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The Hell App
I’m from New York, upstate in the mountains. I’m also a senior in high school, which means I’m worried about the Corona lockdown and how all that mess is going to impact my chances once I’m finally able to get out into the real world. I mean, it’s not as though things weren’t bad enough already. Anyway, my high school, which only has about a hundred students per grade, has long since canceled all official school functions, which included our graduation ceremony. Personally, I don’t really care about walking across a stage to get a piece of paper, but I know my parents are disappointed, as are parents all over our little hamlet. I gather that some of my classmates are disappointed as well, but mostly just the ones at the top of the class who were going to get special recognition when their names were called. To hell with them. Not that this really needs saying, either, but if you’re from my generation, your smartphone is probably well-integrated into your daily life. You probably also have at least one friend, though, who doesn’t really fit in where smartphones are concerned, who doesn’t care whether their latest tweet is liked or not—if they even tweet at all. That’s me. I actually have a smartphone, but more often than not I don’t even know where it is. I don’t like social media as a rule, and stay away from it as much as I can. Because of that, I was more than a little irritated when the geniuses in our school administration decided that they’d use some sort of community chat room to hold a virtual graduation for us, and even more irritated when somebody decided that each and every one of us in our graduating class would have to prepare some sort of short video about patriotism or economic prosperity or general optimism about the future as a final assignment before we graduated. The staff would then choose a handful of the videos to be included in our virtual graduation—for the love of god. Reluctantly—and only because I wanted to graduate—I made a silly little video and used their app to submit it along with all the others. There was a wormy little guy in our class who everybody called Cleave—I think his name was actually Bernard, but that’s beside the point. He didn’t have any friends as far as I could tell, and had often been the subject of ridicule and bullying over the years. Not by me, mind you, but I can’t say that I ever stood up for him, either. He was just odd, and always seemed to be either in the computer lab or walking the halls with his nose glued to whatever device he happened to be carrying. Apparently, someone in our class had gotten hold of Cleave’s patriotism video, and had shared it with everybody else. It was about ten seconds long, and was a short stream of a carpenter driving a nail into a board with the National Anthem playing in the background. It was pretty lame, and it didn’t take long for the cruel-minded in our class to start with the memes. One last chance to rub Cleave’s nose in it, so rub they did. I swear . . . I even like some of those people, but I’ll never understand why they feel the need to act so heartlessly. I was over at my friend Ronnie’s house yesterday morning and we were talking until his phone dinged and interrupted our conversation. Another thing I’ll never understand is why something coming in on your phone is always more important than what somebody in your physical presence is saying—but I digress. Anyway, Ronnie started laughing, saying that ol’ Cleave had decided to send out a replacement video. He tried to get me to watch it, but I refused on principle, so he told me about it. Seems that it was pretty much the same as the first one, except when the carpenter had driven the nail into the board, he’d stopped, looked into the camera, said Gentlemen, start your engines, and had then placed his hand on the board and smashed his thumb with his hammer, sending blood spurting everywhere. Unlike my friend Ronnie, I didn’t find it funny, but I had to admit that Cleave was one weird dude. I mean, I still didn’t care to watch it, but that was pretty messed up. Around noon, I got a text on my phone just as Ronnie did. As we’d soon discover, the text was sent to everybody in our class. All it said was 4:00—high school student parking lot—don’t miss, or you’ll regret it. Pretty obscure—and to make it more mysterious, the text was from an anonymous source. Ronnie checked around, and nobody knew who had sent it. Still, at about a quarter to four, we hopped in Ronnie’s car and drove to the high school. We weren’t the first to arrive, nor were we the last. As it drew ever nearer to four o’clock, it looked to me like just about everybody in our class had showed up—as had a number of juniors and sophomores. It was strange—but who knew what drove the pack mentality of teenagers. You just had to go with it. Everybody was starting to get a little rowdy, probably because we were excited to be in a social setting of any sort—it’d been a while for most of us because of the stay at home order. Just when I was beginning to think that somebody’s desire to see everybody together one last time had been the reason for the mysterious text, Cleave came driving up in his rattrap of a car and parked close to the herd. We all stopped talking and watched as he got out of his car carrying a hammer. He walked to the rear of his car, unlocked his trunk and let it fly open, and then he climbed up on the car’s roof. A few people laughed, and several others made derogatory remarks. Cleave had a silly look on his face—which he always did—but this one was different somehow. Some girl said something about Cleave’s panties showing and the group around her laughed, but Cleave paid them no mind. In a jerking motion, he raised his hammer up over his head, and then hurled it as hard as he could into the windshield of the nearest car to him, which happened to be a sports car that belonged to the captain of the football team, a guy named Rocky. The hammer lodged itself there, like an erect penis. Rocky’s body sort of spasmed, and then he whirled toward Cleave. I was pretty sure we were all about to see him beat the living shit out of Cleave, but before Rocky moved, Cleave yelled out over the crowd. In his nasally voice, he said Gentlemen, start your engines. Then, his silly expression returned. No one moved for a moment. Finally, though, Diane, a cheerleader type, walked to the rear of Cleave’s car, reached in the trunk, and pulled out another hammer. She then walked to Rocky, and as he stood perfectly still and watched her, she raised the hammer high and brought it down right between his eyes. He fell like a stone. Except for Rocky’s rasping breaths, there was total silence. That blow had to have caused him serious injury, yet no one was moving to help him. I was a ways from him, and despite the surreal nature of the moment, I decided that I would go over to see if there was anything I could do. Before I’d taken a step, however, pandemonium swept the crowd. Everyone seemed to rush toward Cleave’s car all at once, to the trunk. Those that made it there managed to come away with yet more hammers, a variety of different kinds. Those who didn’t make it were locked in seemingly mortal combat with fellow classmates—and when I say mortal, I mean mortal. I saw not only punching and kicking, but clawing like wild animals, and choking, and biting. I actually saw a guy bite a hunk of flesh from a girl’s chest and commence to chew it like a piece of steak, except he had blood running down his chin. I saw a friend of mine, Michael, lying on the pavement, a friend of his straddling his torso and driving his hammer over and over into Michael’s ruined forehead. Everywhere I looked there was animalistic rage, and carnage, and blood. What I was seeing was bad enough, but the sounds were absolutely horrifying: guttural screams everywhere, cries of agony, thuds of hammers cracking into skulls, and legs, and chests. I have to admit it—I froze. I couldn’t believe what was going on all around me, complete and absolute mayhem, and it was for real. My classmates were dying right in front of my eyes, and I didn’t have the faintest idea what to do. I was completely unprepared. I don’t know why, but I remember looking up and seeing Cleave, still on his car’s roof, looking down at all the carnage going on around him, still wearing that silly expression on his face. I don’t know how he did it or how I knew, but in that moment I was absolutely certain he was responsible. He had done something, and this had been his intention. The ultimate revenge perpetrated by a computer geek, for all the cruelties and abuses he’d suffered since we were little kids. I actually had the thought that I had to go to him; I had to yank him off the car and get him to make it stop. But before I could move I saw two of my classmates bearing down on me—a boy and a girl. They were both wild-eyed and screaming; Lauren had a hammer raised over her head, and Thomas seemed to be missing a hand, blood pouring out the end of his arm. I reacted on instinct. I went low and flipped Lauren over my back—she was crazed, but still light as a feather—and as Thomas approached, growling and biting his own tongue, I kicked him as hard as I could in the groin. He let out with a blood-curdling yelp and fell to his knees. It had become clear to me that I had to get moving. That I hadn’t been infected with hysteria as most everyone else had hadn’t made me immune from their hostilities. I dodged through the crowd till I got back to Ronnie’s car. Ronnie wasn’t there, nor were his keys—damnit! I turned just in time to see Ronnie coming up behind me, his hammer swinging down toward my head. I managed to dodge the blow, and his hammer careened off the roof of his car and clattered to the concrete. I punched him in the jaw, and he went down. No sooner than he’d hit the pavement, a girl named Becky came down on him and began clawing at his eyes. I kicked her in the side of the head, and then I took off. I had to get out of there. I couldn’t save anyone—that much had become clear. The parking lot was alive with pure, unadulterated bedlam, and it was of the most evil kind. I saw things happening right before my eyes that I’d only seen in video games—never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined I’d see them in real life. I ducked a hammer blow, but wound up directly in the crosshairs of another. The boy, Bruce, was about to bring his hammer down on my head, but a girl, Jamie, bit down on his leg. Bruce roared and turned his attention to her. Just as I thought I was about to make it out of the din, as I dodged yet another attack, I ran smack into someone, and it knocked me down. I even saw stars for a split second, but when my vision cleared, I saw that I was sitting face-to-face with a girl named Jamie. To my relief, she looked just as terrified and disoriented as I felt. Just then, two guys who appeared to be biting at each other’s throats came rolling between us and across our laps. Luckily, they kept rolling. I’d never really spoken to Jamie—she’d only been going to our school for a couple of years—but something told me she was about to become my new best friend. I told her we needed to get out of there, to head for the woods. With her eyes wide and filled with fright, she nodded. I looked back toward the crowd as we stood, and what I saw defied belief. My classmates, most of whom had known each other their whole lives, were going at each other like rabid dogs. There were bodies on the ground, lifeless bodies, and even they were still being attacked, beaten and bitten. I also noticed that Cleave was no longer on his car. I wondered if he’d fallen prey to his own ploy. I took Jamie by the hand, and we ran. We ran across an open field for a hundred yards or so until we reached the edge of the forest, and only then did we dare stop running. We took cover behind some bushes before looking back toward the parking lot, and to my surprise, at least, the hostilities seemed to have ceased for the most part. There was the occasional skirmish, the random scream, and several times I saw someone attack a body that was lying lifeless on the ground, but things had calmed considerably. It was almost as though the ones standing had decided that they were all on the same team, and were surveying the field as victors would. It was eerie in the extreme. Just then, though, I heard a shout come from the edge of the field, off to the side. It was Cleave, and he was yelling at the victors and pointing at the forest—directly at us. The victors seemed to focus their attention in our direction, and then as if of one mind, they all started running toward us. Jamie yelled a string of profanities as I was standing and dragging her to her feet, and we were off, heading for the deep of the forest. I caught my foot on a root and went down face first; Jamie helped me to my feet, and we were off again. We ran as hard as we could for as long as we could, dodging trees, scaling and descending inclines, and we even leapt across a stream. We ran until we couldn’t run anymore, and then we found cover behind a rock ledge before we looked back to see what might’ve been coming. We could hear crazed yelling, some closer than I would’ve liked, some farther away, and there were sounds of bodies moving through brush. The canopy was fairly thick where we were, so there were lots of shadows, a fact that would work to our advantage. We continued to hear the noises, the yells, the occasional ungodly roar, but no one ever came into our view. Once we’d rested long enough, we both agreed we should probably get moving. So, that’s what we did, though more calculated than before. We stayed low and moved from cover to cover best we could, under control and deeper into the forest, trying not to make sounds than would give us away. We must’ve moved in that manner for half an hour, until we finally came upon what appeared to be a firebreak, a clearing of trees and brush about twenty yards wide and stretching as far as we could see in either direction. We crouched at the firebreak’s edge, scanning the area to make sure it was safe to come out from the cover of the trees. Once we were satisfied there was no immediate danger, we started across. No sooner than we’d come into the clear, however, I saw Cleave step into the firebreak from the other side. Jamie and I froze; Cleave just stared at us with that silly look on his face. Then, before I could think of what to say to him or what to do, he started yelling, that he’d found us, that there was fresh meat. We started to go back the way we’d come, but we could hear crashing noises coming up behind us, and pretty soon I saw movement. There was yelling, and growling sounds, and I could feel my heart in my throat. We started to the right, but several of my classmates came out of the woods just a few dozen yards away. The same thing to the left. In my mind, that left us but one option. We had to go straight ahead and run for our lives. Jamie agreed, but before we took a single step in that direction, of all things, a bear came into the clearing directly behind Cleave. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!, I remember thinking. Has he brainwashed the animals as well? I soon got the answer to that question, though, and it was a resounding no. The bear raised up on its hind legs, and came down on Cleave’s shoulders like it was trying to stomp him into the ground. We didn’t move. Neither did my deranged classmates who had found their way to the firebreak—not for a few seconds, anyway. Then, as though they’d been given a new directive, or perhaps because they’d been confused by the introduction of a truly wild animal into the equation, they all headed for the bear, who was now mauling a screaming and defenseless Cleave. One by one they began hurling themselves at the bear, those who had hammers swinging them wildly as they charged. The bear seemed intent to stand its ground, and swiped at them with its powerful paws. Jamie and I didn’t hesitate—we took off in what we perceived to be the safest direction, which would also lead us deeper into the forest, and it was getting darker by the minute. But we had to think of the moment; it was all about survival. We could hear the battle rage as we fled the scene. There were snarls from the bear, roars from my classmates, and cries of agony. As we moved farther and farther away, however, the sounds grew more faint until we couldn’t hear them at all. We didn’t stop, though. We kept moving until it had become totally dark, and the only noises we heard were those common to the forest. We guessed we had to be a number of miles from the clearing where we’d last seen our pursuers, and it had been a while since we’d heard anything from them. I don’t know how comfortable either of us truly was with the idea of stopping, but we did. It also occurred to us that we were lost, but somehow that seemed to be a secondary consideration. As I’d mentioned, I’m not a phone person. Probably because of that fact coupled with the trauma we’d been operating under, only then did it occur to me that we should call someone. As fate would have it, though, I didn’t have my phone on me—I think I’d left it in Ronnie’s car. Come to find out, Jamie wasn’t much of a phone person, either, but she did have her phone with her. As it turned out, though, out here in the middle of the forest, her phone had no reception—at least not for phone calls and texts. She was able to access the Internet occasionally, though, for what good that’d do. We tried higher ground, and got the same result. We found the best shelter we could, which was a rock ledge guarded by brush and a number of granite boulders, and we hunkered down. We listened for a long while, and never heard anything that sounded like our classmates. We discussed whether or not we should try to find our way back to town, but quickly decided that to be a foolish idea. It would be best for us to stay where we were, and hope we made it through till morning. Not only were some of our classmates still possibly out there, but there was at least one bear in the general vicinity—assuming they hadn’t managed to kill it—and there were any number of creatures in the forest that could do us ill. All considered, it was best to stay put. I leaned against the rock ledge, and Jamie leaned up against me, her head resting on my shoulder. At some point I put my arm around her. I’m not sure if she managed to sleep any, but I think I might’ve dozed once or twice—nothing like real sleep, though. I was too wired to really sleep. Also, the occasional ghoulish roar from the distance didn’t help. Now, however, the sun has just started to rise, and we just had what I consider to be a fairly disturbing conversation. Neither Jamie nor I watched Cleave’s second video, the one where the man said to start your engines and then smashed his thumb, but I’d bet most everybody else did. It was crazy to think, but what if that video had hypnotized the people that watched it, cast them under some sort of spell? Yeah, ridiculous—but then again, what we’d witnessed yesterday was nothing short of insane. What if? If it wasn’t the video, what was it? There had to be something. There had to be a reason all our classmates simultaneously lost their minds and began viciously going after one another. Were our classmates the only ones who watched the video? Was what happened in our parking lot an isolated event? Was it even safe for us to head back? To head anywhere? All I know for sure is this—I’m hungry, and I’m thirsty. We can’t stay here behind these boulders forever. We have to . . . do something. Oh, and Jamie just checked her phone. She had one bar and managed to call her mother, but got no answer. I tried both my parents—no answer from either. She called 9-1-1—again, no answer. I don’t know what to do.
