Thumb Drive of Everything

December 13, 2017:

Six gets Spider-Man up-to-date on the circumstances that have bound them together since their ill-fated run-in so many months ago.

The Garage

i dunno it's some skynet hovel


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Daredevil (Sock Guy), Luke Cage (Strong Guy), Danny Rand (Rich Fist), Jessica Jones, Fisk


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Nine months.

It has been almost nine months since Spider-Man last made an appearance at the Gotham City garage owned by Kinsey Sheridan on an errand of ominous portent. Innocent of any wrongdoing, merely the victim of circumstance and timing, he'd been drawn into the machinations of some mysterious figure with interest in Six — interest she couldn't then explain, but feared may have something to do with old professional connections with the DEO. He'd told her that a man by the name of James Wesley had paid the Daily Bugle offices a visit and threatened, in a roundabout way, one of his personal friends. It had been a necessary lie, but it had almost sent her straight to the man himself to turn herself over, unwilling to drag further innocents into the crossfire. In the end he'd convinced her not to Do The Thing, and she'd promised to get back in touch when she knew something more.

Now it's verging on mid-December, and Gotham is as bleak now as it ever gets, though there's something about the stark contrast of snow against its widespread silver and shadow that suits it well. A bitterly cold wind knifes up and down the streets, funneled by snowbanks shoved roughly aside by plows, gradually turning various shades of grey and dun, stained by the city itself. A few unfortunate vehicles on the waterfront street on which the garage is located have been buried beneath the overflow. It's quiet here save for noise that echoes this way from the docks and the bay; the worst of the inclement weather has no grid to repel it, blowing in relentless blusters off of choppy water the color of steel, crested white.

It's warm inside the garage but Kinsey is pacing, arms folded tight and shoulders drawn up as though warding off an inexplicable chill. In jeans and a loose, slouchy cream sweater, dark hair messily pinned up behind her head and cheeks pale and flushed, what she looks like is a young woman eagerly embracing the season — moments, perhaps, from stepping out to rustle up ten different things containing pumpkin spice so that she can shower her instagram with heavily filtered photos of beverages that have barely ever known the kiss of an actual coffee bean. She doesn't look like a person whose consciousness is busily flitting from sensor array to sensor array, winging its way up the street into the shoddy, dirty security camera bolted to the outside of the 7-11, and anxiously waiting to see a glimpse of swift-moving red and blue, eager to hand off a file full of information so sensitive she'd be lucky if the man it belonged to deigned to kill her quickly for the offense.

And yet, she's only one of those two things. No bonus points for the proper guess.

Her message had been brief and somehow managed to sound tense in spite of the fact that every syllable was synthesized through her voice filter. She knew who they were dealing with, she said, and she needed to see him. He could find her at the Garage on such-and-such day at such-and-such time.

The hour is nigh.

"What? Seriously?! I'm kinda — uh -"


"- busy here, one sec-!"


Spider-Man has been very proud of himself, of late. That's because, months earlier, Tony Stark had given him the pieces of a StarkPhone, and told him to make something of it. And he did. By integrating it into his suit. And now, Spider-Man has his own built-in communications system (jury-rigged smartphone). He's quite proud of it; it's a task put before him by his mentor that he thinks he passed with flying colors.

But now that he's set it up, he has to admit —


"On the phone here, guy! Rude!"

— he doesn't know just how Tony Stark manages this sort of thing.

This is his most pressing thought when the synthetic voice of Six pipes up in his ear right as one massive, armored fist cleaves its way through the roof of a car Spider-Man had just been occupying. Metal screams and tears like tissue paper as the webbed menace twists through the air with what looks like man outfitted in heavily scaled, tan armor pursues, hot on his heels.

"Wait — the Garage? Are you serious, you know-??" wonders the masked young man as he lands, ducking -just- below the sweep of a clawed hand and an increasingly irritated snarl. "Okay okay okay! Okay! I'm coming! Okay? I just gotta deal with this — uh — guy… villain… guy… sorry, I didn't really get your name-"

"Are you serious!? This is the third time we've fought!!"



For several seconds, there is silence on the other end of Six's line. And then:

"Baaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha oh my god oh my god you heard that right, you got that, he named himself the — oh my god, ahahahaha — okay, okay, sorry, I'll be right over, I just have to wait for this guy to lazily meander out into traffic and then nature will take care of itself-"


"Aaaah don't be mad at me for choosing a terrible name-!!"

