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Entwined Destines – Episode Eight The Ultimate Spider-Slayer Part One The Deal
New York General Hospital, morning
"Hi MJ," Gwen said when she and Peter entered the relatively spacious private hospital room of her friend Harry Osborn.
"How's Harry doing, MJ? Has there been any change?" Peter asked as the pair removed their heavy winter coats.
"Harry's doing just fine. Jeez, Peter, don't act like I'm not here. I'm a cripple but I'm not deaf." Harry said sourly from his hospital bed where he lay propped up at a forty-five-degree angle.
"I'm sorry," Peter said not knowing what else to say. Peter could not look at Harry for long without thinking if only he had been a bit faster on that terrible night Harry would still be able to walk. Other than the murderer of his Uncle Ben by the burglar who he could have stopped, Harry's fate was his biggest regret in his life.
"Has there been any change in the diagnostic reasoning of the doctors concerning your paralysis?" Gwen asked while walking over to Harry's bedside. The pre-med study in her on full display.
"No," Harry said. Everyone else present could tell he was extremely upset by the look of bitter disappointment on his face. "They say I'll likely be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I'll remain a useless lump who is paralyzed from the waist down forever. Spider-Man should have left me in the ruins of Oscorp Headquarters. I wish he had left me there with the rest of the trash to burn. I wish I had died that night. At least if I was dead Mary Jane would have my life insurance money to fall back on. As things now stand, we're going to lose our collective shirt. We soon won't even be able to afford my mounting medical bills. I let everything rid on that prototype exosuit Black Cat stole. The explosion then destroyed most of our research. I don't have enough time to start again before the investor deadline arrives. Even if I could get out of bed, Oscorp is finished."
Harry's face was clouded by hatred when he mentioned Black Cat. His expression became so dark it frankly frightened Peter and Gwen. Gwen had to put her hand over her mouth to stifle a gasp. At that moment Harry reminded her for all the world of his father the late Norman Osborn aka her tormentor Green Goblin.
"Stop it, Harry, just stop it!" Mary Jane wailed. "I can't take any more of you feeling sorry for yourself! You're alive and where there's life there's hope!"
"Yeah right," Harry scoffed. "I'm stuck in this hospital bed while Donald Menken is plotting behind my back to have me ousted as interim head of the company. Menken has had it out for me since my father died. Thanks to Black Cat he now his the ammunition he needs to force me out. Not that it will matter much. Oscorp is finished either way." Harry began to tear up. "My dad trusted me with his company and I blew it. I'll go down in history as the Osborn who squandered the Osborn legacy. I'm such a worthless piece of crap." He sniffed.
"I think we should go," Gwen suggested to Mary Jane.
Peter did not know what to say. He had never seen his best friend (aside from Gwen) in such a state. Harry always seemed so strong.
"Maybe that would be for the best. I'll call you later." Mary Jane said having regained some of her previously lost composure.
Gwen took Peter by his arm. The pair put on their winter coats. They quietly left while Mary Jane tried and failed to console her physically damaged and emotionally devastated fiancee.
"Well, our visit could have gone worse, somehow, I suppose," Gwen offered half-heartedly after she and Peter entered the elevator. They were alone on the ride down. "A penny for your thoughts." She said when Peter remained silent.
"I'm about to do something incredibly stupid," Peter said. "I only hope it helps Harry save his company."
"Uh, what exactly do you have in mind?" Gwen asked apprehensively. While she loved Peter to death he could be very impulsive at times.
"I'm going to make a deal with the devil," Peter said ominously.
"What sort of deal and who is 'the devil' you're talking about?" Gwen asked. nervously. "Should I be worried?"
"Not really, at least I hope not. As for your other questions. You'll find out soon," Peter said as the elevator reached the ground floor and the pair exited. "I only hope I catch him in a good mood."
"Curiouser and curiouser," Gwen said. She followed a determined Peter out of the hospital where he hailed a cab.
"Where are you folks headed?" Asked the cabby who turned out to be Peter's new friend Big Al.
"Please take us to this address," Peter said rattling off the address of an exclusive neighborhood outside of the city.
"Hey, Pete fancy meeting you here." Big Al said recognizing Peter. His somewhat dour expression brightened.
"Hey, Al. I didn't know you drove a cab." Peter said smiling.
