MANHATTAN, NEW YORK
Outside a bank, an alarm was buzzing. There were also gunshots fired. The NYPD was on the scene and they were firing on a woman wearing a green and yellow costume. The yellow portions on her mask were fashioned in the form of lightning bolts. She was, in fact, firing electric blasts at the police. This villainess was known as Aftershock.
“I told you to back off!” she exclaimed. “And now you’re gonna get it, from the daughter of Electro!”
She unleashed an even bigger blast that made the officers duck for cover. No one was watching as she took this opportunity to get away. She flew up toward the powerlines. Her body along with the loot she had taken then turned to pure energy which surged through the powerlines. The police got back up to find her gone.
“What the hell was that?” asked one of them.
“Isn’t she one of Spider-Man’s villains?” questioned another. “Where’s that web-head at?”
JESSICA AND ROCKY’S APARTMENT
Jessica sat in their living room while reading a book. There was a pile of books lying on their coffee table, all of which had strange symbols on them. Rocky entered the living room and grabbed one of the books. She cocked an eyebrow as she tried to understand what they were about. Jessica smiled and went back to reading.
“So I’m guessing no luck yet?” Rocky asked as she placed the book back down.
Jessica shifted through a couple pages. “Nothing. I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do to help him. He still hasn’t woken up yet, but he keeps sitting up while unconscious. Rocky, I feel horrible. I can’t help my brother.”
“Oh, Jess…,” Rocky started to comfort her as someone came knocking on their front door.
Rocky went to answer the door. It was Rome on the other side. She invited him in and pointed to the living room where Jessica was sitting. He walked over to her.
“Where have you been?” Jessica inquired.
“I just found out about Lucas,” he explained. “I’m sorry I should have called you back sooner. I had some family issues come up, but I should have at least called. You’re really important to me. I…”
“I’m not mad at you,” she began to tear up. “I was so worried about you. My brother is in a coma and for all I know you’re hurt somewhere in this crappy city. I can’t handle all of this!”
He sat next to her and embraced her. Rocky felt awkward standing in the living room and decided to leave the couple alone. Rome pulled back so he could wipe away Jessica’s tears.
“From now on, no matter what’s happening I’ll make sure to let you know I’m okay,” he said. “Even if it’s just a text. I wish I could have been here for you, but it’s my sister. Caitlyn’s missing.”
“What?” Jessica’s heart sunk.
The couple had been seeing each other frequently over the last eight months. They were getting pretty close. Jessica started spending time with his family. She loved his sister. It hurt her that the man she cared so much about was dealing with such a situation.
“Rome, I’m sorry,” she stated. “You haven’t found out anything?”
“No.” He lowered his head. “I’ve been looking for her. Looking for a sign of where she could have been last. But I have no answer. I feel lost.”
“That’s how I feel right now. We both have siblings that need us right now. What are we gonna do?”
MEANWHILE ACROSS THE CITY…
Aftershock dropped what she had stolen on a table. After cracking her neck, she pulled off her mask revealing her short blond hair. She looked to her left as another woman walked into the room. She knew this person as Francine Frye, an associate of the man she was told was her father. The Jackal had informed her that one of Spider-Man’s old enemies known as Electro was her true father.
“Hmm, not bad,” said Francine. “Electro would be impressed.”
“Impressed enough that he would actually see me?” asked Aftershock.
“This is a step in the right direction,” insisted Francine. “However, there is something you need to do before he will see you. There’s an item he seeks. It’s on display at the museum on the Upper West Side.”
“Tell me, what is this item?” Aftershock was curious.
JESSICA AND ROCKY’S APARTMENT
Rome took a look at the books Jessica had been reviewing. He didn’t really have an interest in magic. He was more into playing with gadgets, like the ones he stashed in his Goblin Glider or satchel. It wasn’t until he had become the Goblin that he gained an appreciation for technology.
“You might want to put that book down,” warned Jessica. “Just reading the cover out loud will leave you in a world of hurt.”
He without hesitation dropped the book back on the coffee table. It nudged another book off the table. This book landed on the floor opening a little bit more than halfway. The image on the right page caught Jessica’s attention.
“I looked at this book.” Jessica leaned down to grab it. “How did I miss this?”
“What is it?” asked Rome.
“A magical item once used by the Spider Society,” she explained. “This blue glass sphere is called the Anthriss Orb.”