There is the sound of a crack. The startled cry of a large man going airborne. And then the sound of a car crashing into something large, followed by a long suffering groan.

"… w-wow. I seriously — uh — that was totally not on purpose, but, uh, you know, nature took care of itself, I guess…?? Anyway, uh — there in a sec! Wow. Armadillo, beaten by a car. Just, wow. Never gonna live that down, guy-"



Nine months. Even longer still since that ill-fated day on a speeding bullet of a train. It had been winter then, too. The chill, in and of itself, is a grim reminder of things gone by.

Memories that are all the more pressing with Six's message still lingering at the forefront of Peter Parker's thoughts. He takes at least a little time getting to Gotham: he can't go the non-traditional way, not with Bat "Big Brother" Man keeping a hawkish watch on Gotham ready to shake his cane at any youngsters who get too close to his lawn, but even so, it's not -that- far a trek out from New York City to Gotham. Just an expensive one.

But now, of all times, and for these circumstances? The expense is worth it.

Eventually, though, when he reaches Gotham, mild-mannered Peter Parker becomes that blurry smudge of red and blue that Kinsey Sheridan is looking for, weaving swiftly through the back alleys of Gotham in as discreet a way as possible as he closes in on the Garage.

She'll see him in a snapshot of one of those gas station cameras first; it's barely even a matter of minutes after that before the young vigilante is landing on the roof of the garage with an intentionally audible thump. Followed by a knock. And another. And another. And —

— and is he just knocking out the beat to the Terminator theme on her rooftop yeah he's pretty much just doing that.

This is how you know Kinsey's under a lot of pressure lately:

There isn't an hysterical tirade over the phone as she listens to Darwinism gain a toehold on the metahuman scene in that gritty, grand city across the water. Because there could've been. Under any other circumstances, there would've been, because it begs so many questions. Why was he the Alarming Armadillo? What was his battle cry? How the hell did Spider-Man wind up fighting this guy three times? What was the guy doing every time he got caught? How did Spider-Man not remember fighting a guy named the Alarming Armadillo?

But there aren't any questions. 'Are you serious' gets a yes, I'm really serious, it's really important, for all that it's unlikely it manages to transmit across the line over the sound of a snarling armadillo-man (do armadillos snarl? Was he actually part armadillo, or just dressed as one, or-?).

She's ready and waiting, but her heart still leaps into her throat when the thing she's waiting for actually happens. She's taken every possible precaution, but even so, even so-

The telescoping roof of the rear of the garage — engineered to allow small personal aircraft to park in the larger bays toward the back — fold open just enough to permit someone of his physical description to slip through, with a sudden blast of heated interior air upward and out. The winter spills in through it like a deluge of frozen water, and she tilts her head back to look up, but there are only scudding gunmetal clouds barred across a dingy orange-lit sky, too polluted by light and smog to give her a glimpse of anything like stars.

In one hand is a thumb drive she endlessly rolls over and over itself, worrying it between pale, artificial, perfectly realistic fingers.

"Not to interrupt your drum solo, Mister Peart, but you're letting out all the hot air!"


There are a few telltale giveaways that make it impossible for Spider-Man to blend in to Gotham for long.

1) His color palette extends beyond 'black as the blackest pitch of the soul' and 'RED LIKE BLOOD'

2) He does not engage in long, grim monologues about the filthy nature of man and his duty to protect them with frequent references made to "his city"

3) He smiles once in a while

4) He cracked a joke once

5) And also this whole spastic flailing thing he's doing right not as the roof opens up beneath him even though he knew good and well it was going to do that. That. Whole thing. Dead giveaway.

The point being, Spider-Man is preeetty sure thanks to all of the above that he only has a very limited window to slip inside Six's Garage before Batman launches some sort of Bat-Satellite to fry him from orbit with or whatever insane things the vigilante does these days. That he -still- dedicates himself to completing that wicked drum solo before he drops down inside?

Well, that just means he's -that- dedicated to his art and ought to be applauded for it. Clearly —

"Who's Mister Peart, some kinda super drummer guy or something?"

— aaaand then he ruins it.

