Beep-beep! Beep-beep! Beep-beep! Beep-beep! Beep-be...Crunch!
The alarm clock never stood a chance as Peter Parker swatted it with his hand. It flew off the bedside table and struck the adjacent wall with enough force to make a small dent. By his guess, the clock would need fixing, or he'd need to get a new one. But that wasn't really a concern of his anymore.
Being one of the richest business-men in America certainly had it's fair share of perks.
A nice Penthouse Apartment. A nice car. A full fridge. All things he had never been able to afford before going into business for himself, finally making a living off of his genius intellect.
Though, to be fair, he wasn't as in-your-face rich as some people he knew. Most of his company's wealth was dedicated to several large charities and various organizations.
"Mmmm...is it that time already?" a soft, feminine voice asked. Peter smiled as he faced his girlfriend of three years, Carol Danvers, who had rolled over in the shared bed, flopping her arm over his chest. "I feel like we just got to sleep five minutes ago..." she half-moaned with closed eyes. "Having responsibilities sucks sometimes. What if I don't want to play hero today?"
"Well," Peter chuckled as he ran his fingers through her short-cropped hair, eliciting a smile from her lips as he did so. "We could just stay here..." he reasoned playfully, "in bed. All day. Andmfft-" his words were caught in his mouth as Carol pushed him down with the ease that came from having Kree-infused DNA, as well as a military background. Not even bothering to struggle, he lay prone as she shifted herself so that she was 'sitting' on his stomach.
"Don't you have a Business to run?" she playfully asked as she ran her fingers over his pectorals, gently drawing circles and obviously remembering the fun the two of them had experienced the previous night. "It'd be a real shame if you had those important meetings all booked and you missed them," she cooed seductively, "all because of your poor girlfriend."
"Hmm..." Peter chuckled as he grasped her hand gently, "I'd just tell 'em I was kidnapped by an Alien Amazonian Woman who was hell-bent on using me for nefarious experiments! Not that I mind..." he said, just before Carol cupped his jaw with one hand and pulled him into a deep kiss. As per usual, his heart skipped a few beats when she did this. And she got her usual smile out of the fact that she was one of the few people on the face of the earth who could shut him up.
They broke the embrace and got out of the bed, with Peter taking just a little longer than she did, in order to get a decent view of her well-toned back and legs as she walked into the shower. He, however, started on breakfast for the two of them by inserting two slices of bread into the toaster, and cracking several eggs. As he heard the shower water start, he booted up his personal tablet, reading his schedule for the day.
Most of it was tedious meetings with shareholders and lawyers. Several large blocks of the day were left blank, during which he went off the grid and patrolled the streets, or meeting with the Avengers. The last of which was definitely a priority, he realized when he opened a tab for a news page. It read: Latverian Dictator to give speech in Lower Manhattan alongside President. Great, he thought with a low whistle, Dr. Doom out in public. Everyone'll be cranky and shit. And it's gonna mean a long day. He'd had a few run-ins with Doom in the past, but he wasn't the type Peter usually dealt with. He wasn't local enough. Someone like that was more in Carol's league than his.
As Spider-Man, he namely dealt with everything from the small-time criminals selling drugs to the mid-level baddies like Scorpion and Rhino. Though he had noticed that more than a few thugs who were usually up for a fight were surrendering quickly once he mentioned calling in back-up. A few weeks ago he'd even made some teenage thug wannabe literally shit his pants when he pulled out his cell-phone mid-fight to answer a call from Carol. That one had gotten more than a few laughs.
"Anything interesting?" Carol chimed in as she entered the kitchen, wearing a smart black power suit with a blue blouse underneath.
"Just the Doom thing," he replied as he slid the Tablet over to her to read from. "I'm gonna keep an eye on it from afar if I can."
"lucky bastard," Carol snipped, "I've gotta pull guard duty on his Convoy. Cap thinks something might go down, and that Doom's up to something."
"Yeah well according to Johnny that man's never not up to something," Peter said as he took a mouthful of toast, as did Carol. "Anyways, don't read that shit. It's too boring."
