The Marvelous- Chapter 2
Written by Bodhi Ouellette
"Why do we need superheroes? This is the question many people have been asking themselves for the past few years. Superheroes like Captain America and Spider-Man have saved hundreds, thousands if not millions and billions of our lives countless times from our near extinction. But why now? Why did we lose hope in them?"
Grant could feel a vibration rumbling in his front pocket. He dug through his pocket to pick out his cellphone. Kelly was calling him. He picked up. "Hello?" said Grant.
"Grant, where are you?" Kelly asked concernedly.
"I'm at my apartment," Grant answered. "I was just… I had to start writing something."
"Writing something? Grant, the whole cities freaking out of control and you're spending time writing?"
"You don't think I know that? I'm fine, Kelly. What about you?"
"I'm alright. I'm at the hospital, taking care of the injured."
"What about Brian or Mark? Are they ok?"
"No clue. Neither of them has responded to my calls."
"Crap. Want me to call them?"
"Please. I have to get back to work, talk to you later."
"Kay. Bye." The call hung up. Grant searched through his contacts over to Mark's phone number. He calls him up. No answer. "Don't tell me his apartment blew up again," Grant said to himself. Grant then searched his contacts again over to Brian's phone number, and calls him. He picks up. "Grant?" said Brian. "You alright?"
"I'm fine, as is Kelly," answered Grant. "What about you?"
"A bit bruised, but I'm alright. Is Mark ok?"
"Kelly and I tried to get a hold of him. No response."
"Shit," Brian muttered out.
"Do you want me to go check to see if he's ok?" Grant asked.
"No," Brian ordered. "They're setting up a mandatory curfew for all citizens in Manhattan. No one can leave their homes."
"Great, so I'm stuck here."
"Sorry, but I can't do anything about it. I worried about him, too. We'll send a squad out to find as many people as we can. For now, everyone must get indoors."
"I understand. Stay safe, Brian."
"I always do." The call ended. Grant got back to staring at his computer module, with the words he already typed out. He continued to type out his thoughts.
"Why did we lose hope in them? Was it because we found ourselves to be more determined of them to save us? Is it because we realized that the world seemed a lot more dangerous than it was? Maybe it was because these superheroes are just a fad, and we would slowly get tired of them. I believe it is because we became less attached from them. We've forgotten that they were human, just like us. Individuals who had regular lives, were friends with not only each other, but with other people, and interacted with everyone around us. You're friend might've been a superhero even. And I was given that chance to write about their lives…"
Avengers Tower, New York City:
A taxi pulled up against the sidewalk. Grant entered out of the sidewalk, thanking the driver behind him, as the taxi drove off. Grant glanced up to gaze at the incredible architecture of the Avengers Tower, designed with a tinted golden glow, with an almost spiral like building structure. Grant took a large breath, and moved forward into the tower. He walked into the tower, glimpsing around the massive Main Lobby area, with very few people in it. Grant was confused as to what to do next; should he go to the elevator to reach the heroes? Is there going to be someone coming to retrieve him? Did they completely forget about him altogether? The option he went for was to just wait and see.
Suddenly, he could hear a voice calling out to him. "Hello, Mr. Kemsley," said an oddly British sounding voice coming from a speaker on the ceiling. "Is… is that for me?" Grant asked.
"Yes, indeed," the voice answered. "I am J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's and the Avengers loyal artificial intelligence. You are the reporter who will be doing the paper on the Avengers team, correct?"
"Yes," Grant answered.
"Enter into one of the elevators," informed J.A.R.V.I.S., "then press the 45th button. It'll lead you up to the floor where most of the Avengers partake in relaxation."
"Understood; thanks uh, J.A.R.V.I.S."
"You are most certainly welcome, sir."
