15413/Ghostly Trails: The Hunt for the Fugitive

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Ghostly Trails: The Hunt for the Fugitive
Date of Scene: 02 August 2023
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Synopsis: After reporting that he's suspected of attempting to assassinate the mayor, Ghost-Spider swings by a Central Park adjacent rooftop to check on Spider-Man and offer a helping web-spinner.
Cast of Characters: Ghost Spider, Spider-Man

Ghost Spider has posed:
It wasn't like Peter and Gwen were besties. They knew each other. They'd seen each other around the web-cooler, thwipped a few solo cups and shared a few quips at the spider-meetings, maybe webbed up a bad guy or two together (all before Gwen did her increasingly familiar 'Gotta web!' and raced off again... this girl is always late for something). Every once in a blue moon, Gwen stopped in for a new jar of Aunt May's famous wheatcakes mix. But no matter who you are, when you hear that Spider-Man is trying to kill the mayor with a Barrett M82, that's cause for concern.

For the police and the general public, it's concern for the mayor.

For Gwen, it's concern for Peter. And the mayor. But, you know. Priorities. Either someone had taken over his brain, he was in serious need of professional medical attention, or he was being impersonated. None of those were ideal, and no matter which one it was, she couldn't just let him struggle with it on his own! What good was having a Spider-Family if they didn't show up when you were being hunted by the police?

So, the text went out.

>> Swinging by your regular haunts. Snag me if you see me.

It wasn't like she was going to initiate her own man-hunt or anything, but maybe it would serve as a reminder that he had friends. And it put the ball squarely in Peter's court if he wanted to see her or not. And true to her word, Ghost-Spider's unique white-and-black costume goes swinging through the buildings by Central Park, her Spider-Senses constantly monitoring for a familiar ping of a nearby Spider.
Spider-Man has posed:
All things considered, Peter has definitely had better weeks.

Actually, in fairness the tousel haired photographer for the Daily Bugle can't think of very many weeks that have gone worse then this one..

There are a few obvious examples of course -- finding out his parents were dead comes to mind, and of course that night that cost him his Uncle Ben -- but shy of that right now it's hard to imagine just how things could look much bleaker.

Which of course he probably shouldn't consider. And certainly not say outloud. No matter how bad things are right now he can surely find a way to jinx it and make it even worse. That Parker luck. He must have seriously wronged the Fates in a previous life. Maybe stood one of them up or something. Because they surely don't seem to much care for him in this one.

Normally Peter would likely be webbing his way through the city right about now, soaring high above those busy streets below. It's not the same as flying, but it is pretty damn close and it is about as amazing an experience that he could ever ask for.

Or if not that, perhaps he would be leaping through the trees in the Park below right now. Checking out the various ponds and other likely haunts, trying to narrow down that search for Dr. Conners, to bring him back to his right mind and body before he hurts someone. Before the Lizard hurts some one.

But that's right out too at the moment. Given the incident on the weekend -- his supposed attempted assassination attempt on the Mayor -- NYPD presence in the park right now is a lot heavier then normal. And the last thing he wants to do is add to the controversy around himself by getting into a public battle with the police. Ugh. If he has publicity problems right now, it could still get so much worse.

So when he gets Gwen's text he eyes it consideringly for a moment, not immediately replying. But finally he does tap out something...

>> Bad week. Hanging out with Gus.

The Gus in question is unmistakable really. At least for the wall-crawling sort. Located on a building located just across the street from the North End of Central Park and the thick forest there, Gus is the single ugliest gargoyle in all of Manhatten. And sure enough, Spidey is perched there, even with his mask on practically radiating that morose expression that is surely fixed in place beneath it.

He might not be looking for a fight right now, but it's hard to give up the search for his friend either.

The burdens of responsibility. Peter knows them well.
Ghost Spider has posed:
Gwen's mid-somersault when her phone goes off, and she pulls it out to look at it. She smiles behind her mask as she reads through the text. She hadn't even needed to web again before she slipped it back into it's hiding spot, gracefully diving a few more stories before she finally twipped out another line and changed course, rounding through an intersection to head north.

Only a couple of minutes pass. And as much as she might enjoy making some kind of grand, surprise entrance, there's no hiding herself from that innate connection she has with Peter and the other Spiders. She does appear behind him, but mostly because that's where she swung up to and landed, her teal slippers effortlessly navigating the edge of the rooftop.

"Somebody's a Gloomy Gus."

