[ At some point, mid-evening on Sunday, during the height of the battle, the network for most users flickered to life -- the system-wide announcement was simply Iron Man -- although at some point, his helmet had peeled back, a few stray strands of the Symbiote-infused suit wavered and flickered back and forth, like something alive, chrome moving as if it were a real thing.
And Stark stood there, the camera obviously wasn’t a comm -- but one of those handy cameras that one of the De Chima ambassadors had set up, and right next to him is Spider-Man, hunched over on the ground, both suit and man looking distinctly the worse for wear. ]
You know what we need, imports?
We need to stop hiding. We need to stop pretending that we’re something other than what we are -- we’re humans, each and every one of us. We pretend like we’re better than the people down there, just discovering their potential. Like we’re enlightened. Like we don’t have our own problems.
[ He wraps a hand around Spider-Man’s bicep and hauls him to his feet, a slight, sardonic grin on his face. Spider-Man, for his part, doesn’t look like he’d be able to stay there without being held up. He's not even looking at the camera. ]
I’ve always been one for the public knowledge of who we are. We should be held accountable for our actions -- yes, yes, even me. I know this isn’t popular right now, I know it isn’t.
[ Spider-Man makes a dismissive noise, barely audible over the camera microphone. ]
There’s no reason to be rude.
See, the thing is... you accuse… me... of talking outta my--
[ He plants his heels and pivots in Iron Man’s grip, shooting out web-lines from both wrists towards a target off camera. Spider-Man heaves, there's an earsplitting squeal, a briefly seen blur of dark, and an almighty CRUNCH before the camera goes dark.
It stays dark for another 45 seconds.
When the broadcast resumes, it shows the same scene from a different angle. More than that has changed: the wreckage of a car burns merrily in the background, an Iron Man-shaped imprint molded into the chassis. The man himself looks no worse for wear. Spider-Man, even more battered, looks barely conscious, only able to scrabble feebly at the gauntleted hand that holds him by the throat, a good foot off the ground. ]
I was going to say -- before I was rudely interrupted, that I forgive all of you, because you can’t help it, not really. My friend here, however, he can help it. And he chose to ignore that.
What I don’t forgive is trying to undo all the work we did together.
[ He reaches under Spider-Man's chin -- batting aside the other man’s last-ditch attempt to defend himself -- grabs the mask, and pulls. The face underneath is bruised, bloody, and not quite present, but recognizable to anyone who saw the network post on Wednesday. ]
Peter here’s a great example. We go through all this trouble, a public unmasking back home, media, everything, and what does he do?
Somehow, he undoes all of it. It took coming back here for me to remember what he’d even done. You think I’ve got the problem? Imports, we all have a problem, and it’s as deep as our very culture.