Spider's Advent, Part I:

"Street Samurai"

Chapter 4: "Those Who Hide Behind the Shadows"

Disclaimer: Spectacular Spider-Man is not mine by any means; it belongs to Marvel Comics and Marvel Entertainment Studios. Street Fighter is not mine, either; it belongs to Capcom and those licensed to make comic, televised, or film adaptations of its characters and stories. All characters and properties associated with or related to Spectacular Spider-Man or Street Fighter are owned by Marvel or Capcom, and there is no personal profit to be made from this story other than the entertainment derived from those reading it.

Author's note: Well, it's been a while, again. As you can see, I've been occupied by various other stories, some of which have gone without update for many months now. Of course, I am not going to give up on this story, no matter how daunting in scope it might be. On plot-related issues, the World Warrior Tournament is beginning to heat up, with friends and enemies to be made by our web-slinging hero . . . but what about the machinations at work behind the scenes? Will Spider-Man and his allies be able to take charge of the situation, or will they find themselves in far over their heads? For the answers to those questions and others, read on.

Peter Parker sat at his lunch table glowering at the S.H.I.E.L.D.-issue Com-Card Nick Fury had given him. He praised his lucky stars that it hadn't gone off in the middle of class, but he knew his luck couldn't last that long. In fact, worrying about when the thing was going to go off and transmit an order from Nick Fury to suit up and get going was starting to drive him about as nutty as Harry's former Green Goblin alter ego.

So absorbed in his thoughts he was that he almost failed to notice someone approaching him until their shadow was directly obscuring his sunlight. "Hey, tiger," a familiar voice greeted him. "Mind if Gwen and I sit here with you?"

Peter nearly whirled in surprise. "MJ? Gwen?"

"You look kinda spooked there," Gwen observed. "I thought nothing slipped past you."

"It doesn't work like that if I'm distracted," Peter admitted.

"Hey, nice credit card," Mary Jane remarked, spotting the Com-Card Peter had been holding. "Your aunt thinks you're ready to handle it?"

Peter sniffed in amusement. "No, not a credit card. It's from a guy named Nick Fury."

"The war hero?" Gwen asked.

"Wait, you've heard of him?" Peter inquired.

"Who hasn't?" Gwen answered. "Head of S.H.I.E.L.D., decorated war hero, promoted in light of all the craziness with super-powered people out there – some of which we've experienced for ourselves right here in M3." She let out a soft, almost nervous chuckle at that.

"It's ok, Gwen," Peter said, reaching out to touch her hand. "What I do . . . it can be scary sometimes, and you and MJ getting in the middle of it because of me . . ."

Gwen patted Peter's hand reassuringly before she stared him down. "I'm not a total shrinking violet, Peter. After the Venom incidents, my dad agreed to let me learn some takedown moves in case I ever get into that kind of trouble again and Spider-Man's not right on the scene."

"And my kickboxing courses are going quite well, actually," Mary Jane added with an impish smirk. "Bet I could handle you just fine, Tiger."

"Helps that she's been using me for practice," a familiar amiable male voice cut in. "Among other things."

"Oh, hey, Scott," Mary Jane greeted the sunglasses-wearing brunet as he pecked her on the cheek. "What's up?"

"Not much," Scott replied. "Been making some new acquaintances, one of whom I think you and Gwen would get along fine with, Peter."

"Who might that be?" Peter asked.

"I remember her taking a Computer Sciences elective with you two," Scott replied. "And she could use some more friends."

"She?" Gwen repeated, staring a hole at Scott.

"Uh, yeah," Scott admitted sheepishly. "Her name's Kitty."

"Kitty?" Peter echoed curiously.

"Yeah, it's the name she goes by," Scott replied, tugging his collar in embarrassment.

"Sounds cute," Gwen remarked.

"Speaking of cute . . ." Peter trailed off, seeing Anya chatting excitedly with Mattie and Sakura at a nearby table. Listening in on the girls, he heard the subject of conversation turn to his costumed alter ego.

"So what do you think of Spider-Man?" Mattie asked eagerly.