[SF] Something something immortal guy. Working title
Hey guys. Wrote this while bored at work. Feel free to shit all over it lol. Go for the classic criticism sandwich. Yes my formatting is HOT garbage. Hope you enjoy. The last thing you think of when you become immortal is the end. In your newfound perspective the end ceases to be a consideration. When people think about being immortal they tend to only think ahead to around the time they would have naturally died. The end you never think of is the end of the world. I gained my immortality in 1944. Now here I am 374 years later floating amongst the remains of earth. Our home. Obliterated by a planetoid larger than our moon. You couldn't imagine the chaos. The fear. Our people with all our technology, and power thought ourselves the rulers of all creation. Yet even with all that we were no more powerful than the dinosaurs before us to prevent our destruction. Even as an immortal I wasn't immune to the fear. The worst part was how long we knew it was coming. A long range satellite telescope caught a random glimpse of it moving through the stars. The first few weeks after its discovery were a mad dash by governments to keep it quiet while they tried to stop it. Every attempt failed, and then they went public two weeks before impact. There was a lot of rioting. Some people just didn't do anything. They just shut down. I didn't know if I'd survive or not, so I did my best to try to comfort those around me. A few days before impact we could all see it coming. Looming over all of us in the sky getting closer by the minute. In a last ditch effort the nations of the world came together and launched every nuclear missile we had at our disposal. What we watched that day in the skies above the earth I doubt will ever be replicated on any world. When that failed to even slow it down everything stopped. People stopped rioting, looting, and fighting. It seemed almost at once that entire world resigned itself to its fate, and gave up. Then it was just over. It made ground just off Chicago in Lake Michigan. I was standing on navy pier watching it. There were a few people who had come as well. Beyond us few the city was deserted. It flash vaporized all the water in the lake. The old couple and young man with me were both killed instantly. After that I don't know what happened. There was the most deafening noise is ever heard, and a wall of ash and fire. Then blackness. While unconscious the impact had shattered the earth. It was over when I woke up. I wondered if anyone else had survived, but quickly abandoned that thought. It's an terribly numbing sensation to realize that you are the last of your kind. It's a crushing loneliness that cannot be described. I curled into a ball and floated for a while. After a long while I decided I had to go somewhere. Over the course of my long life I had studied the stars intently. I can't even tell you how long it took me to find it, but I decided to head towards Proxima Centauri. The closest star to ours. I figured it was my best bet. So I found a piece of debris, and crouched on it then pushed off with all my might. At first I thought I was making good progress then I realized it takes a very long time for light to get from there to earth. Luckily I had spare time. As I floated farther and farther I found myself looking at where I was coming from and not where I was going. Was I being homesick, or just realizing everything I had ever known was back there? I'll tell you sometime if I ever figure it out. What I can tell you about is the view. Looking back on our solar system was a sight to behold. To steal a quote from the hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy. (Cause lets be honest. Who's gonna sue me for plagiarism.) Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind bogglingly big it is. I realized that Proxima Centauri was a long ways off so I thought I should check out our solar system first, but quickly abandoned the thought. Once I very painfully made landfall on one of the 9 planets in our solar system. (I love you Pluto) I wouldn't be able to leave. Cause I'm no Matt Damon. So I'd either have to get very lucky, and find some crazy alien stuff, or wait for the planet I was on to explode in some way. Both those options weren't appealing, so I opted to keep on trucking to Proxima. I'm gonna go ahead and skip all the boring parts or you'll be reading this for the next few millions years. A few interesting things of note did happen. Seeing a comet in the night sky is always very pretty. Seeing one pass you by, by only a few dozen meters is awe inspiring/terrifying. The other discovery I made very quickly. Space for those of you readers who've not spent time in it. Is cold. Really, really, Fucking. Cold. At least the solar winds are nice and toasty. Rich with skin searing radiation. So let's run down the list of things I have. Ruined clothes Melted phone Body so cold my balls are snuggled up next to my heart. A very long trip ahead of me. One sock. Could be worse. Let's jump ahead to me leaving the solar system. After blowing a kiss to Pluto. I continued on my trip to Proxima. Now. Let's do some math, Proxima is 4.2 light years away. Earth to the solar rim is about 9 billion miles. One light year is 5.879 x 10 to the power of 12, miles. So I'm about 4.1998 light years away. Only took me about 250 years I think. So I should be there just in time to watch the star die and collapse into a black hole. Wonder if that would actually kill me...You can kiss my ass Steven Hawking you dead genius prick. Busting holes in my very well laid out plans. I gotta think of a way to pick up speed. I came up with a risky strategy. If I keep pumping my arms straight ahead of me in my current trajectory I should increase in speed little by little. The risk is that I could alter my angle by a few degrees, and that could mess up my approach vector for Proxima. It doesn't sound like much, but a few degrees of difference in angle across a span of light years can result in me missing by billions of miles. Well after thinking for a few days on the pros and cons of my new plan I decided to give it a shot. With very calculated pumps in slow succession I made sure to keep my eyes on my target. With nothing to use as a reference I really didn't know if my plan was working. I'll just say it did. Kinda. I eventually worked myself up to the speed that voyager was moving at. Which is pretty damn fast. Again, kinda. It would still take millions of years to get to Proxima. My only hope was to get picked up by something or crash on some rock with intelligent life on it. Turns out the scientists back in the 20teens were right. There was in fact a 10th planet in the solar system. It was just a lot lot farther out than they thought. I immediately changed course and aimed for this planet. I'll be honest. In all the science fiction movies, video games, and books I've seen in my life I gotta tell you this was the most foreboding planet I've ever seen. It was black. But it was an unnatural black. The kind of black you put on something you don't want to be found. I glided in silence towards the planet lost in thought. What would I find there? Life? Ruins? Would they be friendly aliens? I know that since it's their planet I'm technically the alien but shut up its my story. As I moved towards it it dawned on me how immense the planet was. By 2120 civilian space flights were pretty common, so I've seen the earth from space. This planet was massive. Dozens if not hundreds of times the size of earth. Finally after what felt like forever I could feel myself being pulled towards the planet. It didn't occur to me until about ten seconds before I hit it that this planet might have an atmosphere. Then I hit it. Hard. All my possessions burned off. My phone, shirt, pants, even my precious sock. Falling out of the sky stark naked at terminal velocity. Not as fun as it sounds. Once I cleared the black skies I was blown away by the amount of lights, and buildings I was seeing. I was so happy. Finally I'd be able to come into contact with someone, or something. That something turned out to be the ground. One splitting headache, and quick climb out of my crater later, I took the time to look around. I walked around for a bit and didn't see anyone. The buildings were pretty pristine. Was everyone on a lunch break? Maybe I can get them to come to me? I yelled as loud as I could a couple of times, but nothing. It was unsettling to say the least. All the buildings stretched way into the sky, so maybe no one lived on the ground anymore? I think there was a cartoon like that a long time ago. Anyway. I picked a building at random and went inside. The doors wouldn't open at first. It took me some time to wiggle them open. As soon as a crack opened a gust of air blew out whipping the doors open and knocking me on my ass. Swearing as I picked myself up I took a step inside. And no it's not what you were thinking. No dead bodies that have been in there for years and years. It was empty. And clean as a whistle. I walked around looking for anything familiar when I found a trio of doors next to each other with tubes rising above them into the ceiling. Raising my hopes thinking they would work I hit a button. To my great delight stuff happened! So that's a win for me today. It took about 15 minutes for it to arrive but there it was. An elevator. The buttons looked familiar enough so I pushed the one that I guessed would be the penthouse. The elevator rose quickly, but I knew it would be a while so for the first time in a few hundred years I sat down. And god damn did it feel good. I realized as I sat down that i was still naked. Kinda forgot about that. New mission. Find, or make clothes. Don't want humanities first contact to go south due to errant dick. I hit a random button stopping the elevator a few floors short of the top. Again, nobody was there. But there was furniture. I think? It was growing out of the ground like it was molded from the floor. Weird organic shapes. But sitting proved easy enough. The seats were enormous. Way larger than I could ever hope to accommodate. But if there's seats they must have been organic life right? I can't imagine machines lounging around, so my spirits rose. Now if only I could find any of these guys. I hope these guys had curtains or something. I'm getting tired of being naked, and my butts cold. I'm hungry, but at least I don't have to worry about starving. Success! I found clothes. Hopefully. I think it might be some sort of battle suit or something. It's a jet black liquid that was suspended in a clear tube. Every other tube was empty except for this, a very sinister black, and purple one. When I touched the glass it slowly moved towards my hand. I didn't seem evil in its movement. It moved with a sense of want. Like it wanted companionship. Well I hit buttons below the tube till it opened and the black stuff slid onto the floor without a sound. I crouched down, and reached out to touch it. It mirrored my movements exactly. It felt soft. Softer than anything I've encountered. As soon as I touched it ran up my arm, quickly spread over my body. I didn't really panic since it couldn't suffocate me, so I just let it do what it was going to do. It slowly wrapped around my head, and once it had a full seal on me parts of it started to harden and change shape. The shoulders bulged up and out. My legs became almost completely covered in what seemed like armor. It was pretty awesome to watch. The not so awesome part was the pressure I was starting to feel pressing in on my boys. It started to crush me, and when I started to beg the suit to stop while sounding like a soprano singer it relaxed. After everything had settled I decided to test out the suit. It moves with me really well. Like it's not even there. I feel more capable with this thing. Powerful even. I quickly discovered I could run faster, jump higher, and was much stronger. Felt like those PF Flyers I wore as a kid. Now that I had some clothes on I popped back into the elevator and headed to the top. The door opened and there was a barricade. After moving the stuff out of the way I wandered into the room to find no one. Which is confusing the hell out of me. Why barricade the way in to protect no one. And no one before me has made an attempt to get through the barricade. I explored the floor. Mostly one big hallway so far, but I'm not seeing any signs of a struggle. No broken windows. No holes in the walls. Zip. What were these people trying to keep out. I found another much sturdier barricade at the end of the hallway. Took a while to make a hole in it. I'd never be able to without the suit. On the other side there was a massive atrium. It had to be the size of a football stadium. It was completely empty except for something in the middle. After jogging towards it for a few minutes I realized what it was. Bodies. A big pile of bodies. Torn up, gnawed on bodies. Then I realized the barricades weren't about keeping something out. But keeping it in. I started to go back for the entrance when I started hearing thunder. I stopped for an instant when the hud of my suit blasted me with a warning. Before I could finish reading it I found myself flying through the air and slamming into the wall with enough force to be embedded into it. I should remind you that I was close to the center of the ring. I flew a good 300 yards into a wall. I never even saw what hit me. But it was ungodly strong. I pried myself free from the wall just in time to see what hit me. I'm not a xenobiologist, but I know that this thing wasn't natural. Something seriously deformed this thing. Being immortal pretty much tosses fear out the window. In my entire life I've never known this kind of fear. The creature was tall. At least 12 feet tall. It was horribly deformed. Bones were jutting out of it all over its body. It didn't have eyes. None that I could see. It looked like it grew a couple sizes very quickly and the seams just popped while staying alive. It roared again and again. I know the sound of pain when I hear it. This creature wasn't happy about its current state. Part of me wanted to help the beast, but the very large pile of broken shredded bodies told me that wasn't super likely to happen. I'm gonna have to think about this for a minute. I'm fucked. That's my breakdown on this situation. Fucked. I've tried to leave three times only to find myself leaving new me shaped holes in the walls. After that I tried to approach the beast. New hole. Back away to the wall, meet opposite wall. So far the only action that doesn't get me flying lessons is sitting still. I've been here for 2 days, and I gotta say. This planet isn't winning any favors from me. I'm getting annoyed prying myself out of the damn wall. I may be immortal but shit still hurts. The creature hasn't moved an inch since it last hit me. It's currently about 400 yards away glaring at me. I think. No eyes makes it hard to tell. Anyway. I think I'm gonna do what my uncle did when he got drunk. Yell incoherent shit, and hope it pans out. I stood up, and started walking slowly towards the beast. The beast, being the jerk off that it is roared and rushed to reintroduce me to the wall. I kept my pace, and when the creature was 20 meters from me I started yelling. "STOP!!" I bellowed as loud as I could. The creature thundered to a halt right in front of me. Head inches from mine. "That's better. No more hitting you hear me!?" No response. "Well at least you didn't hit me. Ok. What we are going to do now is I'm going to cross this room and find out who that pile of horribleness is. Ok?" Again. No response. I'll take that as an 'yes', so let's get going" I took my first step, and nothing happened. Step two, nothing. I got all the way to step 33 when there was a flash, and I woke up face down a few inches into the floor. "Ok. That's fucking it." I pulled myself upright. Looked over at the creature. It was about 12 yards away. Judging by the groove in the floor it hit me in the back of the head, and I skidded along the ground coming to a halt in my crater for nap time. "Hope you're proud of yourself big guy, because now I'm gonna take it out of your ass." I started sprinting towards the beast. If this thing can die then I'll win. No matter how long it takes I will outlast it. The beast was on me in a matter of seconds. It leapt into the air one arm cocked back, ready to crush me with crazed fervor. I jumped towards it, cannonballing straight into its gut at full speed. I heard the grunt of pain come out of it with satisfaction. Before I could celebrate however it's mighty arms wrapped around me. It turned in mid air, and with all its strength and weight; drove me into the ground. I gasped in pain as the air was forced out of me. It then grabbed my ankle and tossed me like a garbage bag. I slammed into wall hard enough I bounced out of my crater. Picking myself up i could see the creature getting ready to charge. I shouted at my my suit. "Cmon! It's coming! I need a weapon!" PROCESSING... WEAPONS ACTIVATED... WARNING! AMMUNITION DEPLETED.... WEAPONS RESTRICTED TO SWORD, GLAIVE, SPEAR... "Fine whatever just give me the spear!!!" -SPEAR ACTIVATED- Suddenly a spear started forming on my arm. At least a foot long pole did. As soon as I pulled it off of my forearm it extended to the perfect length for me. The tip turned into a wicked point. Even being immortal I wanted no part of that blade touching me. Quickie interruption. In case you're wondering. Over my long life I took up the age old art of "hit stuff really hard." Ive master several disciplines, and many weapons. It's pretty easy when you have multiple lifetimes to work on it. But over that entire time, I gravitated to one weapon above all others. And that my dear readers. Is the spear. