Disclaimer: Spider-Man, and all other Marvel characters are owned by Marvel Comics. I do not own the characters that appear in my story.

Chapter 14- Ghost In The Machine Part 1

Location: High Above The Sky-line Buildings - New York

"I can't do this all day, Spidey Jr.! Do you know how much it costs to make web-fluid nowadays?! My webby wallet is crying as I speak!" Spider-Man quipped over to his younger clone, and flipped in mid-air with acrobatic ease, to snag a web-line onto another sky-rise building. "Come on, can't we both sit down like mature men in tights, and talk this out?" Spider-Man ducks his masked head down to avoid a thick ball of webbing shot out at him by his clone as he changes direction, and web-swings back towards Spider-Man

"What's there to talk about? You want to arrest me, and the only people in the world that care about me! That's not going to happen!" X-Spider swings his web-line, and lets go of it to somersault on top of the roof of a nearby building. Spider-Man follows his lead, and lands in a crouch, with his costumed hands ready to shoot webs at his adversary. "I didn't kill those two U-Foes in the bar, that was one of Typhoid Mary's personalities. S-She's very sick, and she needs help..." Spider-Man holds out the open palm of his gloved left hand, and slowly backs out of his battle ready stance. Spider-Man then relaxes his arms by his sides in a non-threatening manner.

"Yeah...we've crossed paths before." X-Spider saw Spider-Man's shoulders slump a little, as he sighs. "I met Typhoid as her original personality, Mary and believed she was in some kind of trouble. I took her back to mine, and MJ's apartment to keep her safe when she told me there was a dangerous woman after her. Little did I know that Mary's Typhoid personality took over, while I was busy searching the city for her stalker, Typhoid was alone with MJ." X-Spider has a look of concern on underneath his mask when he hears this.

"When I came back to the apartment, MJ was huddled in a corner of the living room. MJ, and I have been together for a few years, she's seen a lot in that time...but I've never seen her so terrified before." Spider-Man clenches his gloved hands into fists. "When I confronted Typhoid, and began fighting her, she would switch out her personality to Mary. I-I couldn't do anything when she held up her hands crying out not to hurt her...who could?" X-Spider nods his head in understanding to his older counterpart, and relaxes his stance a little.

"So you brought Mary in to get help before?" X-Spider inquired, getting a nod back from Spider-Man. "Then why is she still like this?" Spider-Man's expression under his mask is one of disappointment, when he thinks about how corrupt the system can be.

"I'll tell you in two words: The Kingpin. I took Mary to my friend, Dr. Ashley Kafka at the Ravencroft Institute to begin her rehabilitation...but Kingpin wanted one of his favorite assassins back on his payroll. Ashley tried to fight the bureaucracy, when Kingpin's high paid lawyers argued that Mary was being forcibly confined under false pretenses. Even when Dr. Kafka showed evidence of Mary's mental disorder, Kingpin's lawyer's had it dismissed as being doctored to keep Mary in Ravencroft against her will." X-Spider narrows his hazel eyes behind his mask, and tightens his gloved hands into fists.

"Ruining someone's health, and well being just to further his own agenda...it fits with the original's memories of their earlier encounters. Kingpin, you'd better hope we never run into each other." X-Spider thought with a frown marring his features under his mask. "Dad's not what I expected at all. The jumbled memories that I have of his early years as Spider-Man show him to be a wise-cracking vigilante, who doesn't take things seriously...but now I see that this is only one side of his personality." X-Spider takes on a thinking pose, and Spider-Man takes a seat on the ledge of the building, and watches him carefully.

"We can stop this now, you know? The whole hero versus hero thing's been done to death, and I'd rather not fight another clone of mine. Kaine, Ben, and I got off to a rocky start. Only Kaine, and you are left. I'd really like to get to know you, if you'll let me?" Spider-Man holds out his left gloved hand over to his younger clone, who stares down at it with some reservation.

X-Spider is uncertain, and folds his arms over the spider emblem on his chest. "You're giving me the benefit of the doubt? What about your friends, the Avengers...do you think they'll be inviting my friends, and I to dinner at Avengers Headquarters anytime soon? Ditto for the X-Men, I don't think any of my team will be on their Christmas card list. " Spider-Man looks down at his webbed boots, and scratches the back of his masked head in deep thought.

