Welcome to the first Issue of Shades of New York. That's right I said Issue as in Comic Book. This story is the second side-along tale that takes place during the primary adventures of the Scoobies which we started out with Cobra Regenerated. The inaugural issue takes place in New York City during the events of Bad Eggs, two weeks have past since Cobra Regenerated and Synergous have started. There will be a few minor spoilers concerning events that we haven't seen yet from Xander's POV in Cobra Regenerated, but for the most part this issue deals with Spidey and the rest of the New York hero community. Which also includes The Ghostbusters. YAY!
Thank you Peter Griffin for that wonderful cheer. Now. The events of this story will not all tie directly into the main series of stories surrounding the Scoobies. They will be occasionally connected by news broadcast references to Super Criminal Exploits or the occasional brief cameo akin to Marvel Comics cameos of the 80's and 90's. If you enjoy the other part of this series you should love this one. And if you felt Spike got a raw deal in Cobra Regenerated and shouldn't have been dusted, well you're really going to like this story. Anyway enough. Time for you to enjoy Issue One.Dislaimer: All characters are the property of their respective owners, Marvel Comics for all thing Marvel, Columbia/Tri-Star/Sony and Dan Akroyd for The Real Ghostbusters, Hasbro Inc. for any Transformers or G.I.Joe cameos and so on. The character of Stan Lee is an homage and not based on the real Stan Lee because in Marvel Comics Stan Lee is a mutant who runs Marvel Comics on Earth Six One Six and other alternate unverse Marvel Comics branches. I have no intention of using any of these characters for a Profit. I make no money off of Fanfiction, nobody does unless they run their own site and charge fifty cents a chapter for reading or something kooky like that. I've never heard of such a site though so, yeah. No profit. All rights not mine so that about covers it.
P.S. The Characters of the Ghostbusters as portrayed in this story are based loosly on a combination of the films and the cartoon with the characters having their cartoon appearances for the sake of continuity since in Marvel U.K I believe they produced The Real Ghostbusters comics. In case you're not familiar with the cartoon Ecto-Two is a two-man helicopter. At least according to Wikipedia.
While attending a demonstration in radiology, student Peter Parker was bitten by a spider which had accidentally been exposed to radioactive rays. Through a miracle of science, Peter soon found that he had gained the insects’ powers. And had, in effect, become a human spider a costumed crime fighter some have dubbed The Spectacular Spider-Man.
Peter not for the first time wished his life could be normal as he leapt over the mechanical limb of one of his worst foes Doctor Otto Octavius, alias Doctor Octopus. True working within a team structure these days helped more then hindered, the honest fact was leading this double life was not easy and it had never been easy. Everyone in the world wanted to know who Spider-Man was, they figured he owed them that much now that he was a member of the premier super hero family.
Sue used her powers to block Doc Ock’s tentacles from hitting her while Felicia came back with the one two punch that k-o-ed the good Doc, which just left Scorpion to deal with. It was times like this they really missed Ben, but The Thing had officially retired from the Fantastic Four and Peter could respect that. Everyone being in his personal space whenever he went out in costume made him wish he could retire himself some days.
“Raaaaaaahhhhhh!” The Scorpion cried as his tail spit acid and slammed Black Cat into one of the newsstands nearby. The acid fell harmlessly to the ground sliding off of one of Sue’s force fields.
“Wow Scorpion and I thought The Lizard was the only one with a finite vocabulary.” Spidey quipped his webline catching Scorpion by the tail, dragging him close he slammed Gargan with a powerful right hook and so the fight with the current Sinister Six was over.
“A pity Rapture was preoccupied with her boy toy today, we could have used her, hey tiger?” Black Cat wondered with a wink, Peter sighed and not for the first time wished that Felicia and Mary Jan hadn’t grown into such close friends. MJ was rubbing off on Felicia and Felicia was definitely rubbing off on MJ, not that he minded the bits that were private in their bedroom, but still it got distracting.
“Time to go you two.” Sue spoke up with a cautious glance at the growing crowds, accustomed to webslinging away Peter did his best to walk normally and calmly back to the Fantasticar and sit patiently in Johnny Storm’s old seat as they drove back to the Baxter Building. He really hated these mob scenes when they got ugly, everyone trying to tear off his mask or using Ben Reilly’s name to try and get a rise out of him.
The Fantastic Four used to be the premier super hero family, it had defended the planet from countless threats until that fateful day when two of her member died trying to stop. Was it an alien invasion? For some reason Peter still had trouble remembering just what had killed his close friend The Human Torch and the smartest man on the planet. It had devastated Sue Storm-Richards, but a couple of months later when it seemed ol’ Norman Osborn was intent on totally screwing up his life even worse then usual The Invisible Woman stepped in with the Black Cat and a mutant called Rapture and completely saved his life. And more importantly that of Mary Jane Watson-Parker’s and his unborn baby girl, without them little May Parker might never have been born.
Sue rallied the four of them into the New Fantastic Four as Stan Lee dubbed it and boy had J.J.J blown his top when that happened. But good ol’ Robbie Robertson finally convinced Jameson that this was what the city needed and despite his constant claims of ‘Spider-Man the masked menace up to new criminal tricks’. He at least didn’t publicly denounce the new group; although there had been the brief rumors that he’d somehow brainwashed the trio of women into a harem of sorts to pull a daring criminal caper of some kind.
He still had trouble living down the laugh fest that little story had caused among his new teammates and his wife, and boy had Rapture gotten way to much enjoyment out of playing hell with his fantasies and showing them to the others. Sometimes he wished he didn’t have to deal with the male aspect of his life in quite such close proximity to some of the hottest women on the planet. Getting Stan to change all of Earth Six One Six Spidey’s adventures to the adventures of the Amazing ‘Ben Reilly’ Spider-Man who had an uncle Peter Barker and an Aunt Muriel Barker was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do in his earlier career, these days avoiding any mention of the bedroom around the others was the biggest challenge he had to face. And that was a real big challenge when MJ got a little frisky after a night of staying in while he went off to save the day yet again from some villain or another.
“Home sweet home.” Black Cat sighed as they pulled into the parking slot of the Fantasticar. It always amazed him that Sue could still use Reed’s inventions without feeling hurt or worse.
