The sights and sounds that the security cameras had captured filled his eyes. The entire group known as the 'Sinister Six' had been beaten by the dark clad Spiderman...and the mysterious heroine of Nevada, Flying Fox.
He wasn't too terribly threatened by Flying Fox...she only seemed to show up when Spiderman was in danger, not during crimes…
Spiderman on the other hand...was a thorn in his side. Especially since he had taken out his best mercenary...for the fourth time in a row.
The Big Man leaned forward in his chair, studying the footage over and over again. Spiderman had done most of the thrashing...it was as if he was toying with each and every one of the Sinister Six.
….and Shocker's work was not up to expectations.
For a while, the Big Man drummed his fingers together...before he looked towards his right hand man. "Hammerhead...Am I correct in assuming that the young woman from the Peninsula is Montana's flame?"
"Too right, boss." Hammerhead replied, taking out a picture of Faith from his coat and setting it on the Big Man's desk. "He's been really infatuated by her. Been real careful about how his appearance is, not to mention he's gotten a little rough with any of the boys who make comments about her."
The gangster looked towards the Big Man of crime, frowning heavily. "He's also been getting real tense when I mention 'er…it's like he's fallen into 'true love' or something." At 'True Love', he made apostrophe signs with his fingers, as well as used a mocking tone, as though the thought sickened him.
The Big Man narrowed his eyes, putting his folded hands up in contemplation…
…If this was indeed true…then he could indeed have a problem keeping his top enforcer…under control. Those under him could start getting ideas….and unfold out of control.
Standing, the Big Man looked towards Hammerhead dangerously.
"Pay Montana's bail…and call him." The Big Man turned, looking out the window and narrowing his eyes threateningly. "…and have Joe send the warning package…"
Montana glanced to the side as he watched the jail door close behind him…and looked forward towards the car that was waiting for him.
He had truthfully been surprised when his bail had been paid…especially with his failure of bringing down either Spiderman or his little friend, the Flying Fox a month ago. Walking to the awaiting vehicle, he climbed inside…and frowned lightly upon seeing only Ox in the back seat.
"I reckon I'm in some sorta heat with the boss." Montana muttered, getting into his seat and shutting the door behind him.
"Uh-huh" Ox replied, leaning back in his own seat and looking up as the sunroof displayed the passing clouds as the car began to roll onto the road.
There was a brief amount of silence, before Montana growled. "I shoulda known better than to listen to that Doc." He snarled, looking at his hands in disdain. "Not even six of us were a match for the bug…even though technically he had help from that batgal."
The man looked towards his partner and frowned. "He is one slippery little—"
Montana suddenly stopped mid-sentence and felt himself tighten…as he finally actually noticed Ox's…uneasiness.
"…where's Fancy Dan?" He asked seriously. "He's not normally a solo mission kinda guy."
"Big Man wanted him." Ox merely replied, looking out the window for a moment….and then looking back towards Montana.
Montana watched Ox for a moment, thinking about the past few...instances he had with...well...everyone on the team.
Hammerhead mentioning it...The Big Man inquiring about it...Fancy Dan taunting...
The cowboy was silent…before he quickly reached over towards Ox, grabbing him by his scruff and gritting his teeth in heated anger.
Faith let off a slow hum as she fixed the latest flower arrangement in the lobby of the Peninsula. Thanksgiving had been decent...now Christmas was coming...and MAN did she feel stuck.
Seeing all the lovey feelgoods around celebrating the holiday was normally joyous for her…
...But all the mistletoe was only reminding her of Jackson...everywhere she LOOKED, she saw Jackson. She saw his rugged chin...his fading tan...his strong arms…
Quickly shaking herself out of it, Faith FIRMLY placed the flowers in the center of the table...and sighed.
How was it that she had been separated from him since September...only saw him once in between time as Shocker…
….and was still so...infatuated with him?
Hardening herself, Faith turned and tried to find something to distract her. She didn't want ANYTHING to do with the creep.
She hated him...she hated him…
….she still loved him…
YES! Something to distract her misery!
Faith quickly turned and entered Joe's office, looking inside. "Yes sir? Did you need something?"