"Ryu-san's afraid of spiders," Sakura admitted. "But I think he's being silly. Spiders are more afraid of people than people are of spiders. I mean, if you were that small and everything around you was that much bigger . . ."

"Some spiders are poisonous," Anya remarked idly. "Your dad might just be scared of getting sick after being bitten."

Sakura blushed at the thought of Ryu as her father. "Umm . . . I think Spider-Man sounds like a good guy."

"He's a real, true blue hero!" Mattie enthused. "I just don't like how my Uncle Jonah is always using his paper to say bad things about him."

"He owns The Daily Bugle, right?" Sakura asked. "And you and Peter Parker work there?"

"I'm just an intern," Mattie admitted. "Peter's the one chasing Spider-Man's tail all the time so Uncle Jonah can have pictures to put on the front page."

Mary Jane and Gwen giggled at hearing that description of what Peter allegedly did to get Spider-Man's photograph. Scott just tittered softly to himself, and even Peter couldn't help but be amused. Then he remembered something important, and turned to Gwen. "Have you talked to Harry lately?"

"He hasn't seemed to want to talk," Gwen admitted somberly. "Ever since he found out about us being together . . ."

"Yeah," Peter murmured sadly.

"He probably doesn't want to feel like a third wheel," Mary Jane tried to reassure the young couple. "I've been there before."

"Do you feel like a third wheel?" Peter asked.

"Since I hooked up with Scott? Not really," Mary Jane replied, looping her arm around that of her ruby-shaded beau.

Peter sighed with relief. It's a lot worse than you know. Harry's gone and hooked up with Warren to get spider-powers almost exactly like mine, and so have Anya, Ben, Mattie, and Brian. Whatever Warren's endgame is, it's probably nothing good for them . . . or me, for that matter.

Interrupting his musings was an imperious Japanese girl with her shockingly blonde hair styled in elegant ringlets. She wore a midriff-baring red sailor fuku with tight black bike shorts long enough to peek out of her skirt, but even that outfit looked like a queen's costume the way she strode in his direction like she owned the place. "Hello," she greeted in accented English. "Where's Sakura Kasugano?"

"Uh, over there," Peter replied, pointing some three tables down from his position. "Mind if I ask your name?"

"Yours first," the girl retorted.

Peter internally groaned, feeling far too reminded of Sally Avril. "It's Peter. Peter Parker. And you?"

"Karin Kanzuki," the girl replied simply. "Thank you for cooperating." With that, she turned on her heel and walked straight toward the table where Anya, Mattie, and Sakura were conversing.

"Oh, hey, Karin!" Sakura greeted eagerly, jumping out of her seat and practically attaching herself to Karin like an octopus. "You made it!"

"A tournament in America was too good an opportunity to miss," Karin replied with a faint hint of affection in her tone as a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. "Especially when it's in a city that seems to be a haven for so many . . . unique characters."

"Tell me about it," Anya remarked.

Karin turned to Anya. "You. Name."

"Anya Corazon, what's it to you?" Anya retorted; if Karin was going to act like a snooty bitch, she could sling it back just as hard.

"Mattie Franklin!" Mattie introduced herself eagerly, only to be ignored by Karin.

"So you two are friends?" Anya asked, looking at Sakura and Karin. While they both wore the traditional sailor fuku, Sakura's was white with a blue skirt and a yellow tie while Karin's was a rich scarlet with a blue tie and black bike shorts sticking out from underneath. Plus, while Sakura's expression was open and eager, Karin's was deeply imperious. It made the spiky-ponytailed girl wonder how they could be friends, if that was what they were.

"Rivals would be more accurate," Karin replied. "We aim to be the youngest champions of the World Warrior Tournament."

"You're pretty friendly for rivals," Mattie observed.

"Karin's not such a bad girl once you get to know her," was Sakura's answer. "She's as sweet as pocky . . . but don't tell her I said that."

Anya and Mattie looked at Sakura oddly. "She happens to be right next to you," Anya deadpanned.

Sakura looked to see Karin, suddenly remembered that Karin was there, and blushed while chuckling embarrassedly. "Oh, yeah . . ."

Karin let out an undignified snort, but there was no real malice in it. "Do you want to meet a superhero?" Mattie asked. "Since you're here and all . . ."

