MANHATTAN, NEW YORK – SEWER SYSTEM
For an unknown reason we find Mettle, member of the Young Allies, as he walked through the sewers underneath Manhattan. He looked around as if he were searching for someone. All he could find was a river of filthy water and some rodents running around.
“This is so uncool,” he sighed. “Why’d that guy have to run down here? Some superhero I turned out to be. I can’t believe I let that crook get away.”
As Mettle decided to end his search, something caught him off guard. There was an explosion but it wasn’t down in the sewers. I came from above. Something was happening out on the street. He began to run through the murky waters of the sewer toward the direction he believed the explosion came from.
Part II: Tryouts
OUTSIDE THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
The clone of Spider-Man, known as Spidercide, stood surrounded by an army of his own dupes. His right hand was smoking. When he opened his fist, a kunai dropped to the ground—one of Avispa’s explosive ones. The twisted villain gave a devious grin as he looked on at his opponent.
“You’re gonna have to try harder, little boy,” he laughed. “That exploding dagger seems like a good weapon, but against me it only tickled.”
“You’re annoying,” replied Avispa. “The fact that there’s more than one of you makes it worse. You must really be a clone of Spider-Man. He doesn’t know when to quit with the jokes.”
“Why don’t you try not being so serious all the time?” Spidercide continued to laugh. “You need to lighten up. You should enjoy the little bit of time you have left in this world.”
This Spidercide swiped his razor-sharp fingers at Avispa, who jumped away. As another Spidercide sneaked up from behind, he flipped back. He landed on the back of the dupe that was sneaking and pinned him to the ground. He bounced back again and grabbed one of the Spidercide dupes and threw him at his attacker. From one of the pouches on his belt, Avispa pulled out a thin chain that he threw and wrapped around a dupe’s neck. He pulled on the other end of the chain sending the dupe crashing into another.
“All right, freak, let’s see what else you got!” exclaimed Avispa as he popped the button to one of the thinner pouches on his belt.
A small metal stick dropped from the bottom of his pouch. With a light squeeze, the ends extended to form a staff. The ends of the staff lit on fire and he spun it over his head. The first dupe to come near him got nailed across the face. This Spidercide grabbed his face and staggered back as more dupes came into attack. It looked as if Avispa had the upper hand, knocking dupes left and right, but one managed to get a hit in, slashing Avispa across the chest. Four wounds were sliced open making him grab his chest to hold off the bleeding.
“Lucas!” Araña yelled for her boyfriend.
Araña pounded on the invisible barrier in front of her. Earlier, one of the androids she fought with Armory told her that a fight was going to take place outside the museum. When the Spider Society duo arrived, they found Avispa locked within a barrier with a man claiming to be the clone of Spider-Man. Well, actually a clone of a clone. Spidercide used his powers to multiply himself. None of the heroes knew where the barrier came from but it was erected by a man on the outside calling himself Misterioso.
“The little wasp is putting on quite the show,” said Misterioso to the man sitting next to him. “Are you sure you want to get mixed up with this again? You already cut your ties with those people.”
“This nonsense involving these people,” said the man. “It’s all truly idiotic. But if I wish to control everything the world has to offer, then I must have something that’s in my favor. Soon they will answer to me, just like the rest of the criminal underworld will.”
“So why are you testing this lunatic?” asked Misterioso. “Isn’t he one of your creations?”
“He shares the likeness of one of my creations, however I did not create this particular specimen.” The shadows that blocked this man began to reveal his appearance just a bit. All that you could see was green fur.
Inside the barrier, Avispa burned his wounds shut. The Spidercides continued their assault. Avispa swung his staff around, hitting anything that came near him. Two more came after Avispa which he kicked away at his sides. As they slammed back, a number of Spidercide clones jumped upon him and held him in place.
While Avispa struggled to break free, Araña was outside the barrier, firing impact webbing that just bounced off. Armory put a hand on her friend’s shoulder. Araña stepped back, giving her some room to wind up and then run forward. Armory slammed her metal fist into the barrier only to get no result.
“I don’t know what else we can do,” Armory scratched her head. “Anya, we might need Miguel for this one.”
