Shocker's Last Stand – Chapter 1

On a dark and cloudy Friday night, Herman Schultz walks from his job to his parole officer's office and contemplates his life. He thinks about the old days. From making his vibro-shock gauntlets in prison all the way to the last battle he had with Spider-man when he teamed with Hydro-man. He thinks about being a part of the Masters of Evil and the Sinister Seven. He even remembers the time he manipulated the stock market and stole a million dollars. But all that quickly fades when he thinks about where he is now: another ex-con trying to make it legit.

He walks inside and spots his parole officer sitting at his desk. "Sherman, have a seat. It's been what, two weeks now since your release?"

"It's Herman and yes."

"And you're working at the diner just up the street from here right?"

"Yes. They have me working on the grill. I'm not very good though."

"I know. I got a complaint yesterday from the owner. He says customers are getting undercooked and burnt food."

"I'm sorry. It's just a hard job."

"Yes but you need to learn and fast."

"But…"

"No buts. You need to learn or there's going to be problems. I have a lot of clients now because of the Raft being torn to shreds. Prisons can't hold the extra prisoners so the board is giving some early parole and they all need jobs. You're lucky to get such a good one."

"I know. And I am grateful but…"

"No buts, Sherman. If you lose this job you're screwed. Now how's your housing going?"

"It's Herman, and I'm living with my girlfriend right now."

"That's nice. And you're following all the curfews?"

"Yes. It's been a little rough though. Being in and out of prison and all really..."

"That's nice, Sherman. I'm sure it's a great story, but I got things to do. I'll see you again next week."

"Ok." Herman puts his head down and walks out the door.

As he steps out of the elevator, Herman notices two boxes outside the door of his apartment. He tries to use his key but the door won't unlock. He knocks on the door and hears his girlfriend yelling from inside the apartment. "Go away, Herm."

"Natalie, open the door."

"That's all your stuff. Now go."

"Nat, please." She opens the door and walks back into the kitchen. He enters the apartment and follows her inside. He tries to talk to her as she cleans up the apartment. "What is all this, baby?"

"I've had it, Herman."

"Had what?"

"I'm fed up!"

"Don't yell."

"Your shit job is not going anywhere, this shit apartment is falling apart and looking at you everyday is making me more and more depressed."

"We can work through this."

She stops cleaning and throws her hands down. "No, Herman! No. I'm sorry, but I'm never going to make it as an actress being in a relationship with an ex-con. I'm sorry. Now please, leave before I call the police."

Herman walks out the door, picks up his boxes and looks into the apartment from the doormat. His girlfriend walks over to the doorway and looks at him for one last second. "I'm sorry. Goodbye." She then shuts the door in his face.

Herman walks out of the apartment building holding his boxes and stops at the bottom of the stairs. After taking a deep breath in a crash of thunder roars above his head. He looks up and it begins to pour.

Herman drops the boxes on the floor and sits down on the steps. He looks around at the people walking by him with umbrellas and grinds his teeth to hold in the tears. A man walking by with an umbrella bends down and puts a dollar in the box. Herman looks at it and takes another deep breath.

Then he notices the pocket watch next to the dollar. He picks it up and remembers when his father gave it to him, a gift from his first day of high school. He opens it up and looks at the engraving: "TO HERMAN. NEVER GIVE UP. YOU'RE GOING TO SHOCK THEM ALL. LOVE, DAD." He makes a fist squeezing the watch. Herman then gets up and runs down the street.

Phineas Mason wakes up in his warehouse to a ringing doorbell. He rolls over in his bed and looks at the time. Four A.M. He gets up, puts on his bathrobe and walks over to the door.

Mason looks at the security cam and sees Herman Schultz standing in the pouring rain by his door. He hits the intercom. "Herman? Is that you?"

"Yeah. It's me, Mason. Open up."

"It's pouring. What are you doing?"

"I have to see you. Just open the door."

"Hold on." He opens the door and a soaked Herman walks through. Mason backs up to keep from getting wet. "What are you doing here, Schultz?"

"You remember that Shocker suit we designed that would make my old one look like a can opener?"

"Oh my God. Not again, Herman."

"Listen to me."

"No. I'm done being the Tinkerer. I'm old. And ever since that thing in Latveria I've been on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar big time. I can't do this."

"I need it. Now."

"I can't, Herman. I'm sorry. And even if I could give it to you, do you remember why we scrapped the idea? The vibrations from the gauntlets would be too strong. It would scramble your brain like a milkshake. Your internal organs would fall apart from the stress. Only a Norse God could take that kind of pressure."

"I don't care. I want it."

"Herman, I'm sorry."

Schultz takes a gun out of his jacket and grabs Mason by the collar pointing the gun in his face. "Now you listen here, old man! Either you give me my suit right now or you're dead!?"

"Herman, I'm so old I could die any second regardless."

"Give it to me!?"

"How long have we known each other, kid? I know you. You're no stone cold killer."

"Don't test me, Grandpa!"

"Look at your hand. You're shaking. You can't kill someone like this. I can see it in your eyes."

Herman lowers his gun and his head at the same time. Phineas puts his hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Herman. I am."

Herman drops to his knees crying while staring at the ground. "I need this, Phineas. I'm worthless. I've failed at everything I've ever done. And now I've got nothing left. Nothing. I want to do something. Anything. I just want to matter to the world." He looks up and Mason sees the tears running down his face. "Please, Tinkerer. Help me."

It seems like a pretty normal day for Carl Jenkins. At least as normal as it gets on a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Jenkins sits at his computer and types up mission reports all day. It's a boring job but somebody has to do it.

He types away and goes online every once in a while to talk to friends. One of his colleagues, Sandra Tremont, leans over and sees a chat box on the screen. "Oooo. Somebody's not doing their job."

"Shut up. You want to get us in trouble."

"Us? You're the one not doing work."

"I'm multi-tasking."

"Ha. You couldn't multi-task if your life depended on it." She goes back in front of her desk.

He tries to peak on her screen. "And what're you doing? Huh, little miss perfect?"

"I'm writing reports. You know why? Because it is my j-o-b, dumbass."

"Wow. You're lucky you're a girl or I would…" He's cut off by a sudden shake on the carrier. Carl looks around. "Earthquake?"

Sandra rolls her eyes at him. "You're such an idiot. How did you ever get a job here?"

"Well we got two options. Earthquake or another Hydra attack. And I really don't feel like going through that again."

Another shake rocks the helicarrier and plummet to the ground. Sandra screams. "Hold on!" After a freefall for a couple seconds the carrier slams into the New York City street skidding to a halt.

Carl grabs Sandra. "Are you ok?"

"I'll be better if you didn't grab my boob."

"Sorry. Let's get out of here."

The two go to the wall and kick the rubble out of the way. They see daylight and make their way out. Smiles grow across their faces quickly fade by the sight of a new and improved Shocker standing before them. He then points both his arms with his shiny gauntlets right at them. "Good morning, S.H.I.E.L.D. The Tinkerer sends his regards."