New York City, NY --- 105th Precinct
Fluted slats of concrete ran up and down the walls of the NYPD’s 105th Precinct, six inches of concrete and rebar lining every wall. It had been built during the war, some kind of insurance in case the Nazis starting throwing men like Red Panzer at population centers when Wonder Woman wasn’t in play. The building was squat and ugly, five stories adding up to a turtle crouching in impenetrable wrought armor. What few hopper windows were in place were gated behind iron bars as thick around as Peter’s arm. You’d need a tank shell to crack the place open. Or one crafty spider.
Peter was on the perimeter, crouched low against the shingles of a nearby house. The Precinct crept out of a spotty treeline. Security cameras shelled in white plastic swept the several dozen yards of stark green grass between Peter and any semblance on an entryway. He adjusted the strap on the dull duffle bag wrapped around him and tensed his muscles, focusing on the fibers of his costume. There had to be some
way in besides the front -- the receptionist probably wasn’t keen on Spider-themed vigilanties.“Why can’t I be Wonder Woman? Just blow through the front door, say, ‘something something, truth, justice, etcetera’.”
There was a trill from his suit, subtle vibrations coming in from the surrounding environment. A huge, sheet metal garage door out back… A loading bay? Probably for prisoner transport… And probably all the more fortified for it. Nuts
. He tuned to the suit again, trying to feel out with the fibers on his own accord. The windows, maybe? He directed them, focusing -- Spider-Sense returned to him in waves, minute reverberations of concrete and metal pulsing through his body. It’s a start.
The shingles quaked as Peter flipped from his perch, slinging a web and yanking himself through the air towards the Police Station. He dropped and kicked off a tree, bounding up and over the sightline of the swiveling cameras, he twirled in the air and planted both hands against the concrete of the building’s forth floor, the suit not waiting a moment to stick fast to the side. And I stick the landing! Talk about multi-talented.
He turned on the wall and crawled to the nearest window. They had the foresight to actual bar the upper windows -- whether they were anticipating man-sized spiders or crooks armed with medieval siege towers, Peter could not say -- but now the bars had rusted over a few decades to rain and sleet and a total lack of building maintenance, or proper budgeting, for that matter. He reached for it, the bars were too thick to bend by hand, even for him, but there was something to be said about using securing bolts of the same quality as the steel.“All things being equal to Wondy,”
Peter planted both feet on either side of the window, wrapping his hands around the whole set of bars, “I don’t think I’d look so good in those pants.”
Peter heaved and all the muscles in his back wound and coiled as he dragged at the bars. The metal groaned as the housing bolts exploded into fine particles of rust and concrete shavings, rattling as Peter began to pry it from the window it protected. Just a little…
The concrete fractured as Peter pushed with his legs and the bars finally gave way. He nearly threw himself off the building with the force of his swing and steadied against the wall, bringing the grate against himself. There
. He webbed it to an adjacent spot of the wall and popped the lock of the window with a simple push on the frame. Sweet!
Peter slid inside and found his place against the drop ceiling, feeling it out and balancing his weight between the plates. The station was no prettier inside than out. Peter was in gray hallway made out of old, stained linoleum and dotted with bays of fluorescent lights, casting the hall in a sickly yellow glow. Hollow core doors lined the walls, leading to rows of computers and desks, storerooms choked with body armor and guns, endless seas of filing cabinets stuffed with reams of personnel files. Peter listened and there was near silence, but for a few pairs of subtle footfalls echoing around the station and dying against sounds of whirring hard drives. Just the night shift.
Peter crawled forward and took a turn, creeping his way down the stairwells. The building was nearly dead, alarms silent in their places, no clatter of lockers or idle police chatter. Just the click of a mechanical keyboard as Peter drew closer and closer to his destination. According to Captain Stacy, most cops around this precinct tended to keep their work sealed in their desks -- never in evidence lock up, of course, why do something so fiendishly competent? But that meant popping a whole lot of locks in not enough time, at least if Peter expected to be home in time to get any studying in. If there was anything that would find him his case, and fast, it’d be the Captain’s computer.
Peter pushed through a second floor door and was greeted with the clack of keys against a vaulted ceiling as a half dozen cops slupred stale coffee and slaved over their after-action reports. The bullpen was long and wide, stretching the whole length of the building and surrounded by the second floor balcony. Klaxons were situated at every corner, and periodically along the room, wired into the very superstructure of the place. Peter zipped to the ceiling.“I spy with my little eye, Captain Stacy’s office…”
Peter surveyed the assembled workforce. Most were clustered to one side, away from a haphazard jumble of more substantial cubicles and thinly walled offices. Arranged by rank, maybe? Explains why these guys have to work weekends…
Peter crept down and along the walls, keeping to the shadows and trying to watch the cops eyes from across the room. They were too distant to see him, but his eyes tracked them, watching for the moment they might catch him. But people never look up
, he’d heard someone say, once.
