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Appearing in "Arachnis Ex Machina: Spider in the Machine"
- Jason Tso (Death)
- Orlando Kannor
- Alistair Smythe
- Doctor Octopus (Carolyn Trainer)
- Master Programmer
- The Pro
Synopsis for "Arachnis Ex Machina: Spider in the Machine"
This story continues from Scarlet Spider #2...
Caught in the middle of a gang war between Jason Tso and Doctor Octopus, the Scarlet Spider finds himself on the wrong side of the law after a virtual doppelganger of the hero ran amok in Manhattan.[Continuity 1] Surrounded by police and an angry mob, the web-slinger flees as the police officers begin to open fire. Later at the Darnell Building, Jason Tso meets with his employer, Alistair Smythe, to see his newly built Cyber-Slayers. Tso tries to call Ben Reilly, his bodyguard but gets his voice mail. Furious that Reilly is unavailable, Jason tells Ben that he is fired. He then tells his assistant, Orlando Kannor, to go back to Club Noir and throw Reilly out if he shows up. Kannor points out that this will leave Jason without a bodyguard, but the mobster points out that he doesn't need one now that they have the Cyber-Slayers to protect them. After Kannor leaves, Smythe puts on a specially made virtual reality headset which he uses to control his new creations. Outside of the office, the Pro watches as Orlando leaves the building and decides to finish the job he has been hired to do.[Continuity 2]
Meanwhile, at her Long Island facility, Doctor Octopus is fed up of failure and decides to act herself. She is furious that Jason Tso stole the components she needs to merge reality with virtual reality.[Continuity 3] She wants to do this so she can bring the Master Programmer into the real world. While she is doing this, the Master Programmer plans on searching for the mind of Seward Trainer, who has been a threat since his mind was trapped in cyberspace.[Continuity 4] As the pair depart to carry out their tasks, they are unaware that Seward Trainer -- having cloaked his consciousness -- has been spying on them all. In another room in the facility, the woman known as Stunner tries to convince Joe Wade to stop fighting his connection to the virtual reality device that has forced him to become the virtual Scarlet Spider. However, the FBI agent refuses to submit, prompting Linette Martinez -- the woman responsible for Wade's current condition -- orders him to be sedated.
At that same moment, Ben Reilly has returned to his apartment worrying about being late for work. Outside, the tenants have been evacuated and are afraid of the Scarlet Spider. Ben is horrified, realizing that the virtual Scarlet Spider has been sent here to go through Seward Trainer's apartment. He is then joined by Carrie Bradley who tells Ben that his apartment had been trashed by the intruder. That's when he notices Daily Bugle reporter Ken Ellis and photographer Angela Yin arriving on the scene. Fearing they might see him, Ben slips away while Carrie is not looking.[Continuity 5] Sneaking into his apartment, Ben looks around, upset that his life as Ben Reilly is being intruded upon. He checks the voicemails and is even more upset after hearing Jason Tso's message. That's when Seward Trainer appears on the digital display of the phone and tells Ben about Doctor Octopus' plan to merge reality with cyberspace, warning the shift will cause untold devastation. Changing into the Scarlet Spider, Ben swings off to stop her.
At that moment, Doctor Octopus and her minions arrive at the Darrnel Building to reclaim her stolen technology. There they are ambushed by Alistaire Smythe and his Cyber-Slayers. However, the battle turns when Jason Tso betrays Smythe by disconnecting the connection between himself and the Cyber-Slayers. Doctor Octopus easily destroys the robots and turns her attention to Alistaire. Meanwhile, the Pro corner Jason Tso and shoots him dead. Recovering her virtual reality helmet, the Doctor alters the device so she can initate the merger between reality and cyberspace. This causes all hell to break loose, with virtual reality constructs of monsters, dinosaurs, and aliens materialize and run amok in the city. Of all of these virtual invaders comes the Master Planner who is united with Doctor Octopus. At that some moment, the Scarlet Spider is coming to the aid of the terrorized citizens of Manhattan. After saving a child, he is confronted by a virtual construct of Seward Trainer. He hands the Spider a virtual reality virus that he has created that should stop the virtual reality warp. The Scarlet Spider ambushes Doctor Octopus and the Master Programmer. Knocking down the Master, the Scarlet Spider manages to toss the drive that contians the virus into the virtual reality headset. The virus kicks in instantly, ending the merger and seemingly destroying the Master Programmer in the process.
In the aftermath of the battle, Doctor Octopus manages to get away, leaving the Scarlet Spider to try and make sense of everything. Suddenly, an angry mob tries to attack him, causing the Scarlet Spider to flee the scene. Later, Ben Reilly visits Seward Trainer's body in the hospital. Reilly is depressed because Tso is dead leaving him out of a job, Doctor Octopus escaped, and thanks to the virtual Scarlet Spider his alter ego has been demonized in the press. Still feeling the need to use his powers for good, Ben Reilly decides that he can still do the Scarlet Spider's job as Spider-Man.