Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Spill and the Spider! or, "the Depths Forbidden!"
"The Spill and the Spider!"
Today, Peter Parker is a photographer aboard a skimmer,
the Lady Sabrina. The boat was recruited to help retrieve the oil from the water’s surface, as dark clouds gather overhead. Fumes and brown globs cover its waters.
After a terrible oil spill, boats have gathered to help.
He feels sick, sad, and threatened.
“My spider sense,” he thinks, “keeps buzzing, as though there’s some form of
danger all around! And these gases give me a terrible headache! Compared to this, web slinging in New York City is a breath of fresh air!”
“Storms are bringing wind speed up several knots,” remarks the captain next to Peter. He is scrubbing a brown pelican with detergent. “Glad we are heading back to shore.”
“Wish these pictures had better news,” says Peter.
“I hope, when people see this, they will not forget,” says Captain Steven, shaking his head.
“Trouble with the radio, Captain Steven!” says a crewman. “No signal going out.”
“Looks like we have company,” says Captain Steven. “That’s Captain Eldon Kelli’s boat, the Darby Mist.”
Peter’s warning buzz grows stronger. “They’re siding up to board us. Captain, do you see those strange guns?”
From the prow of the Darby Mist, costumed Pirates appear. “Stand down! We’re armed and coming aboard!”
“Let’s take these hostages before storm blows in,” one says. “See what these lasers can do? They can cut through metal---and you, too, if you don’t cooperate!”
Nothing I can do for now, Peter thinks, except watch out for my fellow shipmates.
I’ll help if necessary...but at my first chance...
Soon, as the Lady Sabrina and Darby Mist approach an island in the distance, one of the thugs says,
“all right, docking in a few minutes.”
One of the hijackers points to Peter Parker and says: “Someone should’ve already taken this camera!”
“I could flatten these jokers all day,” thinks Peter, “but I’ve got to get them right where I want them, and until then...I’ve got to let them think they have ME!” So he hands over the camera. His dismay upon seeing it flung over board is apparent. His inspiration comes swiftly; he thinks: “that water proof case took the last of my voucher! But maybe...”
Peter decides to speed to the railing and apparently clumsily flip over into the sea. Lasers fire after the fact into the foam.
“He doesn’t stand a chance out here, with his hands tied,” says their leader. “Let’s prepare to dock!”
As he falls overboard, Peter snaps the ropes and flicks the hidden nozzle of his web shooter open. “Keep a tether onto the boat with my web! Otherwise, in this wind I may never fire a straight shot, and I don’t want to lose them!”
Then he quickly spins a web around himself.
“Hope this cocoon will do the trick while I change.” What no one aboard the ships knows is that Peter Parker is secretly the Amazing Spider-Man!
“Use my webbing to make a paraglider, catch wind...” he thinks, as the storm catches up his huge webbing kite. “Lifting me up...perfect!”
“Not the ideal day for para-sailing, but so long as they can’t see me at this distance, I can follow them the rest of the way! My spider-tracer I left aboard Sabrina is all I need to find the boat inside.”
From far above the waters, Spider Man is treated to a
heartbreaking sight. “Man, Roxxon Oil’s exploded rig was a big enough disaster---but no one realized how bad the deep water leak would be! These poor animals!”
“I’m glad Captain America called for, pleaded for, and inspired the donated time and efforts of boats who can skim oil. This stuff could decimate the marshlands---and those are all that protect the coast when hurricanes come along!”
He sees rows and rows of absorbent tubing called booms stretched out.
Some of them are catching oil; some are overturned. “If only someone were out here overseeing the boom!” he says aloud, while trying to snag a line of the boom as it floats above the ocean. “The boom can’t stop the oil if it’s tangled up along the coast!
I wish my web could substitute, but it dissolves in an hour.” With great difficulty, he manages to pull the boom straight again from his paraglider.
Below, he sees the pirates reaching their destination. From his webbing glider, Spider Man swings down and crawls inside on the cavern ceiling, where he sees many other small yachts captured.
He watches the hostages carefully; first he makes huge, sticky web. Then he dives into the gun men.
“What? Spider Man!”
“You were maybe expecting Abbie Sunderland?” he jokes, referring to the teen sailing her boat solo around the world.
With spider-speed, Spider Man begins throwing the Plunderers into the web to hang stuck.
The last one tries to shoot Spider Man, whose webs fly over either side of his shoulder. “The Plunderer’s gun will fry you where you stand! And you missed!”
“Oh, I won’t miss you one bit!” Spidey says, throwing another gun man into him so hard that he slams into the webbing, which stretches , then catapults them both over Spider Man’s head into the huge web. He then turns to Captain Steven:
“I’ve got to trust you on your own...try to radio Coast Guard and I’m going to explore this base!”
“Get me in touch with Admiral Thad Allen!” says Captain Steven, as Spider Man swings away.