"Because that's, like, me. Totally. Mister Peart, all the way. Whoever that is."

And then kicks it while its down.

The point is, however, the webbed vigilante is (relatively) swift to drop inside and out of the prying eyes of what he assumes is basically every camera in Gotham ever, landing on his feet in a comfortable crouch before Kinsey before displaying his phenomenal knowledge of rock culture (he has to be kidding though, right? … Right??) Stretching back onto his feet, he rubs the back of his spandex-clad neck, scoping the area with wide, white lenses.

"Did you redecorate?" he asks, "I swear that desk was like… slightly to the left last time I was here."

"Like. Two inches. Really changes the whole feng shui of the place."

… …

"Uh. Right! So. Right. Yeah. Right. You had information for me! … Right?"


In spite of everything to happen as a consequence of their meeting on that train close to a year ago, Kinsey's gained enough distance on it to think back on it fondly. They were for her more innocent days in spite of the fact that, yes, she was robbing a government train car at the time, and the shining haze of memory allows her to remember the swooping through the city skyline as exhilarating, rather than accurately, as nauseating and a little bit terrifying. If it's possible to be nostalgic for something that didn't happen altogether that long ago, then that's what she is.

It's something helped along by the frenetic innocence he exudes, too — caught up in the unique cadence of his own drum.

Literally, tonight.

She stands there as the entire contents of Niflheim seem to flood out of the sky into the garage, forced to band her arms over her middle, crushed in against her ribs in an effort to keep her core temperature where it belongs, listening to him up there banging away on the roof even after the mechanism splits it apart down the center.

She's weighing the merits of tearing her hair out when he finally plummets through, and the metallic doors hum as they roll closed with a hollow boom.

Up close, she looks…harassed. Sleepless, but not yet hollowed by exhaustion. There's something determined in the cast of her expression, but also something apologetic, everything afloat in uncertainty. It's the look of someone with no exit strategy, who finds themselves treading deep water woven through with strong currents.

And still, she has time to stand there and stare at him when he says the words 'Who's Mister Peart.'

"I-" Pause. Her lids and lashes flutter as her mind reboots, her empty hand unbanded from her middle and held up, as though that palm-outward gesture could somehow stem the flow of insanity that is Peter Parker. "Let's — just come back to…that. All of…" She gestures roundly, encompassing 'his whole thing.' "…that."

The other hand extends. The thumb drive sits within the shell of her palm, utterly innocuous in appearance, but the way she's looking at him is practically leaden. "You're not going to like anything on this thumb drive. I know who was looking into us. I can take you through it, or you can browse the drive and get back to me, but you have to promise-" She curls her fingers back over the drive, then, both brows rising in an effort to impress the seriousness of her request, "-That you aren't going to investigate any of this without me. Or without talking to me. I'm — there's a group of people out of Hell's Kitchen I'm working with on this. It's delicate. You can't — I need you to not go charging off on your own to be a lone hero, okay?"

Let's — just come back to…that. All of…that.

"Okay. Good. Because this?"

Broad sweep to the entirety of Kinsey's living situation, just like, all of it. That arm swings as wide as it can go. It's impressive, for such a slender little guy.

"This is totally not how the future Skynet should be living. This is how you get robot uprisings. I should know. I've seen Terminator: Genisys."

"You can offer me sympathy for that later, too."

It's all familiar, despite the fact that he's only been here once, so many months ago. But it was a day scarred into his memory, the day everything felt like it was finally starting to unravel. And now those memories hang like a damocles sword over his head, perpetually threatening to unmake everything that he is while giving no indication of just when it might drop.

It's not an unfamiliar feeling. And the last time he felt this way —

Well. He lost something he's never really been able to replace.

So when that thumb drive is unfurled, he can't really be blamed that his knee jerk response is to almost very nearly snap his hand out to retrieve it like it was the one ring and he'd just been ensorcelled by the infinite promise of its luster. In that little, simple thing holds all the potential answers to his problems, after all — the potential to nip what could be a disaster to the few people left in his life he cares about in the bud before it can eer be fully realized. She's not even finished talking before that red and black-webbed gloved hand reaches out…

… and then hesitates, a moment, at that word.


And then those fingers close like a vault around his potential salvation.

