeper into the great abyss and heightening his chance of no return every foot he went into their lair. For upon seeing his intrusion, the vigilant green soldiers would lash out at their prey without hesitation. Then, with wide eyes he caught a glance of a huge structure protruding from the volcano. A determined rush flowed through him, like a child's first visit to a toy store; he wanted to find what great new sights waited inside. He neared closer as the ringing in his head warned him of the infrared sensors, roving patrols, and security cameras. As he took the final leap, he muttered an altered version of famous words. One small step for mankind, one big leap for Spider-Man. He entered through one of the main engine vents, and was at a loss for words. He had to fight the urge to search every nook and cranny; a veritable smorgasbord of new trinkets and gadgets lay in wait for his scientific curiosity. The huge scale of the ship made him truly feel as though he was the eight-legged visitor interrupting the giant's night. He sighed in both frustration and relaxation, in frustration those that piloted this mighty ship were not present, in relaxation for the fact he would not be squashed like a minor nuisance beneath the great giant's feet. He stopped for a moment at one spot in the giant craft; he hung upside down for a brief moment. An odd feeling rolled through him like a Mac truck, it was one of déjà vu. He didn't know why it clouded his mind, along with the sensation that something was missing. Then, another sensation overwhelmed him, and he flipped a few times to put some distance between him and possibly a new enemy.

"Well, you are not Brock, so you must be Parker."

Spider-Man turned to see a rather thin white cybernetic costumed man greet him.

"Excuse me?" He tried to act as though he didn't recognize his own name.

"Well, even though our symbiotes are his other's great ancestors, they can still communicate with one and another. Surprising that the same language is kept for over four million years."

Spider-Man sighed, as he had to deal with yet another symbiotic nut. "Brock is always trying to ruin my reputation. He always linked me to that idiot photographer."

The new symbiote smiled. "Very well. I believe the mandatory introductions are in order. Let's just skip the cliché hero villain brawl shall we? I'm pretty sure you have questions and I have the answers."

Although he was at a loss for words, Spider-Man's curiosity overwhelmed him. "Fine, what's the cost?"

"It's all off the record." He replied with a bit of sarcasm. "In this guise, I refer to myself as Archeville, Dr. Archeville."

"I get it.... like an arch villain." Spider-Man prepared himself for a double cross.

"Well, to those who only wish to interfere with my plans. You do not fall into that category yet." He smiled as he added emphasis to the last word.

Spider-Man made a quick hypothesis. "So, which designate are you? One, two, three, or four."

"I'm number three if you must know. My brother is the second, and as you know Brock was the fifth."

"Brother? I don't suppose either of you want to eat my brains." Spider-Man pointed to his head.

Archeville softly chuckled. "Many of the symbiote's weaknesses have been remedied. The requirement for a certain chemical and complete symbiotic bonding is resolved with one little creature."

Spider-Man watched as part of the costume extended and revealed a small slug-like creature.

"Yuck, I guess it's better to carry that thing around then wanting to eat brains all of the time."

Archeville snickered once more. "Or to have rotting teeth from eating too much chocolate."

"I don't get it. Why are you doing all of this?" Spider-Man asked to see if any signs of a double cross were present.

"Well, let's just say I know that we share the same distinct scientific curiosities. This is what brought me here, to the Ark." The symbiote descended down, as Spider-Man had no choice but to follow.

"Ark?"

"A rather droll but obvious reference. It housed two factions of aliens; each one brandished an insignia upon them, much like a tattoo. Most likely, the first person who happened upon this place thought of the biblical reference, and well the rest is history."

"I see, two kinds of each creature...something like that. I don't suppose you're going to tell me what they were?"
"Precisely. And, I think you will find out what they are soon enough." Archeville quickly glanced from side to side.

"What is it?" Spider-Man wondered if his Spider-Sense was off kilter.

"I'm making sure my brother is not here. He would not enjoy your visit, if you catch my meaning." Archeville continued to walk as Spider-Man followed.

"And your brother is?" Spider-Man anxiously awaited a name.

"Well, since Apocalypse was taken by an ancient Egyptian mutant, my brother decided to use an equivalent word from the German language, Gotterdamerung. He loves to think himself as the absolute end to anyone who dared breach National Security. Rather trite but effective."

