Arc Five. Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Three. Power Surge
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MJ had been hesitant before but after undergoing enhancement spent a day with just Gwen until a very shaky legged Gwen hobbled from her home and begged someone else to take over, while a very happy and satisfied MJ waltzed over. “I just don't care what anybody thinks now, if I want to be in love with Gwen, then I will. I'm not afraid of it, I'm not afraid to show that to you,” was all she said once her adjustment period had ended.

With MJ having undergone the new enhancement treatment, Felicia decided to do the same. While Huntress complained she was already good enough, Felicia wanted a clean slate. The Oscorp serum had flaws and no one wanted Felicia to suddenly mutate or worse years down the line. As with MJ she had separated from Huntress and undergone a cleanse and then re-enhancement and like MJ her new powers were much more potent than her old ones.

Once the pair had been dealt with was Peter's turn. Since Peter had absorbed Monarch he felt a new sense of peace, he could just never admit that by eating a symbiote he gained not just its power but knowledge as well. His two halves had stopped warring and he now knew why his powers had always been fickle. His human and symbiote selves had fought. At first, it was Peter and the Webb symbiote but after it had been removed by Rhino, it then became Peter and himself. With no way to communicate his intentions, he was never going to gain full control of his symbiote powers without help.

The solution lay, however, not with Monarch, but the yellow gem that adorned his escape pod. From the memories he now possessed, he knew it was sent by a strange creature only calling itself ‘The Other’ and it was only by blind chance that Monarch had stumbled upon it. The ship containing the gem had crashed on the Klyntar homeworld, and the pilot, and then the gem, had been taken. Now Peter knew it was the Mind Stone, one of the Infinity Stones and contained the secrets of the universe, but Peter also knew that that kind of power came with a cost. 

As he was exposed to its radiation he felt his mind struggle to remain whole under its influence. Even if the gem was just a repository of knowledge trying to absorb a universe’s worth of information would crack even the toughest mind. He got pieces instead, a greater threat was coming but not what, a way to increase his power, but not how. Pieces of information, half plans, and part schemes all swirled in his mind and he knew that unless he did something to purge them, they could drive him mad.

The Stone was kept locked away, in a sealed box used to store radioactive materials, but nobody had any idea if it was enough. The best thing to do was use the stone and then find some way to hide it so that nobody even knew of its existence. While Peter had been exposed already, it was agreed that exposing anyone else was a risk they were unwilling to take. Peter had already discovered latent telepathic abilities no one else had, and they might be shielding him from the stone’s influence.

One thing he did theorise though, and after consulting Liv, who agreed, was that if the serum that made Liv into Superior Ock was used, Peter could use the gems radiation to do the same. With a tougher, more complete body he should be able to absorb and assimilate the knowledge better. He would become a superior Venom and, hopefully, get Shield of his back as well. He even wondered if he would glow like Carol.

Liv and Peter built a chamber in the topmost isolated office. right now it was being used for storage. Goblins armour, glider and the reactor core and remains of the harness were all stored in there, the walls thickened with not just extra plates but Peter and Gwen both sprayed thick layers of webbing and hardening fluid over the walls. With the harness, he cut a hole in the main wall and Gwen created a flexible polymer window for them to see through, triple thick and slightly cloudy, but good enough for this. It was their vault of trophies and of shame, and now it would be Peter's rebirth chamber. With the power of the gem, he would be whole again, neither Peter nor Venom, just one man.

It was a risk, and everyone knew it but after Harry, after seeing Carol fight a mutated Osborn, and Thor regain the immense power he wielded, they knew that Peter and the group were woefully underpowered. Carol had warned them before she left, there were greater threats out there, threats Peter was incapable of dealing with.

Moving everything to one side Liv had made an adjustable arm to hold the gem while Peter refurbished Liv's first chair into a suitable seat. It would be exactly as they empowered Liv, he would get an injection and Liv, from outside the office, would irradiate him with a one-second blast at a time until his system couldn’t absorb any more of either the radiation or the formula.

Gwen prepared 20 vials for them, Liv had used 5 and with Peters altered enhanced and hybrid anatomy she figured 20 would be fine. A drip bag was set up on a stand, Gwen webbed Peter to the chair, as a precaution, and then hooked Peter up to the cannula, the formula slowly dripping into his veins. With a final kiss, he let Gwen seal him into the room.

Clicking on the old headset, “Pete, can you hear me?” and he gave a thumbs-up, while they could see him and hear him, once the experiment started they were unsure he would be able to respond.

“Beginning exposure in three, two one, and start,” Liv said and pressed a  button, opening the chamber housing the gem.

Peter winced as the radiation interacted with the small amount of formula in his veins, it was a prickly, ticklish feeling that normally would have been fine, but this was his blood, the tickle ran through his veins and he couldn’t do anything about it.

We see you.