“You know Peter I do wish your rogues gallery would stop trying to kill you sometimes.” Sue admitted with a sigh of her own. “It would save us hundreds on dry cleaning bills alone when Lizard drools on us or Doc Ock slimes us with one of his little gadgets, or worse Carnage shows up.” She added with a smirk, pulling his mask off Peter shook his head and glanced down at the large number four surrounded by the spider emblem on his chest.
“Maybe if you hadn’t insisted on the new look it wouldn’t cost near as much. I mean if I can make these back when I was a student at ESU, well I think I could do a fair job nowadays. Franklin says I make the best costumes for him.” He quipped with a grin; rolling her eyes Sue moved to greet Mary Jane and the others who appeared to be highly unnerved about something.
“What is it Valeria, did your brother create another Counter-Earth? Or is it the Negative Zone again? I thought we got rid of that last one when we sent it into that other reality.” She muttered referring to the Counter-Earth fiasco.
“No, it’s nothing like that mom.” The teenaged blonde explained with a pained expression in her eyes. “It’s about Mister Parker and his, um Halloween incident.” She explained timidly; the residents of the Baxter building had all been informed about that particular development, somehow two weeks ago Peter Parker literally disappeared. Unlike certain other parties involved when a young girl known as Patricia Connelly dressed up as Peter Parker for one night, she’d actually and quite literally become Peter Parker.
Who’d spent a good portion of the night in a little town called Sunnydale, California minus his web slingers avoiding characters such as the Terminator and someone claiming to be Mxyzptlx of DC Comics fame.
“Peter there’s a. Guest downstairs who insists on talking with all of you. Says it’s important.” MJ informed with a deep frown.
“By guest you mean unwanted, probably cosmic level being.” Peter returned with an angry look. “So help me if it’s that Merlyn character again I’ll punch him in the nose. Well I guess we’d better get this over with.” He sighed.
Downstairs in the living room she
didn’t know what to expect; it had been a long time since she
had even seen her old flame. And she
really didn’t want to show up now out of the blue and ruin what he had going for himself now, but she
really had no choice in the matter considering Eros, Skip and Whistler were all off the clock. So the PTB had sent her, a couple of weeks late, but better late then never.
When the door opened and they all stepped in the shock and deep rooted guilt on his
face proved almost too much to bear; it quickly was replaced by anger though, anger that was justified.
“Gwen Stacey.” Felicia blurted sharing a look between the two of them; Gwen offered a very subdued smile and rose from her seat.
“Yes, it is me.” She admitted softly.
“How?” Was all Peter could trust himself to say and Gwen felt close to tears at the hurt she heard in that unspoken question.
“I am a messenger of the Powers that Be. I guess you’d liken them to God’s Middle Management branch.” She replied with an uncertainty in her tone that made it clear she didn’t understand the structure involved. “They’re kind of in charge of maintaining a balance, or defending mankind from the forces of Hell, I don’t pretend to understand how it all works. Most of the dead in heaven never meet these Powers, but because of Halloween they kind of felt you needed to know some stuff.” She explained.
“Like why Sunnydale has the highest death rate in the country.” Susan Storm-Richards remarked darkly.
“Forces of Hell.” Peter repeated dubiously. “I know we’ve had our fair share of unexplained phenomena I mean that whole Gozer the Gozarian deal Doctor Spengler told us about while we were all off fighting against Kang, but do you mean to tell me Morbius isn’t the only vampire?”
“Morbius isn’t even considered a vampire by the standards typical of the species.” Gwen informed with a grimace. “There is a lot of bad stuff out there Peter, vampires are only the tip of the iceberg, but the Powers aren’t exactly prepared to divulge all of that or even involve you. The status quo that has been established for as long as humanity has existed is completely in danger of falling apart. And.” Gwen stopped her voice suddenly gone completely, she tried to talk again only for nothing to emerge not a single solitary sound. The group as one turned at the sound of harsh clapping, Peter’s spider sense wasn’t going off completely, but it was tingling in the back of his skull.
Which meant the well tailored man standing near the window looking out on the city skyline was a danger, but not an immediate threat.
“Now, now my dear we can’t go blurting out those sorts of things. It just isn’t done.” He stated conversationally a staff appearing suddenly in his hand where none had been before, it was a rather plain staff almost a cane, but the goat’s head tip really didn’t sit right with Peter. It managed to look. Evil.
“Why are you here?” Gwen demanded seemingly able to talk once more.
“Because, The Powers that Be are no longer in charge. Their job has been delegated to another group, temporarily of course and we are attempting to clean up their mess.” The stranger informed with a winning smile. “As such their attempt to involve the Fantastic Four is no longer approved we have enough of a problem with G.I.Joe already involved and Cobra playing with forces it was not meant to no need to go mucking about with the so called super hero community such as it is. You may inform Mister Parker as to how he became displaced to Sunnydale, but information on the other things including their little scheme has now become. Need to know.” He stated smiling slyly at his clever pun.
“Alright who the hell are you?” Peter demanded fed up with the man already and he laughed at the question as though it were some big joke.
“Exactly.” Was all he said. “Proceed Gwen Stacey, but remember the stipulation.”
“Alright.” Gwen sighed and turned back to the group. “I guess I’ll just have to stick with the facts. A chaos mage by the name of Ethan Rayne cast a spell on his costumes this Halloween, it was designed to change everyone that wore one of them into the person they chose to dress up as. Rayne did it for the kicks, to mess with an old friend of his or something. Janus, the Roman God of Gateways and Keys and whatever else he’s got under his belt as far as titles go decided to interfere because.” Here she paused and eyed the stranger who shook his head at the unspoken question. “Well apparently that doesn’t concern you.”
“No, a young girl in California already has that dubious task. Continue my dear.” He said with a wave of his hand.
“The girl. Patricia Connelly, she wanted to dress up as you Peter, she idolized you because of all the pictures of Spider-Man you take. I don’t know who gave Ethan some of your old college clothes; he probably got them from Aunt May or second hand at a Salvation Army store. The point is he got them and then she got them, but well she didn’t just become you she became a mystical convergence point calling you to Sunnydale like a teleportation device.” Gwen paused to let Peter absorb this information.
