All characters appearing in Spider-Man are copyrighted to Marvel Entertainment and Stan Lee. No infringement of these copyrights is intended, and is not authorized by the copyright holder. All original characters are the property of TVfan.
Note: this story begins shortly after the "The Other: Evolve or Die" story arch, which is recently completed in the Spider-Man comics.
A New Life
Chapter 9: The Final Curtain
"How long you and Mr. Jarvis been seeing each other, Mrs. Parker?" Liz asked quietly as she sat in a small living room across from May Parker, while Normie watched television near by.
"Almost a month," Aunt May answered, "And he's been such a dear. He reminds me very much of my Ben."
Liz nodded weakly, "That's good for you. Have you met any of the Avengers when you come to visit him?"
"They were all kind enough to introduce themselves to me," Aunt May answered, "Meeting Captain America was a real treat. Every child in my generation had a poster of him from the Second World War. Of course they were recruiting posters and we were too young to join, but we loved the posters."
Liz nodded weakly.
"Of course some of them, you should keep your distance from," Aunt May then sighed, "That Wolverine fellow is always very frightening. Mr. Cage is very polite, but I haven't had much interaction with him…"
"Well, I suppose heroes wouldn't want to be with their butler's girlfriend," Liz commented.
"I suppose," Aunt May answered.
"Does Peter know you're dating the Avengers's butler?" Liz asked out of curiosity, "I'm sure he'd love to be able to come up here and do some reporting work for the Bugle."
"He does, but he's a photographer, and he would never use my relationship with Mr. Jarvis to get pictures," Aunt May answered, "Ben and I raised him well."
Liz nodded, and looked over to where her son was sitting, "I only hope I can say I did half as well as you have done when Normie gets to be Peter's age. I mean, he's had to deal with men in… in 'stupid' costumes trying to kidnap him, including his own grandfather the other being the Hobgoblin, the fact that his grandfather sucked his son, Normie's father into Norman's mess, and other weird things. Now the Hobgoblin has come back and… I shouldn't be telling you this."
"Spider-Man will stop him," Aunt May spoke up, "If I remember Peter's photographs correctly, the Hobgoblin is one of Spider-Man's enemies."
"He and his partner just left to go and find him, I think," Liz commented.
"They'll get him in no time then," Aunt May said confidently.
"I hope so," Liz sighed as she looked over at Normie again, "I hope so."
"Why are we going to Osborn Industries?" Arachne asked as she and Spider-Man slowly made their way through the maze of buildings that was Manhattan Island.
"One, it's to let you get some extra practice at webslinging," Spider-Man answered, "Let you improve your accuracy, which is very much improved from the other day."
Arachne then shot out a webline that hit a piece of stonework on an older building that was just below a window. She then let her momentum carry her up into the air and did a summersault before landing on the rooftop of a taller skyscraper where Spider-Man was waiting for her.
"That's good," Arachne answered, "I'm just focusing on what you told me to do."
"Don't 'focus'," Spider-Man corrected, "I've found that webslinging is not like acting. Let your Spider-Sense guide you, almost like an animal's instinct. It should be that good."
"But it will buzz at just about anything," Arachne answered, "Including one time when I was talking with Jarvis while he was chopping vegetables. Jarvis would never attack anyone without a very good reason."
"It warns of possible danger," Spider-Man explained, "It doesn't always mean that the intent of what is causing your Spider-Sense to buzz is 'dangerous'. Mine has gone off while I've had nice and quite talks with policemen. Of course, I was hanging upside-down from a light pole, and they were yelling at me to come down and give myself up, but that's different."
"It just gets so confusing," Arachne answered, "I mean, how do I know when to ignore it and when not to?"
"That's something that even I don't know," Spider-Man sighed, "I've had these powers since I was fifteen. I've had a lot of time to adjust to them. My best guess would be to memorize how hard your Spider-Sense buzzes at different things. When you're in serious danger, it should be buzzing enough to make you feel like you have a headache."
Arachne sighed and slowly nodded, "It didn't really buzz very hard for many things around the Avengers Tower."
"That is just a slight warning that something has the possibility of being dangerous, or that someone is coming out from around a corner or from behind a door with no serious intent to cause harm," Spider-Man explained.
Arachne nodded. She knew that while Spider-Man had said she was improving, she felt she still had a very long way to go.
"Okay," Arachne sighed, "Try to let my Spider-Sense operate like an instinct. I'll try."
Arachne then shot out another webline to resume the journey toward Osborn Industries, with Spider-Man following and shortly taking the lead.
"So aside from getting me extra training time," Arachne began, "Why aren't we using that tracking device that Stark gave us."
"That device is designed to find Tracer, and since I haven't seen a sign of either of them since they attacked the Tower," Spider-Man answered, "I'm not sure that they are still working together or if Tracer is even active still."
"He said he found a device that would allow Tracer to send his 'mind' to a new robotic body," Arachne pointed out.
"We'll use the device," Spider-Man answered, "Just not now. This blackmailing scheme against Liz is more of the Hobgoblin's style, not Tracer's. Tracer, if he wanted to run Osborn Industries, would have just walked in, killed Liz, and said 'I'm in charge'. No, this has to be solely the Hobgoblin's idea, and if I know Kingsley, he's likely to show up at Osborn Industries because I found his snitch."
Kingsley was startled when he heard Ricky screaming his name as he ran into the underground base that he had taken over. His screaming had even alerted Tracer, whose image had been pacing silently on the screen that was the robot's only connection to the world outside the computer he was trapped in.
