His First Gig

February 16, 2017:

The Scarlet Spider's first hero gig turns out to be a team-up with Luke Cage.

Midtown Manhattan - New York City

Situated between 14th and 59th Streets, Midtown Manhattan is *the* tourist
destination in New York City. It is also the largest central business
district in America. Most of the tallest skyscrapers in the city can be
found here, from the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings to Stark Tower and
the Baxter Building. It's also home to Times Square, Broadway, and Fifth
Avenue.

In the day, the traffic is non-stop. In the evening, bright neon lights
light up the street such that it looks as if the sun simply doesn't set on
the city. But, then, there's a reason New York is called The City that Never
Sleeps. This, right here, is it.

Characters

NPCs: Several laser-bearing thugs

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\#https://youtu.be/rSMY2CVjCZA The Jungle - X Ambassadors]


Fade In…

There are a few things what watching YouTube videos of Spider-Man didn't tell the city's latest would-be superhero. First, web-slinging is insanely fun. It's like a personal thrill ride ten or twenty stories up. And second, he totally gets why New York now. It makes said web-slinging a lot easier as a mode of transport. The costumed young man's laughter drifts down to the streets below but the jaded New Yorkers mostly ignore it. Just another dude in a union suit. Only tourists stare except for the big ones.

Michael shifts his weight, slinging low and fast above Broadway when the sound of screeching tires, a somehow ponderous crash and bright flashes of light catch his attention. Ahead an armored truck has flipped onto the side and some guys in military surplus fatigues and ski masks are apparently trying to open the back doors with … are those lasers? Wow. New York.

Letting go of the line, the scarlet and black clad adventurer catches hold of a streetlamp with one hand and flips around it before perching on that lofty perch, looking down, trying to pick his first target. He clears his throat. "Ski masks, bruhs? Livin' the dream, right?" Before the attempt at banter has even finished, all six of those thugs are pointing used (but still nasty) AIM surplus plasma rifles up at him. If this particular Spider guy had a Spidey-Sense, it would probably be telling him to run. Alas, he doesn't. He does, however start dodging as the plasma blasts fill the air with red light and a distinctive *ZARK!* sound.

One of the storefronts that Michael swings by is a barbershop in which Luke Cage sits, chatting away with the owner and a handful of others. Several spot the web-slinger swoop past, and Luke frowns slightly. "Yeah, yeah. I know," he says, putting up a hand to halt any further comments on the subject.

Putting down his magazine, Luke steps out onto the sidewalk and begins jogging in the spider's direction. "Man, I hope you're not doin' somethin' that someone's gonna want to pay me to stop…" Luke mutters to himself, rolling up his sleeves mid-jog—although, a block later, he nods when the armored truck comes into view. "Ah."

Scarlet Spider is learning the value of dodging as bolts of super-heated plasma contained in magnetic bottles, thankfully somewhat slower than lasers, zip past him, taking chunks out of buildings and blasting a particularly resigned looking gargoyle. Michael's voice is more of a squeak than he'd like to admit as he yelps, "Dudes! Lasers! Not cool!" He flips between two of them, briefly inverted and cruciform as he extends both arms to gum up the muzzles of both weapons with a blast of webbing each. "Ha!" His snort of triumph is followed by an "Uh uh!" as he sees one of their compatriots from behind the muzzle of a blaster. Another flash of light, a sense of heat and one hell of an impact later and the costumed guy is slammed into the side of a cab some thirty feet back, head spinning as he pats out small fires on his uniform chest. That's going to leave a mark. "Ow." Somehow the face mask seems to suggest a narrowing of the eyes.

Making a beeline toward the truck, Luke grabs a hot dog cart that's been abandoned by its owner (having fled for less laser-infested streets) and holds it up before himself as a shield. "Yo. You might not tryin' to wreck these threads?" Luke calls out. "Much appreciated." Right then, of course, a wayward blast ZARKs his way, eating a hole in the side of the cart. Luke responds by setting his jaw and exhaling deeply through his nose before shouting, "I'm not even the one hittin' you! Yet!"

Michael grins behind the mask, the expressive eyes going wide at the sight of the way the big guy hefts that cart so easily. Hell yeah. Team up! He can call it that, right? Definitely! Still, work to do. Flipping back to his feet, the teenager makes a leap high and long, over the heads of the bandits, lasers zapping like deadly spotlights to either side of him. He lands on the side of the overturned armored truck in a crouch and then reaches out to snatch one of the guys shooting at Luke. There is a kind of gross *shunk!* sound and an ominously organic looking spike pops out of the Spider's costume at the wrist. Or his body. He pokes the thug with it and there is an electric crackle as the man spasms and then goes still. The whole thing happened with a kind of creepy, predatory speed and grace that reminds the people watching why most people fear arachnids. "Next?" And alas, that cheerful, youthful voice spoils the scare factor.