“You’re saying he was drawn to that one spot, like a giant magnet.” Susan observed.
“Yes, and because of that you and Patricia occupied the same space at the same time.”
“That’s a scientific impossibility.” Peter argued.
“Scientific, but not for a God as powerful as Janus.” Gwen pointed out. “Because you both occupied the same space at the same time her body was changed into a duplicate of yours, even when the spell ended she retained all of your spider powers. She’s kind of like a new mutant now, except she can’t websling, she isn’t as intelligent as you were. I mean are, so she can’t make her own web shooters. The Powers.” Gwen tried to add only to vanish as the strange man slammed his staff into the floor all eyes turned to him.
“I did try to warn her.” He remarked with a dark smile.
“Bring her back!” Peter cried restraining himself from leaping the distance to attack him sensing that would be a bad idea.
“Do not presume you can order me around child.” He threatened. “I have been more then generous in allowing this meeting to go this far, now I warn you stay away from Sunnydale and Patricia Connelly or it will be far worse for you and your family.” He added tonelessly before vanishing as suddenly as he had appeared. The group eyed the spot where he’d been before turning back to Peter looks of concern in their eyes. For his sake he kept a tight lid on his emotions and turned to Mary Jane words wanting to be spoken, but nothing coming out.
“I don’t get it.” Black Cat admitted. “Why send Gwen here to tell us about Patricia if Peter can’t do anything for her? And what is the deal with all the mystical stuff if we’re not supposed to know why even start explaining it? I mean, Gods, Janus, Vampires and then those dropped hints about Cobra and G.I.Joe being involved. I thought G.I.Joe was disbanded?” She wondered mystified at everything that had happened.
“I don’t know.” Susan stated. “But I intend to find out, after all whoever that was said not to go to Sunnydale or contact Patricia. He never said we couldn’t do a little private investigating of our own.” She smiled slyly and made her way out of the room, MJ and Peter shared silent looks and Felicia moved to go get changed for the night. She knew when the two needed to be alone.
“You can’t do this!” Aphrodelia cried angrily at the captor of the Powers. “We aren’t out until Unicron returns.” She protested.
“Be quiet or you’ll be cast down now.” He hissed darkly, a shadow fell over him and two blood red eyes glared at him. Cowering from that gaze he backed away from Aphrodelia’s cell.
“Don’t antagonize our guests Blackheart.” The older man chastised softly.
“The old ones were not meant to return Mephistopheles.” Odin called out from his own cell.
“You are sadly misinformed old fool, were the Norse Gods still alive the true Odin would have cast you out long ago.” Mephisto stated coldly. “The Deeper Well still holds many of our brethren, but once Unicron has sacrificed your sad pathetic lot they shall return and the battle. The war will continue.” He informed poignantly.
“Satannish will kill you.” Takhisis declared prophetically.
“Not if my pawn does exactly as I intend for him to do.” Mephisto returned with a wide smile.
“You can’t mean… Angelus.” Ra exclaimed shakily, Blackheart laughed cruelly at the mention of the Master Vamp.
“Of course not.” He sneered. “Dad means your precious nigh forgotten Charles Gunn, or as we intend to call him. The first.”
“That’s enough.” Mephisto interrupted darkly slapping Blackheart across the face. “No need to give them any fuel for their precious champions’ seer.” He added. Blackheart glared at his father, but wisely kept his mouth shut.
“What did you do with Gwen Stacey?” Aphrodelia demanded; Mephisto smiled charmingly and produced a small blue orb with Gwen’s soul trapped inside, the Powers all shot angry glares at the Old One.
“She is now my servant, you should have chosen differently for your messenger to the wall crawler.” He said with a smile. The Powers grew contemplative wondering how to turn this around and send Mephisto and his son back to the Deeper Well, but currently it appeared hopeless. Jasmine however had yet to play her hand, when the time was right perhaps she could still salvage something of her ultimate goals.
Jerrica Benton frowned as she entered from the small antechamber she’d been waiting in for some time, being dead wasn’t too bad, but it did have some disadvantages. The Powers that Be enjoyed using the dead as pawns in their efforts to maintain a balance that had no business existing the way it did in her opinion.
But still so far it hadn’t been too bad; she’d tried to warn her sister about the danger of Blackrock and she’d partially visited a young man by the name of Alexander Harris in a dream to tell him to rescue one of the Autobots called Ratchet so Tara and her friends had some more help as well as told him about Scarlett’s fate if he didn’t get to her in time. Now she’d come back for her next assignment only to be left waiting for hours or what seemed to be hours and then finally let in to find nobody around.
“This is not what I expected when I died.” She admitted to herself.
“Never is.” A new voice agreed as a surprisingly handsome blonde man joined her from one of the other doorways.
“Who are you?” Jerrica questioned warily, dead people were sometimes not exactly people especially if they worked for the Powers.
“You can call me Snake-Eyes.” He replied with a warm smile. “My sister doesn’t like it much, but I’ve been using that name so long I kind of got attached to it.” He admitted with a smirk; Jerrica inclined her head in greeting and turned back to the circle of seats the Powers had always been sitting in.
“Do you suppose they’re, um, preoccupied?”
“Possibly.” Snake-Eyes returned. “The Slayer’s dealing with a pretty full plate from what I’ve gathered, the Order of Terraka plus a couple of Coil and Cobra factions. Then there’s this weird thing called a Bezoar or something that just cropped up.”
“Cobra, didn’t they disband? And what’s the Coil, I’ve never heard of that.” Jerrica asked curiously; Snake-Eyes looked downcast as he joined her up near the circular audience area.
“Cobra’s been playing possum big time and slowly on the rise. The Coil is a splinter of Cobra loyal to the dead Cobra Emperor Serpentor, they’ve got plans to resurrect him too, but right now they’re small potatoes.” He explained. “I wish I could warn G.I.Joe and stop them, but my hands are tied. I can only talk to Alexander once a year, to help him out and so far I’ve used up my visit.”
“That explains why the Powers asked me to talk to him and that’s why your name was so familiar.” Jerrica remarked with clear understanding. “Xander asked about you.” She added with a smile; Snake-Eyes shrugged and made to say something when the room grew colder and an icy chill seemed to flood every pore of his spiritual form. A wispy fog filled the room and each of the eleven chairs shattered raining splinters of debris everywhere; both of them covered their eyes for protection wondering what was going on.