"It would be interesting to fight one," Karin confessed. "Or one of those miscreants you call super-villains. I think they would be an even bigger challenge, although not insurmountable for one like me."

"You're that good?" Anya deadpanned, not sure if she should take the red-clad blonde at her word.

Karin's eyes narrowed briefly. "You have no idea . . ."

School let out some hours later, and as Peter was walking out of the halls of Midtown High, he heard the dreaded ring. Darting somewhere private that he wouldn't be so easily overheard, Peter withdrew the Com-Card from his pocket and rubbed the blue strip underneath. Nick Fury's image answered him, in the form of a 3D hologram "standing" on the card's surface.

"These are your coordinates, Spider-Man," the image stated before being replaced by what looked like a 3D holographic map of New York City with the quickest path to his ordered destination highlighted by a winding gold arrow. If it wasn't for his intimate knowledge of the city, he would have been lost, but as it was, he was just annoyed Fury didn't have the decency to wait for him to be out of school before hitting him up.

Sighing to himself as the transmission ended, Peter found Gwen and pulled her close so he could whisper in her ear. "Hey, Gwen, I don't think I'm gonna be able to make it home for a while. Would it be ok if you and MJ came up with an excuse to tell Aunt May so she doesn't start worrying about me?"

"Sure, Pete," Gwen whispered back. "Let me guess, Fury called you in."

"Yeah," Peter admitted. "Sorry."

"Go do what you do," Gwen encouraged him. "Mary Jane and I will pick up the slack." She kissed him on the cheek and slipped out of his grip, leaving him to dart somewhere private and quickly change into his new black costume.

He had to admit, as he web-swung through the city on his way to the location Fury had pointed out for him, that the new costume felt quite nice. As far as he could ascertain, it had been designed as a form of extremely lightweight body armor, flexible enough to not hinder the wearer's movements, light enough not to significantly reduce speed and agility, and tough enough to withstand medium-caliber gunfire. He was going to have to see what he could do about keeping this suit or figuring out a way to incorporate its composition into his regular costume.

"You made it," a voice remarked no sooner than Spider-Man had stuck his traditional three-point landing on the rooftop of their meeting place. Without missing a beat, Spider-Man turned to see Daredevil, wearing his own black costume with his symbol, two interlocked D's, etched in blood red and "razor armor" covering his arms and outer legs. Black Widow and Winter Soldier were there as well, in their own customary dark uniforms, and Hawkeye was still dressed as Ronin.

The five of them weren't alone, though; Guile, Chun-Li, and Cammy were there, too, in their own outfits. Guile was still wearing his usual combat fatigues, but Chun-Li was wearing a purplish-black qipao with ornate red accents traced into the fabric and stockings so sheer and yet so dark they might as well have been opaque. Cammy was still in what Spider-Man had dubbed the "TRON Suit"; other than the blonde hair tied in two thin, almost obscenely long braids and the suit being a leotard, she could have passed for a certain character introduced in the sequel.

"Well, hey there, everyone," Spider-Man greeted awkwardly. "Been waiting long?"

"Not really," Winter Soldier replied languidly.

"Did 'graduate school' keep you long?" Cammy inquired snidely.

"Yeah, it's hard work, especially when you're juggling it with saving the world," Spider-Man replied, determined not to let on how nervous he was at being the youngest person there.

"I'll bet," Cammy responded somewhat sardonically.

"Enough," Guile said, his voice bringing everyone to attention. "Fury's given us our marching orders. Our job is to infiltrate the World Warrior Tournament, pummel our way through as many thugs as we can get at until we find the ones in Bison's or Kingpin's employ, and then we squeeze the sons of bitches for whatever intel we can get out of them about what the big bastards are planning, and once that's over with, we make sure they don't succeed."

"Sounds very, very simple," Spider-Man remarked. "Simple enough for me, that is. I'm in. Except there's one thing I'm worried about . . ."

"What's that, kid?" Guile asked.

"Tombstone," Spider-Man replied. "The current Big Man of Crime in this city. Kingpin's likely jockeying for his old position, and Tombstone won't take that lying down. He'll probably have his own guys in there, too, and they'll be mixing it up with Bison's and Kingpin's guys."

