2019-10-30 - Spider-Hunt 3: FLUSH PREY.


The Spiders are diverted as another Spider is attacked.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 30 00:00:00 2019
Location: Hell's Kitchen / Spanish Harlem

Related Logs


Theme Song



"Why should I not be serious? I am speaking of hunting."
"Hunting? Great Guns, General Zaroff, what you speak of is murder."
The general laughed with entire good nature. He regarded Rainsford quizzically. "I refuse to believe that so
modern and civilized a young man as you seem to be harbors romantic ideas about the value of human life.
Surely your experiences in the war—"

"Did not make me condone cold-blooded murder," finished Rainsford stiffly.



OCTOBER 30TH, 2019
4:55 AM

Wednesday morning. People are getting up, cleaning up, heading to the bus stops and the subway stations.
Hell's Kitchen has undergone many changes, but it is not the breeding pond for criminal scum it used to be. Gentrification has replace many buildings with better, newer designs, and progress comes swiftly. There is a Circle-K and a cellphone store and a Burger House taking up many areas.

Some buildings are still there, like the Windemere. Part of a series of slumlord scandals in the 1980's, the building itself still has tenants, and it is fairly popular.
Just another Hump-Day morning.

Except it isn't.

Gwen Stacy steps out of a hummer, holding her broken rib, and pushes the door shut behind her. A spider, albeit a new one, reduced to getting driven around in a hummer. If the situation weren't so dire it would be laughable — or embarassing. No help for it now. She shoulders her backpack, and leans against the wall of the Windemere to wait, as she watches Dex peel off in the hummer. Standing around in a Spider Costume (and an as-yet unrecognized one) gets her some looks; she just waves to a couple of people, but doesn't say anything. Got a lot on her mind, after all.

Then the phone call comes; it rings three times before she gets it out of her backpack, and holds it up to her ear. She doesn't say anything; she just listens. When the caller hangs up, she stares at the phone, holding it like it's made of plutonium. "I hate you," she whispers.

Gwen closes her eyes, and balls her hands up into fists. She sucks in a deep breath, and lets it out slowly, before clicking her tongue to open the Spider-Comms. "Spider-Man," she begins. Her voice is already breaking, but time is ticking wether she gets on with it or not. "It's me. I'm at the Windemere." She sucks in a breath, and lets it out again. "Morlun has instructed me to tell you that you have twenty minutes to get here." Another breath. "If you are not here in twenty minutes, he's going to kill everyone within a block. Starting with me."

With that done, Gwen looks around herself, at the streets. Streets with people, probably on their way to work. Innocent people. You need to save someone, Gwen, she thinks, And nobody is going to do it for you. "Look, don't worry about me," she speaks, getting the words out quickly, "Just… Just get everyone else out of here, okay? When Morlun comes back I'll keep him busy as long as I can." Which, goes unspoken, will be about ten seconds. Maybe twelve.

"Ma'am? Ma'am?" Gwen runs over to a woman with a toddler, probably one her way home from the hospital judging by how the kid is coughing. "You need to leave. Get as far away as possible. I'm a friend of Spider-Man's, trust me, just GO." She ushers the confused woman back up the road the way she came, before moving on to the next person, and the next.

2:00 AM - OCTOBER 30TH
Waterfront, Brooklyn, NY

With a gasp, Anya Corazon finally pulled herself free of the long, oppressive darkness. Her chest heaved with a painful wheeze, and she sat bolt upright only to find herself sinking deeper into a pile of garbage. A violent cough spewed blood from her mouth.

Then came the stench, followed in short order by a burst of vomit.

Cursing in Spanish, she scrawled her way out of the dumpster only to find the area surrounded by police. Flashing lights, bright yellow police tape, forensics officers in suits, EMTs, the lot of them taking stock of the horrible crime scene while news media trucks set up just outside the yellow barrier. Tumbling out of the dumpster and onto the asphalt, one officer caught sight of her and rushed over, hand on his walkie talkie.

"Unit 157, I have a survivor." The cop released the transmit button and called over, "Hey! Spider-Girl? That you?"

Anya wasn't listening. Her left hand tapped shakily in the air, trying to pull up the Spider-Comm system, but it wasn't working. "Spider-Man? Hello? Can you hear me?"



The cop drew closer, a hand raised to try and calm the masked woman down. "Easy, Spider-Girl."


"Hey, it's cool, you're not in trouble. What the hell happened here?"

Shaken, Anya looked around with panic behind her mask. "Where… what… where is everyone?"

"Everyone?" The cop slowed, frowning. "You're the only one left. You need medical attention." His hand rose to the walkie talkie again. "Unit 157, requesting EMT-"

But Spider-Girl was gone. Disappeared into the shadows, pulling herself away with panic filling her bones. The adrenaline coursed hard, numbing herself from the pain. With no Spider-Comm, no cell phone, not even a quarter to use a pay phone… there was only one option.


Spider-Man was roaming the city. He had seen glimpses of Morlun, just enough to know he was around. So it was true. He could track him.
Spidey just hoped he could stay ahead of him.
He'd been able to get most of the damage healed, but he had to get moving again when Morlun was seen. As long as he could keep moving, he could think. Maybe he could just…

Then the beacon for Gwen appeared, a purple spider in a white field, and he felt his heart freeze in his chest. How far away? Ten miles, maybe eleven.
<I'M COMING,SPIDER-WOMAN!> flared over the Spider-Comm system as Spider-Man wheeled around to get to Gwen before it was too late…

Ever since Helena had to pick her mother up from an alley in the middle of the night, she's been keeping an eye on the Spider-Comms. She can't exactly call up Peter and ask how things are going and does he need some backup. But Blackbird has access to the comms, and as long as no emergencies happen while she's in class…Well.

Lucky for her, this is a training period. Meaning she's supposed to be working out. No doubt this is going to be a work out. As she sees the message, she breaks into the hidden compartment on her car to change into costume. < Hey Spiders. You need some backup out there? >

It's still early in the morning, but people with places to go are up and about, and that includes Hisako Ichiki.