The ground shook and Jerrica lost her footing sliding on the now ice covered floor, Snake-Eyes being a ninja managed to keep his own footing and stared in awe as the table sunk into the ground and four massive thrones burst up out of the sinkhole. They were made of solid black bones and covered in a thick coating of blood, three of them remained empty, but the fourth held a female form cloaked in midnight blue with leathery looking skin and eerily bat-like wings draped across her shoulders.
“Ah, two messengers for the former Powers that Sleep Eternally.” She remarked with a dark sneer sharp teeth made visible by the gesture.
“Former.” Jerrica repeated fearfully, the mysterious entity smiled broadly a sinister edge in her expression that made Jerrica’s skin crawl.
“Their time is past I’m afraid and we have been tasked with rectifying their mistakes, the Slayer and all former agents of the Powers now fall under the jurisdiction of the Hell Lords.” She stated the cold permeating the room causing both human souls to shudder with a chill. “Also collectively known as the Old Ones, you two will however still be operating as though nothing has changed. You shall be easing those still on the mortal plane to the new order of things, provided you do not attempt to sway them in preventing Unicron’s ascension.” She cautioned a dangerous glint entering her eyes.
“Demons, we now work for Demons.” Snake-Eyes stated in disbelief.
“As opposed to who you were working for before.” The female Old One countered with a audacious grin; Jerrica did not like the sound of this how could God allow such a thing.
“Ereshkigal.” A well dressed man observed as he appeared suddenly next to Jerrica causing her to feel even colder. “I see you’ve arrived.” He noted.
“Mephistopheles.” She returned with an incline of her head.
“What of Set or.” He paused unwilling to voice the name of the other member of their small quartet.
“He is having a slight problem, as you know Richard Wilkins was killed undoing all of the magics the Serpent God had intended, but he has plans to rectify this.”
“Ah yes of course, I should have known. The Serpent Crown.” Mephisto murmured before turning to Jerrica and making her blanch, recoiling in terror she wished fervently the Powers hadn’t enlisted her. “Relax child, you fall under our control only but temporarily. When your services have been completed you shall return to paradise.” He stated brushing a hand slowly through the former singers’ hair.
“There are small complications beyond Set and. Him
.” Ereshkigal spoke up with an air of dissatisfaction in her tone.
“Ah yes, her
.” Mephisto muttered dryly. “I take it she is chomping at the bit eager to escape and spread her little army across the globe; naturally she is unaware that our time truly has passed. Our powers have receded since last we controlled the Earth.” He revealed coolly.
“You don’t control it now.” Snake-Eyes growled.
“Merely a technicality I assure you.” A new voice stated.
“Doubtful Satannish.” Ereshkigal interjected before Mephisto had the opportunity. “The seals have been strengthened?” She questioned.
“Temporarily.” The new arrival informed as he emerged from the shadows, his appearance was even less demonic then Mephisto’s if it were possible. “I’m afraid we’ll need a more permanent solution to deal with her.” He added eyeing Snake-Eyes and Jerrica hungrily.
“Properly empowered one of the Slayers would prove ideal.” Mephisto noted smartly. “If we were to remove partial abilities from the current Slayers we could infuse a third with even greater abilities.”
“Bridgitte Destro and Kendra as you know are already set in stone as far as destiny is concerned.” Ereshkigal reminded. “And if we create a third it could upset the balance further allowing the seals to be broken.” She pointed out.
“Mephista is already seeing to that particular problem. A few individuals the Powers had in reserve for a big push have, shall we say, fallen into our laps.” Mephisto informed.
“That could disrupt the balance further.” Ereshkigal complained. “The Slayer is taxed enough as it is.”
“Then we’ll simply have to make another.” Satannish retorted with an impossibly wide smirk that only served to put Jerrica further on edge, this was definitely beginning to grow steadily worse. The afterlife was decidedly not what the bible claimed it to be.
Given the nature of the Deeper Well and the state of the Old Ones that any could be restored seemed almost to be a miracle, but considering that many had slowly learned of the Old Ones through Marvel Comics based in New York and creators of numerous costumed heroes and heroines as far back as the nineteen forties it is easier to believe that they could in fact return. For secretly each of the Old Ones gained back some of their power through the worship brought on by the readers of said comics.
The Guardian of the Deeper Well, Drogyn, oblivious to the four new Powers and certain other Old Ones’ escape was still currently keeping them trapped within or so he believed. This of course meant it was soon to be the work of the Slayer to fight demonic beings more powerful then the lesser species that had plagued mankind since the Old Ones lost their purchase on the Earth. One however proved to be far more of a threat that even the Old Ones refused to allow back into this world.
She who was self-proclaimed to be the First Evil, the Source of the modern Vampire and all evils, her agents were many and yet too few at times. The First was trapped in a Hell Dimension classified as level nine and called Subterranea, eight Hellmouths existed which led to this dimension sealed beneath eight Seals of Danthalzar so named because they had been created by the demon sorcerer Danthalzar many hundreds of thousands of years ago during the reign of the Gods.
One Hellmouth existed in California, the active Hellmouth underneath Sunnydale High. The other seven Hellmouths were dormant, one in Cleveland, Ohio, one in Glasgow Scotland, one in Tangiers near the Straight of Gibraltar, one in Hong Kong China, one in Cairo Egypt, one on the continent of Australia and the last located beneath Mount Olympus in Greece. It is here that one of the Old Ones has come.
Mephista the daughter of Mephisto stood beneath the base of Mount Olympus holding the medallion forged by Hephaestus himself prior to what became the Twilight of the Gods, it shimmered with the inner light of the Gods’ forge trapped within the very metal itself. She had been tasked with coming here, for it was here that all would begin.
“You can not wield that.” Ares stated appearing before the demoness, Mephista turning to the surviving God with an incensed glare.
“I know.” She spat. “To destroy the Hellmouth requires a pure soul of unselfless nobility.”
“Destroying them would upset the balance; she’ll only get out sooner.” Aphrodite pointed out appearing alongside her brother, Mephista rolled her eyes.
