Cindy Takes a Bribe!

November 17, 2017:

Silk and Spider-Man chat about recent events in both their lives over Chinese food. That may or may not have been paid for out of a robber's pocket. Who can say??

Titans Tower

Underneath one of the arms of the truly terrifically t-shaped Titans Tower.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Robin, Jessica Jones, Spider-Woman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

SPIDER-FLASHBACK

"Hey — I know — this is — a bad time!! But if I could — get — like — two orders of beef lo mein — chicken fried rice — and a pu pu platter — that'd be really just fantastic — hey, stop laughing, dude, that's a perfectly normal dish name-!!"

This is the sound of everyone's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man as he bounces around Joe's Shanghai restaurant in Queens. 'Bouncing' being the operative term, thanks to a trigger-happy robber he's currently dealing with. The sound of a shotgun peeling off rings in the young man's ears as he slides underneath the robber in question, using a line of webbing to yank that unpleasant firearm towards the ground instead of somewhere it can do some actual harm. Wood splinters, distracting the gun-toting criminal —

— just long enough for the webbed vigilante to flip up behind him and smack two spandex-clad heels right into the back of the man's head, sending him down like a sack of bricks.

"— Oh. I guess that was you groaning in pain, not laughing at me or the pu pu platter. Sorry! Sorry, everyone, that was — I mean, it sounded like he was laughing, right?? Please say right."

Instead, Spider-Man is left with a woman staring blankly at him, his entire - enormous - order of food complete. He blinks. Rubs the back of his head.

"Wow. That was quick. Thanks, I'll just take that-"

She continues to stare.

"… uh. You want me to — normally people just let me have some food for free when they're not trying to shoot me and -" stare "- okay right yeah got it."

Spider-Man dips a hand down. Pauses. Realizes he never takes his wallet with him.

"… Uh. I must have left my wallet in my other skin-tight spandex costume, a-ha-ha — no? Nothing? U-uh. Well…"

His stomach rumbles. He needs this food. He looks around.

And white lenses fall on the fallen robber.

Spider-Man is silent for a long moment.

Those lenses narrow.

"Wellllllllll-"

Within a handful of minutes, the police arrive. Spider-Man is already gone, the perp webbed up tight. His wallet, emptied out, with just a single note inside, scribbled hastily on the back of a torn piece of menu.

I O U

$30.00

WHEN YOU ARE OUT OF PRISON

OR WHATEVER :(

-FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN

NOW

It's remarkable what you get used to when you have superpowers. Case in point:

Eating upside-down.

It's something that comes to him like second nature now, that he probably would have never dreamed of doing before he was bitten — perhaps even after, really. One of those things that just sort of… happened, and now Spider-Man takes to such a strange thing as easily as breathing.

And this is why, currently, Spider-Man finds himself sitting cross-legged, upside-down, on the left arm of the Titan Tower's T-shaped structure (it's really painfully obvious but hey he's not an architect), currently demolishing a little canister held upside-down (rightside-up??) in hand as he funnels noodles and beef and veggies into his inverted mouth like a regular Kirby. The rest of the food? Currently suspended on a line of webbing just in front of him, bag swaying in the breeze as he eats, mask pulled halfway up his face to expose his nose and mouth.

He comes to the tower, every now and then, like this. To eat. To relax a little, between patrols. He's not quite the permanant fixture here that some members of the team might be, bogged down and busy as he is (with largely self-inflicted problems and work). But, like this, just chilling out, listening to 'Stressed Out' by Twenty One Pilots away from people yelling at him, people trying to kill him, or people spinning out unflattering newspaper headlines about him?

"Oh god this is good beef lo mein totally worth almost getting shot at"

It's a much-needed respite.

"… I wonder if what I did counted as theft…? … … Naaaaaah.

"I left an IOU and everything!!"

Much-needed.


Hopefully, one of those problems he's attempting to duck is not in fact one of the newest recruits into the Titans— at least, she will be once a few Ts are crossed, a few Is are dotted, and she moves into the big T in the middle of the East River.

Though nominally one of the metahumans that do a fair job of micromanaging Hell's Kitchen, Silk actually spends most of her time on patrol in the skies of New York swinging in other areas— certain areas that also intersect or overlap with that of the Spider-Man. It isn't to nose in on his turf, to be fair— he showed her numerous routes, and some of them allow her to cover more distance and go farther, faster.