"Good point," Cammy admitted. "Not to mention S.I.N."

"What kind of hokey super-villain organization name is that?" Spider-Man scoffed.

"They're a lot more serious than they sound," Cammy replied. "Last I recall, a woman named Juri Han, codenamed 'Spider,' became their leader after pulling a fatal double-cross on the previous leader Seth. She's as dangerous as they come. . . ." Cammy bit her lip on the last word, remembering just how the sadistic fighter took to combat.

"Spider, huh?" Spider-Man repeated. "Now I'm really gonna beat her down."

"Why?" Chun-Li asked.

"Trademark violation," Spider-Man answered with mock seriousness. "I'm the only spider around these parts."

"Not if Web Corps is anything to go by," Guile remarked snidely. "Saw the news this morning; those kids are looking to take your spot."

Spider-Man snorted. "I'm the original. They're copycats. Original wins every time. Fact of life."

"What would that mean for me?" the Black Widow asked with a slight smirk.

Spider-Man turned to the redheaded S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, only to find himself flustered in the face of her taunting smirk. "Yeah, uh . . . I'll let you know when I've figured it out. Now can we get down there and do business? I'm getting antsy."

Black Widow spared a brief amused chuckle, while Spider-Man bit back an irritated growl and fired his web-line, anchoring it to prepare to swing off on it. "Kid's right," Ronin admitted. "We've got work to do. Let's do it."

The World Warrior Tournament was in full swing, with much of the metropolitan areas having been cordoned off by the NYPD to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties. Next to one of the cordons, a young detective by the name of Yuri Watanabe sipped black coffee in front of her car. "This is crazy. People coming in from all over the world just to beat the crap out of each other," she remarked to her partner.

"Just how the worm turns, I suppose," Stan Carter remarked almost philosophically as he lingered by her. "Violence junkies need their fix just like any other junkies. The best we can do is keep them from getting innocent people caught up in it."

"So is that why you let Spider-Man do what he does?" Yuri asked.

"Yeah," Stan admitted grimly. "He might not be doing it right, but so far he's the one thing standing between this city and a bloodbath."

"What do you mean, 'not doing it right'?" Yuri wondered curiously.

Stan's expression darkened. "That blowhard Jameson calls him an outlaw. If he were a real outlaw, those psychos he's up against would have been S.O.L. a long time ago. One good thing Brock did when he was trying to ruin Spider-Man's rep."

Yuri gripped her cup tightly. "You seriously mean that?" she asked in a tight voice.

"It's frustrating," Stan confessed. "Most of the time, we can't do anything to stop these guys ourselves, so we need Spider-Man to do it for us, and he won't even make sure they're off our hands for good."

"Maybe he's not the kind of guy who takes his inspiration from Death Wish," Yuri remarked.

"Death wish," Stan repeated with a bitter chuckle. "Sometimes, I'm sure at least some of these guys have one. Would love to give them what they want, if that's the case."

"What about the Web Corps?" Yuri asked, trying to change the topic before she heard any more of her partner's disturbing views on crime and punishment.

"Dunno where they came from," Stan replied. "Don't care that much, either, for that matter. It's just . . . this used to be our city. We used to be the law here . . . and now you've got maniacs and freaks crawling out from the woodwork making life hell for ordinary people and guys like us are helpless to do what we're supposed to do."

"So we do what we can," Yuri answered. "And if people like Spider-Man want to do the right thing and help where they can, I suppose we can let them . . . so long as they don't cross that line."

"What line would that be?" Stan inquired darkly.

"You know what that line is," Yuri rejoined determinedly.

"Then what good are they?" Stan asked bitterly. "What, do they want this madness to keep going forever and ever? For what? Their own egos? To feel like they're needed? That they're special? For that?"

Yuri sipped her coffee again. "Start using decaf, Stan. It'll help. So would talking to somebody."

"No freaking shrinks," Stan snarled. "They don't understand a thing about this."

"Who said anything about shrinks?" Yuri asked amiably. "What about Jean? She's rather fond of you, I think."