“I’ve been trying him but he won’t answer,” she replied while fiddling with her phone. She pulled up a phone number and hit the screen. “Ted! Where the hell is Miguel?!”
“What, no ‘hi Ted’?” he replied through the phone. “You’re always calling about Miguel but what about me? I’ve got things going on to you know. I’m a very busy person.”
“Ted, I don’t have time for this!” she yelled at him. “Now where is Miguel?”
“I don’t know, he was out training your boyfriend’s sister.”
“Jessica!” she quickly hung up with Ted and began calling Jessica. “Please pick up. Jess! You and Miguel need to get over here quick! It’s Lucas, he’s trapped in this magical barrier and he’s under attack.”
Back in the barrier, Lucas looked around at the dupes. It appeared as if everything he’d done so far was for nothing. The dupes he defeated disappeared, but as soon as they were gone they quickly came back. The original Spidercide was still able to create more dupes. That’s when he realized the original should be his target. His eyes began to burn orange.
“All hunters can sense the power of other hunters,” he thought to himself. “But that ability really can sense any power. Spider-Man’s powers are radioactive and I have no doubt this guy has the same source of power. I just have to pinpoint where all the power is coming from.”
Avispa quickly looked at every one of the Spidercides. As he looked his body started to become covered in his orange armor. Finally, one stood out from the rest. He broke free from their grasp and leapt into the air. With his stinger extended he struck down.
“What?” Misterioso noticed what was happening. “He found the original! He’s better than I thought.”
Just before he could strike the original Spidercide, his target was guarded by a dupe who took the brunt of the attack. Sparks flew as the dupes bombarded Avispa with attacks, using their razor sharp claws against his armor.
Araña looked on horrified at what she saw. He was being overwhelmed. He was pushed back to the wall of the barrier where Araña stood. The armor that protected him retracted. Araña could only watch as he was cut up by the Spidercide dupes.
“No!” she yelled. “Lucas, you have to move!”
The Spidercides finally finished their assault and returned to the original. They turned slightly when they heard Avispa start moving again. He refused to stay down.
“You just don’t know when to give up, do you?” asked the original Spidercide.
“Lucas, don’t do this!” Araña pounded on the barrier. “He’s going to kill you.”
“I…can’t…let this clown…win,” muttered Avispa before coughing up blood. “He’ll come after you.”
“You don’t have to protect me all the time,” she explained. “I can fight for myself. Take care of yourself for once.”
Araña’s eyes widened as she saw the Spidercides coming after him again. There was no way to help him. The barrier wasn’t just made to keep him in but anyone else out. Just when it looked like all hope was lost and the Spidercide dupes were diving into attack, a manhole cover was flung in the air. It fell back down and bashed a dupe in the face. All of the Spidercides turned their attention to where it came from, out from the sewer stood the massive form of Mettle.
“Looks like I arrived just in time,” he said. “So what party did I just crash?”
Mettle looked over to see the poor shape that Avispa was in. He then saw Araña standing behind him. His next move was to see what he was facing, a group of hulked-out Spider-Men flexing their razor-like fingers. Their appearance didn’t concern him one bit. Mettle was around their size and had the benefit of his skin being made of solid iridium.
“This should be a piece of cake.” Mettle went into action and punched his first dupe. “Enjoy being squashed, you spider freaks.”
“Who the hell is this guy?” asked Misterioso from the opposing side of the barrier. “And what the hell was he doing in the sewers?”
“He’s one of the Young Allies,” explained the other man. “A group we may have to deal with soon.”
On the other end, Miguel and Estrella both arrived. Estrella saw the condition that her brother was in and immediately began to cry for him.
“Lucas!” tears began flowing down her cheeks.
“Anya, what’s going on here?” asked Miguel as a Spidercide dupe was thrown against the barrier wall. “I see… A barrier was brought up by a magic user.”
“Yeah, so how do we get it down?” Araña asked him.
“We must defeat the one who created it,” he replied, quickly spotting the one responsible.
Misterioso noticed him look his way, “This isn’t good. More people have shown up and I have a bad feeling about that guy with the long hair. Not to mention this Young Ally tearing up the Spidercide dupes.”
