Arc One. Chapter Thirty-Four. Kings Of Their Castles
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"Fucking Venom." Norman raged, throwing the expensive glass of scotch he’d been nursing against the wall of his office. He shook his head, if a brute could overpower his drones then he had no choice but to send them back to R&D for rework. He thought they were perfect, he thought they would take down both the costumed clowns with ease and he'd been proven wrong.

He needed to make sure he was at the top of his game and eyeing the case on his desk he flipped it open and lifted one of the blue liquid-filled vials to the light. He’d looked through the Archive, a collection of unsold tech, abandoned projects, and things like this, things kept hidden. It was one of the experimental formulas. A mix of different hyper intelligent species and it boosted brain capacity and cognitive reasoning.

He slotted it into an injection gun and pressed it against his neck. As the air in the gun hissed and the liquid worked its way into his brain he saw the problem, if either of them were enhanced then their senses could be heightened, the drones needed extra bafflers to filter and dampen any noise. Pulling up his chair he sat at his computer, called up his CAD program and began to work furiously on the new Slayer mark 2.

While his father worked in his office Harry had taken a car ride out to Manhattan, he stared in disgust at the food stall across from him and as Alexsi stuffed a sauerkraut covered hotdog into his mouth he even regretted coming here.

"Do you have it?" he asked as he watched the man eat and he nodded, waving the half hotdog at the suitcase by his feet

"And you?" he at least had the decency to swallow before he spoke. Harry took out the smaller case and slid it over the Alexsi "Pleasure." He stuffed the rest of the hotdog in his mouth, grabbed the smaller case and left.

Harry waited until he was back in the car before he opened the case, his mistrust in Alexsi was unfounded, the man knew if he failed he would be floating in the river by morning. Inside was a small and unimpressive microchip, but only to those with no technical knowledge. Harry had hired Alexsi and his crew to steal an Oscorp microprocessor. He could have simply requisitioned one from his father but then he would be leaving a trail for anyone to follow. This way his work could continue unimpeded.

As he drove along the streets of New York he curled his lip, small petty-minded people doing small petty-minded things. With this chip, with the work at the lab he would change the world, he would recreate it in his own image and rule as a god. The thought brought a smile to his face. In the front seat, his driver, the scientist he liked to order around stared at him in the rearview mirror and as he caught her eye he smirked at her "Oh don't worry Liv, I'm sure there's a place for you too" and then he laughed. The pain in her eyes was all too familiar to someone like him.

Driving past Midtown General, in an office covered in books and decorated with doctorates a young but highly ambitious therapist had just gotten up off her knees, graciously swallowing what her latest client had just put in her mouth. He was young, full of rage but very cute, not to mention, very rich. She didn't mind giving him some extra service as long as his father was paying the bills. 

As he zipped up his pants he smiled at her, the first genuine smile she had seen from him in a while, "Same time next week doc?" he asked as she straightened out her skirt and blouse.

"I'm sure I can fit you in Flash, maybe continue where we left off?" and gave him the same smile she just saw back, oh yes, this could be her ticket out of this place, rather than dealing with crazies and drug addicts all day.

As he walked on his new prosthetics, holding himself up with crutches while he got used to them, he felt relief for the first time. Not just the normal kind but a new sense of purpose filled him. Sure, getting sucked off in a doctors office was great but it made him realise that MJ and Parker could really go fuck themselves. So what if she was banging him? So what if he saved her and the ungrateful bitch dumped him a week after he had surgery? He knew what he needed to do, he now knew what he wanted, and while it was more of that blonde doctor it was also a greater purpose with a touch of irony. He would take revenge against Parker and against Venom, he would hunt him down and take back his life from him.

As MJ  walked to work from the audition she walked past Midtown General and felt a small pang of guilt over Flash, quickly squashed by memories of their time together.

No, he deserved it, blaming you for being hurt, being good doesn't mean getting a reward, you need to live for yourself.

Ha, that's good coming from you, we had to pry ourselves away from peter this morning so we didn't miss this audition.

hehe, but the peter tastes so good and makes us feel so wonderful 

MJ nodded to herself yes, yes he does. 

we liked the lights, the at her 

theatre Muse theatre, 

yes yes, that, we like the dress up and the makeup and the lights, very bright but everyone looks at us, do that,

MJ sighed as if it was that easy she thought, you don't get to pick if they let you on the stage. She'd bundled a dress and makeup into a bag and after the audition had quickly cleaned up and changed. Auditioning in a waitress uniform wouldn't have given a good impression and while Muse could change into any clothes she wanted turning up without a makeup bag or spare clothes would have looked weird. So she carried them with her, they all agreed that using their powers outside the warehouse, even for small things, could give them all away.

we may be able to help the MJ if she wants,

help how?

hehe, buy the cinnamon rolls and share the peter and we'll let you see, yes we will. MJ shook her head, the symbiotes were amazing, she'd never felt better but sometimes she felt it was like babysitting a child.

A child who remembers her phone said Muse and checking her pockets MJ swore, she'd left it in the warehouse and as she promised to text Peter how the audition went, she was mad at herself.

