12 January 2016

Marvel Anthology Presents #2 - "Cause And Effect, Part One: Accidental Incidents"

Marvel Anthology Presents #2 - "Cause And Effect, Part One: Accidental Incidents"

This story takes place 2 years ago before The Final Adventure(Spider-Verse time).

"So you're not doing anything tonight?" asked Ben Reilly as a smile crossed his lips. He and Amanda Short were sitting at a vacant table in the Daily Grind, where Ben worked. "You know, I get off at 5, so maybe we could go catch a--"

BOOM! The diner was shook from some type of explosion. The screams surrounded Ben's ears but he still managed to hear the crumbling asphalt outside. An earthquake in New York? Geez, you think you know a town... He rolled to his feet and noticed that besides being a bit shaken themselves, everyone remained unharmed. The screams outside were a different matter. Dropping back to the floor, Ben rolled toward the Grind's employee room unnoticed. Once there, he unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a familiar stylized Spider. In a matter of seconds, Ben was through the ventilation shafts and outside. The block where the Daily Grind rested was a mess. Wrecked cars, toppled streetlights, not to mention trapped or hurt pedestrians. "All in a days work I guess," Spider-Man sighed as he leaped into the chaos.

Even though it was mere moments, saving all the people seemed like hours to Ben. His head had a residual buzz from his spider-sense, and all the screams and cries weren't helping. One girl actually bit him when he reached in to grab her! New York, you gotta love it. But I wonder if this was a natural disaster or intentional. Cause if someone knows I'm Spider-Man, they could strike again with much deadlier results! But enough of that, I got to get back inside. He started to shoot a webline when a voice interrupted him.

"Excuse me Spider-Man, but I have some questions for you," a heavyset detective stated as he looked down at his notes. "Even though you saved a majority of the people here, I have my suspicions. Were you involved in a super-powered battle here, or was this something you did by accident?

"I did?!" Spidey couldn't believe it. He just saved everyone and this bozo still tries to pin the earthquake on him? Lovely. "Look, I don't know what you're on, but I suggest you switch to decaf. Now if you'll excuse me, I think you're partner has a lovely set of donuts for you!" with that he swung off.

"Damn vigilantes," the detective muttered. "They don't know their place."

A few blocks away, the Spider touched down in a alley to switch back to his civvies he had just retrieved from atop a high perch he had found before he began his rescue. "It'll be a cinch to get back to work by going into the employee room through the back, they probably didn't even miss me." As he did up the last buttons, his spider-sense slammed him hard. "Ow! What in the world?" His sense told him to look up and upon closer inspection; it appeared that an envelope had been attached to the wall. He quickly ambled up and opened it. "It's from Peter! He must have known that I come swinging through here on the regular." After shutting off the extra-sensitive spider-tracer enclosed, Ben read the note. Meet me at Liberty Island tonight, I'm in town for the duration and I thought it would be the best time for us to get together. See ya then, Peter. "I wonder why he's back in town. Oh well. I'll go after work. Oh geez, work..." he then came to the realization that he was sticking to a wall in the open and to top it off, a little boy was standing out on the sidewalk staring. "Umm....hi," was all Ben could manage as he dropped down and walked past the boy back towards the Grind. Upon opening the back door though, Ben was greeted with a surprise.

"Oh so there you are Blondie," Devon, Shirley's son, snapped angrily. I been looking for your whitebread behind for 45 minutes."

"I had to step out after the quake hit, because I had the wind knocked out of me by the impact." Ben offered.

"Un-huh, and my momma's Janet Jackson. Now get back in there!"

"Yes sir!, Ben said as he mockingly saluted Devon and reentered the main part of the diner.

Later that evening, Ben had a lot of thoughts on his mind. He had gone to visit his friend Seward Trainer. Trainer was currently hospitalized from having his mind "blown", so to speak, in cyberspace. Even though his body was still functioning, Seward had no brain activity. The longer his brain was dormant, the worse condition he would be in if and when he did recover. Besides the few times Trainer had contacted Ben from cyberspace, there was nothing. The reality hadn't hit him until a nurse he passed mentioned that they would have to pull the plug in a few more weeks. The thought made Ben shudder, the thought of losing one of his only friends.

