Legacy of Slaughter

Beyond the Incredible

I recently learned that Carnage was evidently killed by the Sentry. Yes, I do realize that I am INCREDIBLY behind the times, and I don't actually get to read that much in the way of comics. Even so, Carnage was one of my absolute favorite characters, therefore his demise is unacceptable. However, I then learned that symbiote fragments survived re-entry and are at large, if dormant. This fanfic is a farewell tribute to badass motherfucker Cletus Kasady, and a series of "What If…?"-style one-shots, in each of which the Carnage symbiote bonds with somebody new. Also, this chapter is kinda set during an AU Civil War.

Above the Earth's atmosphere, as Sentry prepared to rip Carnage in two, the serial killer used up the remaining air collected by his symbiote as he said, "Heh… You won't ever be rid of me, you know that? Even if you kill Cletus Kasady, I'll still be around to wreak chaos and carnage across the entire damned planet. If you want to kill me and make sure I stay killed, you'd better throw me into the damned sun!"

Sentry, disgusted at the psychopath's monologue, commanded, "Shut the fuck up!"

And as the monstrous murderer was torn apart, he appeared to be laughing, as though he'd somehow been triumphant in death.

Legacy of Slaughter

Bruce Banner was sleeping in the Arizona desert, albeit in the form of the Hulk. S.H.I.E.L.D. had been hunting him for quite some time, and he hadn't been given sufficient time to calm down over the past couple of weeks. When he groggily awoke, Banner found himself fully lucid, despite looking down at his hand and finding it to be of the Hulk's musculature. However, he was snapped to full awareness when he realized that his body felt larger than normal – even for the Hulk – and he was covered in a red-and-black substance, complete with a peculiar yellow radiance in his chest.

Rapidly getting to his feet, Banner ran to a nearby lake, gamma-irradiated heart pumping at well over a hundred and fifty beats per minute. Upon reaching the water's edge, Bruce was at once horrified and intrigued by his new appearance: he had the same build as the Hulk, but now greatly resembled a villain he'd once fought alongside Spider-Man. What was that name again? Ah yes, that's right, the serial killer named Carnage.

Banner was preparing to see if he could revert to his human form, but was interrupted by nearby gunshots, followed by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill's voice on a megaphone, shouting, "You can't hide forever, Hulk! This is your last chance to either register, or turn yourself in quietly! I am authorized to use lethal force to bring you down if I have to!"

Irritated with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s latest attempt to corner him, Banner was nonetheless surprised to find himself calm. Clearly, a symbiote had somehow found and bonded itself to him, and not only allowed him to retain his human faculties as the Hulk, but enabled him to keep a mostly cool head, too.

Since, evidently, he was now in control, Banner grinned savagely, before running in the direction of Hill's voice. Noting that he was moving well over five times faster than before, Banner's monstrous, toothy grin became all the more monstrous, before leaping forward, and actually overshot the helicarrier.

Wanting to make a solid impact, the Carna-Hulk reached out towards the Pegasus, and was surprised to find a massive tendril shoot out at his target and latch on, before Banner came to his senses and yanked himself towards the massive aerial base, inadvertently pulling it towards him as well.

Unlike her predecessor, Nick Fury, Commander Hill was not capable of keeping a clear head under just about any situation. And when the Pegasus sharply lurched backwards and to the left without any kind of warning whatsoever, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. instantly went from painfully smug to terrified, though she was able to hide it by merely acting irritated.

"The hell was that? Get me a damage report ten minutes ago! Is there any indication that the Hulk did that?"

Reed Richards ran a quick diagnostic, crunched some numbers, and said, "I'm not certain what did it, but we were pulled just now, not punched, so it wasn't the Hulk. I'm working on the precise cause now, and I'll get back to you when I have more data."

Suddenly, however, screams of terror and pain could be heard coming from within the corridor outside the bridge, and all agents instantly drew their weapons. The registered heroes present also prepared for combat – Iron Man brought his repulsors to full charge, Hawkeye readied his bow, Mockingbird readied her staff, and Bishop also prepared to let loose an energy blast.

There was absolute, terrifying silence for nearly a minute, until something effortlessly kicked down a door that even Iron Man wasn't able to punch through in one hit. A number of the lower-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were instantly killed by the shrapnel, and the helicarrier trembled slightly as the dust from the minor explosion cleared, an enormous monster's silhouette gradually becoming visible.

