Chapter 4: Devolution, Part One
Breaking into a police morgue isnt easy. Its even harder in New York; the NYPD precincts have all of these crazy security systems designed by Tony Stark. To get through those, youre going to have to shell out some major dough, money I dont have.
So getting a look at the body is out of the question. That right there is a major obstacle; if I cant see Ravages corpse, then how am I supposed to gauge whats different about him?
Come to think of it, hes a two-ton green man; would I be able to tell anyway? Im not a doctor, Im not a scientist, Im an engineer. Hed just be a big green lump of dead flesh to me.
Im trying to be a detective now. First a superhero, then a murderer, and now, two days later, a gumshoe. Who says a midlife crisis doesnt lead to any real change?
Im up on a gargoyle, twelve stories above the Tenth Street Precinct, and suddenly I realize Im posing; once you start up, this superhero bullshit comes natural.
So where do I go from here? Should I just go home, jerk off and go to bed, wait for the next call from Tombstone, or ?
And then my problem solves itself: Venom drops past me from above.
I dont know if you know this, but Venom aint Venom no more. The weird goop that used to cover that hapless schmuck Eddie Brock? Its changed hosts; now its on unrepentant scare-the-fuck-out-of-you-psycho Mac Gargan, formerly known as the Scorpion.
So now hes this sort of Lovecraftian-nightmare; imagine a lithe Venom with a scorpion tail.
What hes doing here, I dont know; last I heard he got a building dropped on him by Spider-Man, and it served as an example to the rest of us: No matter how much stronger you get, no matter how much you improve, no matter how many new weapons you buy, the Webslinger is still gonna kick your
Theres an explosion from below, followed by the pit-pat-pow of gunfire.
Holy hell. Hes ATTACKING the police station. I actually laugh out loud at the sheer balls-to-the-wall insanity of the situation, before I realize that laughing is not really the superheroic thing to do.
I need to go help. Because if I go help, in the chaos I can probably get to the morgue. Everybody wins. I smash through an apartment window, jump over kid playing with a toy train, shove aside a stay-at-home mom, blast their door off the hinges, run out into the hallway and ring for the elevator. And I wait. And I wait. And I wait.
And I wait.
I jump down the stairs four at a time, and Im already winded by the time I get down to the sixth floor. By the lobby Im drenched with sweat, and panting through the mask. I race through the lobby, ignoring the terrified shouts from those around me. I blow the revolving door to pieces, and skid on my heels out into the street.
Its a war zone; Scorpion, pardon me, VENOM has torn the front of the station apart. Hes taking his time, too, killing every officer who engages him. The black glop makes him bullet-proof, and he knows it; hes not even attempting to dodge, just standing there and taking it, striking out with the tail and with goop-blades.
He doesnt seem to notice me; none of them do. No big surprise there, but it still stings a little.
The scorpion tail whips out at a young officer as he runs past me, and I instinctively yank him out of the way; Gargans tail is easy enough to predict if youve known him long enough, its all in the geometry of the thing, the arc of the whip.
Its the The young cops face sort of blanks out for a moment; the same thing I saw with Spider-Man during the fight with Ravage. Shock er? I toss the cop aside as Gargan tears his way into the front office of the station. Behind me I hear that old standard:
FREEZE, SHOCKER! DROP THE WEAPONS AND I turn, instinctively raising my gauntlets, but Im just in time to see the a cop tackle his superior.
Williams, lay off, he just saved Freedman!
What? Williams the Trigger-Happy Sergeant says. Again, that dead blank face.
I think Im starting to enjoy it.
I skip over an eviscerated cop groaning for help and through the smashed front doors. Its like a butchers shop; blood and raw meat are everywhere. Gargan is destroying everything; breaking windows, smashing ceiling fans It doesnt make sense. This isnt his style; hes a one-hit, one-kill type; just like a scorpion. Hes coming at this place like a wrecking ball, and
A low, eerie hiss from down a bloodsoaked hall to my left. A primal, guttural sound. A Venom-sound.
I charge up the gauntlets.
GARGAN! I shout. Nothing. Theres a creak from behind the booking counter, and I hit it with a low-level burst. Its just enough to shatter apart the wood and plastic, revealing a crouched-down cop. In his hands is a shotgun.
Oh, sorry bud, I
The slug hits me in the stomach, and almost immediately slides around and off the suit; the impact is akin to being squirted with a water gun. On instinct I raise a gauntlet and blast him into the center of the room.
Wow. Blasting a cop; minus fifty points for the Shocker: Super Hero.
The hiss comes again, and I follow it. Evidence room one. Evidence room two. Decapitated body. Its all about following the gunfire at this point, and theres less and less of it. I go through two sets of doors, make a left, step in intestines, and now theres just one gun firing. A scream from up ahead, and then silence. A harsh ripping sound. Another. And another.