"I do." Joe replied pleasantly, motioning towards the seat across from him. "Please sit."
Faith did as told and folded her hands on her lap, wondering where this was going to go. Lately, Joe had been very silent...mute almost; so having him call her was somewhat unnerving, somewhat welcome.
ANYTHING to keep her mind off of Jackson!
"There's a delivery I need picked up, but all of our bellhops are helping with the upcoming convention preparations." Joe said, making a motion with his hand. "Since you're one of my hardest workers, I'd appreciate it if you got this package for me."
"Certainly! Which building?"
"I'm afraid it's uptown Manhattan. Here's the order number and the building number" Joe replied, handing her a piece of paper. "I've got a car waiting outside. I told them I'd send one of my workers out there to sign for the Peninsula"
"Huh...odd…" Faith looked to the side for a moment...WHAT Convention? And if he had a car waiting...why wasn't he excusing himself for a few minutes?
Eh, he was probably busy.
"I'd be happy to."
Faith stood up, taking the paper and heading out, grabbing her purse in the process. For a while she debated on whether she should clock out or not...well this was work...so she's on the clock technically.
The woman took a few steps out and looked around for a car.
A woman with blonde hair and a hat flagged her down, and Faith quickly went over. "Hello." She greeted, the only answer being the woman merely opening the door.
Surprised, Faith gingerly sat into the car...the windows were outrageously tinted...was this even street legal-
"It's dangerous to be out without your boyfriend."
Faith quickly turned, only to have a cloth forcefully shoved into her face...before her entire world went black.
Montana burst into the Big Sky Billiard room, danger written in his eyes. All present suddenly stopped at the owner coming in, looking rather hot. For a moment, the man said nothing, before he started walking to his office.
"…Out." He snarled, fists balled.
At the word, all present quickly scampered out of the Bar; not wanting to hop off Montana more than he already was. One by one they dispersed…except for one older ruggid man…who watched Montana storm to his office and SLAM the door shut.
The older man narrowed his eyes…and crossed his arms, waiting his turn.
Unaware of anyone else, Montana went to his mess of a desk and stood in front of it, glaring at the phone so darkly, if the thing were sentient, it would scream.
Swiping up the receiver Montana gritted his teeth. "WHERE is she?!" He demanded.
"She's safe, Montana." The booming voice of the Big Man came over the line. "Though our sources are keeping a watchful eye on her."
"If you have her…"
"That's dangerous talk Montana…especially for you." The Big Man crooned. "As I said, she's safe, and able to go about her daily life…for now."
Montana gritted his teeth…that could mean one of MANY things.
"Here's the plan Montana. It seems the SpiderMan is harder to catch for everyone….this woman on the other hand, is easy prey. You remember your place, and keep your head down…or this lovely girl will be played with, and killed."
Montana trembled…and shook violently in anger…before he SNATCHED the phone off of his desk and HURLED it across his office with a yell. For a moment, the man stood in one place, teeth gritted and fists balled.
WHAT…had he gotten himself INTO?!
All he had done was fallen in love! This was NONE of the Big Man's business! He previously had NO plans to stop working for the Big Man…
…and then SpiderMan came along…
Unable to bottle up his anger any further, Montana turned…and PUNCHED right through the glass window on his door.
Panting, Montana stayed like that for a good while…before retracting his hand, ignoring all the new cuts and gashes on his arm.
If they TOUCHED her…All hell was going to break loose…
"I had been under the impression that you had overcome your anger problem by workin' hard."
Montana was silent…turning to look over his shoulder, seeing an older man, about late 60's standing in the hall. The man was dressed in dirty jeans, a long-sleeved shirt with a leather vest over him…and a dark brown cowboy hat on.
"…Pa." Montana greeted lowly, standing up fully, as well as facing the man fully, still glaring. "This ain't the proper time fer you t'just 'drop by'."
"I ain't." The man replied, turning and walking towards one of the billiard tables, setting a newspaper down. "You and I are gonna have us a little chat."
"Pa. I ain't got time for—"
"Then ya MAKE time, boy!" The man put a firm finger on the newspaper. The picture showed a picture of Shocker, destroying the subway tunnels. "I reckon you've done more than just 'tick the Big Man off' this time."