"I hack in my spare time." Big Al said while he pulled the cab out into traffic. "You must be Gwen." He said glancing in his rearview mirror at Gwen who gave him a small wave.
"Guilty as charged," Gwen said with a smile.
"Pete's told me a lot about ya." Big Al said.
"All of it good I hope?" Gwen said.
"Oh sure," Big Al said. "He's crazy about ya. Sometimes I can't get him to talk about anything else. It's Gwen this Gwen that or what would Gwen think about this." He laughed. Peter blushed feeling more than a little embarrassed. "Why are you two headed out to such a poshy neighborhood?" Big Al questioned.
"My aunt recently moved there," Peter answered.
"So she went through with marrying that creep, huh?" Big Al said.
"Yeah," Peter said without emotion.
"Ya have my sympathy." Big Al said.
The remainder of the ride passed in silence other than the occasional comment on recent events by Big Al. Before the trio knew it they had arrived at their destination. Peter paid Al before he and Gwen entered through the gate of the mansion. Al had offered to wait for them so he could ferry them back to the city but they politely declined.
Estate of Otto Octavius outside of New York City an hour later, near noon
Dr. Otto Octavius used one of his artificial limbs to sip tea from a small chin cup. He licked his lips then placed the cup down on its saucer. "A simply delicious blend I must say," Otto said. He used another of his artificial limbs to wipe his face with a napkin. Otto sat on an ornate sofa across from him seated on an equally ornate matching loveseat were Peter and Gwen. "Neither of you have touched your tea and light refreshments. Does what I have prepared, not tickle your fancies as it were?" He asked feigning mild offense. He gestured with one of his artificial limbs at the two cups of untouched tea and cucumber sandwiches which sat on the table between the three. Aunt May was out shopping in the city with Otto's security guards so they were alone.
"Will you do what I ask or not Doctor Octavius?" Peter asked impatiently. He and Gwen had already explained the to Otto situation in great detail.
"Please, Peter call me Otto. We are family after all." Otto said.
"Will you do it or not?" Peter repeated his question.
"While I want to assist your friend with his, admittedly fascinating project, regrettably the conditions of my parole strictly forbid me from participating in any research which involves cybernetics," Otto said with a slight frown. "I trust you understand my refusal?"
Peter did not buy Otto's excuse for a second. He knew full well the allegedly former Dr. Octopus would readily violate the conditions of his parole if a beneficial enough opportunity arose. Peter also highly suspected, as did Gwen, that Otto feared the couple was attempting to entrap him so he was playing things safe by refusing them. Normally Peter would have shrugged off Otto's rebuff and sought help else, however, time was not on his side in this situation. Harry needed this and Peter was going to make damn sure Harry received Otto's assistance no matter what it took to secure said assistance. Peter was about to try to reason with Otto when Gwen beat him to it.
"Otto in spite of what you might think we aren't trying to trick you," Gwen said.
"You trick me, perish the thought," Otto said pointing first at Peter & Gwen then at himself with two of his metallic arms.
"Our friend Harry Osborn's spine was fractured in three places. He's on the verge of losing everything. Please help us help him." Gwen said.
"If you do this I promise I'll drop my lingering objections to your marriage to my aunt. You'll never hear another peep out of me unless you put Aunt May in danger." Peter said bringing out the big hook. "Any man who would help a person in Harry's situation is a man I'd proudly call my uncle."
Otto sat silently for several moments before he gave his answer. "Very well, I'll help your friend save his company and redeem his failure," Otto said.
"Thank you,, Uncle Otto," Peter said. He had some difficulty forcing the words out but at last, they came. He only hoped he was making the right call. Trusting Otto was a huge gamble. 'Please let it pay off, for Harry's shake as well as my own.' Peter thought.
"No thanks are necessary Peter my nephew. What else is family for if not to provide assistance in times of crisis." Otto said with a smile Peter and Gwen both found hallow.
'Now all I have to do is convince Harry that Doc Ock is trustworthy enough to place the fate of Oscorp in his slimy metal tentacles. Oh boy, how do I get into these messes?' Peter thought smiling back at Otto. At the insistence of his future father-in-law Captain George Stacy, the next day Peter would start training at the Police Academy. He was hoping for a rare calm day.
A warehouse owned by Fisk, afternoon
"Smythe can you hear me?" Inquired Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin.