"Mr. Kingsley!" Ricky screamed as he came running up.
"What is it?" Kingsley growled as he sat up and looked over at his henchman.
"Sir, I have bad news," Ricky began, "Liz Osborn has gone and told someone about your little arrangement with her."
"What?" Kingsley roared, leaping out of his chair.
"She met with some guy she went to high school with," Ricky reported, "Said she was in trouble and needed Spider-Man's help."
"Did she tell this guy the nature of her trouble?" Kingsley asked.
"Not that I could tell," Ricky answered, "But I'm sure she's told Spider-Man by now."
Kingsley grabbed Ricky by the neck and lifted him into the air.
"What did you say?" Kingsley growled.
"The guy told her to go to the Avengers Tower," Ricky gasped, "And that Spider-Man would meet her there."
Kingsley tightened his grip, "Did you follow and remind her about the cost of betraying me?"
"I tried!" Ricky gasped, "but Spider-Man seemed to be in the area too! I just got out of the building when he grabbed me in his webbing. I had all I could do to make sure he didn't know about you blackmailing her before she told him."
"Blast," Kingsley cursed as he dropped Ricky to the ground.
"Poor Hobgoblin," Tracer teased from his screen, "All your plans going down the toilet."
"My plans haven't gotten me killed yet," Kingsley growled back.
Kingsley then lifted up his Hobgoblin costume and then put the mask on over his head.
"I believe it's time that little Normie Osborn learns what a real Goblin can do!" Kingsley said firmly from behind the mask.
"You're going to attack Avengers Tower by yourself then?" Tracer asked from the screen, "And you call me stupid."
"No," Kingsley answered as he began changing into his costume, "I'm going to her little apartment and kill the boy."
"If your little messenger boy is right and that she did go to Avengers Tower to see Spider-Man," Tracer answered, "Knowing that you've targeted her family, do you honestly think that she would leave the boy alone?"
"No," Kingsley answered he finished, "But the Avengers can't let her stay in their tower. They'd get all sorts of publicity that they don't want or need. They'd send her back to her apartment and tell her not to go into work. Thinking I'm too stupid not to attack the apartment."
By now Kingsley had finished putting on his costume and had resumed his Hobgoblin persona and leaped onto his glider.
"This will make the news, surely," the Hobgoblin smiled as he flew out of the room at high speed.
Aunt May and Liz continued to chat in a friendly matter. Liz avoiding subjects relating to the death of Ben Parker, while Aunt May tried to avoid talking about the Osborn family history or of Liz's current situation. Liz remained the most curious about Aunt May seeing Jarvis, as most newspaper articles described Jarvis as a man so devoted to caring for the Avengers, that he didn't have the time for a romantic relationship with anyone. And from what little Liz knew of May Parker, she didn't think that the woman was the type to pick a 'new guy' after losing a man that she had loved for years, especially considering her age.
"So, how did Peter take to you dating again?" Liz asked, feeling slightly embarrassed that the woman she was gossiping with was old enough to be her own mother, but her curiosity had the best of her.
"I'd like to think he's taken it well," Aunt May answered, "He's a grown man and understands that people my age need company every now and then."
"Peter and Mary Jane don't?" Liz asked.
"Oh they do," Aunt May answered, "But they have their own lives. They're young and in love. Am I to impose on them?"
"I suppose not," Liz replied, "I'm sorry if I seem nosy about all this. It's not everyday you learn someone knows someone famous."
"I wouldn't call Jarvis famous," Aunt May answered.
"Maybe not, but you've met the Avengers, and they're certainly famous," Liz answered, "Bigger then anything I'll ever be. Probably bigger then Peter will be too."
Aunt May was about to answer, when a nearby phone rang.
"I'll get it," Aunt May sighed and picked up the phone, "hello?"
"Hey, is Parker there?" a relatively familiar voice asked over the phone line.
"This is May Parker speaking," Aunt May answered, "Whom may I ask is calling?"
"Oh, this is Flash," the voice said, "I need to speak to your nephew. Is he in?"
"I'm sorry but he isn't here," Aunt May answered, "May I take a message?"
"Nah, could you tell me where he is?" Flash asked.
"I think he's out doing his work for the Bugle," Aunt May replied, "So I have no real idea as to where he is."
"Drat," Flash grumbled, "Oh well. I'll talk to him on his next teaching day. See ya."
And with that, the line went dead, indicating that Flash had hung up.
"Who was that?" Liz asked, "… and why did you answer the Avengers's phone?"
Aunt May sighed slowly.
"I've never been able to figure out those cellphone contraptions," May explained, "So, I asked Jarvis if I could give some people this number should they need to contact me, and I'm not at home."
She sighed again, "One of those people is Peter."
"Peter called you?" Liz interrupted.
"No," Aunt May answered, "That was Flash Thompson who called actually. He was looking for Peter."
"Flash is out of the hospital?" Liz asked.
"Apparently," Aunt May told her, "He's taken a job teaching gym and Midtown and ran into Peter there. Apparently, Peter gave him this number."
"Why would Peter give Flash the Avengers's number?" Liz asked.
"This is merely the 'apartment' area of their tower, from what Jarvis has told me," Aunt May answered, "No one will hear about anything they shouldn't on these lines. As for why Flash has the number, Peter probably gave him the number because he probably felt that if he were accompanying me and Flash had some questions about teaching that having this number would be better then nothing."
"The Avengers are likely to ban you and Peter from coming here if they have to deal with your personal friends calling here, even if it is for a good reason, all the time," Liz cautioned, "I know I wouldn't want someone calling my phone at home just to talk to a guest."