"There must be some way to clear this all up, buuut I'm open to suggestions?" Spider-Man asked his younger clone with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

X-Spider shakes his head to Spider-Man with his hands on his hips. "Don't you see? If you associate with me, or my group you'll alienate yourself from everybody you know. Jameson's already has his smear campaign against me in full swing, it will just get worse for you in the long run." X-Spider concluded, and takes a couple of steps backwards, but Spider-Man extends his hand back out to X-Spider with a smile under his mask.

"You let me worry about the others...I've been on the outs with the Avengers, and X-Men before, and the world still kept on spinning!" Spider-Man pulls off his mask, and smiles at his younger clone, who walks toward Spider-Man. "Trust goes both ways, and I know you've got a different style of doing the whole hero thing. Kaine is the same way, but he's family...and you are too." X-Spider grasps Spider-Man's hand to give it a strong handshake.

X-Spider pulls his own mask off of his face to reveal the slight differences in their age, and features to Spider-Man. "Just letting you know in advance that I won't let any of my team be incarcerated for helping me piece together my origins. Even if it means getting on the bad side of every superhero in the city." Spider-Man tilts his head to the side, and chuckles lightly with an uneasy smile.

"I'll do my best to smooth things over with the X-Men, even though Storm, Iceman, Psylocke, and Phoenix reeeaally want to get their hands on you. Bobby isn't too thrilled about Firestar getting involved with this either." Spider-Man sighs deeply, and then releases the handshake with X-Spider to fold his arms, and clasps his gloved hands behind his head. "Sooo...you, and Cat...and Red She-Hulk...and the dancer from the super-villain group called NightShift? The Parker luck always worked in the reverse for me. MJ would turn me into fillet of spider if I was in your situation...how did this come about, if you don't mind me asking?" X-Spider blushes in embarrassment, and looks to the left scratching his cheek with his index finger nervously.

"I-It was something they decided on their own, but I do care for them and don't want to hurt anyone. I don't have any experience with this kind of thing, and when I searched through your memories for guidance..." Spider-Man sighs, and cuts of his younger clone before he can finish the sentence.

"You found nada, zip, zilch, and a whole lot of nothing?" X-Spider confirms Spider-Man's guess with a nod. "Yeah...I wasn't the best when it came to relationships when I was younger. I struck gold when MJ, and I got together, or as she puts it: 'I hit the jackpot'." Spider-Man chuckles lightly at the memory of when they had their first date. Spider-Man's attention returns to his young clone, when he notices him putting his mask back over his face.

"Well, I've got to get going. Titania, and the others might need my help." X-Spider states with urgency in his voice. Spider-Man puts his own mask back on, and joins his clone already standing at the edge of the rooftop.

"What's the situation?" Spider-Man inquires to X-Spider, who gives a side long glance at him.

"Titania, Volcana, Firestar, and Black Mamba traveled to Cat's apartment to pick up a manilla envelope with my new identity that she commissioned for me. Titania called me when we were in the bar that they got ambushed by Silver Sable's Wild Pack." Spider-Man has a guilty look on under his mask at the mention of the Wild Pack's involvement, and rolls his shoulders getting them to pop.

"Silver kinda jumped the gun by sending her team without getting all the facts, so I guess it's my responsibility to help you clean up this mess." Spider-Man has a mischievous grin under his mask.

"And I get to embarrass the 'Mild Pack' for all the times they tried, and failed to claim a bounty for my spidery hide...so it's a Win/Win!" X-Spider nods slightly in acceptance to Spider-Man, and shoots out a web-line, and begins to web-swing across the city closely followed by Spider-Man, who lets his younger clone take the lead to as they quickly make their way to Black Cat's apartment.

Time skip - Location: Black Cat's Apartment

"Oh-h-h-h! That's tasty~! Hit me some more!" The voice of Karl Striklan aka. Crippler pleads with rosy cheeks as he licks the blood off of the side of his mouth. Crippler goes for a quick strike behind one of Titania's kneecaps with his Cobrabaton, and she takes the hit instead of moving out of the way, which surprises Crippler slightly. Titania looks down at Crippler with an irritated expression, and backhands him across the face, which sends him airborne and collides with another member of the Wild Pack.