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Enjoy the show. This time with more confidence I charged the beast again. It snarled in rage at my refusal to die like the rest of its visitors. It punched two neat craters into the ground before charging me. As it entered striking distance I pole vaulted over the creature, and swiped a great slash down its back. Bright blue congealed blood oozed out of its wound as it howled in agony. I snapped out my spear sending the blade deep into its shoulder. Twisting the shaft I widened the wound preventing it from closing. The beast was defenseless under my onslaught. The blade danced around me as I cut, stabbed, and slashed countless wounds into the creature. Blood pooled at its feet, but I couldn't deal a killing blow. The bones protruding all over its body prevented my spear hitting its final mark. I'd have to bleed the creature dry. While readying my spear for another thrust, with speed I thought no longer possible its fist came fast and low, crashing into my chest; rocketing me across the room into the wall. I lost my spear as I was flying. Pulling myself from the wall I began frantically searching for it, before spotting it almost midway between the two of us. "Really?.... Seriously. Fuck this planet." "Suit. If you can hear me. I need speed. All you can give me. I have to get to that spear before that thing." -PROCESSING- -SPEED INCREASED TO MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE- The suit changed around me. I could feel it making my legs stronger. Longer. Better suited for high speed. "Oh ho ho. I am never taking this thing off!" As I pressed off with my foot I felt the ground crack, and splinter under the new force of my speed. I was almost passing the spear before I realized where I was. I grabbed the spear, and held it tight. Thinking of a plan. The beast was stunned by my newfound abilities as well, it's head tilted towards one side as it stared at me. It quickly regained its composure, and set off once again to try and kill me. But with my new speed it was no match. If I couldn't cut through its bone I'll have to punch through it. I willed the suits strength into my arm, and threw the spear as hard as I could muster. Spinning as it flew the missile was a blur in the air. It slammed into the beast's chest as it ran at full speed. Combined with the spears speed the bones protecting its chest gave way as if it were tinfoil. The blade pushed out of its back, and with a gurgling growl; the beast slumped to the ground on its side. Lifeless. Panting hard I dropped to my knees and threw my fists into the air in victory. "YES! No more hitting the god dammed wall!!!" I fell back and relaxed for the first time in days. Laying down I took in just how amazing this suit is. I think I might have survived even without being immortal. The impacts definitely hurt, but I know it was much less intense than it should have been. With that moment passed I hauled myself onto my feet, and went to retrieve my weapon. With a quick grunt of effort I pulled the spear free. Placing it against my arm the shaft shortened, and sank back into the black material. "So cool. Alright now. Time to check out this pile of shit that started this mess." The pile had been there a while. There wasn't much to discern from the bodies. They were all mangled beyond my ability to mentally put them together in any sensible way. What I could figure out is that this species was tall, has 2, or 4 arms. They also unlike the beast sported 2 sunken eyes. Perhaps the creatures mutation spread grew bone over the eyes? They didn't seem to wear any clothes, but then I noticed they are all modified in some ways. Some have hands replaced with mechanical ones designed for combat, while others have they're entire heads replaced with improved optical capabilities, and I'm guessing improved cognitive functions. The biggest one was the most modified. All but it's head had been replaced. It's chest was caved in, but it was easy to tell that it was once very formidable armor. In all honesty this looks like a combat squad. There's about 8 of them. The ring area was not pristine when I got here either. My guess is this creature was lured here, and while this team was trying to kill it whilst others barricaded the hallways out, presumably before moving to the higher floors. That might be what happened here. These creatures arrived, and moved up the buildings driving people higher, and higher as they evacuated. But that didn't make sense. The lobby was utterly unmarked. If I were defending a building, you hold the entrance while the others escape upwards. "Well there's only one way to find out. Back to the elevator." Once back into the elevator I pushed for the top floor. As it started to rise it dawned on me that any survivors running from that beast might not be happy about the elevator going up. "Spear" I said quietly, and the spear unfolded once more from my arm. I stepped to one side of the doors for good measure. The elevator glided to a silent stop, and the doors slid open. Well no gunfire, so that's a plus. But momma didn't raise no fool children. I stuck my hand out, and instantly pulled it back in after a gunshot rang out, a split second later my yelp of pain followed. The armor caught the bullet, but God dammit that hurt! Plus side. At least I'm not alone. Let's hope these trigger happy guys speak English. "Hold your fire!! Friendly!! I'm not that beast!" That's what I said anyway. What came out of the suit was pure gibberish. "Oh god if you're translating, please be translating properly." More gibberish rang out from the hall. Suddenly a voice rang out in my head. "Where is the creature?!" Gotta tell ya. Hearing a voice in your head that doesn't sound like you is trippy. "Dead" I called out. "I fought it for 2 days before spearing it through the heart." I held the spear out into the doorway wiggling it for emphasis. "You lie!" The voice hissed. "Our best warriors fell to the beast." "You mean a few floors down in the big room?" A flurry of voices rose up. "He saw the room, and made it out! He must have killed it!" Said one. "Lies" called the first. "It's more likely this creature saw the beast and fled before it could reach him" I decided to interrupt. The past few hundred years of being utterly alone gnawed at my patience until it was at an all time low. I wanted to talk to someone, and not get thrown into the wall for my troubles. "Listen. I will take you down there. We can both put our weapons down, and see for ourselves. Deal?" The murmuring intensified. "Fine the voice called out, but if you lie, you are dead where you stand." Buddy if only you knew. A shadow entered the elevator. Quickly followed by a towering figure. Easily 10 feet tall. The man thingy had dark blue skin. Almost black out of the light. It looked down on me. It's deep eyes studying me. It's eyes were spectacular to look at. I found myself staring. They were jet black, but with white light swirling within them. It introduced itself. "I am Forsciun Xelalmos" (For-she-un Ze-lal-mos) of the Shalore people. Who are you?" I steadied myself. "I am Connor Flamewright. A human from the now destroyed planet earth. The third planet of this system. I am the last of my kind." "We know of this planet. We've tried to communicate, but our calls went unanswered. What happened to it?" It was hard to know where to begin. I hadn't thought about it at all in at least 200 years. "It was hit by a planetoid larger than our moon. We tried all measures to stop it, but nothing worked." "And how did you survive where your kin did not?" "An accident long ago left me immortal. Are you familiar with this word? Immortal?" Forsciun nodded. "I take it this was how you killed the beast?" I nodded. "It was very strong, but with my immortality, and this suit I found, I was able to overcome the beast." Forsciun put his hand to his chin thoughtfully. Then he stepped into the elevator, and pressed the button for the floor I just left. "Show me. If you speak the truth we have much to discuss." I twirled the spear, and slid it back into my arm. "Alright then." The elevator descended in silence for what seemed like eternity before Forsciun spoke. "This suit is of our technology. How is it you are able to use it?" I looked down at the suit, and began to wonder that myself. "I found it by itself in a tube. It seemed to like me, or desired to be used, and after drifting through space for close to a thousand years then free falling naked onto your planet. I just wanted to find some clothes." We stood in silence the remainder of the ride down. I wasn’t sure what Forsciun was thinking, but I’m sure he was working out how to kill me if I was lying. Whatever happened to these people, it had left them with extremely cautious of the unknown. Once we reached the floor the beast was on I led the way through the barricades towards the atrium. Once we reached the opening I pointed out the remains of the beast. Forsciun couldn’t believe it. He sprinted forwards reaching the dead brute quickly. After examining it in silence he began to survey the room, taking in all the holes in the walls and floor that the creature so generously helped me make. “How long were you here with it?” “Just over 3 days.” He nodded thoughtfully. “These creatures are extremely dangerous. They drove us up our towers away from the streets. Once trapped at the top we were cut off from the rest of our people. We don’t know how many of us are left.” “I wandered the streets for some time calling out. I never heard, or saw anyone.” Forsciun shook his head sorrowfully. “That does not bode well. We managed to kill some of these things, but they were so resistant to our weapons. As if designed to be our destruction.” I could feel his pain, and understood his feeling of helplessness. Wanting nothing more than to save your people, but being powerless to do so. I wanted to help him, and his people. “Do you think if we spread the word of how I killed it we could help save the people still living?” “Possibly.” he murmured. “Not all of my people are warriors. The majority of our military is gone. We used to be able to see the fighting from the windows. Explosions in the distance. Fighting in the streets.” He trailed off. “It’s been some time since we’ve seen that. They either retreated, or were wiped out.” I activated my spear and pounded the pommel on the ground. “We’ll find your people. And slaughter these creatures wherever we find them.” Forsciun lifted his head, and stood straighter. “Thank you earther. For too long I have been concerned only with survival. I had long since given up the notion of being able to save my people. We need to go, and gather my men. We will push the next tower!” As we returned to the elevator I began to ask Xelalmos about this world, and his people. I discovered that Forsciun was in fact not a name but a title. It meant commander. I high ranking member of their military. “We call this world Krionis, but it is not our home world. Our home world Shalore was located in what your people referred to as the Triangulum Galaxy. We spread far and wide across the galaxy. We held sway over the cosmos. We thought ourselves the rulers of all creation.” He shook his head disapprovingly. “The universe as it turns out. Enjoys putting people in its place. We were settling a new world when we encountered a virus. A long hibernating virus. By the time the first people started to die. It had already spread across the galaxy. A quarantine was set around Shalore. No vessel was allowed to enter within 30 light-seconds of the planet. Many tried to escape the virus by returning to our home, but all were destroyed. In the end our leaders decided that all of our kind that lived on Shalore would be put into stasis, and sent out among the stars. To colonize new galaxies. Our ship brought my ancestors here. To the edge of this galaxy. As we left Triangulum we received news that the blockade was broken, and the planet fell. Our ships would be the last of our kind. That was over 200 million years ago. We reached this planet, and quickly adapted it to our needs. But the universe was not through with us. 20 years ago these creatures started falling from the skies. Devouring, and destroying my people. Which brings us full circle.” The elevator beeped and the doors to the top floor opened. “That’s a hell over a story. I’m sorry to hear the story of your people.” Then it dawned on me. “Wait a minute. How do you know what we call the galaxies?” “As I mentioned earlier. We’ve known of your existence for some time. In our attempts to make contact we learned much of your people. You were a prosperous people. You advance with a pace not often seen in the universe. Given a few thousand years, and your people would have been a power to behold.” My head hung low. “Would have.” I said to myself. The human race was essentially extinct. I would I guess last forever, until something finally wiped me from existence. At least I would be able to tell the stories of my world, and travel the cosmos letting all know of my people. That was a small comfort. Xelalmos put his hand on my shoulder. “Worry not Con Nor. There is battle ahead. We must prepare. Come. Meet my men.” He moved ahead of me, and walked towards his men. The one I would learn to know as Keez glared at me the entire time Xelalmos explained what he saw, and the coming plan. His team consisted of 4 Including himself. Xelalmos would lead, his second in command Niivu welcomed me congratulating me on my kill. If his commander trusted me, that was enough for him. That left their doctor, Marq. When they said his name I assumed they were having fun with me. They didn’t believe me when I said “mark” was an common name on earth. Marq assured me that it was indeed his name. Finally we come to my biggest fan Keez. Keez was what they called an Arcturant. Basically a walking fortress. Covered in thick armor with heavy weapons mounted on his shoulders. Fearless devastating, and a personality to match.
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Our final preview of the season analyses our reigning champions, Manchester City. About
Established: 1880 (as St. Mark's)/1894 (as Manchester City)
It went well. It went very well. After Manchester City’s Centurions season in 2017/18 saw them run away with the title setting all manner of records as they went, there was a lot of expectation that we’d see a much closer race in 2018/19. That proved to be the case as City finished 2 points shy of their record-setting total and only won the league by a single point, yet it was still the second highest points total in Premier League history and was topped off with a unique domestic clean sweep (3 or 4 domestic trophies depending on your feelings about the Community Shield). The season kicked off with confident 2-0 victories over Chelsea in the Community Shield and Arsenal in the league opener before Kevin De Bruyne’s injury problems began (injury problems that would plague the majority of his season). His absence didn’t prove to be as pivotal as many feared/hoped, however, thanks in no small part to Bernardo Silva’s formidable season. After the opening months City had dropped just 4 points and were looking strong, and then December happened. The packed month included 9 matches across all competitions and it took its toll as City lost 3 of their 7 Premier League matches. Heading into January with Liverpool still unbeaten the title looked lost until the top two met at the Etihad. A true heavyweight clash delivered in entertainment and saw City take all three points by the very finest of margins as John Stones made a vital clearance through the legs of Mohamed Salah with just 11mm to spare. After beating Liverpool City dropped just 3 more points, ending the season on a remarkable 14-game winning streak to claim the first back-to-back Premier League trophy in 10 years.
