Chapter 9: The Scorpion
“Fight it, Gargan,” Mac said, willing his body to come back under his control. “Fight it!”
Mac woke up, not knowing how he got back into the bed he was occupying at Stillwell Pharmaceuticals. He was stripped of The Scorpion suit and going through some kind of brand new version of Hell. His entire body ached, and he felt as if his head was going to split in two. He steadied himself on the small desk, realizing how much his room resembled a prison cell. He burst through the door and started wandering through the halls, looking for Dr. Stillwell.
“STILLWELL!” he shouted. “WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!”
It didn’t take long for Dr. Stillwell to find him. He pulled a small pouch with some needles in it from his pocket. “Hold still, Mac,” Dr. Stillwell said.
“What’s going on?” Mac asked. “What’s happening to me?”
“It’s withdrawal,” Dr. Stillwell said.
“Withdrawal?” Mac repeated. “From what?”
“The Scorpion serum,” Dr. Stillwell said. “The cocktail you’ve been taking. You’re coming off of it.”
“Why am I coming off it?” Mac asked. “The job isn’t done yet. Spider-Man is still on the loose. Jameson won’t pay me what I’m owed until the job is done.”
Dr. Stillwell ignored Mac, and took a syringe from the case. He readied it to inject into Mac’s arm.
“Get that thing away from me!” Mac shouted, pushing the syringe to the ground. “Give me the serum! I can fight this! I can finish the job! The Scorpion can finish the job!”
“It’s too dangerous to continue,” Dr. Stillwell said. “Your health may be at risk. I don’t care what Jameson -”
“Jameson,” Mac sneered. “I’ll show him that The Scorpion can squash the little spider. I’ll show you all! Give me the suit.”
“It’s locked away,” Dr. Stillwell said. “We can attempt to continue once you’re better.”
“I’m taking my suit,” Mac said, picking Dr. Stillwell up by his throat with one had. “You can tell Jameson that he’ll have his spider. Whatever is left of when I get done with him.”
Dr. Stillwell’s eyes widened as his lungs screamed for air. His worse fears were confirmed. He saw the insanity in Mac’s eyes. He felt the strength in his veins without the serum. The scorpion DNA was taking over Mac’s body, and he relished the feel of it.
With little effort, Mac tossed Dr. Stillwell down the hall. His body rolled until it hit a wall. There he stayed, unconscious. Mac turned and began searching for his suit and whatever serum he could find.
The withdrawal symptoms were beginning to wane, but he still felt odd. He felt as if he were missing a piece of himself. Every time he tried to swing his tail, he felt a great pain down his spine. He felt like he would die if he didn’t get the suit back on him.
Mac was lucky there weren’t many guards or employees on the inside of Stillwell’s small campus, but it would only be a matter of time before someone came across Stillwell and figured out what had happened. Mac came by a room he recognized from the night he had the ‘interview’ with Stillwell and Jameson. It was the room they took him in to show him the scorpion suit.
“Here I am,” Mac said, walking up to the glass case that held the green and black-striped Scorpion suit. He saw his reflection in the glass, and didn’t like what he saw. He stepped back for a moment, trying to figure out how to free himself from the other side of the thick glass. His back hit a table, and he turned. He tried to open a metal drawer, but it was locked tight. He called upon all the strength he could muster, ripping it from the desk with his pincer-like hand.
The contents of the drawer was strewn about the floor, but Mac found what he was looking for. He found four doses of the green scorpion serum and a package of syringes. He smiled. It would only be a matter of time until Spider-Man was delivered to Jameson.
Mac injected all four doses of the serum into his jugular vein, and he was able to free The Scorpion suit from its containment. He emerged from the lab moments later, feeling whole once again. There was nothing that could stop him now.
“Stop right there!” a voice shouted from behind him. The Scorpion turned to see three of Stillwell’s guards. “Take off the suit, or we will use force to take it from you!”
“Go ahead,” The Scorpion said, smiling. “Use force.”
Peter Parker laughed along with Gwen at some joke Harry was telling. Peter and Gwen were having a late lunch with Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, and Flash Thomson to blow off steam after a particular tough week of exams. Peter was trying to keep his mind on his friends, but his mind kept wandering to Matt and this guy that called himself The Scorpion. There hadn’t been any sign if him, but he would be sure to pop up sooner or later. These guys always seem to pop up when they weren’t wanted.
“You guys want some coffee?” Harry asked, getting up. “I think I’m going to have one.”