Her 'place to go' at the moment is back to the Institute, after a night spent less than eventfully in Mutant Town, just keeping a proverbial ear to the ground. But no news, as the saying goes, is good news; the fact that there were no problems to report back to the Professor or the other X-Men means she can relax on the train back to Westchester. She's still trying to sort out the best route to the train station when she sees Gwen re-directing a civilian (mother and child, apparently) back towards … well, towards her.

Hisako's stride falters briefly, less hesitating and more pausing to take in the situation. She hasn't met that many superheroes outside of her fellow X-Men yet, but the Spider-Woman costume stands out a lot more than Hisako's navy-blue windbreaker and black yoga pants. She quickens her pace again, drawing her hands out of her pockets and loosening up as she covers the remaining distance.

"Might I ask what's going on?" she asks as she approaches, keeping her tone non-confrontational.

"Hey, is that…"
"Nahh, couldn't be."
"The costume's right…"
Two uniformed patrolmen walk towards Spider-Woman, one looking puzzled, the other looking concerned. "Hey….miss? Who are you and what are you doing here? This is a public…"
"Hey…I think that's Spider-Woman. One of the ones from last night." He picked up his radio. "Dispatch, we may have a 606 in front of the Windemere in Hell's Kitchen. On approach."
The cop moved closer to Gwen, frowning. "Excuse me? Who are you and what are you doing here?"

14 minutes…

After the first incident, SHIELD has been keeping more of an ear (or several) to the police bands than usual, waiting for this 'Morlun' piece of bad news to show up again. And at the moment, Agent Sarah Black is on deck as first responder, for a number of reasons. First is the very real possibility that there is something supernatural about Morlun and his apparent abilities, and the brass want WAND boots on the ground to assess that ASAP when the opportunity presents itself. Two, Sarah's worked with at least some of the Spiders before.

And three, Spider-Man himself was one of the first of the New York capes Sarah met back when she was newly-arrived in the city, back in the spring of this year. For her, more than for most agents, this one is a bit personal. And that is why she volunteered for this duty.

Then the call-in is picked up. A 606, and mention of one of the Spiders. It could be nothing, or it could be what everyone's waiting for. The location is marked. And Ops gives the go.

In the months since her arrival, Sarah has made a point of touring around the city, noting reasonably discreet arrival points scattered across the map. Her portals are not subtle when they open, after all, though the effect is far more visual than audible. In this particular case, she's a block and change away when she steps out of the glowy-edged oval doorway that formed in the air, in a recess between two buildings. She's already got a glamour going, her black-on-black tactical uniform made to look like nondescript civilian clothing, as she dismisses the portal, gets her bearings, and heads toward the scene at a brisk walk.

Gwen sees Hisako Ichiki approaching her; and she sees a person in a windbreaker. "You need to get out of here," she replies, still holding her side where her rib is broken. (Never mind the damage to her muscles or kidney.) "Warn anyone else you see to stay away from this area, there's a really bad person coming and he doesn't care who he hurts." And he's gonna hurt me real bad.

She doesn't spend any more time there; there's cops. Any momentary swell of pride she might've felt at being recognized is rather overridden by the situation. "Officers, please help me clear the area, I was there last night and I got beaten real bad, the person coming is very powerful and he's threatening everyone in this area." And then she moves on, shooing another civillian out, and sending someone back into the Windemere — with instructions to knock on doors and tell everyone to hurry out the back.

There's chatter on the Spider-Comms too. "Spider-Man, no," she replies to Peter, "No, stay away. He's after you specifically and we can't let him get to you. There's way more at stake here. He hunts spiders like us — that's what he does, that's all he does. He said if he can take you the spiders of every other world out there will fall. …I don't matter against that."

5:00 AM
Martinez-Corazon Apartment, East Harlem

Teresa Martinez is always the first to wake up in the morning. Grandmother to Anya and her two cousins, Miguel and Arturo, her morning routine hasn't changed in as long as she can remember. Coffee first, then starting the family's morning Huevos Rancheros. She always finds time to sneak into the bathroom after a few swigs of coffee to take her morning medication, which is when she finds something in the medicine cabinet that makes her heart sink.

Her son in law, Rico Corazon, has had a drinking problem ever since Francisco divorced him and took their daughter to San Diego, leaving the sons to be raised by Teresa. She's always given the boys a hard time, considering the conditions behind having custody of Anya were… radically different. The murders of her daughter, Sofia, and her husband Gilberto, caused her to feel a certain obligation to raising Anya, one she didn't share with Rico's children. However, she's been concerned over Anya's late nights, refusal to answer phone calls, coming home with bruises… finding a bottle of Rico's Percocet busted open, the medicine spilled out all over the sink, is the last straw.

Her feet stomp across the floor, and she's already calling out a name long before the old Mexican lady pounds on the bedroom door. "Anya!!!!"

Teresa throws the door open, and the berating begins. It's in Spanish, but there are subtitles.

"«Anya Sofia Corazon!»" Teresa holds up the nearly empty bottle with fire in her eyes. "«This is the last straw! We are having a conversation about this, young lady, right now!»"

She's completely missed the fact that Anya's dressed up as if she's going to Comic Con, largely because of the bags under the young woman's eyes and the sickly look to her face. Teresa doesn't follow superhero gossip after all; the revelation that her granddaughter is, in fact, THE Spider-Girl goes completely missed.

"«Are you listening to me!?»"

"«HOLD ON, Grandma!»" Anya, who is sitting at her computer, spits the words out angrily. She's trying to access the Spider-Comm, and has completely lost her sense of respect. "«This is important, Jesus fucking Christ!»"

Teresa gasps and raises a hand to cross herself, momentarily taken aback by Anya's disrespect and taking the Lord's name with such vulgarity.