While the squad is (on paper) quite comparable to the ones that set both the highest and second highest Premier League points totals in consecutive seasons, the loss of Vincent Kompany is difficult to quantify. Cynics might reasonably point out that City are losing an ageing centre-half who only plays sporadically and is prone to occasional hasty decisions meaning they will just have to give more minutes to a younger centre-half in John Stones, who also appeared sporadically and is prone to occasional hasty decisions. In a strictly material sense that might all be true, but in among Kompany’s hasty decisions was an improbable 30-yard potshot in the 70th minute against Leicester that won the match and kept the title race in City’s hands. It’s his remarkable force of will, his experienced leadership, and his eagerness to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders when no one else can that will be missed with the departure of Kompany and it remains to be seen if there is anyone that will step and lead in the same way. There’s some change at the back for City this season. Stones and Laporte are expected to be the first choice central pairing, but Otamendi (as the most experienced centre-half in the squad, capable of playing on the right or left side, and probably the best aerial defender in the squad) is likely to be leaned on more this coming season than last. The fourth spot will likely be a straight head-to-head between Fernandinho and the promising young Eric Garcia. At fullback there’s a little more attacking impetus than previously - Zinchenko increasingly looks like a real left back, but Mendy’s injury troubles continue, so Angelino has been brought back to maintain the depth that the outgoing Fabian Delph provided but with more of an attacking mindset. On the right you can expect Walker to finally get some days off with the introduction of another attack-minded option in Joao Cancelo. The future of the number 6 position looks to finally have been figured out with the signing of Rodri after various misfires in the transfer market and with any luck we’ll have the joy of watching a fully fit Kevin De Bruyne all season. It remains to be seen what role David Silva will play in his final year, especially with Phil Foden needing all the minutes he can get if he is to replace the Spanish stalwart long-term. Should Sane stay It will be the same again up top with quality depth abound all vying for their place in the matchday XI. Riyad Mahrez began finding his feet at the tail end of 18/19 with a run of strong performances so the hope, should Sane leave, is that Mahrez will continue that form and prove an ample replacement for the upcoming season. Last season there was a need to prove that the 100 point season wasn’t a fluke. 98 points and 5 out of 5 pieces of domestic silverware later it’s been pretty well established that City probably are in fact that good and may well be able to continue putting up these kinds of numbers until either Pep leaves or the rest of the league adapts (whichever comes first). Transfers Highlights
£26m + Danilo
All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for David Silva Worth watching out for if only because this is likely to be the last Premier League season for one of the league's greats. On top of that, with the departure of Vincent Kompany, David Silva will be the most senior member of the dressing room and is widely expected to take on the captaincy. Despite making his name as an archetypical number 10, David Silva has managed to stand out as a dynamic and modern number 8 - while at 33 he may not be quite the player he once was but he continues to provide much of the creativity in the final third so enjoy him while you can. Rodri The number 6 position in general will be one to watch this season. In previous years Fernandinho has been undisputed first choice, but at 34 years of age he can’t last forever. Ilkay Gundogan started to make a case for himself in the run-in last season having finally added a little extra defensive nous to his already outstanding passing range and ended the season as a starter. New signing Rodri (at age 23) appears to be the future of the number 6 role - touted by many as Busquets 2.0 and now training under the same coach that brought Busquets to the world’s attention, Rodri’s ascent seems inevitable, but arriving in a new league and playing rather a different style of football will test his adaptability in the short-term. Kevin De Bruyne Not exactly a hidden gem here but your life can only be improved by watching out for a fully fit KDB. De Bruyne was among the very best players in the League (if not world) in 2017/18 but struggled significantly with injuries and missed much of last season. It may seem like a stretch to say that he was “missed” given the levels City reached last season but when he’s in the team City can transition much more efficiently and there’s always a sense that one pass could cut open even the most resolute defence. What the fans think Thanks to /MCFCfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
Last season was an unprecedened success, winning every domestic trophy possible. The aim for this season will obviously be to continue on as we have been domestically, and improve in Europe. The past two campaigns have been disappointing, and I think we can do better - but will we? It's hard to say. However, I think we're the most equipped team to fight on two fronts - especially after signing Rodri, in a position we've always lacked cover - so I think retaining the title is feasible, and I'd be happy with an improved performance in Europe.
I think we'll win the league. I think our fixture schedule is fairly kind to us (easier run-in than Liverpool and most of our tricky away games are in the first half of the season when we're usually on fire). I trust our players a lot more this time around - although you could argue that the Old Guard carried us in the final weeks of last season, the younger players have got experience and confidence now, and I think that's invaluable.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
KDB has looked frightening ever since he came off the bench at the FA Cup (not to mention his performance against Tottenham before his last injury). He seems angry and frustrated about last season, as if he's got something to prove. I think he's a shoe-in for our player of the season if he can stay fit. I can also see Jesus and Mahrez really coming into their own this season; both of them suffered from low confidence last season, and I think the summers that they had and their great performances at the end of last season signal a lot of growth from both of them.
I think we'll win the league again. This time around I don't think it'll be a close title race like it was last season. We'll get around 93 points while Liverpool will finish second and get around 88 points. In the FA and League cup, I think we'll win one the two and may get knocked out early in the other one. I think this season in the CL, we'll finally reach the final but lose the final.
Gonna go with Bernardo Silva. Let him play his own game and he is one of the best in the league. You would be hard pressed to find many better in the division. Down and up the pitch he works tirelessly. Never gives up. Gonna be hard to find anyone to outperform him this season. Run, pass, shoot, tackle, he can do it all. Around him he has an aura of a greatness.
4-3-3 like always, but with even more depth. Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri/Dinho, Silva, KdB; Sterling, Aguero, Bernardo, should be our first choice starting XI. Rodri vs Dinho is anyone's guess. If Mahrez steps up, we might see Bernardo moved to the midfield paired with KdB. Aguero will continue to start over Jesus, Nico will likely rotate with Stones and Cancelo (if he comes) will rotate with WalkeZinchenko. We might even see Mendy play a full match before the season ends.
And now we come to the hardest part, predicting the line up. Desert any dreams on consistency at the door. You are going to see a lot of rotation from City this season. Never assume we will have everyone healthy at the same time, but if we do I think this is how we will line up.
by NickTM The Manager: The legendary Pep Guardiola. Not much to say about him that hasn't already been said at length. A managerial genius, Guardiola's dogmatic adherence to the style of play he passionately believes in is no deterrence to the outright dominance of his teams. With 28 pieces of silverware in his collection as a manager alone, he's as close to a guaranteed title win as you can get from a manager of a top club. Entering his 11th year of top-level manager, his brilliance remains undimmed. The Team: Simply put, Manchester City's team is terrifying. It's unlikely any club team has brought to bear this level of depth in talent in the Premier League at very least. Ederson holds court between the sticks in his third season at the club, and Aymeric Laporte partners one of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones just in front. Danilo has been replaced by Joao Cancelo at right back, and Oleksandr Zinchenko's highly successful conversion to left back makes him the leading contender for that spot. It's in midfield where the team wins their games, though, a superlative array of talent fronted by Silvas David and Bernardo, held together by Fernandinho (and the newly arrived Rodri) and powered by Ilkay Gündogan's dynamism. An attacking trio containing Raheem Sterling, the supremely reliable Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus will be affected but not brought low by the unfortunate loss of Leroy Sane. That's without even mentioning the brilliance of the returning Kevin De Bruyne, the promise of Phil Foden or the absolute talent of Scott Carson. It is a glittering squad. Why to like them: Guardiola's teams play football 'the right way' (tm) and whilst their style of play isn't necessarily my favourite, it's hard to not appreciate the sheer fluidity of attack and technical prowess being displayed. Raheem Sterling has also blossomed from the kid with a dodgy agent who sacked off Liverpool at a moment's notice to England's leading attacking talent and icon for the fight against discrimination in football. Why to dislike them: Their owners essentially launder the image of a brutal, oppressive regime as well as their own grimy reputations simply by owning a successful football team, and it clearly worked for City fans. Personally, despite all the fanboying over their playstyle, I'm not really much of a fan. Pep Guardiola has a tendency to be unbearably smug at times. Also, they're really fucking good, so it's fun to watch them lose. Summary: Got it in the bag, surely? Man City replaced their major first team loss in Danilo and propped up Fernandinho's advancing age with his heir apparent in Rodri. Their strength in depth continues to be unrivaled, and Raheem Sterling continues to improve as Sergio Aguero has shown no signs of slowing down. The major questions for me revolve first around losing Leroy Sane, which takes away not just some options in depth but also a truly direct runner that City could well miss against certain teams. More notable might be the intangible loss of Vincent Kompany, the City legend departing to Anderlecht as player-manager. Kompany's leadership and will to win were obvious even in one of his numerous spells on the sidelines, and when he got on the pitch he'd produce moments of brilliance that have kept Man City alive when they were faltering - the most recent being that wonderful goal against Leicester that sent them top. It's a strong team with a lot of experienced leaders, but it's hard to calculate the value of such a talisman until he's gone. With all that said, you'd be a fool to bet against them retaining their title, and you have to make them favourites at this early stage.
She looks at me every day. Mary Jane Watson. Oh, boy. If she only knew how I felt about her. But she can never know. I made a choice once to live a life of responsibility. A life she can never be a part of. Who am I? I'm Spider-Man, given a job to do. And I'm Peter Parker, and I, too, have a job. Parker. Parker! No, no, no, stop! Stop! Parker, you're late, man. Always late. I'm sorry, Mr. Aziz. There was a disturbance. Another disturbance. Always a disturbance with you. Come on, 21 minutes ago, in comes order. Harmattan, Burton & Smith. Eight extra-large deep- dish pizzas. I told you, I don't understand that language. - Speak English. - You can't make pizza. I can't? I've been making pizza five years. In eight minutes, I am defaulting on Joe's 29-minute guarantee. Then, not only am I receiving no money for these pizzas... ...but I will lose the customer forever to Pizza Yurt. - Why didn't you send Saleem? - Saleem was deported yesterday. - Look... Smiley. - What about my cheese pizza? Look, you are my only hope, all right? You have to make it in time. Peter, you're a nice guy. But you're just not dependable. This is your last chance. You have to go 42 blocks in 7,5 minutes or your ass is fired. Go! Hey, what, are you stupid? Whoa! He stole that guy's pizzas! I'm gonna get it! Hey, you guys. No playing in the streets. Yes, Mr. Spider- Man. See you. Way to go, Spidey! Pizza time. You're late. I'm not paying for those. Elevator. Joe's 29-minute guarantee is a promise, man. I know to you, Parker, a promise means nothing. But to me, it's serious. It's serious to me too, Mr. Aziz. - You're fired. Go. - Please, I need this job. - You're fired. - Look, give me another chance. You're fired. - Parker, hello. You're fired. - Why? Dogs catching Frisbees? Pigeons in the park? A couple geezers playing chess? - Boss. - Not now. The Bugle could show another side of New York for a change. We got six minutes to deadline, Jonah. We need page one. I don't pay you to be a sensitive artiste. I pay you... Still not now! I pay you because that psycho Spider- Man will pose for you. He won't let me take any more pictures. You turned the whole city against him. A fact I'm very proud of. Get your pretty little portfolio off my desk before I go into a diabetic coma. - It's your wife, she lost her chequebook. - Thanks for the good news. Please, isn't there any of these shots you can use? I need the money. Miss Brant. Get me a violin. Five minutes to deadline, Jonah. Run a picture of a rancid chicken. Here's the headline: "Food Poisoning Scare Sweeps City." - Some food got poisoned? - I'm a little nauseous. All right, Mr. Jameson. It stinks. Robbie, there's your page one. "Masked Menace Terrorizes Town." I told you, he's not a menace. - I told you... - I'll take care of it. - I'll give you 150. - Three hundred. That's outrageous. Done. Give this to the girl. Thank you. Bye- bye. Hi. Hey, Pete. I don't think this covers the advance I gave you a couple weeks ago. - Right. - Sorry. Hey. Chin up, okay? Watch it, jerk! Dr. Connors. Sorry. Where were you headed, Parker? To your class. My class is over. See me standing here? I'm sorry. I'm trying. I wanna be here. Then be here. Look at you, Peter. Your grades have been steadily declining. You're late for class. You always appear exhausted. Your paper on fusion is still overdue. I know. I'm planning to write it on Dr. Otto Octavius. Planning is not a major at this university. Octavius is a friend of mine. Better do your research, Parker. Get it done, or I'm failing you. Surprise! Well, say something. What's the occasion? Really, Peter. It's your birthday! Whether you want to remember it or not. He lives in another reality. Don't you, Pete? - Hi, M.J. - Hi. - Hey, buddy. - Hey. Long time, no see. So how's the play? I read a great review. It's going fine. It's going good. She's brilliant in it. Harry sent me roses. So where you been, pal? You don't return my calls. I've been busy. Taking pictures of Spider- Man? How's the bug these days? The less you see of that man, the better. Now, let's all go into the other room and have something to eat. I'll get the hors d'oeuvres. So how are things going at Oscorp? They're great. I'm head of Special Projects. We're about to make a breakthrough on fusion. How lovely, Harry. Your father would be so proud, rest his soul. Thank you. We're actually funding one of your idols, Pete. Otto Octavius. - I'm writing a paper on him. - You want to meet him? You'd introduce me? You bet. Octavius is gonna put Oscorp on the map... ...in a way my father never even dreamed of. M.J., could you give me a hand? She's waiting for you, pal. What do you mean? The way she looks at you or doesn't look at you. However you want to look at it. I don't have time for girls right now. Why, are you dead? I've been kind of busy. Taking