He planted a webline and dropped to the ground and weaved between desks and cubicles, dotted with news clippings and framed photos. How many of them even saw the case?
Peter wondered. He paused. One desk, belonging to a “WATANABE, Y”, held a picture of father and daughter.A man, a decorated captain, hands clasped behind her, a freshly inducted cadet. Sticky notes lined the monitor. ‘Ask abt Parker Shooting’, one read. There were six question marks. And how many turned it away?
Peter moved on, finding his way to an office hastily surrounded with hollow-core wood and tinted glass. The walls reached up just enough to tower beyond the cubicles, but still petered before reaching the ceiling, instead just serving as barricades. Peter hopped into the air and landed on the division. The swivel chair inside still had the plastic wrapping around its cushion, and the desk was littered with strewn papers and misplaced office supplies. Photos of a young girl with blonde hair decorated the place, some pinned directly to the wall and others framed and kept close to a dead computer monitor. An older woman was in some of them, straight blonde locks that clashed with her husband’s already greying hair, yet matching with her daughter’s so well. She was gone in some photos, where the girl looked older. A signed Gotham Knights bobblehead nodded at Peter above. This was Captain Stacy’s cubicle, alright.
He was taking his tries at the password before he hit the carpet. A gel cap keyboard, thank God. George72? No, graduation year, maybe? Eh, El Capitan’s not that vain… Favorite Gotham Knights player?
The computer threw an error. Nuts… Gwendolyne02?
Error. Peter paused. Fabric of his gloves against the keys. Helen2013
Captain Stacy’s desktop flashed for a moment as Peter navigated to the file explorer, pulling up a web of interconnected data, nestled in subfolders across the PC. Peter thanked his lucky stars that ol’ Georgie was never a big data security nut, his spider sense didn’t come in digital. He bounced between poorly titled folders that were messes of improperly placed icons and years old field reports. Then, finally, ‘CaseAssn.xlsx’. Jackpot!
The spreadsheet was arranged by dates and officer numbers, with little colored sections denoting what detectives got what cases. He scrolled further, “Parker Shooting + Arena Robbery”. Dozens of names were greyed out beside it, but the latest in the line still had a green hex around it. ‘Det. M. Larry’. Piece of cake. Peter moved the mouse to shut the computer down, but stopped. Let’s see if The Captain has… Sweet.
‘Alarm Control’ came up as he searched for it. Just a handy dandy little Spider-surprise…
He switched out the file ‘alarm.wav’ for something of his choosing. A little something to remember me by.
Peter jumped out of the office and moved between desks. The sound of keys still rattled across his sense, more and more with every footstep. He’d need to get close, on this one. He slid beside an occupied desk and the officer did not look up. He stared into his coffee, supporting his head with one hand. Peter smelled his aftershave. He passed and rounded a few more desks to the one he was looking for, a dulled bronze nameplate, ‘M, LARRY’. It was a mostly empty desk, clear of notes or pencils, just a black mouse and standard issue keyboard. An aluminium filing cabinet was tucked beneath it, sealed with a garden variety padlock. Peter grabbed and pulled, the lock gave like the tab on a soda can.
There were three or four cases inside, file folders jammed with papers and photos and little baggies of evidence. He pulled them out, one by one, setting them to the carpet at his side. There
. His hands closed around Ben’s file. It was slim, by comparison. He could feel plastic bags of shell casings jostling inside the thin layers of papers. It’d have to be enough, it went into the duffle. He paused and considered the other cases. Could do to be a little less obvious that I’m looking into Ben’s case…
The rest of the files went into the bag. He’d get around to solving them, eventua-
Fire across Peter’s senses. He got on his haunches and launched himself up, landing poised on a desk. A cop pointed a service revolver at him. Aftershave.
“Hands up. You have the right to remain silent, and --” A glob of webbing snatched the weapon out of his hand and sent it sailing to one of the cop’s coworkers.“Points for the attempt, big guy. Really hate to do this, but, yknow, people to save, webs to sling. Toodles.”
Peter slung the bag over his shoulder and turned. Toodles? What am I, 70s-Man?
A web launched from his wrist and he pulled himself forward. He crawled up the wall as the shouts of the officers began to rise, warning each other.
“Call for backup!” Peter crawled over one of the klaxons, heading for the second floor balcony. You wish! I’ll be out of here before you can say,Peter’s world exploded into sound and color and pain.
It was everywhere and all around him. Needles jammed into every pore of is body, that horrible noise
raking across every one of his five senses. He couldn’t see, only feel. His spine was on fire, neurons misfiring at once trying to cope as the suit writhed around him, thrashing against him. He felt bruises deep in his muscles, searing with the pain of the sound, guitars and drums and voices all melding into one and stabbing at his core.
“KILLING USSSSSS!”“Be strong, Spider-Man.”
