Ben Parker Origin
I opened the book with my morning cup of coffee. Peter came into the kitchen and made some toast like he usually did before school. I kissed May goodbye as she headed out the door to go shopping with her sister for the day. She was so happy I finally decided to hang up my black hoodie and bandanna. She worried for so long but she knew I did what I had to do for so many years.
“What are you reading,” asked Peter as he sat down next to me to eat his toast.
“Luke 12:48. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required...”
Before I made the decision to quit, I was a military officer working under Project Captain America. After the Captain they said they had created the perfect soldier and would cease further experiments due to the possible harm it causes the subjects. That was not the case. Steve was the perfect soldier and when someone creates something so powerful, it is hard to stop. They continued using the serum on willing officers and some unfortunate unwilling officers while hiding it from most of the government including the Captain. You could say I was a part of the most secret project in the world.
After joining the military and serving in Vietnam I quickly climbed the ranks and was asked to join Project Captain America. Thinking the project had stopped after World War II, I was quick to say yes. At the time, keeping it secret was perfectly normal. After all, Captain America was a huge success so the government was trying to create a team of new Captains to do the government’s work. I was eventually asked if I wanted to volunteer for the serum and become a super soldier. I recently got married to May and wanted to do my best to provide for her so this was a dream come true. What I didn't know, was what happened to the soldiers after the serum and what they did with the failed subjects.
My best friend Carl, volunteered when I did. We went into the test room at the same time. The leather and metal table were cold on my skin as they strapped me in. I had never been so nervous. I glanced over at Carl and he nodded to me right before they stuck me in the arm. We would wake up as new men. I felt my eyes closing unable to control them. I think the doctor was asking me my favorite color when I slipped into darkness. I’m not sure how much time had passed but when I woke, I immediately felt a rush of adrenaline and ripped right out of the straps before I realized where I was. The doctors calmed me down and asked me a series of questions which I’m guessing I answered correctly.
I looked over to where Carl was and he wasn't there. In his place was another volunteer getting strapped in.
“Where’s Carl,” I asked. My voice startled me. It sounded slightly deeper than before.
The doctor paused in the middle of reading me something and said, “Carl is fine, he woke up before you and is taking some tests. You need to listen, I have to read you these statements then we can get you out of here.”
The doctor had me repeat sentences after him but I wasn't paying attention. I mouthed them back to him without thinking what I was saying. My mind was racing. I kept inspecting my new body. My arms and chest were huge. I prodded my forearm with my finger and felt the muscles underneath. I kept tuning my attention to the volunteer on the table where Carl had been. I recognized him but wasn't sure of his name. The doctor tried to bring my focus back to him on multiple occasions until my mind would wander off again.
The man on the table next to me suddenly started shaking and his eyes went huge as he was trying to struggle off the table. The doctor in front of me shot up and tried to hold him down. Other doctors rushed over and unhooked him from the machines as fast as they could.
“He’s up too early,” one of them screamed. “How much sleep aid did you use?”
“The same amount we always use,” another retorted. “He must have rejected it like the last one.”
Carl. I jumped off the table and ran towards the door. As I pulled the handle, one of the guards grabbed my arm to keep me from getting out. A doctor was rushing over to me with a syringe held out in front of him. I grabbed a hold of the guard with my free arm and twisted him around and pushed him toward the doctor with much more force than I thought I could. The man on the table was left screaming as the other doctors and guards were rushing toward me. I made my escape and ran as fast as I could. I stumbled a couple times before I realized where my new feet were. I was frantically scanning the ground for Carl while running straight for my car but I had no idea where to find him. The place was in an uproar and I had no time to look. I stood out like a sore thumb in my green army pants and no shirt. I heard guns firing after me until I made it to my car and down the road.
I made it home and quickly packed bags for May and me. She wasn't home yet and I knew this was the first place they would look for me. I drove to the hospital where she worked and called her office from the parking lot payphone. She came out to the car got in the passenger seat and buckled before she noticed how different I was. She let out a slight yelp and I proceeded to explain everything that had happened. I could tell she was worried and I suggested we stay at Richard’s for a couple nights but she thought the government would probably look there. She said we should get rid of the car too.
We drove to a hotel on the outskirts of the city and got a room and unloaded our bags. May stayed at the hotel while I took the car and left it at a gas station a few miles away. I easily ripped the license plates off and threw them in the overgrown empty lot next to the station and walked back to the hotel. It was dark when I got back. I called Richard and told him everything that happened. He told me some officials had already been by Mom’s house asking about me. I told him he couldn't tell her anything except that I was fine. I hated not being able to talk to her but it would cause to worry more than not knowing where I was.