Everyone gasped, taking the creature's massive musculature to indicate the Hulk, but Tony Stark told everyone surviving to hold their fire. In response, a truly monstrous voice said, "That's the first smart thing you've done all month, Tony."

Though heavily distorted, Mr. Fantastic was still able to recognize the speaker. "Bruce? Is… that you?"

"You're half-right, Richards. You guys have been hunting me down relentlessly, when I haven't done anything to impede you. All I wanted was some peace and quiet. But no, Tony 'I-Know-What's-Right-And-Anyone-Who-Thinks-Different-Is-A-Criminal' Stark and his lackeys wouldn't let me be. You morons have pissed me off for the last time."

Hill asked, "Is that a threat, Banner?"

Now, however, his complete form was visible – he essentially resembled a mostly-crimson Venom, though with the musculature and height of the Hulk. Jeeringly, Banner shouted, "Ooh, look at the big brain on PUPPET! But it's not a threat. It's a fact. I remember hearing that Sentry killed that psychopath Carnage. And I never thought that someone calling himself a hero would kill someone, even someone as sociopathic as Cletus Kasady. Just a little FYI, I'm no longer just the Hulk – I'm the new Carnage, too. I'm the Carna-Hulk, and any of you still here in the next ten seconds are DEAD!"

Mr. Fantastic challenged, "You tried to make the Hulk into a hero, didn't you? Are you going back on that? Are you willing to let everyone think of you as a monster now?"

Bruce was silent for a second or two before he replied, "I met your kid, Franklin, once. He's a good kid. So get out, Reed, this is your only warning. I'd rather not leave him without a dad, much less make Sue a widow. And again, anyone else who'd prefer to be with their family right now, take your chance and leave. But those who put jailing me – a guy who just wants to be left the hell alone – as a higher priority than taking down REAL monsters like, say, HYDRA or Zzzax, well… you deserve what's coming."

With this ultimatum, the Carna-Hulk stood entirely still for another three seconds, although his symbiotic suit shifted a bit. Just as he was about to begin counting down, three of the superheroes on the bridge stood down and left – Reed Richards, Hank Pym, and curiously enough, Wade Wilson.

Incredulous, Iron Man shouted, "Deadpool, where the hell are you going? You don't have a family!"

The Crimson Comedian turned and spoke, and much to everyone's alarm, he actually sounded… sane this time.

"There is a very short list of people who scare the shit out of me – people that even I'm not bat-shit crazy enough to fight if I can help it. People like Galactus, Odin, Ego the Living Planet, The Living Tribunal, Basch fon Ronsenburg of Dalmasca, Kamina, and Shinji Ikari's hot mom in her Evangelion form. Bruce Banner, as the Hulk, is also on that list. Oh, sure, I'll brawl with him now and again, but if he actually wants me dead, then hell no! And then there's the other half of today's Monster of the Week, the Carnage symbiote. While the first Carnage was not at all on that list, he nonetheless was an absolute pain in the ass to fight, I'll tell you that. You're such a fucking math wiz, Tony, I'll give you a simple equation to crunch: pain-in-the-ass-enemy + Incredible-Fucking-Hulk =/= a happy Deadpool with high morale. I'm getting the fuck out while the getting's good, as should anybody with even half a bit of sense. Except you, Hill, you're a total bitch. I swear, even when I hit on Elektra and the Black Widow, THEY don't try to shoot me in the head, OR the crotch. Banner, if you're anything like the old Carnage, then would you do me a favor?"

Incredibly surprised by Deadpool's lucidity, the Carna-Hulk asked, "What's the favor?"

Pointing a finger at Maria Hill, Deadpool answered, "Please, eat that bitch. Or make her your bitch, I don't care. Actually, do the second one instead, it'll be funnier for me to look back and laugh on."

Having made this plea for vengeance, Deadpool got the hell out of dodge via teleportation, graciously giving Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket a ride.

Bruce began laughing out loud at what had just happened, before saying, "It's a sad, sad day indeed when freaking DEADPOOL has more common sense than the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man combined. Now then, since nobody else has thought to leave while Deadpool was talking, nor while I am now, I'm going to assume that everyone still here is ready to die. Except you, Hill, I think I'm going to humor Deadpool this time. If nothing else, it'll be an interesting change of pace."

Maria now was as terrified as she'd ever been, while Stark let fly a flurry of ten repulsor blasts, hoping to at least knock Banner out of the ship and give enough time for him to escape with Commander Hill, Hawkeye, and Mockingbird, but went wide-eyed beneath his helmet when he found that Bruce had barely moved six inches.