Everyone agreed, sending Harry off. “I’ll help you carry all those,” Peter said, joining Harry.
“Thanks,” Harry said, grateful for the company. “Are you sure you’re OK, Pete? You seem kind of distant tonight.”
“It’s nothing,” Peter said. “Just deep in my thoughts I guess. School and work and this and that.”
“I hear you,” Harry said. “Just the other night my father was on the warpath…”
Peter listened to Harry go on without really listening. What was on the TV next to the cashier had taken control of his attention. The newscaster was talking about a guy in a green suit with a tail wreaking havoc on the Queensboro Bridge. “That’s not too far from here,” Peter said.
“What?” Harry asked. “Are you listening to… Peter! Don’t even think about running over there to get pictures.”
“I have to go,” Peter said, walking towards the exit.
“Peter!” Harry called, not caring that people were starting to stare now. “You can’t just ditch us like this.”
“You don’t understand,” Peter said, ignoring Harry.
“I know your job is demanding,” Harry said. “But think about Gwen. She’s been very patient with you so far, but you don’t want to get on the bad side of her temper. Trust me. I’ve known her longer than you have.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Peter said, leaving the cafe. He ran off to find an alley he could change out of his street clothes and into his Spider-Man costume. He wouldn’t let The Scorpion hurt anyone else to get his attention. He’d go straight to The Scorpion to put an end to all of this before it got even more out of hand. “Cover for me, Harry.”
Harry watched Peter leave the cafe and run down the street in the direction of the Queensboro Bridge. “Cover for you,” Harry muttered. He looked back over towards the others. His eyes lingered on Gwen, who was sure to be furious. “Great.”
“Where is he?!” The Scorpion shouted, tossing a car on its side. He whipped his tail at another, flipping it on its top. “Where is Spider-Man?!”
People screamed and ran away from him in every direction. The police had either side of the bridge barricaded, but it would do them no good. Every policeman in New York City wouldn’t be enough to stop The Scorpion’s rampage. Not with the amount of Stillwell’s serum he had injected into his veins. There was only one man in New York who had a chance.
“GIVE ME THE SPIDER!” The Scorpion screamed.
“Will you keep it down,” a voice said from above his head. He looked up to see Spider-Man perched on a beam, hanging upside down. “You’re going to wake the baby!”
“Spider-Man,” The Scorpion said, smiling wide. “Finally.” He coiled his tail under him, using it to spring himself into the air towards his foe. Spider-Man jumped out of the way just in time. He wasn’t expecting The Scorpion to be that fast, despite the warning from Matt.
“Come on!” The Scorpion said, jumping from beam to beam after Spider-Man, matching his agility. “Fight me!”
Spider-Man fired a web onto a beam up above him, swung above The Scorpion’s head in an arc, and hit him in the back with both feet. “Heads up!” he shouted. The Scorpion fell down to the street. “Oops,” Spider-Man said, landing on the street more gracefully than The Scorpion had. “I probably should have yelled that earlier.”
“You haven’t won yet,” The Scorpion said, getting to his feet. Spider-Man had to stop from taking a step back. He shouldn’t have been able to get up so quickly after a fall like that. “You got lucky.”
The Scorpion lunged without warning. Spider-Man’s spider sense blared, warning him to duck. He barely missed a haymaker, and flipped back. The Scorpion was back on him instantly, throwing another punch, this time connecting and sending Spider-Man flying backwards and into the windshield of an idling car.
His spider sense warned him of immediate danger again, and Spider-Man rolled off the car’s hood just in time to avoid getting nailed by The Scorpion’s tail. It came crashing down in to the hood, leveling the car to the ground. The Scorpion turned to face Spider-Man once more, extending the blade from his tail with a loud ‘TWANG’. Spider-Man decided it was time to put on a little offense of his own.
Spider-Man threw a punch, landing it right between The Scorpion’s eyes. The Scorpion followed up with a punch of his own, staggering Spider-Man. The tail swung next, hitting Spider-Man. He put his arms in the way of the tail in time to save his still tender ribs from being smashed, but he was flung far enough to nearly be thrown from the bridge. With a quick THWIP of his web shooter on his left wrist, the slowed his flight and was able to keep his footing.
Hitting this guy feels like hitting a brick wall, Spider-Man thought. And he’s as strong and fast as Matt said he was.
Spider-Man hopped back onto the bridge, where The Scorpion was waiting. “It’s time to finish this,” The Scorpion said.