Spider-Man took a hopeful guess. "He really must be one of those blind patriotic soldier types."

"Brock managed to tell you a lot before you came. Either that, or I just fell for a setup on who he might be." Archeville smirked.

"The latter." Spider-Man admitted with gall.

"I suppose you are wondering why I appear metallic in nature, and not like a cloth costume?" Archeville changed his look to one like Spider-Man's. The appearance almost looked like a white version of Carnage.

"Yeah...you can change back. I like the Cybersymbiote look." Spider-Man tried to hide his uneasy feeling.

"Brock complained that I looked too much like Cletus as well. But, I didn't want my brother's knight in shining armor routine either. I guess it's better for the lesser of two evils." Archeville seemed to rearrange back into his armored appearance.

"Whoa, that's quite the change. I guess your brother is into the medieval thing."

Archeville shrugged. "Something like that, yes."

"So what is it that you want from me?" Spider-Man was getting impatient.

Archeville sighed. "To keep doing what you have been doing. You see once all of this finally gets out, then I can have my old job of back-engineering the alien's technology. That's why they dubbed it Xenotech. I've heard you already bumped into our little robot friends."

Spider-Man nodded with contempt. "Yeah, I'm really beginning to get annoyed by anything mechanical."

Archeville barely held in an outburst of laughter. "Just wait and see what's next. You're going to love it. My little Xenotech Sentinels pale in comparison for what is to come."

"Look, you've got the mad scientist routine down. Just tell me what you want so I can go." Spider-Man was being wary of any double cross.

"Oh, all right. I was the one that helped Brock with his plan. I used him as a scapegoat to get information released. There, happy?"

Spider-Man glared at the conniving symbiote. "Peachy. I guess I'm the extra incentive."

"Yes, I didn't plan on Jonah assigning you, but I am happy. My brother has had some dealings with reporters and photographers that weren't quite as nice."

Spider-Man tried to make sense of his rambling. "Look, I just came here to confirm this was real not some elaborate setup or hoax by someone like Mysterio. I've done that. Now it's time for me to leave."

Archeville watched Spider-Man start to depart from the ship. "How's Mary Jane's life insurance policy?"

Spider-Man stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face Archeville. "WHAT?"

"I've got your attention now, good. I must admit that I pulled the strings to get someone else a little bit brighter than Brock. And that person is you."

Spider-Man clenched his fists. "I've had someone already pull my strings once, I won't let it happen again."
"Oh yes, the whole Goblin-Clone debacle. My best friend's father is my worst enemy that made me think I was a clone. It sounds like a teenager's conversation after she watches Jerry Springer and the Discovery channel." Archeville explained with an uncaring attitude.

Spider-Man attempted to contain to growing rage from within. "How do you know so much?"

"Very good, it takes a strong man to ask me that instead of the pitiful remark of 'You wouldn't know how I felt unless you experienced it.'"

"You're right. My patience is wearing very thin. Now, answer my question." Spider-Man stepped closer as his voice grew as cold as dry ice.

"Come on. They've kept a secret about a ship sticking out from a volcano for over fifty years and you ask how they know so much? I guess at this point of time you expect me to not answer and whip out a cigarette and light it." Archeville knocked on Spider-Man's head with a fist.

Spider-Man gripped Archeville's arm tightly. "I don't care what happens to you, but I do have a responsibility to those who might get hurt besides Brock. I need to know if there is anyone else in immediate danger."

"There is only one other little woman who got away. A former prospective co-worker of mine, her name is Josie Beller. She was freed when Venom decided to jump ship. But no need to worry. She has company of the super heroic kind. Although, they are relatively new, pardon all the puns."

Spider-Man released his grip. "You are completely demented. If Mary Jane or this Josie Beller get hurt, I'm coming back to find you. And, I will find out what was in this ship without releasing any information. I'm no longer a party to anyone's twisted little games. Find another little puppet."

Archeville sarcastically applauded. "Nice speech and without the little index cards to help you."

"I'll be sure to send you a copy. Now, if you don't mind I'll be swinging out of here." Spider-Man departed from the Ark as Archeville smiled.

