Seldes Katne

Site mom
Nov 8, 2004
New York State
Since this is a fairly short story, I decided to just post the whole thing at once. It's about 11 typed pages.

A couple of things to get out of the way first:

Summary: As the Sentinel robots attack New York City, Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich assembles eyewitness accounts of a mutant boy rescued by a non-mutant woman. As the boy's story unfolds, Peter Parker considers the unnerving thought that his own enhanced DNA might make him a target as well. And in the aftermath of the attack, glimpses of heroism and villainy emerge, not among larger than life beings with earth-shattering powers, but through the actions of average men and women and the choices they make in the face of extraordinary events.

Disclaimer: Any of the recognizable characters in this story (Peter Parker, Ben Urich, Joe Robertson, for example) belong to Marvel Comics — I'm merely borrowing them for the duration. (Of what, one might ask....) There has been no money made or another financial restitution received for the writing of this story. (Which is just as well — I pay enough in taxes as it is!)


by Seldes Katne

Peter Parker peered around the corner of the cubicle that housed the Daily Bugle's web server and watched the controlled chaos of a newsroom dealing with a major breaking story.

Several days ago, the government had unleashed the huge metal robots known as Sentinels on the city of Los Angeles, reportedly to find and "remove" members of mutant terrorist organizations, according to officials. Several dozen people had been killed in the operation.

Now, this Saturday evening, the Sentinels had been spotted in New York City. The television stations had been carrying reports for almost an hour. Newsroom editor Joe Robertson alternated between directing the reporters' activity and watching the bank of television screens on the newsroom wall. Conversations were held in low, intense tones. Everywhere he looked, Peter could see staffers talking on phones, people typing, editors bending over reporters' desks for consultations. Even the sports department had gotten involved. Sandy Paget, who usually covered high school girls' sports, was interviewing someone on the phone; Peter could just make out the words, "giant metal foot crushed cars" on her screen.

A dozen paces away, reporter Ben Urich was shrugging out of his coat, his back to Peter; Robertson was turning away from the television screens showing various shots from the network news shows. Many of the screens featured pictures of the Sentinels.

"You were supposed to be off tonight."

"I was, until I got a front-row seat for the Sentinel attack." Urich tossed his coat onto the back of his chair and flipped open his notebook. "Official reports as of two minutes ago claim a dozen dead. Four of them are confirmed as having been mutants. I've got the information from the police media relations office, plus a sidebar story of one kid who was actually rescued from one of these things."


"Yes. I've got a call in to some of my sources for more information. I had to talk to half a dozen people to piece this together, but basically...."

Saturday night in New York City:

The ground trembles. People pause briefly, then continue on. The ground shivers again. Car horns suddenly blare in the distance. The ground shudders. Shouts and screams split the air. The pavement jumps, then jumps again. A massive head, shoulder and arm appear around the corner of a building. As the metal monster steps into the intersection, the ground shakes in time with its footsteps.

Cars swerve to avoid the huge feet; pedestrians stand transfixed for a moment, then burst into motion, bolting in all directions, some into traffic. Motorists crash vehicles into street signs, other vehicles, some trying to avoid the robot, some swerving away from fleeing pedestrians. A carpet of glass and debris coats the street, crunches under the robots boot-like feet.

A green beam of light erupts from the Sentinel's hand, and one of the running pedestrians, a little apart from the others, is lit by a halo, then winks out of existence. The people closest to him pelt on, unharmed. A second victim, lifting off from the sidewalk in an attempt to fly to safety, meets the same fate.

The Sentinel's long strides carry it further than the fleeing humans can run. People scatter as the robot strides down the avenue.

One small figure scrambles desperately for cover, slips and falls amid the glass shards and debris. The robot's head swivels toward the teen boy crouched in the street; the massive hand comes up for the killing blast –

– And a woman leaps out into the street, flinging herself bodily on top of the teen.

The Sentinel freezes. The woman, gasping for breath, gathers the slightly smaller form of the teen to her and kneels, motionless.

The robot waits, as though considering its options. As it stands, it is joined by a second robot. Both tower over the two small people in the middle of the avenue.

Two police officers run down the sidewalk, shouting at people to clear the streets. They stumble to a halt at the sight of the tableau in the middle of the avenue. One of them calls to the two people huddled together under the robots' malevolent gazes.

At last the woman stands up, arm still around the teen's shoulders. She is speaking, but her words don't carry to any of the bystanders. Slowly she and the teen walk across the pavement to the police officers. The woman says, "This is Manuel. If the Sentinels tried to attack him, he's probably a mutant. He'll be all right as long as he stays with you. Please take him someplace safe."

Then she turns and runs down the street, in the direction in which the original Sentinel had first been moving. The police shout after her, but she disappears into the crowd and is lost to sight.

"Do you have names?"

"The boy is Manuel DiCamillo, fifteen years old. I couldn't talk to him – the police had escorted him back to their station by the time I got this much of the story. The officer I spoke to said the kid was pretty shook. I'll try contacting the family as soon as I get an address and see if I can set up an interview."

"And the woman?"

"My source said Manuel called her 'Miranda', but didn't give a last name."

"Not a relative or friend of his family?"

"No. Apparently he'd never seen her before."

"Good Samaritan, then."

"That's what it sounds like. Apparently, when the Sentinels saw the boy was under police protection, they backed off. A few minutes later several of them were spotted in Times Square, where they were involved in a confrontation with a group of mutants...."

Peter, who had been more than close enough to hear Urich's recitation, lost the thread of the conversation. Fifteen years old? That could have been me! If I'd gone home earlier tonight, that could have been me in the streets with those things!

Peter stared at the wall without seeing it. Would a Sentinel, designed to detect people with a mutant X-gene, be able to tell the difference between a natural-born mutant and Peter's artificially changed DNA? But those robots would have been programmed to recognize known terrorists, he told himself. I'm not on anyone's 'Most Wanted' lists. I should be okay—

"Peter?" Joe Robertson leaned over the cubicle wall. He held out a pair of folders. "Could you please run up to the wire room and see if anything has come in from Associated Press or UPI? Any kind of pictures goes to the photo editor; any text comes to me, okay?"

"Uh, sure, Mr. Robertson." Peter took the folders and trotted in the direction of the staircase.

I'm gonna have to look into this when I get a minute, he decided as he jogged into the newsroom a few minutes later, two photos and several articles tucked into the respective folders. Bad enough half the city thinks Spider-man's some kind of nutcase without having huge robots gunning for me, too—

Ben Urich's phone rang as Peter passed his desk. "Urich. Hello, Phil. Got something for me about Manuel—" Urich paused. "Oh." He called up a word processing program on his computer, cradling the phone against one shoulder. "I thought he was going back to the precinct... So what hap— Oh. The two officers... Do you have their names?"