“It would seem the little spider has more friends to worry about than I originally thought,” said the man. “Let’s go. Spidercide has proven himself to me. We’ll regroup and come up with a better strategy. It wasn’t a total loss. We still managed to take one of them out of the picture.”
Mettle thrashed around making the dupes fly everywhere. He noticed that one of them was keeping his distance. That’s when he decided to go after him. Just before he could land a punch, Misterioso recalled his barrier and used his magic to teleport himself and the other two away.
“What, they retreated?” asked a saddened Mettle. “And I was really getting into whooping some ass.”
He turned when he heard a scream. Avispa had fallen into Araña’s arm and his sister kneeled in front of him trying stop any bleeding she could.
“We need to get him back to WebCorps,” Miguel said.
“No,” Estrella refused. “I will never take him there! I would rather risk his identity by going to a hospital than…”
“Bring him to Rescue Inc. Tower,” Mettle broke into the conversation. “We have a medical lab that can take care of him.”
“Jess, he’ll be safe with the Allies,” Araña said.
Anya’s best friend, Lynn and Lucas’s cousin, Mike, were out on their first date. They went the traditional route and started off with a movie and now they’re eating dinner. They both seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“So what are your plans for after high school?” asked Mike.
Lynn let out a low sigh, “Well, my parents are pretty much forcing me to go to medical school. They’re both doctors, everyone in the family are doctors of some form. But it’s really not for me.”
“Oh, I sort of know how you feel,” he claimed. “My dad’s making me do something I don’t want any part in. But he tells me it’s necessary for me to be involved. What do you want to do?”
“I don’t even know,” she replied. “But I’d at least like a chance to explore other opportunities. I tried talking to my parents but they won’t hear it.”
“Maybe one day they’ll open their eyes,” Mike lifted his glass to take a drink. “But until then you should ‘explore’ in secret. It’s up to you to decide where you go in life.”
“So what about you?” she asked.
“I would like to explore a career in film,” he replied, after removing his glass from his lips. “Mainly in directing, I’ve been working with Lucas to get a project going. He’s a pretty good writer and has written some amazing stories. Of course we’ve had problems getting things rolling because of his ‘curse’.”
“Yeah, what’s the deal with that anyway?”
He shrugged his shoulders, “I really don’t know. I never feel anything when I’m with him.”
As they continued to talk, outside a dark figure peered through the restaurant’s windows. An evil grin grew on his face as lighting revealed him to be Spidercide. He dove through the windows. Mike reacted without hesitation by jumping over the table and covering Lynn. Anyone who could find an opening made a run for the exit. Spidercide really had no intention of hurting anyone other than these two.
“Look at the lovebirds,” Spidercide laughed. “How romantic, a guy defending his lady.”
“What’s the meaning of this?” Mike stood up, face-to-face with Spidercide.
“I’m here for the girl,” explained Spidercide. “Now get out of my way!”
“I don’t think so, ugly!” Mike attacked him but he was knocked aside sending him crashing into nearby tables.
Lynn yelled for him. “Mike!”
Spidercide stepped closer to her. She moved back until she ran out of room. She bumped into a cart as she backed into the wall knocking items off it. Mike jumped on Spidercide’s back before he could do anything.
“Lynn, run!” he told her.
She made a break for it as Spidercide threw Mike. He landed not too far away and prepared to make his move, but noticed there were still people in the restaurant.
“Damn.” He ran for Spidercide and managed to get a hand on him before being thrown once again.
Mike didn’t get back up this time. This meant to Spidercide that he was free to chase after Lynn. He turned and ran off. Unknown to him, a number of ants are shown to be crawling on his back.
“This isn’t over,” Mike said as he left the restaurant.
RESCUE INC. TOWER
Anya sat at Lucas’s bedside. He had been bandaged up and was now resting in the Young Allies med lab. She held his hand as the others left them alone. Her goggles were up on her forehead and her free hand wiped away her tears. She wondered why this happened. Why was Spidercide out to kill Lucas? Was it her connection to Spider-Man that brought this madman after the one she loved? Why him and not her?