Grant followed the A.I.'s orders; he entered into one of the elevators, and then pressed on the 45th button. The elevator doors closed and began to bring him up to his destination. "More elevators," he thought. Despite Grant's animosity towards elevators, he found this particular ride to be incredibly smooth, including a steady stop, which didn't make Grant want to puke out his lungs. The elevator doors opened up again, now at the 45th floor. Grant exited out of the elevator to be greeted by another figure, this time by a figure in butler garb. "Good morning, Mr. Kemsley," the Butler addressed. "My name is Edwin Jarvis, personal butler to both Tony Stark and the Avengers."
"Wait a minute. There are two Jarvis'?" asked Grant confusingly.
"Indeed there are," the A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. responded with. "I am based off of the fellow in front of you, Mr. Kemsley."
"Well, that's a twist." Grant looked around to see no one else around. "Where are the Avengers?"
"Ah, Mr. Kemsley," started Edwin Jarvis, "I do apologize, but the Avengers had to leave shortly before you arrived to deal with a pesky man eating spider infection in Australia. They should be back hopefully soon. In the meanwhile, you can make yourself at home." Edwin escorted Grant over to a large living room, with over four couches and a large 60 inch flat screen television mounted onto the wall. "There's television with over 2000 channels for you to watch. Would you care to have anything to drink, sir?"
"Water's good me right now," said Grant. Edwin went to retrieve a glass of water for Grant. Grant meanwhile looked around for a remote control to turn the television on, but he could not find one. "There is no remote control, Mr. Kemsley," said J.A.R.V.I.S., "If you wish to turn the TV on, you must ask me to turn it on for you."
"Um… alright then… J.A.R.V.I.S., turn on the TV."
"Will do, sir," The television turned itself on, showing the last channel that was watched was the Hallmark Channel. "Is there any particular channel you'd like to watch, sir?" J.A.R.V.I.S. asked.
"Um… I guess one of the news stations, like the Daily Bugle," Grant addressed. The television screen changed over to Channel 11, where the Daily Bugle's newscast station was broadcasted on. He was just broadcasting into a heated discussion between four other newscasters on… the mayor's comments on Superheroes. "Oh, great," Grant though, "More controversy over my article, just what I needed."
Edwin came back with Grant's glass of water. "Here's your glass of water, Mr. Kemsley," said Edwin.
"Thanks," Grant said, as he grabbed the glass of water.
"Everything all right, sir?" questioned Edwin.
"I'm fine. I'm just watching them complain about the Mayor."
"You know, if I recall, didn't the Mayor go on a rant in response for the article published by the Bugle… written by you?"
"Unfortunately; now a lot of angry people want my head for it."
"I don't blame you, or any of them for that matter. The only person who really is to blame here is the Mayor."
"Yeah, if only he stopped reading the papers to find something to blame all of our problems on, instead of, y'know, doing his job."
"Funny. That's the exact same response I had. Will that be all for you, sir?"
"Yeah, I think this'll do me just well. Thank you."
"The pleasure was mine, Mr. Kemsley." Jarvis left, and Grant was stuck watching The Daily Bugle discuss the whole Mayor controversy ironically involving the DB. "Screw this," he said. "J.A.R.V.I.S., take me to anything other than this channel? Or any other news channel for that matter?"
"Of course," J.A.R.V.I.S quickly changed the channel over to HBO, where The Shawshank Redemption was broadcasting. With the movie on, and the volume up, it was time for Grant to sit back, relax, and think and take some notes.
Three movies later, Grant was now watching his fourth movie, A Bronx Tale, now lying down across the couch, at this point more engaged in the films he's been watching than whenever the heroes would come back from their adventure. It was almost six o'clock. If they weren't going to arrive soon, he would just go home and call it a night, maybe schedule another time to talk. But then, he could hear the sounds of a small jet approaching the Tower. Grant looked out the window to see the jet hover above the outside balcony. Coming out from the jet was Captain America, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Thor, and Wasp. The jet flew off, and the heroes entered into the building. "Well, I think I've had enough spider webs for a few years," said Iron Man, as he pulled of his helmet to reveal his face to be Tony Stark. "No offense to you, Spidey."
"Offense mildly taken," said Spider-Man.
