September 7th 20XX
Scott was half holding his breath as he walked up the steps towards Marcus’s place. Every step saw him shuffling his thoughts over and over. The moments that could have possibly lead up to the gas being released on ESU grounds playing and replaying in his mind.
Before he even realized what he was doing, he was standing in front of the door to Marcus’s apartment. A slow breath was let out, before drawing another back in. Pap pap pap
, his knuckles rung against the door.
There was barely a pause before a voice rang out from inside the apartment. ”Be right there!”
Some rummaging sounded, along with some clinking noises for a second or two, before the door opened, revealing a haggard-looking and slightly ruffled Marcus. Despite how exhausted he looked, he smiled warmly, stepping forward and giving Scott a big hug. ”Thank God you’re alright. When those bombs went off, the whole time in the hospital, I was worried… uhh, never mind, come in.”
He turned and walked back into the modest living room, a pair of mismatched glasses sitting on the coffee table; one in front of the couch, the other closer to the chair in the corner. Both were empty. Marcus looked at the glasses, then to Scott.”I, uh… did you want anything? I left ‘em empty, ‘cause I didn’t know what you wanted. If you wanted anything. I’ve got water, milk… some cold brew. Maybe. If… y’know.”
Rather than continue to ramble, Marcus decided to walk over to the chair, but didn’t sit down just yet. He cleared his throat, ”You… you said you needed to talk to me.”
Scott allowed Marcus his nervous rambling. Sometimes people just needed to let it out. He put a hand on Marcus’s shoulder, making eye-contact for a firm moment. He meant to tell him it was okay. He should have said that. But the words didn’t come. Probably because it was technically a lie.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I didn’t get sick like anyone else did. Which… is kind of exactly what I wanted to talk about,
” Scott moved to a seat, and gestured to another nearby, “I really think you should sit for this.
Marcus paused for a moment, before nodding slightly. ”Yeah. Okay.”
He sat, unnerved by how serious Scott was acting. And whatever weird buzzing was currently humming in his head periodically. Whatever, he could ignore it.”So… talk. What did you need to say?”
“So, I wasn’t affected by… whatever that stuff was, because I...
” his voice lowered a touch, “already have super-powers; and now I think you have super powers too. And they’re basically mine.
Whatever Marcus had been expecting, it wasn’t this, clearly. He blinked, his expression becoming one of mild concern as he stood back up. ”Uhh… Scott. Mate. I get that this whole thing has been troubling an’ all, but… you sure you’re feeling okay? Maybe we should see a doc, just in case?”
“Okay, you’re taking this better than I thought… I mean, all things considered. But I’m… well. I’m not fine, per se. Some things are bothering me, a lot to do with, well, what happened. And what’s going on now. It’s complicated, and I know- I know I should have told you before, but things are… complicated now. More than they were.
””I mean, a chemical attack on a university would shake anyone up, but… come on, Scott. You’re not serious? Superpowers… they’re not real, are they? This isn’t…”
It was getting hard to concentrate on his words, with the periodic buzzing pressure in his skull. Fucking sickness must’ve taken more out of me than I thought.
Once again, Marcus was at a loss for words. Strand? The
Strand? That vigilante that the Bugle harped on about every so often?”You… huh…?”
Scott simply nodded, reaching into his pocket and producing the bandana-mask he wore as Strand, holding it out in an open palm.
Marcus stared, shocked for a moment, before turning it into a skeptical frown. ”Prove it. Do… something Strand-like.”
He pointed at a particularly blank wall in the living room.”Climb up the wall.”
With what could only be described as a preternatural grace, Scott back-flipped over the chair on which he sat, and sprang onto the wall, in the process removing his shoes. His fingers pressed firmly against it, holding him there by some incredible method. Instead of turning around to face Marcus, he shuffled about to be facing down the wall, and leaned his head what would normally be back, so at least his eye level wasn’t up-side-down.
Marcus was glad that he hadn’t been holding anything. He’d have dropped it. And it would probably be something fragile, given his luck. It took him about a minute to find his voice.”...Alright. You… have my attention, but… but this still doesn’t make any sense. What makes you think I got powers at all? Much less… yours?”
” Scott prompted, before flinging his phone at Marcus in a fluid motion.
Marcus started to flinch as the phone rocketed toward him, before the strangest sort of reflex kicked in. Time went… liquid, somehow. Thicker. Slower.
The phone went from baseball pitch to lazy drift through the air in a heartbeat. In a second heartbeat, Marcus found himself reaching out, plucking the phone out of the air as easily as he’d pick up a jar of pickles out of the fridge.
And then time went back to normal, and Marcus blinked, almost losing his grip on the phone in shock. What…”...the HELL WAS THAT??”
he exclaimed, standing bolt upright.
Scott removed himself from the wall, which involved him rolling down and planting his feet on the ground before letting go, then unwinding his arms.
“That, my friend, is my real super-power. Also, it’s how I can tell you have the same power to begin with.
Marcus stared at Scott in shock, feeling his eye twitch start to come on. And now that he mentioned it, the buzzing still hadn’t stopped. And it felt… strangely familiar. And similar to how time went liquid before, at the same time? Which was weird, that it could feel like so many things at once, but… there it was. He walked over, slightly shaky, handing Scott back his phone, still trying to keep things straight as his head continued to buzz and pulse periodically.”This… this isn’t… this doesn’t—”
And then, suddenly, a connection was made. Marcus paled.”The university. The gas, the attack. Th-they… you don’t think…?”