*Mmmmm~! That felt delicious!" Crippler cries out with glee, and the man underneath him pushes Crippler away roughly. Doug Powell scrambles to pick up his semi-automatic plasma rifle from the floor of the room, and fires several blasts at the flying form of Firestar. Powell has to dive out of the way of a Microwave energy wave sent down from Firestar's hands.

Powell gives a look of disgust to Crippler. "Ah don't ever want you touchin' me again, Crippler! Ya hear me?!" Crippler smirks, and gets back up slowly on shaky legs He then flips off Powell, and smacks his lips at him.

"Kiss my hairy ass, Hayseed." Crippler retorts, and rushes back into his fight with Titania. Titania groans loudly, and throws a straight punch at Crippler's face. She misses, but scores a hit with a low kick to Crippler's solar plexus doubling him over in pain.

"My little man owes me some overdue cuddle-time for dealing with you, Striklan." Titania murmured mostly to herself, and lifts the mercenary up to her eye level. Crippler has a satisfied look, and his blush is all the way to the ends of his pointed ears.

Crippler licks his lips, and gives Titania a semi-bored look. "That wasn't bad, but She-Hulk hits sooo much harder~!" Crippler jeered at Titania in a sing-song tone of voice. A large vein begins to throb on the side of Titania's forehead, and she is grinding her teeth in anger at Crippler's words.

"THAT'S IT! I was holding back for my man's sake, but now you're mince-meat!" Crippler smiles broadly, as Titania is about to hit him with her full power. Crippler's blue eyes widen, when he looks around Titania's strawberry blond hair to see his teammate Battlestar about to hit her with his triangular shaped shield.

"Look out! Behind you!" Crippler cries out, earning a shocked face from Battlestar. Titania quickly drops Crippler, and swivels around to deliver a powerful back-fist to Battlestar's jaw sending him flying to the other side of the room, and through several walls. Powell curses loudly when he witnesses their other teammate Amy Chen being incapacitated by Black Mamba's Darkforce projection power.

"Striklan, you psycho! Ah told Silver that he'd be a liability on this mission! No one eva listens to what I say...guess it down to me to save alla y'all's asses." Powell reasons to himself, and barely dodges the microwave blasts from Firestar.

"You're a slippery one! It's hard to get a bead on you!" Firestar admitted with a frown as she flew overhead inside the large room of the apartment.

"That's cause ma stamina is second to none! Ya'll can find out how much, if you stop firin' those blasts at me, and surrender!" Firestar gave him a bland look, and scoffs at his bragging.

"You should really pay more attention to your surroundings, instead of ogling me like a piece of meat, Corn-pone." Firestar answered with a knowing grin, as an Ash-like substance began to solidify in front of Powell into the Stone form of Volcana.

"It's time for lights out, Mister Mercenary!" Volcana cheered, and Powell has a deer-in the headlights look as a stone fist makes its was towards his face.

"Ah, Shi..." The rest of Powell's sentence was halted, and his body went flying into the same wall as Battlestar making a matching hole inside the wall. Volcana slaps her stone hands together with a happy smile on her face.

"I think that was all of them! We did it!" Volcana jumps up, and down in joy with Firestar flying down to join her.

"What about you, Mamba? Did you have any problems with, Chen?" Firestar asks her teammate with curiosity.

Mamba uses her right hand to push her long black hair behind her shoulders, and smirks over at Firestar and Volcana. "No problem at all. Black Cat's Intel was on the money, and once Chen was in my Darkforce powers she was having her happy-time with an illusion of Silver Sable. 'Oh, Silver! Take me!' *giggle* She's a screamer, alright." Volcana, and Firestar have light blushes on their faces from the unneeded details imparted by Mamba.

Titania grunted as she dragged the unconscious forms of Battlestar, and Powell out of their resting places in the holes in the wall. "They don't make mercenaries the way they used to. Two more for the pile!" Titania snickered after she throws the two defeated mercenaries on top of the smiling/currently toothless form of Crippler. Black Mamba carried Chen over, and deposited her next to the pile of Wild Pack prone bodies.

"Looks like we missed all the fun..."

"It must've been a hell of an office party!"

Author's Note: Chapter 14 - Complete! Sorry to all of my readers for the long wait for an update to my stories, but now I'm back in the swing of things again! :) Thank you for all the faves, and follows as well. It's really appreciated. ^_^ Let me know what you thought of the chapter in a review, and I hope to see you for Chapter 15 of 'The Last Clone'! :D