Here it is! I hope everyone enjoys it!
Two things: One, some people might be concerned about how the Avengers are behaving towards Peter. The Avengers are certainly not so cruel, but there's a reason for it, and we can thank the villain from the third story, Manipulation, for all of Peter Parker's Pain.
I love doing alliteration with his name:)
The second thing: I need help thinking of a name for the A.I. If you have any ideas, just mention them in a review, and I might use them in the story. I'll make sure to give full credit to the owner.
Dear Peter Parker,
We would like to applaud you for your application to the Stark Industries Young Minds internship program. Your blueprints for an impenetrable, secure safe run by an arc reactor were thorough, original, and skilled. Our judges would like to invite you to be one of the nine to compete for a complete college scholarship at a university of your choice, and a secured position as a researcher at Stark Industries.
Your school, Midtown High, has been notified of your five week absence, and should deliver you a package of all assignments by Friday, 9.10.12. Please pack an adequate amount of clothes and necessities for your five week stay on the Young Minds floor, at the Avengers Tower. There will be a washing machine and dryer available.
Thank you for participating in the Young Minds internship program and research competition. The scientists here involved with Young Minds look forward to meeting you.
Nancy Baron, Young Minds Director, Dr. Samuel Brown, Director of Technological Research and Development, Dr. Kim Young, Director of Biological Research and Development, and Pepper Potts, CEO of Stark Industries.
May Parker leaned the creamy acceptance letter against a celebratory stack of pancakes drowned in butter and organic maple syrup. She went back into the kitchen with a small smile on her face, and returned with a giant bowl of fruit salad. The orange juice was next, then the bacon (all for Peter; her heart couldn't take the fat), and last a tray of muffins.
The first time Peter had brought up the idea of an internship with Stark Industries, she'd been relieved. For the past two years, the boy had done nothing that excited him as much as the idea of rubbing shoulders with some of the world's most brilliant scientists. When he'd asked for her permission to enter the competition, May had said an enthusiastic yes.
That was a month ago. This morning, as May sorted through the thick pile of mail, two letters had caught her eye. One was addressed to Peter, an acceptance letter she couldn't help but open. The second was to her, directions on what to expect, how to pack, and encouragement on how to help Peter continue to grow in his love for science.
May was ecstatic. Ever since he'd asked for permission to join the competition, his… nightly activities… had decreased. No longer did Peter wake up with bruises and cuts he hadn't had the night before. No longer was she as worried, though she still suspected he went out. He just seemed less careless.
She hoped the internship would encourage whatever self-preservation he had gained. May didn't want to put a stop to what he did… she suspected, and would never discourage him from it… but a little more caution would be a relief. A big relief.
There was the familiar sound of feet thumping down the stairs, as the old wood creaked in complaint. A messy head of hair appeared, eyes half shut, back slumped. Peter stood at the bottom of the steps for a moment, before sliding into his chair.
The overwhelmingly amazing smell of bacon hit him right in the nose.
Peter's eyes sprung open. He gaped at the giant spread of food, before staring at his aunt with a look similar to a very confused puppy.
"Oh, close your mouth," May said irritably. "I didn't raise a fish."
The dropped jaw slowly went back where it belonged, but not before Peter spared a few hopelessly confused glances at the table.
"I'm pretty sure it's not my birthday, Aunt May."
May couldn't help it; the stern look disappeared, and was replaced by a Cheshire grin.
"Maybe the letter next to your plate will be of assistance."
It was absolutely terrible, how confused the poor boy was. May made a mental note to spoil him more often.
Slowly, Peter picked up the piece of paper, holding it like it would explode in his hands. His eyes scanned it warily. The look of realisation hit his eyes.
And then Aunt May couldn't contain herself any longer. Peter sprung up, a genuine laugh bubbling from his throat. They hugged each other tightly. The feeling warmed May's heart. It was the first genuine laugh she'd heard in a very long time.
"Alright you," she said after a while. She didn't want to spoil the moment, but breakfast was getting cold. "Sit down, and eat."
Peter happily sat down in the chair and began cutting into his pancakes. May followed his example, though her pile consisted of two, instead of Peter's eight.
Inwardly, she shook her head. Where he put all that food, she would never know.
Peter blankly stared at the collection of wires in his hand.
He knew what he was doing was risky. The Avengers had continued their pursuit for Spider-Man. Multiple times over the last month and a half, he'd be stopping a small crime, when the team would come after him. Spider-Man would hurriedly disappear in the shadows, and be far away before the telling sound of Iron Man's repulsors got any closer.
Multiple things could go wrong during his stay. The security in Avengers Tower was absolute. There were heat sensors and cameras all over the building. There were criminal recognition systems built by Tony Stark himself, meant to alert the cops if any known criminal entered the premises. Peter didn't want to find out as Iron Man came raging down the steps that they had Spider-Man's height and size on profile.
Peter also had no intention of stopping being Spider-Man during the five week period. He wasn't sure exactly how he was going to break out of one of the highest security buildings in New York every night, but he had a pretty good idea.
The idea was starting to look less like an idea and more like a reality.
It was a big sacrifice; spending time he'd usually spend as Spider-Man in front of a computer. But as Peter stared at the wires in his hands, it had started to look like it would be worth it.
Pulling himself out of his thoughts, he continued his work, experienced hands carefully twisting together wires. He placed them back inside what had been an old flip-phone. A circuit board followed, before Peter snapped the plastic covering back together.