"Yeah..." she agreed with a sigh, as she began scrolling through the feed. "But here's something neat, 'Spider-Man using Super-Hero Girlfriend to better image?'" she said as she looked up at him with a mockingly mad look on her face. "You're using me? How could you!" Again, the two of them laughed it off, before Carol continued with, "let's see...written by...ah, that explains it. Your old boss. Figures. Maybe I'll go have a chat with him," Carol shrugged nonchalantly, "no way he says a word about you after I'm through with him."
"You don't need to do that," Peter replied, even though he knew it wouldn't do any good at all. "I've taken worse from that man in the past. Besides," he continued, in an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction. "Don't you have a meeting with your agent today? Something about a movie deal?"
"unngg," Carol moaned, dropping her head against the table with a thud. "Don't remind me! I don't want to go! That, plus guard duty this afternoon! it's gonna be hell!"
"Mr. Parker! Mr. Parker!" Min Wei, his personal assistant (which he still had trouble believing he had) practically screamed as she ran towards him, with a slew of investors in tow. Right, he reminded himself, the exoskeletal suit demonstration. He smiled as he straightened his back and puffed his chest out confidently.
"Good morning, ladies and Gentlemen," he said politely, nodding to each and every one of them personally. "I'm so sorry for keeping you all waiting. I'm sure you know that sometimes things can just pop up when running a company this large," he grinned, keeping up the charade that he had indeed been in the building all morning, and not at all swinging around the streets of New York City, as well as doing a little gift-shopping.
"I was just about to show our guests the product," Min said with a pleasant tone, as she gestured towards him. "But, since you are here, Mr. Arker, I take it you will be-"
"Yes," Peter nodded, "Yes, Miss Wei, I will take it from here. If you'd all follow me, please." he led them down a brightly lit hallway, with glass panels on either side that allowed one to see exactly what the scientists were doing on the other side. "As you can see, we don't have any secrets here...except for our security pass-codes. Those are pretty secret for a good reason." He paused, hoping for a few chuckles.
When none came, he continued with "It all started with our prosthetic limbs. The ability to give someone back their leg is a miracle in on itself, but I felt we could do more. What if we could allow the paralysed to walk again," he said with conviction. This earned a few gasps from the group, as he had hoped. A few muttered about just how impossible it was. Oh how wrong they are, Peter thought to himself, "well, that's now possible, thanks to our Mark-I exoskeletons. "As he spoke, the investors were treated to the sight of one of the scientists testing out the suit for themselves, by going through an intricate, and difficult obstacle course that had hazards one might expect to encounter in everyday life. Things such as stairs, uneven surfaces, slippery surfaces, an objects strewn about. And, much to the investor's shock, the Scientist in question managed to lean over while in the suit, in order to pick up a glass of water.
"Interesting," one man nodded, "but what about battery life? That thing has to suck up juice like crazy."
"It does," Peter replied, "but there's a workaround. Kinetic absorption technology is a radical new field we've been studying, and we have managed to harness that and integrate it into the suits. Special pads located in every joint, as well as on the bottom of the feat, generate power every time they're used. Things like friction and impact force generate enough power to run the suit. But there is also a back-up," he said, as he pointed to a table, which had several medium-sized tubes on it. Batteries that will plug into a wall outlet, and be fully charged within eight hours. Not that you'd need it. Because as long as you keep walking, the suit will generate enough power on it's own. And then some."
In truth, he had gotten the idea for self-powering electronics from watching Carol in action as Captain Marvel. The way she used her own energy-absorbing powers against her enemies had gotten him thinking hard about the subject.
"But," Peter said, snapping himself out of his brief trip down memory lane, "that's not what I'm really here to show you. We've got something much more impressive," he said, as he motioned towards a heavy set of double-doors. With the push of a button, Peter opened them, revealing a six-foot tall exo-suit. To the untrained eye, it looked like a watered-down Iron Man armour, but Peter had been sure to double- and triple-check that his patent did not violate any laws, or copy Tony Stark's technology in any way.
