Chapter One: Crocodile Rock
June 3rd, 1977
Peter Parker: Born 1961 to Mary and Richard Parker. Resident of Queens, New York. No known living family. Volunteer Nm. 2176.
Tests undergone: Arachnid DNA.
“I really don’t know if all that's a good idea Petey Boy”, Michael told him, taking a long drag from his nearly extinguished cigarette. “Them scientists have been getting up to some freaky shit recently, and I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can through them”
Peter took a sip out of the unmarked bottle in his hand, and grimace at the bitter taste. “It pays good and GOD knows I could use the money”, he took another reluctant slip and coughed when it went down the wrong way. “Christ what is this garbage? It tastes like warm piss”
“Who knows, I pulled it out of my old man's stash”, he admitted, throwing his cigarette bud onto the forest floor before putting it out with his foot. “I thought maybe the old bastard might have good taste for once in his life, but I guess I misplaced my trust in his ability to not buy absolutely shit”
Peter only nodded before dumping the brown liquid onto the cigarette bud. “Next time I’m bringing the booze”
“Oh yeah. Are you going to buy it?”, Michael laughed, grabbing one of the other unmarked bottles he brought along. “With what? Your fancy-dancy experiment money?”
“Pshh no”, Peter laughed, accepting the bottle Michael handed him. “I’m saving that money for train tickets, god knows I’ll need a lot more of it before I get out of this god forsaken town. I’ll use the money I make working over at James’s to pay for our liquor”
Michael brought a bottle opener out from one of his pockets and popped the lids off both the bottles. “Yah know the lady who works at the grocery store ain’t an idiot right?”, he asked Peter, as he took a long sip from the newly opened bottle. “She won’t sell you anything once she realizes you’re like ten”
“I’m fifteen years old!”, Peter basically screamed, making Michael laugh. “Well almost fifteen, but still! If I’m old enough for the government to inject me with a bunch of drugs I think I’m old enough to buy some beer”
Peter took a sip from his bottle and was surprised that this drink was a lot better than the last. “I don’t know is there some sort of law on experimenting on orphans?”, Michael asked as Peter flipped him off. “Besides, what kind of shit are they even injecting you with? Or are you not allowed to say?”
Peter thought for a moment, tipping his bottle slightly to the left allowing a few splashes of beer to fall out. “I’m not really sure. On the first day they talked all this garbage about trying to recreate the super soldier serum or something dumb. I didn’t really listen”, he admitted. “Usually they make me drink something or poke a needle into my arm and then they run a few tests. Nothing crazy and definitely nothing top secret”
Michael scuffed and returned to his drink. “Still seems shady to me”, he mumbled. “Then what happens when they’re done? They just send your chemical filled body back out onto the streets of New York?”
“Now you’re just making me sound like lab rat they finished playing with”, Peter told him, basically chugging his drink at this point. “They’ve gots plenty of other men there who’s finished the experiments and are now working on them, so maybe when all this is over I can get a real job that doesn’t entail being poke and prodded at for five hours at a time“
“That also entails staying in New York with your best friend”, Michael winked, a playful smile on his lips. “You can’t move out West when you got a o h so prestigious science job todo”
“Yeah whatever”, Peter laughed, finished off his first drink and then gladly accepting another.
August 2nd, 2017
“I can’t believe 75 years later I’m still raiding these god forsaken Hydra bases”, Steve addressed the group of Avengers who had gathered in the Compounds living room. “You can’t honestly be telling me you’ve found another one”
“I hate to disappoint but unfortunately the answer is yes”, Nick Fury said, his hologram figure lighting up the middle of the room. “However there is some good news, this one’s a little bit closer to home”
“I don’t see how that's good news”, Natasha mumbled, looking over the case file that had come with the job request. “Doesn’t that mean they’ve been working under our noses this entire time”
“Do not jump to conclusion Romanoff”, Fury chided, smirking when he saw the confused look on her face. “From what I can tell this base hasn’t been active since the late 70s, so it should be an easy in and easy out”
“Then why send us?”, Tony asked from where he had situated himself in the corner of the room. “I do believe this is a little below our pay grade”
The others seemed to silently agree with him, as they all turned their unconvinced gaze towards Fury. “It would be”, Nick continued. “If it wasn’t for the information that we believe it holds. From what we can find, while it was active the scientists there were trying to figure out how to recreate the super soldier serum”
This sparked Steve’s interest. “Were they successful?”, he asked.
