The Trial of Venom

April 22, 2015:

Army Intelligence questions Gwen and Peter about Flash Thompson!

New York

ESU Campus

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a hectic day on campus, ESU is brimming with life as today is the first day that's truly felt like spring. There is not a cloud in the sky nor a hint of a chill in the air. On the quad there are people lounging around in shorts, some playing frisbee, others rollerblading around or skateboarding. Oh and also some going along to class.
It's there on the courtyard between departmental buildings that groups of students are gathered discussing the coming weekend, the classes, and of course other students. Yet amongst them is a man in a suit, probably a member of faculty. He's wearing black, a white shirt, and has sunglasses on for the very first sunny day. He pauses there as if looking for someone.

+MEET: Spider-Man has arrived via +meet.

Gwen Stacy had just left one of her classes and was heading towards the next one, although she had taken a slightly longer route that would pass by one of Peter's classrooms; she had done it in the hopes of catching him as he left class.

She's also holding two coffees in her hand, unlikely that she would be drinking both!

The sun is shining. The news has spread through the building where Peter Parker has been hard at work, trying to get his latest physics experiment to run properly. Ideally it would be done in a vacuum and a weightless environment, but what can you do? We work within our constraints. But another broken spherical mirror has the young man at a level of frustration somewhere between 'that vein in his temple is pulsing' and 'heart explodey rage', and so an escape from the lab seems like a very good idea. He picks up the broken glass, and then makes his way outside and away from physics. Maybe he'll go out and break a few physical laws.

The red haired man in black furrows his brow as he considers the ebb and flow of the student body. Standing outside Gwen's building he pauses long enough to check the watch on his wrist and frown minutely. Her itinerary would have her stepping out by now, unless she was running late for some reason. He turns his head to the side and gives a nod, perhaps to an observer of some sort. A moment passes and he steps into the building, steeping around a few students making their way out.
Inside he espies her, nodding to himself. The glasses are pulled off and pocketed then he makes his way towards the young Ms. Stacy smartly. Upon drawing near he clears his throat. "Ms. Stacy? Gwen Stacy?"

Gwen was presently listening to some music on her StarkPhone and some pink earbuds leading into her purse made it pretty clear she couldn't hear anyone. She doesn't even hear the inquiries of Stacy, Gwen Stacy as she sings along to a catchy pop song.

Spotting Peter heading out of the physics building, she raises one of the hands holding a coffee and waves at him frantically, the cup flying out of her hand and hitting the government agent behind her; splattering the man in coffee.

When she realizes that the coffee flew out of her hand, she very slowly turns around, removing one earbud from her ear and blushes, "Oh.. wow. I am so sorry, I'm such a klutz!"

Peter starts to return the wave, and then winces as the coffee goes flying. He frequently plays klutzy to throw people off the idea that he might be Spider-Man… but that was not fake. He's almost positive. He jogs over toward Gwen and the (so clearly a) government agent. "Hey, Gwen," he says. "Hey… uh… Man in Black. Please don't use your neuralyzer on us."

The man clearly winces, hopping back quickly with good reflexes and grabbing at the now stained front of his dress shirt. He fans it a few times as if trying to get droplets off of it then wipes his jacket down with the brush of a hand quickly. "Dammit…" He shakes his head then holds up a hand towards the two youngsters, "No, no worries. Got another in the car." The man looks up between them and nods. "Mr. Parker, this is very convenient."
From an inside pocket that he reaches for his ID and if they look down as he does so they'll see his government issued sidearm. Opening the leather wallet he shows them his badge, "Agent Grey, Army Intelligence. I was wondering of I could trouble you both for a few moments of your time." He folds the ID closed and repockets it, "We're doing a background check on a Corporal Thompson as he's seeking a higher security clearance. Would be great to talk to you both for a bit."

Gwen looked between the army agent and Peter, really unsure what to say in this situation except, "Um, I'll have to call my dad and make sure this is legitimate. Can you pull your ID out again please? I'm also going to need to know the base you're stationed at and who authorized this." She calls up her dad and starts explaining, "Daddy? There's a man here claiming to be from Army Intelligence wanting to ask me questions about a school friend." She stared at the Army man waiting for a response, "My dad says you're welcome to use the 15th precinct for any questioning you need to do, he's a Police Captain Agent Grey."

