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Quote1.png Can I tell you a secret? I don't trust them either. Quote2.png
Dr. Ashley Kafka

Appearing in 1st story

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Synopsis for 1st story

In the office of Dr. Ashley Kafka, Ben is reticent to talk about the incident with criminal, dubbed Hellbomb. Earlier, Marcus was giving Ben a routine preliminary call advising Ben to wait for the fire-response support teams, so the historical landmark location wouldn't be damaged. However, Ben breached without authority and took down Hellbomb at the cost of five floors damaged by fire and smoke. As Dr. Kafka reads Ben the report, he's unfazed as nobody was truly hurt by the incident but more concerned with his placement in the Beyond Corporation, directing Dr. Kafka to ask what is going on with him.

Two floors up, Janine sits anxiously at the foot of her bed, staring in bated anticipation at her dresser holding what Ben gave her. Recalling last night, Ben handed her his mask before heading to the shower, Ben had actually whispered into her ear that Beyond was lying to them and handed her the hard drive concealed within his mask. Now, she reaches for the dresser, but pulls back in hesitation to sit patiently again on the foot of the bed. In Dr. Kafka's office, she asks Ben open up but he refuses as he no longer trusts Beyond, and Kafka is under their employ. Surprisingly, she sides with Ben in her distrust, and made it so they'd be contractually obligated to grant her full autonomy, so as to treat him without corporation interference.

In a secret surveillance room, Maxine Danger is herself surprised finding Dr. Kafka actually believed that, covertly monitoring her session with Ben and Janine's stationing in her bedroom in real time. As a technician asks if he should disable the system, Maxine refuses as she finds the sessions to be good entertainment; and to not miss anything important. Back in Janine's room, she recalls her petition for reduced supervision in Beyond Tower being denied by Maxine, who brought up Janine's incarceration and special release. As Janine recalls Maxine telling her "Beyond knows best", she stands in affirmation to reach for the dresser.

After Ben opens up about Doc Ock's decrypting the drive and finding his dossier, he corrects Dr. Kafka that they were absolutely correct about his character malleability. As Ben trails off, Dr. Kafka finishes his statement that he is a clone, much to his surprise recalling never having spoken of it. She explains he told Beyond a while back about his repeated resurrections and deaths by the Jackal before killing him and taking his mantle.[1] As the Jackal himself, Ben revived her among numerous other people, but Beyond wanted a "clean" Spider-Man so they wiped his memories of that time per Ben's petition beforehand. As clones, their memories are their personality imprints, so she used her ring technology to stitch back together any risk of memory loss, such disruptions to his sense of reality she speculates made him distrustful.

He denies this, as he also read further into the files and found Beyond had so many shell companies that they are chaotically diversified. All this cloak and dagger is a cover, as Beyond cannot be trusted as the files showed they weren't playing the superhero game alone. Concurrently, Janine reads the files on Ben and more, finding exactly what Ben mentions in his therapy session, going to the kitchen to ready a knife. Dr. Kafka asks for clarity and before Ben can continue with mention of the U-Foes, Maxine ends the session with sonics and tranquilizers. Dr. Kafka screams at Maxine given her promise of patient confidentiality, as a tranquilized Ben is dragged off while Dr. Kafka begs they not memory wipe him again.

As Marcus checks in on Janine and lies about Ben's "decompression", she takes him hostage instead with a reminder of her time in prison. Elsewhere, as technicians selectively scan and wipe Ben's memories, Maxine is too ambivalent to Marcus's departure request with 'a guest' and approves it. Finding Ben made a spontaneous jump in his memories,[2] the technicians all find destabilizations in his formative memories. As Maxine orders they stop pulling, they can't as Ben is demolishing his own memories, tearing his mind apart and collapsing inward.

Solicit Synopsis

• This is one of those comics that you will remember for years to come.

• Ben Reilly has been shaken to the core, and you will be too.

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