(This was brilliantly started bybut he gave it up. I asked if I could coz it had lain doemant for a while and he said yes. So here it is, the ongoing (hopefully) of the Iron Age Punisher. Rated M-MA)
… “And then it hit me, I tore through my bag. My heart sank. In my excitement I had forgotten to pack everything. I had left my research, all of my notes. At Ferrum!”
Ferrum, Brooklyn Heights
I slammed the door to my car a bit too hard; the window fell out on the street. I really didn’t care! I was on the verge of being exposed, my family killed, that a piece of gaffer-taped glass falling off my ninety year old car didn’t rate! I grabbed my I-Dent card and ran back to the office, then I stopped, slowed my stride, am I being too obvious? Stark! I tried to be as casual as I could as cold sweat built up under my arms, on my brow, between my toes. If Conway or Andru or stark, if Stevenson found my bag, I’m dead!
I bolted into the lobby, the sound of my feet echoing on the marble tiles.
“Working late Jackie boy?”
I turned to see Andru leaning nonchalantly on the lobby desk, chatting up the office girls. I dislike him! He’s cheating on his wife, dobbed in at least five employees for being Spiders even though they weren’t and would happily stab anyone in the back for a promotion. Him being in the lobby is a bad sign.
“Forgot my wife’s…present”
“How is your wife?” It was laced with smarminess, sexual innuendo and I knew exactly what he meant, I wanted to smash his nose into his face!
“She’s good Andru” The lift pinged and I headed to it.
“Have a good weekend”
“Stark you, you starking starkhole” I muttered as I waved and smiled as the lift doors shut.
I get out on my floor and run down the corridor, slamming into an Iron Soldier standing in my way. I hit the floor, he barely budges. Slowly he turns to me, his pulse rifle aiming at my forehead.
"Going somewhere?" he snarled
I gulped, trying to calm my nerves "I..."
The visor shot up revealing an angry bearded man inside "Can't you read?"
I looked at him blankly, wondering if it was a test. "...Yes?"
"What does that say?" he pointed to the sign on the wall.
"No running in the halls" I read, I’d seen that sign hundreds of times before…I’m going to die for my inability to read a starking sign!
He glared at me for the longest time "Move along" He waved me through. I scrambled to my feet and tried to calmly walk to my section. My heart thundered in my chest as I saw more soldiers standing in my section. I walked up and nearly vomited in my mouth as Conway was talking to them.
“Here’s who you need to talk to” Conway nodded at me, three soldiers turning to me, I could see my eye twitching in their opaque visors “Jack”
“I-Dent card!” ordered a soldier motioning with his hand.
I fumbled my I-Dent card and handed it over “What’s this all about?”
Conway looked at me “Just routine Jack” Another few moments of sheer terror and silence as they simply stood there, looking at me and my card. I felt like I was standing in a puddle of my own sweat.
“I use to be one of y…” I started
“Jack use to be one of you” added Conway as he sat on my bag “Did what, two tours in New Germany?”
“Yeah” I stared at my bag.
“Well that’s great” sneered a soldier “So what do you know about it?”
I looked blankly at the soldier, I had no idea what or where his question was going “About what?”
“Why the power couplings on our boot jets keep overheating?”
I breathed a sigh of relief and for the next twenty excruciating minutes talked about the fact they probably weren’t following proper Iron Army procedure, backed up by Ferrum; that they weren’t doing basic maintenance. I keep watching Conway sitting on my bag; my life was literally under that man’s ass!
When it finally ended and the soldiers filed off, Conway stood and thrust my bag into my chest “Walk with me Payden”
“I really ne…”
He draped his arm over my shoulder and urged me down the corridor “You been here, how long now?”
“And we recognise that time, that service which is why,” Conway put them in the lift and pressed the button for the executive floor “Mr Stevenson wanted to have a chat about your career”
I don’t know what to do! I’m stuck in a lift with a man I know skims employee wages, engineered his mistress’ suicide, has played the dob in a Spider card so many times it happens nearly every other week and I’m sure he knows that I’ve got stolen Ferrum tech in my bag, plus he’s leading me to the bosses office, another man who sold his soul and child to the Chairman for his little fiefdom!