Montana was silent, looking at the picture.
…that was the day he had…
"Yer point, Pa?"
"I was under the impression y'all had a purdy little thing hanging on your arm all summer." His Father replied, standing tall. "Now she seems to have suddenly vanished, and has ended up in a stupor."
Montana's eyes went wide. "HOW did you—"
"I'm yer Pa, Boy! I make your business mine!" The older man huffed, crossing his thick arms over his chest and sneering towards Montana. "Yer a grown man, and you do what'cha like. But there's ONE thing I KNOW I taught you better."
Montana paused and found himself firmly PLANTED against the wall and hoisted upwards, his Pa having a firm grip on his shirt.
"If a man's a MAN, he takes CARE of his responsibilities!" He snarled, narrowing his eyes. "And SHE'S one'a YERS!"
"I lost yer mother because I wasn't there to take care of her when she was sick." The man gruffed, narrowing his eyes. "Now I find out you have put this purdy little thing in the Hospital, and have put her life in danger."
Montana was silent.
"If she really IS yer girl; then you will put yer LIFE down to protect her!" The man's face got dangerously close to his son's, his eyes burning. "Do you understand me, Boy?"
Flying Fox flapped her wings against the cooling night air, eyes peeled for…EVERYTHING actually.
Christmas was just around the corner…and she was taking a huge risk being on patrol tonight…
…especially with that letter she had received…
Flapping, the heroine shivered lightly and glanced at her uniform. Normally in Nevada, she didn't have to worry about such cold weather. Now she was wishing she had made this thing more cold-weather friendly.
Perhaps while she was here she could convince Stark to…nah…
She had other concerns…like locating Otto…and keeping in touch with her cousin after sending her off to Griffon Rock for the holidays…
Flying Fox paused and took out her phone, reading the text she had received.
'Can't find Faith. Unable to reach her. Plz meet me by Eastman and Lare ~Lizzy'
Narrowing her eyes, the heroine typed back a reply…before pressing another button on her screen, and putting the phone to her ear.
"….Hey You've reached Faith's voicemail! Please leave a message and I'll get back with you!"
"…Faith it's me. Please call your sister and let me know where you are."
Locking her phone, Flying Fox quickly turned and flew for her destination…
"Hey Miss?...Miiiss? Oh please be alive…"
Faith moaned lightly and opened her eyes, making out the hazy form of an upside down Spiderman hovering over her. For a moment she stared at him…before looking confused.
"Yup, that's me! SO! Glad to know you're living and breathing."
Spiderman leaned down tilting his head at her and shaking his head. "Though I'm a little curious…why take a siesta on a business building roof?"
"…Huh!?" Faith quickly sat up and held her head…before looking around at her surroundings.
She was, indeed, on the roof of a building in Manhattan of all places. "What the—" Slowly standing, Faith looked over the edge of the building, flabbergasted.
"Wha-…the flip-…How did I?"
"You're guess is as good as mine." Spiderman said, walking over and putting his hands on his hips. "Though you don't seem like a baddie to me, but even I've been deceived before. Wanna tell me what'cha know?"
"I'm not even sure I know." Faith replied sincerely, looking back towards the buildings briefly, before facing Spiderman. "Last thing I even remember was getting in a car so I could pick up something for the hotel—"
The woman paused when she noticed something tapped to her shoulder and reached for it. A folded piece of paper. Walking closer to the middle of the building, Faith unfolded it, Spiderman swinging up and watching her upside down.
"Ah, you a ransom note deliverer or something?"
Faith didn't respond…but she did grimace sharply and throw the note away, looking spooked. As soon as she released the paper, Spiderman whipped a web over to retrieve it and read it out loud.
"You'd better hope your boyfriend does his job correctly, for your sake…" The hero tilted his head and looked towards Faith, who looked obviously troubled. "Having relationship issues are we?"
"Oh my word, I never should have trusted him…" Faith muttered, going back to the edge of the building and looking over the edge, wincing at how high up she was.
"…how the heck do I get down?"