Aunt May nodded, knowing that she would have to protect Peter and now Mary Jane's secret identities.
"I'll talk with Peter about that," Aunt May said a voice that agreed with what Liz had just said.
The Hobgoblin smiled evilly as he set his glider in a hovering position above the Osborn penthouse apartment.
"If you thought I was scary before," the Hobgoblin chuckled to himself, "You've seen nothing yet!"
He then pulled a pumpkin bomb out from inside the pouch he with him and threw at one of the large glass windows that was closest to him. The resulting explosion destroyed the window in one fell swoop and did extensive damage to much of the stonework that surrounded it. Laughing, the Hobgoblin then piloted his glider into the building.
He was initially met by two security guards with handguns. Both pointed their weapons at him and demanded he 'give up'. The Hobgoblin knocked both out with quick electric blasts from the fingertips of his gloves. Once they were down, he began moving through the apartment, destroying doors with the tip of his glider in a very thorough search for the Osborns.
The Hobgoblin's search didn't go exactly as he had hoped, as most of the rooms he barged into were empty, and of many of those that weren't, the people inside fainted almost immediately at the sight of him. Finally the Hobgoblin found a servant huddled in the corner of the kitchen and he quickly seized the man by the neck.
"Please don't hurt me!" the man squealed.
"You'll come to no harm, so long as you answer my questions honestly and quickly," the Hobgoblin growled.
"I'll do anything you say!" the servant whimpered.
"Tell me, where is Liz and the young Norman Osborn?" the Hobgoblin demanded in a threatening voice.
"They went out a couple of hours ago," the servant answered, "I don't know where."
"The Avengers Tower," the Hobgoblin answered, "I know that much. When will they return?"
"I don't know," the servant gasped, "Mrs. Osborn simply came in, had me brink up her son, and left. She didn't tell me if she was ever coming back!"
The Hobgoblin simply threw the man into the large refrigerator that was across the room. The blow left a dent in the machine and knocked the man out. This, however, didn't amuse the costumed criminal as his rage at not being able to find either Liz Osborn or her son had made it impossible for him to be amused by the pain of others.
"I suppose I'll just have to leave a message of my own," the Hobgoblin grumbled as he left the room.
Spider-Man peered through a large window that lead into Liz Osborn's main office at Osborn Industries and saw that the room was empty. There wasn't even any office staff in there.
"Nothing," Spider-Man grumbled as he crawled back onto the roof.
He found Arachne looking down through a partially completed skylight.
"Anyone in there?" Spider-Man asked.
"Other then the basic staff and workers?" Arachne asked back, "Nobody. All I see are a few guys going in and out of offices."
"None of them are Liz's office," Spider-Man said, "The Hobgoblin isn't here."
"Liz was right about the Hobgoblin bullying her," Arachne commented looking at the skylight again, "That looks rather new."
Spider-Man nodded and lifted the shirt part of his costume to get to his utility belt that he had with him. He pulled the small device that Tony had given him earlier in the afternoon and prepared to press the activate button.
"What do we do now?" Arachne asked.
"We can't wait around for the Hobgoblin to show up here," Spider-Man answered, "He's likely to find out that Liz came and told us sooner or later. Our major benefit is that we've got her to stay at the Avengers Tower until we catch him."
"That won't stop him from tearing the city apart trying to find her and Normie," Arachne sighed, "So, we're gonna use that device now?"
"I don't think we have much choice," Spider-Man replied, "We can't simply sit until the TV issues an emergency alert that the Hobgoblin is attacking some place. By the time we get there, he'll be long gone. And since he was allied with Tracer when he attacked Avengers Tower, if we find Tracer, we'll likely find him or at least his headquarters."
"Okay," Arachne agreed.
Just as she spoke, however, a police helicopter went by at high speed, headed north. From what the two costumed persons could see, the policemen inside the helicopter were armed.
"What was that all about?" Arachne asked aloud.
"Only one way to find out," Spider-Man shrugged and leaped over the edge of the building, shooting out a webline to swing from shortly afterward.
Arachne sighed and shot out a webline of her own and slowly began following Spider-Man. The trip wasn't all that long. While Spider-Man and Arachne couldn't keep up with the helicopter, they did manage to keep it in sight long enough to see it fly past a rather expensive looking apartment complex that looked like it had been a made to resemble a bombed out building from London in 1940. The helicopter didn't stop, but continued on, by headed among the buildings. Spider-Man and Arachne, however, landed in the center of the building.
"This is Liz's apartment!" Arachne exclaimed as she looked at the ruined apartment frame.
Spider-Man looked around and saw that the elevator shafts were heavily damaged for a few floors down and the entire flight of stairs that lead to the floors below the apartment were missing.
"I think the Hobgoblin knows already," Spider-Man said gravely, "I bet he came here looking for her and Normie."
"Thank goodness they're back at the tower," Arachne said weakly as she moved some of the rubble around with one of her feet, "Because this place is a mess."
In her work to uncover what had been buried there, Arachne was startled by something took a quick step back, one hand resting near her collar bone.
"What is it?" Spider-Man asked from where he was.
"I think he killed all of Liz's servants when he blew the apartment up," Arachne managed to say while pointing at the spot where she had found the object that had startled her.
Spider-Man took a few steps to look over her shoulder and looked at the spot that Arachne was pointing at. What lay there, on dust covered flooring, was something that shook Spider-Man to his core. It was a human hand, which appeared to have been separated from its body. He looked around to see that there were several large piles of rubble in the area.