"Flash?" says Peter. "You want to ask -me- about -Flash?-" Flash gave him as a reference? Or are they just, you know, going to everybody Flash ever knew? Because really, Peter's memories of Flash are not exactly positive, by and large. Then again, it's the army. A history of bullying may be a positive thing for them.

"Let me ask you something," he says after a moment of consideration. "You ever heard that song 'Oliver's Army'?"5r

"Of course, Ms. Stacy." He pulls out the ID again and seems unperturbed. "Conel Stone is the enacting officer out of Fort Hamilton." He holds the ID at the ready as Gwen takes down the numbers or relays them. Once she's done he places the ID back into his jacket pocket. He looks back over at Peter and says, "I'm afraid not, Mr. Parker." He smiles faintly, "I'm not too up on music." And perhaps for a moment there might be a faint fellow nerd recognition. Then again there might be a subtle hum of warning for those with spider-senses.
Looking back to Gwen he says, "I was hoping we could just talk a bit here, but if you're dead set on it we can head over to the precinct."

Gwen politely explains, "If we did something on Campus, Peter and I run the risk of expulsion since you're not wearing a guest badge which means you probably shouldn't be here AND anything like this would have to be cleared with our associate Deans and all that." She isn't actually being rude or questioning, just explaining the rules on campus to the Agent, "The precinct is much better suited and my Daddy is super protective, he wouldn't want anyone questioning me in this sort of official capacity without him being near-by."

She smiles at Agent Grey, "So, it's like, making your job easier. We're both happy to co-operate with you and answer your questions for Corporal Thompson. My car is out in the lot, I'll drive Peter and I, you follow!" No tricks or anything, just a drive to the 15th Precinct!

Given that 'Oliver's Army' was recorded in 1979 by the great Elvis Costello, Peter would have to say that Agent Grey is definitely not up on music. Nope. "Got it," he says. Spider-sense really only triggers, for him, when he's in mortal danger. Still, there's this sense of unease that is just there. "Guess we'll see you at the 15th." He glances at Gwen. "You're the one with the car."

Smiling to both of them, Agent Grey gives them a nod, "Alright, meet you there in say," The Army intel operative checks his watch, "Twenty minutes?" He looks up and if he receives some acknowledgement or slight adjustment to the time he'll step back and then head off to the parking lot to meet up with his partner and head on over to the precinct.

When Peter and Gwen get to the car she drives them to the 15th precinct without incident, allowing the Government Men to follow her or meeting them there; whichever works best for her. When she arrives she leads the way inside and hugs an older man wearing the uniform of a police captain who confers with Agent Grey for a moment, likely being a stern cop and father before leading them all to a room where they can chat.

Peter does not know quite how to react to Gwen's father. he does not know if the man still dislikes him — for whatever reason. He sketches a salute to the police captain, along with a sheepish smile, and then enters the room set aside for the interview without any trace of his usual humor.

The Agents arrive a bit later after Peter and Gwen make their arrival. At first they show up at the duty officer, flash badges, then are shown into the back where one of the interrogation rooms have been set aside for the use of the Intel officers. Stopping just before the entrance, Captain Stacy and Ageny Grey have a few words, the exchange from afar seems pleasant if a touch tense, their body language speaking of a certain level of professional formality.
A few moments later and the door to the interrogation room opens and there is Agent Grey once again, "Your father seems like a good officer. You're a lucky young woman." He says this with a measure of friendliness, then gives Peter Parker a nod as well. He pulls a chair out and waits for them to be seated before he takes his own.
Once they're settled he looks between them, smiling faintly. "Sorry for this whole rigamaroll, but when someone moves up from one clearance to another we have to do a lot of running around."

Gwen sat down and smiled at the agent, but it was obvious she was nervous. Reaching under the table she grasped for Peter's hand and gave it a little squeeze before replying, "Oh! No problems at all, anything we can do to help our old friend Flash Thompson. Right Peter?"

Peter glances sidelong at Gwen. He's not sure 'Friend' entirely classifies his relationship with Flash Thompson. But he does not say this outright — he just gives a rather noncommittal, "Sure," in response. "What can we do for you, Agent Grey?" He squeezes Gwen's hand reassuringly in return. He doubts they have much to worry about.