"How was your trip in Australia?" Edwin Jarvis asked.
"We took out Ai Apaec and his little spider army he had control of, threatening to destroy all of Sydney," told Thor. "His army of spiders was almost as big as the Frost Giants back in Jotunheim. Almost, that is. But their poisonous bites and sticky spider webs we're nothing against my Mjolnir."
"He even took control of Spidey and I for a little bit," Wasp mentioned. "Must've been a new power of his that he got, and I didn't like it. I got hit in the face by Cap's shield from it!"
"You were about to fry me, Janet," explained Captain America. "I had to try to defend myself."
"Yeah, and now I've got a huge headache because of it."
"I have dinner ready for all of you soon," said Jarvis. "In the meantime, you have a guest that's been patiently waiting for you."
The heroes all looked over at the Living Room where they could see Grant staring at them. "Uh, yeah," Grant approached the heroes. "I'm Grant Kemsley, reporter from the Daily Bugle. I'm here for the article."
"Hey, Grant," greeted Tony, he stuck his hand out at Grant, and the two embrace in a handshake. "Welcome to the Avengers Tower. I hope we didn't take too long for you to wait."
"Nah, its fine," said Grant. "You are superheroes after all; saving the world is your first priority. Besides, it's gotten me to think about a few things, and kill some brain cells on HBO."
"Transformers 2 was on, wasn't it?"
"Well, sorry we had to keep you waiting, Grant," Carol said. "You can stay and have dinner with us," she offered.
"Thanks," said Grant. "I'd love to. What's for dinner?"
"Beef Wellington," answered Jarvis, "with sides of mashed potatoes, broccoli, and salad, with apple cider as a beverage."
"I think my mouth is watering," Grant joked.
"You too?" Spidey responded. They all let out a good chuckle.
The Dinner Table was set up; with all the plates, utensils and food laid out on the table. Grant took his seat on one of the sides on the table, so he was not sitting next to anyone. Opposite on the other end of him was Thor, who was holding a large Asgardian beer cup, full of his own beer that he brews himself back on Asgard. On the left of Grant's peripheral view, Carol Danvers, Peter Parker and Tony Stark sat to eat, while on the other side, Steven Rogers and Janet Van Dyne sat. Jarvis also joined them, sitting next to Janet. All of the heroes we're now in their civilian clothes.
"I'll tell you one thing about how I make this incredible beer I have in my hands!" Thor howled. "Tis a wonderful tale! In the basements of Asgard is where we keep all of our wonderful alcohols. One time I was down there, after I had returned to fight off a giant Celestial that threatened to destroy the Earth, a few of the other brewers and I were preparing for a massive celebration for our victories. But then we came to a problem; we ran out of a special ingredient that made our beer how it was. So we were forced to use a substitute. We we're reluctant at first when we mixed it all together, but we all tried it first in order to see if it was any good enough… it was the best beer we've ever made! And thus, this beer was born. You should try some of this."
"Well, you know my condition with anything alcoholic, Thor," said Tony. "I'm trying to keep myself sober. And I'm not letting you ruin it for me."
"Count me out too, Thor," said Carol. "Sorry, but I need to keep my sobriety as well."
"Anyone else who wants to try this?" asked Thor, shaking the beer bottle around, waiting for someone to try it. "I'll try some," Grant spoke out. "What harm will come of it? Besides, it's beer that's made by gods. Why wouldn't I want to try some?"
Thor then handed the bottle over to Edwin, who then handed it to Janet, and then to Steve, and finally over to Grant. Grant picked up the large beer cup to his lips and took a small sip of the beer. He then took another sip. And then another. And finally one more sip. He licked his lips to wipe away the beer foam that was left behind on his upper lip. "Magnificent!" said Grant. "That's incredible!"
"See? I told you!" Thor replied with.
"So, what else should we talk about?" Janet asked.
"What if we talked a little bit about you, Grant," Steve suggested. "You're going to be our reporter for this article, so why not share a little bit about yourself?"