"Wh-" begins Spider-Man in an eloquent sputter, "I'm not gonna — and if I did, I'd be TOTALLY justified — these creepers threatened my-" The vigilante seems to cycle through his thoughts at a mile a minute in real time, beginning and aborting arguments as if he was finding a counter to each one before they can be uttered. Ultimately, he ends up with silence as his only real argument to be offered. His shoulders sag. His head droops. Defeated.


It only sounds a -little- petulant. And probably purposefully.

"Fine! God. I bet Batman wouldn't be getting this much duff. He'd just show up and be like, 'WHERE'STHEFLASHDRIVE,'" he does his best attempt at a gruff voice here, which just ends up slurringly incomprehensible, like he was a drunk with a heavy lisp. It's not great, "and people would just be like 'Ooh, Mister Batman, you're so authoritative when you sound like you're spitting fistfuls of gravel into people's faces! Feel free to use this information for whatever you want, because you're a loose cannon but dammit, you get the job done!'"

He might be mixing his genres a bit there. Regardless. Hands throw up towards the heavens, as if questioning the fairness of the universe itself. It's all a little overwrought. Definitely kidding.

… Probably. Hopefully.

Still. Eventually, he settles. White lenses whirr into a curious squint as he reaches out and prods at that closed fist. "So," he begins, between pokes. Poke poke poke. "Maybe just give me a social media friendly summary. Tell me in one hundred forty characters or less how bad this is for us. Are we screwed, or super screwed?" Poke. Poke poke. "Radioactive freak accident screwed?" It's an important distinction.

All sound and fury, signifying…what, exactly? Kinsey can only wait to find out, expression unyielding. The curve of her mouth changes shape twice — once to thin, pressed together as he stumbles over all of the reasons it would be right and just for him to carry on without her, and again, similar but different, when he imitates the man in the Bat mask. For that moment alone there's a glitter of humor that rises in green-gold eyes, but the waitful, watchful, unapologetic expectation in her face never wanes, something solid beneath the superficiality of it all.

Even with his promise, her exhale is slow, the glance at her hand — slender fingers a very ineffective prison, really, in the company of someone she once saw bodily rip the metal vault door from the back of an armored train car — still reluctant. There's internal resistance to the act of actually letting the device go, even though she asked him here explicitly for this purpose. Even though she compiled the information and put it on the thumb drive herself.

"I wish I could say it was just us, Spider Guy. I've redacted a lot of the names in these files because…because some of them are…" Her head turns. The muscle that straps the hinge of her jaw flexes once. "Some of them are like you and I, right. Those aren't my secrets to share. There are a lot of metahumans in here because they're being…experimented on. Mined for genetic material. Used for pharmaceuticals. I- we broke up one of this guy's operations recently. Monterary Shock, a for-profit prison upstate. They started executing the prisoners before we could even get inside." She isn't even aware that her brows are knitting, framing a distant gaze that remembers too well the vivid images she'd seen up close and personally, flitting through the security system within the compound as the others fought their way inside.

He'll be able to see every muscle involved in her swallow before she sucks in a deep breath and looks at him again. "It's a lot of information. A lot. I can't sum it up, really, but that's the kind of bad news we're talking about. The guy's name is Fisk, and he operates a lot of his businesses out of Hell's Kitchen. If you want in on this, I can put you in touch with the people I'm working with. Daredevil you've probably heard of. Jessica Jones too, maybe. Guy named Cage who's basically invulnerable, and, a-" She hesitates. How in the name of god does one explain Danny Rand? "…a kid with…" She gestures meaninglessly. "He's rich and he sort of…there's something with his fist, I don't…it's not really clear. Sorry."

There's hesitation there. Reluctance, even. And Spider-Man — well. Peter Parker can understand it, at least a little. That hesitation to draw someone in to a situation that is doubtlessly dangerous. Afraid of what might happen. What they might do. Even if another part of him quietly rebels at that seeming lack of confidence, he knows. It's not quite that.

And if the situations were reversed, he'd be the one only reluctantly uncurling those fingers, knowing the dangers that the very act of such a simple gesture posed.

It doesn't stop him from nudging that closed hand every now and again even as he speaks, even as Kinsey answers. It's probably telling of something that how easy it would be to just open the flimsy cage of her fist and take what he wants never even occurs to him, much less is humored. No — he just holds his hand out after one last poke, palm up, in offering for that deceptively tiny storage device to be deposited onto that waiting bed of spandex.