Peter strained against the bindings, not in pain but wishing he could scratch the itch that permeated his body. As more and more formula dipped in, Liv would count over the speaker to ten, expose him and then close the chamber, count to ten and repeat the process.

We know you.

At first, the tickly itch was bearable but with each vial that worked its way into his blood and each exposure, it began to burn. A small candle of fire made its way through him.

We know your secrets.

His blood became molten and his bones brittle and dry.

We hear your pathetic mind.

His skin cracked and his eyes burst as the heat boiled him alive.

Filthy thing, your pathetic species should have stayed the mud it was born from.

His heart stopped and burst in his chest as the power radiated within him.

A disgusting creature, born only to eat, to fight and you debased that even more, now only to fuck.

His brain screamed in agony as it cooked in his skull, every nerve crackling with surges of electricity.

That’s all you are good for, fucking and whoring, fighting and killing, eating and shitting.

The whole of Peter's existence was laid bare to the universe and as he felt it stare at him, his mind screamed as he tried to comprehend its entirety and for one moment Peter faded and became nothing.

Pathetic, to be so small, and to die so easily.

A small thing, just a cell spread itself and took a bite of the universe, just a small nibble, barely enough to live.

Hmm, you still linger, we will make your end quick.

Another bite gone, another part of the universe devoured.

A minor thing, give up, just die.

More and more bites were taken, more and more the cell grew, one becoming two, two to four, four to sixteen and on and on until a symbiote was slowly devouring the universe and its power.

A pest, a bug, Die DIE!

More and more, stars winked out, once beautiful nebula, dancing in the endless darkness were devoured, fueling the beast, food for the devourer.

DIE DIE DIE

As the shadow looked to the voice, it saw the thing, the eyeless thing that taunted and killed it, and as it moved, once more it began to eat.

NO, STOP, YOU CANNOT!

And with the last bite, the voice was silent.

Shrinking down further the now human symbiote looked at himself, and then at Peter. To it, there was no difference, no way anyone could tell which one was which and as the new Peter sat down in the chair, the old one took a deep breath and shouted, “STOP!”.

Liv slammed on a big red button, only added after an admonishment from Peter, and the chamber housing the gem closed over.

Checking a Geiger counter, Liv nodded and Gwen sprayed dissolving fluid over the doorway and barged inside, helping Peter to rip open his bindings. Liv came in once she was finished and shone a penlight in his eyes, lifted his wrist and checked his pulse against her watch.

“Well Peter, you used 15 vials of formula in 38 seconds. So, how do you feel?”

Peter's eyes shone, even if Liv was shining a light in his eyes and with a smile, he grabbed Liv and pulled her closer, “like kissing you,” and he pulled her in, planting his lips on hers and savouring her taste.

As they separated, he grinned at Gwen and raised an eyebrow, “don't make me come over there,” and laughing, Gwen came over and the pair also shared a kiss.

“Now, while this is heading in a direction we all enjoy, rest first Peter. Let's make sure there aren’t any side effects before you start okay?” and Peter huffed but nodded.

“Oh, and food, lots of food,” and Gwen laughed, 

“I already have pizza, and burgers, and uh, cheesecake on the way.” Once Poison had been healed Gwen discovered a dessert palace that delivered and must have eaten their entire menu in less than a week, stopped only by jumping from Peter's bed to Felicia’s, and then into Livs.

“Fine, fine,” said an exasperated Liv, "but afterwards a full medical,” and Peter winked and she shook her head. “Not that kind of medical, cheeky.”

As Peter recovered and the group celebrated his success, the light in the gem chamber hadn’t yet faded and as it touched the various trophies in the room a change began to happen. One arm of the harness shot out and struck the cover of the gem chamber, knocking it free and exposing the room to the light once more.

As the light touched the harness it sparked, arcs of electricity making their way across the remains of the arms, and one twitched and extended onto the reactor core, the glass mix of Sandman and steel still covering it.

As electricity arced from the arm to the core, the glass heated, turned red and then melted. Patterns carved themselves into the glass and the now molten steel flowed and rippled its way into them. Excess glass and metal dripped onto the hardened floor and pooled under the ever-shrinking ball, the glass now less circular and more wrinkled.

As the electricity faded, a large spark arced to the goblin armour and it powered on. “Self-autonomous mode,” it intoned to the empty room and grabbing the now colling ball the clamshell back opened and its arms swung and dropped the glass etched marble inside.

As the armour hissed and closed the whole frame stood and its eye sparked blue and then yellow. “Hmm, interesting,” came from the speakers. “Primitive but acceptable.”

“I am Electro, no, I am Sandman. NO! I am both. The ultimate fusion between the two." The armour tapped a finger on its chin. "I need a name, Ultimate Electro Sandman? No no, that's too long. Ul - Tro - Man,” said the armour as it flexed its fingers and examined itself once more. "No. Ultron. I am. Ultron"

“I think it's time to show Peter Parker something, show him that he lacks,'' and the machine paused as it stared at its armoured hand, “Vision.”

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