“Someone’s got to have a plan for stealing all these skimmers,” says Spider Man. “If the buzz my spider-sense is giving me is right, I might find the answer down this mine shaft.”
Spider Man’s freed the shipmates aboard the Lady Sabrina and Darby Mist boats, among other hijacked tug boats and other vessels used to skim oil from the Gulf Coast spill by Roxxon Oil! But what plan lies within the deep shaft leading into the cavern?
chapter 2: A Deadly Mile Below!
Spider Man observes a pair of ships leaving a dock secreted behind a sliding steel door. He crawls down a shaft into darkness, falling his uncanny warning sense.
“Deeper, hotter...must be the effect of under sea floor pressure!” thinks the wall crawler. The strain of the vertical climb would be far more than any man could bear. Nauseated, dizzy, he must carefully, quickly scale into this almost unimaginable crack into the floor of the ocean. Spider Man continues on, because there is no other way to know the face of the urgent danger.
Finally, he finds a platform descending below him, and hides upon it. The mine elevator stops inside a secret labratory. In its midst stands a shock-haired man, pacing in a dark green jumpsuit, talking aloud to an image on what appears to be Skype, projected onto a screen. He releases a signal from his wrist watch; a laser sets a quivering ringing sound to work. Two of the captured boats enter the stormy seas pointed back to the shoreline.
“It’s the precise moment; the approved skimming vessels, loaded with our vibranium, are safely on their way to our coastal laboratory," says the Thinker.
"Prepare your men to evacuate this base! I hypothesize we are approximately 97.8 % safe from discovery before
our next and final phase is complete!"
"It’s the Thinker! I'd know that calculating cackle anywhere!" thinks Spider Man.
“Got to fight my sickness from those oil fumes, and listen for some clue! Any minute, now, Thinker-Bell will start explaining his calculations!
Chapter Three: The Depths Forbidden!
At the bottom of the shaft leading from the harbor of kidnapped boats, Spider Man quickly checks his hand-made filter beneath his mask. "I was afraid I'd need this to deal with the oil spill conditions," he thinks. "I haven't improved much on the design since I used it battling the Master Planner gang for the isotope I needed to cure Aunt May's blood poisoning! * " (Amazing Spider Man #31, 1965)
The Mad Thinker explains his calculations, how he might best utilize the tragic oil spill for his maximum gain.
Hypothesis: the oil spill is the direct result of a lack of calculation. Life without calculation is ill-conceived, indeed! Theory: Roxxon Oil does not have a proper back up plan for clean up or stoppage, leading to deadly sub-standard safety settings...
Conclusion: the clean-up effort is not so carefully monitored as to prevent previously cleared oil-skimming ships from becoming the unwary carrier for valuable smuggled resources.
"For such a shy, reclusive type, he certainly loves to hear himself talk!” laughs Spider Man silently to himself.
From his wristwatch, Thinker
uses a beam to initiate his Launch Mode Coordinator. Throughout the mechanism-filled base, the received signals result in a wave of vibranium smuggling ships,creeping from a hidden harbor.
The Thinker speaks to the masked image in the holographic Skype window. "This Savage Land vibranium seized on the open Atlantic will be perfect material for a deep sea well plug of my OWN device! With the exotic mineral in our hands, they will have no choice but to turn to our channels to save the ocean."
"That vibranium is my birthright," says Lord Plunder, "See to it that you utilize it well!"
"Query: Am I not..the Thinker? Farewell, Parnival Plunder!"
He continues raving.
“As the present situation tests the limits of human engineering, my preliminary calibrations of pressure and volume derived by way of approximate water displacement suggests the best material for capping the well quickly is---Vibranium!
I have deduced, already, the errors of Roxxon Oil---no doubt covered up amid meaningless permits from the government! The statistical anomaly that eludes them is all-too-clear to one such as I...”
He spins around dramatically, pointing at the shadowed, spying wall-crawler.
“---as YOU are!”
Spidey's spider sense renews its tingling symphonies of survival. The strange elevator discus he has ridden through the shaft to this ultra laboratory comes to life.
"That, my intruder," says the Mad Thinker,
Anti grav lift for transporting the vibranium but it will also serve to take you off your feet!"
Before he can be whisked away, Spidey
spins a web and begins to crawl back to the ground, still floating away.
"Looks like you'll have to reschedule your Parnival Cruise Line!"
From a saucer-like silver portal, his hand-crafted henchman, the
Awesome Android, bursts in.
"Thinker, you could just tell me: are you really m-mad?"
As the fifteen foot tall creature molds his hand into an unbearable hammer, Spider Man swiftly squeezes out of the corner wherein he is nearly trapped. He swings the length of the lab, as the android’s putty like malleability remakes the arm into whip spun with its inhuman might!
Always thinking on his feet, Spidey reflects on the situation while dodging for his life!
“What does he want the vibranium for? It would be ideal for creating a plug in that mile-deep well! Is that what he intends? Should I NOT try to stop him?”
