In the Light of the Crimson Moon: Part 1
Peter Parker loved to watch the moonrise, some could say just was much as any other Lycan, but for him it was special. Ever since gaining his spider powers a few years ago, there was something just bewitching about staring at the giant white orb as is climbed over the horizon. It must have been the sense of hope, the feeling of having a grand adventure splayed out in front of him, and all the grand possibilities that represented. If anybody could be so optimistic, it was him, he was the Amazing Spider-Wolf after all.
That fateful accident at the Ministry of Science was the biggest thing to happen to him. he had been such a sickly pup before then, his parents dying in a pack war and his Aunt May and Uncle Ben taking him into their den. Wanting to understand science had gotten him ridiculed by many at school, especially that pompous “Lightning” Thompson. Peter had actually ditched school to go to the Ministry that day, and when one of Peter’s instructors called Uncle Ben to tell him Peter was missing, Ben knew just where to look. The public demonstration was about possible methods to harness alternative energy sources, especially those found in living cells. supposedly, the Ministry had figured out how to tap the energy present in all living things, and channel it as a vastly renewable energy source. But the thing that nobody expected was the errant spider that landed on the generator’s power coupling.
The small creature absorbed a massive dose of energy, and caused the energy flow to be drawn out of alignment. The discharge was powerful enough to send the spider flying through the air, and to land on Peter’s skin, biting him as a defensive reflex. It was this energy, stored in the spider, and transferred to Peter, that granted him his wondrous abilities above and beyond that of a normal Lycan. But it was also the catalyst that drove the generator to overload, bathing the research team, notably the lead researcher Norman Osborn, with this unstable energy, and causing a massive explosion that rocked four city blocks. In the aftermath of that explosion, Peter stumbled out onto the cracked and upheaved street, finding Uncle Ben trampled and gravely wounded lying on the pavement. But the thing that sent Peter’s blood boiling was the pickpocket that saw his dying Uncle, and only stopped to take the money from his wallet and left him to die. While Peter rushed to his uncle’s side, he never forgot that pickpocket’s face. Uncle Ben was taken to the hospital, and while the doctors did everything they could, he passed away, with Peter and Aunt May holding his hands.
It was after the funeral that Peter started to notice some subtle changes about himself. He was stronger, more agile, his vision had improved, and his stamina and healing was vastly increased. He could run and jump farther than he had ever gone, and even farther than most other Lycans he knew. It wasn’t until he couldn’t let go of a drinking glass one day that he realized that spider bite had changed him. he could stick to surfaces, able to clamber along walls and ceilings just as easy as if her were walking or crawling on them. His reflexes were so sharp, that in some cases he could almost see things before they happened. And the biggest change of all was his newfound ability to spin webbing from his wrists, which was strong enough to swing from like a rope. He took these newfound abilities as a sign, that he needed to help people, people that were in trouble like his Uncle that no one else would fight for and defend. And people like that pickpocket needed to be brought to justice.
It was several weeks until Peter ran across the pickpocket again, and he had already become a hero in Queens, people calling him Spider Wolf. Peter tracked him to an abandoned warehouse on the waterfront, and stalked his prey. The poor pickpocket never sensed him, and Peter pounced after toying with him and driving him to hysterics. It was the first kill of Peter’s life, and so far, it had been his last. The rules of the Lycan were clear, if one’s family blood was shed, it must be repaid with blood. It was something Peter would never forget, the metallic taste of blood on his lips, the wild hammering of his heart in his ears, and the slow, mournful howl he let out into the night air after he went to the roof to stare at the full moon.
That was a couple years ago, and now Peter Parker was an established hero, and very popular with the residents of New York. He patrolled as much of the city as he could, now that he was out of high school and was going to start at Empire University in the fall. It was his heroics that had led him to the top of the Stark Industries New York headquarters, where he was now, waiting for Tony Stark himself, for a chat.
Mister Stark came out the elevator, dressed in a well fitting suit, and his black fur groomed to a level expected of a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist. His blue eyes shone with intelligence and peter could almost see the light of caring in his eyes, almost. “Good to see you Peter, I’m glad you could make it.” Tony said as he extended his paw-like hand for a shake.
Peter immediately took it. “Thanks for inviting me.” he removed his mask. “guess I don’t need this thing right now if the Invincible Iron Wolf already knows who I am.”
Tony chuckled. “most of the superhero community knows who you are Peter, and that’s why I wanted to talk to you. We here in the Americas are pretty separated from the Old World, but how familiar are you with the Alpha?”
Peter blinked. “I guess familiar, but he just seems pretty far away in my opinion.”
“what I’m going to tell you is a matter of global security, the Alpha is in danger, and I want you to help protect him.” Tony said as he motioned for Peter to follow him. “while it is portrayed as much as possible that he is the strongest on the Lycansphere, he is just one of several that could wield the Ebony Blade. As the world changes, so do the threats against our society. I’m sure you’ve noticed the uptick in people with powers wanting to do bad things.”