"This is the natural progression of my prosthetics technology," he said proudly. "A suit that amplifies the wearer's strength to the extreme. With this," he elaborated, "An average-sized person will be able to lift a car." this earned a series of cheers and whistles from the investors. He knew he had won them over, but couldn't help but drive the point home. "While encased in the full suit," he added in gleefully, "the operator will be completely protected from the elements, making this suit ideal for Fire & rescue operations. Especially if you equip an industrial-sized fire extinguisher." He doubted that anyone heard him, as they were too busy writing things down, or communicating with themselves over how much each would be investing. It was going to be a better day than expected.
"You look like bloody hell," Jessica Drew, Carol's closest friend and most trusted confidante, said with sincerity as she walked through the halls of the Avengers Complex. "Not get much sleep?" The British Avenger grinned playfully. She had been one of the strongest advocates of Carol hooking up with Peter, alongside Steve Rogers and Johnny Storm. And had never let it up after the two started officially dating.
"No," Carol replied with a small wink, "I don't get much sleep."
"Uh-huh," Jessica grinned, "what'cha break this time? The bed? The shower door?"
"Shut up," Carol replied as the two walked down the hallway. "My sex life cannot be that interesting, Jess. There has to be something else to talk about."
"Fiiiinnneeee" Spider-Woman huffed with exaggeration, "Did you get that deal sealed with the Mouse Corp?"
"Yeah," Carol shrugged, as they entered a large room, which was already full of their fellow teammates. Steve rogers and Tony Stark stood at the head of a long table. On one side sat Logan, Clint Barton, Janet Van Dyne, Luke Cage, the Vision and Cyclops. On the other side there was Wanda Maximoff, Ben Grim, Susan Storm, Medusa, Steven Strange, and Phil Coulson, their resident representative from S.H.I.E.L.D. Quite a large turnout, in her mind. There was at least one representative at the table from every major faction of the meta-human world. And there were still a few empty seats, complete with name-tags.
The large turnout was not unexpected, however. Given the seriousness of the day's coming events. An announced visit from Victor Von Doom was sure to do that, given how he had personally affected most of the Superhero community in one way or another.
"How many more we gonna wait on?" Logan asked callously as Carol sat down between him and Janet. "How many more are there to wait on?" he grunted, looking around at the table.
"Mockingbird, Spider-Man and She-Hulk are still on their way," Steve answered with a small nod. The Captain's features were grim and serious, moreso than usual. Usually there was at least some lightheartedness in his expression. But that wasn't the case. "If they aren't here in five minutes, we'll have to begin without them. We're on a tight schedule as it is."
"Damn right," Cage muttered under his breath. "Even hearin' Doom's name alongside the President's gives me the chills." A series of murmurs echoed around the room at the comment, each person adding in their own opinion, or sharing a small story about how they had personally encountered the man. Indeed, Carol remembered her first, brief battle with him. That had not gone very well for her.
"He's not so arrogant to openly attack a world leader with us watching," Janet half stated, half-asked sheepishly. "Right? The whole world has their eyes on him. The CIA, FBI, SHIELD, and probably even more that we don't know about." She shook as she spoke, obviously not very confident about what she was actually saying.
"He's in no position to," Strange offered with a bowed head. "Given his Country's state of poverty, the last thing he can afford is a complete embargo on all trade. Or worse, a Military blockade around it's boarders. No amount of Doombots will save him from that. But..." the Sorcerer Supreme nodded as his voice grew lower, "Victor is a smart man. Very smart. I guarantee he knows every move we're going to make before we even make it. Because, let's face it, we're predictable," he said. No one disagreed with him, which was troubling.
"We shouldn't get into this," Tony cut in with a small sigh, "Not until everyone's arrived. Then we can-"
"Well we're here," Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, said as she and Mockingbird entered the room, both taking their seats. "So what's there to discuss?"
"Still waiting on the bug," Clint replied dryly as he rolled his eyes. "You'd think with all the dough he's rollin' in now he'd be able to afford a watch. A nice one too. Or maybe even his own jet."
"He texted me five minutes ago," Carol said as she leaned forward, "as he was leaving his office. So he should be here any minute." A cocky grin crossed her face as true to her word, Peter entered the room as soon as she finished speaking. "How'd it go?" Carol asked with a twinge of a smirk.
