A young Manhattan writer wants to learn what makes a supervillain tick so she can publish the book of the century. She just doesn't realize the lengths she'll go for fame and fortune... (Rated Mature for extensive use of swearing, some violence, and mild sexual themes.)
Present One: The Prologue
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Otto Octavius
A young Manhattan writer wants to learn what makes a supervillain tick so she can publish the book of the century. She just doesn't realize the lengths she'll go for fame and fortune...
Dramatis Personae: Otto Octavius*, Peter Parker*, Edward Brock*, Virginia Shelley, Matthew Rivera, Jim Halliwell, Stephanie Arden, Lewis Bishop
The Standard Disclaimer: All characters denoted with an asterisk in the above list are wholly owned by Marvel Comics, unless otherwise noted. All quotes I may use herein belong to their owners. I make no money off of any of this; if I were, do you really think I would be typing this on a dinosaur computer that runs Windows 98?!
Present 1: The Prologue
I wave the pizza box at the prison warden. “Look, mister, Caesar Augustus has a twenty-nine minute guarantee. Now, someone ordered an extra-large pepperoni pizza with cheesy breadsticks.”
The warden looks down his glasses at me. “I don't care, miss. No one here ordered any pizza. It was obviously a prank. I'm not paying for those.”
Looking at my watch, I warn him. “If you don't pay me within one minute, I have to give you the pizza free. Now that may sound like a sweet deal for you, but my boss is going to fire me 'cause he's not in the business of giving away pizza.”
I turn on the tears. “Please, sir. I'm working so I can be the first in my family to graduate from college. I'm working another job because my mom is sick and she needs an operation. Just do me this one favor.”
As the warden listens to my sob story, I carefully lean back towards the cell behind me, dangling my pizza warming bag towards the bars. The warden never notices the large hand behind me, fishing out one pair of earplugs. What are they for? You'll see.
The warden finally sighs and hands me a twenty for the pizza and another twenty for a tip. “Well, okay. I'll do you this one favor. But don't expect it again.”
“Thanks so much. My mom will be so happy.”
I clasp my hands hehind my back, reaching into the bag for the sonic projection gauntlets he gave me to use on this mission. “Stand to the side and cover your ears,” I whisper to the inmate.
I whirl around, pressing the thumb-triggers. The force generated by the gauntlets nearly blows me back into the warden's desk. Backfire on these things is a motherfucker, I tell you.
And I reach back, grabbing the inmate's hand as the jail wall just blows out with an enormous poof. The entire wall has been destroyed at a molecular level, reduced to particles of dust.
The warden makes a move toward me, but I wheel around to face him. I'm gasping from the painful impact from the backfire. “Don't try it. As you may clearly see, I'm not your ordinary pizza-delivery girl.” He staggers back, fleeing. Clearly, he's a city jail guard, not some hardass from the Vault or Riker's supercrime wing.
I assess the damage. Wow, I gasp to myself. I mean, I heard he was a genius, but—wow.
The inmate starts to run, but he doesn't get far. I catch him, pull a pistol out of the pizza bag.
“Don't try it, Brock,” I tell him, indicating my gauntlets with the gun. “You saw what these fuckers did with a solid stone wall.”
“What do you want with me?” he asks. I take stock of my hostage. Blonde, blue-eyed, built, works in the same occupation I do—well, he used to from what I was told about him—Well, I could definitely tolerate this guy.
“I'm following orders, Brock. “Someone wants something you have.”
He knows what I'm talking about; countless criminal masterminds have coveted its power, my partner—for that's how I'd like to refer to him; friend definitely doesn't apply in this case, and neither does boss or worse, captor—is only the latest.
I escort him to the parking lot, jimmying the door lock. At gunpoint, I make him sit in the shotgun seat while I busy myself hotwiring the car. The car, a Crown Victoria—classic unmarked cop car with the horsepower of a sports car—sputters to life.
“And you're the bait.”
Even though I'm driving a very pretty piece of bait, I'm starting to get a small crush on my partner. Even though he's definitely not the modern Adonis, he's definitely cute in your “Beauty and the Geek” contestant way.
But it's at this point where I start to question what I've become, what I've sank to. At this point, I'm asking myself, Why am I doing this?
I'm no criminal, I come from a nice home, a good family. I got straight A's in school and won several essay contests and a National Merit Scholarship. I attended Columbia School of Journalism and graduated magna cum laude. Everyone expected me to be the next Tom Wolfe. I was supposed to be my town's bright shining star.
If only my mom could see me now. Her bright shining star just flamed out and left a crater. I'm now working for one of the most dangerous men alive. I'm taking orders from the menace of a brilliant scientist gone mad. I'm doing the bidding of a fallen nuclear physicist turned supervillain.
And it's not like I have much of a choice in the matter.
“I'm too deep in this hole to go back now,” I say to no one in particular.
My captive seems to understand. “That's what I told myself every day. Before my life went to shit.”
“I wasn't talking to you. Shut up.” I back out of the parking lot.
“No need to be a bitch about it.” he pouts.
I merge onto the freeway. “Watch your mouth. If we were in front of the guy I work for, he would clobber you.”
I take my digital recorder out of my pocket. “Testing, testing. Entry for Friday, April 18. You struggle with your doubts as you escort your hostage, one Edward Brock, out to the hotwired car. You turn on the stereo, the voice of Linkin Park screaming from the cheap stereo speakers—”
Brock interrupts my notes. “There's no music.”
“Speak when spoken to, Brock. You forget you're a hostage who doesn't have the luxury of giving his captors lip.”
I continue recording my notes, to be transcribed at a later time. “The song is 'Lying From You', oddly appropriate for this situation, and the situation you're now in. With every fiber of your being, you want to turn yourself and Brock in. You want to turn the car around. But you shake your head, and you tell yourself you've come too far to turn back now. You almost hit the brakes, but you fight the urge and hit the accelerator instead, cursing yourself for your cowardice. But still one thought claws at your brain, ready to split your head in two as armored Athena emerging from the skull of Zeus. Still you still ask yourself: will it be worth it in the end?”
I switch off the recorder, carefully making sure to follow all traffic laws.
I'm no criminal—but as you can see, I'm also definitely not a pizza delivery girl. You see, I'm a writer. For painfully obvious reasons, I'm not going to tell you my real name. But you can call me Virginia Shelley.
I wanted to write a book on the mindset of a supervillain. What makes a supervillain—especially a dangerous, brilliant mastermind like my partner—tick? It seems like I'm going to find out in person...
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