Peter handed the folder of articles to Robertson, who nodded his thanks; the editor's gaze was fixed on Urich. Peter stepped to one side and listened.

"Were there witnesses?" Urich's fingers flew over the keyboard. The words "Six blocks from site of rescue, DiCamillo in street, where Sentinel's lasers killed" scrolled across the computer screen. Joe Robertson's eyes closed in sympathy. Apparently oblivious to the emotional impact of his words, Urich kept typing. Peter shuddered and turned away.

God, that guy was my age! It could have been me—

"Peter? Are you all right?" Robertson reached out and put a hand on Peter's shoulder.

"I – yeah, it's just – I heard Mr. Urich talking about that boy, and –" Peter gulped "—that could have been me! I mean, he was my age, and –"

"Peter, stop and take a deep breath." Peter complied, his breath almost a sob. "Good. Take another." Peter inhaled and exhaled, a little more steadily this time. Robertson watched him closely. His hand still rested on Peter's shoulder. "Okay. Listen to me. It wasn't you. You're safe. The Sentinels were only after mutants. The attack is over, and the Sentinels are gone, or destroyed. It's okay."

Peter squeezed his eyes closed. "Yeah. Okay. It's just – he could have me, or one of my friends from school. He was only fifteen, and now he's dead."

Robinson steered him to a chair. "Sit down. I'm going to get you a glass of water. You keep taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that it's all over, all right?"

"Okay," Peter replied. Numbly, he watched reporters and photographers striding from desk to desk, or bending over to collaborate with a colleague. Ben Urich had hung up the phone, and was still typing steadily, a look of determination on his face. Robertson returned with the water.

"You doing all right, Peter?"

"Yes. Thanks, sir."

"Maybe you should call your aunt to come get you."

"Yeah, I will."

Robertson offered him a reassuring smile and turned away to talk to another reporter. Peter placed his call, then sat sipping at the water. He watched Urich stand up and wave Robertson over. They consulted for a minute, and Urich sat down again. Peter could just see his finger press the Send button, forwarding the story to Robertson's computer terminal for editing. Then Urich slumped into his chair and sat staring at the now empty screen. After a moment, he sighed, turned and reached for his notebook. Peter stood up and eased his way across the corridor.

"Mr. Urich?"

Ben Urich opened his notebook, his eyes on its pages. "Yes, Peter?"

"You know that fifteen-year-old boy you were talking about? He's — he's dead now, isn't he?"

Urich's voice was weary. "Yes. He died less than half an hour ago. According to one witness, the police officers escorting him back to their station apparently flung him up against a building several times, and then threw him out into the street, where a Sentinel was following them. One laser is all it took."

"What was he guilty of?"

Urich peered at him through his glasses. "I'm sorry?"

"What did he do that made the police throw him out where the Sentinel could kill him?"

Urich gazed at him steadily. "I don't know as he did anything."

"Nothing?" Peter gripped the top and side of the cubicle's wall. "He didn't attack anyone, or burst into flames, or blow something up? Did the police think he was going to hurt anyone?"

"According to my source, no one else has come forward yet who was close enough to see what really happened. The police had no warrant out for Manuel's arrest, or any suspicion that he was involved in any crime or terrorist activities."

"Then why did those officers do that?"

Urich's gaze slid to the computer screen for a moment, then back to Peter. "I suspect that they just didn't like mutants very much."

Peter stared. "That's it? They killed him just because he was a mutant?"

"That's the way it seems. I expect there will be an investigation into what happened."

"So...they'll be charged with murder, right? And sent to jail?"

Urich looked away suddenly and drew a deep breath. Finally, not quite meeting Peter's eyes, he replied, "I don't know. It seems to be just the one witness. Internal Affairs will investigate it, but unless one or the other officer confesses...." Here he sighed, and his gaze came back to Peter. "It's possible that no charges will be filed due to insubstantial evidence."

Peter stared at him for a moment; then he dropped his gaze, and for several heartbeats stood staring down at the floor. Maybe, if I had left earlier, I could have been there, done something.... Finally he raised his eyes. "How do you stand it?" he asked Urich. "How do you deal with, with all the wrong things people do, with all the bad things that happen?"

The reporter studied Peter; his expression shifted from one of weariness to something a little more like compassion. "I write about it." Urich took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes with the fingers of his right hand. Then he tossed the glasses onto his desk and turned back to Peter. "That's all I can do, Peter. I'm not Iron Man, or, or Spider-Man, or any of the other superhero types out there. I just happen to be a pretty good writer. I get information. I write my story, and I hope that enough other news services pick it up and enough people read it and get angry enough to want to change things. I can't stop a Sentinel by myself, or save people from so-called supervillains. All I can do is write. It's the only weapon I have against the bad things that happen."

Peter froze. Ben Urich thinks Spider-Man is a hero? Aloud, he asked cautiously, "You think Spider-Man in a hero? A lot of people don't."

"He stops muggers and thieves. He rescues people who can't defend themselves. He does it all without getting any form of payment or recognition." The side of Urich's mouth twitched into a smile. "Yes, I would say he's a hero. Despite what J. Jonah Jameson might say to the contrary."

Peter actually smiled back. "Yeah, okay. Thanks." He turned away and started down the walkway. Then he stopped and came back. "Mr. Urich?"

Urich's hands were poised over the keyboard. "Yes, Peter?" There was a note of impatience in his voice this time.

"Uh, maybe you don't want to answer this, but... when you were writing the stories on the Kingpin, did you – did you ever get any, you know, death threats?"

Urich froze, still staring straight ahead at his screen. For a few heartbeats he did nothing. Finally, without looking at Peter, he said, "What would make you ask that?"

"I, uh, just wondered. I mean, you said you're not a superhero or anything, but you had someone really powerful after you who had already murdered someone, and you were going to write a story exposing him. Weren't you afraid?"

Urich's gaze shifted from the computer screen to his hands, still resting lightly on the computer keys. "Yes, I was," he murmured in a voice Peter could just hear over the background noises of the newsroom. "I kept thinking of Veronica Guerin. Ever heard of her?" Peter shook his head. "She was a journalist in Ireland who was murdered in 1996 because of her stories about drug lords and what they were doing to her country. Journalists have been killed in a lot of places around the world for writing stories that powerful people want censored."

Urich took his hands off the keyboard and turned to Peter, resting one elbow on his desk. "But more than afraid, I was angry. This man and his organization were hurting and killing people. Some of them might have deserved it, but most of them didn't." Urich's eyes narrowed and his lips thinned. "Teens dying because of drug sales. People shot and killed during hits because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Storeowners put out of business or roughed up because they wouldn't pay protection money. We got rid of a president of the United States back in 1974 because no one was supposed to be above the law. No one."