Her hood had fallen back, but her mask remained on. Despite that, there was something sympathetic in those big white eyes. Or maybe it was just because he could probably imagine her expression well enough.

"...And, I'm not talking about the statue."

She plops down beside him, butt on concrete, legs crisscrossing in front of her.

"How are you holding up?"

No accusations. Not even a question about what actually happened. Just concern for him.
Spider-Man has posed:
There is nothing quite like plunging in a free fall, diving down towards the street below -- just cars and pavement waiting -- and then pulling out of it at the last moment with a well placed webline, swinging away into the night. The old Pete -- the one before that spider-bite -- would be horrified at the idea. He probably still should be. But while he might done that mask each and every night because of a deep rooted sense of responsibility, clearly there is some part of him that has become a bit of an adrenaline junky too. Just a little bit.

Of course even that probably wouldn't move him to smile right at the moment and when she hurtles out of the darkness to land just behind him, he barely even looks up from his silent survey of the nearby park. Just a quick glance and then it's back to his vigil.

"That Gus and I. Two of a kind," he agrees, his voice sounding tired. It's not uncommon for him to go weeks on a minimum of sleep, but right now he sounds positively exhausted.

Such is the end result of insisting on carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

He does give a quiet sigh at last and slowly straightens from that crouch, hoping down off the ledge proper to face her more full on and almost promptly sinking down to sit on that little concrete stoop. "It's been a hell of a week," he says quietly, lifting the mirrored lenses of his mask towards her own. "I didn't do it. Not that I would think you assumed I did. I just wanted you to know. You're not checking in on some crazy vigilante or alien controlled drone," he assures her, holding up a hand her way.

"I'm pretty sure it was the Chameleon. There was a woman there, she's in the photo I caught. At least her back is. I'm pretty sure that's Spider-Woman though. We've run into each other on the job a lot as of late. Anyway, she saw the gunmen change. Just for a moment. His face... flickered and it wasn't my mask anymore. It was just a pure white, unmarked mask. Just like Smerdyakov wears," he says wearily.

"Problem is," he adds, continuing, "the camera crew on the scene didn't catch it. They had cleared out too after the explosion so the only 'proof' that it wasn't actually me is that photo, with the two Spidermen in it. And surprise, surprise Jameson's just saying that we're in cahoots," he says with a sigh.

Then, perhaps realizing that he is droning on a little in his pity party he glances up once more. "Sorry. I didn't ask how you are. Rude. Everything's going well I hope? You're not being pursued by the authorities for trying to assassinate anyone I hope?"
Ghost Spider has posed:
"I mean, not yet, but it's still early."

There's a gentle understanding in Gwen's voice, a carefully measured, playful optimism that remains despite the weight of acknowledging Peter's horrible situation.

She'd watched him rise, move, and drop down in front of her. And once they're both there, out of the prying eyes of the city (or, at least, well enough out for a carefully calculated risk), she reaches up and pulls her mask off. She shakes out her blonde hair, cut just above shoulder length with light pink tips, and though she's made it to her mid-twenties, there's still something very young about her -- a spark of life in her eyes that seems impossible to extinguish.

There on her face is the concern that had been hinted at through the mask. Her bright blue eyes soft and almost sad despite the hopeful little curl on her lips that was so obviously meant as a reminder that all was not lost.

"You're right. I didn't think you did." There's a little shrug of her shoulders, the playful curl of one corner of her lips tugging a little broader. "I mean, I was fully prepared to take you down and web you up if you were. But I'm glad I was right. If we had to do a whole fight thing I was going to get home super late."

Humor. The first and last refuge of every Spider.

"I'm good, though. Same old, you know? Work, school, band, modeling, clearing my friends' names so they can get back to their regularly scheduled lives without all the torches and pitchforks..."

Her hands come up a little, fingers making a circling gesture around each other.

"On that last point, any thoughts? I'm here to check on you, but I'm not /just/ here to check on you. I wanted to find you so I could find out how I could help. Need someone to take some patrol shifts? Be on the lookout for something? Sneak into some super-secret government facility and steal a MacGuffin? I'm your girl."
Spider-Man has posed:
Up here, atop this older style apartment building, with the noise of the people and traffic a more distant thing, the lights of the city a more muted thing, it is a little easier to believe they don't live in a city of millions and Peter reaches up to tug his own mask up, revealling those tousel-haired features. He might not be thirty himself yet and the shadows up here, away from the lights down below might be playing tricks. But his features certainly look a little more shadows, his eyes somehow a little more hollow.