Holding his breath, Peter gently pressed the "call" button on the phone.
"Hello, master. How may I assist you?"
"It works," Peter had breathed, staring at the unsuspecting phone with disbelief.
"I am afraid I do not understand," the phone had said haltingly, like the words were strange on its tongue.
But it would. All Peter had to do was insert a bit of code, and he would have an artificial intelligence at his command.
It would be one of his best creations. He was as proud of it as he was of his web-shooters, and he didn't just say that lightly.
A few hours later, Peter stared at the modified phone, almost afraid. He'd input the necessary data required for the A.I to function properly (namely the ability to translate words into computer code, and unlimited WiFi access), had messed with the tone of the voice, and had removed the program from his computer that allowed him to reprogram his phone.
The only step left was to test it.
Once again, Peter had pushed the call button. This time, nothing happened. Frustrated and a bit confused, he pressed it again.
"Language," The phone chided.
Shocked, he stared at the device.
"Don't look at me like that, sir." Peter had got the feeling it was mocking him. With an exasperated sigh at Peter's confused look, it elaborated. "You gave me access to the phone's camera, remember?"
Oh right. The A.I program was meant to identify facial expressions like an actual person.
"Ah…" Was all Peter managed.
"Next time, please be more patient. Do you have any idea how overwhelming it is to have trillions and trillions of terabytes of information thrown at you in half a second? No, I suppose you wouldn't. Be a little more considerate next time."
"Ah… Yes ma'am."
Peter had decided on a feminine voice for the A.I, but it appeared the creation had taken the matter in her own hands, and found its own voice tones. It sounded… bossy.
"Good. Now, get to bed. Don't forget that you start the internship at Avenger's Tower tomorrow. It wouldn't do to be half asleep for that."
Peter stared at the phone incredulously.
"Did you just give me a bedtime?"
"Hmm? Oh, no. I found the average amount of sleep required for a young man of sixteen, which is approximately nine hours, calculated the amount of time we have between now and the start of your school, Midtown High, and came to the conclusion that even if you did go to bed now, you would only have seven hours and nine minutes of sleep, which is one hour and fifty-one minutes short. You will go to bed."
"B-but," Peter spluttered. "You can't just make me…"
"I can and I will. Go to sleep or I'll turn off the WiFi on your computer."
"I'm Spider-Man! I don't need nine hours of sleep!"
This silenced his talkative A.I for a whole two seconds.
"...Okay, what? Your Spider-Man? Do you have any idea how many security risks are involved? There are over fifty major organizations with a price on your pretty masked face. That doesn't include freelancers, criminals with a grudge, and obsessive hobbyists. Don't even get me started on the amount of people out for your identity. Everybody wants it. The government, media, regular citizens of New York, the Avengers."
"Yeah, I know, I know. I don't need a lecture."
"I think you do!" The A.I's voice was getting shriller and louder. "It says here that Mary and Richard Parker are deceased, Ben Parker is deceased, and Gwen Stacey is deceased. Your only living relative is a May Parker, who recently talked to a friend at work about her nephew's "antisocial tendencies. You have no one!"
Irritated at the mention of those he failed, Peter snapped at it. "Keep your voice down! My aunt is sleeping. And where the hell did you find all that information?"
Its voice turned arrogant.
"I'm artificial intelligence. I can find anything. I can also do whatever I want, because I'm an intelligent being, unlike most computers. And I'm going to be your friend."
It sounded so sure of itself, like a five year old on the playground declaring her friendship. That was the odd thing. The A.I had the entire internet at its disposal. Theoretically, it was the smartest being in existence. But age-wise, it was a newborn. It may have knowledge, but it had no experience. That would come with time.
"Friend means a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. I think I fit that title quite well, as we are not biologically family and we are not in a sexual relationship. I know you and my programming gives me a deep mutual affection for you."
Suddenly, the A.I's voice turned business-like.
"And as your friend, I am going to erase all information about Spider-Man from the internet, excluding opinion related views from the media and average citizens. Do I have your permission to continue, Peter?"
Peter's head was still whirling from the A.I's earlier statements. He gave a mute nod in the direction of the camera.
"Good. Now, this process will take several minutes, during which time I will be unable to communicate with you, due to the overwhelming amount of data I will have to find and delete. Make sure you get the proper amount of nutrition and sleep for your genetically enhanced systems."
The A.I went silent, leaving Peter feeling oddly lonely. He stared at the phone lying open on his desk. Slowly, Peter picked his suit off the floor, and got dressed. It was late and Spider-Man had yet to make an appearance. His web-shooters were attached to his wrist, their familiar feel comforting.
Spider-Man stared at the window. He suddenly felt hesitant. Everything had happened so fast. One moment, there had been lines of computer code inserted into dinosaur technology, and the next second, he had a… Friend.
It was alien how much the thing acted like a human. Surprising. Peter hadn't meant to create himself a… Friend, but it had happened. He could scarcely believe it.
He felt inwardly exhausted from the amount of conversation he'd had with the A.I. Spider-Man realized this was the most he'd talked with someone in months. It felt weird, having someone to talk to again.
But Peter didn't feel the same guilt he felt whenever he allowed himself to grow close to people. This was a computer program backed-up on the internet. It was almost impossible to destroy. Peter could technically be a friend with the A.I.
He also needed to stop calling it "the A.I." Peter would have to think up a name.
The A.I was powerful. It seemed to like him. The thought of having an ally was comforting. Without a second thought, Peter silently dove out the window, into the dark night.