“That, we are not sure of”, Nick answered. “No report was ever made, but in 77’ the place mysteriously shut down with no explanation as to why. This wasn’t too suspicious however since they were using live humans for their experiments, which much of the population found inhumane and demanded they stop their research immediately”
“Wonder why”, Tony whispered under his breath, causing Rhodey to laugh slightly. “So creepy old building, probably ghosts, and forty year old scientific research. Sounds like a normal day in the office for me”
He stood up from where he was sitting and approached the rest of the group. “So when do we head out?”
“I would recommended tomorrow”, Fury answered. “For now I would read the information I sent you and try to learn all you can about the stuff they were doing there. God knows what that old dump might hold”
They knew what he meant, they had seen some weird shit throughout the multiple bases they had raided over the years. “Well ok then, meeting adjourned”, Tony announced, before turning to address the ceiling. “Friday, end call”
The picture of Nick Fury disappeared and the room was plunged into sudden silence. “You heard the man”, Tony told them. “Do your homework and be prepared for tomorrow. Lord knows what we might find”
Without anymore words the rest of the team filed out, and Tony was about to head for his lab before a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He turned around to find himself face to face with Mr. Righteous himself, who looked less than pleased to be back into the business of destroying Hydra bases.
“What’s up Spangles?”, Tony asked, trying not to remember how the super soldiers hand on his arm reminded him of a certain incident in Siberia.
“I just wanted to say how I’m really happy the team is back together and we’re able to do stuff like this again”, he responded, breaching a topic Tony would have much rather avoided. “This is our first mission back, and I just really want it to go well”
Tony patted the hand that Steve had so delicately placed on his shoulder twice, before turning to make his way to the lower levels of the compound. “Then do your homework”
He knew that Steve was just trying to resolve things between the two of them, but Tony really hated pretending like they hadn’t just had a dastardly fight in a Tesco Parking lot not even a year ago. He hated giving Barnes a small smile every time he passed him in the hallway, trying to pretend that everything was alright between them when it most certainly was not.
But if he wanted the new Accords to work for everybody, he had to make sacrifices.
Even if that sacrifice was his own sanity.
June 4th, 1977
Peter Parker: Responding well to various treatments we have been administering. Cells are bonding well with the DNA we have been ejecting into it. No noticeable changes yet. Patient cleared to move onto phase two.
Tests undergone: Arachnid DNA
Future tests: Radiate exposure
When Peter stumbled home hungover the next morning and smelling like vomit, he wasn’t expecting much when he got back.
Especially not a man in a nice suit waiting on his couch, with a letter addressed to him.
The owner of the home, Giovanni Moretti, was also sitting with him in the living room, waiting for Peters late arrival. Due to the fact that it was 5am, none of the other boys in the home were awake yet, so the house was shrouded in rare and uncomfortable silence.
“Guarda chi finalmente ha deciso di presentarsi”( look who finally decided to show up), Madam Moretti scuffed, obviously not impressed with his nightly shenanigans. “Hai bevuto abbastanza per una volta nella tua vita?”( Have you drunk enough for once in your life?)
“Scusa signora” (Sorry madam), Peter responded, looking at his feet. “Non succederà più”( It won’t happen again)
“Mhm”, Moretti hummed, obviously not believing his blatant lie. “This nice man came to see you last night, I told him to come back early once the birds had flown you home”
Peter face turned slightly red as he turned to face the man. “Sorry for making you wait sir”, he told him, trying to sound polite. “If i had known you were coming I would have never left”
The man smiled slightly, as if something Peter had said had been funny. “Do not worry about it”, he told Peter, a yellow envelope held tightly in his hand. “Every young man has to go out and have fun every once and while”
Peter smiled slightly at his words, as the man held out the envelope in his direction. “This is for you”, he said as Peter accepted the letter. “Normally we would just send these through the mail, but my boss was very clear that he wanted yours hand delivered”
Peter flipped over the obnoxiously yellow envelope, and found his full name written neatly right next to the Oscorp logo. “Why?”, Peter asked, carefully ripping open the paper. “That just seems kind of counter productive”
“Maybe so”, the man said, eyeing the boy in a way that made Peters blood run cold. “But since the letter is now in your possession, my time is done here. Good day”
The man exited through the creaky old front door, and once he was gone the room was once again plunged into darkness. Moretti seemed suspicious about the whole encounter, but was mostly used to Peter getting up to weird shit in his free time, so she decided not to comment at all on the strange natural of the man.