"Great," Peter replied enthusiastically, before turning to face Clint. "With all the dough I'm about to be rolling in I'll be able to afford my own jet soon!"
"Smug little-" Clint began to mutter.
"Enough," Steve interrupted as he placed his hands down on the table. "Now that we're all here, we can begin," he said as Tony clicked a remote, bringing a screen that showed the face of Victor Von Doom to life. "In three hours, the President will be meeting with Doom in Central Park. We need to be ready for anything. I've gotten clearence from S.H.I.E.L.D to use their satellites to monitor the meeting. Carol, Tony and myself will personally be with the President on-stage. Meanwhile the rest of you," as he spoke, the picture changed to an overhead view of the park. "Will be deployed as so. Agent Coulson," Steve said, as he nodded towards the Agent, "has provided us with backup Agents who will be deployed alongside us."
"Damn that took longer than it should have," Peter half-moaned as he leaned over the half-wall that surrounded the rooftop they were currently on top of. "How many different ways can Cap and Tony say 'Doom is Bad?' Must've been like fifty or something..."
"Do you ever shut up?" Logan, the short, somewhat hairy, and very grumpy clawed mutant grunted from beside him. "For fuck's sakes, bug, zip it before I make you." The two of them, along with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Coulson and Wu, were on a rooftop overlooking Central Park, were there was a crowd of about five hundred people watching the nearly legendary meeting of the President of the United States and Victor Von Doom.
Although Peter didn't keep up with politics that much, he knew the only reason Doom was agreeing to this was because his country was experiencing the worst drought it had ever experienced. And therefore, he needed to secure specific imports such as food and water before his people started to revolt.
Of course, his army of Doombots would make that difficult, but not impossible.
What was really bothersome to everyone was the fact that they knew the Latverian dictator had ulterior motives. They just hadn't figured them out yet, and knew that if they didn't, the fallout could be very costly. Which was why the Avengers had drummed up every Superhero they could summon to watch the event. Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch were keeping an eye on Doom on 'The Astral Plane'. War Machine, Falcon, Nova and several other fliers were watching the skies. More than a few Telepaths were scanning the minds of the crowd, looking for signs of an assassin. And Peter was pretty sure he had spotted Daredevil running across rooftops in order to get a better vantage point.
Plus of course, there were the three Main Avenger Powerhouses standing on the same podium as Doom was. Which both soothed him and made his stomach churn. On one hand, Carol, Tony and Steve were easily a match for Dr. Doom. But on the other hand, Dr. Doom was easily a match for the three of them, and he had probably come prepared for them.
"Aw, Logan, so sweet of you," Peter chirped as he used the state-of-the-art technology he had built into his mask's lenses to zoom in on the Podium. He smiled as he thought of just how far he had come in his career.
"Yer' not using some sorta x-ray vision with those things, right?" Logan asked bluntly, "cause if you are, I'd like to borr-"
"If you're about to say what I think you are Logan," Peter cut in quickly, "I will throw you off of this roof and-" he stopped mid-sentance as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up straight. A sensation which was followed by the most painful Spider-Sense he had ever experienced. Before he even knew what he was doing he was moving, slamming his shoulder into the Agents, forcing them into and through a metal doorway that led into the building. All the while pressing a button which allowed him to broadcast an all-frequency message.
No sooner had he and the Agents begun to tumble down a set of metal stairs, a massive explosion rocked the entire island. Heat washed over them as the brick walls vibrated from the pressure outside. Dust rained down on him as he felt his eardrums pop under pressure. And as soon as the shaking stopped, he tried to rise. His left arm protested, but he persevered through the pain.
Something terrible had just happened. He knew it.
He looked up, and saw that the roof of the building had been completely blown off, save for the one corner in which Logan was slumped over. Thankfully he was still alive, though that was only thanks to his regenerative healing powers. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for most of his beloved city.
Fires had erupted in all four directions. About a third of the skyscrapers where in ruins. People were screaming. Sirens were wailing. Most of Manhattan Island had been destroyed.