Black Night: The Octopus' Revenge
By The Inimitable Enigma Cypher
Chapter One: Back To Normality?
New York City, 1935...
It was an unusually cold winter in the city that never sleeps. People walked down the streets, their faces turned towards the sidewalk, heading towards places of warmth. Even now, a storm was threatening to break over the city, dropping inches of snow on the streets.
And it was only 8:00 in the morning.
Of course, this was one of the busiest cities in America, even in winter. As a result, there were always people out and about, even in the harshest of conditions.
And there was always something going on...
"Rosie, have you seen the keys to my desk! I can't find them anywhere, and my reactor plans are locked in it!"
The woman in question, a brown-haired, gray eyed figure of a somewhat exotic look, poked her head in the lab and said, "Did you check the pocket of your lab coat?"
"Why would I have put them in there?" Otto Octavius said as he appeared from behind the nuclear reactor he was working on. "I know they're not there."
"Will you at least check?" Rosie said, smiling at him.
Octavius walked over to the desk and picked up his lab coat, riffing through the pockets. "I'm telling you, they're not going to be-" here, he fell silent as he pulled out a set of keys, a somewhat embarrassed half-smile across his face.
"See? What did I tell you?" she said, that same smile playing on her face as she stood in the doorway.
"Fine, you win this time." he said, an amused tone in his voice as he put the coat on and unlocked his desk, removing the plans he had mentioned, unrolling them to look them over.
"You have to be the only person in the city I know of that chooses to be up at eight in the morning working." Rosie said as she walked over to him, giving him a peck on the cheek before leaning against the desk.
"I know, but I'm so close to completing it." Octavius said as he walked over to the reactor and placed one hand on it, almost fondly. "I've been working on this for years. When it's completed, it will bring about a new source of energy. It will bring about great change for all of mankind."
Rosie couldn't help but smile at the passion with which he spoke; she knew better than anyone else what his work meant to him.
She was also one of the few people who knew of his past life, which he never talked about much.
Octavius had emigrated from Germany nearly two years ago, to continue his research. But the first year he had been in America had been hard for him. First, he was framed in two explosions he had not committed. He had nearly died in the aftermath of the second explosion, which had occurred at the lab he used to work at. He had gone all over the city for several days, while in the clutches of radiation poisoning, trying to find the evidence to clear his name. Eventually, the man who framed him, a shady businessman named Norman Osborn, had been arrested and imprisoned for the entire fiasco.
Then, only a few months after that, Rosie, his then-fiancée, had been abducted by the Russian intelligence service, in order to force Octavius into building them an atomic bomb. But he'd refused; instead, he and a friend of his, a renowned biologist by the name of Curt Connors, had gone to Moscow to find her. Eventually they had found her (or more correctly, she'd found them), and the organization that had her abducted was dismantled.
Ever since then, their life had been relatively in order. Rosie was surprised by how little he'd changed during his time in America; he still spoke with a heavy German accent, and he still couldn't find his way around the city without help. She thought for sure he'd have been changed by how much had happened in such a short amount of time. But now things had calmed down considerably, Octavius was able to continue his life's work, and him and Rosie had been wed, about a year ago. Their life could not be more perfect.
"So what happens when you finish it?" Rosie asked him.
"I don't really know." Octavius replied, taking his hand off of the reactor, running it through his dark brown hair. "Any number of things. I could win the Nobel Prize for this. We could wind up incredibly wealthy." He walked over to her, putting his arm around her. "But the science is what's truly important to me. As long as I have you and my research, I could do without the fame, without the accolades that an invention such as this would bring."
The way in which he spoke captivated her. She had never seen someone like him before, so devoted to his work. Octavius was one of the world's most renowned scientists, and yet he didn't care about that. His name was as well-known as those of Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein, and yet the fame had never mattered to him.
She threw her arms around him in an embrace, resting her head on his chest, listening to the steady beating of his heart. He had told her once that she was what kept him sane, and she knew it to be true. He had told her of his dark past, and how he had been hurt before because of a relationship that was not even romantic in nature. In a way, he had never recovered from that. He said that she was a bright spot in his life that kept away the dark shadows of his past. He pulled her closer to him, running his hand through her hair. She knew how much she meant to him; he'd risked death to find her in Moscow. The ironic thing, she reflected, was that the only reason the two of them had met was because his friend Curt had literally dragged him over to her table, in the diner at which they were at. He was painfully shy when they first met; he'd never had experience with women before. But she'd invited him to stay with her, and from there, their relationship took off. She also found it odd that, with her being a teacher of English Literature at Empire State University, that she'd fallen in love with a scientist, instead of a poet, like her. But that didn't matter to her. They stood there for several moments, in that insoluble embrace, neither of them wanting to let go.
Then, as if on cue, the phone rang, spoiling the moment.
Octavius looked down at her and said, "I'd better answer that." He released her and walked over the phone, picking it up.