She's coming. Closer, closer…

Using a pair of well-placed web lines to leverage her momentum and slingshot, Silk bursts out from between buildings and sails out over the East River. She tucks herself tightly into a ball, accelerating, breaking out into a spread-eagle sail through the air. Scarlet fingertips extend, webbing snagging the /right/ arm of the T that comprises Titans Tower, swinging underneath and up to the roof before landing with a grind of gravel and topsurface.

A solid minute later, she's crawling to the underside of the left arm, settling back in a upside-down squat. She says nothing to Peter, instead tapping on the strap around her wrist. The Starktech display flicks to life, showing a tweet:

'at joe's shanghai. robber bought spiderman's lunch lel #justfoodiethings #spiderlyfe'

"/Dude/."


Slurping up that food like nobody's business, Spider-Man seems very happy to lose himself in his own little world; his head bobbing along to the song that blares in his ears courtesy of the StarkPhone he's weaved into his suit himself, the webbed vigilante hums along to the music, interspersing scattershot lyrics here and there as he sucks down a volume of carbohydrates that would be patently, horrifyingly unhealthy for someone who hadn't been bitten by a radioactive spider.

Absorbed as he is, though, he's not oblivious; especially not where Silk is concerned. So, as Silk comes swinging past, those lenses shutter in a brief blink. His head tilts. Noodles hang limply upside-down from his mouth.

"Uhhhhhh," he begins, eloquently, as she disappears past the other side of the building.

For a moment, he scratches the back of his head.

And then suddenly there's a Silk winding her way down. He can sense her, obviously.

"AH! Encino Woman!" … Which doesn't really stop Spider-Man from being Spider-Man.

"… oh, man, I should have saved that one for Captain America. Like, duh! Ugh!" And here, Peter Parker smacks his forehead, even throughout Cindy Moon's silence. If she's one of the people or problems he's avoiding, he certainly doesn't seem to be acting like it. "Can you just, like, forget I ever made that reference? I've got a rep for fresh material and it's super important that I use that on Captain America because maybe he'll get the reference and appreciate my humor and then he'll be all like 'Spider-Man your quick wit saved my life and my spirits, would you like to join the Avengers and also -'"

At which point Silk displays the tweet. A long silence passes.

"'- do PSA service announcements with me about how it's okay to take money from criminals as long as you make it clear you've written them a legally binding IOU,' was what I was gonna say, yep, you saw that huh? H-hey, don't dude me! You dude! You are the dude! I wrote an IOU! I'm good for it! And I had to give a generous tip because, like, the jerk ruined their floor!"

A long silence passes. Spider-Man clears his throat. Reaches into his bag. Pulls out a container.

Offers it up.

"Pu pu platter?"


Somehow, she stays silent for the entire routine. Her eyes stay half-lidded, her mouth in a flat line, her look ever-so serious even while her hair occasionally flaps wildly in the wind beneath the tower. Sucking in a breath between her teeth, Silk's hands lift a little, fingers fanned out before gnarling into a frustrated 'imagine his neck between my hands' pose. Elbows returning to her knees, arms half-folded, Silk sighs.

Dismissing the holographic display with a sweep of her hand, Cindy /also/ stares at the offered food… but does not turn it down, instead reaching out to the container and taking a sniff. "Ooo. I could stand to reload," she says, looking down at her forearm knowingly. Touching two fingers to the underside of the roof, she makes a little sling for the container to sit in, just tacky enough to keep it from blowing away with the occasional breeze. "You have a fork or chopsticks in there?" the spider-girl asks, dragging a finger across the mouth of the silk-spun mask so she can eat unobstructed.

Awaiting utensils before she starts digging in, Cindy shifts with one hand on the underside of the T-shaped tower, sitting herself down in an almost identical pose to Peter. "Also you /know/ I forget nothing. But I can be convinced to /say/ nothing. I mean— uh. This is a pretty fair bribe to say nothing, so we'll just go with that," Cindy adds, throwing a pair of fingerguns.

"I thought this place had a cafeteria or a mess hall or something. Don't tell me you're bored with it already? — I mean you're not, right? This place is a giant-ass T, there's gotta be tons of insane structural engineering to keep this thing from dropping like Jenga puzzle into the drink."


Stared at, so threateningly blankly, compete with ominous hand-wringing, Spider-Man uses his vast wisdom and genius intellect to enact the most effective strategy he can think of:

He just kind of wiggles that big container of food back and forth a little more emphatically.