Stan contemplated that for a moment. "So long as it's not a shrink," he grunted resignedly.

Inside what had been informally dubbed "the Warzone," the traveling warrior known only as Ryu was in heated combat with the green-clad martial master known as the Iron Fist. The dragon-tattooed man did not have Iron Fist simply as a superlative nickname; the Iron Fist was his very power . . . as Ryu had found out the hard way after barely dodging a punch that shattered the concrete it impacted.

"You are an interesting opponent, Iron Fist," Ryu remarked.

"And it's an honor to fight someone as renowned as you," Iron Fist rejoined, catching Ryu just as Ryu attempted a powerful uppercut that would have shattered a normal man's jaw. "The Shoryuken, huh? Nice one. See mine." And Iron Fist delivered a brutal chi-enhanced cross to Ryu's jaw, knocking him some distance backward. However, Ryu was not down for the count by any means, as he proved with his . . .


A veritable tidal wave of blue chi roared out from Ryu's cupped and outstretched hands, and Iron Fist steeled himself to punch through it. Of course, the Hadoken was not deflected so easily, even by the power of the Iron Fist. The wave simply split and bent around him, still grazing him with surprising force for a diffused attack of that nature.

Iron Fist just smirked, despite his exhaustion from using his chi to shield himself from the worst of the Hadoken. "That was fun . . ."

If there had been anyone Spider-Man had been expecting to run into while in the Warzone, it was definitely not a Korean woman with her hair tied into twin pointy buns and a crazed look in her eyes. Not helping much was that she wore a very tiny black top held on by eight spiderlike straps and white karate pants that were both backless and crotchless to expose very tight hot pink leggings underneath.

"You must be 'Spider,'" he greeted.

"Oh, you've heard of me?" Spider replied. "Little Killer Bee must have told you all about me . . . but did she tell you that she made me what I am today?"

"What are you talking about?" Spider-Man asked.

Spider, or Juri Han, almost sashayed toward Spider-Man, and her walk made the web-slinger notice the bareness of her feet. Looking up, he saw a very disturbing gleam in her eyes that reminded him of the way Morrigan and Lilith had looked at him when he'd known them . . . only hers was far scarier than when they did it.

"Spider, Spider, Spider-Man . . ." Juri purred. "You won't need to worry about little old Killer Bee right now. What you should be worried about . . ." And his spider-sense went crazy, just in time for him to reflexively dodge a brutal whirling kick with purple energy following her leg. ". . . is what I'm going to do to you."

"So this is the chi stuff I've been hearing about lately," Spider-Man murmured.

"Come on, is that all you've got?" Juri taunted in what could have passed for a seductive voice. "Because I'm not going to be satisfied by a pathetic performance like that!"

"Crazy . . ." Spider-Man muttered. "This woman is freaking crazy!"

He fired his webs at her, but Juri merely sliced through them with another chi-charged spin kick. Deciding to get up close and personal, Spider-Man lunged for the madwoman, who twisted around while her upper body was kept low to the ground to kick him in his stomach, almost propping him up with her raised foot.

That is one flexible woman . . . he found himself thinking. But thank God that was my stomach and not my back . . . although my kidneys are gonna be feeling that for a month . . .

On a different rooftop, in a different part of the city, Anya and Mattie perched restively, Mattie more so than Anya. "What do you think is up with Ben and Brian?" Mattie wondered.

"You mean Scarlet Spider and Spider-X," Anya answered. "And how the hell would I know? Brian's too busy playing Punisher and Ben . . . who knows what he's up to?"

"Harry seems so glum lately," Mattie remarked. "And he won't talk to anybody about it."

"It's Tarantula, and his best friends are going out with each other," Anya replied nonchalantly. "He's bound to feel like a third wheel with those lovebirds, assuming he wasn't in love with one of them in the first place."

"Which one?" Mattie wondered aloud.

"Which one do you think?" Anya asked snippily. "And don't get ideas."

Mattie blushed underneath her almost-featureless silver-blue mask. "I wasn't thinking anything like that!"

"Sure you weren't," Anya replied. "Just who did I catch reading RPF of Spider-Man and Venom last night, if it wasn't you?"