But as she divulges those tiny parcels of information, those gloved fingers twitch, just lightly. "They're… what?" asks the masked menace, one lense shuttering into a squint and the other widening in a rough approximation of an arched brow of incredulity. "Experimenting on people? …" Executing them, too. It's not unheard of. It's not even something he hasn't seen before. But his other hand still curls into a taut fist at his side until fingers bite to palm nonetheless. It hits a sore nerve, for him. Re-opens the scars of memory still fresh in his mind.

"Did you-" manage to save anyone, he wants to ask, but stops himself short. Some memories are not worth retreading. And some…

The guy's name is Fisk…

Are too important to ever forget.

Fisk. He commits that name to memory. Fisk. He promises himself he'll never forget it. Fisk. Already he has to fight off the urge to break that promise and look into the man right now, to find him and put a stop to him himself. He has to, and the little tremor that runs from clenched fist partway up his forearm is nothing if not indicative of the difficulty of fighting that compulsion. So, instead, he chases distraction, head cocking visibly to the right as Kinsey goes through her roster of allies. "Daredevil? Like, the Hell's Kitchen guy? Batman, but with a sockface guy? That dude?" A second passes. "Neat." Yep. Neat. A fellow NYC hero! They're so totally rare! He's going to have a World's Finest team up with a bonafide superhero! They'll both get their names lambasted in the press after! He'll totally ruin Daredevil's image unintentionally simply by being in his relative proximity!

It's going to be great!!

"Oh. Yeah, I know Jessica Jones." She's harboring my weird spider-friend who has the same powers as me and I can sense her wherever I am and it's really creepy and also I found her in a bunker — "We jumped through an Eldritch spider-butthole together. We're like. Buttbound. Those kinds of bonds don't break." His hand lifts in a slow but inevitable 'OK' sign.

Somehow, that sounded less weird than the other option, when he weighed them against each other.

And then the others. His lenses slit into a squint. "So, like… Tough Guy, cool. And…"

He's rich and he sort of…there's something with his fist, I don't…it's not really clear.

There is a solid seven seconds in which Spider-Man just stares at Kinsey in blank silence.

"O-kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. So, Tough Guy and Rich Fist. Got it. Anything else? Do we have like secret meetings? Oh — oh man! Do we have a secret hangout that's not dingy and in the rundown neighborhood of the world's grimiest city-"

Spider-Man cuts himself off. Silence hangs heavy once more.

"I mean — I don't…"

"This place is great. Yeah. Great."

… …

"Have I mentioned I love how you redecorated it? Great. It's all great."

Smooth save.

Sockface guy?

He cannot possibly grasp all of the reasons why, but Kinsey finds that remark hysterical. All of her frayed nerves and the electricity that feels as though it pops and crackles and spits across the skein of them finds in that one toss-off remark a conduit to vent, like lightning to a ground. The laugh is short but full of the force of her relief, abruptly contained with one hand over her mouth, brows knit and eyes squeezing shut as she holds her breath and staves off the rest. It's difficult, because in the darkness behind her eyelids she can see him, cloth tied around his head as they stood on a boat off of the coast of Cabo Verde on what was supposed to have been a vacation from trouble, floating some distance above a secret underwater installation from which Five had picked up a bizarre radio transmission-

It really is kinda like a sock.

"Y…yeah." Another laugh hiccups out of her, but she has it for the most part contained, and blinks suddenly brilliant hazel eyes, sniffing as she lowers her hand. "Yeah, him. Them."

He peppers her with questions she has answers for, actually, but she never gets to them because en route — this seems to constantly be the case with him — he says something that throws a hairpin turn into the conversation and then completely neglects to slow down for anyone to process it. And that hairpin turn, this time, is:

'We jumped through an Eldritch spider-butthole together.'

"Wait, what? You WH-"

'We're like. Buttbound.'


It occurs to her then that it's probably going to be easier to get this story out of Jessica, with whom she actually, as luck would have it, has a lunch date tomorrow. It hurts her, almost physically, but she shelves that subject for now, and tries to focus on the important details.

It's really difficult.