"He did," Spider-Man said weakly, "As if there weren't enough things in this city that have been blown up."
Spider-Man pulled the device that Tony had given him earlier again and quickly pressed the button that activated the device.
"We're going to find him and we're going to stop him," Spider-Man swore, the eye-pieces to his mask narrowing.
Spider-Man then looked at the device and pointed in a southwestern direction.
"Tracer's base is that way!" Spider-Man announced and leaped off the building.
Arachne looked at what were essentially the ruins of the apartment and sighed. She hoped Spider-Man was right that they would find the Hobgoblin. Seeing what the Hobgoblin had done, was enough to make her wonder if maybe she should use her powers for more then just making sure Peter was safe when he was out as Spider-Man. Pushing those thoughts to the back of her mind, Arachne leaped from the building and began to follow Spider-Man again.
Following the device's tracking signal was no easy task. While Tony had calibrated it to detect the signal that Tracer's robotic body, or computers related to his own systems, neither Spider-Man, nor Arachne could fly, so they had to constantly check to make sure they were going in the right direction. Eventually they came to a warehouse that looked largely abandoned.
"According to the tracking signal, we're at Tracer's base," Spider-Man announced.
Arachne was meanwhile looking around the area, trying to see if she recognized anything.
"There's something familiar about this place," Arachne commented.
"It's a warehouse," Spider-Man answered, "You've probably walked past it from time to time."
"No," Arachne shook her head, "I think it's the warehouse that I saw the guy fly from on the day the Hobgoblin launched his second attack on a major business."
"The attack on the Tower and Stark Enterprises?" Spider-Man asked, "You saw that coming?"
"No," Arachne shook her head again, "The attack between that and his first attack on Osborn Industries."
"The one that you called the Tower over?" Spider-Man asked.
"And got Jessica, yes," Arachne answered, "That one."
Spider-Man gave a frustrated sigh and then opened a door that led to the interior of the warehouse quietly and began to walk in slowly.
"Looks like you were right then," Spider-Man commented, sounding frustrated.
"Don't take it out on Jessica," Arachne said from behind him.
"I'm not," Spider-Man said defensively, "I could have, and should have checked the warehouse out after you told me about, but I didn't. If I'm going to take it out on anyone, it will be myself."
"You shouldn't blame yourself either," Arachne spoke up again.
"I'll worry about that after we've captured the Hobgoblin," Spider-Man answered back.
The two entered the main part of the warehouse and were surprised to find that it appeared to be empty. There was no visible sign that there was ever anyone inside it. Spider-Man shook the tracking device in an aggravated manner.
"Come on, we should be right on top of it!" Spider-Man nearly screamed at the device.
"On top of…?" Arachne mused to herself, "What if the base is in the sewers?"
"That has to be it," Spider-Man answered, "There's nothing here, but if you saw the Hobgoblin come out of this warehouse, that means there must be a sewer entrance in here somewhere."
Arachne looked around and shrugged after a moment.
"I don't see a man-hole cover," Arachne sighed.
"One of the offices within the warehouse must have a control panel for a secret entrance," Spider-Man guessed, "My guess is that Tracer used this place before the Hobgoblin did."
The two then walked across the empty warehouse to a small office that was inside the building, where records of what would be stored there could be kept. Inside the office was nothing fancy. Just basic office equipment that one would expect to find there. A phone, a desk, and a few filing cabinets.
"It must be around here somewhere," Spider-Man commented as he attempted to lift up the phone to look for a hidden button.
To his surprise the phone didn't budge an inch.
"What the?" Spider-Man said out of surprised and took a closer look at the phone and then exclaimed, "The control panel is the phone!"
"So, how would it work?" Arachne asked.
"I don't know," Spider-Man sighed, "I'd presume that Tracer set some sort of code into the buttons on the phone to correspond with the primary symbol, the numbers, or the secondary symbol, the letters."
"You don't think his code is as simple as '1-800-OPEN', do you?" Arachne asked.
"It just might be," Spider-Man replied and pressed the phone buttons that had the letters o,p,e,n on all the right succession to spell the word 'open'.
To Arachne's surprise, the floor of the main part of the warehouse seemed to open up below the foundation of the building. Not expecting this, Arachne said the first thing that came to her mind.
"I can't believe that Tracer was that stupid!" Arachne commented.
"If you stay in this business long enough, you'll find a whole array of stupid criminal behavior," Spider-Man chuckled as he began to walk back out into the main room, "There are still guys out there that think screwdrivers are adequate weapons for taking down the Amazing Spider-Man."
"Brag much?" Arachne asked.
Spider-Man didn't answer as the two began to walk down a long metal ramp. The ramp ran down a virtual tunnel that was also made of metal. It indicated to them that Tracer had been building this base for a long time before he began causing trouble. The path lead them down to a large area that, other then several large crates scattered about, almost as if to make furniture, was largely empty.
"There's no one here," Arachne commented.
Her comment soon created a reaction that indicated that there was in fact someone there. A rather skinny yet shady looking man jumped up from behind some of the crates and looked at the two heroes and began to fall over backwards trying to get away. Spider-Man quickly leaped over the boxes to hold him down with one foot.
"I thought you said that your boss only contacted you over the phone?" Spider-Man questioned the man.
Ricky was absolutely terrified, because he somehow got the feeling that the hero was currently very angry. He tried with all his might to try and free himself from being pinned beneath Spider-Man's foot, but was unable to do so.
"Please don't hurt me!" Ricky begged.
"Admit that you work for the Hobgoblin!" Spider-Man yelled at him.
