Sitting on the stone edge of a housing block whilst chewing on a sandwich and drinking a can of pop, Peter contemplated the lack of criminal activity recently.
Not that he was upset by the lack of bad people to beat up or anything, but he sure was bored.
His patrols were now becoming more of a chore than anything, or just downright bizarre.
Over recent months, he'd hear a 911 call about a bank robbery or a gang-war in progress, only to get there and the bad-guy(s) be missing, and a terrified victim that would mutter about a 'shadow' or black mass that had eaten the would be assailant.
Of course, the clues could lead to anything, but there was one road Peter hoped it didn't lead down. Particularly, the road that lead to a certain sticky, black and white, out-of-this-world parasite, inhabiting some helpless shmuck that wouldn't be able to defend themselves. He had read the eye-witness accounts online, from the creature's first appearance in San Francisco, and although he was happy there were fewer criminals on his streets, he could only worry about the day the black alien turned its attention to innocent people.
Peter shakes the dark thought from his head, and thinks of better things, like his latest project to upgrade his suit, or...or...how about that blue-eyed hunk he'd saved last year? The cute-butt, rugged-in-a-handsome-way man, who just happened to be the baddass freelance journalist known as Eddie-freaking-Brock!
That short barely 2-minute moment had been on Parker's mind a lot. The full chapped lips surrounded by dark stubble, the short ruffled black hair, broad solid shoulders, and those eyes. Eyes that seemed to shift from blue to green depending on the angle of the light. All these things had been on Peter's mind for months.
Peter only knew who the mysterious, would-be-victim was thanks to a news article that was on tv barely a week after their meeting. Something about how he helped blow the whistle on some Drake guy over on the West Coast, in San Francisco.
Since then, Parker had read up on the now-freelance journalist's work, and saw in him an everyday hero, someone who was trying to expose all the bad stuff that went on behind the scenes. Someone Peter could certainly look up to, now that he was venturing into the world of journalism himself, or at least journalism-photography for the Daily Bugle.
Peter had even seen Mr Brock at a distance a couple of times now, since the freelancer had moved to New York earlier this year, and even started working at the same newspaper as Peter! He would sometimes catch sight of the journalist in the Publisher's office of the Daily Bugle, presumably selling a recent story. Every time, Peter had felt a shiver of excitement, that almost felt like his Spidey-sense tingling. But that didn't make sense, so he ignored it.
In the rare encounters they'd had where they could speak, either Peter stumbled over his words or kept silent. Embarrassing to say the least, but Parker was no-where near confident enough to have a full conversation with his idol...and his secret crush. Instead, Brock usually made small-talk about the weather, or about how much of a hard-ass Jameson, the Publisher of the Daily Bugle, was, especially when it came to negotiate the price of a story.
Peter could understand that, he could barely make a living selling the few photos he manged to take between patrols, working at Mr Stark's lab, and going to college. Jameson was a stickler for a good bargain, and always offered the least amount of money for the most work.
Peter shook himself out of his reveries to finish his food and watch the sun set on his city, before swinging off the roof to resume his search for baddies.
An hour into his nightly patrol, Peter is passing near the warehouse districts for a change of scenery, when Karen chimes in, "Peter, I'm detecting gunfire and explosions 1.2km east of your current position." she says in her ever-calm voice. Focusing his suit's advanced audio receptors, Peter picks out the clamour of shouting, screaming and blatter of machine-gun fire mixed with the pop-pop of pistols.
"Finally," Peter says to himself, tired of only catching purse-snatchers and bag thieves.
"Shall I initiate Mr Stark's 'Safety Protocol-Alpha'?" Karen suggests, still perky and calm. Peter hums, wondering if it's worth having some back up. Deciding he could do with a challenge, Peter declines the offer, replying with, "No Karen, that's fine, I think we can leave Mr Stark outta this one. We need the exercise anyway."
"Very well Peter" she responds, almost sounding reluctant. But ever since he hacked the suit's systems, he knows he can trust the AI to follow his orders.
As the young Spiderman changes course, and following the sounds of conflict, he only hopes that there’s no one innocent in the middle of what sounds like an all-out gang-war.