Peter almost backed away from the Urich's expression. In the short time he'd worked at the Daily Bugle, he'd seen humor, concentration, and determination on Urich's face, but this was first time he'd seen the dark, intense anger that showed there now.

Then Urich drew in a deep breath, and the look vanished, to be replaced by a much gentler expression of sympathy, and hint of sheepishness. "A good journalist isn't supposed to get emotionally involved in his story, you know."

"I guess," Peter replied. "But you have to believe in your story, don't you?"

Urich actually smiled. "Yes, you do. You have to go where the story takes you. When I was in college, I read a statement like that from someone who wrote fiction. But it's just as true in journalism." He sighed and turned away to reach for his glasses. "Manuel's story won't be finished until the police officers responsible for his death are brought up on charges or cleared. And I don't know about you, but I want to find and talk to that woman who jumped out in front of that Sentinel to save a boy she apparently didn't know. Now that took courage."
Three days later, Ben Urich's wish was granted. One of the city news reporters pointed out Urich's desk to a short, sturdy woman with dark hair and glasses. She passed Peter's computer on her way down the corridor between the cubicles.

"Mr. Urich? I'm told you want to talk to me. My name is Miranda Evans. I – was with Manuel the night of the Sentinel attack."

Peter, leaning over the keyboard of the web server's computer two desks away, sat bolt upright. He watched Ben Urich stand up. "You were the woman who rescued him from the Sentinels?"

"For all the good it did," Evans replied, a bitter edge to her voice. She wore a pair of gray slacks, a matching jacket, a red blouse and low-heeled shoes; her hair was short and curly, and she was holding a manila envelope in the bend of her elbow.

"I – ah, yes, I do want to talk to you. If you don't mind." Urich stepped across the walkway and moved an empty chair into his cubicle, then motioned to Evans. "Please sit down, Ms. Evans."

"Thank you." She settled into the chair, placing the manila envelope in her lap.

"How did you know I wanted to talk to you?"

"Someone in my department at work pointed out your request printed in the paper."

"Did you know Manuel DiCamillo?"

Evans shook her head. "I didn't even know his last name. Things were a little too intense for formal introductions."

"Can you tell me what happened that night?"

Evans related a story that covered most of the same points Urich had told Robertson the night of the attack. "I thought he'd be safe with the police," she concluded, rubbing her forehead with one hand. "He should have been safe." She held up a hand to refuse the handkerchief Urich offered her. When she looked up, Peter could see an expression of anger, rather than grief, on her face. "It was a horrible loss of life that should never have happened."

"Ms. Evans, did you know that the Sentinels wouldn't attack you before you ran out into the street to help Manuel?"

"Yes, I did. Don't make me out to be a hero, Mr. Urich. I just happen to know more about these monstrosities than most other people."

"But you acted on that knowledge."

Peter clicked the Refresh button to command the computer to display the changes he had made on the newspaper's website; then he stood up to stretch, moving a few steps closer to the conversation down the corridor.

There was a twisted smile on Evans' face. "Sometimes it's best not to think too much," she responded.

"How did you know the Sentinel wouldn't attack you?" Urich asked.

"By reading the documentation on the Sentinel Project. I work for a government repository library – I have access to everything the state, city and federal government publishes that is rated below a certain security clearance level. The bottom line, Mr. Urich, is that the Sentinels are able to scan human tissue down to the genetic level. They can identify what's called the X-gene; it's—"

"—Not really a gene at all," Peter broke in. Both Urich and Evans stared at him, startled. "It's really a, a cluster of genes that signify activity in sequences of DNA that are outside the areas normally replicated by the average non-mutant human's messenger RNA...." He trailed off, suddenly aware of the expression of surprise on Evans' face and that of exasperation on Urich's. "Um, oops."

"'Oops' is right," Urich remarked, although to Peter's relief, amusement replaced the exasperation.

Peter blushed. "Sorry."

Evans actually smiled. "Well, he's right, at any rate. That's a pretty good layman's explanation." She turned in her chair to study Peter. "Do you write science articles for the paper?"

"No, uh, I maintain the paper's website."

In a resigned tone, Urich said, "Ms. Evans, this is Peter Parker. He's, shall we say, interning here at the Bugle."

"I see. Nice to meet you, Mr. Parker." Evans held out a hand, which Peter shook.

"Hi. Uh, I'm sorry for interrupting." He pointed over his shoulder. "I'll, um, just go back to the computer. Uh, nice to have met you, Ms. Evans." Hunching his shoulders, he all but ran back to his desk.

"Likewise." Evans glanced at Urich and smiled. "It never hurts to have a science enthusiast around."

Peter winced at the dry tone of Urich's voice. "Sometimes a little over-enthusiastic, but...."

At least he doesn't sound too angry. Peter winced as he reached for the computer mouse.

A moment later, Urich continued. "So, the Sentinels can recognize the difference between humans and mutants at the genetic level?"

"Yes. They are programmed to target only those people who would be considered mutants." Evans leaned back in her chair; her face lost all traces of humor. "Those of us with the usual human DNA are supposed to be perfectly safe. That's the reason I could protect Manuel by stepping between him and the Sentinel — the robot would hold its fire to keep from hurting me."

"In spite of the fact that there was a mutant right in front of it?"

"Yes. Any non-mutant can protect a person with mutant DNA this way. I suspect Sentinels' programming was modeled after the late Dr. Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics: 'A robot shall not harm a human, or through inaction, allow a human to come to harm'."

"According to several government officials, these robots can be programmed to target specific, individual mutants who are proven terrorists."

"Those government officials are correct." Evans steepled her fingers in front of her, elbows resting on the chair's arms. "And that would be downright impressive if that were really what was happening. Perhaps those government officials could explain to you what terrorist act a fifteen-year-old boy could commit just by walking down the street. Perhaps the government officials should be giving us evidence that every single mutant that's been killed in these 'surgical strikes' has had proven links to terrorist organizations like The Brotherhood. I don't know about you, but I have yet to see evidence that any of those killed were known terrorists, or had any connections to terrorists. And since when do we execute people in this country without any form of trial or due process?"

Urich gave her a sympathetic smile. "No argument here, Ms. Evans."

Some of the anger left her face. "I'm sorry," she said ruefully. "I just feel as though I woke up one morning and found myself living in the Nazi States of America." She laughed humorlessly. "My tax dollars at work. Charming." She reached into the manila envelope she had brought in with her. "I have this for you. This is a copy of the paperwork on the Sentinel program. It's pretty dry reading, but I've highlighted some of what I think is the most pertinent information. Use it as you see fit." The sheaf of papers she showed him was nearly an inch thick.