The ferry ride over to Liberty Island went quickly due to Ben being in such a deep state of thought. When the spectacular moon and weather couldn't budge him, a beautiful young lady tried her best. Ben was too deep in thought however and probably didn't notice her invite for drinks at her place at all. She promptly turned the other way. It wasn't until the ferry had docked that it hit him. Wait, please don't tell me I so immersed in thought that I just ignored the young woman who actually was hitting on me?! He sighed as he made his way towards the shadowed part of Lady Liberty. "This has not been my day." He quickly crawled up the side of the statue and slid inside of the crown where Peter Parker was waiting.

"Hey Ben," Peter said as they shook warmly. "It's been awhile."

"Yeah it has," Ben responded. "What brings you back?"

"I had some unfinished business to take care of before Mary Jane and I officially settled." He then noticed how worn Ben looked. "Are you okay? You look like you've been run over by Doc Ock after he raided a hamburger stand." Ben chuckled.

"I'll be fine," he said rubbing his sore neck. "There was just an earthquake of some kind outside work, nobody seemed grateful I saved them, had a little boy stare at me while I stuck to a wall in my street clothes, I lost the date I almost had before the earthquake when she saw how I mysteriously disappeared after impact, I got chewed out by the boss' son, went to see Seward and things are looking worse for him, and to top it off, I completely blew off this beautiful woman that was hitting on me a minute ago. So besides that, I'm great." He sat down on the floor in a heap. Then Peter started laughing. "Oh so it's funny now?"

"Welcome to the wonderful world of Spider-Man pal," Peter smiled as he helped his friend back to his feet. "I didn't say this was a gravy job."

"You and I both know that," Ben replied. "But anyway...what do you want to do since you're back for a spell?"

"Let's just head back to your place. You try to swing out here when you haven't done any swinging in the past month." Peter said as he rubbed his shoulder. The 2 then descended the stairs. "Psst," Peter whispered as he and Ben walked down. "I may be wrong but isn't that your hot girl right there?"

"Yeah," Ben said brightening up. Maybe things aren't so bad. "Excuse me...Heather wasn't it? Sorry about my distance earlier, I was sort of out of it. But now that I've got my head on straight what are you doing tomorrow night?"

"Tomorrow? What about tonight?" she asked.

"Ben smiled sheepishly. "I just ran into my friend here, and he wants to crash at my place. But if you want, I can drop him off and meet you somewhere."

"Sorry bud," she said as she brushed her hair back. "I'll find someone with a better attention span and more time on his hands. Oh and by the way, it's Cassandra." She then resumed her climb to the top.

"Ouch," Peter said. "It's times like this I'm glad I'm married."

"Shut up Parker."

Back at Ben's apartment, the two talked about the time that had passed during the month Peter had been away. But soon Peter could see Ben was restless. "Not used to staying in are you Ben?" Ben grinned and shook his head. "Then you can only imagine what I've gone through. Come on suit up."

"I know you're not thinking of going. You're retired remember? You're about to have a baby for crying out loud!" Ben could see his words weren't penetrating. "Now I know how MJ feels every time she does this to you. What are you gonna wear? I'd offer your old Spidey suit, but 2 Spidey's at once would be too much controversy, wouldn't you agree?" Peter nodded.

"Jonah would have a field day." He looked through the closet briefly until his eye spotted it. The Scarlet Spider costume. "This will do." He said as he began to slip it on.

"You hated that costume Pete, you were always clowning it." Ben said as he pulled on his own suit.

"I said it was made by someone with bad taste," Peter laughed. "I never said that I didn't like it though." He pulled on his mask and adjusted his webshooters as he ducked Ben's attempt to smack him. "A little slow in our old age are we Ben?"

"Shut up and come on Scarlet Avenger," Spidey replied as he opened the window to his apartment's air shaft and started up. Scarlet quickly followed suit. As Spider-Man shot his first webline, he felt inclined to shout, "It's webslinging time!" The Scarlet Spider looked at him dumbfounded.

"It's webslinging time? Since when did you get a battle cry? That sounds like something the Thing would say. Here try this one that the Torch gave me..."* Scarlet then shot off another web and shouted, "Webs away!" Spidey laughed so hard that he almost missed his next webline.
*Spider-Man Unlimited #5 – Your friendly neighborhood cancelled title reader Kelen

"Johnny Storm thought of that? That sounds like recycled Dennis Miller monologue! I think you need to hire new writers P...whoa!" The Spider was sent into a nearby building. "Oh, so you want to play rough huh?" He fired two webshots towards the Scarlet Spider, which Peter easily avoided. Peter hadn't planned on Ben coming behind him however, and soon two feet sent him into a dumpster.

"Okay pal," Scarlet said as he emerged from garbage. "You wanna play tag, you're in for a rough...you hear that?" He asked as his head turned towards a noise. Ben nodded.

