America, Boston, 12pm Local time
The team left the docks after calling in S.H.E.I.L.D to take care of the clean-up. They were all currently in the Boston HQ, S.H.E.I.L.D had set up. Natasha left her teammates in a large room, sitting round the debriefing table. She needed to know if they had found out anything about this gang sign. The rest of the team sat in silence while they waited for her to return. After a few minutes Taskmaster spoke up.
"So you're Wolverine's clone right?" he asked looking at X-23 curiously.
The girl didn't reply but her jaw clenched slightly. She didn't like being referred to as a clone as it only served to remind her that she was just a carbon copy of someone else. Taskmaster was just about to speak again when Psylocke quickly interrupted him noticing that Laura was getting annoyed.
"Why did you join? I'm surprised S.H.E.I.L.D asked a murdering sociopath who copies other people's skills to join them."
"I see my reputation precedes me" Taskmaster replied turning his attention to Psylocke. "Speaking of reputations who taught you ninjitsu?"
"It's a long story" Psylocke muttered.
"Well whoever it was did a good job. Your movements will make a good addition to my repertoire" he finished as he rested his feet on the large table.
"You can really copy people that quickly?" Laura asked a hint of curiosity in her voice.
"The useful bits yes. No offense but I won't be using any of yours. I don't have a healing factor and your fighting style tends to involve you getting hurt a lot. I'd prefer to stay away from that" Taskmaster answered turning back to X-23. Just then Black Widow re-entered the room hold a tablet computer.
"Well?" Laura asked following Natasha with her eyes as she sat down.
"Mexico" Black Widow said bluntly as she sat down. "The gang calls itself 'La Hermandad Silencio'. They operate mainly in Mexico and its borders. As far as S.H.E.I.L.D was aware they were a small player. Nothing big, some drugs every now and then but nothing to put them on our radar."
"Looks like the Silent Brotherhood is branching out then" Masters replied thoughtfully as he translated the gang's name into English.
"It seems that way. I've got good news and bad news" Natasha began looking at her team.
"Give us the bad news first" Psylocke said hoping whatever it was wouldn't be a big issue.
"As Taskmaster just said they are branching out and it seems they've paid a certain mercenary to protect them" Natasha began as she tapped the keys on her tablet.
"Oh please tell me it's not Wade" Taskmaster said sitting up quickly.
"No, it's not Deadpool. This guy is far worse. Have any of you ever heard of Carlos LaMuerto?" Black Widow asked. She took the blank expressions on her teammate's faces as a no. "He goes by the name Black Tarantula."
"Looks like someone's ripping off your name" Taskmaster commented as Natasha began typing something onto the touch screen.
"I assure you Taskmaster this is no joking matter. This man is incredibly dangerous" the redhead snapped back turning the screen round to reveal footage of the Black Tarantula in action. "I'm sure all aware of who Spider-man is?" The others nodded in agreement.
"I fought him once a while back his speed and agility were truly impressive" Laura commented as she remembered her encounter with the wallcrawler.
"Well this should really hit home then" Natasha said as she played the footage.
"Jeezus" Taskmaster gasped sitting up straight as he watched the video of the Black Tarantula completely beating down Spider-man. Even the mutants looked on in quiet amazement as the Tarantula took down one of the most well known superhumans of their time.
"Carlos wasn't even trying to win here. He was trying to break into HYDRA's headquarters. Spider-man was simply in the way" Black Widow finished as she turned off the footage.
"He did that without even trying? Ok now I see why it's the bad news" Taskmaster muttered.
"What do we know about him?" Psylocke asked trying to gather some information.
"Not much. Apparently he was a European who moved to Japan and got recruited by the Hand. Some people also say he was Mexican and that took an experimental formula. We don't really know who or what he is."
"So the bad news is we're probably going to have to fight a guy who beats down Spider-man for a warm up and who we know absolutely nothing about?" Masters asked not looking very amused.
"Afraid so" Natasha replied nodding.
"Whats the good news?" Laura asked moving on to the next topic.
"The good news is we've managed to track down where their main point of entrance is to the U.S. The place where they bring in all their cargo" Natasha said as she turned off the tablet. "We're going to Houston."
America, Huston Texas, 12pm Local time
"So that's the dea" the gang member said staring nervously at the man dressed in black standing in front of him. Carlos looked at the gang member sternly through the white lenses of his mask.
"That's it? You just want me to protect some cargo?"
"That's it. We've had a tip off that someone might be coming to halt our little operation" the gang member continued handing the Black Tarantula a briefcase of money.
"Fine. Give me the time and the place."
"We'll let you know that later" the man said before turning and walking out of the apartment.
Carlos sighed and placed the briefcase on the table. He didn't like doing jobs for crime syndicates but at the moment there wasn't anything else to occupy his time not to mention the money was good. The Black Tarantula wasn't a monster. Sure he'd worked for monsters many times but he wasn't the kind of person to kill without reason.
His fight with Spider-man was a prime example. Spider-man had simply been in his way and Carlos had seen no reason to kill the man as he could easily overpower him. Not to mention he had a certain amount of respect for the hero. Heck he'd even let him go during their first encounter so Spider-man could save a child. He was looking forward to whenever it was the Brotherhood called him.
He needed a workout.
America, Houston Texas, 5am Local time
"This is a bad idea" Taskmaster groaned as they hid in the shadows outside the warehouse.
"They don't know we're coming we'll be in and out of their before they even realize. With any luck the Tarantula might not even be there" Black Widow whispered.
"If you're not up for it why don't you stay here?" X-23 asked turning to Masters impatiently.