“And somebody shut this damn --”
“FIGHT! KILL! THE NOISSSSE!”
“Mask won’t come off…”
“END IT!”“This too, shall pass.”
WAKE UP!”“Wake up, Spider-Man.”
“WAKE! UP!”“You still have a job to do, my little spider.”“Wake
***Ugh… My achin’ webhead...
Peter didn’t know where he was. On the wall? On the floor? How… How long had it been? Seconds? Hours? His suit throbbed all around him, like a full body headache. The music dinned in the background, the notes grating against his skin and twanging against his head. He was dimly aware that he was somewhere away from it now. Carpet against his legs, fabric covered in plastic against his back. There was steel around his wrists, at least two sets of handcuffs. He opened his eyes.
He was still masked, as far as he could tell, but his vision swam. There were a six… A dozen… Two dozen? However many there were, officers in uniform argued amongst themselves pointing fingers and shouting at each other. He only caught a few words over the music. “Holding cell”. “Unmask”. “Boss”. “Backup”. “Goddamn music”. He was leaned against a cubicle, probably. Why hadn’t they moved him yet?
He felt nausea and bile rising up in his stomach as he tightened the muscles in his arms. C’mon Pete, you’re almost out…
He pulled his wrists apart and the chainlinks of the cuffs tore like tissue paper. His whole body shuddered and he lurched forward, reaching out a hand to steady himself. The pattern of the carpet swirled beneath him.
“He’s up!” Black shapes came to point at him. He looked up. The light hurt. His hands went into the sky. If I can disarm one…
A web shot from his wrist and passed through the phantom of an officer, landing on something square and blocky. The music rattled in his eardrums. Oops.
“Hey!” The shapes moved. He heard hammers clicking. Peter sucked in a breath and pulled on his line, swinging whatever the hell he’d snagged around in a wide arc. The blocky computer monitor exploded across a cop’s chest and officers ran for cover, ducking beneath shards of glass and filament. The sound pounded in Peter’s pulse as he wobbled to his feet. He grabbed the fabric of the duffle bag and pulled it close to him. The weight felt right. He made for the exit.”If you wanna find all the cops / They’re hanging out in the donut shop!”
The beat thundered. Bullets whizzed past and he stumbled, gunshots breaking through the cacophony of the music. How many?
He reached out with his Spider Sense and it recoiled, fibers of the suit retreating back into the space between his muscles. He shuddered and dropped, a bullet missed his head. Where do I go?
Peter crawled for the door. There was no way in hell he’d get out the front, but maybe they weren’t sure about where he came in.
He threw open the double doors leading to the bullpen and limped down the hall, the music bouncing across the linoleum behind him. He could hear the click of shoes chasing him, guns being loaded. Crackle of radio static. Pain flared across his senses as he stumbled forward, supporting himself with the wall. Cries of “Stop!” echoed down the hall. He turned into the stairwell.
He pointed his hand up. He had… Three? He grabbed his wrist with his other hand and braced his arm against his body. A webline launched up through the gap between either side of the stairs and he pulled himself up, hand over hand. With every floor passed, the alarms still blaring the Bangle’s hit slammed against his senses and he rocked on the webline, shuddering. Boots pounded up the stairs after him. A little faster…
The fourth floor. Peter stumbled into the hallway and yanked down the nearest alarm with a glout of webs. It shattered against the ground and the wiring sparked. There were two figures by the far end of the hall, vigil over the window he came in through. One was decked out in riot gear, complete with a clear plastic shield. The other levelled a gun at him.
“Stop right there, son. This ends, now
.” The officer pumped the end of his weapon. Shotgun… Right? Peter shook his head. He pointed one hand forward.“You’d think that… Wouldn’tcha?”
Webbing snatched over the head of the shotgun as the officer squeezed the trigger and it blew up in his hands, shot metal and wood particulate stabbing into him.
“Argh! Collins! Take him!” The officer screamed. The Riot cop squared his shoulders and charged. Peter stumbled and slapped against the wall. Webs bounced off the shield and the officer kept coming, low to the ground, ready for drive Peter through the wall. He looked up.
Peter sprang up and his hand caught on the ceiling. The metal skeleton of the drop ceiling collapsed and panels dropped across the floor, lights shaking and swaying as the metal frame crashed around them and over the Riot cop’s armored body. Peter moved as the cop shoved the debris off, staggering to his feet. Peter’s temples throbbed. Little… More…
The cop brought his shield to bear and Peter kicked off the wall, driving his weight into the cop. He stumbled backwards and Peter dropped his shoulder, hitting him again. The plastic of the shield cracked.
“C’mon!” He shouted. He reached for a baton. He raised his shield up to catch another shoulder check. Mistake.
Peter’s leg swept beneath the shield and the cop collapsed under the weight of his armor. Peter made for the window.
The glass broke across his body. Free.