The two men entered the elevator, and Tony pushed one of the many buttons on the elevator’s control panel, causing it to descend. “Of course, you don’t know how many lycans I’ve put away in the past month alone. Even though I’m having to fight Jamison and the Bugle at every step.” Peter replied.
“Well, this might help change that.” Tony remarked as they descended into the basement levels of the building. Finally, the elevator came to a stop, and the doors opened to reveal a massive lab full of equipment, computers, arcane paraphernalia, and other things Peter had no idea what it was. “as you may have guessed, this is my lab.” Tony continued as they walked out into the massive room. “this is where I continually perfect my Iron Wolf suits, and where I work on other things. I’m showing you this because as of today, you are now part of the American Lycan Defense Force.”
“The what now?” Peter asked.
“Sorry, I forget sometimes.” Tony replied sheepishly as he walked over and checked a few readouts. “the ALDF is a group that works together to protect the Alpha, his family, and his interests in North America. We don’t really broadcast our existence, because we work best when people don’t know about us, or see us coming for that matter.”
“But they always see you coming Tony.” A voice called out from their left. Peter almost started hyperventilating, because standing right in front of him was Steve Rogers, THE Steve Rogers, the Wolf of America. Steve raised an eyebrow, a frown starting to furrow is muzzle and forehead. “and you must be Peter.” He said, watching him continue to spiral, but offered his hand anyway.
“Yes! Yes I’m Peter Parker. I’m a huge fan!” he exclaimed as he shook it. It took a second, but he realized how he was acting. “sorry, I haven’t really met anybody like you before.”
Steve broke a smile. “It’s okay Mister Parker, you won’t be the only one, I assure you.”
Peter held his breath for a second, then couldn’t help but blurt out. “So what was it like? Being in the ice for so long? I bet the world seems a whole lot different than when you went under.”
Now Steve chuckled. “You aren’t the first person to ask me that either. It is different, very different. Things that this society does, and the shifting emphasis on science, it’s a lot to take in. I came from a time where science was a word you didn’t say if you didn’t want dirty looks, but to see it out in the open takes some getting used to.
“But I thought the serum was a product of science.” Peter added. “If science was such a bad thing, then why take it in the first place?”
Steve sighed. “That’s a question I ask myself all the time. At the time, the war was raging, the Alpha wasn’t as strong as the one we have now and the countries of the world bickered about everything. In order to feel safe and secure, America did the thing we do best, create. It may have been a German scientist that made the serum, but it was American desperation that fueled its creation, and my need to serve was the last piece of the puzzle.”
“Well, I bet they didn’t do much to you Steve.” Peter replied. “You must have been quite the warrior before they gave you the serum.”
“Actually, I was a lot like you. Believe it or not, I was about ninety pounds soaking wet, got beat up all the time, not to mention I was not lucky with the ladies.”
Peter was shocked. “I would have never guessed.” He said.
“being portrayed as one of the finest soldiers on the planet will do that.” Steve replied.
“Hate to interrupt, but I do have some other things to do with Peter.” Tony interjected. He took hold of Peter’s shoulder and steered him toward one of the benches overflowing with equipment.
“we’ll talk later Peter, good to meet you!” Steve call out as he took his leave, walking to another section of the lab.
“Why did you do that?” Peter hissed at Tony through clenched fangs. “I was talking to the actual Wolf of America!”
“Because our ice cream social is at the end of the month, and I need to get you up to speed on your new gear.” Tony replied as he approached a massive crate. Peter looked at it, then at Tony, not knowing what to do. “Just put your hand on it Pete, it is locked to only your hand print.”
Peter put his paw-like hand on the shiny metal surface, and instantly the crate’s lid opened with a hiss. Inside was a felt-lined tray that held what looked like a new cell phone, a metal box that was colored like his costume, and a set of metal arm guards that were also colored like his costume. “What is all this?” he asked, not knowing where to begin.
“this is your standard issue gear mister Parker.” Tony replied as he grabbed the cell phone and handed it to him. “first off is the phone. It functions just like any other smart device, but is completely secure and has intrusion protocols for just about any computer controlled system on the planet. It will unlock doors, start cars, bypass firewalls, anything you might need on a mission or what have you.”
Peter took the phone in his hand, looking it over. It was very sleek and stylish, made of a brushed metal and a sizeable screen. When Peter unlocked it, he saw that it had already mirrored the phone in his pocket perfectly. If someone didn’t know any better, they would think he just got a new case for his existing phone.
“The next thing is the new suit.” Tony continued. “it’s an amorphous metal alloy, acts like fabric and is just as breathable, but has a complete digital interface, is highly firearm and blade resistant, and will even reverse silver exposure if you are ever so unlucky. We normally don’t give new people new suits, but I was bored the other day and needed something to tinker with.”
