The Red Skull wasn't often kept waiting. Today was no different, what with the beginning of their operations. The damned Americans were getting nosy, and rumors were coming back to them via their plants in the federal lawkeeping forces... rumors of a special, multi-agency taskforce dedicated to investigating the strange phenomenon of the inhumanoids.
Oh, the Americans knew. They knew in that way that they knew of every little conspiricy their government ever tried to conceal from them. Newspapers, TV reporters, investigative journalists were starting to notice. They still whispered; no one shouted the truth from the rooftops.
The Red Skull's twisted crimson face glared out from the center projection screen, flanked by the Old Man and the Laughing Boy.
"The Initiative," the Skull bellowed, and Shocker Spider merely glanced up at the screen from which the Skull's face glared at him.
"Already begun, Red Skull." Spider answered evenly. The flickering from the projections reflected in the goggles on his mask.
"I believe this is your operation, Old Man." The Laughing Boy's green eyes flickered as he addressed his comrade. "Your target should prove to be useful, yes?"
"Never you mind, Boy." The Old Man's normally jovial mask had been discarded, and the expression he wore now was flinty. "I don't need you meddling in my plans."
"Wouldn't dream of it," the Laughing Boy smirked.
"Gentlemen, the dawn of Shocker is upon us." The Red Skull's heavily-accented voice cut through the chatter. "Continue to place plants in the American agencies and keep us informed on their movements. They have begun to become suspicious."
"That would make sense," the Old Man agreed. "They have begun to prepare for any number of catastrophes. The weapons market has begun to buzz."
"Indeed, and the military research facilities have been getting more traffic as of late." The Laughing Boy tapped his chin with a long finger. "I do not know how much longer this masquerade will hold up."
"You would not be willing to sacrifice it, Laughing Boy?" The Red Skull's voice sharpened to a dangerous point.
The Boy's face became impassive. "Never, Red Skull."
The Old Man cleared his throat. "Shocker Spider, be prepared to execute the first phase of the Initiative tomorrow. The target will be in your territory."
Spider bowed his head. "Yes sir."
The screens went dark.