“I really have to get h…”
“Top floor!” announced Conway as he ‘led’ me along the mahogany corridor to Stevenson’s office. Dolph Stevenson; six feet seven inches of science and muscle! Rumour has it he was built by Dr Essex, never dare say it to his face though. His chiselled jaw, perfect bleach blonde flat top, piercing eyes one blue the other green he was a scary figure. He was in line for Desmond Fisk’s job over in New York when Desmond makes a mistake bad enough to get ‘replaced’.
“Payden” Stevenson looked out his massive window towards New York, no bothering to look at us.
“Yes Mr Stevenson.” I tried to sound normal
“Do you know why I called you here?” he slowly turned, his eyes burning into me, the sweat built up under my arms again.
“Gravity Force Reactor” He looked at me “What do you know about it?”
“Not much sir”
Stevenson smiled, actually more of a sneer “Really?” He snapped his fingers and six Iron Soldiers filed in behind me and Conway, who calmly stepped away and towards Stevenson. “Because I to have footage of you stealing one”
I nearly died. It was over. My worthless life was coming to an end.
“What were you going to do with the GFR Payden?” he asked as he knocked back a glass of Scotch “Sell it to New Latverian rebels? Give it to your spider friends?”
“Sir, I’m not a spi..”
“I DON’T CARE!” he roared smashing the glass at my feet “At this point in time Payden you’re a spider, a SHIELD agent, a mutant, a New Latverian subversive but most of all, you’re a thief!”
“And you’re a stark!” I glared at my boss. My outburst got me a rifle butt to the back of the neck and a brief kicking before I was hauled to my feet then forced to my knees.
“Read your file Payden,” Stevenson slowly, deliberately walked across the room towards me “War hero on the New German frontline. Toured as a sniper for your second go round. Now, just a mechanic, a cog in the machine. Are you stealing because you didn’t get a parade?” He slapped me across the face so hard I nearly blacked out “You disgust me!”
I spat blood on his very expensive shoes “We live in an age of sorrow”
Conway chuckled as Stevenson grabbed my chin “What kind of nonsense excuse is that?”
I drew back and spat again hitting him right in the eye. He flipped out and smashed his fist into my face; the soldiers picked me up so he could have another couple of goes. Stevenson stopped and got the soldiers to prop me up. “Notice how I’ve left one of your eyes untouched. You’ll want to see this” He clicked a button on his holo-watch and a massive screen came down. An image appeared that took me a few moments to work out what it was…HOME!
“Seems you and your spider wife were hiding your mutant children in the basement” laughed Stevenson as my wife Hayley was dragged on screen by three Iron Soldiers and dumped onto the ground.
“She can’t hear you Jack” laughed Conway pouring himself a drink.
Stevenson spoke into his watch “Proceed” and my world vanished in seconds. The Iron Soldiers shot a burst through her stomach killing my unborn child, leaving Hayley mortally wounded. They then set fire to my house. I tried to fight but they held me firm. Hayley lay on the ground in agony. Two soldiers then grabbed her by the arms and dragged her towards the house.
They were shielded from the flames by their armour as the placed her inside the roaring inferno. I struggled, fought, swore but to no avail.
“This is what happens when you steal from Ferrum” stated Stevenson “This is what happens when you stark with the machine Payden!”
My eyes were on fire. I looked down and saw the broken shard of glass. I bowed my head.
“Oh he’s praying to Thor” chuckled Conway
“..No” I thrust my head back catching the soldier holding me unawares, it didn’t hurt him but cracked his visor and allowed me to gather up some broken glass and jam it deep into Stevenson’s face. I raked my fingers down his cheek as he howled, the soldiers unsure whether to shoot or not due to the close nature. I snatched a pulse rifle off one of them and made him pay for his sloppy grip before trying to kill Stevenson. He dove away as two soldiers tackled me and the three of us crashed out the window. I fired shots into their feet, taking out their boots jets as we plummeted towards the polluted East River.
The last thing before it went black was a glimpse of Stevenson’s bloody and freshly scarred face looking down yelling my name.
I awoke vomiting! I was in a tunnel and by some miracle I was alive. I had several repulsor burns but no direct hits. I didn’t care; I don’t care! Ferrum and the Iron Army killed my family! I am going to execute every last starking one of them! I am going to punish them for taking away my life! I should be dead but I’m not. They’re going to wish I had died!
I will heal…and when I do, you’re all dead!