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Here was a world where the heroes always had someone to back them up in a tight pinch. A world where the villains needed an edge if they were going to make it....
Adrian Toomes, the villain known as the Vulture sat in his lair, grumbling over the foiling of his latest caper by that wall-crawling freak. It had been a simple theft of jewels from a penthouse safe. A paltry challenge for one such as himself to be sure,
but even he had expenses that needed paying. However just as he was about to make off with the loot, Spider-Man swung in!
"Perhaps I would've beaten him, but he had help!"
Toomes clenched his fists recalling that the Black Cat had also been there. She'd swiped the jewels from him, while the arachnid taunted him from afar. Had not been able to distract them at that moment, he was sure he'd be on his way to the Raft right now.
"If only I had my own help, someone to aid me in my efforts. A partner!"
Which would surely better than the various times Toomes had teamed up with other villains. While those combinations worked for a little while, they always fell apart due to clashing personalities and egos. No, he needed someone who understood the Vulture. But
where could he find someone like that?
"It's not like I could just fly down to the local store and pick out the perfect assistant..."
Then in the midst of the monologue of rage, an idea struck the aged criminal. What if he could make his own partner? It was so brilliant in its simplicity that he wondered why it had never occurred to him before. Of course, it would take some doing, as there
were more than a few things he needed to pull it off. But he knew who'd be the perfect recruit to his cause.
With a flap of green wings, the Vulture flew out of his lair to gather what he needed. A wide grin crossed his wrinkled face...
Landing with grace, Felicia Hardy, known to the world as the Black Cat, looked around the darkened loft. Her special contact lenses let her see that the place with all sorts of gizmos and old tech looked like one of the Vulture's lairs. That tip she'd gotten
had really paid off. She did regret not letting Spider know where she was headed, but she figured he'd forgive if she bagged the old bird. With practiced motions, Felicia moved towards a nearby door.
It was then that lights suddenly came on. Caught off guard, her special lenses blinded her. Staggering a little, she didn't see the Vulture step out from behind a control panel and throw a small canister at her feet. But she did smell the gas it release even
as she dropped to the ground unconscious. A low chuckle came from the bird-themed villain as he walked over to the fallen heroine.<
"Who says the cat catches the bird?"
With a grunt, the old man dragged Felicia over to a chair outfitted with straps and a wired-up helmet of some kind. Strapping her in, he lowered the helm over the sleeping cat's head before heading over towards a nearby control panel. He checked the instruments
of the HYDRA-made brainwashing device, knowing that this stuff wasn't exactly brand-new and that the modifications based on the work of Dr. Clifton Shallot that he'd made were woefully untested. But it was what his contacts in the black market could get him
on such sort notice. Flipping a switch, a low hum filled the room and the helmet on the Black Cat began to glow dimly.
Toomes grinned as he watched the device begin the process of rewriting the memories of Felicia Hardy, reshaping her mind into one far more villainous. In her new mind, Felicia never hooked-up with Spider-Man. Instead, he'd thrown her in jail like the rest of
his foes, rejecting her advances coldly. As she sat in her prison cell, her feelings for him curdled into a burning hatred. And it was this anger at and loathing of the arachnid hero that brought her to Adrian Toomes' door after she escaped prison.
She now remembered that he'd been a good friend of her late father. That Adrian had tried to look out for her after her father went to jail. She knew that he too had run afoul of Spider-man in the years since then, and she hoped he might help her in seeking
vengeance now.\ She got that and more. Their partnership soon moved beyond mere revenge and became something deeper. A love grew between them.
It was this love that led her to give up the identity of the Black Cat. She'd hesitated to do so, a little afraid to lose its connections to her late father. But when her beloved Adrian had been captured once again by Spider-man and carted off to the Raft,
she knew that the Cat and her second-story tricks couldn't save him. Ditching her long platinum blonde locks for a bob-cut style dyed jet-black, she combined one of his spare wing harnesses with a tight black bodysuit and soon winged her way out to him. In
process, she discovered the power that the flying harness gave her. She felt stronger than she'd ever been as the Black Cat. She was now a predator, a raptor in search of prey. She smiled as that seemed like a perfect name for her new self.
Outside in the real world, Toomes looked on expectantly as Felicia's body and costume were transformed to reflect her new memories via his special modifications to the HYDRA machine. He watched her hair darken and shorten. He saw the white fur trim of her costume
shift into a feather-like collar around her neck and plunging cleavage, while wings similar to his own emerged along her arms He witnessed a hardening of her beautiful face, which was no longer hidden behind a mask. She seemed older and tougher now, a byproduct
of her new life as she recalled it. There was a slight ding as the machine finished its work and the helm rose up from the former heroine's head.As she began to rouse from her slumber, Toomes unstrapped her and admired his new partner's form. Her eyes opened,
the sight of her beloved Adrian causing her crimson lips to part in a sly grin. She was no longer the Black Cat or Felicia Hardy. Now she was Felicity Toomes, the Raptor!
Somewhere else, another villain was coming to the same conclusion as the Vulture, But who was it?
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