Opening his hand to them as if asking for them to take the very words from him, Agent Gray smiles and says, "Well first off we just wanted to establish a base line from your early interactions with him. In as many or as few words as you wish could you please describe your relationship with Corporal Thompson?" He straightens up a bit and as he does so relinks his fingers before him. "What sort of student do you feel he was, did he have any strengths, any flaws. Would you consider him a leader?"
The Agent offers a few possible angles, giving them various paths for their meandering recollections to wander, "Would you say he was a stable individual? A born leader?"

Peter grimaces faintly. "He was a pretty typical jock," he says. "A bully to the geeks, but popular with the… you know, the popular crowd. I guess he was a leader on the field, but… he wasn't a leader for the students in general, I'd say. Really, we weren't friends. I was a geek. I'm still a geek. Maybe he's matured since high school. I hope he has. But I'm not the best person to ask for a reference."

Gwen considered the questions and Peter's answer before doing her best to reply honestly, "Flash wasn't the /best/ student but he tried hard, I think he had a very rough home life because he often took it out on other people but you could see deep down he was a good person. As Peter said, he could be a bit of a bully, but I don't think it's his nature to pick on others, I think it was just an emotional response to the many issues a teenage boy deals with." She was a biochemist after all, she knew this stuff!

"He was definitely the definition of a 'leader' if you go by the typical All-American Football Captain and stuff like that. He had a girlfriend to, Liz I think I'm not sure what happened with them. Oh and um, well the next thing isn't important, he's pretty stable but maybe he was a little confused or something before who knows!"

Absorbing that information, the Agent looks between them. He nods his head slowly, as if processing their words and then he hmms quietly, taking a deep and steadying breath. Once they finish answering he looks between them. "Hm, so you'd call him a bully? That's strange we haven't had any correlating data about that and his psych profile makes no mention of such tendencies. Did he have any outbursts or insicidents while he was attending school with you?"
A moment passes then he looks to Peter in specific, "Did he bully you personally, Mr. Parker?" His tone shifts from purely inquisitive to perhaps a touch concerned, his brow furrowing as if pondering such a thing and the horrible times the young man must have gone through.

"Frequently," says Peter. "Particularly the first couple years of high school. And Gwen's probably right — I understand he had a pretty lousy home life. But he treated me pretty badly in high school, and I'm not going to lie about that. If his psych profile says he's not one to bully, well… he's changed. And that's a good thing."

Gwen remains rather quiet on this, since she was never bullied by Flash, grudgingly she adds, "I was personally witness to some of the bruises Peter had after a particular nasty wedgie or pummelling in the hallway. I was his girlfriend."

The Agent frowns, as if this were the first he'd heard of such tendencies. He looks between them and they might get the feeling as if he were trying to measure the validity of their words or might just be torpedoing Corporal Thompson for some reasson. He gives a nod, "So you would characterize his behaviour as a teenager as lacking control of his emotions, prone to violent reaction or instigation?"
The man leans back in his chair, the seat creaking faintly as his weight shifts. He gives a small nod as if filing away the information as they speak.

"As a teenager," says Peter. "Yes. But I haven't seen him other than in passing in nearly four years. So, you should take anything I say with a grain of salt. I imagine that the military has been good for him."

Gwen nods and whispers to Peter, "He lost a leg and got some medals. Bobby, Flash and I had coffee a few weeks ago." She turns her head and smiles at the Agent, "Anything else you need to know Agent Grey?"

For a moment the Agent looks between them, "I'm afraid you've given me a lot to consider. I do appreciate your time." He pushes himself to his feet, rising smoothly as he adjusts his coffee stained tie and then buttons his coat. "If we need anything more we may be in touch." There's a final smile, then his brow knits, "Oh one last thing, my partner might have something else."
That having been said, Agent Grey steps out, holding the door for another man in black. The two pass each other, Grey nodding to the partner. The partner is a slightly taller man, dark skin, a thin moustache. He walks to the table and looks at each of them.
"Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy?" He produces a manila folder and slides out two stapled packets of papers, one for each of them. "You've been served." And at that he slides the packets to them, straightens up… then turns to walk out of the room.
And there upon the top of the papers is a big United States of America seal with the title, 'By Authority of the United States Army,' and underneath it declares, 'The Court-Martial of Corporal Eugene Thompson'.

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