He left his sentence trailing, hoping his friend wouldn’t pick up the thread he’d left lingering.
“That’s the other thing we need to talk about. There are more of us now. I can feel them, like how you felt the phone coming. You can probably feel them too. It’s like… you ever get a directional headache? Well, it’s like that, but like, a pull, like some sort of string in the air.
Marcus thinks to himself for a moment. He understood the directional headache part. The reaction, the warning. But… a pull? Threads?”I kinda get what you’re saying, but… I don’t think mine is working quite the same way as yours. Mine is kinda… spotty, I guess? I don’t see any threads, or feel any pulls. Except when you threw that phone, but that was more just, like, some kind of alarm. A warning- something’s gonna hurt you, from this direction. Nothing more.”
“Okay, so… maybe your… that-power is weaker than mine, which means maybe your wall-crawling is stronger? Yeah, I don’t have a name for that feeling. I never had to talk to anyone else about it, so I never felt the need,
” Scott admitted.
He then pocketed his phone, as well as the mask, then took a seat again. It was only then that it became obvious how tired he was. He allowed his face to sink into his hands as Marcus took the time to process what was going on.
“Yeah, they got a sample. Of me, Marcus. I don’t know how, or when… but, like, since I was there? It seems it was very, very deliberate.
Marcus’ heart fell at Scott’s current despair, though it was understandable; he’d feel pretty trashy too, if a terrorist had gotten a hold of his DNA. But, then…”Now… now we don’t know for sure, that they got some of… you. Maybe they had it from before. Like, when you got your powers. Which, speaking of, how did you get your powers, anyway?”
“I’m going to be real with you, I don’t have a clue. I felt some kind of sting on my hand, went to sleep thinking I was going to puke to death. Then I woke up on the wall, and I could like, tell where anything was coming from, where it could go, and where not to be. Still feels like a dream some times.
Shit. There went that lead. Marcus turned and sat back down in his chair, suddenly exhausted. ”So. What now? What do we do with…”
He gestured between the two of them. ”...This?”
“Find the others?
” he offered, sounding rather exhausted, “Make sure they’re not doing anything stupid? I mean, I know this isn’t my fault, but I kinda feel a little responsible for, well, them. Like, I already know you. You’re not going to try and like, rob banks or anything. Other people? I’m not so sure. That’s sort of why I do the whole, you know, Strand thing.
Marcus nodded, ”Makes sense, I guess. It is what you do. Just… be careful, okay? These people have powers, like you— er, us now. If they don’t want to be convinced… might be better to stand down for now?”
“Catch more flies, er- spiders, with honey than the big-house,
” Scott replied, “But yeah, I get what you mean. But if I get close enough, I’ll have to take the shot before something goes bad… Also, please, don’t worry about me doing my thing now. Even if you’re faster than me now, somehow, I don’t think you could land a hit on me if you tried. Probably the same with anyone else with powers like ours.
Marcus still didn’t look convinced, but he really didn’t have it in him to argue. ”If you’re sure. Still, just be careful. Even if you’re already careful, just… be more careful. With all the shit we’ve gone through already, there’s no telling what else is out there waiting for us. For you.
“...I don’t want to lose you.”
“Yeah, I… I’m sorry that I didn’t get to you sooner. I just… I could feel a lot of what was going down.
””N-no, I get it. You’ve had a lot to deal with. Based on how things work with you, and your…”
He raised a finger to his temple and tapped on it. He still didn’t have a word for the buzzing, yet. He’d have to brainstorm. ”Anyway, you’re welcome to stay for a bit, if you want. Hector should be back in a little while. We could all go get a bite to eat, or something.”
“Yeah, that sounds… honestly, I need a break,
” Scott remarked.
“Good Morning, New York~
“It is 8:32AM, Tuesday, September 9th and I am your host, Nicole Silver with your Channel 9 news report. It has been a week since the tragic gas attack event at the ESU grounds where over 70% of the roughly 2000 infected, died in the horrifying display or soon after hospitalization. Those lucky few that overcame the symptoms from the attack were temporarily hospitalized and quarantined until they were deemed non hazardous by medical officials. Authorities are still actively investigating the site and no further information has been divulged at this time.
“As a respect to those who have lost their lives, a memorial service is being held this afternoon for the victims of this heinous crime. It has been a week in the planning and is said to be a time where all the loved ones affected can come together, start to heal together and know you are not alone. It is said that some of the people that have sponsored and provided support for various charities or clean up of the damaged area will also be in attendance. We at Channel 9 will be airing the event itself and will be getting one on one interviews with some of the attending audience. Stay tuned for the 6PM news report for the full story.
“We now go live with Chuck Blakely at Oscorp where Mayor Norman Osborn is holding a press conference about the event. How are you, Chuck?”
“We are good here, Nicole. We are going over the attack and asking the important questions on how this will be handled and what the next steps are.”
The camera switched views, now locked onto a podium set up outside Oscorp tower with Norman Osborn in full view. “We are all diligently working on the situation at hand and the fine men and women of this city have been working tirelessly around the clock for everyone. We will stand up in the face of this adversity and overcome the trails before us. We will not rest until justice is found. Thank you everyone for your time, support and effort.” There were many reporters gathered, still reaching out and asking questions. They were greeted with no further answers at this time before he briskly headed back inside.
“Well, you heard it here folks. It appears we are in good hands. Back to you in the studio.”
”...'In good hands,' eh? We’ll see about that.”