She read the information that preceded the image. Her eyes widened when she realized what she could do with it. She quickly hopped out of her seat and went to look for her cell phone. Rome wasn’t too sure what she was up to.
“Do you think this thing can help Lucas?” Rome got up himself.
“There’s a possibility.” Jessica started swiping through her contacts list. “I need to find out where it’s located. There’s only one person left who was connected to the Spider Society that I can ask. Hopefully, he knows something.”
OUTSIDE THE BANK
Back at the bank that Aftershock robbed, the police are still on scene trying to sort out the mess left behind. They were all too busy, they didn’t even notice Mania drop on a nearby rooftop. She looked down to get a feel for what was going on. A tarantula popped from her costume. It crawled down and landed on one of the police cruisers.
“She said she was the daughter of Electro?” asked one officer which Mania heard through the tarantula.
“Yeah,” another started to explain. “I thought Spider-Man dealt with this stuff.”
“I was seeing more of that Araña guy lately, who I thought was a chick,” said the first.
“You never know with these people,” followed the second. “Though, I thought I heard a rumor that Araña was defeated.”
Mania looked away at the mention of the name Araña. Since the information she found out wasn’t what she was looking for she decided to leave. This did, however, give her an idea of where she should go next.
She swung off to her new destination.
LUCAS AND LYNN’S APARTMENT
She had learned where Lucas and Lynn moved to. She landed on the small balcony that leads into Lucas’s room. The door was open to let some cool air in for Lucas who still laid unconscious on his bed. She walked over to the bed and leaned down to him.
“Stop!” a voice caught Mania off guard which surprised her.
She stood back up straight so she could get a look at who was able to sneak up on her without her senses warning her. It was Elizabeth, who walked in with a fireball between both her hands. Mania hissed as she stepped back. The symbiote was extremely weak to fire.
“I don’t care who you are!” exclaimed Elizabeth. “I won’t let you hurt him!”
“What’s going on in here?!” Lynn burst in the room.
Lynn was startled by the appearance of Mania. She knew instantly from a description about her costume that this was Anya. The suit began moving around eventually turning into regular clothes and revealing Anya herself.
“Anya,” said Lynn. “I’m gonna guess you’re not back on good terms.”
“Look at you.” Anya motioned toward Lynn’s belly. “You’re as big as a house. I hope my dear Lucas has been taking good care of you, up until now of course. And you must be the girl I’ve been hearing so much about. My supposed daughter lost in time. Hmm, I don’t see it.”
“She clearly looks like you,” Lynn clued her in. “Are you that oblivious? What has gotten into you? The Anya I knew would never let someone or something control her. Get rid of that costume and come back to us. Lucas needs you right now, but not like this.”
“He needs me, aye?” Anya looked down to him. “I can help him.”
As she turned to him, Elizabeth pounced onto the bed standing over her motionless father with the fireball still in hand. Anya quickly positioned her arms pointing at Elizabeth and Lynn as if she were gonna use her webbing on them. Veronica, who was in the living room, ran in after hearing the commotion and jumped in front of Lynn.
“Leave, now!” ordered Veronica. “If you’re not gonna come back to your senses then you have no business here.”
“Hmph,” smirked Anya. “At least I know my guy has some great people taking care of him. I only came because I needed to see what condition he was in. I have no doubt Jessica is working hard on piecing him back together. I know his soul has been fragmented and she’s the only one who will figure it out.”
The others didn’t know how she knew what state Lucas was in. Anya backed up as the Mania costume took shape again.
“I saw everything,” she explained. “When you were in his mind. It freed up the memory for me as well. I remember meeting Lucas when we were thirteen when I was being watched by Sue Richards. I saw you watching the memory like a movie playing out, but you never saw the ending. The part where the Sisterhood of the Wasp kidnapped me so they could awaken her.”
Anya pointed at Elizabeth.
“Lost in time, shh,” Anya stepped out on the balcony. “Our precious cloned daughter simply returned to the proper time period she was from. Just ask Lucas when he finally wakes up.”
With that, she was gone. Elizabeth dropped on the side of her father’s bed trying to process this new information. She was a clone. This was news to her.
“I’m a clone?” she questioned. “What does that even mean? Am I not a real person?”