“Anya,” Jessica walked in. “I was just with Monica. She found reports that a guy meeting Spidercide’s description attacked the restaurant Mike and Lynn were having dinner at.”
“What?” she jumped up. “He’s going after the people close to me. I have to put a stop to this.”
She looked down at Lucas, not wanting to leave his side, but she knew that if she didn’t do something her best friend could be next to end up like Lucas. Lynn didn’t have the powers he had that were keeping him alive. Jessica put a hand on Anya’s shoulder.
“I’ll watch him,” she said.
OUT ON THE STREET
Lynn was running, to where she wasn’t sure. She knew that he was coming for her and wasn’t too far from her. She had no idea how right she was. Spidercide crawled along the side of buildings with great speed. After a couple turns she found herself trapped at a dead end.
“Looks like there’s nowhere else for you to go,” he said as he appeared in front of her. “It’s the end of the line!”
“Please, don’t hurt me,” she pleaded. “Why are you after me? I’ve done nothing to you.”
“It’s nothing personal.” He extended his fingers into razor sharp talons. “Just good business.”
She covered her head with her arms as he began his attack. She closed her eyes only to hear some brief rustling before silence. She was afraid to open her eyes but had to do it. What she saw when she opened them was Spidercide’s claws wrapped in a thin chain. On the other end of it was Hormiga, hunter of the Ant Council.
“All right, arachnid!” he exclaimed. “The game ends here.”
A wicked smile grew on Spidercide’s face just before he followed with, “An ant. How funny. I was told there was a serious bug problem in New York. The perfect habitat for a spider, don’t you think? Come get caught in my web!”
Spidercide pulled on the chain bringing Hormiga down with it. He balled up a fist and hit Hormiga on the side of his red helmet. The punch was enough to knock him aside. He spun but regained his composure and straightened his body to face Spidercide. Lynn looked around for a possible exit but the only way to freedom was through the brawling costumed people. Hormiga found himself in a fast paced fist fight. When Spidercide’s hits landed it felt like he was getting hit by a baseball bat and when his own hits landed it seemed as if he did nothing.
“Damn it,” he grunted.
“What’s the matter, little ant?” Spidercide snickered. “Did you just realize it’s hopeless? In the wild, spiders eat ants. They’re the weakest of them all. If the wasp couldn’t defeat me, what chance do you have? I’m not even using my full power, like I did with him.”
“Wasp?” he thought to himself. “Does he mean Avispa? He defeated him? He’s saying that he’s holding back, that it took more skill to fight the wasp. Even when he loses he tries to show me up. That idiot! I was gonna prove to him that I’m the most powerful one.”
“You got quiet all of a sudden,” Spidercide snapped him out of thought. “Thinking of a way around me? There’s nothing you can do.”
“Don’t under estimate me!” Hormiga yelled before he shrunk down to miniature size.
“He disappeared?” Spidercide looked shocked. “What a coward.”
“The only coward here is the one attacking a defenseless woman!” yelled Hormiga again.
Some winged ants flew up in a pattern that allowed Hormiga to run along them. In the process his body became covered in his red exoskeleton, which extended the pincers on his helmet. From the last ant, he pounced over to Spidercide and struck with his pincers right on one of his shoulders.
“Ahhh!” Spidercide yelled in pain. His whole right arm became numb. He used his left arm to grab Hormiga, which he then threw. Hormiga grew to his normal size to prevent from being splattered on the pavement. He stood back up and held his back.
“Am I still a weakling now?” he cracked his back. “And there’s more from where that came from.”
Hormiga then pulled some weapons from his belt—a pair of triangular stiletto blades pointed down with a wooden grip, metal knuckle guard, and a rounded pommel. He charged forward with his arms behind him. He slashed with his left and spun to throw a kick. He used the knuckle portion to block Spidercide’s razor fingers. He then grunted as he tried to push back his opponent but found it difficult. Hormiga lifted a leg to kick him back. Quickly he followed by throwing one of his trench knives that Spidercide dodged. This sent it toward Lynn.
“No, get out of the way!” he yelled.