"Sirens," he said as he saw the police cars and ambulances rush past the two. "Looks like you might get a real workout my friend." Seconds later, the two Spiders were on the scene. The police were already climbing back into their cars with the exception of the police chief. He was holding a vigil over the prone individual on the ground, where the medics were working frantically. "What happened here chief?" Spidey asked as he approached. The chief gave him a stiff look and bit his cigar hard.

"The way you handled my detective earlier today, I should arrest you for disrespecting a police officer," Spidey let his head drop a little. "But we have more important things at stake. This lawyer that's lying here bleeding, Jordan Collins, was apparently snooping around the crime scene to find more clues for his upcoming case, when one of the mob's hitmen just swooped in and stabbed him. He's lucky to be alive still since we got the call just 5 minutes ago and he's been bleeding for 30 minutes."

"What's the mob got to do with this?" the Scarlet Spider asked from behind Spider-Man.

"Mr. Collins here is prosecuting a mob boss we just caught about a month ago, obviously he crossed the line with the boss' friends by coming back here. But the more sickening news is we don't have enough time to get him to the hospital. They've stopped the bleeding, but he's lost too much blood to make the trip and no one around here has A type blood." Ben looked down at Jordan's body as his life seeped slowly away. I hate it when there's nothing I can...wait! He turned to the chief and pulled him aside.

"They have the equipment for a on the spot transfusion don't they?" The chief looked at a medic nearby who quickly nodded. "I have that type of blood, let me give it to him." The chief and the Scarlet Spider were taken aback.

"Son that's a mighty fine offer, but we have to run tests on your blood, get your information, we don't have time for that."

"I know, that's why you need to let me bypass all of that and give him the blood. He could die if we don't." The chief looked at Jordan, back to Spider-Man, and then to the closest medic.

"Get these men strapped in."

"Promise me that no blood of mine will be tested chief," Spidey said as they strapped him down. "I have a secret to protect you know."

"Scouts honor Spider-Man. Hope all goes well." The chief responded as he shook Spidey's hand.

"You and me both," Scarlet said as he lifted Jordan onto the gurney. "It's a risk Spidey, but I'm glad you're taking it."

"Only cause it's not you pal." Spider-Man replied as the process began.

In an hour, the procedure had been completed. Jordan Collins showed remarkably better health and was poised to make a full recovery.

"You don't know how much I appreciate this Spider-Man," the chief stated. "But it's times like this I'm glad you're on our side." It was then Scarlet Spider approached the two men.

"So glad that you had these blood samples hidden in your car?" he asked as he held up two test tubes of Spidey's blood. "You promised..."

"Wait! I don't know where those came from!" the chief yelled as he desperately tried to go around Spidey. Peter grinned underneath his mask.

"Sure," Scarlet said as he smashed the test tubes to the ground. "You ‘wuz' framed right?" He then shot his webline and swung away. The Spider turned back towards the chief and folded his arms.

"You think you can trust someone," he said shaking his head. "You just make sure your boys stay off my back cause I know a certain publisher that loves gossip!" He then swung away and caught up with Peter. "Sorry about the wait back there, but you know I couldn't let that guy die."

"I know, but you're lucky I saw them take those blood samples, Jonah would love to put ‘Ben Reilly: Spider-Man' on the Bugle."

"Thanks, it's nice to have someone watch your back. Anyway, you wanna head over to the Empire State B-B-..." Spidey blacked out in mid-sentence.

"Ben!" Peter yelled as he turned to see his friend starting to fall. He shot a webline to his right and began a low swing. The swing brought him one hundred and eighty degrees to where Spider-Man was about to land. "Gotcha!" Scarlet cried as he caught Ben and landed safely. Ben was out like a light. "Geez guy, I didn't come out here so I could drag you home." Peter sighed and shot a webline back in the direction of Ben's apartment. "Oh well, the more things change..." he quipped as he swung up and away with Spider-Man in tow.

NEXT ISSUE: The Spider-Men are on their way back to Ben's apartment, but only one will arrive. Plus, what did cause that earthquake at the beginning of this issue? Be here for the conclusion to Cause And Effect!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: As you can see, this story took place awhile back in the MA Universe. The reason for that is this 2 parter features someone who will be very instrumental in the present time in the coming months. Plus it has Ben Reilly, who could ask for more? But anyway, by the time #5 arrives, you'll see the point of this story. And if you don't see it then, you definitely will in the next few months.


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