"Oh, that was you?" Mattie uttered embarrassedly.

"Yeah," Anya confessed. "But you ever think it's kinda funny – and by funny I mean weird – for people to be writing RPF of superheroes and super-villains when they don't even know who most of these guys are behind their masks?"

"I just hope they don't start writing RPF of me and you," Mattie blurted out.

Anya blushed beneath her mask. "Where did that idea come from?"

"Nowhere . . ." Mattie replied.

Anya found it in herself to laugh out loud. "Yeah, they're probably likelier to write RPF of you and Spidey . . . and if they don't, you will!"

"I'm not that obsessed!" Mattie protested heatedly.

"I saw your shrine, remember?" Anya jibed. "And you wouldn't be the first one. How many people have written about Spider-Man swooping in like a knight in shining armor – or spinning shining spider webs – to save and romance the damsel in distress?" She let out a brief snort that turned into a teasing chortle.

"Anya!" Mattie squealed irately.

"It's Arana to you while we're out here, Spider-Woman," Anya gently chided.

At that moment, an alarm went off in their aural com-links, prompting a dangerous smile from Arana. "Break-in at Central . . . sounds like a couple of troublemaking bitches." Her smile grew wider and toothier. "It looks like we're getting some action tonight, babe!"

Spider-Woman eagerly sprouted her psychic spider legs from her back. "Then what are we waiting for?" She jumped off the rooftop, using the four spider legs extending from her back to grip the façade of the skyscraper she'd just been perched on. "You coming, Arana?"

"Oh, yeah," Arana replied as she fired her retractable spider-cord from one wrist. The spider-shaped weight on its end attached to a skyscraper façade just opposite of Spider-Woman's, and Arana did a brief tug to make sure of the grip's firmness. "Let's go!"

Speaking of the Spider-Men, the Scarlet Spider had come face to face with yet another uniquely dressed woman – and to his not-great surprise, she was with the bad guys. Said woman wore a black full-body suit made out of something that looked like PVC with honeybee-yellow accents on her shoulders, arms, legs, and torso . . . the torso highlights drawing attention to a very well-developed bust. Adding to her costume was a pair of high-tech aviator goggles that covered her eyes but exposed chin-length blonde hair and pink lips that seemed perpetually set in an impish grin. Topping off the outfit was a pair of energized batons, glowing pink, extended from her golden-yellow gauntlets.

The Scarlet Spider had been canvassing the city's underworld locales looking for clues as to where Razorfist had gotten his blade-fingered gauntlet weapons. Those clues had largely evaded him, although he did get the name of the woman who had accompanied Razorfist and served as his commander. "Silver Sable" was really Sable Manfredi, the daughter of notorious crime boss Silvio "Silvermane" Manfredi, who had been in the running for the position of the Big Man of Crime before going to prison. It seemed that Sable, whose white hair had earned her the moniker of "Silver Sable," was carrying on his work, at least until Silvermane was a free man again. From what he'd learned, that wouldn't be so long in coming thanks to the deal he'd cut with the Feds – not that it would stop him from resuming his old habits, which made Scarlet wonder what the point was in making those deals to begin with.

Just as the red-clad web-slinger was about to pursue further clues, he'd noticed the bumblebee, so dubbed for her color scheme, making quite the acrobatic getaway from a jewelry store. Quickly changing his trajectory, the Scarlet Spider had immediately swung around to pursue the presumed thief, following her with equal if not greater agility. She'd accelerated, not out of sheer terror of being caught but what seemed to be excitement, which forced Scarlet to up his own speed to catch up with her.

Overshooting her with a single leap, the Scarlet Spider landed in front of the bumblebee thief, which was when he got a good look at her. "Ooh, you caught me, Spider-Man . . ." the costumed woman cooed. "What are you going to do with me now?"

"First off, it's Scarlet Spider. Second, we're going to go back where you just came from and return whatever it is you stole, and if you're lucky, I might be able to persuade them not to do something crazy like insist you go to jail. Third, anyone ever mention that your outfit makes you look like a bumblebee?"

"Joystick," the woman corrected. "It's Joystick."

