I was a good person once. A cop, a brave one at that. Yes, once upon a time I was noble and self sacrificing. So, what happened? How did I go from being a cop to one of the most wanted criminals in the world? You know, that's rather complicated. Even I'm not entirely sure how it happened. But I remember how it started. It all started with a street gang.
They call themselves the skulls. A bunch of drug dealer street trash who worship death. The thing is, their worship actually gives them a degree of power. Enough that beat cops can't handle them. It had only been a year since the War. Us cops were out manned and out gunned. Even by punk kids with baseball bats. Many of us resented the heroes, or 'capes' as they're sometimes called. I guess I was one of them.
Back then I worked Vice. I've always looked younger then I am. That's why I was assigned undercover work. I was suppose to infiltrate the skulls and act as an informant. The easiest way to do that as a woman was as a girlfriend. You see, Skulls have this thing about girls actually joining their gng. But a girlfriend may as well have full access.
That's why I was dressed all in black and wearing more mascara then anyone should that day. The day my whole life changed. It was the day my destiny was set in stone by someone else's hand. But I didn't know any of that at the time. All I'd known was that my assignment had just gotten a lot more dangerous. The boys had decided leave Paragon. And they were taking their girlfriends with them.
The chief thought this was a wonderful idea. We'd long suspected that the various gangs had major distribution centers in the Etoile islands. But there wasn't much we could do about it. Plans were started on how to extract me, and it was decided I would go with while maintaining my cover. If possible, I was to find out who the leader of the skulls was, since it was suspected he or she lived in Mercy. But you know what they say about plans don't you?
Not even a week after my arrival a group of the local cops arrested me. Somehow I'd attracted the attention of Arachnos. And they decided I would make a good soldier. I've never known why I was picked. It doesn't matter anyway. Not anymore. They did something to me during 'boot camp'. I'm not sure what it was. But after boot camp, the only thing I wanted was to serve Arachnos to the best of my ability.
That had been seven years ago. Five years of pain. Five years of loyalty. Five years of getting my ass handed to me by every would-be hero and wannabe villain in Mercy. That's how long I put up with it. When you're a wolf spider stationed in Mercy, you're everyone's favorite punching bag. I was highly trained and equipped with the latest in body armor and weaponry.
And STILL every single punk just out of the Zig was doing a damn good job putting me in a body cast. Of course I got fed up with it. So when my old friend Alan contacted me about Project Destiny, I was curious. When I heard his idea, I was excited. Finally a way to break free of the cycle. For a wolf spider, I was one of the elite already. As such I'd had a customized uniform for the last two years. My gun had been customized too. That had taken several paychecks.
Still doesn't explain how I got here specifically, I know. I'm getting to that. So yeah, I'd added my name to the 'destined one' list. Loyalty be damned, I was tired of being a punching bag. I wanted to be the one doing the beating for once. That doesn't mean I severed all ties to Arachnos. I'm a good little soldier. Or at least I was. I just wanted a bit more freedom to get some payback.
I got it too. On the lowlife scum who'd been hospitalizing me regularly for years. On fellow soldiers who'd beaten me now and then. On those holier then thou bastards from Freedom Corp. Yes, even those so-called 'heroes' felt my wrath. It's amazing what grit, determination, and a big gun can do. I've personally put dozens of capes six feet under, at least.
The count would be higher, but many of them tend to medi-port when things get too dangerous. It's damn hard to block the signal. Can't just aim for the beacon either. No two capes have it in the same place. Then again, over the years my own medi-port implant has saved my life countless times. People around the globe tremble when they hear the name Arachnid Huntress. Even the famed Freedom Phalanx knows to fear me. Or they should at least. The only one I haven't hospitalized at least once is Statesman.
So here I am, standing before Lord Recluse and his top lieutenants. I'm here to speak to my patron. It's not who you would expect though. Many would have thought I'd pledge myself to Black Scorpion. Not a chance. He's my boss. Not the person I want to work alongside for project destiny. For that I chose someone else.
Destined One, project destiny, it's a cosmic joke really. I've seen the future, and I reject it. I added my own name to the project destiny list. And through sheer force of will I altered the course of my fate. I thought this was a good thing. And maybe it is. I thought being a 'destined one' was something to desire. But after what I have seen, I want nothing to do with it any more.
No, that's not entirely true. I want everything to do with it. More specifically, I desire it's end. Recluse is a madman. Why couldn't I see that before? He'll doom the world all for a petty grudge. I'm not a good person. Not anymore. But I'm not some psychopath either. The things I care about are simple. Revenge when it's needed, and ensuring I come out on top when the shit hits the fan.
