(A/N: This is based mostly off of my reaction to last year's video game, "Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions", and the realization that there was an impostor Lady Octopus in the Spider-man 2099 universe. This was my way to retaliate, because I was not impressed. Don't like? Don't read.)

Imposter Syndrome - Part One: The First Encounter
By The Inimitable Enigma Cypher

New York City, 2010…

"I don't believe this! Are you absolutely certain that this is true?"

"This coming from Dr. Carolyn Trainer, as she paced in her lair, angered by news that an associate had just called her to inform her of.

"I'm dead certain!" the informant, known only as "Fusion", replied, looking at her computer screen. "It says here there's another Lady Octopus who may be seeking to complete with you!"

"Well, if what you're saying is true, it is certainly intolerable that someone has the audacity to even attempt to compete with me!" Carolyn shouted, slamming a mechanical tentacle into a nearby desk, smashing it to splinters.

"It gets worse!" Fusion continued, scrolling down the page. "It says here that she has the ability to uplink with technology much like you can, and that her idol is none other than your own!"

For the next few seconds, the only sound Fusion heard was something that sounded suspiciously like the phone being repeatedly slammed against a hard surface, before Carolyn spoke, her voice undercut with rage.

"Who is she? Where is her base of operations?"

"It says here that she operates in the New York City of 2099 and that her name is Selena Patel or something like that."

"The future?" Carolyn asked. "Well, future or not, I intend to ensure that whatever future she once had will no longer apply to her. I'm going to FINISH HER!" With that, she slammed the phone down on the cradle, trying to think. How was she to defeat an imposter of herself that resided in the future?

There has to be a way, she thought. Anything I can do to get to the future… this third-rate imposter has to be dealt with, and fast.

She took a seat at her lab bench, resting her head on her closed fist. Thinking. Perhaps I may not be able to transport myself to the future, but I may be able to find someone who can bring her here, where she will be out of her element, out of her time, which will give me the distinct advantage.

Picking up the phone again, she punched in the number of someone she had once had a business association with, and whom she knew would be able to help her.

"Hello? This is Trainer. I believe you once told me you owed me a favor?"


New York City, 2099…

Selena Patel was not happy. Her latest genetics experiment had not gone as planned and would prove to set her back for weeks. She was preparing to leave for the night when her lab assistant came in the room with a message.

"Yeah, we got this call a few minutes ago, kind of mysterious." He said, handing her a slip of paper. "He said you need to call him back immediately.

"Yes, yes, I'll get to that." Selena snapped, taking the slip of paper with one tentacle claw, walking over to the phone on her desk. Punching in the number, she listened to the ringing.

It all happened in an instant. Her lab assistant watched dumbfounded as she disappeared, her body breaking down into what looked like pixels in an old computer monitor. He ran from the room.


New York City, 2010…

Selena rematerialized in mid-air, falling face-first to the hard metal floor beneath her.

"I'm going to feel that in the morning." She muttered, putting her hand to her nose as she pushed herself up onto one elbow, her hand to her nose.

Suddenly, she was struck in the back of the neck by something hard, sending her sprawling back on her face.

"What the hell?"

"So glad we could have this little meeting." said a cold voice from behind her. She rolled over to find a tall, purple-haired figure standing over her, glaring, four mechanical arms writhing in the air behind her restlessly, as if affected by their master's obvious emotional state.

She looks familiar. Selena thought, getting to her hands and knees, looking up. Have I seen her somewhere?

"Who are you supposed to be? And where in the hell am I?"

"You are out of your time, Doctor." The figure answered, snatching her up by the collar of her lab coat, pinning her to the wall. "Way out of your time."

"Yeah, O.K. I traveled back in time. Sure." was the sarcastic reply. The wrong reply.

"Don't take that tone with me!" the purple-haired figure shouted, throwing her across the room, causing Selena to crash into the far wall with a THUD. "You, of all people, will not talk to me like that! You, of all people, who took it upon yourself to impersonate me!"

Selena just laid there on the floor for a moment, her hand to her head, dazed, before the answer dawned on her.

"Shit. You're Carolyn Trainer." She replied, looking away. She remembered now, looking through an old book on her idol, Dr. Octavius, that this woman was mentioned several times. It had to be her. "Just how far back in time am I, then?"

"Far enough to be completely out of your element." Carolyn replied, walking over to her. From Selena's angle, the angry purple-haired woman towered over her. "Look closely at yourself. Do you notice something missing?"

Selena thought for a moment, before realizing that her own actuators, which she had modeled on both of their respective idol's, were missing.

"Oh, shit." she muttered, realizing how much trouble she was in. "They didn't transfer when I did, did they?"

"Of course not." Carolyn said, rolling her eyes. "It's technology from the future, you imbecile. They are more than likely too technologically-advanced to be found in this time. If you were any kind of genius, you would have surmised this on your own."

Selena's only reply to this was to slam her all-too-mortal fist onto the floor.

"So, what now? You kill me or something?"

"Perhaps." Carolyn answered, turning her back on the imposter, walking over to a computer across the room. One actuator kept an eye on Selena as their master typed a few commands into the keyboard. "For now, I think I'll keep you locked in this room over here." Even as she said that, a door hissed open pneumatically, revealing a windowless chamber that appeared to be inescapable. "I'm sure I can find some kind of use for a third-rate imposter like you."

"Third-rate!" Selena shouted, obviously forgetting that she was unarmed. "Who are you calling-"

She was taken completely by surprise when Carolyn snatched her up once more with an actuator, without even turning around, and drew her close.

"I believe I was talking to you, Patel." She said, finally turning around, backhanding Selena across the jaw roughly. "And if you have any hope of surviving through the days to come, I would take this opportunity to silence yourself." With those final words, Carolyn threw Selena in the prison chamber and slammed the door shut, leaving her captive to pound on the door feebly.

-To be continued…