Peter held it, feeling the slight coolness of the metal in his hands. He pinched a section of it between his fingers and rubbed it, sure enough, it felt like regular cloth. “do you have some place I can change into this?” he asked.
“sure, follow me.” Tony motioned as he grabbed the arm guards and led him to what looked like a bathroom stall. “I made a little makeshift changing room, got to make sure the suits always fit you know.” He said as he pushed open the door.
Peter changed quickly, and after putting on the mask, he took a good look at himself. There really weren’t any noticeable differences between this and his other suit, other than knowing this one was made of metal. He left the stall, finding Tony waiting for him.
“now, one last thing. These are the key component of the suit.” Tony said as he handed him the arm guards. “with these, you can control the suit’s other functions and its different modes. There is a stealth mode, an airtight mode just in case you find yourself in water or in a vacuum, and finally an advanced armor mode.”
Peter clapped on the guards, and instantly the suit changed, the whole outfit looking like a suit of hardened armor, complete with gauntlets, boots, and the mask had become a helmet. There was a holographic interface around Peter’s field of vision, giving him readouts on the suit’s functions and its power reserves. “How long can it maintain this mode?” he asked.
“Right now? Basically indefinitely. The capacitors are tied to a pocket dimension through a portal spell that is full of arcane energy. It can be over taxed, and will revert to the normal mode, but you have to be really trying to get that to happen, like, end of the world trying. The system will recharge, but you just need to give it time to do so. You also have a couple of toys under the hood too. The gloves can fire darts loaded with sedatives or they can deliver a nasty shock. They can also generate hard light shields or blades that can be activated almost instantaneously, not to mention the jump jets.”
“The boots have rocket thrusters in them, enough to get you going almost a couple hundred miles an hour. Basically a stop-gap just in case your web line gets cut or you need to stay in the air.”
“Tony, this is starting to sound like you really designed this suit for yourself, and not for me.” Peter said as he tried to take of the helmet, but had no idea how to. “Is there a latch or button?” he asked, fumbling around the neck and jawline.
“Jacosta, open the helmet.” Tony ordered. Suddenly, the plates guarding Peter’s eyes and muzzle retraced, opening up the helmet to the outside.
“Of course, mister Stark.” A disembodied voice said in Peter’s ear.
“Wait, this thing has an AI?” Peter asked in shock.
Tony grinned. “why wouldn’t it? I made it, and Jarvis has connections with all my suits. I thought you could use a gal pal in your life.”
“I already have a girl in my life.” Peter growled.
“Then think of Jacosta as a friend for when your girlfriend just won’t understand the spider struggle.” Tony retorted.
Peter opened his mouth to fire back, but a sudden gust blowing past stopped him in his tracks. “some sort of air exchange system?” he asked.
The worry contorting Tony’s muzzle and face spoke volumes. “No, but I think I know what it is.” He said as he started running towards another end of the lab. Peter followed after, and gasped when he saw what was causing the wind.
A magic portal had opened up right in the middle of the lab, throwing papers in every direction from the fierce winds. By the time he, Tony, and Steve all managed to get there, two figures materialized from the shimmering threshold. Peter knew one of them, Natasha Romanov, the Shadow Wolfess. She was one of the other well known heroes in the Americas, and spent most of her time with Daredevil out on the west coast. She wore a tight fitting black outfit that played up her very attractive figure, and was also compartmentalized enough to carry several weapons and gadgets. Natasha’s fur was a bright orange, and her dark eyes seemed to be always watching.
The other lycan was another woman, but her identity was a complete mystery. Her fur was white, and her dark eyes carried a look of knowledge, like someone who could look at the world and knew exactly how it operated and the pieces that made it up. She was wearing a red outfit, a cross between an evening dress and Natasha’s outfit. Her paw-like hands stopped glowing when the portal closed, leaving the two women standing in the lab. “mister Stark, he needs you.” She looked at Peter. “Is this the one you wanted to bring?”
“Yes Wanda, this is Peter. I gave him his new equipment; we can see the Alpha now.” Tony replied.
“Very well, then we must not delay.” Wanda stated matter-of-factly as she curled her fingers and began casting a spell. In a second, all of them, including Peter, began shimmering with a reddish light. Before he could react, Peter’s vision was enveloped with it, followed by a sense of vertigo. Suddenly, it was like ground came up and met his feet, sending his balance off slightly.
One he righted himself and checked that all his parts were where they should be, he took stock of his surroundings. The five of them were now inside a throne room, and sitting on the throne, wearing his ancient armor and clutching the pommel of the Ebony Blade was the Alpha, the Black Knight himself.
The massive lycan rose to his feet, the armor not making a sound. His face was uncovered, showing his back and gray fur. The armor was crafted from dark steel and gold accenting. It matched the Ebony Blade hue for hue, making it look like a complete set. “Mister Stark, I am glad you are ready.” He said in a deep, growling, rumbling tone. “we have much to do.”