As if to say, 'Hey! Look! A bribe!'

And he really wanted that pu pu platter, too.

It's a sacrifice, however, that Peter makes willingly as he hands off that Chinese food to the other webbed vigilante in the half-mask. Cool winds buffeting his well-insulated frame, Peter holds up a single finger as he fishes into his hanging back of excessive foodstuffs.

"Ta-da!" declares the webbed vigilante, producing a paper-wrapped pair of chopsticks that he subsequently tosses Cindy's way. Upside-down. It'd be awkward, if it were any other people. For Spider-Man, it just comes naturally, at this point. And he's fairly confident in Cindy's hand-eye coordination.

Fairly.

"Yeah, see," he continues on as he pops open his container of chicken fried rice next, waggling his own chopsticks at Cindy. "I've got the mad hookups. Or whatever. I can sacrifice things for a good cause" a good cause being making a cuttingly dated reference joke at a cuttingly dated man "and, like, besides, this food is SUPER — OH WAIT BLAST FROM THE PAST, YOU'RE BLAST FROM THE PAST GIRL!"

This sudden, shouted revelation is delivered with an almost accusatory point Cindy's way. A few seconds of poignant silence follows.

"… you know… 'Blast From the Past.' Why didn't I think of that before? Why is Brendan Fraser in so many forgettable movies? … Man, why is Brendan Fraser in so many forgettable movies where he's a man out of time?? Is it something about his face? Or or or — maybe he got Captain America'd, too? 'Brendan Fraser, the Potato Soldier'! Dude, I think I'm on to something here-!"

Fortunately, eventually Peter's feverish ramblings taper off and he returns to his meal. Shoveling rice into his mouth like it was an angry furnace, he blinks at Cindy's question; white lenses shutter into a squint, and the webbed crime fighter lifts a hand, turning off his music before rubbing the back of his neck.

"Huh? No, no way, I'm not bored. Have you seen the labs here? It's like — ten gajillion times - technical term - better than any of the stuff I've had before!" Peter Parker, whose lab equipment up until this point has been "things he cobbled together from prolonged dumpster dives (he doesn't wanna talk about it)". "I mean, and the mess hall is pretty good and all, too, but…" A long pause follows. Spider-Man taps chopsticks on his fried rice container pointedly.

"… it's not Joe's."

Enough said, really.

"Anyway, I actually did the math on this place, and all it'd take for it to come tumbling down is like… you don't wanna know. It's scary." He mimes pushing at a Jenga tower and making a '((booooom))' sound effect after. For effect. "… uh. But it's, like, really well put together, forget what I just said, again, it's nothing! I'm messing around! Ha ha haaa!"

Awkward paaaause"SO I heard Red came to you about joining us, huh?"


All of that time she spent locked away and alone, she most certainly did not do something like not walk around on the ceiling or walls— things that would look amazing to onlookers, but all the more common and ridiculous in modern day life. Snagging the chopsticks and cracking open the box, Cindy slips a bit of food into her mouth through the slit she cut in the mask.

The lab is amazing? "Good. I've got … a lot to do," she says, frowning a little.

'All it'd take for it to come tumbling down,' Peter starts. "Oh god," Cindy replies, "I wasn't being serious. I mean, okay, a *little* serious, but there's a lot to unpack right now."

Bringing a bit more food up to her mouth, Cindy's brow creases— she's not the best liar sometimes— and frowns, staring at her food-bribe as though it held the answers to some of the greatest mysteries in her life. "Yeah. … I talked it over with Jessica, too, before I decided to accept. That's not gonna be a problem, right?"

The chopsticks jab in Spider-Man's direction. "And are you telling him I'm from some kind of weird alternate dimension, or something? He asked me about that, like, /first/ when he broke into Alias."


I've got a lot to do, says Cindy Moon, and Peter Parker tilts his head with curious purse of his lips.

"What're you working on?" he questions after the girl out of time. "Is it to do with your family? Or something else?"

Still, the questions stop there for now as the red-and-blue vigilante lifts his hands defensively in the air, swinging them back and forth in an expertly experienced if slightly too adamantly dismissive wave. "It's nothing, it's nothing! I mean, like, seriously, there'd have to be a lot to go wrong before that even became a potential problem! Like — everything would have to fall apart!"

The silence hangs heavy. Spider-Man's mouth hangs just slightly open.