“That’s my line,” Spider-Man said, using his web shooters to completely cover The Scorpion. If he couldn’t beat him in a contest of strength, Spider-Man would subdue him with his webs. Soon, The Scoprion was completely covered in a net of webbing.
“You think your webbing can hold me?” The Scorpion shouted. “My hands work like a scorpion’s pincers!” The Scorpion began ripping and tearing at the webs with his powerful hands as if they were straw. He was out almost as fast as he’d been captured.
Spider-Man needed a new plan fast. He’d never faced a foe this strong or surpassed his agility. He leapt backwards, leaving he bridge and swinging under it. With luck, The Scorpion will think that Spider-Man fled rather than fight and let his guard down.
Spider-Man swung under the bridge, using a short strand of webbing to fire himself in an arc at The Scorpion’s back. The Scorpion turned quickly, as if he had something akin to Spider-Man’s spider sense, using his momentum against him as he nailed Spider-Man with a hard backhanded blow. Spider-Man tumbled through the air, landing a few dozen feet away.
What is this guy? Spider-Man thought. It was becoming more and more apparent that this wasn’t just some nut job in a suit like so many others. Without even a backward glance, The Scorpion used his tail to gather up the remains of Spider-Man’s failed attempt at a webbing net, flinging it through the air. It hit Spider-Man, wrapping around his body.
The Scorpion was back on Spider-Man as he struggled to free himself form his own webs. Spider-Man used his spider sense to dodge the blows, but each dodge tightened the webs around him, trapping him inside. The Scorpion landed a hit to Spider-Man’s temple, and he saw stars as he went down. “I hope this makes Jameson happy,” The Scorpion sneered.
Spider-Man didn’t recall being picked up off the ground, but he found himself being held high in the air by the Scorpion. He tried to wriggle free from The Scorpion’s grasp, but the vice-like hands tightened on his leg and shoulder. All he was able to do was fire a little, red spider-tracer from his the top of his web shooter, sticking it to The Scorpion near the base of his tail. Spider-Man tried once more to free himself, but felt like his limbs would break if The Scorpoin squeezed him any harder.
“IS THIS YOUR HERO?!” The Scorpion shouted, tossing Spider-Man from the bridge. The world turned over and over again as he fell towards the water. It was useless trying to free himself from the web while he plummeted towards the river below him. He tried to at least free one hand to fire a web at the bridge above him, but it was useless.
Spider-Man plummeted into the cold water as the world grew dark.
“He did what?!” Jameson exclaimed.
“He threw Spider-Man into the river,” Robbie Robertson replied. “I’ve taken three different phone calls myself. Spider-Man was defeated by this guy in a green suit calling himself The Scorpion and thrown off the Queensboro Bridge.”
“Dammit,” Jameson breathed.
“What?” Robbie asked. “I thought you’d be happy.”
“I’ll be happy when that web head is laid out in front of me, unmasked,” Jameson said.
Jameson’s private line rang, and he knew it must have been Stillwell with some kind of explanation as to why Gargan was terrorizing civilians and destroying property. “I have to take this,” he said to Robbie.
“No problem,” Robbie said, walking towards the door. “I’ll run this story on page one.”
“And get Parker on the phone,” he said. “I pray for his sake that he was there for all this.”
Jonah waiting for the door to close before he picked up the phone. “Jameson,” he said.
“It’s Stillwell,” the voice on the other end said. “We have a problem.”
“You’re damn right we have a problem,” Jameson said. “What’s Gargan doing out there? He’s supposed to bring Spider-Man to me! What’s he doing throwing him in the river!”
“That’s not the worst of it,” Dr. Stillwell said. There was panic in his voice. “Gargan is out of control, Jonah. He knocked me out and stole The Scorpion suit. He also took four full doses of the serum. I was giving him lighter doses because it was beginning to make him psychotic. He threw me down a hallway and knocked me out without the serum. He killed three guards on his way out to find Spider-Man. It’s taken ahold of him.”
“What are you trying to say?” Jameson asked, sitting down in his large chair.
“The scorpion DNA was changing him before,” Dr. Stillwell said. “It’s mutating him. With the amount of serum Gargan injected into himself…. Jonah, he’s going to be changed permanently. He won’t come back from this.”
“I’m putting an end to this,” Jameson said. “The Scorpion Project is over. Gargan’s employment is terminated as of now.”
“It’s too late,” Dr. Stillwell said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. There’s no more Mac Gargan. There’s only The Scorpion.”