"This is Octavius speaking."
The voice on the other end was as unexpected as he could have imagined.
"Doctor Octavius, it's Capt. Stacy. I need to talk to you immediately."
"About what?" Octavius asked, confused.
"I can't say, over the phone. If you could come down to the precinct as soon as possible, we'll talk there."
"I'll be right there." Octavius replied, before hanging up. He looked over at Rosie, who looked visibly confused.
"It's Capt. Stacy. He wants to talk to me about something." he said.
At the startled look on her face, he said, "Don't worry; I'm sure it's nothing."
"I sure hope so." she said, a slightly worried look on her face.
He walked towards the door, grabbing his black trenchcoat off of the hook beside the door, before looking back at her.
"I'm really sure it's nothing." he said, trying to smile as he walked out the door, putting his coat on. Truth be told, he was rather worried about the situation himself; why would the Capt. need to talk to him?
20 minutes later...
When he walked through the front door of Precinct 92, Capt. George Stacy was standing at the front desk, waiting for him.
"You got here faster than I expected." The Capt. said as he readjusted his policeman's cap upon his head.
"Well, it is rather early." Octavius replied, shutting the door behind him. "Not as many people up this time of morning. Makes travel a lot quicker. But anyways, what am I here for?"
"We'd probably better talk in my office." The Capt. said as he motioned towards the open door of his office before walking towards it. Octavius stood there a moment more before following him into the brightly-lit room, taking a seat in the chair across from the Capt's own.
Capt. Stacy shut the door and locked it, before taking a seat himself.
"Let me start by saying that you are by no means in any kind of trouble here." Capt. Stacy said, straightening up a few of the papers on his desk. "But it is a quite serious matter, so I'll cut to the chase. Last night, we got a call from one of our informants. We have reason to believe that an attempt on your life will be made sometime in the near future."
At that, whatever Octavius was about to say disappeared as he looked over at the Capt., wide-eyed.
"We haven't ascertained whether or not it is true." Capt. Stacy said, looking down at one of the papers on his desk. "But the threat seemed rather serious. We thought you deserved to know as soon as possible."
"Why would someone be after me?" Octavius asked, still not wanting to believe what he was hearing.
"We haven't figured out why." The Capt. said. "It could be any number of reasons, I suppose. We've got a few of our men looking into it now."
"What am I supposed to do in the meantime?" Octavius asked, rather stunned by what he was hearing. "I have an experiment to finish, and I'd rather not be forced into hiding by a threat that you're not certain exists."
"I know." The Capt., said as he fumbled in his desk for something. "My advice? Keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Don't let your guard down for a second."
"How long do you think it will take to get to the bottom of all this?"
"I honestly have no idea." the Capt. said. "That's all for now. I'll call if I find out anything else."
Octavius did not respond as he walked out of the office, out into the early morning light.
I just don't understand it. he thought. The only people I know of that would want me dead are still imprisoned. So who-
The sound of wing beats made itself known to him, interrupting his train of thought. He looked up just in time to see the strangest sight: a man, clad in a large green bird suit hurtling towards him, only a split-second before the birdman snatched him off of the ground and headed skywards.
"LET GO OF ME!" Octavius shouted at the man, not daring to try to fight his way free; they were several hundred feet up, now.
The birdman simply looked down at him and laughed.
"This high up? I wouldn't recommend it."
Octavius had to try very hard to keep from panicking; ever since he and Curt had hijacked an airplane to fly to Moscow, he had been rather afraid of heights. A feeling of vertigo overtook him, and he screamed, "DEAR GOD! PUT ME DOWN! PLEASE!"
The birdman looked back down at him and said, in a mocking tone of voice, "Afraid, are you? That's not exactly a response I would expect, coming from the great Doctor Octopus."
At that, Octavius went white, and he looked up at his assailant, shocked.
"H-How could you possibly know about that?" he stuttered, not daring to look back down at the ground.
"My boss knows a great many things about you." the birdman said. "As a result, I know a few things, myself."
"Who is he?" Octavius said, keeping the panic out of his voice by sheer force of will. "And for that matter, who are you?"
"For the time being, you can call me the Vulture." the winged man said. "As to your first question, I'm not telling."
Octavius could not respond as he looked back down, and a moment of black panic overtook him. He tried frantically to fight his way free of the Vulture's grip, managing to force him down a little lower to the ground. They were still about 200 feet in the air, though, apparently over Central Park.
"Do you want me to drop you right here!" The Vulture shouted, just as Octavius managed to land a blow to the birdman's nose, shattering it. The Vulture instinctively put his hand to his nose, swearing badly.
Unfortunately, this action caused him to lose his grip, and Octavius started to fall towards the earth.
He realized what had happened only a nanosecond before he started screaming hysterically, thinking that this was the end for him, as he hurtled towards the ground...