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Another Strand In The Great Web – Episode One: One More Chance Part I

New York General Hospital, afternoon

"No comment," Felicia Hardy said slamming shut the door of the small private waiting room hospital staff had graciously granted the Parker Family once they learned of their unique situation. "Damn those media vultures." Felicia glanced at where Mary Jane and Aunt May sat realizing her mistake too late. "Um, I mean Jackals. Um. I mean, well, you know."

"Thank you for being here Felicia." Mary Jane said. She rose from her seat to embrace the other woman.

"Any time Red," Felicia said. When Mary Jane again sat down Felicia by her side the former art thief noticed Aunt May staring at her. "Uh, hi," Felicia offered weakly.

"There's no need to be uncomfortable around me dear. Mary Jane has told me all about your relationship with my nephew." Aunt May said.

Felicia breathed a sigh of relief. Then said with a small laugh. "I hope she gave you the PG version."

"The what now." Aunt May said quirking an eyebrow.

"Never mind," Felicia said with another nervous laugh.

It was in that moment of awkward silence that Felicia noticed with a frown a blood stain on her brown blouse. She glanced over at Mary Jane who still held Peter's bloody phone and keys tightly clutched in her hands. Before Felicia could comment two more people entered the room pushing back the throng of reporters who dominated the hall outside. One was billionaire Tony Stark aka Ironman the other was his faithful butler Jarvis.

"May we came as soon as we heard," Jarvis said immediately going to Aunt May's side.

"What are you doing here?" Mary Jane said glaring at Tony Stark. "You have some nerve Stark. Everything that has happened is your fault. Because of you my husband is in an operating room fighting for his life."

"I've come to help," Tony said putting up his hands in a show of surrender. "Don't worry about the medical bills they are taken care of."

"How considerate of you." Mary Jane said. "Now you can leave."

"Mary Jane," Tony said.

"I said you can leave." Mary Jane repeated.

"Come along, Jarvis. Apparently, we aren't welcome here." Tony said with a sigh. He knew there was not winning this argument. Jarvis looked at Aunt May reluctant to leave.

"Jarvis can stay, it's you I want to go, Tony," Mary Jane said.

"I'll return to Avengers Tower when the situation permits sir," Jarvis said apologetically. Tony nodded his understanding.

"If you change your mind," Tony said.

"I won't." Mary Jane said.

"If you do. Jarvis knows how to contact me no matter where I am." Tony said before leaving.

"Pompous ass," Mary Jane said. She looked over at Jarvis who wore a shocked expression on his face. "Sorry Jarvis," Mary Jane apologize a bit embarrassed.

"It's quite alright Mrs. Parker," Jarvis said curtly.

Hospital Room

'Why didn't they let me die?' Eddie Brock thought as he lay in his hospital bed sick, miserable, alone and oh so weak. He glanced at his bandaged wrists lamenting that he had not been better skilled with a knife. He knew the aggressive form of cancer that ravaged his body would kill him within a matter of weeks or months at the most. What was the point of going on? He resolved to succeed in ending his life at the first available opportunity.

"Not doing so well, eh Eddie?" A strange male voice said.

"Who said that?" Eddie his eyes darting around his empty room

"The only one who cares enough about you to visit." The strange male voice said.

"Show yourself, I'm not afraid." Eddie declared.

"Trust me, you will be," Mephisto said materializing in a puff of orange-red smoke which smelled of brimstone.

"You've come for my soul," Eddie declared clutching his bed sheets tightly. "Please don't take me to Hell. I don't deserve to spend eternity there. I'm not a bad person."

Mephisto laughed a harsh terrible sound. "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, lie to yourself if you must but not to me," Mephisto said pointing a clawed finger at the cringing Eddie. "Your sin-ridden soul is already my property. There is nothing you can do at this point that can change your fate. What I offer you today is a chance to postpone the inevitable, for a long season by the standard of your kind, and of course a chance at revenge against the man who ruined your life."

"What do you mean?" Eddie said.

"Peter Parker is here in this very hospital. He has been shot by an assassin. A bullet is lodged between his right kidney and his liver, preventing him from fully healing until it is removed. Spider-Man is more vulnerable than he has ever been in this moment. Even a proven failure such as yourself could now easily dispatch him through minimal effort." Mephisto said closing his sales pitch strong. "I am willing to heal your cancer and restore the power you once possessed as Venom. All I ask in return is a promise to kill Parker or failing that the his wife Mary Jane when a chance arises. Agree, or I'll soon see you in Hell Eddie where you shall suffer the torments of the damned day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, while Peter Parker and his family live happily ever after. Hardly justice as I see it, but I've been known to err in such matters. What about you Eddie, does it seem just?"

"No," Eddie croaked. His eyes ablaze with hatred. He could not allow Parker happiness while he burned in Hell forgotten and abandoned by God.

"Do we have an agreement?" Mephisto asked.

"Yes," Eddie said bitterly.

Mephisto reached out and grasped Eddie's feeble right hand with his own. The moment they touched Eddie's body rapidly regained its lost vitality followed by black slime oozing from every pore and orifice. Soon the salivating monstrosity of man and alien created of pure hatred was reborn. It was a terrifying sight.

"Welcome back, Venom," Mephisto said with a sadistic grin. "Make me proud."

"Don't worry, we shall." Venom said ominously in his disturbing multilayered voice.

Top Secret Government Bunker - Undisclosed Location

Flash Thompson wheeled his way down the corridor. The double-amputee veteran of the war in Iraq accompanied by a group of soldiers had been selected for a classified project. In a chamber at the end of the hall was tall cylindrical tube filled with eerie blue liquid around which stood a cadre of scientists.

"Hello, Sergeant Thompson." One of the scientists said. "May I introduce you to the Toxin Symbiote. It was recently retrieved from a gang of criminals who killed its previous host, a New York City police officer named Patrick Mulligan." He said gesturing to the red and black gelatinous creature contained within the tube. "Together you'll make history."

Flash regarded the creature warily. He was unsure of being bonded with this thing. But if it restored his lost mobility and allowed him to better serve his country he felt had no choice. He would do anything for the country he loved. He was a patriot.

"Are you ready Sergeant Thompson?" The male scientist asked.

"I was born ready," Flash said.

To Be Continued

Author's Note One -

While I am giving Flash a symbiote a bit earlier than in canon, I feel this will fit well into the overall narrative I have planned. Because he can't be Venom (I also have future plans for Mac Gargan's portion of the Venom Symbiote that I hope everyone will like) in this story I decided to make him "Agent Toxin" instead.

Author's Note Two -

Sorry about the short length. I hope to post a longer chapter soon.