"Yes, yes," Ricky said very quickly, "I admit it! I work for him, and I've always worked for him! Please don't kill me!"
"I don't kill," Spider-Man answered firmly, as if insulted.
It was then that a new voice entered the discussion.
"Oh come now," the voice said, "I can think of one person you've killed… twice in fact."
Both Spider-Man and Arachne turned to see Tracer's face on a computer screen that was built against the far wall.
"Tracer!" Spider-Man gasped.
Tracer smiled, "Yes, that is me."
Tracer then turned his head on the screen to look at Arachne.
"And you must be the lovely Arachne," Tracer commented, "I must say your costume is strikingly similar to your partner's."
"What can I say," Arachne answered, "I have good taste. Where are you now?"
"Oh, I'm only here for the moment," Tracer answered, "You see, the Hobgoblin and the man you hold prisoner there, activated me earlier then my powers intended. Because of that, I can not reactivate myself without any help after you decided to strangle me… again."
"So you're stuck there," Spider-Man commented.
"For the time being," Tracer answered.
"Good," Spider-Man said simply and returned his attention to Ricky.
Ricky didn't look as if he had gained any bravery in the past few seconds.
"Where is the Hobgoblin?" Spider-Man demanded.
"He's not here," Ricky whimpered.
"We know that much already," Spider-Man growled, "And he's killed people. Where is he now?"
"I don't know where he is," Ricky whimpered, "He's probably on his way back here."
"I could help you catch him," Tracer offered.
"No," Arachne cut him off before he could say anymore, "The last thing anyone needs is you causing anymore trouble."
"We'll wait here for the Hobgoblin to return," Spider-Man said in a firm voice and then lifted Ricky into the air, "Of course, you won't be going anywhere."
Liz continued to make pleasant conversation with May Parker until her cellphone suddenly rang inside her purse. Making a quick apology to Aunt May, she pulled the device out and answered.
"Hello, Liz Osborn," Liz answered.
What she heard was almost a sigh of relief.
"Mrs. Osborn, this is Detective Harrison from the NYPD," the voice on the other line spoke, "We've just arrived at the site of your apartment."
"Site?" Liz asked.
"It is my regret to inform you ma'am that your apartment has been the victim of a terrorist attack," Detective Harrison answered.
"What?" Liz gasped.
"Your apartment has been destroyed ma'am," Detective Harrison answered, "We've just arrived and found that it's been destroyed. The damage also seems to go down toward the floors below your apartment."
"The Hobgoblin knows," Liz whispered to herself, but was loud enough for the detective to hear her.
"What is this about the Hobgoblin?" Detective Harrison asked.
Liz was silent.
"Please, if that criminal is doing anything, it's imperative that you tell me," Detective Harrison said urgently, "We have found human remains inside the ruins of the apartment."
"Detective," Liz said weakly, "The Hobgoblin has been blackmailing me. He's threatened to kill my son unless I do as he says. That's why he attacked my apartment…"
"Where are you now?" Detective Harrison asked urgently.
"I'm at the Avengers Tower," Liz answered, "My son is with me."
"You went to the Avengers with this and not the police?" Detective Harrison asked, sounding somewhat annoyed over the fact that the NYPD or the FBI didn't control the various groups of superheroes that went around the country.
"Only one of the Avengers," Liz answered, "And how many times have you personally apprehended a criminal of the Hobgoblin's power. And I'm not talking about finding him beaten or webbed up."
Detective Harrison didn't say anything to that. After a few moments he did speak again.
"I suggest you stay there," Detective Harrison said in a commanding voice, "I doubt the Hobgoblin is done looking for you or for your son."
The Hobgoblin was in a sour mood when he returned to his base. His attempt to find and kill Normie Osborn had failed and he had to lose a police helicopter besides. Thankfully none of the police had spotted them, but his glider's systems did tell him that the helicopter's radar had detected his glider's radar signature, and that forced him to lead the helicopter on a long chase until the helicopter was running low on fuel.
"Ricky!" the Hobgoblin shouted as he lowered his glider to the ground, "Ricky!"
Muffled screams of 'help' attracted the Hobgoblin toward the ceiling where he saw his henchman webbed up and hanging upside-down.
"How did he get here!" the Hobgoblin shouted in surprise as he hopped back onto his glider and began looking around.
"Let's just say your partner gives off a very definite signal beacon," Spider-Man said from above him.
The Hobgoblin looked up to see Spider-Man drop down on him from the ceiling. Spider-Man grabbed the Hobgoblin by the arms and then threw him across room. The costumed criminal hit the wall hard and it took him a few seconds to recover while crouching on the floor.
"You've killed your last person!" Spider-Man swore as he pointed a finger at the Hobgoblin.
"I highly doubt that," the Hobgoblin snarled back, "Because I'm going to kill you!"
He then reached into his bag to pull out a pumpkin bomb. He was just about to throw the small grenade when he heard a 'thwip' sound and turned to see his hand and the pumpkin bomb wrapped in webbing. He then looked up and behind him to see Arachne crouching on the wall that he had just been thrown into.
"You didn't think he'd come alone, did you?" Arachne leaped down, landing with one foot on the Hobgoblin's shoulders, bringing him back to the ground then bouncing to land on one of the nearby crates.
"Where did you go to get your sidekick, Spider-Man?" the Hobgoblin asked, " Jersey?"
