Previously in Reign of Symbiotes…
S.H.I.E.L.D. failed to quarantine the rapidly spreading symbiote infection on Manhattan Island, costing them powerful allies like Iron Man and Thor as well as their two greatest leaders, Black Widow and Nick Fury. Carnage has returned from his orbital grave with a vengeance, mustering up his own army of symbiotes and challenging Spider-Man to an arms race. Mary Jane Watson narrowly escaped death with the help of Anti-Venom, Toxin, and a new symbiote inside of her spawned by Toxin. Now it's a race against time as Spider-Man and Carnage attempt to turn the greatest minds in the world in their favor.
Toxin peered around the corner of a jewelry store, scanning the streets and rooftops for any signs of life. This was the third street they came across that was as silent and deserted as a ghost town, and it was really starting to bug the three rebels. Toxin wondered if their luck had finally arrived, and that Spider-Man's symbiote spawn decided to give up the hunt. Of course, there were still rebel symbiotes out there refusing the original's influence with what little time they had left before they became Spidey's mind slaves. It was just strange that the three rebels hadn't run into any enemies yet.
Regardless, Toxin did one last scan and called back in a hushed voice, "All clear." He, Anti-Venom, and Mary Jane (whose newly bonded symbiote now disguised itself as a black hooded sweater) carefully and quietly jogged across the street, watching the skyline for any signs of enemies. They arrived at the destination Brock spoke of: a pile of rubble from a collapsed building, beneath which laid the entrance into the New York subway tunnels. The rubble pile cleverly disguised the entrance so that hopefully no undesirable would remember an access tunnel ever being there. Brock and Mary Jane cautiously made their way into the rubble and down through the staircase as Pat covered their backs.
Shortly after navigating through the dark, the three came upon a blockade of junk piled high against the gateway into the subway tunnels. Brock's faux-symbiote melted away forming street clothes as he delivered three heavy knocks onto the front of a soda machine wedged in the blockade. Next to the machine a shoe box slid out of a crack in the wall with eyes analyzing the three strangers. After a moment, a brutish voice choked, "Password?"
"Doom's Mittens," answered Brock.
"Eddie, your back. What's with the gooper? I though you said you were the only one like them who's on our side."
"I had forgotten Toxin entirely," Brock said. "Toxin is Venom's grandson, and don't even ask about the father. Unlike his elders, Toxin turned out to be a good kid thanks to his host, Patrick Mulligan. Pat is an ex-cop."
The eyes flicked to Pat, whose symbiote also retracted into civvies. "Ex-cop? NYPD?"
"Seventeenth precinct," answered Pat.
"Good bunch of guys down there. My best friend – next to my partner, that is – works down your way. I'm stationed at the twenty-fifth precinct…or at least I was until all hell broke loose."
"Good, then we're all friends now, right? Let us in, Mike," interrupted Brock.
"Sorry, Eddie. Just had to make sure we could trust the squishy," Mike said. His eyes flicked toward Mary Jane. "So who's the little miss?"
Before Mary Jane could answer for herself, Brock stepped forward. "Her name's Anne. I rescued her before Spider-Man's goons could turn her." MJ's acting skills kicked in before she could look at Brock in confusion as to why he lied. Mike stared at her for another moment and then slid the shoebox back in place. A couple metallic clangs later and the soda machine slid back and to the side. The three rebels slid in past the barrier and two men slid the machine back in place behind them, locking it in with rebar.
"Sorry for the screening, but we have to make sure we're taking in good people," said Mike. He looked more like a body builder than a cop, but the moustache was an obvious give away that he didn't care about his looks over his strength.
"Understandable," MJ replied.
"I trust you will show them around, Eddie? I've got a gate to keep up here," Mike asked.
"No problem, Mike. Keep up the good work," said Brock as he patted Mike on the shoulder. He turned to MJ and Pat, "This way."
As they walked down the stairs into the subway tunnels, MJ whispered to Eddie. "Anne? Why didn't you tell them who I was?"
"It's best that we keep your real identity under wraps for now. Remember, Parker is now the world's number-one enemy, so imagine how these people would react if they found out who you were?"
"Oh, right," MJ sighed. "I hope Aunt May is alright, then. Hopefully she's not been captured by the symbiotes, nor suffering the wrath of refugees."
"You have no need to worry," Brock answered. "She was one of the first people I rescued. I knew she couldn't last long in these conditions, so I got to her before anyone else did. She's here under the name Georgia Hughes."