At the acrobatic arachnid's attack, Luke Cage pauses for just a moment. "Uh…" he breathes before quickly closing his mouth and shaking his head. "Nope. Not gonna ask it. This ain't even my job right now," he says with a sigh. As another armed individual fires at him, Luke nonchalantly tosses the hot dog cart at the shooter. "Think fast!" he calls. "Ey, spider-dude! Why not get that car back up proper?"

Wincing as the cart rather neatly impacts the shooter and knocks him down, landing on him, Michael remarks, "Oooh. That had to sting. And yuck. Hot dog water." His head pops up as Luke speaks and asks, "I can do that?" He clears his throat, "Yeah, I can totally do that. Good idea!" Skittering over behind the truck, Michael reaches down and takes a deep breath. He lets it up as he gives a power jerk, rocking and then starting to tip the armored truck back upright. "Holy crap. This thing is heavy. What do you keep in there? Gold bars?" The stunned thug pinned under the hot dog cart moans, "Duh." Michael's costume eyes narrow again. "Less talk, more pain from justice, please. RRrarrh!" That last was his best Hulk impersonation he surges, the truck's axle and shocks complaining as it rocks back on four wheels. The driver, no idiot, starts it up and peels out. Of course, the armored car was the only thing between him and the last two active shooters. "Crap." Those muzzles look huge from this end.
As Michael spends a moment to bring the truck back upright, Luke runs toward the closest shooter threat. "Don't you dare bleed on this," he says cheerily while bringing up his shoulder as the first point of potential contact with his enemy. "My man!" Luke shouts. "See if the driver needs help!"

Michael is sure there is a beautiful mathematical expression to cover the arc the thug Luke just shoulder blocked makes, flying through the air, only to fetch up against the brick wall of a nearby building. But math was never his best subject. He just nods and grins. Using them as air hockey pucks is definitely one way to do this. He's pretty sure that Luke is way better at this crime fighting thing he is, so just taking the time to web the feet of the two guys trying to clear their blaster barrels of webbing to the street. They are going to be there for a while.

He jumps towards the armored car, already rolling away, snapping out another web line and riding it forward until he can get to the roof, his wall-crawling abilities letting him crawl across on fingers and toes to stick his head over the edge, staring at the driver through the windshield. "Everything okay, dude?" The man's scream of surprise and the way he hits the breaks in record speed suggest that he's in good health and reflexes. For his part, the Spider-clad young man launches off the roof but catches himself on a street light and swings back Luke's way, trying to pretend he totally meant for that to happen. "He's good!"

One eyebrow raised, Luke tries to appear entirely nonplussed at the spider's statement. "Well. Alright then, I s'pose." He looks to the unconscious or pinned robbers and then to the perched hero. "So … you on this, then? Callin' the cops to come do a pickup? Makin' sure the truck is still okay?" He offers a thin smile. "Gotta dot those i's and cross those t's. And I am not lookin' forward to it much myself since this wasn't a paying gig for me."

Flipping down off the pole, Michael comes closer and asks, "We, um do all that? It's kind of my first gig." One of the webbed thugs snorts and Michael gives him a side-eye before a web bolt covers the thug's mouth. Looking back at the big guy, he says, "Um, is there a special number or hot line or something? Like animal control?"

The thug under the cart grumbles, "We're right here! Jeez."

Sighing, Michael shakes his head. In the future he's aiming for knockouts. Bad guys shouldn't have this much sass. He holds out a hand to shake. "Scarlet Spider. And you, sir, are AWESOME. With the strength and the charging and stuff. Also, nice shirt. Can I take a selfie? Is that a thing? Or does it wreck our superhero cred?"

Luke nods slowly. "First gig. Right." He's quiet for a second. "Makes sense, I guess. Why not. Yeah," Luke adds, "you'll probably want to make sure the authorities know where to go for 'cleanup.' I mean, they'll have calls coming in and all, but you can let them know exactly what's been taken care of." He leans forward slightly. "That assumes you want to be on good terms with the police, of course. It's not for everybody. Some of us have complicated relationships with 'em, you know?" Luke looks over his clothes. "Everything seems intact. So, yeah, you put in a call, you get your selfie. Like you said, gotta do quality control on that cred tip."

Nodding, Michael grins under the mask. "Cool." He fishes his phone out of an interior armored pocket of the suit, because of course it has a pocket for the phones and takes a couple of pictures of thugs then calls the incident into 911 then holds the camera out at arm's length, standing next to Luke and takes a picture. "Awesome! My first team up! Totally going on Facebook!" He tucks the camera away as the sound of sirens gets closer. "Um, I'm probably not so hot on doing paper work. Also, I kind of think people are going to be ticked about all the holes in the walls. Lasers. Seriously. Who gives these guys lasers?! But, um, I should go. If you want copies of the pics, I'm The Real Scarlet Spider on Twitter and Facebook. So you know, feel free to, um, friend me and stuff." Realizing he's babbling, the teenager snaps another web line up to a cornice some six stories up and uses the flex in the line to bounce himself up and away. "Thanks again!" And then he's around the corner and gone.

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