He then pulled out another pumpkin bomb, with his other hand and threw it at Arachne. Warned by her Spider-Sense, Arachne leaped away to avoid being hit by bomb, but the crate that she had landed on was one that held several extra bombs, and the explosion of the first pumpkin bomb, set off the others. The resulting shockwave sent Arachne tumbling into the computer panel and knocked Spider-Man over. The Hobgoblin took this time to free his hand from the webbing that Arachne had wrapped around it and threw the bomb at Spider-Man.
Spider-Man easily avoided being hit by the bomb, but like what happened with Arachne, the bomb hit an armaments crate and created a much larger explosion which threw him into the computer panel.
"This could be going better," Spider-Man grumbled as he pulled himself up, not noticing that as he pulled himself up, his palm pressed a button on the computer panel.
"You can say that again," Arachne commented.
"On the contrary," came Tracer's voice from a new location as a wall of the underground base opened, "It couldn't be better!"
Everyone looked to see a new Tracer robot walk out of the hole in the wall, brandishing his gun as he went. What happened next surprised both Spider-Man and Arachne.
"YOU!" the Hobgoblin yelled, "You're responsible for all this!"
The Hobgoblin then threw a pumpkin bomb at Tracer, which succeeded in destroying the robot's gun. He then pulled out a small remote and called his glider to him and he quickly leaped onto it.
"Why can't you stay dead!" the Hobgoblin demanded.
"Because I'm a God," Tracer answered.
"No you're not," Spider-Man said firmly, "You're a robot. A powerful one, but only a robot nonetheless."
Tracer then hit Spider-Man with a powerful right hook that sent him flying against the far wall.
"I am the GOD of ROBOTS!" Tracer yelled
Arachne then leaped on him and clubbed the sides of his head with her fists.
"Go to hell you monster!" Arachne yelled at him.
Tracer merely pushed her off of him and into Spider-Man.
"I will deal with the two of you later," Tracer said, "But the Hobgoblin has spent the time since my most recent 'death' mocking me. It is time for him to feel a God's wrath!"
The Hobgoblin was not impressed by Tracer's bravado. While the robot was stronger then him, he couldn't stand up to his pumpkin bombs.
"You aren't going to live any longer, so it doesn't matter what your wrath is like!" the Hobgoblin growled and threw two pumpkin bombs at Tracer.
The first bomb hit another armaments crate while the second drove Tracer into the resulting explosion. This resulted in Tracer being thrown into the far corner of the base and Ricky, still in cocoon that Spider-Man had put him in, being thrown onto the ramp exit. The Hobgoblin then piloted his glider over to where Spider-Man and Arachne were getting to their feet.
"Spider-Man, I hate you with a passion," the Hobgoblin began, "Never forget that, but right now, I hate Tracer more. He's tough and he deserves to die."
"He's a robot," Spider-Man corrected, "He can't 'die'. Dying is something that only things that are ALIVE can do."
"Fine," the Hobgoblin sighed, "He deserves to be destroyed. The point is that neither of us can win while he's at full power as he is now, at least not on our own."
"You're wanting to team up?" Arachne asked.
"Only to defeat him," the Hobgoblin growled, gesturing towards where Tracer landed, "After that, we three can resume our duel."
"Deal," Spider-Man sighed, "Tracer is destroyed and you go to jail."
Neither Spider-Man nor the Hobgoblin shook hands.
"It doesn't matter what kind of deal the two of you have made," Tracer said as he leaped at them, trying to kick the Hobgoblin off his glider, "You will all die, regardless."
The Hobgoblin saw Tracer coming and backed his glider up, while Spider-Man and Arachne were alerted by their Spider-Sense and ducked under Tracer's attack. The robot's foot ended up smashing the computer screen that he had been trapped in earlier. The Hobgoblin then hit Tracer with a short barrage of rockets from his glider, blasting Tracer free of the screen, and destroying the screen in the process.
Both Spider-Man and Arachne had to leap to avoid being hit by flying shards of glass and computer parts as the screen was destroyed. Arachne then hit Tracer's arm with a webline as the robot was flying through the air and slammed him into one of the few stacks of crates that hadn't been blown up.
"Don't you remember what I'm God of!" Tracer screamed and took control of the Hobgoblin's glider.
"What the?" the Hobgoblin cursed as his glider began to accelerate to near its maximum speed and headed straight for another armaments crate.
The Hobgoblin leaped off just in time to avoid impact. The armaments crate, however, exploded when the glider hit it and threw him against what remained of the computer screen. Fortunately the explosion also knocked Tracer over. As he was getting up, he was hit by a strong blow to the stomach from Spider-Man that knocked him against the wall behind him. He tried to charge the hero, but found his feet webbed to the floor by Arachne. Spider-Man then webbed his arms to the wall as well.
"You're beaten," Spider-Man said in a firm voice.
Tracer checked his own damage report systems. They read, external armor… 34 damaged, internal circuitry 37 damaged… chances of success… 51.
"I have not yet begun to fight!" Tracer roared as he tore his arms and legs free, only to be hit by a pumpkin bomb that threw him back against the wall.
Tracer leaped from his position to attack the Hobgoblin, only to get caught by a webline from Spider-Man. He then slung Tracer at the corner of the wall of the room and the wall of the entrance tunnel that Spider-Man and Arachne had come down earlier. The Hobgoblin then hit him with another pumpkin bomb, which was the last one that he had.
"No," Tracer said weakly as he pulled himself up, his damage report systems now reading, external armor 40 damaged, internal circuitry 49 damaged… chances of success 46, "It can't end this way."