"Joystick?" Scarlet Spider echoed perplexedly. "What is this to you, some kind of videogame?"

"Well, I was pretty good at GTA and Saint's Row . . ." Joystick replied. "But if you wanna go that badly . . ." She threw her arms out and a pair of pink energy batons extended from her gauntlets.

"No wonder you've got the name Joystick," Scarlet remarked. "But ok, if you wanna go that way . . ." He twisted his wrists and fired stinger darts at Joystick, who batted them down with one agile sweep of her arm-mounted baton. "Damn, this is going to be interesting, huh?"

"Bet your life on it, Reddy!" Joystick retorted as she lunged for the Scarlet Spider.

"It's Scarlet. Scarlet Spider," the red-clad wall-crawler retorted as he fired a shot of impact webbing at Joystick. It caught her around the legs, exploding into an entangling mess of webbing that threw off her balance and trapped her legs in a cocoon. With Joystick secured, the Scarlet Spider walked up to her before crouching down to begin his search. "So where'd you put it? Please not some embarrassing place like in your cleavage. I'd prefer not to be accused of molesting my female opponents."

"Silly boy . . . who said anything about you molesting me?" Joystick inquired sultrily.

"Don't try to distract me with the sexpot routine," Scarlet retorted as he continued to pat her down, searching for hidden catches she could have used to conceal her ill-gotten wares. "I've seen as well as read enough thrillers to know how that turns out for the idiot who falls for that crap. Now you just hold still and maybe this won't turn out so bad . . ."

His spider-sense interrupted the next thing he was going to say, as Joystick slashed him with her energy baton, Scarlet barely dodging in time to avoid an unsightly wound. His costume, of course, was not so lucky, now having an unsightly tear in its fabric with scorch marks on the edges. Having distracted him with her attack, Joystick turned her batons on the web-cocoon binding her legs, and Scarlet Spider had to admit that she was rather flexible, given how she was able to twist herself around to reach her legs.

"Nice," the Scarlet Spider remarked. "I bet if you put those things on the market, women wouldn't have to worry about waxing anymore."

"Glad you approve . . ." Joystick purred as she rose to her feet. "Now let's get down to business . . . and business, between you and me, is going to be fun!"

What have I gotten myself into? Scarlet wondered, equally confused and excited as he set himself for round two.

Endnotes: And thus, we have reached the end of chapter 4 of the Street Samurai arc. I know there was more talking than fighting (oh, God, am I turning into Bendis?), but I thought it'd be good to sow the seeds of future plot entanglements and provide character interaction. For example, the "Kitty" mentioned by Scott is none other than Kitty Pryde of the X-Men, and she will be important later on, although there will be no shipping between her and Peter/Spider-Man, at least not on Peter's end.

For those of you unaware of obscure comics trivia, Joystick is an actual Marvel character that debuted during Ben Reilly's tenure as Spider-Man. After Ben's unfortunate passing, she later resurfaced in the pre-Civil War Thunderbolts storylines, but hasn't been heard from since, much to my annoyance. Speaking of Ben, his subplot in this story is going to eventually dovetail with the story's A-plot, given the looming gang war that has caused Kingpin and Tombstone to team up with M. Bison and Juri Han.

Furthermore, Yuri Watanabe is a character in the more recent Spider-Man comics and carrying on the tradition of NYPD captains that do actually appreciate Spider-Man's efforts. In the context of this story, as Spectacular deals with a much younger Spider-Man, she's for the time being just a detective on the force, and that's not getting into the complications presented by the most recent comic storyline. It could, however, factor into a later story still using the Spectacular backdrop or a similar alternative Spider-Man canon.

For those of you wanting to see more of Ryu vs. Iron Fist or Juri vs. Spider-Man, never fear; those two fights will be expanded in the next chapter, which will hopefully not take as long for me to get to as this one did. Just wanted to give you guys something to look forward to instead of giving the whole store away in one go. To JurgenZero2034 (I hope I got that right), Guile vs. Bullseye is on the horizon . . . but will a Sonic Boom deflect Bullseye's wicked aim? You'll get that answer when it's time or maybe a little sooner if you review! Until next time, true believers!