"Thank you." Peter thought Urich sounded a bit dazed as Evans slipped the papers back into the envelope and handed it to him.

She smiled grimly. "Don't thank me, Mr. Urich. It's a pretty dull document, for the most part. But some of it constitutes the most horrifyingly dispassionate proposals for human execution I've ever seen. By the way, do you know what if anything is going to happen to the two officers who were supposed to be escorting Manuel to safety?"

Peter couldn't see Urich's expression, but the regret in his tone was clear. "The officers are claiming Manuel ran away from them. At the moment, only one witnesses says he knows for certain what happened and that the officers threw Manuel out where the Sentinel could get him. One other witness says she knows there was some sort of scuffle, but by the time she could get a clear view, Manuel was already out in the street. Apparently no one else is willing to step forward to testify. Right now, no charges are pending against the officers. The whole thing might be written off as an accidental death."

"I see," Evans said grimly. "That makes this article more important than ever, I'd say." She leaned forward to tap the manila envelope with a forefinger. "This information will see print, won't it? People need to know how to protect themselves and their neighbors. The Sentinel program needs to be stopped, or severely altered."

"This will be in the paper as soon as I can get it finished," he assured her.

Evans nodded. "Thank you." She leaned back in the chair. "Is there anything else you wanted to ask?"

"Not at the moment. After I've looked this over, I might need to speak to you again, if you don't mind." Evans nodded her approval. There was a pause. "I... would like to ask you about something unrelated, however. If you don't mind." At her nod, Urich continued. "You said you work for a government repository library. Just out of curiosity, have you ever run across any government documentation on, ah, anything that might be living down in the sewers?"

Peter almost laughed out loud. Ben Urich's interest in the possibility of monsters in the New York sewers was the stuff of newspaper staff legend. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Miranda Evans blinking in surprise. "Things living in the sewers? As in the urban legend of alligators living in the sewers?"

"Or something alligator-like. Monsters of any sort?"

She stared down at Urich's desk, a puzzled frown on her face. "I can't say I've ever seen anything like that, except for maybe an old episode of The X-Files." She glanced back up at his face, as if to reassure herself that he wasn't having a joke at her expense.

"Well, at least you're not laughing at me."

"I guess I'm a little too surprised to laugh. Are you serious?"

"Yes. Believe it or not, I've interviewed more than one person who is convinced they've seen something down there." A smile tugged at the side of Urich's mouth. "People here at the paper think I'm a little obsessed."

That's the understatement of the decade, Peter thought, keeping his eyes deliberately trained on his computer screen. Most of the staff thinks he's a lot obsessed.

"I... see," Evans said slowly. "Well, I'm not aware of any kind of official government paperwork on that particular subject, but I'll keep my eyes open." She hesitated a moment, then reached into the pocket of her jacket. "Here is my card, if you have any other questions." She passed him the rectangular piece of paper.

Urich studied the card, then looked up at her. "May I call you with questions that aren't about the Sentinel program?"

"If you like. I can't promise immediate answers, but I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you." As Evans stood up, he rose to his feet as well and held out a hand. "Thank you for speaking to me, Ms. Evans. You've been very helpful."

"It was little enough, really, Mr. Urich. I'm glad you found it of some use."

As she passed Peter's computer, she offered him a warm smile and a nod. Peter hesitated, then blurted, "Ms. Evans?" She turned, a look of polite interest on her face. "Do you — do you happen to know if the Sentinels could tell the difference between natural mutations and artificially created ones?" He added, "I'm doing a paper on it for school."

"Ah." Evans fixed her gaze on the wall thoughtfully. Then she looked back at Peter. "I don't know. I'm not sure if that's ever even been considered." Her eyebrows rose. "An intriguing question; I'll have to look into it. Shall I leave word with Mr. Urich when I find the answer?"

"Uh...." Peter's voice trailed off uncertainly.

"Yes. You can leave him a message with me." Urich had come up behind Peter's chair as they were speaking.

Evans smiled. "Very good, then. Gentlemen." She inclined her head slightly and walked away. As the newsroom door closed behind her, the reporter settled himself on the edge of Peter's desk. Peter braced himself for a lecture.

"You realize it's not a good idea to interrupt an interview like that," Urich remarked.

"Yes, sir."

"Enthusiasm is a good character trait, but it needs to be kept in check, all right?"

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry."

"Apology accepted. End of lecture." He shifted his position to face Peter, resting his hands on his knees. "You're doing a paper on this subject for school?"

"Well, on genetics, mostly." Actually, he wasn't, but it sounded plausible.

"Think you could explain the rest of what you know about it at some point? There's a reason I went into language arts instead of science in college. Genetics might as well be Greek as far as I'm concerned."

Peter looked up in surprise. "Oh, sure, I can do that. You're really going to write an article on the Sentinel program?"

"I think it needs to be exposed as much as the Kingpin did, don't you?" Urich rose. There was a light in his blue eyes that Peter recognized — it was fueled by the same enthusiasm he himself felt when he was trying to decipher and improve on his father's science notes.

"Yeah, I do." Peter grinned, then sobered. "But aren't you kind of taking on the federal government this time?"

Urich gazed off across the newsroom, a sly smile spreading across his face. "Peter, there's an old saying: The size of your foe doesn't matter at all; the bigger they are, the—"

"—Harder they fall?" Peter finished.

"Exactly. I may be taking on the federal government, but if a kid with a slingshot can bring down a giant, so can I. You just have to know where to hit him. Knowledge, not superpowers, will always be the ultimate weapon." Urich grinned, drew his glasses off the top of his head and placed them firmly in place on his nose. "Time to find my slingshot and a nice hard rock." He gave Peter a nod, squared his shoulders, and strode away down the corridor to his desk.

Three months later: Excerpt from a Daily Bugle article, page 3:

The United States' Sentinel Peacekeeping program will be re-evaluated early next year "in response to concerns voiced by both civilian and military leaders", according to J. Anderson DiVinci, spokesman for the Bureau of Homeland Defense. The announcement followed a three-day series of marches and protests in Washington D.C., which drew an estimated 85,000 human and mutant rights activists from around the world.

The head of the Congressional Finance Committee has also announced an audit of the Sentinel Program's budget....

...In a related development closer to home, New York City Police officers Adriano Corsairs and Thomas Bettancourt were re-instated to their former positions when an Internal Affairs investigation revealed insufficient evidence to bring charges against them. Both men were being investigated in the case of 15-year-old Manuel DiCamillo, a mutant teen who died while in protective custody during the Sentinel attack on New York....