Tracer leaped again, determined to hit the Hobgoblin, but again, Spider-Man and Arachne caught him with weblines. Unfortunately for Tracer, this didn't result in him being thrown against a wall, as the previous ones had. Both weblines had wrapped around one of his legs, and the damage that he had sustained earlier in the fight had weakened his leg joint and when Spider-Man and Arachne gripped their weblines to prevent Tracer from dragging them, the leg that their weblines had wrapped around had come clear off. The rest of Tracer went on to kick the Hobgoblin, but with only one leg, the robot was quickly on the ground.
"Now, you're beaten," Spider-Man said firmly.
"I won't be satisfied until he's dead!" the Hobgoblin roared and leaped at Tracer, intending to beat the robot's head in.
"No," Arachne shouted, "He'll only put himself in another body!"
Arachne then shot out two web strands that hit the Hobgoblin in the face, blinding him. While he still landed on top Tracer, the fact that he was blinded by webbing made it impossible for him to do anything about it. Spider-Man then delivered a powerful punch on the blinded Hobgoblin, knocking him back against the computer panel and knocking him out.
"That'll take care of him," Spider-Man said in a calm voice.
Arachne walked over to where the Hobgoblin lay and lifted him up.
"You might as well wrap him up," Arachne sighed, "He'll probably regain consciousness before the police get here."
Spider-Man nodded, "I'd say we should do the same with Tracer, but I think that should be Tony's department."
"You don't keep a cellphone in that belt of yours, do you?" Arachne asked.
"You're the one who owns the cellphone," Spider-Man answered.
"I've only just started out with all this stuff," Arachne said gesturing around the room and to herself, "I had the time to make a fancy belt."
"Great," Spider-Man sighed, "Then I guess we're just going to have to haul the unconscious bodies back to the Avengers Tower."
"I'm still conscious!" Tracer spoke up.
"You're lucky in that regard," Spider-Man told the robot.
Spider-Man then turned to look at the wrecked base and sighed heavily.
"We will need to get at least Tony here to take a look at all this," Spider-Man commented.
Spider-Man webbed up the Hobgoblin and let Arachne lift him up. He was just about to grab the damaged body of Tracer, when several uniformed police officers came running down the ramp, one tripping over the unconscious body of Ricky, who was still webbed up.
"Uh, freeze," one of the policemen said, not really sure how to speak to an Avenger.
"You have excellent timing," Spider-Man commented.
"Timing had nothing to do with it," an older officer spoke as he walked up, "People called us saying they heard explosions coming from under this warehouse."
"That would be because of this guy," Spider-Man commented as he lifted up Tracer, "who is to be kept in Avengers custody for the time being. We do have someone you can arrest however."
Arachne then held out the webbed up Hobgoblin.
"He's been blackmailing Liz Osborn and Osborn Industries," Arachne said to the policeman.
The cop took the Hobgoblin quickly.
"Thanks," the policeman said, "We've been looking for this guy."
"That guy your partner tripped over works for the Hobgoblin," Spider-Man said, "You'd better take him with you as well."
The younger policeman scrabbled to pick up Ricky.
Spider-Man then lifted up Tracer and sighed, "We meanwhile, must be going."
With that, Arachne and Spider-Man left, with the damaged body of Tracer with them.
"Couldn't you let me go?" Tracer asked after a few moments.
"And let you cause more trouble?" Spider-Man asked, "You're beaten and your computer was destroyed in the battle."
"That's why you should let me go," Tracer pleaded, sounding nothing like the arrogant 'God of Robots' that he claimed to be.
"Why, exactly?" Arachne asked.
"I honestly don't know who built me," Tracer said, "But he was powerful. I can easily transfer my consciousness into a new shell whenever I am killed and can control any mechanical device."
"We know that much," Spider-Man answered.
"Yes," Tracer acknowledged, "But my main brain was in that computer that was just destroyed. It is the control panel that allows me to move from one shell to another. With that destroyed, my consciousness will leave this shell, and will die when it arrived at the destroyed computer. I can not afford to use my powers now for fear of death."
"You actually fear death?" Spider-Man asked.
Tracer sounded embarrassed when he answered, "Yes. I was built and given systems with which to avoid being killed, and now that fallback is gone. I am mortal."
"You're not even alive!" Arachne commented, "You're a robot."
"I am a robot God," Tracer insisted, "My ability to control other robots is proof of that. I have now lost my godhood."
"And not a moment too soon," Arachne grumbled.
The group made their way to the Avengers Tower in relative silence. Spider-Man headed directly for one of the few containment cells that were present with Tracer while Arachne began to head off to where she could find Liz.
"I'll go let Mrs. Osborn know that the Hobgoblin won't be troubling her anymore," Arachne spoke.
"Okay," Spider-Man nodded.
Spider-Man found Tony working on something inside one of the labs that was inside the Avengers Tower.
"So did you get him?" Tony asked the way someone might ask another if he was able to bag a big hunting trophy.
"That and a little more," Spider-Man answered as he tossed Tracer down at Tony's feet.
Tony looked down to see the damaged robot and nearly fell out of his armor.
"Is he still active?" Tony asked, readying his repulsor rays.
"I am still active, but heavily damaged," Tracer answered.
Tony looked at Tracer and then back at Spider-Man.
"Do you realize how dangerous this is?" Tony questioned him.
"If he 'dies' he'll go to an undamaged body," Spider-Man pointed out, "Which is more dangerous."
"Peter, I keep a lot of mechanical devices here," Tony explained, "Some of which have the potential to destroy the city if they aren't used carefully. If he's still active he could take control of those devices and hold us all hostage."
"I know, but he says that he's afraid to now," Spider-Man said.
"Yes," Tracer spoke up, "The Hobgoblin smashed my primary brain and I am now reduced to being a lowly mortal."
