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Peter and the Jailbirds

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Memo 2914

From: Thaddeus Ross, Secretary of State

To: NYPD

Subject: Sokovia Accords Enforcement

It has come to my attention that New York City police have been negligent in their enforcement of the internationally adopted Sokovia Accords. As I’m sure you’re aware, New York City police officers and related personnel are required to enforce international laws in addition to city, state, and federal laws. The vigilante known as the Spider Man has violated principles II-IX of the Sokovia Accords (attached below) and is therefore found in contempt of international law. New York City police are hereby ordered to arrest the Spider Man and detain it in secure custody until an international task force can make a final ruling on the consequences for the Spider Man’s actions.

  • The Avengers will no longer be a private organization and will operate under the supervision of the United Nations.
  • Any enhanced individuals who agree to sign must register with the United Nations and provide biometric data such as fingerprints and DNA samples.
  • Those with innate powers must submit to a power analysis, which will categorize their threat level and determine potential health risks.
  • Any enhanced individuals who do not sign will not be allowed to participate in any national or international conflict nor may participate in missions undertaken by the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., or any other intelligence organization.
  • Enhanced individuals, including members of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, will no longer have the authorization to cross international boundaries at any time they wish.
  • They must be given clearance by either a nation's government or the United Nations subcommittee before taking any action in that country, either on their own or as a part of an organization.
  • If an enhanced individual takes unauthorized action or obstructs the actions of those acting in accordance with the Accords, they will be arrested.
  • Enhanced individuals who break the law, violate the Accords or are otherwise deemed to be a threat to the general public may be detained indefinitely without trial.
  • All enhanced individuals with innate powers who agree to sign the Accords must wear tracking bracelets at all times.
  • The creation of any and all artificial intelligence is strictly prohibited.

Note: For the purposes of the Accords, an "enhanced individual" is defined as any person, human or otherwise, with superhuman capabilities. This includes individuals whose powers are an innate function of their biology as well as individuals who utilize highly advanced technology to grant themselves superhuman capabilities.

Signed,

Thaddeus Ross
Secretary of State

 

 


 

 

“I’m sorry—yes—yes, I know—yes—you’re right, sir, I—yes.” Captain Lopez twirled the phone’s cord around her finger again, then unwound it. “As I’ve said before, sir, I’m deeply sorry. My unit will be severely disciplined for their actions. We will not let the Spider Man escape again. Yes, I—yes. Yes, of course. Sir. I look forward to speaking with you again, once we catch it. ”

Captain Lopez hung up the phone, leaned her elbows on her desk, and steepled her fingers beneath her chin. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep holding the Chief of Department off,” she said at last. “Ross is leaning on him hard to catch Spider-Man.”

“However long it takes,” Sergeant Ali said, leaning back in his chair. “I’m not going to be the one who turns Spider-Man in.”

“Me neither, but—you willing to lose your job over it? To let the entire squad lose their badges?”

Sergeant Ali shrugged. “We’re here to keep the city safe, aren’t we?”

“Yeah,” Captain Lopez sighed. “Yeah, we are.”

 

 


 

 

“We finished analyzing the blood today, sir. Yes, we—yes. We ran all of the tests you asked for, and—”

Dr. Marshall sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, waiting for Ross to finish his tirade. “Yes, sir,” he said at last. “We’ve been working on synthesizing a serum. However, we ran into a problem—I’m sure it’s a small problem, no big deal—yes—yes, sir, of course we’re capable of creating a serum. It’s just that—yes. Yes, I appreciate your confidence in myself and my lab. I simply felt that I should—yes—yes, sir.”

One of the lab techs at the other end of the table was currently poking the results in his petri dish with a glass wand while the other giggled. Dr. Marshall snapped his fingers. The lab techs hurriedly resumed working, heads down, mouths shut.

“The problem we ran into, sir, is that the DNA in the sample is not—no, of course the sample is viable for experimentation, sir, absolutely. You’ll have your army in no time. I merely wanted to inform you that the DNA in the sample was not entirely human—no, of course there were no contaminants. We sequenced the DNA itself and found that it’s only 99.4% human. So—well, yes, that’s a very high percentage, but—I know that 99 rounds up to 100, sir—no—no, of course not, sir, I meant no disrespect. My apologies.”

Dr. Marshall tapped his pen against the solid black counters, admiring the way the pen’s reflection glinted in the pristine epoxy resin.

“Yes. Yes, so—as I was about to say, chimpanzees and bonobos share approximately 99% of human DNA. We’re only separated from our ancestors by—yes—yes, of course I can rephrase that to fit in with creationism, once we write up our findings for the press—I quite understand, sir. Absolutely. Our results therefore prove that the Spider Man’s DNA is very nearly human, but not quite. Yes—yes, I share your enthusiasm, sir. We’ll have that serum to you as soon as possible—yes—of course, sir, we will work as hard as we can. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I look forward to speaking with you again, sir.”

Dr. Marshall ended the call, slid his phone back into the pocket of his lab coat, and twirled his pen between his fingers.

“Theo.” Dr. Seamon set a tray of samples on the counter by Dr. Marshall’s elbow with a bright clank. “We’ve got a problem.”

“I know.”

“Hmm.” Dr. Seamon leaned against the counter and looked up at Dr. Marshall, idly toying with the cuffs of her lab coat.