She also misses the sound of someone knocking on the front door.

The commotion has stirred the rest of the family. Miguel is headed to answer the door, while Arturo peeks out from the bedroom he shares with his brother, frowning and rubbing at his waking eyes. Uncle Rico mutters something and blindly reaches for the bottle of tequila that rests upon the end table next to the recliner that he passes out in, television softly crowing, night by night.

Miguel begins unlatching the door, while Anya's grandmother continues.

"«Do not use the Lord's name like that in my house, Anya!»"

Those last words from Anya's grandmother are heard over the Spider-Comm system, for Anya finally managed to get it online. Her drone, Arana, whirrs to life at her feet and rises into the air, hovering in the middle of her bedroom. The drone is malfunctioning, and immediately begins broadcasting video from her camera onto the Spider-Comm system as well. The video will show Anya's bedroom, with her aging grandmother blocking the door and wearing a very angry face.

Spider-Man does not even pause or slow down. <I'm coming, Spider-Woman! I've not going to leave you to some MONSTER!>

He is about to say more, but then his HUD fills with the vidfeed in one eye. The other one is unimpeded, though.
He should be there with a minute to spare. Barely.
He bears down and increases his speed.

< Bonus round, not a spider. Wow. > Blackbird glances from the road to the HUD on her contacts as the feed comes up from Anya's house. < You guys are a hot damn mess right now. >

Benefits of Bat-tech and new SHIELD connections: Helena knows the right frequencies. As she takes the turn toward the problem area, she triggers an alert to SHIELD's frequencies. Just in case it hasn't come through yet.

In the back of her mind, she runs through what her mother said about this guy. And the state he left her, a veteran of these sorts of things, in. This could get really ugly, really fast. Stealth is probably going to be her friend. Stay low tech. Come across as not a real threat. Wait for her chance.

Also, why does that voice sound familiar?

For a moment, Hisako wishes she *had* worn her X-Men uniform out to Mutant Town - but that would have gone against the whole point of going anywhere *covertly*. A random young woman can potentially overhear things that a superhero's costume would stifle on sight; on the flip side, she looks exactly like that same random young woman to the lady in white, black, and magenta.

"I'm not as easy to hurt as I look like," Hisako says with a relaxed smile, "but I'll help get word around." She can handle running into the Windemere and helping to roust the residents … but not before she overhears part of what Gwen says into her Spider-Comm. Just part.

Just enough.

She hurries up with knocking on doors, not rapping politely but thumping them hard enough to make her knuckles sting. "Wake up and move out, trouble's expected!" is the general gist of what she shouts before moving on to the next door. And the next, and the next, working her way up through the building as quickly as she can go without skipping doors … pretty close to running, in fact, and *definitely* sprinting up each flight of steps. Elevators are too slow sometimes - and she wants to come out on the roof before the trouble arrives.

Something in her voice comes back to one of the cops at the same time he gets the response from Dispatch. Only the cops hear it, but they both become serious, and set to work clearing the streets, and the word goes out about a potential Morlun sighting. People look puzzled, and cops aren't usually the voice most listen to, but something about their demeanor resonates with people.

It is all working very well, indeed.

A few seconds, and then a fast, brisk knock comes at the door to the Corazon residence…

Five minutes.

As she nears the scene, Sarah takes out her phone, which looks exactly like the current-model top-of-the-line Starkphone. Never mind that it's a variant decidedly not available at your nearby Best Buy, and instead distributed exclusively by the SHIELD Quartermasters' Department. But as she's walking, she's carrying on what would sound to anyone around her like an ordinary conversation. "…Yes, Mum, just having an ordinary morning so far. Just another day in New York…" Well, all right, the London accent isn't so typical around here, but to all appearances, she's just another unremarkable young woman half-distracted by her phone.

Gwen is still dancing around, doing her best to clear people out of the area, one person at a time. Her breathing is becoming labored (which can be heard over the Spider-Comms, she left the connection open without thinking), and she's clutching her side much more than she has been.

"Get outta here," she gasps at a couple more people. Sarah gets a warning too, if she's close enough. "If you wanna live… bad person coming. Tell everyone else." By now she's just about done; the effort of running around with her injuries is mounting, and finally she stumbles. So, right there in the road in front of the Windemere, she collapses to her knees, and puts one hand to the ground.

"Don't let him get you, Spider-Man," she gasps. "Promise me. No matter… what happens. if you have to… you run. Promise Me."

The feed coming from Anya's house finally registers the source, and a Spider-Girl emblem appears, marking the residence in Spanish Harlem. "Yes!" Anya cries, and quickly directs Arana with text commands to monitor the situation.

"«Grandma, there's someone at the door!»"

Teresa shakes her hand toward Anya. "«Don't you dare go out that window,»" she demands, then turns and heads for the front door, where Miguel has it unlocked. She's just too angry over all of this to consider that opening the door this early in the morning is likely a bad idea.

It's no matter to Anya. She's unaware that Arana is malfunctioning and sending a video feed, so when the drone spins around to record her once Teresa has left, it will show Anya, masked, banging furiously at her laptop in an attempt at bypassing damaged circuitry. "It's Spider-Girl," she reports into the comm system. "Will someone tell me what the hell is going on?? My system's busted, I had to hack in!" She goes silent then, hearing what Gwen is saying over the comm system. She collapses back into her chair, and reaches up to rip the mask from her face. Her expression is, in no better words, terrified. She still has no idea that Arana is broadcasting video.

She wants to get up, to run, to help, to fight. But her encounter with Morlun nearly sucked all of the life right out of her; even having gotten into Uncle Rico's pain pills, her body aches, and her mind is swirling.

Spider-Man says nothing. But then again, he doesn't have to. Gwen can see his marker heading towards her at breakneck speed. The deadline is in a few minutes, but…

With two minutes to spare, Spider-Man lunges into the street in front of the Windemere. He spots Spider-Woman, landing about ten feet away.