Author's Note: I may be making total hash of the Ultimate Universe timeline with this story. I can't tell from the timelines I've seen on various websites whether the Kingpin arc in USM comes before or after the Sentinel attack in UXM. If the Sentinel attack comes after the Kingpin arc, just pretend it doesn't, okay?

I realize that for many people, Ben Urich is hardly the most exciting character in the Marvel Universe, but for me, he's one of the most versatile. A journalist has what my Newspaper Editing professor at Syracuse University called "a license to ask pretty much anyone why they do what they do". Therefore Urich has an excuse to go almost anywhere and talk to almost anyone. He'll be appearing in at least one more of my stories.

Veronic Guerin is actually a real person, an Irish journalist who was indeed killed in 1996 because of her articles on organized crime in her country. For anyone interested in more information, there are a couple of sites on the 'Net:

REMARKABLE, and I'm not using that word lightly. From the get go, your portrayal of the busy newspaper floor in Peter's perspective was terrific and it didn't slow down. I'm not really good with critizing or anything and I'm not one to nit-pick, but I will say it was smart of you to break it in half because if you read it through like I did it does lag a bit. That may be just me; I swear I have ADD I'm just not diagnosed! Anyway, I really, really liked this story and I only hope you keep this kind of writing going for our fan fic forum! (Alliteration!)
Other than the piece that you have italicized (I hesitate to call it a flashback or anything) where the novel slips from past to present tense (or at least I think it does), it's a good read. I had always personally wondered about where Peter ended up during things like the initial UXM arc, especially with that one part happening in the middle of "his" city.
I was lucky enough to see this before anyone. I didn't tell this to Seldes before, so I'll say it now. When I was reading this story, I was blown away. I mean, really, this is something that was really written excelltently, and I can see that you took your time in writing it. I like the way you showed the emotions here. That was also very well done.

Congrats, Seldes, on a wonderful story. May there be many more from you.
Taking one of the major issues from another title and showing it through the eyes of the Daily Bugle characters? "Ultimate Pulse," maybe?

Great story, and there's no denying it. Unlike most of the stories here, there are plenty of moral issues brought up here, and they really are the heart and soul of the story. It's almost as if you yourself are Urich, and you've carefully constructing a piece of writing that shows the ramifications of an issue that has the fictional universe of Ultimate Marvel divided.

Wonderful work.
Woah that's an excellent story! Changed the way I look at Ben Urich now. Looking forward for more...
Aeroth said:
Taking one of the major issues from another title and showing it through the eyes of the Daily Bugle characters? "Ultimate Pulse," maybe?

Great story, and there's no denying it. Unlike most of the stories here, there are plenty of moral issues brought up here, and they really are the heart and soul of the story. It's almost as if you yourself are Urich, and you've carefully constructing a piece of writing that shows the ramifications of an issue that has the fictional universe of Ultimate Marvel divided.

Wonderful work.

And who are you, Chuck E. Cheese? :lol: Sorry Aeroth, you know how I feel about your corny opinions sometimes. I'm having some fun with you. ;)

Anyway, in seriousness, your story is seperated by what is actually focusing on. Here, your story follows Marvel Ultimate lore but touches on morality, something that's lost in all the villainy to be had in comics. Excellent approach!
It was a nice Vernonica Guerin reference. Has that movie about her actually come out? Anyway, it was a really good story. I wuoldn't complain about hte past/present tense, just treat it as a flashback. It was well written and evocative. Congrats. I'll certainly read anything else you post
[Stands blinking in astonishment — yes, rather like this :shock: ] Well, I'm overwhelmed, truly. I figured everyone would fall asleep in the middle of this or else laugh me off the boards, since there's not much action here and most of the story is "talking heads" exposition and seriously geeky pseudoscience.... Icemastertron will vouch for the fact that I spend waaaay too much time thinking in-depth about things in the Ultimate Universe; the poor fellow actually read my four-page essay on Thor's possibly origins. And survived!

Caduceus said:
Has that movie about her actually come out?
Yes, the Veronic Guerin movie was released in 2003; a friend of mine saw it and commented on it, which is why I remember the name, having not seen it myself. (I believe there's been a book published about her as well.) A little bit of research revealed she was a perfect reference for Ben Urich, given his own circumstances in this story. And thank you, Caduceus, for posting your comment over on the Ultimate Ben Urich thread in the Ultimate Universe Forum. I was going to stop over and join the discussion at some point, but now I'm kinda embarrassed.... :oops:

Goodwill said:
From the get go, your portrayal of the busy newspaper floor in Peter's perspective was terrific and it didn't slow down.
Thank you, Goodwill. I'm glad that part of the story translated properly. I was fortunate enough to have done my internship at the Syracuse (New York) Post Standard back (in the Dark Ages) when I was at SU, so I've seen a major newsroom first-hand, although not during any kind of crisis like this. One of my professors at SU had been a newspaper reporter when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and he related what it was like in the newsroom that day. I distinctly remember one comment he made: after all the interviewing and writing and layout work was done in a thoroughly professional manner, someone finally laid the finished edition on his desk, and, as he said, "I read it and cried like a baby". That was some of the inspiration for Urich in this piece—he writes and interviews dispassionately, but when it's over he's both saddened and angered by what happened.

Aeroth said:
...there are plenty of moral issues brought up here, and they really are the heart and soul of the story.
Maybe it's a further sign of age, but for me, comic books often carry moral messages that might be overlooked during the big splashy battles, but are there nonetheless. The X-men in particular have been used as an allegory for many minority-rights groups. I've seen the X-Men used to symbolize the Gay Rights and Black Rights movements, but as a woman I can also draw parallels to my own gender's struggle for equality. I think the morality issue is one reason The Ultimates is so popular—the 21st century realism and ethics make it a compelling read. It's very character-driven, and rightfully so. The characters are wonderful. (By the way, I'm sure everyone caught the non-robotic sentinels in my story, right?)

Icemastertron said:
I was lucky enough to see this before anyone. I didn't tell this to Seldes before, so I'll say it now. When I was reading this story, I was blown away.
What Ice isn't telling you is that it's just as well he didn't mention this to me this beforehand, because my ego is extremely well-fed, and doesn't need any more encouragement! :wink:

I am curious, though, about one thing. It took me at least 40 minutes to get this posted, since I went back and forth checking layout and font and type size and everything else, and I went back less than half an hour later and noticed three people had read and commented on it already. How the heck did you guys do that so quickly??!! (It's no wonder people here probably think I'm second cousin to a turtle or something, because it takes me two or three days to read and review part of a story.)
Well, I know when I came on, both parts were already there... It could be that you and I were both too slow to know what happened! ;)
This piece wasn't really long enough to warrant its own thread, so I'm placing it at the end of "Sentinels". It uses the same main characters and takes place at some point after the previous story. (It's a little like those short films Pixar produces to show with their main movies, except it's not nearly as cute....)