"But then who would drown out your bubbly personality?" Taskmaster answered sarcastically. Laura simply rolled her eyes and turned back towards the warehouse.
"How many people are in there?" Natasha asked turning to Psylocke.
"I'm picking up about twenty" the purple haired mutant replied as she used her telepathy to scan the warehouse.
"Ok heres the deal. We go in. Blow this place sky high and cripple their connection to America" Black Widow said looking at her team. They all nodded and followed her as she began to creep towards the warehouse.
"I've had better plans fall out of Christmas crackers" Taskmaster muttered as he followed his teammates. Black Widow and Psylocke grabbed the two guards outside the door in a sleeper hold and they passed out quickly.
"Is there anyone in the room behind the door?" Natasha asked turning to Psylocke. The mutant's eyes narrowed briefly as if she was concentrating on something.
"No. All clear" she replied relaxing. Natasha pushed the door open and they silently entered the warehouse.
The voice made the group jump and they turned to see a large man dressed in black, a white spider emblazed across his mask and a katana in his hand.
"Told you this was a bad idea" Taskmaster muttered turning to Black Widow and unsheathing his own sword.
"So how do you wish to proceed?" the Black Tarantula continued as he began walking towards them sword in hand.
"Why couldn't I sense you?" Psylocke growled her telekinetic dagger forming in her hand.
"I'm immune to telepaths my dear" the Black Tarantula answered. "It's something to do with my healing factor."
"Listen Carlos. We don't have any quarrel with you" Natasha replied looking at the masked man nervously. She knew they might not be able to beat the Tarantula in a head on fight.
"Then I'm going to give you the option to leave" mercenary answered, completely unfazed that the Black Widow used his real name.
"Shit he's not backing down" Natasha thought. Just as she was coming up with a plan Laura suddenly leapt at Carlos. The Black Tarantula smiled under his mask as the young mutant flew towards him. Hopefully this would be an interesting warm up.
"Damn it" Taskmaster growled following X-23. They needed to attack as one, not separately. The Tarantula ducked under a swipe from Laura while parrying Taskmaster's sword with his own. He span between them both kicking Taskmaster in the stomach lifting the man off his feet and sending him crashing into some nearby crates.
His left hand shot out and he seized X-23 by her face. Lifting the girl off her feet he slammed the back of her head into the ground. Carlos recognized the claws and guessed the girl might have Wolverine's healing ability so he didn't hesitate in plastering her into the concrete with all his strength. He leapt backwards doing a spin in mid-air to avoid a few bullets from Black Widow's pistol before landing feet first a few meters away.
"We have to attack together!" Taskmaster shouted pulling himself from the shattered crates. Quickly Taskmaster, Black Widow and Psylocke circled the mercenary while Laura remained out cold.
"There's three of us and one of you" Natasha growled as Carlos turned his white lenses to face her. "Surrender now and I'll make sure S.H.I.E.L.D know of your cooperation." Before he could reply Natasha felt a small sting sensation at the back of her neck and then everything went black.
"W-what happened?" Natasha groaned as her eyes flickered open. She tried to move her arms but realized she couldn't.
"Welcome back" Black Tarantula said standing over her.
"What did you do?" Natasha asked angrily turning to see the rest of her team where chained up beside her.
"I assure you I did nothing. I would never stoop so low as to use tricks in a fight" the Black Tarantula replied distastefully before turning to look over his shoulder. It was then Natasha noticed that Carlos had been joined by a group of guards. "I apologize for my associates interfering in our fight it was…..dishonourable" Black Tarantula continued. "After this is over I will have words with them" he finished, his eyes flashing angrily towards the guards who clutched their tranquilizer guns nervously.
"Well I hate to say I told you so but I told you so" Taskmaster commented from beside her.
"Shut up" Black Widow snapped back.
"WHERE THE FUCK IS HE? I WANT HIS HEAD!" a man bellowed bursting into the room. "Tarantula I heard the threat was neutralized" he continued lowering his voice and looking at the Black Tarantula. The man was obviously of Mexican origin and had tattoo's running up his left arm. He was dressed in a black suit and could have been mistaken for a businessman if it wasn't for his body language.
"There they are" Carlos muttered gesturing to the group who looked up at the new arrival disgustedly. They guessed this was the man behind the trafficking.
"Who the fuck are these people? None of these are him" the man said looking at the tied up group irritatedly.
"What?" The Black Tarantula questioned turning to the man in confusion.
"None of these are the guy we got tipped off was going to attack us. Where the hell is he?" the Mexican asked turning to the Tarantula impatiently.
"Whats he talking about?" Psylocke whispered to Natasha.
"No idea" the S.H.I.E.L.D agent replied equally confused.
"Where's who?" Carlos asked glaring at the Mexican as started to lose his patience.
"WHO? I'm talking about the fucking guy who beat up seven of my men down at the docks, stole over 1million in cash from them and has been tearing at my organization apart for the past two weeks! The guy who dresses like fucking Spider-man" the gang leader snapped.
Suddenly the lights went out leaving the room in pitching darkness.
"Whats going on?" one of the guards asked nervously trying to free a torch from his belt.
"Power cut maybe?" The Black Tarantula suggested although he was instantly on the defensive his eyes scanning the darkness. Then another voice cut through the obscurity.
"You're all dead men!"
Notes: The fight between Tarantula and Spider-man that Black Widow showed the team was the one that took place in Amazing Spider-man 436# just incase anyone wanted to know where I got that from or to get more of an idea of what Black Tarantula looks like. Also for those of you who aren't familiar with Taskmaster the suit he is meant to be wearing here is the one he used in his 2002 miniseries.