He could not leave her.

People are startled, and the two cops look at Spider-Man with something like fear. His arrival gives what Gwen has said greater credibility now.
People are moving more quickly. There is a sense of foreboding in the air…

Helena doesn't come all the way to the scene. She drives into an alley, then fires her grappling gun to pull herself up onto a neighboring rooftop where she can get a bats-eye view of things. Keep your distance. Run interference. Try not to get in this guy's line of fire.

From the little she's heard, it sounds like Gwen is bait. And she knows Peter well enough to know he's going to take the bait. He can't help it. That Gwen is…more than Gwen is news, but it's news she can process later. So.

Crouching on the edge of the rooftop, in the shadow of the ledge that keeps it safe, she loads a few smoke rounds into the grappling gun, not taking her eyes off of Gwen below. < Giving you cover, > she says over the comms, then fires a series of smoke bombs onto the street below. The cans rattle against the asphalt and cement, starting to spew clouds of thick smoke into the air. Only then does she look away from the ground, searching the other nearby rooftops and alleys for likely viewpoints. No way this creep isn't watching.

Knock on door, shout warning, dash to next door, knock, shout, dash to next, knock, shout.
Run out of doors, barge into stairwell, sprint up to next floor.
Knock, shout, dash …

By the time she pushes open the door at the very top of all those stairs, Hisako needs to stop and catch her breath. Mutant she may be, but her powers don't include an augmented physique beyond the fitness regimen shared among the X-Men. Running up twenty-plus flights would be a workout on its own; stopping to shout and try to wake up anyone who's not already up, about, and ready to flee adds its own pulmonary burdens.

She recovers her breath fairly quickly, and steps closer to the edge of the roof - just in time for the smoke bombs to go off, veiling the street in concealing vapors. Hisako doesn't just focus at ground level, though, but looks around the other roofs, and skims her gaze across the sky as well.

Basic situational awareness. Look *everywhere* an enemy might be. Don't assume anything until you know who - and what - your enemy really is. And it occurs to her, she didn't stop to ask what the Spiders were expecting their trouble to manifest as.

There's a faint shimmer of psionic energy around Hisako as she clenches her fists, but she restrains herself, taking a deep breath and centering. No point in giving away anything about her powers before she has to use them, and she doesn't need to 'charge up' per se …

Seeing Gwen go to her knees, Sarah reacts quickly, moving to crouch by the young woman, a worried look on her face. As she's moving, she pulls something out of her 'jacket' pocket and flips it open to show its contents — Sarah's WAND ID — discreetly to Gwen before closing it quickly and putting it away. "I'm here to help," she says. "I can get you out of here, just say the word."

The old woman opens the door and sees him. Tall, broad, powerful, long black hair, proper suit…and deep red eyes.
Morlun looks down at the old woman and nods. "I am looking for the young lady."
"Go bother someone else!" She slams the door, turning the deadbolt. She then turns towards Anya's room, heading towards it as she says crossly, "I am going to-"

What Teresa is going to do is lost in the loud BAM as the door blows inward. it lands on the floor of the short hallway, and the dark man steps into the Corazon home.
The uncle looks down the hall, then grabs an aluminum baseball bat and lurches forward, getting ready to swing up at the head of the intruder.
Then Morlun reaches out and simply…GRASPS the man's head. The bat falls as the uncle tries to get free…

Of course he couldn't stay away. Gwen had known Peter would be at her side as fast as webslinging would carry him the moment she'd obeyed Morlun's orders — and she hated herself for it. But what was to be done now? She looks up at Peter with absolute adoration at war with crushing guilt in her heart, while the smoke bombs are going off all around her and those beside her.

"No," she gasps to Sarah, after looking at her ID. "No. If I leave here before he gets back, he told me… what would happen. I can't go. Gotta face the music." She gulps audibly, and with a loud groan, struggles herself back to her feet. "Don't suppose you can fix a broken rib?"

Wait; there's something else. The feed to Anya's house has been left open, and… "SPIDER-GIRL," she shouts, "Get out of there! Get out right now!""

Whatever she was hearing over the Spider-Comm is suddenly ignored when the loud *BANG* resounds outside her bedroom. With a gasp, Anya bolts from her computer chair, and the Spider-Drone follows. It always follows, unless she tells it otherwise.

Anya comes running out into the hall, her mask still down, dressed up as Spider-Girl. Her teenage cousins have already dove for cover; they were used to this kind of thing back in the 90's, when the Latin Kings ran the town.

When she sees Morlun in her home, the young woman skids to a halt, and her blood runs cold. Cold with terror; cold with rage. It takes her a moment of simply staring, shocked, unable to process this unexpected turn of events, but when the baseball bat falls to the ground, she finds her inner fire.


The words come out in a ferocious scream that someone her size shouldn't be capable of. Without even thinking about the repercussions, she throws her hands up and blasts webbing toward Morlun's arms. Anything to get his hands off her uncle.

From the bedroom, Gwen's voice alerts her over the laptop, but her mask's comm system is still damaged. Arana, the spider-drone, decides to amplify Gwen's voice, but it's lost on Anya as she throws those weblines, refusing to stand by and just let this happen.

Spider-Man looks at the display, and his own blood seems to convert to liquid freon.

This whole thing…the deadline, the threat, Gwen as bait. It was a feint, a fake-out, a diversion. His Spider-Sense seems jangled and strange.

"We have to get to Spanish Harlem!" he nearly yells to Spider-Woman. "NOW!!" In his heart, he wonders if they are already too late. He looks to Gwen, and oh God she is still hurt and this is all his fault. All him.
"Spider-Woman…stay here! I have to go!"
Spider-Man fires a webline and takes off towards Spanish Harlem.