“What?” Dr. Marshall snapped.

“That’s not your ‘it’s okay, I have a brilliant solution up my sleeve’ face,” Dr. Seamon said.

“No. It’s not.”

“So when Ross calls again…”

“I will continue to assure him that it is possible to synthesize a supersoldier serum for humans using compounds from blood that is not, in fact, human.”

“While making arrangements to disappear to Argentina.”

“There’s enough in the lab’s endowment for three tickets,” Dr. Marshall said. “Be sure you’re one of them.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

“No,” Tony laughed. “No, I have no connection to the bug-brat. Are you kidding me? I have no need for his spandex-suited nonsense. Saving cats, etc. I’m running a corporation here. I have more important things to do.”

“As I’m well aware, Mr. Stark,” Ross said. Even over the phone, his voice reminded Tony of the castor oil he’d once been forced to take, despite his best efforts to dissuade and distract his nanny.

The castor oil didn’t go down any easier this time.

“However,” Ross continued, “that ‘spandex’ suit you mentioned appears to be capable of far more than ordinary spandex ought to be. Footage of the Washington Monument attack, for example, clearly shows a pair of pseudo-wings emerging from the suit. In addition, the ‘webs’ the Spider Man produces display incredible tensile strength, beyond that of ordinary military-grade cables. Clearly, someone with advanced technological capabilities is aiding the Spider Man in his vigilantism.”

“You’re implying that I made his suit.” Tony leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk. “Are you crazy? If I’d made his suit, I would have put so many more things into it. Repulsors, gas grenades, a jetpack—”

“An AI?”

“That,” Tony said, “would be a direct violation of the Sokovia Accords. So no, obviously.”

“Obviously. However, footage clearly shows the Spider Man talking to someone. We initially assumed it was idle chatter, or telecommunication with a distant operative, but the conversations indicate that the interlocutor is doing rapid calculations, faster than a human could input into a computer. We know, therefore, that the Spider Man was talking to an artificially intelligent computer inside the suit. Which could only have been created by Tony Stark.”

“Maybe he created his own.”

“Are you suggesting that the Spider Man could be smart enough to independently create an artificially intelligent computer?”

“Yes."

“I see,” Ross said. “Thank you for your time, Anthony.’’

“A pleasure,” Tony said. “As always.” He poked the speakerphone button again with the end of his pliers, tipped back upright in his chair, and got back to work on his latest iteration of a retractable parachute prototype.

“You’re ‘running a corporation here,’” Pepper said, leaning against the glass doorjamb.

“Oh, come on. I was lying through my teeth for twenty minutes with that stuck-up son of a bitch, and that’s the line you pick on?”

Pepper pressed a quick kiss to Tony’s cheek. “For a good cause like this, I’ll forgive you. But don't make a habit of it.”

“Believe me, not a chance. If that man calls again, I’m going back to my habit of putting him on hold forever. That was a much better strategy.”

“Speaking of which, you’re going to need a better strategy than lying. You’re not nearly as good at it as you think you are.”

“You have any better ideas?” Tony said, sliding his welding mask back down over his eyes.

“You’re asking me." Pepper stared across the workshop at Mark 51, watching as sparks danced in the corner of her vision.

“Yes,” Tony said. He set the torch down, slid the mask back up, and squinted at his creation.

“You really are getting desperate.”

“First, that’s absurd; second, I value your opinion.”

“What did I just tell you about lying?”

“I’m not lying.” Tony cocked his head, then reconsidered. “About your opinion, I mean. The first part, I can neither confirm nor deny at this time.”

Pepper settled into the couch at the end of Tony’s workshop with a sigh. “FRIDAY,” she said. “Gather everything you can find from Ross’ records.”

« On it, boss. »

“Seriously, FRIDAY?” Tony scowled upwards. “I resurrect you from the ashes of a long-forgotten file, set you in charge of my entire realm, and this is the thanks I get? Excuse you, I’m the boss. Pepper can be the…mistress.”

Pepper looked at Tony.

“Never mind,” Tony said. “You’re the boss.”

 

 


 

 

 

“Do you remember,” Ross said, “what happened when the committee showed Tony the footage of other countries attempting to create an Iron Man device? He went to great lengths to prove that it was not, in fact, possible. That no one else was as smart, as highly-advanced, as brilliant as he was. But there he was, suggesting that the Spider Man might be.”

“You’re saying Stark thinks the Spider Man might be a real threat,” Lieutenant Yates said.

“No,” Ross said. “I’m saying that Stark is lying.”

“But even if he is involved,” Yates said, “there’s no way to prove it. We can’t even find a trace of where the Spider Man goes after a fight. He swings around, saves a cat from a tree, swings some more. He never goes home. He never goes to work. There’s no trace of him, anywhere in the city. I'm telling you, he’s hiding out on a rooftop somewhere.”

“We should sweep the warehouses,” Captain Bellington said. “Down by the port. Maybe he’s hiding in the ceiling of one of them, like a real spider. I mean, he could—”

“There’s no trace of where he goes after a fight,” Ross said.

“That’s correct, sir,” Yates said, “that’s what I said, we can’t find any data on—”

“A negative result is still useful,” Ross said icily. “If the footage of him returning home is wiped or tampered with, there must be a trail of that. Follow it.”

“Yes, sir,” Yates said, and saluted.