pictures of your friend? Could we get off that subject? I want us to be friends, Harry. I want us to trust each other. Then be honest with me. If you knew who he was, would you tell me? Peter, don't you understand how I feel? I want this guy dead. The same way you want the guy who killed your Uncle Ben dead. I'm sorry. I don't mean to rag on you on your birthday. You're my buddy, you know that. You're family, Pete. My father loved you. You were like a son to him. Thank you, Harry. May. Oh, what, Ben? Wait. - Aunt May. - Oh, my. Oh, Peter. Oh, for a second there, I thought I was years ago. Everybody's gone, aren't they? Did they have a good time? I'm sure they did. - You okay? - Of course. But you go home. And be careful. I don't like that scooter thing you drive around. I'm worried about you. You're so alone. And I saw the letter from the bank. Oh, my. You did? Oh, well. So? I'm a little behind. Everybody is. Anyway, I don't want to talk about it anymore. I'm tired, and you better start back home. Here, kiddo. Happy birthday. You need it more than I do. - No, I can't take that from you. - Yes, you can! You can take this money from me. For God's sake, it's not much. Now, take it! And don't you dare leave it here. Oh, I'm sorry. It's just that I miss your uncle Ben so much. Can you believe that it's two years next month since he was taken? I think to myself at times... ...were I to face the one responsible for what happened, I'd... Oh, I don't know what I'd do. Now... ...you better take the rest of your cake home. Hey. Hey. You're still here. I saw your billboard on Bleecker. Isn't it funny? I'm really kind of embarrassed. Don't be. It's nice. I get to see you every day now. The photographer liked my face. I was only supposed to be in the catalogue. Then I got the part in the play. Everything at once. Your dream came true. How about yours? I'm fine. I wish you'd come see the play. You're the one who always encouraged me. I plan to. I liked seeing you tonight, Peter. Oh, boy, yeah. "Oh, boy, yeah" what? Nothing. Do you want to say something? I... ...was... ...wondering if you're still in the Village. You're such a mystery. Peter. What? Happy birthday. I'm seeing somebody now. - Therapy. - No. A person, a man. You mean, like a boyfriend? Well, like I like him. What? Nothing. That's good, you know? Companionship... May be more than that. More? I don't know. I'm coming to see your play tomorrow night. - You're coming? - I'll be there. Don't disappoint me. I won't. Rent. - Hi. - Hi. What's " hi"? Can I spend it? I have a paycheque due this week and... - You're a month late again. Again. - I promise as soon as... If promises were crackers, my daughter would be fat. I'm really sorry, Mr. Ditkovitch. All I got is this 20 for the rest of the week. "Sorry" doesn't pay the rent. And don't try to sneak past me. I have ears like a cat and eyes like a rodent. - Thanks, Mr. Ditkovitch. - Hi, Pete. Hello? Rent? Doctor? Mr. Osborn's here. Nobel Prize, Otto. Nobel Prize. And we'll all be rich. It's not about the prizes, Harry. But you need money. You need Oscorp. Who do we have here? This is my good friend I called you about. He got me through high-school science. Peter Parker, sir. I'm writing a paper on you for... I know what you're doing here... ...but I don't have time to talk to students now. But Oscorp pays the bills, so... That's why I have to take off. Board meeting. But my job is done here. Got you two geniuses together. Good luck tomorrow, Otto. Nobel Prize. We'll see you in Sweden! Interesting fellow, your friend. I won't take much of your time. Now I remember you. You're Connors' student. He tells me you're brilliant. He also tells me you're lazy. I'm trying to do better. Being brilliant's not enough, young man. You have to work hard. Intelligence is not a privilege, it's a gift. And you use it for the good of mankind. Otto, your lunch is ready. - This is my wife, Rosie. - Hello. This is Peter Parker. Connors' student. The one who falls asleep in class. I always fell asleep in physics class. - Nice to meet you, Peter. - Good to meet you. Excuse me. Is that it? Yes. My design to initiate and sustain fusion. I understand you use harmonics of atomic frequencies. Sympathetic frequencies. Harmonic reinforcement? Go on. An exponential increase in energy output. A huge amount of energy. Like a perpetual sun providing renewable power for the whole world. It's all so amazing. If it works, it could change the way we live. It is amazing, and it will work. Are you sure you could stabilise the fusion reaction? Peter, what have we been talking about for the last hour and a half? This is my life's work. I certainly know the consequences of the slightest miscalculation. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to question you. Rosie, our new friend thinks I'm gonna blow up the city. You can sleep soundly tonight. Otto's done his homework. Come to the demonstration tomorrow, and you'll see for yourself. And you need to sleep soundly tonight, Otto. Did Edison sleep before he turned on the light? Did Marconi sleep before he turned on the radio? Did Beethoven sleep before he wrote the 5th? Did Bernoulli sleep before he found the curves of quickest descent? Rosie, I love this boy. Peter, tell us about yourself. Do you have a girlfriend? Well... I don't really know. Well, shouldn't you know? I mean, who would know? Leave him alone. Maybe it's a secret love. Love should never be a secret. If you keep something as complicated as love stored up inside... ...gonna make you sick. I finally got lucky in love. We both did. But it's hardly perfect. You have to work at it. I met him on the college steps, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. He was studying science, and I was studying English literature. That's right. I was trying to explain the theory of relativity. And Rosie was trying to explain T.S. Eliot. Time present and time past - Are both perhaps present - Perhaps present - In time future - In time future I still don't understand what he was talking about. - Yes, you do. - I'm serious. T.S. Eliot is more complicated than advanced science. But if you want to get a woman to fall in love with you, feed her poetry. Poetry. Never fails. A tall and slender maiden All alone upon a prairie Brightest green were all her garments And her hair was lik e the sunshine Day by day he gazed upon her Rent! Where is my money?! You seem jittery tonight. You never know who's coming. Ladies, five minutes. Five minutes. How'd you do that? Work out, plenty of rest. You know, eat your green vegetables. That's what my mom is always saying. I just never actually believed her. Come on. Go. Keep it steady. It's a web. Go, Spidey, go! We got trouble! Get me down! I am more than content with what Mr. Moncrieff said. His voice alone inspires one with absolute credulity. Then you think we should forgive them? Yes. I mean, no. Hey. Hey. Hey, chief. You park there, I'm towing it. Whatever. Shoelace. You might want to... - Can I help you? - Yeah, I've come to see the show. Oh, I'm sorry, sir. No one will be seated after the doors are closed. It helps maintain the illusion. I understand. Miss Watson, she's a friend of mine. She asked me to come. But not to come late. I have to see this show. Just let me in, I'll stand in the... Listen, can't you...? A Spider-Man A Spider-Man A-does whatever a spider can A-spins a web, any size Catches thieves a-just lik e flies Look out Here comes the Spider-Man You sure you don't wanna come tonight? Yeah, I'm sure. - Okay. Call me. - I will. - You were great tonight. - Thanks. May I have an autograph, please, miss? What are you doing here? You hungry? Starved. What was that? Okay. How you doing? Good. I just wanna say, I really like what you do. - Think it's great. - Thanks. I'm with Weisenhower, Anderson, Nichols & Knudsen... ...PR firm in the building... ...and I just wanna say I think the image you have is fantastic. It's really put together. The costume. The... this thing. I mean, it's really put together. It's great. I think you could do more than print though. I think you might wanna try some TV, you know? Can I riff for you? Come up with a couple ideas? Just what my company would do? Let's see, what do I got? How about a children's book? You could... Like Charlotte's Web, but without the pig. That kind of thing. How about a line of hammocks? Because it's kind of a web thing. You could do a men's cologne called Thwip. Let me give you a card. I don't have any pockets. Yeah. Well, we're right in the building. That doesn't help. I do that all the time. - Slow elevator. - Yeah. Thus, the second-order term... ...in the expansion of the exact order... ...is identical to the second order... ...calculated from first-order perturbation energy. Since we are free to choose an arbitrary origin for our energy... Hi. It's me. Sing your song at the beep. Hi, M.J.. This is Peter. I was on my way to your show and... Well, I was on my bike... Are you there? I really was planning on it all day. And... ...I know you predicted I'd disappoint you. Bingo. It's amazing, isn't it? How complicated a simple thing... ...like being someplace at 8:00 can become. Actually, there was this obnoxious usher. Somebody has to talk to that usher, M.J. Your time has expired. Please deposit 50 cents for the next five minutes. I wanna tell you the truth. Here it is. I'm Spider- Man. Weird, huh? Now you know why I can't be with you. If my enemies found out about you... ...if you got hurt, I could never forgive myself. I wish I could tell you how I feel about you. Ladies and gentlemen... ...my wife Rosie and I would like to welcome you this afternoon. But first, before we start... ...has anybody lost a large roll of 20-dollar bills in a rubber band? Because we found the rubber band. It's a terrible joke. But thank you for coming. Today... ...you will witness the birth of a new fusion-based energy source. Safe, renewable energy and cheap electricity for everyone. And now let me introduce my assistants. These four actuators were developed and programmed... ...for the sole purpose of creating successful fusion. They are impervious to heat and magnetism. These smart arms are controlled by my brain through a neural link. Nanowires feed directly into my cerebellum... ...allowing me to use these arms to control fusion reaction... ...in an environment no human hand could enter. Doctor, if the artificial intelligence in the arms... ...is as advanced as you suggest... ...couldn't that make you vulnerable to them? How right you are. Which is why I developed this inhibitor chip... ...to protect my higher brain function. It means I maintain control of these arms, instead of them controlling me. And now on to the main event. Give me the blue light, Rosie. Precious tritium is the fuel that makes this project go. There's only 25 pounds of it on the whole planet. I'd like to thank Harry Osborn and Oscorp Industries for providing it. Happy to pay the bills, Otto. Ladies and gentlemen... ...fasten your seat belts. Doctor, we have a successful fusion reaction. This is a breakthrough beyond your father's dreams. Thank you. We're producing a thousand-megawatt surplus. The power of the sun... ...in the palm of my hand. Keep calm! It's only a spike! It'll soon stabilise! Ladies and gentlemen, please clear the room. We have a containment breach! Otto, please get back! Shut it off, Otto! Shut it off! It will stabilise! It's under control! I'm in charge here! It's my money! I'm in con... This doesn't change anything. - What are you doing? - Pulling the plug. No! Rosie! Watch it. That was too close. If he had more than a drop of tritium, he could have destroyed the city. I'm ruined. I have nothing left, except Spider- Man. He saved your life, sir. He humiliated me by touching me. The press will be here soon. I suggest we move on. What was he doing here anyway? Molten metal penetrated the spinal cavity... ...and fused the vertebrae at multiple points... ...including the lamina and the roof of the spinal column. We won't know the extent of the damage until we get in there. I suggest we cut off these mechanical arms, slice up the harness... ...and, if need be, consider a laminectomy... ...with posterior spinal fusion from C7-T1 to T12. We're ready, doctor. Anybody here take shop class? No! No! No! Help me! Help me! No! It's all over town, Robbie. Gossip. Rumours. Panic in the streets, if we're lucky. Crazy scientist turns himself into some kind of a monster. Four mechanical arms welded right onto his body. Guy named Otto Octavius winds up with eight limbs. What are the odds? Hoffman! What are we gonna call this guy? - "Dr. Octopus". - That's crap. - "Science Squid"? - Crap! - "Dr. Strange". - That's pretty good. But it's taken. Wait, wait! I got it. "Dr. Octopus". - I like it. - Of course you do. Dr. Octopus. New villain in town. " Doc Ock". - Genius. - What, are you looking for a raise? Get out. Chief, I found Parker. Where you been? Why don't you pay your phone bill. Mad scientist goes berserk, we don't have pictures! I heard Spider- Man was there. Where were you? Photographing squirrels? You're fired. Chief, the planetarium party. You're un-fired. I need you, come here. What do you know about high society? - Oh. Well, I... - Don't answer that. My society photographer got hit in the head by a polo ball. You're all I got. Big party for an American hero. My son, the astronaut. Could you pay me in advance? You serious? Pay you for what? Standing there? The planetarium, tomorrow night, 8:00. There's the door. My Rosie's dead. My dream is dead. And these... ...monstrous things should be at the bottom of the river... ...along with me. Something... ...in my head. Something talking. The inhibitor chip! Gone. Rebuild. No. Peter was right. I miscalculated. I couldn't have miscalculated. It was working, wasn't it? Yes. We could rebuild. Enlarge the containment field. Make it bigger and stronger than ever. But we need money. Steal it? No, no, no, I'm not a criminal. That's right. The real crime would be not to finish what we started. We'll do it here. The power of the sun in the palm of my hand. Nothing will stand in our way. Nothing! - That's the social security. - Yes, I see. My uncle Ben's life insurance. Yes, but I'm afraid... ...it's just not sufficient to refinance your home. Oh, but I'm giving piano lessons again. You are? We appreciate that you've just opened up... ...a new supersaver account with us today. But the fact is... ...you do not have the assets to justify this loan. I'm sorry. Well... At least we get the toaster. Actually, that's only with a deposit of 300 or more. Oh, yes, I see. Okay. Don't worry, we'll figure it out. Peter? Don't leave me. Oh, that boy of yours is a real hero. Hold it! Put your arms up! All of them! Here's your change! Oh, no. Come on! - You're getting on my nerves. - I have a knack for that. Not anymore. - Freeze! Don't move! - Freeze! - Hold your fire! - Don't follow me. Wait a second. - Hand her over. - Of course. Easy, now. Butterfingers. Look out! Help me! - Help me! - I'm coming! Hang on! Help! Thank you. Aunt May. You've stuck your webs in my business for the last time. Now you'll have this woman's death on your conscience. Come on. Shame on you. There you go. Thank you. Oh, have I been wrong about you. We sure showed him. What do you mean, "we"? - Take me with you, Spider- Man. - Take me. - May I? - Sure. Go ahead. Penny! Over here! Leave it. Hey. Might wanna take it easy, buddy. Why? It's a party. Wouldn't you be drinking if you lost a bundle on some crackpot... ...who you thought was gonna take you with him to fame and fortune? Not to mention your friend the bug. Not tonight, Harry. Every night! Until I find him, it's 24-7. Parker! Parker! Parker! What, are you deaf? I called you twice. Think I'm paying you to sip champagne? Get a shot of my wife with the minister. Beautiful tie. Get a shot of us with the DA. Beautiful dress. Here, get a shot of the mayor and his girlfriend. Wife. Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. The committee for the Science Library of New York... ...is pleased to present our guest of honour. He's the first man to play football on the moon. The handsome, the heroic, the delicious... ...Captain John Jameson. Hi. - You. - Listen, I'm sorry. But there was a disturbance. I don't know you. And I can't keep thinking about you. It's too painful. I've been reading poetry lately. Whatever that means. Day by day he gazed upon her Day by day he sighed with passion Day by day... Don't start. Can I get you a drink? I'm with John. He'll get me my drink. John. By the way, John has seen my show five times. Harry has seen it twice. Aunt May has seen it. My sick mother got out of bed to see it. Even my father. He came backstage to borrow cash. But my best friend, who cares so much about me... ...can't make an 8:00 curtain. After all these years... ...he's nothing to me but an empty seat. It pisses me off, your loyalty to Spider- Man and not to your best friend. I find him with my father's body, and you defend him. - Take it easy. - Don't push me. Don't act like you're my friend. You stole M.J. from me. You stole my father's love. Then you let him die because you didn't turn in the freak. Isn't that right? Huh? Isn't that right? Huh, brother? Ladies and gentlemen, I just want you all to know... ...that the beautiful Miss Mary Jane Watson has just agreed to marry me. What a surprise. Parker, wake up! Wake up! Shoot the picture! Oh, no. No! Why is this happening to me? You told him yes? Just that fast? It felt right. Well, you might congratulate me. Congratulations. Good luck in the world. John loves me. My father always said, "You'll never be worth anything. No man will ever want you." So, what, you're gonna spend the rest of your life... ...trying to prove something to your father? Do you really love this guy? - Very much. - "Very much"? That just doesn't fly. I mean, if you really love the guy, then the answer is: "Do I love him? I adore him. He's my comfortable afghan. He's all I can think about. Everything he is, everything he says, everything he does... ...to me, for me, with me, is sweet kisses. He makes up for all the grief and pain I've ever had... ...and in the dark of the night, he is there." That's the answer I need. Not just "I love him very much". You read too many love stories. What about that perfect kiss you said you had once? - The guy you believed in? - That was a fantasy. That's all he is. But what's wrong with believing in love stories? You seem very okay to me. My diagnosis? It's up here. You say you can't sleep. Heartbreak? Bad dreams? There is one dream where... ...in my dream... ...I'm Spider- Man. But I'm losing my powers. I'm climbing a wall, but I keep falling. So you're Spider- Man. In my dream. Actually, it's not even my dream. It's a friend of mine's dream. So it's somebody else's dream. - What's your major? Theatre Arts? - Science. Connors? He flunking you? He says he might. There you go. What about this friend? Why does he climb these walls? What does he think of himself? That's the problem. He doesn't know what to think. Gotta make you mad not to know who you are. Your soul disappears. Nothing as bad as uncertainty. I've been there. Who was I? Identity. Big one. Me, I go to my shrink. What does he tell you? She tells me I need some strong focus on what I want. And I have to find out who won't let me have it, why... ...and then I have to tackle that guy, let him hear me... And one more thing. I have to make sure I'm right about what I want. Listen... ...maybe you're not supposed to be Spider- Man climbing those walls. That's why you keep falling. You always have a choice, Peter. I have a choice. All the things you've been thinking about, Peter... ...make me sad. Can't you understand? I'm in love with Mary Jane. You know I understand. But I thought you'd learned the meaning of responsibility. Oh, you don't know how it feels. Peter, all the times we've talked of honesty... ...fairness, justice... Out of those times, I counted on you to have the courage... ...to take those dreams out into the world. I can't live your dreams anymore. I want a life of my own. You've been given a gift, Peter. With great power comes great responsibility. Take my hand, son. No, Uncle Ben. I'm just Peter Parker. I'm Spider-Man... ...no more. No more. No more. - You punk! - Sorry. - Thanks. - You're welcome. Hurry up! And when the borderline is tau equals zero, the eigenvalues are? Someone, please? .23 electron volts. Excellent work today, Parker. Keep it up. I'm not really wicked at all. You mustn't think that I'm wicked. If you are not, then you have certainly been deceiving us all... ...in a very inexcusable manner. I hope you have not been leading a double life... ...pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy. Of course, I have been rather reckless. " I am glad." " I am glad." " I am glad." Are you glad to hear it? I am glad... ...to hear it. In fact, now you mention the subject... ...I have been very bad in my own small way. You were so wonderful. That was such a great play. You could've told me you were coming. I was afraid you'd say, " Don't come." You look different. I shined my shoes, pressed my pants, did my homework. I do my homework now. You wanna get some chow mein? Peter... ...l'm getting married. I always imagined you getting married on a hilltop. And who's the groom? You hadn't decided yet. You think just because you saw my play... ...you can talk me out of getting married? You once told me you loved me. I let things get in the way before. There was something I thought I had to do. I don't have to. You're too late. Will you think about it? Think about what? Picking up where we left off. Where was that? We never got on. You can't get off if you don't get on. I don't think it's that simple. Of course you don't, because you complicate things. You don't understand. I'm not an empty seat anymore. I'm different. Punch me, I bleed. I have to go. I'm getting married in a church. You are different. Dear, we agreed to put on a wedding, not go into bankruptcy. Caviar? What, are we inviting the czar? Get some cheese and crackers, some of those little cocktail weenies. I got a garbage man here says he's got something you might want to see. If you have an extraterrestrial's head in there, you're the third guy this week. Where the hell did you get that? In the garbage. In the garbage? He must've given up. Thrown in the towel. Abandoned his sad little masquerade. I finally got to him. The power of the press triumphs. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, look, I think I deserve a little something for this. - Give you 50 bucks. - I could get more than that on eBay. All right, 100. Give this man his money and throw in a bar of soap. Your wife is still on that line. Flowers? How much? You spend any more on this thing, you can pick the daisies off my grave. Get plastic. Gotta go, big story. Spider-Man Spider-Man Where have you gone to Spider-Man? Where have you gone to Spider-Man? Come on, man. Get the money. Come on, come on. Help! Come on! It wasn't fair to have gone like that. He was a peaceful man. And it was all my doing. Aunt May. You don't have to punish yourself. Oh, I know I shouldn't. It's just that you wanted to take the subway... ...and he wanted to drive you. If only I had stopped him. We'd all three of us be having tea together. I'm responsible. For what? For what happened to Uncle Ben. But you were at the library. You were doing your homework. He drove me to the library, but I never went in. What do you mean? I went someplace else. Someplace where I thought I could win some money... ...to buy a car, because I wanted... ...to impress Mary Jane. It happened so fast. I won the money, and the guy wouldn't pay me. Then he got robbed. The thief... ...was running towards me. I could've stopped him, but I wanted... ...revenge. I let him go. I let him get away. He wanted a car. He tried to take Uncle Ben's. Uncle Ben said no... ...and then he shot him. Uncle Ben was killed that night... ...for being the only one who did the right thing. And I... I held his hand... ...when he died. I've tried to tell you so many times. Just one more little chore. Where are you? - I'm leaving for the night, sir. - Fine. Your father only obsessed over his work. Good night, Bernard. Hello, Harry. Otto. What do you want? That precious tritium. But I need more of it this time. More tritium, are you crazy? You'll destroy the city! You're a hack! Hey! Hey! Stop! Stop! All right! All right, all right, all right. Put me down. We'll make a deal. Kill Spider- Man, I'll give you all the tritium you need. On second thought, bring him to me alive. How do I find him? - Peter Parker. - Parker? He takes pictures of Spider- Man for the Bugle. Make him tell you where he is. Have it ready. Don't hurt Peter! Somebody, help! Fire! Alisa, the Chens can't find their daughter. Have you seen her? Somebody call the fire department! Help! - Help! - Is anybody in that building? We think there's a kid stuck on the second floor. Hey, where you going?! I'm coming! It's okay. It's okay. Come here. I'm gonna get you out of here. Come on. Come on. Mama. You got some guts, kid. Some poor soul got trapped on the fourth floor. Never made it out. Oh, man. All right, Billy, let's knock it down and roll them up. Get on out of here. Let's pick it up! Let's get all this equipment, let's go! Let's move it! Am I not supposed to have what I want? What I need? What am I supposed to do? I shouldn't have without... ...knocking. Come in. - Hi. - Hi. Would you like a piece of chocolate cake? Okay. And a glass of milk? That would be nice. Okay. Thank you. You got a message. It's your aunt. Thanks. What's going on? Oh, they gave me another few weeks, but I decided the hell with it. I'm moving on. I found a small apartment. Why didn't you tell me? I'm quite able to take care of things myself. And Henry Jackson across the street is giving me a hand... ...and I'm giving him $5. That's Henry Jackson? Yes. It's funny what happens in two years. Nine years old, has great ambitions. Listen, about my last visit... Pish-posh, we needn't talk about it. It's water over the dam or under the bridge or wherever you like it. But you made a brave move in telling me the truth. And I'm proud of you. And I thank you, and I... I love you, Peter. So very, very much. Hey. Where are all my comic books? Those dreadful things? I gave those away. - I put the pans in the box, Mrs. Parker. - Thank you, Henry. - Hi, Peter. - Hey, Henry. You're getting tall. Henry, why don't you put those cookbooks in with the mixer. Okay. You take Spider- Man's pictures, right? I used to. Where is he? Henry and I agree. We don't see his picture in the paper anymore. He... ...quit. - Why? Wanted to try other things. He'll be back, right? I don't know. You'll never guess who he wants to be. Spider- Man. - Why? - He knows a hero when he sees one. Too few characters out there, flying around like that... ...saving old girls like me. And Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people... ...setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them. Cheer them. Scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours... ...just to get a glimpse of the one... ...who taught them to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us... ...that keeps us honest... ...gives us strength... ...makes us noble... ...and finally allows us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady... ...and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. Spider- Man did that for Henry... ...and he wonders where he's gone. He needs him. Do you think you could lift that desk and put it into the garage for me? But don't strain yourself. Okay. Strong focus on what I want. I'm back! I'm back! My back. My back. Honey, you sure you don't want to invite your friend, the photographer? Peter Parker? Positive. Thought he was your pal. - Peter Parker? - Yeah. He's just a great big jerk. The world's full of great big jerks. You're adorable. It's just the uniform. Lean your head back for me. - Put my head back? - Yeah, just do it. Just put my head back? Okay. Wow. I'm back on the moon. You up there with me? - Hiya. - Surprised? Very. Thanks for coming. Everything okay? You might say so. This is funny. I'm not sure how to begin. You know how our minds play tricks on us. - Tell me about it. - Well, mine did a real number on me. Some part of me heard what you had to say after the show that night... ...that you were different. But I didn't want to listen. I was afraid to trust you. But I've been thinking about it... Listen, there's more for me to say. I maybe rushed into things. I thought... Wait a minute. What are you saying? I'm saying... I thought I could be there for you, Mary Jane... ...but I can't. My mind was playing tricks too. Do you love me, or not? I... ...don't. You don't. Kiss me. Kiss you? I need to know something. Just one kiss. What's happening? Peter Parker... ...and the girlfriend. What do you want? I want you to find your friend Spider- Man. Tell him to meet me at the Westside Tower at 3:00. I don't know where he is. Find him. Or I'll peel the flesh off her bones. If you lay one finger on her... You'll do what? Still no word on the whereabouts of your son's fiance. Sorry, Jonah. It's all my fault. I drove Spider- Man away. He was the only one who could've stopped Octavius. Yes. Spider- Man was a hero. I just couldn't see it. He was a... A thief! A criminal! He stole my suit! He's a menace to the entire city! I want that wall-crawling arachnid prosecuted! I want him strung up by his web! I want Spider- Man! Where is she? Oh, she'll be just fine. Let's talk. What the hell? You have a train to catch. Help! Help! Help! I can't stop it! The brakes are gone! - It's Spider- Man. - Oh, my God, this is it! Tell everyone to hang on! Brace yourselves! Any more bright ideas? I got a few, yeah! Whoa, watch out! We're slowing down. Nice and easy, we'll go down. Slower. Gently. Is he alive? He's... ...just a kid. No older than my son. It's all right. We found something. We won't tell nobody. It's good to have you back, Spider- Man. He's mine! You want to get to him, you got to go through me. And me. Me too. Very well. Where do you want him? And the tritium? Yes. If only I could cause you the pain that you've caused me. First we'll see who's behind the mask. I can look into your eyes as you die. Pete. No. It can't be. Harry. Where is she? Where is he keeping her? - He's got M.J. - No. All he wanted was the tritium. Tritium? He's making the machine again. When that happens, she'll die, along with half of New York. - Now, where is he? - Peter... ...you killed my father. There are bigger things happening here than me and you. Harry, please, I've got to stop him. Hey! Hey! I'm talking to you! You got what you needed for your little science project, now let me go. I can't let you go, you'd bring the police. Not that anybody could stop me now that Spider- Man's dead. He's not dead. - I don't believe you. - Believe it. Surprise. As soon as you get free... I should have known Osborn wouldn't have the spine to finish you! Shut it down, Ock. You're going to hurt a lot more people this time. Well, that's a risk we're willing to take. Well, I'm not. Hang on, Mary Jane! Run! Let's see you scurry out of this. Now what? Dr. Octavius. We have to shut it down. Please tell me how. Peter Parker? " Brilliant but lazy." Look at what's happening. We must destroy it. I can't destroy it. I won't. You once spoke to me about intelligence. That it was a gift to be used for the good of mankind. A privilege. These things have turned you into something you're not. Don't listen to them. It was my dream. Sometimes, to do what's right, we have to be steady... ...and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. You're right. He's right. Listen. Listen to me now. Listen to me now. Now, tell me how to stop it. It can't be stopped. It's self-sustaining now. - Think! - Unless... The river. Drown it. I'll do it. No! Hi. Hi. This is really heavy. M.J. In case we die... You do love me. I do. Even though you said you didn't. I will not die a monster. I think I always knew... ...all this time... ...who you really were. Then you know why we can't be together. Spider- Man will always have enemies. I can't let you take that risk. I will... ...always be Spider- Man. You and I can never be. Mary Jane! Hello? Who's that? Son. I'm here. Dad? - I thought you were... - No. I'm alive in you, Harry. Now it's your turn. You swore to make Spider- Man pay. Now make him pay. But Pete's my best friend. And I'm your father. You're weak. You were always weak. You'll always be weak until you take control. Now you know the truth about Peter. Be strong, Harry. Avenge me. - Avenge me! - No! Call Deborah. The caterer? Tell her not to open the caviar. Had to do what I had to do. Mary Jane. Peter. I can't survive without you. You shouldn't be here. I know you think we can't be together. But can't you respect me enough to let me make my own decision? I know there'll be risks. But I want to face them with you. It's wrong that we should only be half-alive... ...half of ourselves. I love you. So here I am, standing in your doorway. I've always been standing in your doorway. Isn't it about time somebody saved your life? Well, say something. Thank you, Mary Jane Watson. Go get them, tiger.