« Spider-Man, wait! » Blackbird curses under her breath, pushing up her sleeve to get to the inside of her gauntlet and do some on the fly comm-connecting to loop Sarah in through her SHIELD phone. Stupid Stark-tech. On the up side, it should keep the drone feed away from the SHIELD agent. « Don't double-down on taking the bait. » It takes half a moment, but knowing the frequencies for both helps.

Meanwhile, she continues talking. « Spider-Girl, unless someone else in your family is spider-something-else, he's not interested in them. You're the bait now. Fall back to…» She runs through the territory in her mind. « Fall back to the park, a block and a half south. Get him to follow you. We'll meet you there. »

Once the connection between the comms is complete, she continues. « Agent Black, welcome to Spider-Comm. Target's off-site making a move on Spider-Girl. Can you provide transport to this location? » She rattles off a grid address used by SHIELD. Thank God they were covering that at the academy.

While Hisako can't see what's going on at street level as clearly as she'd like to, the smokescreen does nothing to keep her from hearing what happens. Two of the heroes, one yelling into her comm in panic, and a male voice shouting to his allies - Spanish Harlem. That's where they need to be. Not here.

The Japanese girl's jaw clenches slightly - and *now* she lets her powers activate, her will extending around her and manifesting in a visible field of energy, yellow with hints of orange: a suit of psionically projected armor.

She can't fly, nor can she teleport … but she can jump. And she does - tempted to drop to street level and offer help, but she's more focused on stopping whoever's already caused this much chaos. So she bounds from rooftop to rooftop with the aid of her armor's strength and agility, following Spider-Man and staying alert. And reflecting, in the back of her mind, that using her powers is *much* easier than sprinting up stairs.

Morlun looks at the man in his grip, then to Anya.
"Pitiful genetic material," he says, sounding almost bored. "A hindrance in life."
Then the knuckles tighten, and Anya hears it, as does everyone that can see and hear Arana's feed. It sounds like a loud, wet CRUNCH.
Anya's uncle suddenly stops struggling, the entire body going limp.
Morlun casually tears the webbing from his arms, letting the body drop to the floor, the head misshapen and strange.
"An incentive in death. Your gratitude is accepted." He sounded almost formal for a guy who just crushed a man's head with one hand. He looks to the two cousins, who are staring at him from under the couch. "Children. Not worth the effort."
Miguel, a kid with more guts than sense, blurted out, "You don' scare me!"
Then Morlun smiled. It was the smile of a demon.
"YES. I *DO*."

"Spider-Man, wait! I can get us there faster!" That's Sarah, shouting before the webslinger can get too far out of earshot, unaware that Blackbird already has the covered. She barely misses a beat as she's patched into the Spiders' network, her mind in full-field-ops mode. Processing what she just learned, she says, more measuredly, "Ops, Black. We've been decoyed. Proceeding to actual target location now, providing transport for Spiders." She's pulling up the grid coordinates on her screen as she's talking, and notes where it is in human terms. And then with a gesture and a moment's concentration, a portal irises open, an oval shape about the proportions of an ordinary room door, edged with shifting, white-gold-glowing mystical geometries and symbols. "Through the portal! Move, people!"

"Spider-Man you came to rescue me, like hell am I staying here!" Gwen gasps into the Comms. "Morlun… You can't face him alone, you need us!" Nevermind her injuries. Gwen certainly isn't about to let it slow her down… at least not any more than she has to. With absolute fire running up and down her body, she dashes forwards through Sarah's portal without a second though. "Nice to meet you," she adds on the way past Sarah, and to Hisako Ichiki if she's down in time.

On the other side of the portal, she stumbles to a halt and drops back to her knees. "Aagh," she gasps. Hand back to her side. Again.

"Spidey, go use the nice lady's portal," she wheezes back into the comms. "It's magic. Like literally. I'm here already." Because, of course, that was a good idea.

Anya's grandmother screams with a trembling voice and falls back against the kitchen sink, where the breakfast is burning. Then she collapses on the floor in a heap, having fainted.

As for Anya, she backs into the wall, her eyes wide and horror struck. The world stops spinning for a moment, and everything goes numb. Time slows to a crawl, and her vision begins to narrow until all she can see is Morlun and the body that drops.

An unfamiliar voice that should be familiar but simply isn't right now comes through her mask. Apparently, Anya's attempts at hacking around the broken circuitry worked. Helena's voice is quiet and squawky, like listening to earphones left lying on a desk.

It's the only thing that keeps her from going either into shock or a murderous rage.

"«Miguel, Arturo, get Grandma out of here and run. Run far away.»" The words are in Spanish, with a shaky but authoritative voice.

As for Anya, she's not going to run away. She will die here if she must, if it means saving the rest of them. She pushes off the wall, her eyes a fiery mixture of tears and vicious intent, and takes a single step toward Morlun. "Let them go," she demands of him. "Let them go, or I swear to God I will kill you. I will kill you right here, right now!!"

For those listening on the open Spider-Comm, it's almost frightening to hear the tone of Spider-Girl's voice.

Spider-Man is quick on the uptake, swinging in a wide circle, and then coming back around. As he does, he grabs the armored person by planting his hand on the figure's upper back…and then they are both careening around until both are flung through the portal.

They appear on the street in Spanish Harlem, outside the building.

Spider-Man, knowing Morlun is up there, knowing that Morlun was capable of anything…made a judgment call.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING UP THERE, MORLUN?! THE PARTY'S DOWN HERE!" Spider-Man nearly bellows the words.

Blackbird notes the unknown figure as Armor comes down from the neighboring roof, activating the current through her cape that lets her take a running leap off of hers and snap out the cape three quarters of the way down to glide to a landing by the portal with a curt nod to Sarah. "They're compromised," she says quietly as she steps past the agent through the portal, a low warning and a tacit request for help keeping the spiders on track.

« Spider-Girl, we're coming, but we need you to bring him to us, » she says through the comms, trying to keep her focused. Going through the portal means she's left any extra equipment behind, but… Going back to her gauntlet, she summons the car back to herself. It'll take a minute to get through the city, but it might get to them when it's needed.