Across town, Peter was waiting by his phone when it dinged and as he checked it, he frowned, it wasn't MJ but Alexsi, asking if he could come into work today. Since the diner incident, Alexsi had brushed Peter off more and more, and Peter wondered if something had happened, that maybe one of the employees were related to a diner employee and they'd shut down for a while. He tapped on the screen and grabbed his jacket, and shook his head, he sent a text to MJ and heard her phone go off in her house, he chuckled and shook his head. Gwen was at work anyway so locking up he headed out.

The junkyard was quiet, normally there would be two or three guys walking about, maybe even a few customers but today it was empty. Peter found Alexsi sitting in his office and he waved him in,

"Hey sorry sorry, we had a new boss and uh, yeah, things got kinda quiet here huh?” Alexsi laughed and lit a cigarette. Pete hated the smell but it was his boss, "So. Pete, I know you do good work huh, what about an actual job, not just a cut but pay?"

Peter was stunned, he assumed he got a cut cause most of the stuff was stolen but actual pay was great, he'd been feeling a little behind on things but steady wages meant he could get back on track, "Sure Mr Sytsevich, sure, that'd be great."

Alexsi took a draw in his cigarette, "uh you know though, it'll uh it'll be off the books," he gave Peter a stare, the serious one he used when dealing with more troublesome clients.

"Mr Sytsevich, right now, I don't care, I kinda figure that maybe things weren't always legit but, uh, I'm fine with that". Peter looked him right in the eye. Chop shops operated all over New York, working in one was no different than working anywhere else, except you didn’t call the police if a crackhead tried to rob you.

"Fine, 300 a week, 50 more if you work Saturday and we don't work Sunday here", he looked over at the cross and dipped his head, Peter knew Alexsi was Russian and a devout catholic at that, so no Sundays was no problem.

"Great Mr Sytesvich great", Alexsi stubbed out the cigarette and held out his hand

"Great kid great, but eh, Alexsi is fine, or you know, Boss."

Peter smiled "sure thing Boss, sure thing."

"Great, come in tomorrow at 9, we'll get you started on inventory first."

Peter stood and let himself out of Alexsis office, feeling better about having some extra income.

As Peter left the junkyard Alexsis' right-hand man stepped out of the wrecks and walked into the office, "you sure about the kid?" He asked

"He's not dumb Max, if he's working here then he might be willing to work elsewhere."

"Sure, but what about the rest?" Max nodded at the container by the side of Alexsi desk

"ah, no, not him, not yet anyway, how about you, got anyone we can trust?"

"maybe, how about Toombes, Gargan or uh, Davis?"

"Those three? Toombes is older than my gram, and uh Gargan is a wack job, but Davis, I heard good things about him, maybe, let me think about it okay?"

"Sure boss sure, you mind if I make sure the kid is gonna work out though, you don't, you don't find him, I dunno, off."

"Off? Nah, he's just a kid Max."

"Yeah but, he ain't right, you know, since I got these powers I can feel things and him, he feels like a." Max shook his head, "maybe I'm wrong, yeah he's just a kid." Sometimes when Max had sensed Peter in the junkyard he was like a massive dynamo, bursting with power but today he just seemed like an ordinary kid again, he shook his head and once outside lit a cigarette, his powers must have been screwy, yeah that was it. As he finished his cigarette he dialled a number and made a call.

In a much better and nicer office, across town in one of the new developments, a man struggled and gurgled as the life was choked out of him. The body twitched one last time and as it fell to the floor the man who had just finished strangling him, some would call him a giant, wiped his hands clean with a cloth.

"Sir?" A well-dressed man came in, he was a tall African American, handsome with a goatee and moustache, and as he stared at the dead body he made no comment or expression. The man carried with him a folder, photo's, police reports, and eyewitness accounts of the attack on a diner closer to Hells Kitchen than the glass and chrome office he was stood in.

"What is it Aaron?" the giant's voice rumbled.

"I just got contacted by Max Dillon. Alexsi Sytsevich is interested in a new crew and he's invited me to join him."

"Hmm," was the only reply he got. "Do you think he was responsible?"

"Small crew, enhanced individuals, the footage shows someone matching Flint Markos description was with them, it's a possibility. Although, it would lead to questions about where he got his hands on the three enhanced that were with him."

"Do you think Alexsi was in the suit?"

"No, no one knows who the multi-limbed assailant was, nor the black-suited man who was fighting them, however." Aaron pulled out a photo from the folder and it showed a man digging through the rubble after everyone else had left. "Oscorp."

"Do you think Oscorp stole their own chip? That's a stretch, even for you." The hulking man finished wiping off his hands and after spraying them with hand sanitiser he donned a perfectly tailored white jacket. "But you know Aaron, you've worked for me for 15 years now and one thing I know is to trust your instincts. Take the offer, find out if they took my chip."

"And if they did?"

"Leave no survivors."

This chapter marks the end of Arc One.

Arc Two - Childhoods End begins next week.

A quick thanks to everyone who's reading the novel, hopefully you're enjoying the story so far and continue to do so.

and thanks to everyone who favourites and to all who comment, even If I don't reply I do read them and appreciate it.

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