“The First.” She air quoted. “Can’t escape unless the balance is destroyed by the Slayer Line.” She informed. “Two Slayer’s exist now and if, if
we call another it could grant her the loop hole she needs, but not if we take care of three inactive Hellmouths. One for each of the Slayers.”
“But you have plans to eradicate them all.” Ares pointed out knowingly causing Mephista to smile broadly.
“Naturally, the Hellmouths are the only access points to Subterranea. Eliminate them and the dimension is destroyed for ever along with all occupants.”
“You can’t know that.”
“It worked for the Dark Dimension and the Shadow Realm in the time of the Old Ones.” Mephista hissed. “Hence no need for a Sorcerer Supreme in our reality, the First is not coming back. Her anarchistic nature would only destroy everything and force a reset or worse get Roma involved, why do you think the Demogorge was created in the first place? No, we will dispose of her threat once and for all.” Ares and Aphrodite shared a look of distress and then both Gods chose to confront Mephista as one.
“And where do you propose to find the soul of nobility required to activate that little bauble?” The God of War questioned with a smirk.
“Any souls the Powers had on standby would never be noble enough for it.” The Goddess of Love added smugly.
“Oh haven’t you heard? They happen to have acquired a few useful individuals in the last Poker game with Janus.” She revealed a small globe the soul of Johnny Storm trapped inside in a comatose state. Placing the globe next to the medallion she forced the trigger to activate; blinding, searing light speared the dormant Hellmouth and the entire Earth trembled as within a matter of seconds the first of the eight was destroyed. There was great devastation wrought, the rocks danced and fell hundreds of demonic voices cried out in abject rage and some in fear; with the Hellmouth gone so too did the soul of Johnny Storm vanish. Dispersed to the cosmos or perhaps an adjacent Hell Dimension, who could truly say. “And now for number two.” Mephista stated regarding a globe with the soul of Reed Richards trapped within, she vanished before the Gods could react.
“I hate plots that involve so much drama.” Aphrodite complained checking to make sure her hair was intact. “I think we need to get involved, find some champions of our own otherwise the Hell Lords will have the home court advantage to borrow a mortal euphemism.”
“Yes and unlike the mortals or those associated with the Powers to Die so that Unicron may live again the Hell Lords can’t stop us if we decided to get involved.” Ares agreed with a smile aimed at his sister. In a flash both Gods vanished leaving behind a crater which now spanned the depths beneath Mount Olympus, a crater no longer tainted by the stench of darkness.
Beth Maclay frowned slightly while dressing the wound on one of Charles’ demon hunters, she’d been living with them for almost a month and no one had even reported discovering the bodies of her uncle or cousins. It was curious, but frustratingly confusing as well.
Gunn had insisted she continue studying just like the rest of his crew who were young enough to attend school if not for their circumstances, it was a hard life and she had to pull her weight; still she wished she could do more at times. In point of fact she really wished she was as adept at magic as her cousin had been.
“There, now try not to get tossed through the wall next time.” She chastised with a smile.
“Right.” Mike returned the smile and headed off to his bunk; so it had been a very flimsy condemned building he’d been tossed through, but still he should have seen that one coming. Beth frowned a little and got to her feet, she was determined to learn to defend herself and help these guys just like Gunn’s sister Alonna did, so that meant training with the weapons like any other novice. Unseen eyes watched her and a Goddess smiled, she’d found her champion.
Ares scoured the globe in search of his own champion, he or she would need to be an able warrior and have the soul of purest intent he could not rely on one such as fictions depicted counterparts in alternate universes had chosen. He was not like them after all his younger days remained where they belonged, in the past still it would not be easy to find this champion among the populace of the world.
He suddenly came to a stop as he found something curious; a dark haired young man was examining the schematics of a robotic design a curiously feminine design. Ares was intrigued. Aphrodite had a human champion in mind, Janus had the boy Alexander Harris and Hercules would no doubt select a human to stand as his champion; so why not dare to be different.
Select a more bold and unique individual for his champion? He would continue to observe the teenager, if he succeeded in creating this Artificial Person Readily Intended for Lovemaking, this A.P.R.I.L. then her destiny, as far as a machine had one, would be far more then a mere sexbot.
Peter Parker perched on the top of the Baxter Building contemplating two lives, Gwen Stacey and the girl; Patricia Connelly. What could she be facing in Sunnydale? Why had these Powers sent Gwen here in the first place? What possible help did they think he could offer this girl; he knew it had to involve supplying web shooters or at least suspected something along those lines. What was with that dark feeling man too?
He hated to think what that creep was doing to Gwen’s soul; it was times like this he wished their version of Earth could be a little bit more like Earth Six One Six. He could sorely use a Sorcerer Supreme to help out when it came to dealing with the supernatural, but he barely got by dealing with all the super villains he had now. If he had to handle creeps like Thanos or The Mandarin or even tangle with The Hulk on top of everything else he’d probably lose it, and besides on Six One Six’s Earth that Peter Parker hadn’t managed to save May Parker from Osborn, the sick son of a bitch.
He was amazed though that Stan Lee had agreed to use Ben Reilly’s name originally, he wouldn’t even have known about his future clone if it hadn’t been for Kang and the time travel episode. Ok sure it meant his life’s story was an open book to thousands of fans world wide, but at least somehow no one who knew Peter Parker could seem to put two and two together and come out with four.
“Problems Spider?” Felicia asked coming up behind him so to speak.
“I don’t know.” He replied. “All I do know is I’ve got to help that girl somehow, she didn’t ask to receive the spider abilities.” He sighed; Felicia nodded going along with Parker she needed him to get this out in the open because just like Mary-Jane she knew how much it had hurt to see Gwen again. He still had nightmares; MJ said as much, she was starting to feel like she was competing with her ghost. If it hadn’t been for little May Felicia was afraid Mary-Jane might have even left Peter by now.
“He did make it quite clear Spider, we can’t go to Sunnydale.” She pointed out; Peter sighed again internally and turned to face her.
“I know, I know, but.” Suddenly he trailed off as he stumbled upon a loophole, not a very welcome one, but a loophole nonetheless. “He said we
can’t go.” Peter exclaimed leaping in an arch over Felicia until he was standing next to her, grabbing her he twirled her around in a circle almost manically giddy with joy.