Seeing Peter there on the street, just asking for the hit, puts her heart in her throat. And seeing Gwen limping like she is doesn't help either. She moves to the other girl's side, reaching a hand for her shoulder. "Hey. I need you to think straight. For him. Okay? What can you tell us about him? What he wants, where he's weak. Talk to me."

Faster, thinks Hisako, would be good - but if Spider-Man doesn't double back for the offered portal, she's inclined to keep following him.

Her inclinations suddenly have little to do with what actually happens; she makes a surprised noise as the hero in red-and-blue grabs her by the armor and swings *her* around with him. As the portal yawns ahead of her, she shrinks her armor down to a close fit about her real body - the better to fit through without trouble - and then they're on a different street entirely.

"Good to meet you too," she replies to Gwen. "Call me Armor." That's all the introduction she has time for, with Spider-Man roaring his challenge. She looks at him next, echoing Blackbird's question: "What should I - *we* expect from him?"

They're probably going to find out before he has time to answer, though, and with that thought, Hisako's armor expands again. What was (and still is) a 5-feet, 4-inch young Japanese woman is now surrounded by shimmering armor closer to seven feet in height, her feet suspended off the ground as she floats within her mentally-projected defenses.

Morlun hears Spider-Man and the change in his face…Hell, his whole body…is startling. He looks like a kid on Christmas morning.

He heads in the direction of the voice, and doesn't even let a little thing like a brick wall deter him - he simply bursts through it, dropping down from the apartment with a view to land in a slight crouch. He rises…and pauses.

"Did you bring assistance, Spider-Man? I had not expected you to arrive so soon, but I am nothing if not adaptable." He tenses, dropping into a fighting stance. "Come, then. Let me show your allies the folly of coming to your aid!"

"I know," Sarah replies to Blackbird, and once everyone else is through, she steps into the portal herself, and dismisses it with a wave of her hand once she's arrived. "That would be bloody good to know," she says, nodding to Armor, before casting another glamour on herself — and vanishing from sight. "But I don't think he's going to spare us the time," comes the now-invisible agent's voice, as she's moving off from the group.

Spider-Woman tilts her head to look sideways at Blackbird. It takes a half-second for it to register, but she nods. "Okay," she breathes. "Okay." She keeps her left hand on her side, and presses her right to her forehead. "Okay, his name is Morlun," she begins.

Her hand goes from her head to rest on Blackbird's shoulder. "Best I can gather, he's a… I dunno. Travels one dimension to another. Says his people hunt 'the great totems'. Means us, I guess. Spiders." She inhales a deep breath. "He said… Spider-Man is the center of the web. If he gets him, he said 'Spiders across a million worlds will lose the strength to fight'."

She pauses again, gathering her thoughts. "He's very strong. Very fast. Kills indiscriminately. He killed over thirty people just to get Spider-man's attention. If he sees you, he can track you no matter where you go, and he'll threaten the people you love to make you do what he wants."

And then, there's Morlun. Gwen looks up and can see him. "And he lies," she gasps. She walks, a bit of a limp, up to where Spider-man is standing. "And I don't care what condition I'm in… I'm here to fight. Spider-Man has to live, that's all that matters right now."

Her Abuela is still out cold; the boys are on the verge of tears. Spider-Girl is considering that her life may be about to end, and that she may be about to go out of this world as a killer. There's a silent prayer given, one that isn't even about the words, but more about the thought.

Te veo pronto. Se paciente conmigo.

Just like that, she's all but forgotten. Morlun's movement has her inching forward, tears pouring down from eyes that only see red, ready to reach out and go for his neck. No webs. No weapons. Personal. She is strong enough. Grab it from either side and twist, twist like you're trying to tear down the Brooklyn Bridge with your bare hands. But no… he's gone.

A fierce gasp escapes Anya's chest. She's already moving, rushing over to throw the couch against the wall, securing it there with a blast of webbing, and grabbing up her teenage cousins. "«Come on!»" she hisses to them in Spanish. "«Now!»" She pulls them to the open doorway. "«Down the hall, into Angelica Renardo's apartment, and stay there. Call 9-1-1 and stay there!»"

Both of them are looking at their older cousin, eyes wide, realizing that their own cousin and housemate is… is SPIDER-GIRL.

"«GO!»" she shouts, then moves over to check on her grandmother. "Abuela?"

You are always in over your head.
Spider-Man steps forward, looking at Morlun.
You are a rank amateur.
He eyes Morlun, then says, "You want me? Here I am."

"It's not how hard you can hit…it's how hard you GET hit…and KEEP MOVING FORWARD."

Spider-Man raises his fists. "Let's see what you've got, Dracula," he snarls.

"Now that's just cool," Blackbird says wistfully as Hisako armors up, pulling one of the escrima sticks from its sheath at her thigh to poke testingly at it. That's about all she has time for before Morlun goes all Kool-Aid Man, though, drawing her attention back.

Fun fact: Bat-people default setting is dealing with people who are much more powerful than they are. Usually that takes the form of a whole lot of research and preparation. But sometimes that means using their strength against them.

« Spiders, flash-bang, » she warns before she shoots one right at Morlun's feet, promptly taking cover behind Armor. She knows that the spiders have enhanced senses. She knows that this guy is hunting them. So it stands to reason he's at least on their level. More, to judge by everyone's state so far.

With Gwen already moving away, she narrows her comms to speak just to her, though Hisako is close enough to overhear. « Gwen, he will die protecting you, » she says with a quiet intensity and a depth of emotion that comes through even with the voice modulator she uses. How in the hell does she know the other girl's name? « If you want him to live, you have to let him fight without worrying about you. Get. Back. Here. »

Robin was out on patrol and while he was studying the recent weird lycanthropy strain that seems to be popping up in various individuals, including a famous superhero, he got a ping that Blackbird was in the field. Pulling it up on his fancy wrist-computer, he narrows his eyes when he notices the final destination of her car. Having already finished his investigations for the night to analyze back at the Cave, Robin gets moving.