"Spider Story"

Good day today, Peter Parker thought happily as he dodged pedestrians on the way to his job at the Daily Bugle newspaper. No school. Sleep late. Simple homework. Five straight hours of work, with a nice paycheck next week.

He reached the newspaper's front doors and held one open for the woman who was about to enter. Life is good.

"Well, thank you, Mr. Parker. I'm a little surprised to see you at this time of day. Don't you still go to school?"

Peter finally focused on her. "Hey, Ms. Evans!"

"Hello, Peter." Miranda Evans, as usual, had a plain large manila envelope in one hand, no doubt full of papers for Ben Urich, or possibly one of the other reporters. Evans' position as a librarian in a government repository library made getting documents for research much easier for the newspaper staff. Peter had seen her at the paper at least twice since their first meeting, but usually they had just waved to each other across the room.

"No school today. Staff development, which means the teachers go to school and the students don't."

Evans nodded as she and Peter entered the lobby. "Oh, yes, I remember those. We always ended up doing some sort of odd workshops or learning about technology the district couldn't afford to buy, or something like that."

"You worked in a school?"

"Five years as a high school librarian, until I switched over to more specialized work."

Peter waited by the stairs as Evans spoke to the receptionist, who informed her that Mr. Urich was indeed waiting and that she should proceed up to the newsroom. Evans joined Peter at the elevator door.

"So why'd you switch?" Peter asked.

"Let's see. Was it because my supervisors in my new job treated me like a valuable, intelligent professional, or was it because the clientele was a lot less hostile?" Peter laughed as he pressed the button to select the floor and the elevator door closed. "Or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I now have a budget that's not only five times larger, but also isn't the first thing cut the minute some clown on the school board decides we need a fifth assistant coach for a 14-member football team. Public schools sometimes have such interesting priorities."

"Yeah, no kidding."

"So, how did your paper turn out?"

Peter blinked. "Paper?"

"The paper you were writing on genetics. The one I sent information to Ben Urich for you?"

Oops, that one just came back to bite me. "Oh, yeah, that one. I got an A- on it." The paper had never been written, but the information on the Sentinels and their ability to sense altered human genes had made Spider-man's life a lot easier.

"Well, I guess that's a respectable grade," Evans commented as the elevator stopped and both disembarked.

"Yeah, not bad. Uh, have you been here since Mr. Urich got his new office?" Let's get that subject changed....

"No. His own office? I guess being a successful author has really paid off."

Peter pointed to the last door along the wall across the room, which was open. Ben Urich was in conversation with another reporter in the corridor between the wall and the closest set of cubicles. Urich glanced up and waved them over. "Ms. Evans."

"Mr. Urich, I have paperwork for you." Evans presented him with the envelope. "I think it's all pretty straight-forward."

"Great. Thanks. Hi, Peter."

"Hey, Mr. Urich."

Evans glanced over Urich's shoulder. "Peter was telling me about the new office."

"Oh, yeah. More like a slightly oversized broom closet, but yes. Care to step inside for a moment?"

"Why not — I have time." Evans stepped inside and examined the bookshelves, desk, and filing system. "This is nice." She moved out of Peter's range of vision, but her voice carried back to him. "Oh, and I like your office mate."

"My what?"

Peter craned his neck to see what Evans was talking about. She was pointing to a small dot on the window. Peter sidled up to the office door for a better look. A spider was lowering itself down an invisible thread from the top of the window.

Urich grimaced. "Gah. Sorry about that. Our cleaning staff is usually pretty good about getting rid of bugs. Let me just," here he turned to pick up a copy of the Daily Bugle and began rolling it up, "take care of that." He advanced on the spider.

Evans turned her head. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to swat it."

"You most certainly are not," Evans retorted, stepping in front of him.

Urich gestured at the spider with his free hand. "It's a bug. The cleaning staff obviously missed it."

"It's a useful and beautiful creature," Evans countered, "and if it weren't for spiders, we wouldn't even have life on this planet, at least according to traditional Cherokee Indian teachings." She peered around Urich at Peter, who stood in the doorway grinning at her. "Mr. Parker, could you please find me a clean cup? It doesn't matter what it's made of, paper or styrofoam will do just fine."

"Oh, sure, Ms. Evans." Peter darted off in search of the requested object.
Evans fixed Urich with a disapproving frown and turned back to the spider. "I'm sorry to disturb you," she told the spider as it touched down on her hand, "but the individual with whom you've been sharing this space appears to be unaware of the debt he owes you, so I think I'd best take you home with me. I'll find you a nice, quiet section of a park where you can spin your web in peace and catch all the insects you want." The spider delicately clambered up Evans' fingers, and the woman turned her hand over so the creature could crawl into her palm.

She glanced back at Urich, who had one side of his mouth drawn up in a look of revulsion. "How can you stand having that thing crawl on you?"

"It's a spider, Mr. Urich. Crawling and spinning webs are what it does. Both are very useful talents."

Urich shook his head as Peter reappeared with a paper cup. "Is this okay?"

"It's fine, thank you." Evans held the hand with the spider against the cup; after a moment's hesitation spent feeling the rim with its front legs, the spider crept inside. Evans waited until the spider was near the bottom, then tipped the cup up on end. She bent down to pluck a piece of paper out of the recycling basket and placed it over the cup's mouth. "There. I'll take her with me when I leave."

Urich shook his head and rolled his eyes. "I had no idea you were such a conservationist," her remarked.

"And I had no idea you were such a Philistine," Evans replied archly. "Swatting something just because you don't like the way it looks. Hmf." Peter stood in the middle, squirming a little. "Don't tell me you really haven't heard the story about the spider and the sun?"

"No, can't say I have," Urich replied carefully. Evans glanced at Peter, who shook his head.

"Honestly, what do they teach people in school these days? It's a lovely old Cherokee Indian story about how the sun came to be shining over the Earth."

"Because of a spider?" asked Peter.

"Yes. Because of a spider. But I'm not about to bore Mr. Urich with it, since I'm sure he's got better things to do, now that he's got his government documentation." Evans reached for the cup. "So I'll just take my new friend and leave him to his work...."

Urich dropped into his chair and leaned back. "Stop."

Evans stopped, cup in hand.

"Tell us the story."

"Really, Mr. Urich—"

"No, no, I insist. I certainly don't want you to go out of here thinking I'm an ungrateful Philistine. Sit down, Ms. Evans." Seeing the expression on her face, he added, "Please."

For a moment the librarian hesitated. Then her gaze flicked to Peter and she smiled. "Very well."

"Close the door, Peter," Urich said. "And sit down. I wouldn't want to deprive you of the chance to further your education." His tone was dry, but a smile hovered on his lips.