This is the first movie in my DCHCU lineup, and it starts with Superman. I plan on it being rated PG-13 for violence, language, etc.,. As a warning, I will use a few of Nando's ideas from previous videos including the Man of Steel rewrite, but overall it will be an original concept. The movie begins with the last few minutes a high school football game. Pete Ross is the Quarterback for the Metropolis team and Clark Kent is the Wide Receiver. Lana Lang is a cheerleader who is sitting on the bench, not needed right now by the team, and next to her is a young Lex Luthor with curly red hair. At this point, Lex is a bit of a nerd and is one of those people who only watches a game to calculate chances of success of each team by play, which he tries to impress Lana with but to no avail, as Lana is only interested in Clark. He is incredibly smart, but ends up being a B's and C's type of student due to the immense amount of pressure from his dad and his lack of focus, wanting to impress his crush Lana and have fun with his friends Pete and Clark more than ace tests. To the school Lex attends, he is known only as Lionel Thorul (his father's first name and the last name his father made for their family when his mother Arlene/Lillian (Arlene is pre-Crisis, Lillian is post-Crisis, and since I plan on including a Crisis on Infinite Earths movie in this universe, I will use Arlene) left their family with the last name Luthor when Lex's father became too abusive and controlling). Lex's father wants to keep Lex's real name a secret, and trying not to disappoint his father Lex rolls with it. Have a good scene where Pete throws to Clark and Clark takes it another 10 yards, almost to the end zone. The team regroups, they're going to run it in with another player while Clark runs through the end zone to confuse the other team (maybe the Gotham Knights if you want a fun Easter Egg). The play starts, but as Clark runs for the end zone the Running Back steps in front of his man with the ball-Clark forgot the play in the energy of the moment. Clark doesn't realize his strength as Superman yet and accidentally runs into the player full speed before he can turn around. The player flies through the air and lands behind the goal post, with multiple broken bones. The referee blows his whistle, and Clark gets taken out of the game by his coach. He sits on the bench next to Lana and Lex. Lex tries to reassure him as the clock winds down, but Metropolis is never able to score and they lose the game. In the locker room, the team is disappointed at Clark for losing the game as the Running Back is sent to the hospital. Clark checks out early and Lana and Lex meet him at his school locker. They both try to reassure him again, but he isn't satisfied. Lana leans in and kisses Clark to cheer him up, but as they're kissing Clark's laser vision goes haywire and burns bright red streaks around the hallways. Clark, Lana, and Lex are unharmed, but Lex is visibly scared and distressed to see Clark kissing the girl he's had a crush on throughout high school, all for what, being bigger and stronger?. He still tries to hide his anger as Clark apologizes, but he has to excuse himself before he loses it. Lex returns home mad at Clark but doing his best to cheer himself up. He enters a small suburban home and tries to fix dinner for him and his younger sister, Lena. It's not long into making dinner that Lex's father returns in a drunken rage, a bottle of beer is his left hand covering a gash of dried blood from an injury at the bar and a crazed look in his eyes. He slams down the bottle, sees the table isn't set, and yells at Lex, "I can't even expect you to set the damn table, can I!". "No, sir, sorry sir" Lex replies, "I-". "What score did you get on your test?" yells Lionel. "Wha-?" says Lex. "WHAT score did you get on your math test?!" repeats Lionel. "Se...seventy-eight, sir." replies Lex. "What?!" yells Lionel. "Don't hurt him, daddy!" screams Lena. "You kids are a pain in the goddamn ass!" shouts Lionel. Lex sends Lena to her room to escape their father as Lionel gets out his belt and starts to whip Lex as he lies on the ground. After the first whip strikes his back, Lex can't handle it and begins to cry as his father continues to beat him. At the same time, Clark walks home in a bad mood and returns to the family farm in Smallville. Ma and Pa Kent sit down with him over dinner that night and share the story of when they first found Clark for exposition. Pa tells him that he's disappointed Clark lost control of his powers. He still believes in his son, but he knows he'll be dangerous if he doesn't get a grip on his abilities. He takes Clark outside to do some chores, probably like lifting hay bales. Clark has done this since a young age, so he finishes the job with ease. Pa tells him, "I have faith in you son. Once you learn to deal with the hard stuff, you'll be able to do great things one day". The point of this isn't that Pa Kent is telling Clark it's fine that he's dangerous or that the world doesn't like him, he's saying he knows Clark has great power and a great responsibility to be a role model for all people, regardless of what they think of them. In a sense, he's telling Clark that he can't escape his powers, but he can use his to give other people with powers the respect they deserve but also the people of Earth a person they can look up to. Clark smiles. Title Drop: Superman; The Man of Steel. Flash (hehe) forward about 15 years or so. Lois Lane is leaning against her desk at the Daily Planet, reading Clark's newest article. "I Am Superman, by Clark Kent" she reads. "What you got a confession to make, or something?" (this is mostly an Easter Egg, but I still think it belongs in the movie). She continues to list off the good the Superman has done and how Clark describes him in his article. "He's very open about this, you know" Clark says. "What does a guy who runs around in jeans and a blue shirt with his name on it have to hide?" replies Lois. At this point and for most of the movie, Clark's costume is much like his New 52 one, less a onezie and more street clothes with a blue shirt that has the S logo on it, made from the fabric the Kents found him with when he crashed to Earth. He also isn't able to fly yet, he only has Super strength, speed, stamina, durability, heat and x-ray vision, freeze breath, super hearing, the ability to breathe underwater or in space, and can leap buildings in a single bound, just nothing more. "It stands for hope" Clark says, "hope that other people can rely on him for, hope that we don't have to fear whenever when in danger, because Superman will be there". "I swear you always know what's going on with that guy" Lois says. "You just got to have the right friends here and there" Clark replies. "Oh, shut up" Lois says as she fake punches Clark. Perry White walks in and gives Lois and Clark assignments for the next day, Clark's being to interview none other than the CEO of Lexcorp-Lex Luthor. At the mention of Lexcorp, the scene changes to show a new, bald Lex Luthor walking along the 6th floor of the Lexcorp building as his bodyguard/assistant, Mercy Graves, reads off a list of earnings and business plans of the last quarter. Towards the end, Lex turns to face Mercy as he asks, "What has our friend been doing today?". "Target stopped 2 muggings and a carjacking incident, and collateral damage is as high as ever, being taken care of by Lexcorp Damage and Waste Control, of course." Mercy Graves replies. "Good, and you scheduled an interview with him, correct, Mercy?" asks Lex. "10:30 am on the dot" answers Mercy. Both turn to face a small display where some of Lex's men are working on a suit of armor for him. The scene returns to Clark as he returns to his Metropolis apartment, next door to a frizzy red-haired college-aged who is an aspiring photographer, Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy steps out of his room. "Hey Clark, you'll like these pictures I got of your guy Supes today!". Clark enters Jimmy's apartment and sees the photographs of the carjacking he stopped this morning. "You know, these are really something. I can always put in a good word for you if you want to work at the Planet some day." Clark says. "Nah, too high-stress" Jimmy replies, "for now I'll just freelance and get paid by the photo, because at least I can trust you to use my pictures. You really look like him, you know, Superman. Just shorter and with glasses" (hopefully Nando doesn't mind me borrowing that scene. Clark returns to his apartment shortly later, and turns on his phone as he begins to make dinner. It's not necessary, but you can add a comedic moment if you want to show Clark fiddling around with Earth tech like his smartphone, I just prefer not to use it. He opens a live Face Time message from his parents. At the other end we see his aged parents. They make small talk for a while before Ma Kent says, "Oh, and look who's here!". A Clark-aged Lana and Pete enter the screen. "What's this son of a gun doing on the screen, Ms. Kent?" says Pete. "Hey Pete, Lana" Clark says with a chuckle. They continue to make small talk before Clark brings up being Superman, Pa and Ma Kent as well as Lana and Pete know his secret at this point, but they discuss his adventures as the Man of Steel. The more they talk, the worse Clark feels about what he hasn't been able to do yet having not gained complete control of his powers. Before Clark closes the screen, Pa Kent tells him, "We know it's hard, we just expect that you be the best you you can be, Clark, Superman, all of it. Show us we raised you right, because if you treat everyone with respect they'll learn to respect you, too, whatever that looks like". For those wondering, for the purposes of this movie both Pete and Lana are single, just friends. This way a love triangle will be set up between Lois and Lana that could create a subplot, just not for this movie. The scene ends as Clark goes to bed and closes his eyes as he drifts to sleep... The next day, Clark is on his way to interview Lex, but his super hearing picks up a woman screaming who's being held hostage in a bank robbery. Clark makes a detour for a back alley (insert a joke about how good phone booths are hard to find the days) and changes into his Superman costume, which again is still street clothes. He stops heads towards the bank robbery, but he realizes this isn't an ordinary holdup, this is a robbery by Bruno Mannheim's gang, and they have tech straight from Apokolips and Darkseid's forces. Here there can be a throwaway line where Bruno explains where the tech came from. The gang engages Superman in a fight filled with them using their dangerous weapons. I'd make a point of showing Superman not being able to stop all the collateral damage. Nobody dies, but he still hasn't got enough of a grip on his powers to stop buildings from being broken every once in a while. The battle ensues, but just as Superman is about to finish off Bruno himself, a small entourage of the army steps in, led by General Sam Lane. Lane's forces arrest Bruno and takes him away in one of their vans. Before he leaves, Lane talks to Superman. "We don't need you here, Superman" says Lane, "If anything happens that the police can't handle, we're always here. When you get involved, all you do is waste time and resources and cause unnecessary damage. Next time, just let us handle it". The army leaves, and Superman turns back into his Clark Kent attire in another back alley before entering Lexcorp just as the clock strikes 10:30 am. "Mr. Luthor is expecting you" Mercy says. "Take the elevator on the right up to the 6th floor. He'll be there when you exit". Clark takes the elevator, notepad in hand, and meets Lex as the elevator reopens. "Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet!" Clark says with a smile as he reaches out his hand. Lex takes it in a firm handshake, "Lex Luthor, but you already knew that". The two talk about Lexcorp's current projects and contributions. As they approach the Lexcorp armor from the last scene, Clark begins to ask questions about it. Lex replies that they are working on highly adaptable suits of armor capable of low-range flight, lifting up to 2,500 tons, and equipped with a variety of gadgets including fire extinguishers, tasers, lasers, and shock beams, state-of-the-art medical equipment, an array of ultraviolet, heat detecting, x-ray, and night vision display systems and light weaponry such as small machine guns and rifles. Lex continues to explain that it runs on a unique energy source that never needs to be recharged over a 150-year time span. Lexcorp plans on distributing the suits to police officers and firefighters in high risk areas as well as the military. "How does the battery last so long?" asks Clark. Lex looks around, then presses a button that brings down a sheet metal wall around them and the armor suit. Lex is quiet as he explains that the suits have no battery, instead, they rely on a supply of crystals the Lexcorp Space Exploration team found in space. Lex understands that the crystals are none other than the indestructible memory stones left over from the destruction of Krypton installed by Jor-El before the planet blew up that contain the last known information from Superman's home planet. Clark still does not recognize that Lex is the Lionel he knew from school, but Lex recognizes Clark and how he is connected to Krypton and so puts emphasis on the word every time he says it. Eventually Clark realizes this and asks Lex what he is trying to do to him. "I thought you'd have guessed by now, Superman" replies Lex. Clark looks stunned, but before he can try to explain himself, Lex says, "No point coming up with an excuse, I've known since you and I went to high school together. Clark Kent and Superman, one in the same. And you thought glasses would keep people from knowing". "I didn't go to school with you" Clark says, confused. "No, but you did have a friend named Lionel, didn't you?" replies Lex. "It was the name my father wanted me to go by in public after mom left. I still have no idea where my mom is, but I'd bet she's in the same place as my dad, 6 feet under. It's funny, I worked so hard for his approval as a child, but when he died the week after I graduated I wanted nothing more to do with him. I changed my name back to Lex and attended Georgetown University. If you were there, you wouldn't have recognized me. With the pressure from my dad off the table, I showed my true potential. Straight A's, finished with a major in business, and instantly created Lexcorp. It would have been a rags to riches story, but after school I used my genius to publish a cure for AIDS, and after selling it to a few key buyers and representatives of the company the money started pouring in. We created Lexcorp Medicine and Medical Sciences, Lexcorp Space Exploration, Lexcorp Damage and Waste Control, Lexcorp Robotics and Engineering, Lexcorp Tools and Appliances, Lexcorp Automobiles and Transportation, Lexcorp Environmental Sciences, Lexcorp Construction and Infrastructure, Lexcorp Weapons Department, Lexcorp Chemistry and Sciences, Lexcorp Education and Business, Lexcorp Foods and Nutrition, Lexcorp Political Sciences, Lexcorp Shipping, even Lexcorp Entertainment and Broadcasting. We have millions of stockholders in this country alone, daughter businesses the world over, and we make billions of dollars from each of them every year. Everything built in Metropolis in the past 5 years has come from Lexcorp, and we are only doing better and better. And all under a name my father didn't even want to keep. Me and my sister are the only ones with it these days, and my sister is dying of cancer in a hospital room. But don't shed tears for her, Lexcorp is paying off all her bills many times over, and thanks to us the cure for her cancer is mere years away. Once that research is through, she's be as healthy as ever and will share the wealth based on her namesake alone. I haven't decided whether to release the cure worldwide once it's finished or keep it to myself and release it to the highest bidder on the black market, because either way will propel me to the richest person to walk the Earth in the last 50 years. After that, I'm considering running for President". Lex presses the button again and the wall is brought back up into the ceiling. "There's only one problem..." he says. "What would that be?" replies Clark. "You" answers Lex. Clark realizes by now that he's in danger, but before he can run away Mercy Graves and more of Lex's bodyguards storm the room. Clark tries to fight them, but Lex stabs him in the back with a small crystal shard-green Kryptonite. He tosses it down as Clark falls to the floor. "Kryptonite" Lex explains, "Isn't it wonderful?" Clark wakes up a few hours later in some sort of prison cell. A hologram of Lex is there. Lex explains that he used Boom Tube technology (also given to him by Darkseid) to teleport Superman to a for off planet. "Me and that Darkseid have a mutual respect for each other" Lex says, "He respects my intellect and knowledge of Earth, and I respect his military power, He certainly ins't someone to pick a fight with, not unless you have a lot of super-powered friends, but that's beside the point". "You're on War World, land of endless battle. Soon enough, you'll have the privelidge of meeting the ruler of this planet, a being called Mongul. From there you'll be put in arranged fights with an opponent for the planet to enjoy, like a hopeless gladiator. You're many light years from Earth, but that won't matter. a Lexcorp life-model-decoy will be put in place of Clark Kent, and as for Superman, it won't be hard to convince Metropolis he died trying to protect them. All the crime, well, I figure there's no better place to test out our new suits of armor than on the battlefield. You many die in battle immediately while you're here, or you may become a top gladiator and live the rest of your life fighting in the arena. You may even finally get a grip on your powers, but it won't matter. War World's defenses will take care of you if you ever try to escape. Enjoy you're life, Superman, because one way or another you'll die here" "Why are you doing this to me?" Superman asks, "Is it because of Lana? I know you had a crush on her in school, and I'm sorry if you're jealous that she liked me more. Now all of us are single, what does it matter?". "Very intuitive, Superman, but this isn't about her, at least not all of it. You see, the only thing you've ever lost in your life was Krypton, and that was for what, a few days that you were alive? After that, you've had the perfect parents with the perfect income, the perfect friends at the perfect school, the perfect grades in the perfect classes, even the perfect romance with the perfect girl. Now it turns out that you have powers, and even though you can't control them, what do you get? You get better friends, better romances, you already are invulnerable, you can enjoy things others can't, you're adored by the media for helping people regardless of how much damage you cause, you even get to write your own articles