Of course, the group is about to have a showdown against Morlun. Spider-Man thinks a quote from Rocky freakin' Balboa (not that Damian would get the reference) and plays tough against someone who's apparently a vampire, and needless to say, its about to go down.

But then…there's something that probably shouldn't happen.

A birdarang cuts through the air with a metallic whistle that only gets truly audible when its practically already there. Its destination? Morlun himself.

It might also be beeping upon possible contact. If Helena was watching, she'd know who's weapon that was.


Hisako nods as Spider-Woman lays out the basics on Morlun. Very strong, very fast, indiscriminate killer - well, she had a heads-up on that part from the race to evacuate the Windemere ahead of Morlun's anticipated arrival. And he lies; again, not exactly a surprise. Plus he cares not at all for collateral damage, judging by Morlun's emergence from the wall of the apartment building.

Make that armor eight … no, nine feet tall now; she barely has enough time to raise her arm and squint against the flash-bang going off, but she has enough -

And even as the flare and concussion are fading, the girl in the psionically-projected armor goes from standing to sprinting in nothing flat. She goes right past both of the Spiders, acknowledging their presence only by dint of swerving around them, and lets out a loud yell as she swings a haymaker down at Morlun: not trying to punch him back through the wall (at ground level), but seemingly to crush him right into the ground where he stands.

After averting her eyes for the flashbang, Sarah looks back at Morlun with focused intensity — not that any of her allies can see her doing it — and shifts her vision to The Sight and back. Quietly, the invisible agent reports in. "Ops, Black. Target is confirmed mystic. Animal totems — All of them. Manifesting as extreme physical power. Threat estimate ten-plus." That objective dealt with, she starts working the tactical situation. Given what she just saw of Morlun's nature, she is not placing great stock in her ability to remain undetected by him, but she'll take whatever slim chance at an advantage she can get right now.

He has his prey in his sights. He moves forward…
And then something heads towards him on the right.
He turns swiftly, catching the bird-a-rang in one large hand. He is about to say something pithy when it goes off, momentarily adding to the blinding effect of the flashbang.
The explosion shifts him off-center. It is only by a fraction…but when Hisako comes through like the 20th Century Limited at full steam, one large hand SLAMS down into him.

The effect is rather surreal. Hisako drives him down through the street like a tent peg hit by a 15-pound sledgehammer.
Morlun may be strong, but the ground under him? Not so much.

Miguel and Arturo do as their told, and when Anya finds a pulse, she breathes out a shaky cry of gratitude. "Okay, come on, Abuela," she utters in Spanish, and lifts the woman without any effort, only to carry her down the hallway toward the destination apartment. As she goes, she's pulling the mask up and over her head with a free hand, using a hand to wipe away the tears.

She can hear the sounds of battle happening outside, but she's not in it. Not yet.

Once inside the apartment, she speaks with her cousins and the woman inside. "«Stay inside, call 9-1-1, don't go outside until it's safe!»"

For the third time in recent memory, someone knows Gwen's name when they really shouldn't know it. And for the third time, Gwen has far more important things to do than try to figure out how or why. Blackbird's words ring in her skull like a lead weight in a copper bell, and after moving forwards a few more steps, she comes to a stop. He will die protecting you. She looks forwards, watching as Armor ploughs Morlun into the ground. You have to let him fight without worrying about you.

Spider-Woman backs away, slowly moving back to where Blackbird is standing; and once she's there, drops back to one knee, then straight to the ground. "How can I just…" she rubs at her forehead. She knows damn well that Blackbird is right, she just has to sit this one out. "Don't let Morlun get him," she pleads with a voice close to breaking, looking up at the hero beside her. "Please. Please."

"Not on my life," Blackbird promises Gwen, reaching out to give her shoulder a squeeze. Broadening her comms again, she loops Damian in with the Spider Comm. « Robin's joining the chat, people. The new one. Comes with improved stabbiness. Agent Black, Spider-Woman's on overwatch. » Translation: Please keep an eye on her. She pauses for a moment, trying to find a strategy. « You think you can Spartacus us all into Spider-Man without him seeing through it? » Magic is weird, who knows what's possible?

Bracing herself, she pops the claws in her gauntlets. This is definitely not the time to hold back.

Well…THAT happened.

Spider-Man looked on in astonishment as the explosion and resulting attack "plants" Morlun. His demeanor is dimmed once ALICE shows him the large sewer pipe underneath the street. He looks down, then grimaces. A large hole reveals that, yes, Morlun was knocked down into a large sewage pipe, one that was fast-tracking the waste matter of most of Spanish Harlem to a nearby waste-treatment facility.

Which meant that Morlun was about to be in a world of…well, you know.
"I don't see any sign of him…and I'm not sure I want to. The smell is UNHOLY…"


The blinding light (and the necessary concussive force it released) seems to be very effective in distracting Morlun from the enemies in front of him! It allows Hisako to hit him with what she's got, and its now that Robin emerges from the shadows, using his cape to glide down to the group, since well…not everyone can fly or swing from building to building. He lands in a crouched position and slowly rises to his feet. The cloak is black. The hood covers his entire head and the domino mask covers his eyes from recognition. But from the nose to jaw, noticeable.

Also most noticeable? The 'R' on the left side of his chest. Gotta love the Bat Family and their heavily armored uniforms. Then he's looped into the communications. «I can see you've managed to get into enough trouble already, Blackbird. Anybody feel like giving me the quick summary?»

Armor steps back from the hole in the ground, her nose wrinkling as the stench from the sewage treatment plant starts to seep back up through it. "Check me on something, Spiders," she asks uncertainly. "Were we hoping to capture him, or … or just drive him off?" She leans over the stinkhole, peering down into it, then steps back again. She's still fully armored up and staying at about nine feet tall; she might not have expected to plant Morlun THAT hard, but she's obviously not letting her guard down.