“La colazione è alle sei”( Breakfast is at six) , she told Peter, standing up from her place on the couch. “Non fare tardi”( Don’t be late )
Without another word, Peter took towards him room in the attic to read the mysterious letter. During the beginning of his time at the Oscorp labs, he had received a few letters from them. Then again those had mostly been about the logistics of the experiments and what he should be expecting in the days following. However it had been about four months since he had last heard from them outside the lab, so of course his interest was peaked.
He crawled into the tiny attic space he had the pleasure of calling his bedroom, and pulled on the short string that turned on his one over head light. Since it was five am, the room was scorching hot yet, so Peter took this as a prime time to quickly change out of his vomit covered clothes and read his mysterious letter.
As soon as he was changed into a fresh tshirt and slacks, he ripped open the remain paper on the envelope and pulled out the folded letter. Unlike the envelope itself, the letter was typed on a sheet of milk white paper that had colorful flowers outlining the edges of it.
Dear Mr. Parker, the letter started.
We are pleased to inform you that the data we have received from the experiments you have partaken in has made us here at Oscorp decided to transfer you into phase two of the operation, if you would so desire. Due to the upgrade we would be doubling your salary and moving you to our more prestigious labs upstate so we would be able to better observe and record your reactions to said experiments. If you would be interested in participating in phase two, please contact our hiring team at (212) 944-0400. If transportation or distance is an issue and key factor of your decision, please also bring that up to the hiring staff and we our sure they will be able to figure something out for you.
We hope you will be in contact.
Oscorp Head Scientist
August 3rd, 2017
“Ok team”, Tony’s voice rang over the comms, as he few next to the quinjet. “This is a simple in and out operation, just like old times”
“Just like old times”, Clints voice crackled into his earpieces. “Because they were so great”
“Jesus Christ you get shot one time and you act like every base is a chore”, Nastasha joked, earning an eye roll from Clint. “You’re talking like you haven’t spent the majority of your life getting hunted and shot at as your job”
“This is different”, he defended. “We were suppose to be done with all this Hydra shit back in 2015. I thought we took down the last base in Slovakia and now Fury’s over here telling us there's more? I think I have a right to be a little ticked off”
“Well save it for the quinjet ride back home”, Tony announced, as the jet started slowing down. “Because we’re here”
The base was nothing special, if Tony was being honest, it was actually quite underwhelming. It was about a 45 minute flight from the Compound, and as they approached he could see that it was really no more than an abandoned concrete building. A rusted chain link fence surrounded it, and the grass looked like it hadn’t been cut in 40 years.
“Seriously”, he heard Sam say over the comm, as he spotted the Falcon also flying next to the jet. “Fury sent us all out here for this one decrepit building?”
“Looks can be deceiving Sam”, Steve told him, as the tell tail sound of his shield being placed on his back echoed around the room. “Don’t assume anything about this place until we’ve cleared it out. I’m not sure if all of you did the reading but some freaky stuff went down here”
“God I know”, Clint responded, his voice full of distaste. “I can’t believe they were experimenting on kids as young as 14, and it was legal. Like that’s Coopers age, and I would never even dream of letting someone do half the stuff they did to those kids to him”
“I mean most of them didn’t have families or relatives”, Steve replied. “Because of that it was probably a lot easier for them to get away with some of the stuff they did”
“Still so messed up”, Clint mumbled.
“We can discussed how fucked up the whole ordeal was later”, Tony told them as the quinjet started to land. “For now, Romanoff, you’re on scouting. Sam, you’re on look out. Clint and Maximoff, you two survey the outside and first story of the building. Steve, Barnes, you’re with me”
Tony landed on the ground as the others unloaded from the plane. Sam stayed up in the air as he started surveying for potential threats that could come from both the woods and the air. Natasha took off towards the building to check for any types of traps that could be awaiting them, or unwanted visitors who could be lurking around the property. Wanda and Clint also took off with her, trailing behind and waiting for her to give the all clear so they could enter the building.
