Set anytime Eddie Brock/Venom was hitchhiking around the US. Started as part of a longer alternate-Venom-origin fic that may never see daylight, but I think it can stand on its own.

I don't own Venom or Yoda. Actually I don't own the little girl either—she's based on a friend of mine.

The blue Buick pulled into the gas station. The hitch-hiker opened the passenger door and slid out, stretching his cramped legs.

A masked robber backed out of the convenience store, carrying a four-year-old girl under one arm, a satchel in his left hand and an automatic pistol in his right. "Nobody follow me," he shouted, "or the kid gets hurt!" He waved the pistol aggressively in the direction of the store while shoving the girl in the open door of his pickup and across to the passenger seat.

The hitch-hiker reached the pickup in one bound, morphing on the way from a blond man in jeans to a shiny black creature with a long pink tongue--Venom. They webbed the robber's hand and gun into a ball of goo. "Go ahead," they grinned. "Pull the trigger. We dare you."

The gunman just sort of moaned and slumped against his truck. Venom picked him up by the throat and shook him awake. "Listen to usss," they hissed, very softly. "If you ever, ever try anything like thisss again, we will hunt you down and we will do whatever it takesss to make sure you never harm another innocent." Their long prehensile tongue reached out and pulled off the robber's mask. "Underssstand?"

"Y-y-y-yes," the robber managed to gurgle.

"Good." Venom tossed the guy into the back of the truck and spot-webbed him to the floor, then turned their attention to the little girl. "It's okay," they told her. "Come on out, we won't hurt you."

She scooted further back between the seat and the glove compartment, scowling like a cornered chipmunk. Venom sighed. They'd have to try something else.

"Look at thiss," they said, holding up one fist with the thumb and little finger extended. Under the "mask", Eddie shut his eyes. Okay, suit. Here's the deal.

He had no idea whether this could work--the suit seemed pretty versatile, but he'd never asked it for a morph this crazy before. Still, they had to do something fast, and this was the first thing he'd thought of. He concentrated a moment, giving the suit a mental image of what he wanted it to do, then opened his eyes.


"Do or do not," he croaked softly. "There is no try."

Staring at the Yoda puppet that now covered Venom's right hand, the little girl climbed onto the seat of the pickup.

"Your mother where is?" Venom asked. The little girl didn't answer, but she was definitely less terrified. "Uh . . . find her we will," they continued. "With uss you come." Yoda's garbled grammar was harder to keep up than Eddie had realized, especially in a one-sided conversation like this, and their hand was starting to ache.

The little girl looked away from the Yoda puppet, over Venom's shoulder. "Mommy!" she called.

Something about the speed and density of a guided missile--that was Venom's impression--slammed past them, knocking them off balance. They converted their fall into a back somersault and stood up with a friendly grin.

The woman did not thank them for rescuing her daughter. Instead, clutching the child, she skittered away backward as fast as she could go.

What's the matter with her? Venom frowned, letting the Yoda puppet melt back into their black-gloved hand. Doesn't she like Star Wars?

Catching a glimpse of their reflection in the pickup's side-view mirror, they remembered to shift back into civvies before setting off down the road, on their way to the next place they'd be needed.

Author's Note:

I have to thank a lot of people for this one: John Semper of "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" for introducing me to Venom; David Michelinie for creating the big guy; Mark Bagley for defining his look; Paul Dini of "Batman: The Animated Series" for help with a couple of problems; Glenn Greenberg for mentioning Venom's hitchhiking at the right time; and Thomas Haden Church for looking a whole lot more like Eddie Brock than Topher Grace does. ;-)

I also have to thank Chris Claremont and Adam-Troy Castro, just on general principles, for information about the Marvel Universe.

I have never met any of the people I've mentioned here; as far as I know, none of them even realize I exist. Thanks anyway, guys!