about your own little adventures that always make the front page. Maybe monster isn't the right word to describe you, but the world always looks up to you and they don't even know if they can fully trust you, you just allow it to happen because you're so full of yourself and believe you're standing up for the little guys. And what about the little guys? Why are we relying on a corrupt alien who can just as easily use his powers for bad as for good when there are people all around us willing to help who we can actually rely on? If there's one thing I can trust the army for, it's that they don't trust you, but who'll listen to them? The minorities in these situations never get the coverage they deserve, because the majority would like to believe they're always right. They'll call the general insane before believing a word he says. Let me tell you something, Superman, I knew you stopped Bruno Mannheim's gang this morning before you came and saw me, but not only could you not arrest their leading man, Lexcorp analyzed the damage reports, and they came in at over $2 million, all money that the people of Metropolis pay you so you can do it again. On the other hand, as a child I had an absentee mother, an abusive father, and a sick sister. Now, both my parents are dead and my sister close to it if I weren't there for her. We had little money to live on as children, and what we did have our father blew on gambling and drinks. I could never perform at my peak level at school until my father died and all the pressure with him, but even then hardly anyone trusts my intellect. I brought myself up from the ground, used my genius to build a multi-billion dollar company and the city with it, and even still the only media coverage I get is when I slip up, or the latest report on how I use my money and tabloids painting me as a corrupt billionaire who only cares for himself and has only ever known how to use his money to hurt people. It doesn't matter what's true and what's not only so that they can push their agenda, Superman good, Lex Luthor bad. So, I'm going to prove them wrong. I'll tell everyone you died, but before that I'll show the world what the real Superman is like. I tampered with some footage from your recent fights, all of them showing only the damage you've caused and the failures you've had. Lexcorp will broadcast it live to stations around Metropolis that will spread the news around the world, appearing in magazines and newspapers everywhere, and as the world looses their faith in Superman, I'll step in. My suit of armor gives me the same powers as you, so not only will I stop the same crimes as you once did, I'll do them better. All the suspects will be arrested when the dust settles, and not a single lick of damage will be paid by the city, because even if there is any Lexcorp will pay for it all. Then they'll wake up, realize that I'm the good guy, and shed the praise on me that they once did to you. I won't need it, because I can die happy once I know the world no longer needs Superman". At his last word, the hologram fades away and the gate opens. Superman steps into the battle arena as Mongul's face appears on a screen overhead. "Welcome to War World!" he shouts over speakers around the arena. "Population, 1 more than before! We have a new challenger, so without further ado, let the games begin!". A gate at the other end of the arena opens, and another prisoner from the planet steps out, scared. Superman tries to avoid the fight at first, but he is rushed into it by the guards. He throws light punches as the other fighter returns them, neither getting anything over the other. "Let's get some action!" Mongul yells. Superman doesn't want to kill the fighter, so he opts to freeze his feet to the ground. The crowd gasps at the display before cheering Superman on to killing his opponent. Instead, Superman freezes his opponents entire body, forcing the round to start over. Angry at his display, the guards force him back into his cell, where he spends the night. Back on Earth, Lex has his first opportunity to prove himself. The remaining members of Mannheim's gang are attacking City Hall, and so Lex steps in. He finishes of the first two easily, but while he was distracted the last uses Darkseid's tech to pick up a truck and launch it at him. The truck seems to crush Lex, but he uses the suit to lift it up and destroy it, neutralizing the last gang member at the same time. The L.M.D. of Clark takes Lex's picture as he smiles. The first picture makes it to the front page of the next days news. Lois Lane picks it up and reads it, and then reads the story at the bottom on the news of Superman's "death" and the explanation of the video provided by Lex of Superman's true nature. Here there can be a montage of Lex stopping fights and his picture appearing in the news time and time again as the world loses their faith in the old Superman. Meanwhile, Superman is sitting in his cell. A guard walks in and hands Superman various pieces of armor and fabric for his next fight. Superman notices his old Superman t-shirt in the pile along with various other pieces of colored fabric and dyes. Superman thinks back to Lex's monologue about the little guys as visions float in his head of the police officers and first responders that showed up after each of his fights on Earth. His mind centers on the red and blue flashing lights of the police cars as the Superman symbol of hope dances in his mind. He remembers what Pa Kent told him about being a hope that there is good in some people and makes his decision. He steps out into the arena wearing his classic Superman costume for the first time. No street clothes or New 52 outfits, just the Pre-52 bright red-and-blue costume, underwear on the outside and all. Mongul laughs at his ridiculous costume with the crowd, but they stop laughing as he shows control over his powers and punches the next opponent hard in the face. This opponent is much stronger than his first one, so the punch doesn't kill him, but it gets the crowds excited. Still not wanting to kill anyone, Superman freezes his opponents body again, but this time the crowds are happier having seen what Superman can do. Now montages of Lex stopping criminals in Metropolis alternate montages of Superman defeating his opponents in the arena on Battle World. As the montages slow down, the screen cuts to black. When the color returns to the screen, Superman steps into the arena once again. By now it has been almost a year, and he has gained control over his powers, although he still hasn't escaped the arena. As he enters the arena, he realizes his opponent isn't there yet. He puts on a facade of happiness for the cheering crowds, but he is confused. Suddenly Mongul's voice enters the arena. The speakers blast his words, but they are quieter, as the screens above the arena are still blank. "Ladies and gentlemen. For almost a year now, we have seen this foreigner fight in our battle arena. We had low expectation made even lower when he showed his inability to kill his first opponent, but over the past few months he has shown his worth. He can put on a show, and although he hasn't killed a single other fighter, he has defeated almost all of them. So it is time for this Superman to prove himself. Can he defeat the final opponent, or will he suffer defeat at the hands of...MONGUL!". Mongul himself steps into the arena, pounding his chest to the crowds chanting his name. "Let the games begin!" he shouts into his microphone before he swallows it. Superman rushes towards Mongul, but Mongul catches his punch and shoves him into the ground. The two fight for some time, neither losing completely but Mongul managing to overpower Superman. He hits Superman square in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. Mongul places his foot on the small of Superman's back and pushes down in a victory pose. His face in the sand, Superman has flashbacks of his life, Lex telling him how evil he is alternating with Pa Kent telling him to stand up for himself. Superman gathers the strength to lift his head, his laser vision powering up. He sends the beams streaking across the arena that burn a hole on the other end of the battle zone near where the fans sit. Surprised, Mongul is caught off guard and Superman pushes back against him, sending Mongul flying. Superman is now overpowering Mongul as he pushes him back into the sand, where he freezes his entire body save for his head. Superman punches Mongul once in the face to the crowd's excitement. He steps away from Mongul's body and looks towards the ceiling. He crouches down, then jumps with all his strength. This time, he's not just leaping tall buildings in a single bound, he's flying for the first time. He punches a hole in the roof and escapes, sending pieces of the arena crashing to the ground. Above the arena, Superman's appearance is met with fire from alien weapons on the ground. Lex was right that War World had defenses, but Superman is too strong to be overpowered by them, he ignores the fire as he flies toward Earth. "I'll return for that son of a bitch, I swear" says Mongul to himself as Superman flies away Back on Earth, the Kents hear a knock on their door. When they answer it, Lex appears with a business suit and a bouquet of flowers in hand. "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Kent, do you happen to know where Lana Lang is?". "Why, she's just down the street" replies Pa Kent. "Green house of the left" says Ma Kent, "They have their name on their mailbox". The scene changes to Clark Kent's apartment. Jimmy Olsen is outside, knocking on Clark's door. "Are you sure you don't want to see the pictures I got you?" he asks. "No thanks, I take my own pictures, now" replies Clark's L.M.D.. Jimmy Olsen gets a confused look on his face. In the next scene, he walks into the Daily Planet. He asks a random worker about Clark, but they give no response. "What about him?" says Lois. "Oh, hi Miss Lane" replies Jimmy. "What about Clark?" says Lois. "I don't know, he's just been acting weird ever since he had that interview with Lexcorp. Actually, it must have been about the same time Superman died" says Jimmy. "Is it news-worthy?" asks Lois. "Maybe, you want to find out?" says Jimmy. "Perry, we're leaving to do a report" says Lois as she and Jimmy leave. In the next scene, Lana Lang opens her door to see Lex Luthor. "Hello, Ms. Lang" says Lex, "Care for a cup of coffee?". The two of them sit down over coffee in Lana's house. Lex explains that he's had a crush on her since high school. He says he knows that she always liked Clark more because he was Superman, but then he lies to her and tells her that Clark lost his powers and is no longer Superman. "There's no shame in liking strong men, but if that's what you're into Clark Kent is the wrong guy" says Lex. "On the other hand, there is still a protector of Metropolis, but his name is Lex Luthor. Superman wasn't from Earth, he was just an alien from a planet that doesn't exist anymore. He never got full control of his powers. He cost the city millions in damages, and we can't be sure whether he would always use his powers for good or whether he was trying to earn our trust just to betray us sometime later. I'm the superhero Metropolis needed. I know you used to like Clark, but the next best thing now is me. I'm giving you a chance, Lana Lang. A chance to spend your life with the richest, strongest man in Metropolis. Will you take it?". "Lex" replies Lana, "I've heard what you told Metropolis, Superman was just an evil guy who died fighting some battle. Now you're telling me he lost his powers and gave up being Superman just so you can step in? I know Clark isn't dead or de-powered, and whatever you've done to him, he'll find his way back. You may be the richest and strongest guy in Metropolis, but Clark is still twice the man you'll ever be. Clark was strong, but that's not why I liked him, I liked him because he was confident and kind. His parents raised him with respect, and whatever he did he believed in everyone else, me, Pete, or himself. He even gave you a chance before you were like this. He wasn't always the smartest guy, but he knew his strength even when he couldn't control it. You were a fine kid, but you were always too worried about impressing other people, and too caught up in whatever you were doing to make your dad proud. I'm sure there's a reason for it, and whatever it is I pray to God that he helps you through it, but you weren't the man for me, and you still aren't. I'm sorry". Lex lets this sinks in as he clenches his jaw. "Mercy" he says, "Take care of Ms. Lang for me, will you?". Mercy Graves steps out from behind Lana and whacks her in her windpipe, knocking her out cold. "Once we find Pete Ross, we can leave this town" says Lex. In the next scene Jimmy with his camera and Lois with her notepad are arguing with Lexcorp's secretary. "Mr. Luthor is not here right now" she says, "But if you want to book an appointment, I'll do my best". "Lex was the last person to see Clark before he started acting different, we have to see him" says Lois as Jimmy nods. "Not a problem Ms. Lane" says Lex as he walks through the door. "I'll take you up to my office and we can talk there". In Lex's office, Lois and Jimmy try to tell him about Clark. Lex breaks the news that the Clark they see was just an L.M.D. and that the real Clark was on War World. "You thought Superman and Clark Kent were two different people, but since before I finished school I knew they were one in the same. Superman isn't dead, he's Clark Kent, and he's fighting for his life on War World, assuming he survived" says Lex, "It was necessary if I wanted the world to see the good in me and the monster in Superman, so please don't feel bad, if you feel anything". Before they can react, Lex sends his bodyguards in and Lois and Jimmy are tased and knocked unconscious by them. "Break Mannheim out of jail" Lex tells Mercy, "It's time for phase three". Along the Metropolis docks, two fishermen's sunlight is blocked out by a dark object. "It's a bird!" exclaims the first. "No, that's a plane!" says the other. "Hold on, that's...Superman?" says the first. "Hello, gentlemen, do you know the way to the Daily Planet?" asks Superman. Both fishermen point Northwest, and Superman flies that way. As Superman flies over the city, he hears Lana Lang scream. He changes course and it isn't long before Mannheim enters his vision with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, and Pete Ross as his hostages. "Mannheim, you can either let them go or put up with me" Superman says. "Wait, you're not Luthor" says Mannheim, "But I can mop the floor with you even easier". Superman and Mannheim have their rematch, but this time Superman has full control of his powers and is just as worried about stopping Mannheim as keeping people safe and lowering the collateral damage. Just as Superman would finish off Mannheim, he is teleported away through a Boom Tube. Superman turns around, and there he sees Lex in full power armor. "So it's come down to this" says Lex "I was planning on really asserting myself as the new Superman once I earned the trust of your closest friends, but now tat you're here I can kill you and they'll have no choice". "Give up, Lex" Superman says, "I'm not the same person you knew a year ago". Lex decides to play dirty and hits Superman with a barrage of bullets before he can finish his sentence, but when the dust clears Superman is still standing. He flies higher as Lex takes off in the skies for him as well. Superman uses his heat vision and freeze breath to neutralize various parts of Lex's power armor, but Lex keeps fighting back and sends an electrical surge through Superman's body. Stunned, Superman is thrown back to the ground by Lex. Lex lands back of the ground by Superman, but he is met with more punches. The fighting continues for a while longer, but Superman still has the upper hand while taking care of collateral damage. During the fight, the military reappears and free the hostages. Jimmy Olsen takes out his phone and records and photographs the fight while the army rushes in. One final punch from Superman sends Lex crashing to the ground. His armor destroyed and in pain, Lex says, "I guess you really are a monster". But rather than finishing him off, Superman learns his lesson and reaches his hand out towards Lex. Lex takes it, and while all eyes are on them Superman frees Lex from the suit while pictures are taken. But just as suddenly, Superman opens the compartment in the power suit holding the power crystal from Krypton and de-powers the suit for good. Back in the Daily Planet, Perry White breaks the news that Lex will not be prosecuted for his actions. "But on the bright side" Perry adds, we have new camera guy. Jimmy Olsen enters the room in his classic look, camera in hand. "You know, he's the one who took that picture of our friend Superman" says Perry as he points to the wall. Clark looks around and sees a framed newspaper, with a picture on the front page of Superman in the picture from his original comic book appearance, just updated. "You know, Clark" Jimmy says, "You kind of look like Superman. Just shorter and with glasses". "Hey, where's Lois?" asks Perry. On the Kent farm, Pete, Lois, and Lana talk over lunch. "So you really didn't know Clark was Superman?" asks Lana. "I guess the glasses fooled me" says Lois, "But now I know. Clark's a pretty handsome guy ins't he?". If looks could kill, Lana would be on trial for Lois' death. Back at Lexcorp, Lex puts some papers away at his desk and puts in a code at a keypad next to a safe on his wall. In the safe, you see walls of all the different colors of Kryptonite including a ring of green Kryptonite. Lex passes them for a stack of papers in a case at the very back labeled "Cancer Research". "I'm doing this for you, Lena" Lex says to himself, "I'm doing this for you. The final scene shows a title card that says 5 months later. Superman flies through the arctic, carrying a bag of all the crystals from Krypton Lex was using to power his battle armor. He opens the door to the Fortress of Solitude and heads to the back, He places each of the crystals in their respective slots on a display grid on the back. Once the crystals are all in place, a hologram of Jor-El appears. "Jor-El?" Superman asks. "Yes, Kal-El, I am your father. I have all the knowledge of Krypton from the Brainiac AI. What do you wish to know?" says the hologram. "Who's Brainiac?" Clark replies. the screen cuts to black as the credits roll. 1st Post-Credit Scene: Bruno Mannheim leaves the Boom Tube and is deposited into Darkseid's throne room on Apokolips. "You have failed me, Mannheim" says Darkseid, "Take him away, Desaad". Mannheim pleads for his life as Desaad takes him to the torture chamber. 2nd Post-Credit Scene: General Lane steps out of his car onto the Metropolis docks in army gear as his associate talks to him about the matters at hand. As Lane reaches the water, he sees a small pod floating in it. Inside, he sees Superman's cousin, Super Girl.
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