The Thinker begins to key up something from the vault embedded in the makeshift ceiling, while fluorescent lights begin to flicker.
“There is some aspect of intelligence at the sentient level that defies an algorithmic assessment---theoretically, thought IS beyond calculation, so that it might be imprecise, or perhaps, intuitive!”
Spider Man swings straight into the Android head, kicking its non-descript face.
Unharmed, the Android snatches the air where the somersaulting super hero stood half a second before.
“However, I require predictability in even my most fearsome creation!”
Android touches Spider Man after he attempts another punch, then from the wall, he webs its feet to the cavern floor.
“One factor complicates any predictions made by my antagonists:
So long as my android can absorb a punch ---“
The Awesome Android attaches its massive frame to the ceiling, crawling quickly towards Spider Man!
"--or a power for that matter from a condition or quality in its opponent...”
Spider Man flips onto the floor before it launches itself like a ramrod!
“...or surroundings such as deep water pressures...well, the demonstration speaks for itself, and I must away!”
Making matters worse, as Spider Man discovers the passage out of the lab, a team of the Plunderer’s men arrive with their searing laser guns. A platform beneath the Thinker’s feet begins to rise.
“You’re simply too late, Spider Man.”
As the Thinker dons his pre-launch control interface harness, an Anti-gravity elevator raises him into his escape vessel.
“I will meet with my smuggled ore within the marshlands near the shore.“
As his automated modules prepare him for a speedy rocket launch, he exclaims: "Why---I rhymed! Bwah-HA-ha-ha!!! What an exquisitely precise day."
Spider Man must take his chances in the below sea floor caverns.
“At least I’ll draw them away from the freed hostages above who remain trapped until help arrives,” thinks Spider Man. “Maybe find out where they are taking the stolen vibranium.
If only men like the Thinker would resist greed and so much control over life, they could use their inspiration to help make energy exploration safer. As it is what we need is a relief well to take the tectonic pressure off the escaping oil!”
He risks his life in the hot, dark, deadly environment, his spider-agility keeping him just ahead of the breath taking, pulverizing blows of Thinker’s Android.
"It’s too dark to see anything in here---without my spider sense, I'd be a deep sea fricasee! Powers, I love ya, but is there a Point to all this reflexive survival?"
And if Awesome Andy here doesn’t stop climbing the walls, I’ll sue him for infringing my hard-won trademark!”
At last, nearly pinned down, Spider Man faces the unknown dark. He plays it from the gut.
He leaps a chasm to escape Plunderer’s fire, without any sight of where he leaps, empty handed.
The heavier android's lunge plunges it into the crevice below.
Our hero gets an idea.
Spider Man swings down, causing the Plunderers to direct their fire into the floor...the sea crust beneath the feet of the Awesome Android in the pit below.
"The lasers and the Android’s pounding are taking their toll. The pit’s erupting in pressurized oil!"
Quickly Spider Man uses his webs to carry as many men across as he can, in three trips; all but one choose to hold their fire. That one is punched by his fellows.
Spider Man reminds them there’s no time and the gallons of oil ooze up from the pit, carrying the Awesome Android helplessly in its untamed crude gusher.
You wanted riches, Thinker? Well, tonight it’s time to roll out the barrel!
“My laboratory!" says the rocket-launching villain. "Swamped with petroleum! It could igni---”
FWAassH!! Ka-Thoom! goes the fume-heavy lab below his firing engines.
The Spill Android whacks away at the crust, where the oil erupts.
"The android treats the gusher as an attack!" Spider Man observes.
Android's still down there, whacking away at the crust, because it treats the gusher as an attack! Its programming is too limited to see the danger of the gushing oil until it’s up to its neck in it!
Hope the oil gushing below will continue to relieve pressure beneath the seafloor, to slow the oil from the burst well. Perhaps now they can get it safely contained...and the cavern will hold the crude for a little while, thanks in part to the durable facility that seals it off for now! Now if they can just fit it with a proper cap and valve before it flows back up to the subsea surface.
Yeah...lots of “ifs”...too many, web slinger...too many.
Peter changes out of his costume. As the Coast Guard arrives, he is picked up outside the cavern by a small rescue boat from the newly freed skimming vessels. As he joins the rest of the crew members, he thinks:
"Still, in the end, at least the Thinker's supposedly dumb robot showed more sense than its creator! After all, the relief "drilling" we did just might save a few thousand tarballs from hitting the coast! I wonder did it ever realize---it was on OUR side?"
Two days later, Parker is holding his camera again.
"What do you know? The water proof seal kept my camera safe till it was picked out of the water! It's intact...along with several shots of the under belly of a sea turtle! He must have seen the casing and thought it was a brightly colored fish! Well, sorry about dinner, my deep water friend...but maybe with these pictures, I can contribute truth. Maybe your home won't every be spoiled this way again...if we look at where we are, how we've gotten here, and agree to say "enough!"