"All of this hasn't affected his arrogance," Spider-Man commented, "I felt we could hold him better then the police could. At least until we learn more."
"What was that about a primary brain?" Tony asked.
"The Hobgoblin was using what apparently was Tracer's base originally," Spider-Man explained, "It was underground, and in it was a large computer terminal. In our initial fight with the Hobgoblin, Tracer was reactivated and in that resulting battle, the computer terminal was destroyed."
"What about the primary brain?" Tony questioned again.
"The computer terminal that was destroyed was the primary brain," Tracer answered, "I am trapped in this body specifically and now, can die."
"I'd like to take a look at it," Tony commented.
"I can take you," Spider-Man offered, "As soon as we lock what's left of Tracer away."
Arachne found Liz sitting with Aunt May in one of the living rooms that made up the general living quarters of the tower. Normie was still watching television.
"You don't have to worry about the Hobgoblin any more," Arachne spoke up as she entered the room, "He's on his way downtown and looking for a nice cell."
"You and Spider-Man caught him?" Liz asked, sounding both nervous and hopeful.
Arachne nodded, "The police should be also looking for whatever documents that he stole from your company."
Liz gave a sigh of relief, "Well, Normie and I should be going."
"I think I should tell you that the Hobgoblin did destroy your apartment," Arachne commented.
"I know that already," Liz answered, "The police called. I'm thinking about going back to Queens for a while. It's a longer commune to work for me, but I'll be out of the public eye."
"I'm sure Spider-Man and I could find a way for you stay here until you find a place," Arachne offered.
"No, we'll manage," Liz answered as she got Normie to turn the television off, "Thank you for offering."
"Do we have to go?" Normie asked as Liz lead him out, "We haven't seen Spider-Man yet."
"Come along Normie," Liz said firmly, "We shouldn't be bothering the Avengers any more."
"You're not a bother," Arachne called after her, but Liz had already left.
Arachne then turned to Aunt May and removed her mask.
"So how did it go?" Mary Jane asked.
"She's going through a lot, dear," Aunt May answered, "Don't take her response to personally. I think this is part of the 'maintaining a secret identity' thing that Peter goes through."
"I suppose I'll need to practice that a bit too," Mary Jane commented as she looked out of the door that Liz had just left.
Peter had only taken his mask off as he entered the bedroom that he and Mary Jane shared to find is wife laying on her back, still in her costume, minus the mask, and looking up at the ceiling.
"Hey," Mary Jane said simply as he walked in.
"Hey," Peter answered.
Peter then laid down next to her and gently put one arm under her neck and head and placed that hand on his far shoulder.
"So, how is Liz?" Peter asked.
"About as good as she can be," Mary Jane answered, "I think I'm going to need to work on keeping 'Arachne' and 'Mary Jane' separate when I'm around people we know."
Peter could only nod as the two looked up at the ceiling. After a few moments, Peter spoke up.
"Well all this trouble should be through," Peter sighed, "Tony's got Tracer locked up in a conventional cell that they used before computers. No mechanics for Tracer to control. Tony didn't even know he had it, or he forgot that he had it. I don't want to know which or why."
Mary Jane barely chuckled.
"Where is he anyway?" Mary Jane asked.
"Tony?" Peter replied, "I took him to go take a look at Tracer's 'primary brain'. He was still there when I left, although he appears to have confirmed what Tracer told us on the way back here. Tracer is now permanently inside the body he is in. If he 'dies' again, he will be dead for good."
"That's good," Mary Jane answered, "He won't cause any more trouble then."
"You don't sound very happy that we won," Peter commented.
Mary Jane sat up slightly and rolled onto her side so that she was looking at Peter directly.
"It was seeing what the Hobgoblin did to Liz's apartment," Mary Jane answered, "I never thought you had to deal with things that horrific."
"It happens on occasion," Peter sighed, "Not usually quite as bad as today, but it happens."
"It's got me thinking," Mary Jane commented, "Maybe I should be Arachne to prevent those things, rather then just looking after you. I mean that does sound selfish."
"Changing your reason won't take away the guilt if we come across such a site again," Peter pointed out.
"I know," Mary Jane sighed, "I'm trying to ask whether or not you would mind if 'Arachne' had her own adventures?"
"So long as no photos of Arachne kissing anyone but Spider-Man appear in the newspapers," Peter grinned.
Mary Jane scowled, "You know that you are the only one that I'd kiss and that I'd do that where we will have as little risk of being caught by photographers as possible."
"I know," Peter nodded as the two laid back down.
There was again, a short silence for a few moments.
"Our lives have certainly changed, recently," Mary Jane commented.
"Yeah," Peter agreed.
"I mean you 'died' and came back to life," Mary Jane continued.
"And here I am in spandex," Mary Jane finished, "Who thought I'd be wearing spandex for a good portion of the rest of my life?"
"Big change," Peter nodded, "You might say that we've been given a whole new shot at life."
"A whole new life," Mary Jane sighed.
"I'll always be there for you, MJ," Peter said to her with a weak smile.
"I know," Mary Jane smiled weakly back.
Important Note: This is the end of "A New Life". Now MJ's training to be Arachne isn't over and there is still the problem of everyone's favorite Spider-Man Jock, Flash Thompson, still having amnesia, but a sequel of sorts is already on the drawing board. Although it may take me a while to get to it, as Marvel's current "Civil War" idea has given me an idea and thinking on a Captain America story that will deal with the "Civil War" issue in my own way because I don't like there idea of heroes fighting heroes.