"Oh, you'll have no choice in the matter I'm afraid. Watch the Second step, it's a doozy." Archeville slipped into shadows of the great empty space ship.

Late the next afternoon....

Peter placed his telescopic lens on the camera and took a shot of an armed guard right next to sign that designated the base. He quickly put the camera back in the bag as his spider-sense warned him of an approaching white truck with two guards in it. He quickly darted out of sight as the truck passed by him. He left for his return flight home, anxious to feel the warmth of his wife once more. He sat silently in hopes that his spider-sense would not warn him of any followers, who would make Archeville's threat a true one. He slipped in unnoticed into his house as he developed the pictures with a somber attitude of one whom has just attended the funeral of a friend. He popped his head in the window to see Mary Jane talking to someone, but Parker felt Brock couldn't have recovered that quickly, even with his bond to the symbiote. Mary Jane must have called in some help after all as he recommended. Peter stared in awe at the man sitting in a chair across the room, Captain America. Parker shook his head for a moment to make sure what he had just experienced wasn't causing hallucinations. Parker would have to wait to find out the answer to his obvious question later. As it was getting rather late, he grabbed the finished photo and departed for the Bugle.

Peter walked in the door as he spied a solitary light emanating from Jonah's office.

"Count on old pickle puss to always work late. I'm glad no one else is here to see this." Parker commented beneath his breath.

He knocked on the door as a booming voice replied.

"Who is it?" The editor's exclamation almost rattled the windowpane on his office door.

Peter wondered whether or not to answer. "It's me sir. I have something for you."

"Come on in boy, I've been waiting for this."

Peter was greeted with a smoke filled room and the boss with a lit stogie in his chair.

"I'm glad you made it back in one piece. What do you have?" Mr. Jameson stood up and placed his arms on his desk as he lurched forward.

Peter began to hand over the picture as his Spider-Sense started to go berserk.

What the heck is going on? Peter looked around to see if he could spot anything wrong.

"Something wrong Parker?" Jonah's facial expression grew darker.

Peter shook as he handed over the picture, his Spider-Sense wailing away at him as he did. "No, I almost got caught back there, I guess I'm a little nervous about being followed."

I just hope Mary Jane is okay. I need to get out of here and find out what is causing this!

"Oh, it's not the military you should be worried about Parker." Jonah grabbed another picture from the desk.

Peter's Spider-Sense flailed one last time, then came to a dead stop as Jonah handed him the picture. It was a picture of him taking off his mask.

Peter's instinct of protecting his identity kicked in. "Oh, Brock has always hated my guts. This is a farce."

Jonah stoically stood still. "Nice try, but this one wasn't by Parker. I checked the type of paper used to develop it. It's one assigned for military use. It came along with the envelope of the picture of that ship in the volcano."

Parker shook his head. "Brock obviously worked for the government, or a branch of it. He must have gotten one of my pictures of Spider-Man and altered it."

Jonah grunted with contempt. "You think I am that ignorant. You want to know the truth on why I treated you so roughly. Because I always thought you had the web-slinging idiot on the take. Some of the angles of your shots couldn't be possible without his help. I got my title of Editor for a reason boy. The matter of the fact that Brock would go to great lengths to get something newsworthy and not want credit for it is beyond my comprehension. That's why I sent you Parker. You have just proven to me that one photo is real, why should I believe the other one is not?"

"Look, I admit I do have Spider-Man grab a few shots for me, but he charges way too much."

Oh good one Parker, think of another brilliant one.

Jonah shook his head. "Did I mention about one third of your shots are at those particular angles? It's over son. I know who and what you are. Spider-Man, a masked menace to society."

Please, don't let this be happening! Not now! OH GOD I BETTER RES...

Jonah continued. "Your silence confirms that fact."

Parker bowed his head in submission. "Fine, it's true. You're right. I'm Spider-Man. Make it the front page if you want."

Jonah grew a bit irate. "What I am about to say, will surprise me more than it will you. Right now, my job is the Editor. Part of that job is to prioritize the news. I can't let personal feelings get in the way. In weird sense of irony, you saved yourself from being revealed by getting this picture. You see, no one would care about the Identity of Spider-Man. Everyone cares about what has been happening, with all these mechanical constructs and armored soldiers running around. Everyone has the right to know it's coming from one source, the military base at that volcano."