"We do have secret meetings, and 'we' do not have a secret hangout, but, Spider Guy. Come on." The corner of her mouth quirks. She takes one step backward, then turns away from him, arms outstretched to either side of her to encapsulate the whole of the immense space, with all of its contents. "You caught a lift in the Valkyrie once. Do you see a VTOL here?" Head turned, she angles a bright glance over her shoulder. The look is wry, and relieved in ways she didn't expect to be, freed of the burden of the last dangling loose end on this whole sordid Fisk affair. "Keep up, buddy."

Her arms fall. The shoulder of her sweater slips down, but there's a t-shirt beneath, and the upper part of what's visible appears to be a section of the periodic table of the elements. "One last thing. I'm…" Subtle conflict registers in her expression — and exasperation, too, which is probably explained well enough by what follows. "Working at Stark Tower on weekdays. It's a long story. You don't want to know. But it'll be easier, anyway, to get ahold of me, and Stark…" Another uneasy beat. "…knows…what I am. Mostly."

Laughter. Really, even a brief spout of it is all he can ask for, in a situation as tense as this, with as many bleak implications as this. He'll count that as a win, frankly. He'll take all of them he can get at this point in his phenomenally unlucky career.

A fact made all the more pressing by that tiny little nothing-weight resting itself against his palm. Spider-Man's spandex-wrapped fingers draw in around that flash drive to secure it before tucking it into one of the little black compartments at his hip. Something he's going to spend much of the coming weeks pouring over, he's sure. When he should be doing schoolwork.

At the very least, this time he's absolutely positive this is the more important thing to focus on.

But just like that, he bounds from one topic of conversation to the other as if they were all just bundled up under one giant, ever-shifting stream of consciousness umbrella. The mystery of his harrowing ordeal with monstrous spider-sphincters is left to be explained by someone else, definitely not because he doesn't want to suffer some sort of PTSD flashback from reliving the memory. Instead, he just looks around him with the slow curve of his head this way and that with very purposeful deliberation, lenses whittling down into little white slivers as Six gestures expansively.

"Well I mean it could be invisible," is his first thought, tone laced defensively. "I don't know your weird robot technology, okay? I've got my own problems here! And that desk has been throwing me off! Two inches! Why! It's going to haunt me at night-!"

See? It makes perfect sense. At least -he- thinks so.

But with that flash drive pocketed, the webbed vigilante is already thinking out his next move. Research, definitely. If all these people are already on the case, one of them effectively bullet-proof by Six's account, this probably isn't a problem that can be handled by force. He'll have to take this carefully. Play it smart. And, for once, be a team player. At least his experience with the Titans should pay off in that regard.

… One would hope.

Behind that mask, lips part, the beginning "Th" of gratitude forming at the tip of his tongue before her words cut him off. He listens astutely, arms crossing his midsection to fold forearm over forearm as his jaw works a thoughtful rotation scarcely visible beneath that mask. And then, those lenses widen. Just a bit.

"Mister Stark does-?" he begins, with the sort of baffling deference mixed with credible incredulity that could only belong to someone who has a very complicated and begrudging idol. "Seriously? You don't think he's gonna — like — sell you out to the government or something-?" Because he also feels like that is a distinct possibility. "I mean… nevermind that. It should be fine. Mister Stark …" Come on Peter say something flattering.

"… is like 99% sure he's doing the right thing 99% of the time and 70% of the time he's mostly right. You're probably safe there! Sorta!"

that was not encouraging peter

Still. "But… right. Okay then. Stark Towers. I'll look for the girl with the nerdiest shirt in the building." Because yes, he saw the glimpse of a periodic table, and yes, he's judging free of the guilt of hypocrisy because he's got too many other problems for self-awareness right now, shut up. The spider-hero (??) pats that little black compartment holding the thumb drive, feeling so pressing despite its non-existent weight. He half-turns. Hesitates.

"… And thanks, for this. It's…" He searches for the right words. "… it's going to be a big help. I'll be in touch with you and Sockdevil and the Superfriends soon, after I look all this over and stuff, okay? Or like — if you ever need something, or something — y'know-"

He'd do the whole spider-signal thing again.

But he thinks he's proven his point with that already, so he just makes a little 'call me!' gesture with his hand.

Thank god.

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