If there's a paycheck involved, I'm willing to do most anything. But even I have my limits. Order me to take out a teacher giving freakshow hope? Fine, I'll do it. Crush a cape beneath my boot heel? Show me where he is. But if you want me to risk destroying the world just for your ego trip then I'm out of here. But Recluse wont just let me walk away.
I gotta prove he can't stop me. And I know just the way to do that. All the prep work is already done. All that's left is to step through the portal and kill Recluse ten years in the future. Of course, that assumes I can actually pull this off. Might need help for this one, much as I hate to admit it. The problem is that there's no one I trust.
People I'll work with, yeah. There's plenty of those. But I can't trust any of them. And for something like this, trust is required. I need to know my partners wont betray me. That would be really bad. It could spark the war I'm trying to prevent. Sure I could hire some ninja from my childhood friend's clan. But even her I can't trust.
I've spent so long in Arachnos that backstabbing has become second nature. I'll do it at the drop of the hat if it'll be to my advantage. Hell, I already betrayed my patron once to save my own neck. And I can fully expect the same of everyone around me. I haven't acquired the power and influence I have now by being nice. I've betrayed anyone I had to, while watching my own back.
Someone plays strait with me, I play strait with them. Unless my head goes up on the chopping block. That's happened more times then I care to think about. Oh well, that's life in the Isles. Either you adapt and thrive, or stagnate and die. Me, I prefer to keep breathing. A lot of people do in fact. They tend to avoid getting on my bad side. It's healthier for them.
Okay, so no one I can trust not to betray me. Then I remember the spider bots I'd reprogrammed some time ago. I don't call upon them often. Don't need to really. But this might be a good time. But backup isn't all I'm going to need. I'll need an edge. I'm going to be fighting an incarnate. That's not something I've done before. Not a true incarnate anyway.
Before going through the portal I stop at the med bay. There I pick up three bottles of medicine. Not sure what the actual names are. I just call them greens, purples, and blues. The green pills are damn handy since each one can nearly instantly mend most wounds. Too serious an injury usually takes a couple pills.
The purple pills enhance reflexes for a short time. I usually take two before any major engagement. Sometimes I go through more though. Especially when going toe to toe with Back Alley Brawler. That man hits HARD, so I like to try avoiding his punches. The blue pills are a sort of super stimulant. Take one, and fatigue vanishes. Very handy during protracted battle.
I also get a fresh supply of serum injectors to put in my belt pouches. That stuff's useful, but kind of addictive. I try to use it sparingly. I've met other soldiers that inject the stuff as often as allowed. It quickly regenerates damaged tissue, and gives a short period of increased toughness. Burns like hell when it's injected. And one guy who abuses the serum ended up changing genders. Twenty five times. Last I heard Al can't figure out if (s)he's male or female anymore.
Okay, my belt's restocked. I have the summoning controls for my bots on hand if needed. Boy am I glad the midnight society helped me with temporal shunting of those suckers for use in the distant past. It's come in handy multiple times. And my communicator is beeping. With a sigh I open the com channel. May as well find out which XO is calling this time, and what they want.
"Arachnid Huntress, report to barracks D-7 recreation room for mandatory television viewing."
Just freaking great. Ever since Doc Aeon submitted a report detailing how watching tv improved moral and productivity we've been subjected to ten hours of mandatory tv watching a week. Approved by Lord Recluse of course. I find it annoying as hell. It'd be one thing if the mandatory viewing was the same times each week. But it's not. Sure last month I caught an episode of this interesting crime drama called Widow's Bite. But I've not been able to catch that show since.
Today's forced television viewing looks to be rather insipid. For one thing, the damn thing is set to Lifetime channel today. Not that we can change the channel. It's behind a sheet of armored glass, and no one knows where the remote is. Let alone how the stupid thing gets turned on. Then a movie starts. One of The Worst ones in my opinion. 'It's A Wonderful Life' is not my idea of a good movie. Not anymore. But I have to watch this drivel.
That's when it happens. The drivel takes a turn for the odd. Suddenly the characters are being chased by paramilitary goons. And is that, yes it is... What is Father Bone doing in this movie? Suddenly I'm no longer bored. This has Interesting Events written all over it. Maybe I should investigate later. Something decidedly odd is going on. Maybe as odd as radio stations no one else can hear that give sound information on various clandestine events.
The rest of the movie was rather dull. After my friend Bone had left the screen, it was an hour and a half of empty scenery. Oh, and the occasional commercial break. I used the time to debate battle strategies. I'd never seen Recluse fight. No one I know had in fact witnessed this. Then again I'm not friends with any bane spiders. Can't stand them personally. The whole lot creep me out.