Parker was still at a loss for words, even though a river of relief flowed through him.

Jonah took a glance at Parker's picture. "The point is this Sector 17 will sell more than revealing your sorry face to the entire world."

Parker managed only two words from his mouth. "My job?"

"This is the surprising part. Simple blackmail. I keep the truth locked up about you and you will get the exclusive shots I need to reveal this thing piece by piece. And, one more thing. Do you have those gadgets you spin those webs with?"

Peter nervously nodded. "Ye..ye...yeah."

"Good. Get them for me, now." Jonah barked as Parker quickly fetched a pair from his desk.

He came back and gave them to Jonah. "Why do you want these?"

Jonah pulled out his chair. "What do you think? Sit."

Oh no....not this...please spare me this...

"Now, how do these confounded things work? And don't mess with me or I'll make your life even more miserable.

Parker showed Johan which way to point the spinners. "That way and press here to release a cord."

Jonah shot the webbing with beginner's luck and tied Parker up. He then proceeded to kick the chair as it rolled across the floor. The chair hit a bump in the floor and dumped Peter on the ground with a thud. Jonah placed the spinners with a slam on the desk and departed with one last comment.

"After all this is over, you better retire to your cobwebs boy, or I will have my day." Jonah slammed the door to his office.

This just didn't happen. Please someone wake me up.

Even with his enhanced strength, Peter could not break free of his own well-tied webbing. He struggled to at least get upright as he heard the door open once more.

"Hello? Jonah?" Parker was wondering what was next.

A freckled face, rather attractive woman entered. "You're boss just zoomed by me in a fluster and said I was to have you as photographer. And, do you mind me asking what the heck just happened?"

"No time to explain just find a real sharp object. Oh, I'm Peter Parker, tied up photographer as Jonah said."

The woman smiled. "Irene Merryweather, I'm the new reporter assigned to the Sector 17 case." {Eic Note: *The events take place a little bit after Cable #2 of MU:TF}

"Pleased to meet your acquaintance. Now, if you don't mind..."

Please, don't let her go over to the desk....

"Oh yeah, sorry." Irene instantly went over and began looking through Jonah's desk for a pair of scissors. Her eyes caught the two pictures on the desk. She stared at one, then back at Parker and at the picture again.

OH Nooo.........

The door opened with a creak as Parker and Merryweather entered his house. The Patriotic soldier of legend stood up upon their arrival. Mary Jane quickly noticed the woman along side Peter.

"Who's this?" Mary Jane glowered at Peter.

"Irene Merryweather, a new reporter for the Bugle. She and Jonah just found out...everything."

Mary Jane sat right back down from the startling statement.

"Well, then it's safe to ask you in front of someone that knows your secret. I'll just ask that you keep it off the record Ms. Merryweather." He stepped forward as both Peter and Irene regarded him with awe.

Captain America gave Parker a stern look. "I'll keep it short and simple. I know you like to play it solo. But, considering the circumstances, we can't ignore all our options. We're reforming the team. Son, we want you to be part of the new Avengers."

Spider-Man #3 - A Boatload of Consequences Part 2

Spider-Man #3

"A Boatload of Consequences" Part 2

By Karl V.

Peter stood with his mouth open in shock and awe. He was trying to formulate what the man had said.

"Excuse me, I'm running late meeting up with a friend." Irene interrupted as she quickly slipped out the door.

Peter put his hand to his head. "I'm sorry, but I would only hinder the team. My Editor in Chief just found out my secret identity and is blackmailing me. There's too much trouble right there."

Captain America still stood like a statue. "Well, you are right. It is too much of a compromise to our mission. I hope you can find a way to remedy your situation. By the way, I also kept tabs on your friend upstairs. He's waiting for you."

"VENOM! I almost forgot!" Peter raced up the stairs to the bedroom where Brock was recovering.

Brock was lying comfortably on in the guestroom. "Took you long enough. I wasn't going to harm your precious wife. I mean, Captain America. I must really be a bur up your butt."