Not even to look the new arrival over, although she inclines her head towards Robin as he makes his appearance. "Also," she adds almost-casually, "I think I missed something about why spider-themed heroes are of such particular interest to that guy; is he a recovering arachnophobe or something?"

"Bloody hell, girl. Remind me never to piss you off," Sarah comments to Armor as she becomes visible again, before adding, "Well done." Then to the rest, she asks, "I suppose it's too much to hope that he's drowned in shite and no longer our problem?" She shakes her head, before answering her own question. "I got a good look at him. Mystically. He's imprinted with pretty much every animal totem there is. I'm entirely doubtful that he can be killed, but a bit of sewage water-park riding certainly isn't going to do it."

Well. That situation evolved fast. To Gwen, it is nothing but a relief; time has been bought. Her best friend doesn't have to face death right here right now. The Monster is swimming in the sewage where he belongs. Of course, it's just a respite, not a problem solved.

The least experienced of the Spiders rises to her feet, putting one hand to the tree beside her to mask how unsteady she is on her legs. The extent of her injuries isn't outwardly obvious, but it's clearly serious, and there's blood on her mask, partly outlining her lips underneath.

She looks up at Blackbird; "How did you…" She shakes her head, "Nevermind, doesn't matter right now." She gets on the Spider-Comms. "Spider-Man? Spider-Girl? Are you alright? Do either of you need Angel?" The person Peter told her about, in case she's ever busted. Well, now she is.

And then, with the Comms off, back to Helena. "Thank you," She gasps.

Once her family is secure, Spider-Girl turns and looks back to her apartment door, still standing open and leaning off its hinges. She's not out of this yet. It takes a moment to muster what strength and courage she has left, but then she's running for the end of the hallway, hell bent on making a hole of her own. There's no reason for this, nothing strategic. She's just angry as hell, and wants to break things.

A fresh hole in the building announces her arrival, eight floors up. Her body tucks into a ball, and she flies in a dangerously fast drop toward the street below. Her body releases just before landing on the street in a crouch, leaving cracked pits in the asphalt. Her hands are balled into fists, teeth borne as the blood fills her ears once again, and she stalks toward the group for a few strides, but then she comes up short.

She'd heard every word spoken over the Spider-Comm. Heard, but not truly recognized, until now - the moment when she realizes that Morlun has gone, and her friends are here. All of them.

The masked woman's lips drop back over her teeth, and her fingers begin to loosen. "What… where…" She looks around in confusion, before striding closer to the hole in the ground that separates her from the others.

"Is he…?"

She goes silent, listening to what everyone has to say. She only looks from one to the other, faces and figures both familiar and not, but her expression seems to linger for a moment or two on Spider-Woman and Spider-Man. To them, her shoulders rise and fall in a deep sigh, an emptiness starting to fill the void made as the malice bleeds from her soul.

But then her attention shifts to Sarah.

"Anything can be killed," she says, the words coming out with a certain sickness to them. She still has no idea that Arana was feeding video to the Spider-Comm; she has no idea that they might know of what happened upstairs.

Her attention then shifts back to Gwen. "Can Angel bring back the dead?" she asks, numbly, before turning around to walk back toward the apartment building. "My Abuela needs her."

« Hey, count your blessings, » Blackbird replies to Robin. « He's more interested in spiders than in bats, cats, and birds. Personally, I'm not insulted right now. » At Armor's question, she takes a look at the gathered heroes. Spider-Woman definitely isn't looking great. Spider-Girl's not much better, and given what she just saw, probably even worse off inside. She's not ready to think about the state Spider-Man is in. Not if she wants to maintain her own equilibrium.

"That's a call for the spiders," she finally says slowly. "But if they want my advice, they'd be better served calling their Angel before they go after him again." Definitely a little pointed, that. The claws retract back into her gauntlets for her to offer a hand in support to Gwen. "Any time," she says quietly, keeping an eye on Anya for a long moment before looking back at Spider-Man. Every part of her that's Helena is screaming to check on him. And every part of her that's Batman-trained says this is the price of a secret identity.

Spider-Man keys the Spider-Comm. "I'm just a little worn out. Although I think we'll all know when Morlun is in the area. He…"

Ah, geez…Morlun killed one of Anya's family. For a moment, he is back at the house on Ingram, finding out from the cops Uncle Ben was killed.

"Oh, God, Spider-Girl…I'm so sorry. If I had known…"
Too little, too late. Verse 432, same as the 431 that came before it.

Robin grunts just a little bit. God, he's too much like his father. «Judging that holding a bomb didn't even faze him that much aside from blinding and stumbling about, I don't blame you.» He then listens to Anya as she calls for help for her Abuela. Shit, he got one of them. Robin wishes he got here sooner…but he's just a person. If only he could fly.

He shakes his head for a moment. He did his job, he helped when he was needed. He makes his way over to Spider-Man, hopefully he can shed some light on the situation while others mourn.

"I need Angel too," Gwen reports, into the Comms again. "Broken rib and… I dunno what else, I feel like a cement mixer drove over me. I need to get back in the fight." The black and white clad Spider takes the hand offered for support, and even with the strength Spiders are imbued with, she feels very shakey. Blackbird's assessment was spot on, and her going in would've been disastrous.

"Spider-Girl… I'm… I'm sorry."

Animal totems. That *might* explain it - somehow - but Armor doesn't know much of anything about magic, certainly nothing with a practical angle here. And … this is not a time to push for details. The newest Spider-hero's arrival, her dejected tone …

Hisako's armor dwindles around her, then fades entirely. "I'm sorry we weren't faster to assist you," she says gently to Spider-Girl, bowing her head for a moment. "But if Morlun turns up again, or issues another threat … let me know, and I'll come to help if I can."

If Anya lets her, Hisako squeezes her shoulder briefly.

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