"You tell your friendly neighborhood Spiderman what's going on, of course." Spidey replied, leaping closer to the edge, just in case the girl wasn't all there. "And of course, saying 'please' doesn't hurt either."
"I don't think you'd understand what's going on." Faith replied, frowning towards the webslinger. "Especially when my Ex is one of your enemie—" The girl suddenly gasped and slammed her hand over her mouth.
"Whoa whoa whoa, back up. Just WHICH one of my enemies has the audacity to have a girlfriend as cute as you?" Spiderman asked, tilting his head. "All of my baddies are ugly suckers."
Faith flushed and crossed her arms. "I-…I'm not telling you! It's none of your business!"
"Well considering you got a threat note, your boyfriend is one of my enemies, AND it's a long way down…ya kinda have no choice." Spiderman shrugged his shoulders. "I mean, I haven't seen the Flying Fox tonight, so chances are, it's just you and me…and I don't know about you, but I'm kinda cold up here."
"unnnghh…" Faith put a hand to her head and groaned. "….its shocker…"
"…Shocker?" Spiderman made a weird look, before looking her over. "Uh…Ew?"
"He's NOT my BOYFRIEND anymore!" Faith snapped shoving Spiderman away and crossing her arms. "I never even KNEW he was Shocker until he got arrested!" The woman glanced towards the note that was still in Spiderman's grip and sighed. "Now I'm some sort of target because he's a bad guy…"
"Well I didn't exactly have plans to fight you—"
"NOT YOU!" Faith put a hand to her head, trying to let her irritation and shock disperse. "…I wish …I NEVER met him…" she whimpered, tears starting to roll down her cheeks.
Spiderman winced and put up his hands lightly approaching the upset woman. "Whoa whoa whoa, don't cry! Hey, it's not your fault Shocker's a creep." The hero pondered for a minute before he placed a hand on her back. "Tell you what, I get you down, and I'll take care of Shocker, deal?"
"It's not Jack I'm concerned about, it's whoever the heck wrote this note."
"…His name is 'Jackson Brice' or 'Montana' as all of his friends know him." Faith wiped her eyes and crossed her arms. "At least that's what everyone at his bar called him…"
"Bar?" Spidey put a hand to his chin. "…This bar…have a name?"
Montana finally got finished cleaning the bar area, being three glasses short…since he had been so mad his grip had shattered them. The man looked down at his cut up arms, he was going to have to clean all of these gashes before he could steal the Shocker suit again…
Word was Tri Corp was merging with Allen Corp…and Allen Corp had some wicked security…so getting that suit was high priorit-
"So much for honoring your responsibilities, huh?"
Montana's eyes suddenly narrowed….and he threw a glass behind himself, which Spiderman easily caught with his webbing.
"WHOA! Thanks, but I don't drink" Spidey quipped, landing on all fours on a pool table.
Sneering, Montana put one fist in his palm and narrowed his eyes. "Bug. You have NO idea what'cher in for."
"Well it seems to me, neither do you, apparently." Spiderman replied, resting his arms on his legs, staying crouched. "Especially when your girlfriend is found on the roofs of Manhattan."
Montana's chest tightened, and his eyes went wide…before he ran at Spiderman, throwing a punch in his direction.
Spiderman quickly leapt into the air and whipped a piece of webbing at Montana, which caused his hand to stick to the pool table.
Growling, the cowboy RIPPED his hand from the table and put up his fists. "BOY! If you've TOUCHED my girl, you're gonna—"
"Well I've touched her, but not in inappropriate places—WHOA!" Spiderman quickly leapt for the ceiling when Montana PUNCHED him across the face. "I WAS HELPING HER OFF THE BUILDING MR JEALOUSY!"
"Get OUT of my bar, boy! And STAY AWAY from muh GIRL!"
"I heard she's your 'Ex-Girl', so maybe you're being a bit possessive." Spiderman quickly leapt away as another glass came HURLING for him. "But really, it's not me you have to worry about, just check out the note that was attached to her!" The web hero flung the paper towards Montana, who snatched it and read over it.
A look of horror came on Montana's face at the note's handwriting…
…Fancy Dan's handwriting…which meant only one thing…
….Faith had been tagged…