Eddie smiled, as Parker remained silent. "I rather like that fact."

Parker quickly got to the point. "Look, just tell what the heck is going on? Are you and Mysterio working together on this Ark thing? What's your connection with the two Cybersymbiotes."

"Oh, I don't deal with people who wear fishbowls for a living. And, I'm pretty sure you got an idea of what's going on. I will sever my connection with Archeville and Gotterdamerung on my own, thank you very much." Brock started to change into Venom.

"That's not what I meant about connections with those two. I meant, do you know who they are? As in, their real names." Peter was getting agitated with every second passing.

"Oh, that. You're a good reporter web head, figure it out for yourself." Venom said with great sarcasm.

Peter's face flushed in fury. "You've worn out your welcome. Get out."

Venom grinned with all his white razor sharp teeth showing. "If you insist."

Venom opened a window and slung out of Parker's bedroom on a line of webbing. Parker clenched his hand in a fist, exited the room and stomped heavily down the stairs. Mary Jane came out of the kitchen as she was surprised to see her husband there and Captain America gone. She quickly walked up to Parker and gave him a big hug as he returned it with equal passion. Mary Jane pushed off from the hug as her face grew dark and serious.

"What are we going to do about Jonah?" She asked as Peter sighed with dread.

"I hate to do it, but I have to ask Nate to wipe Jonah's mind. It's the only course of action I can think about."

Mary Jane nodded her head. "That's the guy who got a following because of his mutant powers, right?"

"Yeah, he can read people like a book. I'm just hoping he'll rip out a page for me." Peter grabbed a hold of Mary Jane's hand.

"And what about that reporter? The one that came in and left so quickly." Mary Jane gripped his hand tightly.

"She's okay. She said she had connections to a mutant, but didn't tell me whom. Hopefully, if Nate doesn't agree, she can find someone else who will." Peter reassured her more with a kiss.

"Come on, let's worry about what will happen later. I just need to get out as for a little bit. Care to join me?" Peter smiled at his wife lovingly.

"You got yourself a date Tiger." She wrapped her arm around his as they walked out the door.

***

"You weak pathetic fools. Why do I deal with such rabble? I came here to make things work, like a well-oiled machine that has no flaws. And what happens? Someone throws in a wooden shoe, and none of you can seem to take it out." She hissed as her appearance was mired in the shadows.

"Overseer, we did not expect designate Five's escape. I will personally see that he is silenced." The pitch-black robotic figure stated.

"Gotterdamerung, I do not want that idiot harmed. His reputation is questionable by his peers, and no one will believe him as long as he remains alive. However, an important aspect of our operation has been lost. We must replace Brock with another who is more willing for the task."

A bald headed rotund man grabbed a fist full of cordial cherries from the bowl. "Can I make a suggestion Overseer? I have connections to reporters."

"Designate four, you are the most pathetic cur out of all of them. I do not want to hear your suggestions. We need another Designate to help our operations, not another reporter. And please do not make a mess this time."

He coughed as the last cherry went down the wrong way. "Fine."

"This gross negligence will eventually compromise my identity, something which I do not want at this point of conjecture. See to it that no further information is compromised, until I deem it necessary. I do not want yet another force to deal with. There are two already at work against me, and the information leaked may make the mutants the third. I will have to come up with a contingency plan in order to distract them. Find the one who uncovered the name of our operation and gave it to his own. He should be easily talked into going against the mutants, since that is his primary programming. Gotterdamerung, I assign you to this task, as he is in hiding at the moment."

A raspy voice broke into the conversation. "I wouldn't trust my brother with this mission Overseer. His patriotism is too easy for him to be persuaded to the other side. I already implemented something that will bring the target from hiding. It's only a matter of time before the trap is sprung."

"Designate three you are late for the meeting. And what is this about a trap?" The Overseer's curiosity overwhelmed her impatience.

The tall thin man bowed apologetically. "Forgive me my liege, I had a few cobwebs to clean off the Ark. There was a problem with spiders. Anyway, I used the reprogrammed Prime Sentinel technology on a subject. She is currently aware of her situation unlike the rest of the sleepers. Although she has quite a brain and figured out a temporary measure..."