"I've just jinxed us haven't I everything is going to fall apart isn't it."

He takes a moment of his time to scope his surroundings, as if worried that the jinx is going to take place -immediately-.

Which, considering his luck, is very far from out of the realm of possibility.

But, joking (???) done, Peter seems content to return to his rice shortly thereafter — perhaps proof he's just kidding. Or just testament to how thick skinned he's gotten to the inevitability of terrible, horrible no good bad luck. Whatever the reason, he funnels pieces of rice and chicken into his gullet en masse as Cindy speaks, one white lens widening and the other squinting in the approximation of an arched brow. "What? No. What? Why'd it be a problem? You're not gonna, like — tell everyone my secret identity, or something, are you? It's hard enough keeping Red from figuring it out! I swear he's secretly stalking me or something. It's those Bat-genes." He looks warily over his shoulder. Ultimately, his shoulders lift in a shrug. "ANYWAY. No, like — seriously. I think it's a good idea. A team's a good thing for you. You ought to meet everyone. It doesn't hurt to have more friends who know some of the stuff you have to go through, y'know?"

And then comes that accusatory jab, and those suspicious questions, and once again Spider-Man's hands go up wardingly. "Hey hey what hey! What's he saying I'm saying?! I'm not saying anything he's saying I was saying, except the stuff I said, which isn't the things you're saying!" The webbed spider-hero grumbles, looking over his shoulder once more. "Stupid stalking Red-!"

A fist-shake, and Peter returns to his food. It's all a bit overwrought. But it's likely just because… "No, I didn't tell him anything. That's all stuff you gotta tell people, or not, right? I didn't even tell him about the schmunker," he still things that's a viable alternative to the b-word, "He probably just thought you might be because… it's weird, right, having two people with the exact same powers? … And…" Because… "And, y'know, because of, uh… Spider-Woman, and all that."

… Because the real reasons have to do with things he'd rather not be talking about right now.


"You might be right. I can feel the very tower shifting beneath our feet. Oh noooooo~!" Cindy cries out dramatically, hands slapped to her cheeks. She laughs a little, shaking her head. Jeezy, Petes.

A piece of food slips into her mouth through the slit in her mask, Cindy looking momentarily distracted— a little more serious than she'd like to be. "As for my family… Yeah. Jessica and I hit a wall with the paper trail. At some point they switched to nothing but cash transactions and… it's been a long time. Memories get fuzzy, people aren't sure of what they saw, or they were super busy those weeks after I went in, so … I'm hoping there's something here I can leverage for more help." After a pause, she adds, "People, or resources… something like that."

"What? No. Why would I tell them? … Wait, you didn't tell /them/ about /mine/, right? … I mean I'm gonna have to say something about who I am unless I plan on always censor-beeping myself every time I'm about to say my name," Silk says, finger tapping on an invisible button. And— having a team is good for her?

Silk looks … nervous, a little uncomfortable, looking down to the ceiling. "Maybe. … I guess. Big changes is just … not … like I don't mind working with others or with you, it's just … kind of a /thing/," she says, shoving food into her mouth to keep herself from talking more.

"Nmf." she responds at first. "Yeah. That was pretty much it. He didn't try to dig too hard, he just … asked. He's like, 'usually when they share abilities, it's because of some kind of … connection,'" she says, trying to make Red Robin sound all sorts of dramatic. "Siblings, or…"

Silk leans a little closer, eyes grave.

"A connection to the /Spider Force/."

She makes jokes, but there's an air of discomfort behind the humor— too many bad memories still sitting fresh on the surface of her mind.


For all he may joke and carry on, Peter still knows when to hit the off switch (a little known, closely-kept secret). It's why the young vigilante quiets as Cindy works through her thoughts on her parents, his expression distilling into sobered pensiveness as he slowly churns his chopsticks through the mess of fried rice remaining in his little, cardboard cup. He turns little, browned rice pellets between the pincers of his utensils for a moment, lips tugging towards a thoughtful frown.

"Mm," he breathes out after she finishes, a thoughtful sound that almost gets lost to the wind. "Maybe this is a bad time to mention it, and, like, feel free to tell me to shut up, I get that a lot — but have you considered… looking for the creepy old dude? Ezekiel?" Lifting (lowering) his chopsticks, Peter taps the side of his masked head with the tips of those utensils. "I mean — he seems like the kind of creepy old dude who would be keeping tabs on your family while you were… y'know, and he's probably out there being creepy and old, somewhere. It might be easier for Jessica to track him down than your parents, at this rate, and like, maybe we can, uh… gently prod him for information about your family?"