“No, sweetie,” Veronica stepped in. “It just means you weren’t born via natural means. Your father said your grandfather knew who you were. I have no doubt this was his doing. He combined Lucas and Anya’s DNA with his own magic to create you. It was probably part of a nefarious scheme of his that didn’t work out.”
“I’m still new to all this superhero stuff,” added Lynn. “But I have a feeling he wanted a replacement for Lucas who abandoned his position in their ranks. What better way to do that than with a cloned granddaughter who possesses the combined powers of their super parents?”
“Don’t let this clone business bother you,” suggested Veronica. “You’re part of this family no matter how you were created. I’m not even blood related to your father and we’re probably the closest cousins you’ll ever find. And speaking of, your cousin is in the living room. Why don’t you go take your mind off things and spend some time with her?”
COFFEE BEAN – LOWER MANHATTAN
Jessica looked up at the sign that read ‘Coffee Bean: Since 1962’. She hadn’t been here before. With her was Rome. Together they walked inside where she looked around until she found who they were meeting. At the table sat Ted Mankowski, alone and dressed to conceal his identity.
“You look ridiculous,” said Jessica as she noticed a pair of sunglasses that had a fake mustache attached. “Now why did you want to meet here?”
“I like this place,” answered Ted. “It has a nice charm to it. Plus, a lot of the students from Empire State University come here. I’ve seen some pretty redheads and blondes come in here.”
“You’re such a pervert,” Jessica appeared annoyed. “I don’t know how Anya put up with you while working for the Spider Society.”
“Hmm, speaking of blondes,” Rome said tilting his head in the direction of the front entrance. “That girl who walked in. I’m pretty sure that’s Aftershock.”
“That electrokinetic from the Bastards of Evil?” inquired Jessica.
“Bastards of Evil, what a name,” laughed Ted.
“Are you sure about this?” questioned Jessica. “What about the woman who just joined her?”
Aftershock, legally named Danielle Blunt who believed her real name to be Alison Dillion, walked over to a table to take a seat with Electro’s associate Francine. Rome didn’t know who Francine was or what she had to do with Aftershock.
“I don’t know the other woman,” explained Rome. “But that’s definitely gotta be Aftershock. The Jackal had her and the rest of the Bastards believing they were children of the Masters of Evil. I think Trickshot may have actually been who she claimed to be but the others were brainwashed.”
“I wonder what they’re up to, but that’s not why we’re here,” said Jessica returning her attention to Ted. “You know where the Anthriss Orb is, right?”
“Of course I do,” claimed Ted. “It’s in the Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side.”
Jessica was dumbfounded. “There of all places? Why would the Spider Society leave an object of such great magic on display where it could be stolen by one of the many villains that live in this city?”
“I don’t know, maybe they thought hiding it in plain sight would be best,” responded Ted. “I don’t know why they did anything they did. I was just the tech guy.”
“A tech guy who can’t figure out what happened to the organization he was working for.” Jessica rolled her eyes.
“Okay, let’s not do this here with the supervillain in the room,” suggested Rome. “Jess, we got the information we needed maybe we should leave.”
As Jessica and Rome left, the duo they were watching continued talking. Ted looked on curious but dared not move any closer to listen in.
Francine handed Aftershock a paper. “This is how you’ll get into the museum. This maps the electrical grid of the entire building. If you follow the way marked it will lead you to the item we seek to acquire.”
“All right, then let’s do this,” said Aftershock.
UPPER WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN – MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Across the street, Estrella and the Goblin looked down upon the museum from above. The Goblin’s glider was floating nearby.
“Are you sure you wanna do this?” asked the Goblin. “Stealing from a museum is not really what a superhero does.”
“I don’t like even thinking about it,” responded Estrella. “But if this orb can be used to help my brother than I need to take it. Besides I think it was incredibly irresponsible for the Spider Society to leave something so powerful out in the open.”
While they discussed the moral ramifications of what they were about to do, a section of the museum lite up which caught their attention. It was clear that it wasn’t natural lighting. Estrella swirled her hands around. Magical energy poured from her hands. With one final wave, a portal opened up. Through it, you could see the inside of the museum. Estrella waved her hand for the Goblin to follow her in. He hopped on his glider and did so.
“There’s only one thing I’m thinking right now after seeing that light show,” said the Goblin. “Be on your toes, babe. Being electrocuted is not something I want to experience.”