Grant settled his fork down after taking a bite of the Beef Wellington. "Well… hm. Where do I start?"
"Start anywhere," said Carol.
"If you insist, I suppose. I guess I'll start with my family; I was raised in Boston by my parents, Fred and Margaret, with my two other siblings, Henry and Sarah. I spent most of my life there. Actually all of my life there up until when I graduated from High School and I went to Empire State University for college."
"Same here," Peter said.
"And that's where I met three of my best friends there; Brian, Mark, and Kelly. I don't know what I would've done without them."
"Why's that?" Janet asked.
"Maybe it's because I'm not much of a social person. I was very seclusive in High School. It was almost made worse after I found out that my father and sister were killed in a car accident. I remember being stuck in my room for almost a month. With the exception of going to classes, I wouldn't talk to anyone or want to be with anyone. But they helped me out of it. And I thank them so much for it."
"It's always good to have friends that you can depend on," said Steve.
"What did you go to college for?" Tony asked.
"Journalism," Grant answered. "I majored in it because one; I liked reading and writing my whole life, and two; I was mostly inspired by Phil Sheldon's book Marvels."
"I know that man," Steve said. "Sheldon was a great guy. Plenty of us have met him and knew him very well. Shame that he's no longer with us."
"Yeah, I was a bit sad too when he died," said Grant. "I met him only once, at one of his book signings. He was the most pleasant guy I've ever met. To see how integrated he was with the superhero community was astounding. Even took a picture with him."
"So, is that why you took this assignment?" asked Tony. "To do the same thing as Phil did?"
"I wouldn't say it's all because of him," Grant said. "I would say to any reporter, the chance to do this big of a project, who wouldn't say no to something like this? But I've been thinking, and it's partially inspired by that little rant Mayor Brook went on two days ago. Maybe you don't know, but people are losing faith in you guys. Why people are beginning to, I don't know yet, and the Mayor's speech is a perfect example of it."
"Oh, yeah… I forgot you were the one who wrote that article in the Bugle," Carol responded with.
"Yeah, and now I wish I didn't send it in. Now most of the Bugle wants my head because it's giving them too much controversy, all because of the freaking Mayor."
"Don't put yourself down like that," Steve said. "Now this is your time to make things right. So what's your plan?"
"I figured I wouldn't want to do this as a regular one and done article," Grant explained. "I want to get to know your superhero community. I would be around one superhero maybe for a few days at times, and I would write down what I've experience. I want the people to know what you guys go through, and maybe even explore some of your daily lives, even, but that'll depend on if a super villain doesn't read the article and finds out all about you."
"Trust me, I wouldn't worry too much about that," Tony said. "The entire world knows what our real names are."
"Yeah, just be careful about what you share, and ask us beforehand on what to publish and what not to," Peter said concerning. "I've had my experiences with it, unfortunately."
"Of course," said Grant. "I wouldn't do anything you guys don't want me to."
"Tis a deal!" Thor said, and he got up from his chair and lifted his beer cup above. "I say we grant a toast! To our new friend Grant!" The other heroes and Jarvis followed as well, as they also gave a toast to Grant as well. Grant joined in with the toast too. "Now, who wants to go first?" Grant asked. "And who else do you think would be interested in this?"
"I can go first," Steve said. "And we'll ask the others as to if they want to be covered in this big plan as well."
"Excellent," said Grant pleasingly. "Tomorrow, do you think we can start?"
"Sure, son," Steve agreed. "Tomorrow it is."
"Great. This is going to be good."
And there was the second chapter of The Marvelous! Please comment, favor and follow this story if you liked it! You might be curious as to where exactly this takes place in the Marvel Universe (Or you just don't care). I pinpointed this to be somewhere around the beginning of the Marvel NOW! line of books, with some alterations here and there. The biggest change, and one I think many of you might be happy with, is that One More Day never happened. It'll be explained more in a future chapter, but that's why Peter is at the dinner as himself. Hope you all enjoyed this second chapter!
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