"See? Really is me," he offers up with a brief smile. Though that might not mean a whole lot under the circumstances. Not if the Chameleon is out there, running around. Though Pete is almost sure the man doesn't know who he actually is. That would be a complete disaster.

He doesn't smirk -- briefly -- despite all the doom and gloom hanging over him, that cheer just a little infectous. Besides, it's pretty much true. Humor, quipping, all of that seems to be intrinsically inherited by all the spider-types out there. Maybe spider's are secretly the big cut-ups of the arachnid world, making all the other insects giggle with their wit.

Or maybe it's a human thing. A coping mechanism. Either way.

"I knew you had my back. Right there to web me up if I was harboring an alien parasite controlling me. Or if some rogue telepath was taking my mind for a spin. Glad I didn't have to inconvenience you though and keep you up past your bedtime. I bet you're an ogre if you don't get your solid seven hours of shut-eye," he teases before the smile fades a little.

Still he listens, genuinely listens, and seems to be glad to hear that things are going reasonably well with her. "Sounds pretty busy. Especially that friend. Ugh, always such a drag having to go to their rescue.." Peter comments, that smirk threatening to reemerge.

The smile turns genuine though at the offer to help and a little sigh slips from him. "I hate to inconvenience you, but I really can't turn down any helping hands at the moment," he admits. "Short of catching the Chameleon -- which is kinda like finding a needle in a haystack that is then mixed with an even bigger haystack made of almost identical needles -- I have no idea how I'm going to clear my name," he admits.

"I talked to Firestar -- before the whole assassination thing. She was going to sweep the park and keep an eye out for Doc Conners for me. That has to be my first priority," Pete says firmly. Despite his own problems, his friend comes first. "If you could take an occasional peek too, that would be great. And there's the Mayor. If Chameleon has been hired to kill him and not just frame me the assignment's not done so he could still be in danger. I'm not sure how close I'm going to be able to get to him, keep tabs on him. But that might be the best shot of getting my hands on that fake Spidey," he admits.

"The Scorpion came after me last week too. And Spider-Woman and I stopped Doc Ock from getting his hands on some radioactive material. No idea what that was about, but that's hanging out there too," he says before his mouth curls up sardonically.

"That enough for you to add to your plate? Aren't you glad you asked?"

What else are friends for? But to be imposed upon.
Ghost Spider has posed:
/Aren't you glad you asked?/

"Geeze. I was really thinking more like one small favor, but I mean, I guess if you need me to do your whole job for you, I can just move some things around..."

Gwen's lips purse, trying to keep herself from smiling, but her eyes twinkled with amusement.

"And I'm an ogre in the morning no matter how much sleep I get, but I still need my beauty rest. You don't think all this," she makes a little circular gesture around her face, "happens on a mere six hour /nap/ do you? No it does not."

That smile finally returns, free from her pursed lips.

"Consider me recruited to the cause. Besides, the fact that he keeps getting himself into trouble may be kind of a drag, but it's also kinda why we're friends in the first place. Plus he's got a few other redeeming qualities, so it all balances out. He's worth it. I'll swing by and check in on Firestar if I see her out and about. Otherwise, I'll keep an eye on the park between the Mayor's public appearances."

There's a little lift of her pale eyebrows.

"Scorpion and Doc Ock sound more like a you problem at the moment, but I'll stick closer by than I have been in case you need me. Speaking of which, you've still got my address, right? You look beat. If you ever need a place to crash where you can get a /full seven hours/," she rolls her eyes, "and no one knows where to find you, you've got a standing invitation. You don't even need to call first. And it's just me there, so if I come home one night and find you passed out, I'll know what happened."

She smiles again.

"It'll be okay, you know. We'll get your name cleared. Help your friend. Save the mayor. It's what we do. It seems like a lot right now, but you've still got your friends. We'll get you back to posing for cheesy photos with tourists in no time."

There's a chime, then, from her phone, and Gwen pulls it out of a pocket, sighing as she looks at it.

"Speaking of making time, I've gotta web, but you've got my number. And my address if you need it. I'll swing back through the park as soon as I can."

Then she's pulling her mask back on, lifting her hood back over it, and rising smoothly back to her feet.

"Cheer up, Gus. Ghost-Spider's on the case... right after a brief message from my sponsors."

Gwen wiggles her fingers and then smoothly flips backwards off of the ledge, free-falling for a few seconds before she thwips out a line and swings off into the night.