I mean, seriously. It's like they almost have a hive mind. Every bane I've met only has minor personality differences. Half of them can't even remember their own name. When I got my crab spider backpack grafted on I felt intense pride. But Earl Sanders had been promoted to bane spider. When he came back from the training he was completely different. It was like Earl had lost a part of himself.
No more delaying. Soon I'll have to face the music. Live or die, it's time to find out if I really am able to change destiny. I'm wearing my strongest armor, not that it'll likely do me any good. I'm fully geared up. As I step through the portal for what may well be the last time I can't help but wonder. How did I get to this point again? How did I go from being a cop to being an infamous super villain? That's the sixty four thousand dollar question.
It's a barren wasteland now. Through a pair of binocs I spot my target standing on the ruins of Paragon's city hall. Damn that's a lot of banes with him. This might be really bad. If I fail here, I'm a goner. My best option seems to be thinning out the troops in the area first. Damn, I hate trying to be sneaky. It rarely works. Thankfully most arachnos soldiers are pretty damn oblivious usually.
I've been at this for a week now. My target knows someone is out here. He can't help but know that. I've left over a thousand corpses in my wake. Systematically I've been working through the ranks. Patrol by patrol they've been eliminated. Food's no problem. I just take MRE's from my victims. Same for resupplying my grenades. The hard part is finding safe places to sleep.
You know, I never really paid attention to how many troops we have. But now that I think about it, there might be a reason for the 'faceless minion' style uniforms. Especially for banes. It's nearly impossible to tell them apart. Maybe that's to hide the fact their numbers aren't as high as everyone believes? That's a possibility I'll investigate later. Assuming I have a later. I've killed enough soldiers, Recluse should be easy prey now.
Shit shit shit shit shit! Where the hell were THEY hiding? I'd killed everyone in the city except Recluse. I KNOW I did. But now he's got twenty banes trying to turn me into a wet smear. The pill bottles are almost empty, maybe one or two of each left. This is NOT good! My control pad beeps, informing me that the next batch of bots are prepped for immediate teleportation to my location. Another beep informs me an Omega bomb is prepped, again.
Getting low on grenades. And they are trashing my bots entirely too fast. It's not like I have an infinite supply of them. Not to mention SIX omega bombs! Just one should have been enough. Thankfully the psi signal it emits does wonders to draw those bane spiders to it. The explosion is satisflying. I reach into my satchel and withdraw the last grenade.
As I throw it I'm swallowing the last two purples. I charge at Recluse once more. We've been fighting for the last five hours. I'm getting tired. He looks like he's fully rested, still. The legs on my backpack lash out, and finally his armor begins to crumple. I pull out my assault rifle and fire a short burst into Recluse's chest at point blank range. The clip's now empty, so I stow it once more. Another swipe with my crab backpack, and the man falls dead.
Whew, it's about time. And it looks like the banes are gone too. I grab his helmet and take stock. My armor is in tatters. I can hear sparks coming from the pack. As I stagger back towards the time portal my armor begins to repair it's self. That nanite repair upgrade was well worth the billions I spent on it. There's the portal. And not a moment too soon. Remember, can't show any weakness. Armor's looking good as new. And from the looks of it, so is my pack.
I pull out a stimulant injector and jam it into my neck. The surge of energy makes me feel good as new. Cracked ribs no longer hurt. My limp fades too. Good, no weakness evident. I drop the used injector and step through the portal. One quick elevator ride later and I'm standing before Recluse. He glares at me, demands to know what I want. I throw the helmet to the ground, his future self's head still inside.
"You want a war, you'll get one. And I'll win. Again. I killed you once, I can do it any time I want. 'Project Destiny' is through. Or you are. Take you're pick, Lord Recluse." I sneer as I say the word lord.
I'm standing in the docks of independence Port once again. But this time it's different. Usually I'll have gotten myself smuggled in so I can cause some mayhem. Rob a bank, knock over some stores, kidnap some business men. Maybe even set some random building on fire. But not this time. This time I actually road a publicly chartered boat. That feels weird now that I think about it. I'm standing in line for customs so I can declare the things I brought with me.
There's several cops nearby, but they don't try arresting me. Neither do the capes that see me. Although most of them glare at me. I don't blame them. Just three months ago I was in the top three most wanted criminals in the world. Now I'm living in Paragon City. I've got a job at City of Gyros. And I spend my days off keeping my neighborhood safe. I have to wonder at times how I got here. The only thing I can come up with is this: I must have hit a turning point without realizing it. I've come full circle.
Me, a hero in Paragon City. Who'd have thought?