“Yes I know that.” She returned wondering if maybe the Spider had finally flipped.
“Don’t you see? None of us can go nobody in the room probably, and I’d wager Rapture’s included in that little warning because she’s a member of the Fantastic Four. But Aunt May, bless her soul Aunt May can go to Sunnydale and let the girl know she isn’t alone.” Peter explained laughing loudly in his joy; Felicia blinked at first she didn’t understand. What made Peter think that character couldn’t harm Aunt May if she went too, but then as she really began to think about it, it made perfect sense.
How could an elderly powerless woman possibly instruct Patricia in the use of her spider powers? She’d only found out Peter was Spider-Man two years ago. Felicia smiled.
“Spider you are definitely a genius.” She complimented. “Not as big a genius as Richards was, but still a genius. The only question is how do we convince her to go?” She wondered.
“You just leave all of that to me.” Peter returned pulling his mask back on and leaping onto the edge of the building. “See you around; tell the others what I’m doing.” He requested before slinging off into the New Your City skyline.
“I hope you know what you’re doing Spider.” Felicia shook her head and made her way back into the building to tell Mary-Jane what Peter was doing.
May Parker was beginning to feel age catching up with her she was starting to feel tired more often then late and earlier then she used to; it seemed like so long ago she’d first taken young Peter in. And now here she was an older woman and yet her nephew still looked to be in his late twenties early thirties, he’d tried to explain it to her once after finally telling her the truth about his double life. But at her age it just hadn’t taken, her nephew made her so proud though it pained her to think she had to die so soon.
Busying herself with a cup of tea May took a moment to eye a picture of her husband Ben and smiled.
“I know.” She said with that smile firmly in place. “He’ll miss me too, but age is the one thing not even Spider-Man can fight.” She stated before pulling the whistling kettle off the stove, Peter had tried to give her a new one a few years ago, but she’d insisted this old kettle worked fine. Pouring the steaming water into her cup and adding the teabag she frowned slightly as she heard the living room window open. “Hello Peter.” She greeted after a beat.
“How’d you know it was me Aunt May?” Her nephew asked incredulously, smiling she turned to find Peter in his Spider-Man suit minus the mask.
“Only you would come in through the window so quietly, Norman’s always been so theatrical and noisy and Eddie is a rather loud individual when it comes to his alternate persona.” She replied an impish glimmer from her younger days shining in her eyes.
“He hasn’t been here?” Peter asked concerned.
“Of course not, even Norman Osborn is not fool enough to mess with your tough old Aunt these days.” She stated trying to be serious and yet humorous enough all at the same time. “At least not since he phoned and told me he’d seen my last medical reports, that man should be ashamed for his past sins, but the Devil always has his due. At least Eddie is a nicer young man and does his best to help out around the house since he too discovered my condition
.” She thought to herself offering up the tea kettle to Peter.
“No thank you Aunt May, I’m actually here on important business.” Peter revealed; May smiled and indicated he should take a seat as she moved to do just that herself beginning to grow fatigued and not wishing Peter to see her like that. Peter sat across from her and began to explain all about a magical spell and a poor young girl name Patricia Connelly, when he was finished she took several moments to consider his request carefully.
“Peter I’m too old to be finding out fairy tale monsters and magical spells exist.” May admitted with a sigh. “But if it means so much to you then I’ll go and visit this poor girl, she sounds like she could use a kindly old aunt to talk to.” She said softly, the doctors had been quite clear. One year left to live, her body couldn’t take more then that and if it did it would be a miracle. She was ready though she’d led a full, rich life; there had been tragedy and hardships of course, but the love of her family however small it was had been enough for her.
It would break Peter’s heart when she told him, but she had a little time left to prepare.
“Great Aunt May, thanks a lot. I’m sure Patricia will appreciate the help too.” Peter said rushing to kiss her on the cheek. “I’ll get some things ready, not much, but enough to help you explain stuff to the girl about learning to deal with her new abilities. I don’t want that, creature, to think I’m going against his rules.” May nodded.
“I’ll be here when you get back Peter; it’ll be a few days before I can leave anyway.” She said thinking of what to tell Eddie so he wouldn’t tag along, she doubted Patricia would appreciate meeting Venom as well as kindly old Aunt May Parker.
“That’s alright I don’t think we have to worry too much about her. What kind of trouble could she get into in a place called Sunnydale?” Peter asked before putting his mask back on and leaving the same way he came in.
“Now what should I bring?” May asked herself taking a sip of her tea.
Patricia cursed her luck as she crushed another of the Bezoar’s body parts; fighting this damn thing was a pain and a half. The damndest things had to live on the Hellmouth, Oz and Jonathan were keeping the mindless students and so on busy while she tangled with a thing that looked to be twelve feet long. And why is it did it lay eggs the size of a chickens, ok how is it, it could do that?
Fed up at last with Slayer tactics Patricia leapt onto the cavern ceiling and using her spider strength punched the foundation of a stalactite, which fell and crushed the Bezoar, it wasn’t a pretty sight. All the baby Bezoars died instantly falling off their hosts, they would be burned up in the school furnace in a matter of hours.
“Bridgitte owes me for this, going off with Piper while I’m stuck guarding the Hellmouth from this kind of shit.” She grumbled avoiding the Bezoar mess as she gracefully landed back on the ground. “Still, spider sense gotta love it.” She said before picking up the sword she’d dropped and making her way back up to the others, she was going to need a long shower after this one and possibly a full day at the mall shopping for new clothes. All on Bridgitte’s new cash flow of course.
The realm of Death is a place only the dead can walk it is filled with hundreds of souls all belonging to people whom Death has claimed, some however never get over the fact that they’ve died and constantly attempt to escape such as the Mad Thinker, Puppet Master and Mole Man three former foes of the Fantastic Four.
Currently these three men are attempting to acquire the Hand of Fate; a mystical talisman placed in Death’s safekeeping due to its’ ability to turn back the hands of time and restore a lost soul to life. Naturally Death does not take kindly to this intrusion on her domain, but she understands it is a necessary evil. Super Villains can never seem to stay dead for long.
“It must be here.” Puppet Master complained digging through numerous mystical artifacts of Earth One Two Zero One Eight Five placed in Death’s care because of the limited number of heroes that actually exist on this Earth.