"Enough! I will abide my time until the female reveals herself. I give you the task of forcing her hand to implement the Sentinel programming. We need to see if we can reprogramming works within a certain percentile in order to convert the rest to our cause."

"But, the reporter Peter Parker has been informed by Designate Five of our operations and that the ship was inhabited. I was assigned to him, I should continue with my present course."

"Parker is no longer your concern. Tend to your new task." She ordered once more.

He sneered in wistful thought. Very well, I shall play the dragon for the Knights to slay. Since I gave Parker her name, he should show up soon. I just hope I'm not too late.

"As you command, the round table shall be rolled over Ms. Beller, until she is road kill or her suit gives out. Whichever comes first." He bowed and left the room.

"As for this Parker, his search will never reach fruition until all is revealed. Let him continue his mission as it will keep him from our operations." The Overseer departed as the others got up and left as well.

The Next Night.

***

Peter walked to the arranged meeting place as he noted it was a slight grease pit. He ordered a bagel burger from the blonde waitress, after hearing the only three options in the joint. He tapped his fingers impatiently as Irene came through the door. She sat down as a blonde waitress gave her a dirty look.

"Sarah, I'm sorry I thought tonight was your night off." She tried to explain to the woman, as Peter watched intently.

"I don't care what you do on your off time Irene. Is he with you?" Sarah coldly replied.

Irene shook her head. "No, he's not here. He went out on a mission, and came back. The next one might be his last."

Sarah just rolled her eyes and stomped off back into the kitchen area. Peter raised a curious brow.

"I take it your contact has been here before, and had more than coffee and a bagel burger?" Peter realized how bad the statement sounded after the fact.

Irene gave a blank stare. "Yes, it's a long story. So, why did you call me?"

"I need your help. If your contact knows a telepath, I need to ask a favor. A real big one." Peter lowered his head at the thought of asking the next question.

"Well, you're in bigger luck than you thought. My contact is a telepath, in fact I tell him often not to speak in my head. I have a bad feeling where you are going with this. " Irene suddenly realized Peter's intent.

His face flushed deep red. "I can't allow my boss to know my secret identity. He promised he would reveal it to the world once this entire Sector 17 business is out of the way. By the way, who is it that you know?"

"He's got a lot of names, but I use Cable or Nathan." Irene's face matched Peter's as the waitress came to their table at the mention of his name.

Peter continued after the waitress stomped off once more. "Cable, whoa the last time I saw him was...way too long ago. Does he still run around with that group of his, X-Force?" Peter began his line of questioning.

"Yes and no. It's kind of a rough situation right now. He's forming some preordained party, and his team doesn't know how quite to deal with it. " Irene noted with a shrug.

"Can you set something up with him? I'd like to make my case directly, if possible." Peter said while Sarah handed them a check.

"I'll see what I can do. But for now, I think we need to get cracking on Sector 17. Any ideas?" Irene paid the clerk while Parker put a tip on the table.

Parker opened the door for Irene. "Well, whatever alien race was on that ship was huge. I mean at least thirty feet tall by my estimates. The government would have a hard time covering something up that size."

"Yeah, I guess we need to start looking up all the technological aspects as well. I mean a team of soldiers with advanced weaponry, robots, all that has been happening has been around their technology." Irene told Parker as they continued to walk down the sidewalk.

"You can focus on that part, while I can focus on finding out who the Five are." Peter looked to Irene for a reply.

"Five, Twelve. What the heck is it with numbers lately?" Irene complained while Parker looked on with curiosity.

"Cable's team is referred to as the Twelve. It's suppose to be a collective of people made to stop Apocalypse, not the literal one. I don't what will happen to him once he does accomplish his mission." Irene tried to hide her feelings of concern for someone who saved her life.

Peter sighed for a moment. "There's another Nate I know that might be able to do it, but I gave him a whole lecture about not tampering with the minds of others. I could try, but I can't ask that of him. I'm probably about the only costumed person he trusts."

"Wait a minute. Are you talking about Nate Grey?" Irene was stopped walking in amazement.

Peter noticed her demeanor. "Yeah, why? Do you know him too?"