The two heroes kept hidden as they crept closer to where they saw the light. They kept behind a wall and peeked around the corner to see Aftershock standing over a fallen security guard.
“Are you serious?” asked Estrella. “Of course she’d be the one we run into. I should have suspected something was up. It always the coincidences you should watch out for.”
“You wouldn’t happen to have a spell that could contain her electrical powers, would you?” The Goblin put a hand out to call a pumpkin bomb from his glider. “Let’s handle this.”
The Goblin chucked the pumpkin bomb through the doorway at Aftershock. It wasn’t a typical pumpkin bomb though. There was no explosion. The sphere popped open unleashing cables that tangled around the electrical villain. She struggled while the Goblin and Estrella stepped out.
“So, is this what the Jackal has you doing now?” questioned the Goblin. “Stealing from a museum? I didn’t think that was his thing.”
“This has nothing to do with the Jackal!” claimed Aftershock. “And nothing to do with you!”
Aftershock was able to use her powers to slice right through the cables. She sent a discharge at the two heroes. Estrella waved her hands to create a shield of light that protected both of them. Disgruntled about their defense, Aftershock decided to make a break for it. She headed in the direction of what she sought. On a pedestal sat a clear blue glass sphere. It was the item she was sent to steal. The same item Estrella and the Goblin came to borrow.
“She’s going after the Anthriss Orb!” exclaimed Estrella.
Goblin reached for a bag that was strapped over his shoulder. “I won’t let her electric-charged hands touch it!”
The Goblin pulled an object from his satchel. It was a larger version of his razor bat projectiles. He flung it in the direction of Aftershock almost like throwing a boomerang. It seemed to miss her but she wasn’t the intended target. It pierced into the pedestal and a center circular piece began shining a bright light that was strong enough to blind Aftershock.
“What the hell?!” she yelled.
“Okay, Sparky, time to give it up,” said the Goblin. “Whatever the Jackal wants with this orb for isn’t happening.”
“Err, leave me alone!” Aftershock wildly fired off bolts of electricity.
Estrella ducked behind a stone statue while the Goblin stood with his hands out. His gloves were able to project electrical discharge of their own. He figured that he could absorb her powers. When a bolt connected his gloves did just that.
“Umm, Estrella!” he called to her. “Now might be a good time to step in. I don’t know how much longer my gloves can hold this.”
Flames began swirling behind the statue she had used for shelter. She stepped out and launched her attack at Aftershock. The villain flew back a bit, hitting the ground. As she picked herself up she was met with a large wave of water. She staggered back a bit while her powers went haywire. Estrella walked over to the orb and picked it up.
“You’re not taking this,” she said to Aftershock.
The water was helpful in stopping her for a moment. The problem now was she couldn’t control her powers. They were firing off wildly throughout the room. Estrella was struck. She felt her body go numb as she hit the ground. The Goblin’s gloves caught on fire. As he ripped them off he was struck by a bolt. They were both down as Aftershock struggled to regain her control.
“I can’t…fail here…” Estrella muttered. “Lucas…needs me.”
“Jess…” the Goblin tried to pull himself to her.
“Lucas…” called Estrella as the blue orb in her hand began to glow.
LUCAS AND LYNN’S APARTMENT
Lynn and Elizabeth sat next to each other in the living room. The younger of the two sighed, unable to think about anything other than her father. Lynn put her arm around the child and gave her a light squeeze. A couple moments went by before Elizabeth started acting strange, at least to Lynn. She stood up with a blank expression on her face.
“Elizabeth?” Lynn struggled to get up.
Elizabeth walked in the direction of her father’s bedroom and Lynn followed. The child appeared to be in a trance. When she reached her father, she placed her hands on his shoulders. Her eyes began glowing a bright blue than a blue aura began to radiate from her entire body. To Lynn, it appeared as if Elizabeth was yelling in pain but there was no sound coming from her mouth.
“What are you doing?” Lynn was afraid to move closer to the girl.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Aftershock stepped forward as she regained control of her powers. Estrella and the Goblin were still on the ground. Aftershock smiled as she inched closer.
“You made a mistake coming in here to face me!” she boasted. “Now I’m gonna rid myself of you!”