“Eye of Agamotto, Ruby Jewel of Cyttorak, the Darkhold, the Bloodgem, the Wand of Watoomb.” The Mole Man rattled off a list of artifacts he’d discovered. “God why does she have so much junk among the useful artifacts?”
“Hypothetically speaking at one point or another certain counterparts of alternate reality mystics may have been meant to exist here.” The Mad Thinker replied taking the list from Mole Man and examining it closely. “Hello what have we here? It would appear that a talisman is missing, see right here next to the Scythe of the Slayers there should be a small amulet called the Wrath of the Gods. Now I wonder where that could be.” He mused thinking that the Wrath of the Gods amulet could be a useful weapon to employ against the Fantastic Four.
“It was taken by Mephisto when he was resurrected.” A stranger’s voice revealed, all three men spun around in surprise to discover a demonic creature standing in the entrance of the artifact vault a strange looking hourglass shaped pendant with the design of a hand grasping the center in one of its hands.
“Who are you and how do you know that?” Puppet Master demanded.
“I am Thog, servant of the Dark Lady and traitor of the Old Ones.” The demon replied. “And I believe you are searching for this.” He added indicating the hourglass shaped pendant, this was the Hand of Fate.
“I suspect you wish to propose a deal of some kind, some task you wish us to perform in exchange for granting us our lives back.” The Mad Thinker remarked casually.
“You would be correct in your assumptions.” Thog agreed. “I will send you back to Earth and all I ask of you in return is the Wrath of the Gods be retrieved and given to me.”
“And how are we supposed to locate this amulet?” Mole Man questioned defiantly.
“This shall lead you to it.” Thog replied presenting a small golden amulet in the shape of a pentagram. “It is called the Star of Astaroth a mystical trinket designed to locate others of its type anywhere on Earth.” He explained passing the star to the Mad Thinker who examined it carefully. Mole Man and Puppet Master eyed him curiously deferring to the genius’s decision after carefully weighing the options all three men reached a unanimous decision.
“You have an accord.” The Mad Thinker stated extending a hand for the Hand of Fate; Thog chuckled and twisted the pendant upside down allowing the sands to flow.
“You will regret treachery; none betrays the Dark Lady and lives.” He warned as the sands quickly ran out and in a flash the trio of super villains vanished returning to life and the Earth. Thog left the room after returning the Hand of Fate to its resting place; it wouldn’t do to upset Death after all the Dark Lady had been quite clear on that.
Johnny Storm was in Hell, it was the only explanation for the fire and brimstone motif all around. Strangely enough though all of the demons and nightmarish creatures he could see from his vantage point appeared to ignore him, he wondered why and then he saw it, the floating continent in the sky. He couldn’t recognize it, but it was obvious that the demons were trying to invade it and were being repelled by a barrier of some kind.
“This has got to be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.” Johnny muttered to himself. “How the heck did I get here? The last thing I remember was going with Reed to attack that Cybertronian ship and then.” He trailed off fearing the memory that was his own death because of the pain. Being atomized by a laser powerful enough to level half of New York wasn’t fun or an experience he’d care to repeat, ever.
“You got sent to Hell because someone stole your soul and used it to destroy the Hellmouth, well a Hellmouth.” A stranger spoke up with an unusual accent. Johnny was surprised to find a guy wearing Greek stuff and carrying a large sword in one hand that seemed to be glowing.
“Who the heck, er, who are you?” Johnny asked moving away from the oblivious hordes of Demons and eyeing the man curiously.
“Hercules.” He replied.
“Get out.” Johnny blurted. “No way are you a Greek God or Demigod or whatever.”
“You sell your life’s story to Marvel Comics and you don’t believe that the Gods on Earth Six One Six are real? Or could have counterparts here?” Herc asked mischievously; Johnny considered his words and then shook his head.
“You don’t look or sound anything like that Herc, I mean he talks all funny.” He pointed out.
“That’s because I look like Kevin Sorbo.” Herc replied. “The me from Earth Eighty-Three Seven Nine Two. You wouldn’t know him, he’s Hercules, but nobody remembers that the Greek myths were real there and plus we don’t have those television shows here.” He explained.
“O-K” Johnny began. “Look no offense, but even if you are Hercules or Kevin Sorbo or whoever you wanna be why in the world are you here, now, talking to me?”
“That’s a little complicated.” Hercules replied.
“I’ve got time.” Johnny pointed out indicating his incorporeal form.
“True.” Herc agreed with a little smirk. “This is going to take a little time; you see to understand you need to learn about the entire big picture. And that starts almost all the way back at the dawn of time.” He said with a slight frown. “So to save time let’s have a private screening.” He insisted indicating a door in the middle of nowhere that had appeared without warning and appeared to lead to nowhere.
“Why not.” Johnny muttered heading for the door. “You got any popcorn?” He asked as the duo passed through the door. “And by the way what’s the deal with that sword?”
“Gift from Hades before he died, I’m kind of in charge of his realm these days.” Herc explained with a shrug. “And believe me there’s a lot of cleanup to do now that Glorificus and Doom started their war.”
“Doom?” Johnny repeated blankly as the door slammed shut and vanished.
Drogyn was tasked with guarding the Deeper Well and prevent the demons from ever getting out; his was a thankless task for dead demons usually couldn’t go anywhere. This however proved to be untrue. If Death wished to restore the long fallen demons then she could do so; many of the bodies of the Old Ones had remained. Fresh. But there were some who needed a human host to return and so their remains needed to be carried out, still Drogyn guarded the Deeper Well unaware that the time of the Well was no longer. As Unicron grew in power and would eventually cast down all lesser Demon tribes the Old Ones began to stir, unfortunately for Drogyn this meant his time on this Earth would soon be over.
And unfortunately for the Earth it meant spirits were growing restless; as three individuals were soon to find out.
The alarm screamed causing Peter Venkman to fall out of bed narrowly missing his nightstand. It had been a quiet few years, ok a quiet decade since they’d dealt with the Carpathian undead guy in the painting and his mood slime, but he was alert and dressed in an instant. At last some action.
“Janine what’ve we got?” He asked hopefully as he slid down the pole.