"Hello! You must have not seen Cable in a long time! Ever bother to notice any similarities?" Irene waved her hand in front of his face.

Peter thought for a moment. His face became contorted as he put the two images of the men in his head and compared them.

"He's got a clone running around too?" He responded in awe.

"Well, that was Stryfe, but he's dead. Nate Grey came from another dimension, as Cable told me."

Parker simply nodded, as Irene seemed surprised that he understood what she just said. Peter hit his head.

"Geez Nate told me this. I'm sorry I'm out of it, with all of this going on. Well at least I don't have another me coming back from another dimension, although I bumped into a futuristic version once." {That would be the Spider-man/Spider-Man 2099 special- KV}

"It doesn't matter, it gives me a headache just thinking about it. I'll contact Cable about your dilemma as soon as I can. But, I have to warn you, he has a policy about the use of his powers for other people unless it suits his purposes." Irene stated with the utmost tact.

"I know, I have myself between a rock and a hard place. At least I don't have to deal with clones anymore, although one was a good man."

"Clones?" Irene asked as Peter sighed and related the whole sorted scenario to her.

Epilogue:

At an undisclosed Federal Medical Facility.

"Hey Joe, how are you today?" The nurse asked with extreme interest as she twirled long black hair.

"Fine Eliza. I haven't seen red for a long time." He winked at the woman as she smiled.

Joe Wade continued to do his rounds as he checked on the patients, all former agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was glad that he could walk around and not remain cooped up in a cell. Although every time the news reported something on Spider-man, it made him break a sweat. He just hoped another costumed Spider-hero would never rear his ugly head.

Both turned to look to see the Doctor and some strange guests entering. The guests were covered head to toe in white clothing.

"I didn't do anything Doc. Did I?" Joe chuckled while the nurse giggled along with him.

The Doctor smirked. "Actually, these two men are here to see you Joe. They say that they have the technology to cure your condition."

"What? I can be cured finally! I already lost one love due to this thing..." Joe became giddy with excitement.

"Calm down. Allow these men to discuss their plan and all shall be fine. They guarantee they can make you whole once more."

Joe nodded in elation. "Come with me, there is a meeting room a couple doors down."

The two silently nodded in compliance as Joe escorted them to the room. The Doctor seemed to shake his head.

"Long day doctor?" The nurse asked as she noticed his odd behavior.

He put his hand to his head and wondered what gave him such a headache. "I guess so, I'm going to see if I can call it a day."

"Well, I hope you get the rest of the day off. Looks like you could use it." The nurse smiled and continued about her work, as the Doctor looked for some painkillers.

Joe smiled at the two odd doctors. "So, you can cure me of this Scarlet Fever I have? I mean once and for all."

He gazed intently at the two men. They seemed to converse beneath their breath for a moment then looked at Joe once more.

"Scarlet Fever?" One said in a questioning tone.

Joe simply laughed. "Yeah, the nickname I gave my little trick. Since I turn into a sick demented robotic like version of a certain web head that wasn't Spider-Man. Thank goodness he's long gone now, and I haven't converted to him in a long time. I'm sorry, I guess you were thinking the actual disease. But, please refrain from saying his full name, it might cause an actual switch. That's the only reason I've been cooped up here for so long."

"Of course, we have studied the technology used in your accidental creation. We can alter easily so that you can control the transformation." The other spoke with a raspy metallic voice.

"Well, I was hoping more for a complete cure. Although the real Spider-man {Or so Joe thinks. The whole lovely Ben Reilly/ Peter Parker scenario...KV} cleared Scarlet's name, he's not looked upon as a great superhero." Joe explained to the two, as they seemed a bit disappointed.

"Perhaps we can give a choice of a new body that does not resemble your current program. Another Spider type program, or something more to your liking. Would this interest you?"

Joe was perplexed, as they seemed to make the offer in unison this time.

"I guess, but I don't know much about the superhero business. Can I think it over?" Joe asked the Doctors.

They nodded. "Yes, we will await your decision for now. We shall return tomorrow for your answer."

Joe shook his head as they left the room. "I swear they sounded as though I had no choice. But, I guess they are right. I'll be glad when this is all over. I just don't want to see red anymore."