In front of Kingpin stood a seven foot tall, six-limbed, purple colored with neon green LEDs robot. Its face resembled a human's with a pair of mock neon green eyes and a neon green slit which resembled a rudimentary mouth. Around Fisk were stationed several of his goons who were heavily armed just in case something should go wrong.
"I can hear you, Fisk," The robot answered in its electronic voice. It experimentally flexed the three long steel colored fingers located at the terminus of each of its four upper limbs. "Apparently the operation was a complete success." It observed. "My brain (which was located within the heavily armored torso of the robot, not the more vulnerable head) exercises complete control over this magnificent shell. Truly I have become my own masterpiece, as intended."
"Spare me the hyperbole, Smythe," Fisk said. "The only thing I care about is if you through your 'masterpiece' can actually deliver what I've been promised by you; the heads of Spider-Man and his partner Ghost Spider."
Without being prompted the new cyborg Spider-Slayer attacked a duo of crash test dummies mocked up to look like Ghost Spider and Spider-Man. The Spider-Slayer quickly tore the dummies to shreds. Kingpin, however, was not impressed.
"Eradicating dummies is one thing eradicating the real thing is quite another. Dummies don't fight back," Fisk observed.
"Do you doubt my abilities?" The Spider-Slayer said seemingly offended by Fisk's negative comments.
"I deal in facts Smythe not fanciful speculation. I'll be dutifully impressed should you actually succeed in eliminating our targets. Until such time I care little for your personal feelings." Fisk side folding his large arms across his equally large chest. "Which remains me. Shouldn't the alterations made to your brain prevent such expressions of vanity?"
"I assure you my emotions remain intact. I decided against altering that portion of my brain." The Spider-Slayer said.
"Do you think that is wise, Smythe?" Kingpin said.
"Don't call me Smythe any longer. Spencer Smythe is gone. From this moment forward I shall be known as Executioner! For I have become the executioner of spiders!" The Spider-Slayer declared proudly thumbing the front of its torso with one of its upper limbs.
"A rather boastful title. I do hope you prove yourself worthy of it." Kingpin said. "Tell me oh greater executioner. When will you be ready the execute your mission and rid me of these pests?"
"Tomorrow," Executioner said without hesitation or doubt.
"How do you plan to find the spiders?" Kingpin said.
"I won't have to find them. They will come to me." Executioner said.
"How can you be so sure?" Kingpin said.
"After years of studying Spider-Man, I know him well. His motivations are as transparent as glass to me as are his strengths and weaknesses. Whenever civilians are placed in danger he comes running to protect them, as does his partner by all available accounts." Executioner said. "Once I attack a large gathering of people the spiders will fall into my clutches to be ground into dust. After tomorrow the names of Spider-Man and Ghost Spider will fade from history while my chosen name, the name of their slayer, Executioner shall echo down through the ages creating a legacy which will never be forgotten nor eclipsed."
"I see," Kingpin said.
If Kingpin had not already invested so much time and valuable resources into this project he would have pulled the plug. Spencer or rather "Executioner", as he now called himself, was clearly mad. Kingpin seriously doubted this Frankenstein monster could defeat the spiders. Still, in for a penny in for a pound as they say. It was too late to turn around now.
"Try to keep civilians casualties to a minimum. The last thing I need is for the authorities to increase law enforcement spending as a result of your rampage. Such a development could prove bad for business even with the spiders gone." Kingpin said.
"I am not interested in slaying civilians only spiders." Executioner said. "I must power down so I can conserve energy until tomorrow." He added. His green LEDs including his mock eyes and mouth went dark.
"I do not want the rest of our friend disturbed. Make sure no one enters here until after tomorrow." Kingpin ordered his goons as he unfolded his arms.
"Yes sir," Said one of the goons a burly bald-headed man of about forty.
"Contact me immediately should the condition of our friend change or should anything else of note occur. Do I make myself clear?" Kingpin said.
"Yes sir," The same goon said.
"Goodbye," Kingpin said with a nod which the goon returned. Kingpin turned and departed from the warehouse. If everything went according to plan running his criminal empire would be much easier after tomorrow.
To Be Continued
Author's Note -
While a bit shorter than usual I thought it was important to post a new chapter before the year ended. I hope you enjoyed it, my faithful readers.