“A Poltergeist at the Waldorf-Historia and the New York Yankees are complaining about not being able to practice.” The secretary replied in her usual bored sounding manner.
“That’s it; ah man Egon and Ray can handle a Poltergeist. And what am I supposed to do for the Yankees?” He demanded disappointed.
“They’re complainin’ because a thirty foot dinosaur is rampaging through their equipment locker.” Janine explained as though speaking to a child.
“All right time to bag a lizard, yo Egon when was the last time we had a dinosaur specter?” Peter exclaimed rushing to get his proton pack.
“Technically a dinosaur is not a reptile.” Egon corrected as he joined Peter in the main hall of the old fire station turned Ghostbusters headquarters. “Although they were classified as reptiles and the Dinosaur name means Giant Thunder Lizard scientists now believe they have more in common with present day birds then reptiles so your earlier classification is erroneous.” He elaborated as he too slipped on his proton pack and adjusted his glasses. “As for the answer to your question, May Fifth Nineteen Eighty-Nine was our last encounter with a spectral dinosaur.” He replied with a quick examination of his lenses to see if they had any dirt on them.
“Whatever Egon.” Peter dismissed with a roll of his eyes. “Where’s Ray and… Ok, where’s Ecto-One?” He demanded suddenly noticing the lack of wheels.
“Ray took the car to the garage to get repaired and safetied.” Egon replied
“Oh no, don’t tell we we’ve got to take.” Peter looked up to where Ecto-Two was parked.
“It’s either that or take the bus.” Egon returned climbing up the stairs to board Ecto-Two.
“I hate that thing, damn it Egon how hard is it to get a spare car and turn it into an Ecto-Three?” Peter demanded following Egon up the stairs.
“Where would you park it?” Janine called up from her desk a playful smile on her lips.
“I’m begging here Egon.” Peter said ignoring her. “I’d even settle for an Ecto-Three that was a motorcycle anything but the damn two-seater, is this thing even zoned to fly in New York? I mean heck the Fantastic Four have that Fantasticar to get around and Spider-Man can even swing on webs, why do we have to rely on this damn thing?” He pleaded shooting Ecto-Two a glare.
“I’ll discuss it with Ray when he gets back, now hurry up. We haven’t had two calls in one day for months this could signify the start of a whole new spiritual event.” Egon was far too excited by that prospect in Peter’s opinion.
“Yeah, yeah.” Peter sighed. “At least lugging these packs around keeps us in shape.” He muttered climbing into Ecto-Two; Egon started her up and soon they were winging their way over the Manhattan skyline.
In the middle of downtown Manhattan the sky spat lightning as ugly black clouds rolled in from the East; commuters on their daily route were delayed and they weren’t happy about it, but that wasn’t the worst thing to happen.
Blood lined the walls of the Bronx subway station, in Madison Square Garden a spectral tornado tore through the park, a ghoulish looking crowd filled the bus traveling from East and Broadway to New Jersey. The Brooklyn Bridge was attacked by a glowing mutant squid and even more unnatural phenomena led to phones ringing off the hook at Ghostbusters HQ, it got so bad Janine had to bring in Louis Tully to give her a hand. Once again it looked like the Ghostbusters would be hip deep in business; the question was why was this happening now? And what new menace might rear its head this time?
Crying out in pain a spectral form rose up in one of New York’s sewers. He looked like an ordinary man in a black duster, but as he fully formed his face became distorted and his eyes shone yellow. Fangs appeared and he took a moment to calm down before trying to get his bearings.
“Where the ruddy hell am I now?” He asked of no one in particular.
“New York, Fifth Avenue to be precise.” A familiar voice stated; Spike had seen this bastard a lot the past eleven years in Hell.
“Sod off you poofter.” He spat turning to leave only to have a tendril wrap around his neck and drag him closer.
“You’re dead Spike, therefore you belong to me and I need you to oversee a little deal I’ve got cooking.” It stated pointedly.
“And why should I bloody well help you?” Spike demanded.
“Because it could mean a second chance against the Slayer and her pep squad if you succeed especially the ninja boy who sent you to hell in the first place.” Spike smiled and searched his spectral pockets for a spectral fag; of course he didn’t have any and growled his displeasure, but reached a decision.
“You’ve got a deal mate, anything to get my chance at the Slayer again.” He said. “So what do I have to do?”
Mephisto’s face soured as he saw what was happening in New York, apparently the First brokered some kind of deal with Death or perhaps as always she remained unaware of these events. After all she couldn’t be everywhere at once.
“We’re going to have to do something about this.” Satannish pointed out.
“Why must everything fall apart on our watch?” Ereshkigal complained.
“You can blame the Powers for that.” Mephisto stated.
“So what do we do?” Satannish questioned and Mephisto smiled.
“It’s really quite simple.” He began. “We help the Ghostbusters.”
“But most of the agents of the Powers won’t be free to operate until Mephista completes her task.” Ereshkigal reminded.
“Then we enlist a free agent.” Mephisto countered pulling out a gavel from the nether and slamming it down on his desk, a gout of Hellfire spewed from the ground and a form took shape within it, a form that was neither male nor female. “You have been summoned here so that your sentence may be reconsidered. We as the new Powers have full rights to reverse some of your punishments, if you agree to our demands your sentence shall be commuted and you shall be restored to a status in Hell allowing you to at least command some lesser forces once more. Provided you agree to aiding those who put you in Hell in the first place, the Ghostbusters, in defeating the agents of The First. Gozer the Gozarian how do you plead?” Mephisto demanded the former Sumerian God. Its eyes burned with pure hatred, but it had little choice.
“I accept your terms.” It said.
“Excellent.” Satannish smirked. “Then choose a form and flourish.” He added in jest Gozer appeared unamused, but selected its form and vanished in a second gout of flame.
“This will be entertaining.” Ereshkigal remarked with a wicked smile. “Free agents are always so, chaotic.” She added her teeth shining brightly as she turned to her two companions.To Be ContinuedThe Soapbox:
Well there's our first Issue. Drop us a line and let us know what you think of the adventures of the New Fantastic Four & The Real Ghostbusters. We can be reached just by clicking at the bottom of this story on the submit a review link. Thanks a bunch we look forward to hearing from you all.