Estrella looked up at the villain, who was charging up her hands. Her head told her to move but her body wouldn’t listen. She still felt numb. Aftershock positioned her hands down at Estrella. Expecting to be electrocuted, Estrella closed her eyes. Instead of feeling a shock, she heard the sounds of someone rushing passed her.
She opened her eyes when she then heard the sound of flames crackling. What she found was her brother dressed in his Avispa costume. Aftershock flew back after being hit with a fire burst. She picked herself up while holding her midsection. She sent an electrical blast at him which he didn’t try to dodge.
“Lucas!” called Estrella.
His Avispa costume quickly changed to his version of the Araña costume. Just before the blast hit him, his blue exoskeleton appeared and his stinger popped with its own electric current. The stinger was used to guard him against the attack.
“What!?” exclaimed Aftershock.
Lucas as Araña lunged at Aftershock, jamming his stinger into her abdomen. She screamed in agony before collapsing. Estrella’s body started feeling normal again. She stood up and walked over to her brother who was still armored.
“Lucas?” She looked into his bug-eyed like goggles.
“No, Waspling, he is not in control right now,” the Spider Hunter responded through him. “He is conscious but unable to move on his own. I will release him from my control when you are ready. Be sure to get him out of here as quickly as possible. Take the Anthriss Orb with you. I understand how you feel about taking what is not yours but it is not safe here.”
Estrella nodded in agreement. With the wave of her hand, a portal opened up behind her brother. The Spider Hunter released Araña causing him to fall into his sister’s arms. She wasn’t strong enough to hold him up on her own, but luckily the Goblin was nearby to help. As he lifted him up, he could see his girlfriend tearing up.
“Jess, let’s get him home,” he said as he pulled Araña through the portal.
LUCAS AND LYNN’S APARTMENT – LATER
Lucas opened his eyes. He found himself lying in his bed within his moonlit room. He had no memory of what had just happened. He wasn’t even sure what day it was. It took a moment but he finally remembered something. There were flashes of him standing in the Baxter Building, having a friendly sparring match with the Human Torch, him saving Anya from his father’s people and then the moment they truly fell in love.
He grabbed his chest as more of his lost memories came back to him. Tears ran down his cheeks. Then an image of his father popped in his head, instantly angering him. He went to scream but was stopped when he heard a light moan. He looked to his side to see his sister sitting next to him with her back to the wall, asleep.
Within his recovered memories, he saw Jessica, Lynn, Elizabeth, and Rocky trying their best to help him while he was still comatose. He saw the part where Jessica thought she was a terrible sister. As well as the parts where Lynn showed her appreciation for him and when Elizabeth wanted nothing more than for him to love her like the daughter she was.
He placed his right hand to Jessica’s left cheek. Her eyes opened to show how exhausted she was. Despite this, she was delighted to see him awake. She grabbed his hand and placed it down. Then she used her own hand to examine his chest wound.
“No,” he said. “You’ve worried about me for too long. You’re barely able to keep yourself up. Lay down and go to sleep. I’m fine. We’ll worry about everything tomorrow. I love you, sis.”
“All right.” She lied down. “But can you do me a favor and say that to your daughter tomorrow? It would mean the world to her. I know the circumstances of her creation might not be easy for you to come to terms with, but she is your daughter nonetheless. And I love you too, good night.”
THE NEXT MORNING
Elizabeth was in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal. She heard someone walk out of their room. Expecting it to be Jessica or Lynn, she didn’t even bother looking until she felt a different presence. She glanced over to see him. Lucas walked over to her and crouched down to her eye level.
“I’m sorry I forgot about you,” he said. “I should have never let him succeed in locking away my memories. I remember now. I don’t want you to feel unwanted, it’s just hard to deal with having a ten-year-old daughter when I’m only nineteen. But I guess that’s the crazy crap you gotta deal with when your father is an insane sorcerer.”
“So it’s true?” she asked him. “I was created by a magic cloning spell using yours and mom’s DNA? I wasn’t even born naturally?”
“Yes,” he answered. “But I don’t know if you’d be considered a clone if you are the genetic offspring of ours. Now the Crimson Spider, Alejandro, he’s a clone. A weird male version of your mother. Oh, God, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a female clone of me.”
“Wouldn’t that be Aunt Jessica?” She pointed out.
“Hmm, don’t tell her that,” he smiled. “Okay, eat your cereal we got stuff to do today. I’ve been out of action for too long and we have to get your mother back.”