And here, Spider-Man jabs his chopsticks into the air, to imitate said prodding.

"I dunno. I mean, y'know, it's — it's totally your call. And I can totally get if you don't wanna deal with that guy right now, or anything."

And so Peter returns to his food, polishing off the remains of that rice in record time before those lenses once more imitate that incredulous arch of a brow. "Do I look like someone who'd just run their mouth all day long about sensitive stuff oh wait nevermind I see what I'm saying now I'm gonna retract that question." Self-awareness: he has it. Sometimes. "But I didn't tell nobody nothin'. Uh. Anybody anything. Whatever. Your secret's safe with me." Nose tap goes… here. "I get it, though. It might be awkward, but you'll get used to it. Probably. I mean this is like my first team experience too so I don't know what I'm doing giving advice but uhhh hey! That means we're in the same boat! Samesies!"

And encouraging thumbs up goes… here.

It's not all that encouraging.

And might be the herald of some well-meaning meddling.

Still, there is a subtle sense of relief from the spider-vigilante when the issue of Spider-Woman isn't pressed. Part of him thinks he should warn Silk about her potential presence on the team, considering how poorly the two got along last time. Another part of him doesn't even want to think about that whole can of issues right now and so rationalizes it as 'Robin probably told her, and if not, I'll just blame Robin for not telling her.' At the moment, it sounds like a good plan.

So instead, he just fishes into that bag as he speaks, eyes tilted downward to focus on his task as he deposits his empty container. "Spider-Force? Ew. Just. Ew. But I mean… … none of this makes a whole lot of sense, does it? Like — I dunno, why do we have this whole connection sense thing between us? That's not, like — that's not a thing spiders do. That's not a thing radiation does! Why are either of us even alive!" Grim, Peter. "Err. I mean. It's just … strange." And not something he's wholly comfortable with either, for all that he's morbidly curious about it.

"But, y'know. We'll figure it out. Right? Right. Totally. You and me, we got this covered. But we can just take it slow. No use worrying about it right now, right?" Famous last words. "In the meantime…"

And here, he plucks free that last container, waggling it in front of Cindy.

"… the last beef lo mein. OoooOOOooo." Fingers wiggle.

"Wanna share? And then I can give you a totally comprehensive tour of the tower. Rule #1:

"Avoid the Mud Room. It's gross. And totally going to be the source of the mud people uprising."

He's good at this.


Cindy sucks in a breath and sighs, tucking a few strands of dark silken hair behind her ear. It doesn't do much considering their environment. "I tried. I mean, we both did— it just turned into a maze of … everything. Everything terrible, I mean. Shell companies, deeds to properties where nothing was there. I couldn't even scrounge up a picture of him on the internet. And I mean, everything is on the internet."

Gesturing at the wrist-strap phone almost helplessly, she adds, "I thought in five years you'd be able to find basically everything ever online. I mean we've got viable TV and junk on our phones, so it's just … I dunno. It's insane. He was smart. … And tough. I mean, he was the one that taught me how to fight."

Silk slips a bit more food through the slit in her mask, slumping back a little against the underside of the T-shaped tower, elbows making contact and adding a bit more adhesion to the surface. Even upside-down, this all feels so insanely natural.'I can totally get it.'

Uttering a sigh, the metahuman shrugs, eyes looking away and letting an uncomfortable silence slip into place.

"Oh yeah, you're just the picture of discretion. But yeah, at least we're in the same boat together." Holding the chopsticks in her mouth, Cindy pushes herself back into a full sit-up, tucking the utensils into the pu pu platter's box. Her hands settle on her ankles, elbows on her knees, weight leaning forward. "You say that, but … ugh. It was all the stuff 'Zeke told me. Spider totems, and mystical stuff… I dunno. We're sitting on the underside of a skyscraper and it still sounds stupidly crazy."

A finger lifts, knowingly. "And I've met a couple of magicians and I know ghosts are real, so it's not the most insane thing I've ever heard, now."

Plucking the chopsticks out, Cindy wastes no time— she snags a bit of the beef lo mein straight out of the box, slurping up beef and noodles.

"Mud people uprising. Check. … 'Cause that sounds so stupid it might be real."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License