"Don't you remember when you teamed up with Spider-Man against the first Carnage? With the exception of fire and high-frequency sonics, symbiotes ABSORB energy. They – no, WE DEVOUR ENERGY. All you did was seal your fate, dumbass."

Tony instantly caught his mistake, realizing that he really should've paid more attention to Peter and not just blown it off like he had.

Before he could reconfigure his repulsors, however, Carna-Hulk flicked his wrist, clogging them with crimson ooze. Then, in almost the same movement, Banner ran up and grabbed Iron Man's torso, massive right hand taking an excellent grip, before slowly crushing the life from the man once called 'Invincible'.

Clint Barton, having been paying attention to the part about fire and sonics, grabbed a flashbang arrow. Sadly for him, however, Banner was warned well in advance by his newly acquired Spider-Sense, so he shot a glob of webbing at Hawkeye's hand, rendering the reformed archer unable to let fly his arrow, causing it to explode in his face.

Knowing well how to minimize the damage he'd suffer, Banner drew the symbiote into himself, essentially becoming just the regular Hulk.

Observing that, Mockingbird sarcastically thought to herself, Yeah, JUST the regular Hulk. Like that's not bad enough…

Nonetheless, the Hulk wound up being the one least effected by the small explosion, alongside Iron Man. Taking advantage of that, Bruce reached back and threw Iron Man at Hawkeye so hard that the Pro-Reg archer was crushed between Stark's armor and the helicarrier bulkhead.

Then, once the soundwaves from the flashbang died down sufficiently, Banner re-summoned the symbiote, once again becoming the Carna-Hulk, and latched onto Bobbi Morse with a tendril, yanked her over, and then merely curled his hand into a fist, slowly crushing her to death.

Iron Man had, by this point, gotten to his knees, but his repulsors were still clogged up, and he'd suffered too much damage to fire the unibeam. Still, the genius inventor didn't know when to give up, and he began charging at Carna-Hulk, attempting to bring him down with brute force – which deep down, he knew would have zero effect.

Throughout all this, Commander Hill had been shooting the Carna-Hulk with her sidearm, not that it did any good.

Tony, engaging full afterburners, flew at maximum speed, hoping to at least get a good hit on the Carna-Hulk.

"That's it, Stark. Come on, rush to your doom."

And, aided by both Spider-Sense and insane reflexes, Banner caught Iron Man by the helmet, and just like Mockingbird moments before, crushed him like an ant.

By this point, Hill was now the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agent still on the ship. She tried shooting at the Carna-Hulk again, but cursed internally when she realized that she was out of ammo.

Banner suddenly began shrinking, as though he were reverting back to his regular human form, but he kept the symbiote on, thus being Carnage. Taking a look at Maria Hill, Carnage began advancing menacingly as he said, "Yeah, I think Deadpool had the right idea. Taking you down a peg or three million is going to be fun. There's nobody left to help you now. And by morning, we'll see exactly what you're made of. On your knees, bitch."

BONUS MATERIAL!

Mr. Fantastic would later lament that Deadpool had tried to help him, since the Sensation With The Registration would have 'accidentally' teleported a few feet in the air, and fell down in such a way that anyone looking in at that moment would've thought he was doing 69 with the Invisible Woman… made all the worse by Sue later considering inviting Deadpool for a threesome, evidently simply because of that event.

Hank Pym would go on to have similar regrets, because miraculously for the Scarlet Screwball, Deadpool landed on Janet Van Dyne the same way he had on Sue Richards. Except that the Wasp actually divorced Yellowjacket and married Deadpool, thus becoming Janet Van Dyne-Wilson. When the Invisible Woman did, in fact, extend that offer of a threesome to Wade, he brought Janet along, although Reed left for the Negative Zone immediately before.

Mr. Fantastic wound up getting divorced too, and since Sue Storm couldn't legally marry Deadpool, she simply entered a social contract and named him as Franklin's new uncle, alongside Johnny and Ben.

For totally unrelated reasons, Jean Grey did the same thing, which would later lead to Hope Summers crushing on Franklin Richards, and then their kids would have Deadpool for a grandpa. And when Thanos would attempt to destroy the Earth fifteen years after that, he would have to fight a trio of nigh-omnipotent hot-blooded sisters who each had a dash of Deadpool's insanity. The poor would-be cosmic conqueror became a bundle of nerves after that, spread the word, and the planet was safe from extra-anything invasion for the next seventy-eight million years.