Evans settled herself regally into a chair and carefully placed the cup on Urich's desk. Peter closed the office door, then took the other vacant chair and waited.

Evans crossed one leg over the other at the knee and began. "According to the legend, when the world was first created, there was no sun." She spread her hands in an expansive gesture. "It was cold, and the animals were freezing." Evans drew her arms in and hugged herself.

Urich sighed and passed a hand over his eyes. "Great. The story comes with hand signals."

"Do you want to hear this or not?"

"Yes, absolutely. I'm all ears."

Evans peered at him over the top of her glasses. "That makes for an interesting mental picture. I'll take your word for it," she added, holding up both hands. "If I may continue.... It was dark, and the animals couldn't see. No plants could grow, and they were starving. And they all agreed that something needed to be done.

"So the animals gathered for a Council, and they called upon the Great Spirit. 'Oh, Great Spirit,' they said, 'it is cold and we are freezing. It is dark and we cannot see. No food will grow, and we are starving. What can we do?'

"The Great Spirit answered them and said, 'Here is what you must do. One of you must go up into the sky and travel far out into the darkness of space, until you come to where the sun burns brightly. You must bring the sun back to Earth, so it may give heat and light to us.'

"So the animals all said to one another, 'Who will go? Who will bring the sun back for us?' And at last the Opossum stood up and said, 'I will go. I will find the sun, and bring it back for us.' So the Opossum leaped up into the sky and out into space."

"Wait a minute," Urich said. "How could the Opossum get up into space without a ship? I mean, I'm not a scientist, but even I know people need to take food and oxygen with them when they go to the moon."

Evans gave him an amused look. "Really, Mr. Urich. If there's no sun and life had arisen on Earth despite that fact, don't you think other natural laws could be changed as well? Have a little faith."

"Faith. Right." He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over his stomach. "Sorry. Continue."

"Thank you." Evans tilted her head toward Peter. "Now, in those days, the Opossum had a beautiful bushy tail like a squirrel. And he planned to wrap his tail around the sun, as around the branch of a tree, and draw the sun along behind him back to Earth. But the sun burned so hot and bright that it singed all the fur off his tail, and that's why today the Opossum has a skinny, hairless tail like a rat's.

"Well, the Opossum had failed to bring back the sun, and the animals once again asked, 'Who will go? Who will bring the sun back for us?' And this time the Deer stood up, and he said, 'I will go. I will bring the sun back.'

"So the Deer leaped up into space—"

"Without needing a space suit," Urich interjected helpfully.


"See? I'm paying attention."

"I'm gratified," Evans drawled. Beside her, Peter covered his mouth with his hand to smother a grin. Urich's eyes were twinkling with amusement.

"So the Deer leaped up into space and ran to where the sun burned. Now, in those days, the Deer had beautiful fur growing upon his antlers, and he planned to spear the sun with his antlers and carry it back to Earth that way. But of course when he got close to the sun, it burned all the fur off his antlers, so that to this day, Deer can only grow a bit of velvet down on his antlers, and that soon wears off.

"So, the Deer had failed, and the Opossum had failed, and the animals were beginning to feel desperate. Again they asked each other, 'Who will go? Who will bring the sun back for us?'

"And at last a tiny little voice answered, 'I will go. I will find the sun and bring it back for us.' Well, no one could tell who was speaking at first, and the animals asked, 'Who is that?' The tiny voice replied, 'It is Gray Grandmother Spider.'

"Now, at this all the animals laughed. 'How can you bring the sun back for us?' they asked. 'You are old, and very small. This is too difficult for you.'

"But Gray Grandmother Spider repeated, 'I will go. I will bring the sun back for us.' 'How will you do that, after the Opossum and the Deer have failed?' the animals asked. Gray Grandmother Spider merely smiled and replied, 'You will see.'

"So she spun a stand of her web up into the sky and climbed up into space." Here Evans paused and looked at Urich expectantly.

"Without a space ship," he added obediently.

"Yes, very good," she complimented him. "And she climbed all the way up to where the sun shone out in space. But instead of trying to grab or spear the sun, the way Opossum and Deer had, she spun strands of her web around the sun, more and more and more, until the webbing enclosed the sun. Then Gray Grandmother Spider began to pull the sun back through space with her. As the sun burned away her webs, she spun more and more to replace them, pulling the sun along. At last, she brought the sun back to Earth and placed it in the sky, where it burns to this day.

"Well, the animals were all grateful to Gray Grandmother Spider, and the Great Spirit said, 'Because you have done this for all of us, I will make sure no one ever forgets your deed. From now on, when you spin your web'," here Evans pointed to the spider's web in the upper window, her finger tracing a barely-visible circle, "'everyone will see the circle of the sun in the center, and the rays of the sun coming out like from the middle'," Evans' finger drew lines like the spokes of a wheel in the air, "'and they will remember your accomplishment.' To this day, spiders still spin their webs in this manner, as you will notice if you look closely. And that is the story of how the sun came to be."

Peter squinted at the spider web carefully; sure enough, the construction was exactly as Evans' had said. "Wow."

Urich glanced from the web back to Evans. "Should we applaud?"

"Applause is not necessary," Evans replied. "Money is not necessary."

"Could I offer you lunch?"

Evans smiled. "Perhaps some other afternoon. I wouldn't dream of taking up any more of your valuable time today, Mr. Urich. Just promise that the next time you see a spider, you won't harass it."

"Maybe the next time I see a spider, I'll give you a call to come rescue it."

"Well, I suppose you could do that, too." She rose. "Now, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I think it's time we were going." She picked up the cup and gently lifted the paper. The spider crouched in the bottom, as though it had paused to hear the story as well. "Amazing creatures, spiders," Evans remarked, peering into the cup. She glanced up at Urich, who was opening the office door for her. "I'm sure Mr. Parker could tell you all about them some time."

Peter almost jumped, then took a deep breath to settle his nerves. No way. She couldn't possibly know, he told himself. She just knows I'm a science geek.... "Uh, sure," he managed aloud, pleased that his voice didn't seem to be shaking.

"Good day, gentlemen," Evans said, and, bearing her prize, walked out the office door.

Urich shook his head as he watched her go. "Where in the world did she come up with that one?"

"The Cherokee Indians," Peter replied. Seeing the "give me a break" look on Urich's face, he added, "She probably read it somewhere."

"I'm reliably informed that librarians do that a lot," Urich remarked dryly. He picked up the folder Evans had left him. "And speaking of which...."

Peter bid him good-bye and returned to his computer. Too bad she couldn't have told that one to Mr. Jameson, Peter thought as he called up the newspaper's webpage. But he probably wouldn't make the connection.... He glanced through the open door of Urich's office.