MORGUE: ROOM 1.
Do I even want to know whats behind this door?
Hey, what the hell, right?
I let of a short one and shatter the door to splinters. I immediately regret it.
Venom sits crouched on top of Ravages body, which lies on top of an oversized examination table. Hes tearing him apart, tossing aside organs, bones and muscle tissue. The smell is awful; Venoms smell, that sickly sweet sugary smell, mixed with the charred body odor of hulk, mixed with that general hospital-chemical-dirt smell of a morgue.
I speak before I can stop myself.
Mac, what the FUCK are you doing?
Venoms head whips up at me, and I realize immediately that Mac cant hear me; I might as well me talking to a chainsaw.
Hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmunnnn it says, and leaps up off Ravages corpse to the ceiling, where it sticks, Spider-Man style, staring down at me. The tail floats around in the air, waiting to strike.
Mac Venom I
What do I say? That I have to ask him to leave? How do you explain that youre suddenly on the other side? It hisses at me, questioning, and suddenly the tail tenses. I skip the gauntlets up to Maximum power.
Mac, dont even try. Yeah, real tough, Herman. Ive never had the gauntlets powered up this high before Thats a lie. and I have no idea what theyd do to you. Thats the truth; even with the black gloop, venom is still an average-sized person. They might just implode him, and two murders in three days isnt the
The tail smacks me in the face so hard that for a moment I see stars. The impact wouldve killed a normal person; lucky me, the mask knocks my injuries down to what feels like a broken nose. I howl and stumble back, one hand grasping at my face like a wounded child, the other raised.
Even with an injury, I still have no problem aiming my shot; at this point, its like the gauntlets are part of me. Its all intuitive.
Venom gets this wonderful OH FUCK look on his face right before the blast hits him; what I wouldnt have given for a goddamn Polaroid camera right then.
The hit doesnt just throw Venom off Ravage; it smashes him through the wall, through a storage room, through another wall and out onto the street. It also shatters every glass item in the room, and manages to flip dead Ravage off the table, spilling his organs all over the place, and
Wait, what is that?
Still clutching my nose, I go over and kneel down next Ravages enormous head. Plain as day: theres a spot on the back of his head, a simple black circle with a circumference of maybe eight inches. Is that oil, or paint, or paper, or I reach down to pull the spot off (it looks like it might be removable, and hey, if it wasnt, hes dead anyway, right?), but before I can touch the damn thing theres a shattering sound above me. A web of thick black glop hits me on the arm, and Im yanked through a hole in the ceiling, my shoulder making an adorable little pop sound as it tears itself free of the joint.
JEEEESUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSSFUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK! I shriek like a little girl as Venom takes me from sea level to two hundred feet in a matter of seconds.
Ive taken trips like these before, with Spider-Man. He yanks you up to the rooftops and shakes you a round a bit, you know, intimidation. But after the first time, you know hes not gonna drop you.
This guarantee doesnt apply with Venom. I feel my ears pop as he lets go of one organic black web and fires another.
Weeee!Kkklll!youuuu! he says, and sinks those enormous fangs into the side of my head. It feels like he bites right through my skull, but thats not possible, right?
I twist around and vibro-punch him in that drooling, tooth-filled mouth. The effect is rather more gruesome than Id intended: I literally knock out ALL of his teeth in a spray of what looks like normal, human blood. Poor Mac. He lets go of me for an instant, and I take the opportunity to shove off him with my legs, sending me into a diagonal freefall, that idiot part of my brain that always takes over during fights telling me that this was somehow a good idea.
I start taking potshots at him with my good arm as I fall, but he easily swings around them, just the way Spider-Man always does.
Let me tell you, getting football-tackled out of freefall into the side of a skyscraper by a super-powered glop monster aint much fun. It shows what a strange world we live in when you realize that I probably aint the only one whos had this experience.
God, I hope thats just a fracture and not a break. The lucky thing is, I think the impact fucked him up worse than it did me; I was vibrating him the whole way, and he looks dazed. At least, I hope thats dazed, because it also looks a hell of a lot like hungry.
He tries to hit me with the tail twice, and, thanks to some impressive cowering like a hurt kitten work by yours-truly, he accomplishes nothing but busting up the concrete.
Still pressed against the building, I duck down and vibro-elbow him sharply in the stomach and shove my entire fist into his mouth. I cant think of anything Superhero-Witty to say, so I just shriek: FUCK OFF! in a distinctly girlish way, and press the trigger.
The sheer force of the hit ripples the air, and it blows that black-glop-costume right off him; it splats against the face of the sky-scraper on the other side of the street. Macs out cold, and, scarily enough, butt-naked.
At first I feel this kind of perverse victory, and then it strikes me that Im now unsupported, with one functional arm, something hurting like a bitch in my back and a broken nose, holding a naked psychopath, twenty stories up.
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