Tony stayed with Steve and Barnes at the base of the quinjet while everyone else took off in their separate directions. “Fury said that most of the info we need in the basement”, he reminded the group. “And all the creepy shit hides in the basement, so Barnes you’re on look out while me and Cap sort through the records and decide what we need and don’t need”
Bucky’s response was to cock the barrel on his gun, which Tony took as a yes. “Than what happens after we get everything we need?”, Steve asked, watching as Wanda, Clint, and Natasha entered the old building. “Are we going to blow it to piece or just leave it here?”
“That’s up for Fury to decide”, Tony replied, making Steve furrow his eyebrows. “Once we get everything out it’s not our problem anymore”
With the first group already in the building, the trio took off in the directions of the concrete lab. There was still an awkward aura between them, and Siberia wouldn't be leaving any of their minds in the foreseeable future, but they understood that they had a job to do and they couldn’t let their emotions get in the way.
Sure, Tony could have always chosen Nat or Clint for her retrieval team, or even begged Rhodey to come on this mission so he’s have at least one friendly face to count on. But as much as he hated it he knew Barnes and Steve would be the best candidates for this job. With Bucky’s marksmanship skills and Steve obscure Hydra knowledge, he knew they’d get them in and out the quickest.
So silently, they made their way into the dusty building, and before long they found the hidden door behind a bookcase that led to the secret basement. It was almost too easy to find, which kind of put Steve on edge.
“Pathetic”, Tony mumbled, having Friday scan for the four digit passcode. “It’s like they didn’t even try to hide it”
The trio slowly descended the steps, with Tony upfront ready to shoot anything that moved with his repulsor beam, and Bucky in the back with his gun up and ready to go. Steve stood in the middle, shield in hand and prepared for whatever they creepy basement might throw at them.
However, upon reaching the bottom of the steps and flipping on the lights, there was nothing. No threats, no traps, no kind of security. Just a room full of filing cabinets and desk.
All Tony did was shake his head as his mask retracted around him and he lowered his repulsor. “Truly pathetic”, he told the other two. “Let’s get to work”
After searching throughout the entirety of the first floor, Clint reported back to the group downstairs that all that was up there was a few old beds and a kitchen stocked with extremely expired food. The three from upstairs eventually made their way to the basement to help with the daunting task of going through all the file, their silence only being broken up by occasional comments from Sam, who had made himself cozy on the roof.
They went through multiple reports and files, most of which were on the awful stuff that went down at this lab, and sorted all the ones they deemed useful into one large pile in the middle of a desk. Wanda was using her powers to quickly sort through the multiple piece of paper, and caught everyone attention when she suddenly dropped what she was doing and look over at one of the far walls.
“Everything ok?”, Steve asked carefully, not liking the confused expression that sat on her face.
“Something else is here”, she responded, her accent coming out stronger than it usual. “It is faint, but I can still feel it”
Before he could even think, Tony had always retracted his mask around his face. “Anything hostile?”, he asked, having Friday scan all the surrounding walls and areas.
“No…”, she responded quietly, suddenly getting a forlorn expression. “It just seems… lonely”
“Mhm”, Tony hummed, as Friday continued to scan every inch and crevice of this place. “So there’s some sort of sad, lonely ghost down here. That’s great, that’s really really great”
“Whatever it is”, Wanda continued. “I’m pretty sure it’s behind there”. She told them, while pointing towards one of the walls that had a large bookcase it front of it. Right as she did that, Friday finished her scan and reported that there was an empty air space around that area, a long with a weak heat signal.
“Friday’s sensing a heat signal over there”, Tony told them, as him and Cap approached the bookcase. ‘It’s weak, but there’s definitely something, or someone back there”
Together, him and Steve managed to move the cabinet out the way, revealing the outline of what would have once been a door. There was still indents in the wall from where a handles would have been, along with cracks along the sides from where it had shifted over the years.
“Well that’s not stretchy at all”, Clint whispered, putting down whatever file he had been reading. “Creepy lab that did creepy experiments has a second creepy secret door. They’ve just really outdone themselves on this one”
Using his super strength, Steve was able to pull the stubborn door open, shielding his eyes as bits of the plaster used to seal it came flying off it's hinges and years worth of dust filtered out of the room. It took Steve’s and Tony’s eyes a minute to adjust to the darkness of the room, but when they finally did, neither could help but gasped in shock at what they found.
Because standing behind the door, in a ginormous glass chamber, was a person.