Urich had opened the envelope to remove the papers; he paused, then glanced up at the spider web still spanning the upper window. For a moment he debated clearing it away. Then he shrugged and turned back to the papers. The custodians would take care of it that evening, no doubt. And in the meantime, it wasn't harming anything.


Author's Note: I never thought I'd be indebted to U.S. President George W. Bush for anything, but apparently I just wasn't imaginative enough.

On Wednesday, February 2, 2005, President Bush delivered his State of the Union address. Needless to say, I wasn't watching. During that time, not only did I manage to finish a Disney video and do some work on an embroidery project, but I also typed up most of this story. (It seemed a much more useful way to spend a couple of hours....)

The story of Gray Grandmother Spider has been told in several versions in different places. I first saw it during my trip to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina in 1984; it was part of a cultural display. I was originally going to have Thor tell it under different circumstances, but it seemed to fit much better into the Spider-man mythos, for obvious reasons. (Although having a Norse god tell a Native American legend should have been worth at least a footnote in someone's book!)

I realize this is pretty short, and has very little plot. Perhaps next time Goodwill will think twice about asking Wendy-Mom to tell the Lost Boys a story.... :wink:
Its cool. I like it. Just quickly, I do not think that philistine, as a proper noun, needs a capital. Maybe its just an international english variation. Now, on to the good stuff.

You've got the reactions of the characters down pat. The way they interact is both amusing and accurate. Its nice to see a self created character in there as well. The way you present Urich strikes me as particularly accurate. Its a subtly moral story but the morals are clearly recognizable.

Great work.

P.S. I've only just realised the whole Sunshine thing will probably only make sense to another Australian. Which there isn't on this board. So stuff that. Damn You Pineapple Pete!!!!
Thanks for your comments, Caduceus. I wasn't sure anyone would even find this story here, but I really didn't want to give its own thread. (Especially since I didn't put it on the solicitations list.... :oops: Oops, my bad.... :) ) Quick work, too, since I just managed to get this on the site before the library opened this morning.

Caduceus said:
I've only just realised the whole Sunshine thing will probably only make sense to another Australian. Which there isn't on this board. So stuff that. Damn You Pineapple Pete!!!!

Is it possible for you to explain it to me? (If it's something embarrassing, you might want to do that by PM.) I recognized the song, certainly, as it's sung here in the States, but apparently it has a different connotation where you are. Or were. If you're not in Australia right now, where are you, anyway? (Perhaps you could start your own series, a la "Where's Waldo".... :D )
Seldes Katne said:
Is it possible for you to explain it to me? (If it's something embarrassing, you might want to do that by PM.) I recognized the song, certainly, as it's sung here in the States, but apparently it has a different connotation where you are. Or were.

Its been adopted as a theme song for the "Golden Circle" juice corporation(but only those féw lines. It gets really annoying, really fast). Its played all over the place. Pineapple Pete is their mascot and Golden Circle is responsible for many tacky high school fun runs and so on. Having just graduated from High School, I'm particularly familiar with the evils of Pineapple Pete. School was not happy when I tackled the mascot with a bunch of friends at our last fun run. No free iceblock for us.

Seldes Katne said:
If you're not in Australia right now, where are you, anyway? (Perhaps you could start your own series, a la "Where's Waldo".... :D )

I have in fact jumped from Australian blissful wonderful 38 degree ecstasy to Winter. Danish winter. In Denmark. The other day, someone told me it was the warmest winter in 200 years. It hasn't even gotten below -10 yet. Stupid weather. I'm here in Denmark for a year on a student exchange, living wtih a family of complete strangers and going to school (Blegh. I graduated school just to start back again in 3 months). Denmark rules, danish (the language) is one of the worse to learn, the weather stinks, the capital city is the most interesting place I've been in my life and i had to learn how to touch type again because the keyboard has half the letters moved to make way for the extra-happy danish vowels- Æ, Ø and Å.
No, its really lots of fun but its hard for the first few months. I should also point out that I'm cold turkey off comics. Except for this site.
Caduceus said:
Its been adopted as a theme song for the "Golden Circle" juice corporation(but only those féw lines. It gets really annoying, really fast). Its played all over the place. Pineapple Pete is their mascot and Golden Circle is responsible for many tacky high school fun runs and so on. Having just graduated from High School, I'm particularly familiar with the evils of Pineapple Pete. School was not happy when I tackled the mascot with a bunch of friends at our last fun run. No free iceblock for us.
Okay, I shouldn't laugh, but I am.... I knew there was a reason that Australia was on my list of places to visit if the US ever gets civilized air travel.

Denmark rules, danish (the language) is one of the worse to learn, the weather stinks, the capital city is the most interesting place I've been in my life and i had to learn how to touch type again because the keyboard has half the letters moved to make way for the extra-happy danish vowels- Æ, Ø and Å.
Despite the hardships, it sounds like a great experience. And good for you for taking advantage of it. My ability to learn new languages is pretty poor, so I'm sticking to English-speaking countries for the time being. Maybe when I go back to college to get my next degree....
Seldes Katne said:
Okay, I shouldn't laugh, but I am.... I knew there was a reason that Australia was on my list of places to visit if the US ever gets civilized air travel.

Everyone should come down under. Let me know if you plan too and we'll kidnap good old Pete and you can crash tackle him at the airport.

Seldes Katne said:
Despite the hardships, it sounds like a great experience. And good for you for taking advantage of it. My ability to learn new languages is pretty poor, so I'm sticking to English-speaking countries for the time being. Maybe when I go back to college to get my next degree....

Your next degree? How many do you have?
Great story there. Once again, you wrote an entertaining piece without having to use action or villains telling the story. It was enjoyable to read this, as when I read the title, I thought it would involve Spider-Man, honestly. But it didn't, and the story was still excellent.

Once again, great job. :)
Hi, Ice. Thanks for reviewing! I'm sure Spider-man's there in spirit, so to speak. :wink:

Caduceus said:
Everyone should come down under. Let me know if you plan to and we'll kidnap good old Pete and you can crash tackle him at the airport.
Every time I fly, I find that all I want to do is kiss the ground when I finally get off the plane. However, I might be able to work up enough energy to do this....

Your next degree? How many do you have?
Um, three at the moment. :oops: My Bachelor's and two Master's, one in Newspaper Journalism, and one in Library and Information Science. I'm hoping at some point to get one in Anthropology.
Seldes Katne said:
Um, three at the moment. :oops: My Bachelor's and two Master's, one in Newspaper Journalism, and one in Library and Information Science. I'm hoping at some point to get one in Anthropology.
Nothing to be embarrased about. That is very cool! :D

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