"Thank God," MJ said and gave a sigh of relief. "So what's my new name to be?"
"Anne Weying," he replied. An uneasy silence befell the three. Finally the unending staircase ceased its descent as the room opened up into the subway station. The area was dimly lit by candle light and a few gaslights. Cots, blankets, newspaper, and boxes littered the platforms. Coughing, moaning, and quiet chatter hummed in the air as all eyes were cast on the newcomers. Brock leads MJ and Pat onto to the subway tracks and through a dimly lit tunnel.
"Because of the number of refugees we have taken in, there are three dedicated subway stations for housing," Brock explains to them. They hop aboard a rail cart ten meters into the tunnel, manned by two ragged men. The men begin moving the cart down the length of the tunnel. "In case of emergency, we've lined parts of each connecting tunnel with explosives, which should create effective blockades separating each station. The middle station also shares a platform dedicated to first aid. That is where we are headed."
Fifteen minutes later the cart arrives at the next station. The platform to the right resembled the same environment as the last station, but the left platform was mostly concealed by white sheets, one of which has a red cross painted across it. The three walked up a staircase of crates and into the hospital platform. To the right side of the platform were the minor injury and recovery rooms, and to the left were a series of operation tables. Both wings were filled with patients and nurses. From the minor injury clinic MJ could see Aunt May tending to a small child with a few cuts across her arms and legs. MJ's heart skipped a few beats in relief. Brock walked over to May, whispering in her ear and pointing towards MJ. May's face lit up as soon as she spotted MJ, and tears began to well up in both their eyes. Brock took care of the child for May as she threw away her gloves and briskly made her way to MJ. They both embraced each other and began to cry in joy.
"It's so good to see you're safe, my dear," May choked.
"You too, Aunt M…uh, er…Ms. Hughes," MJ stumbled. May leaned in, smiling.
"It's Anne, right?" she whispered. MJ replied with a wink, and they both laughed. May's focus shifted to Pat. "And who might this fine gentleman be?"
"The name's Patrick Mulligan, ma'am," Pat answered for her and smiled.
"Pat's an old friend, Ms. Hughes," MJ said. She leaned in and whispered into May's ear, "He's a good guy, May. Peter had helped him out a while back. He's the ex-cop with the good symbiote called Toxin, remember?"
"Oh my," May said as she looked gravely at Pat. "You're not going to give us trouble now, are you young man?"
"No need to worry," Pat assured her. "I've had my…partner since before this all happened, so I'm not connected or under the influence of the enemy. I am on your side."
"Well that good to know," sighed May. "We now have two of them on our side. Hopefully that is a good omen." Brock returned to the group.
"Excuse me, Ms. Hughes," he politely interrupted. "I'm sure Mulligan and Anne are exhausted; they've been through so much in the last few days. I need to find them a place to rest, so if you don't mind…."
"Oh that's no trouble," smiled May. "I'm sure there's enough room at my place for the both of them. We'll just make due."
"That's very kind of you, ma'am," Pat thanked her.
"Very well. This way," Brock turned to the two. "Ms. Hughes' residence is just on the other side of the tracks. Follow me, if you will."
At a tent, Eddie rearranged a few items and made room for a cot for each person. As they worked on making bed space, Brock whispered to MJ, "Mary Jane, it would also be wise not to mention your symbiote to anybody. As you've already noticed, everybody here is suspicious about Mulligan, and they don't need a third symbiote to worry about. So try your best to keep it out of sight, alright?"
"One question," MJ whispered back. "I know how to make the symbiote look like clothing, but what if…well…what if there comes a time when…you know….like if I needed a shower…?"
"Oh," said Brock. He began to blush, which really caught her by surprise since she never saw him embarrassed. "Well, the symbiote centers itself around the back of your neck, so try your best to compress it to that spot if you are ever without…er…clothes…and don't let anybody see you…naked…OKAY?"
MJ jumped back in shock at his sudden lashing. Brock stormed towards the entrance of the tent, but paused with his back to MJ. "Mulligan, come with me. There are people who you need to talk to."
Pat looked at MJ, wondering why Brock was suddenly so stern. He followed Eddie out of the tent. "Where are we going?" he asked.
"To the back room of the hospital platform. That is the main headquarters of the Resistance. You and I are going to help these people fight Parker's army and eradicate the symbiotes for good."
"So who's on our team so far besides cops and civilians?"
"You, me," answered Brock, "and another guy. Ex-Marines, a good tactician who knows how to make a big bang. Ever met James Rhodes?"