Lynn couldn’t move. The blade got closer and in a split second…
Out of nowhere, Araña’s webbing attached to Lynn’s shoulders. She was tugged up and out of the way of the blade that sliced through the wall behind her. Lynn nervously looked over to her savior. The first thing she saw was the red spider insignia on her white tank top and freaked out.
“Whoa, whoa relax,” Araña tried her best to calm her down. “Come on you know me. I’m one of the good spiders.”
Just before she reassure her she was safe, Hormiga came flying overhead. He was thrown by Spidercide. He crash landed and hit his head making his helmet crack open. Araña turned her attention to Spidercide. He could only smile.
“You’re supposed to be some clone of Spider-Man?” she asked. “Looks like a failed attempt to me.”
“Oh, such harsh words from a fellow spider,” he began to lick his razor fingers in a sort of perverted way. “You’re pretty hot. Are you sure you want to do this? You and me, we could have a good thing together.”
“Gross…” she held back from vomiting. “Sorry, but I already have a boyfriend. One you hurt. And now you’re going after this girl.”
Lynn crawled backward a bit to get away from the spiders. As she got close to Hormiga who was spitting up blood she noticed his face.
“Mike?” she was surprised.
“Keep it down,” he muttered to her.
“Come on, don’t pretend like she isn’t your best friend, Miss Corazon.” He laughed while revealing he knew her secret, which luckily wasn’t heard by the other two.
Anya clenched her fists. “How do you know my name?”
“I know everything about you,” he replied. “Even the bug I swatted earlier. What was his name? Lucas Garcia, wasn’t it? I was given all the information about you two so I could lead an assault against you. I knew that if I attacked you first, the wasp-boy would come to your rescue. Just like he always does. If you ask me, he’s a little too over protective. It’s what led to his easy defeat. I tricked him into thinking you were in trouble, that’s when he was trapped inside the barrier made by my new partner-in-crime, Misterioso.”
“You bastard,” she jumped down from where she was standing.
“Temper, temper,” he laughed some more. “I enjoy a good laugh, but back to business. You see now you’re all alone. No boyfriend to save you. And don’t expect the ant to help, either. Once you’re out of the picture, I can complete my mission by getting that girl my boss wants. You might not know, but there’s something special about her.”
Back upon the structure Araña jumped off of, Lynn grabbed Mike. He was still coughing up blood.
“Mike, we need to get you checked out by a doctor,” she said. “What kind of craziness have you gotten yourself mixed up in?”
“Lynn, I can’t go to a regular hospital,” he said. “They’ll discover my secret. I’ll have to tend to my own wounds.”
“Okay, let’s get you out of here for starters,” she grabbed his arm and put it over her shoulder.
The two left as Araña and Spidercide were having a stare down. She glared at him while he didn’t take the staring contest too seriously. They started their battle by both firing their own webbing at each other. It just got tangled together. Araña jumped over the blob of webbing and dove in with a flying kick. It made him step back two steps. He laughed it off. He made his move next. Attempting to get her into a bear hug he missed when she flipped to her side and clung to the wall.
“This is gonna be a wall-crawlers brawl after all,” he jumped on the wall. “Let’s see what you got, Spider-Girl!”
RESCUE INC. TOWER
In the medical lab, Jessica sat by her brother’s side. It was quiet for the moment, which allowed her to sit in a meditative trance. While like this, she prayed for her brother.
“Please come back to us.” As soon as she said that his body jerked up. “Lucas!”
“What the…?” He looked around, confused. “What is this place? I need to get out.”
“Lucas, calm down,” she put hand on his chest to hold him back. “You were hurt badly, you need your rest. We’re in the Young Allies’ building. We’re in a safe place.”
“No, those guys are going after Anya,” he jumped out of bed. “I can’t let them.”
He put a hand over his bandages. Jessica walked in front of him blocking the door. He looked at his sister determined to get passed her even if he was banged up. That’s when the door popped open showing all the Young Allies ready to take action.
“Don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere,” the American Panther, James Miles said.
Lucas dropped his hand, “This is your only warning. Get out of my way.”