A few weeks passed and May and I bought a house in Queens under her sister’s name and lived in fear for a few months until the heat died down. Richard said the officials stopped by a couple more times but eventually I think they stopped looking for me. Things started to go back to normal and I got used to my new body. I tried to find out what happened to Carl but to no avail. I figured they probably had him killed from the looks of what they did to the other man on the table next to me during the experiment. I got a job working in a warehouse and May started working at a nursing home but we never used our real names. I even got to see my mom from time to time until she passed.
Richard got married to Mary and they bout a house close to the city. They had a baby and named him Peter and I became an uncle. As happy as I was for them, their jobs required a lot from them. They didn't get to spend much time with him so May would go babysit whenever she could to help out. Thing started falling into place. Good jobs and a great family. Despite this, we still did our best to stay under the radar as the years passed.
One day I got a phone call from my mom. She said there was somebody there that wanted to talk to me. My heart raced as I heard her hand the phone to someone.
“Ben,” asked a familiar voice, “this is Carl.”
I was speechless, frozen in place at my kitchen table.
“Hello? Ben are you there?”
“Yeah... yeah I’m here,” I managed to whisper.
“This is Carl. I need to talk to you. Can I come over?”
“Um… yeah. I’m in Queens.”
I gave him the address and waited at the kitchen table. May was at work and I was home alone. I began to cry into my hands. There were so many questions running through my mind. I wiped my eyes as I heard a knock on the door. I opened it to see Carl standing there but I hardly recognized him. We were the same age but he looked much older with pale skin and long gray hair. He was thin as a pencil.
“Hi Ben,” he smiled. “You look good.”
“Carl,” I said and hugged him.
I motioned him in and he sat at the table while I got us glasses of water.
“I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I’ll tell you everything I remember.” I took a seat across from him and handed him his glass. He didn't look at me while he talked. His eyes were constantly scanning the room. It felt like he didn't even know I was there. He continued, “I remember them strapping us to the tables then waking up and seeing you still lying motionless on the table next to me. Next thing, I was in a room with someone in a uniform who was making me repeat things after him while I was hooked up to a bunch of machines and a metal ring around my head. They gave me medicine every day and kept making me repeat things after them but for the life of me I can’t remember a single thing they said.”
“Ben, I was under mind control. I’m not sure why they continued to try and control me since I was a failed experiment. They did it to the ones that passed to. They were training super soldiers to do whatever they told them. From the looks of it, you made it out. My only guess was they kept doing it to me so they could keep me there and I wouldn't talk. They kept me locked up for years. The same routine day after day.” He coughed and took a drink of his water. “One day I stopped taking my medicine and hid it from them. I acted like I was crazy and stopped repeating what they were saying. It wasn't too hard. I think I’m crazy as it is anyway. I broke out a week ago now here I am.”
I took a minute to process everything he said. Mind control? I admit, it wasn't hard to believe but it was hard to process. My best friend was under mind control for years and they tried to do the same thing to me. Who knows how many other soldiers were unknowingly working for them now. “Where are you staying?”
“I’m staying at an apartment downtown with my cousin. Don’t worry about me. He takes care of me. I freak out sometimes and have flashbacks but I just stay in the apartment until he gets home from work. He’s out in the car now. He brought me over. As much as I want to drive, I probably shouldn't.”
“Well he can come in,” I said and started to stand up.
“No, no. I have to get going soon anyway. He’s got some places to go before we go home. How’d you get out anyway?”
“Well, I woke up and was changed into this,” I motioned to myself. “I didn't see you and there was another guy next to me where you had been. The doctor was having me repeat after him then the guy next to me woke up and started shaking. The doctors said he woke up too early and they were trying to get him under control. I ran towards the door and took out a guard and doctor then ran to my car and went to pick up May. We stayed at a hotel for a while then found a house here and they quit looking for me.”
“I wouldn't be so sure. I overheard some guards mention your name. I think that’s what snapped me out of it. They could have just been telling a story. Hopefully that’s what it is but I’d be careful. How’s May doing?”
“Great. She took all of this a little rough but it’s been a while. Richard got married and had a son named Peter. He’s four now.”
“I’m happy for you Ben. It was good seeing you. You look so different from what I remember. But I’m sure I do too. You may be a little better off though,” Carl laughed, which turned into a cough. He took a drink of water and stood up. “I better be going. I’ll call you soon.”
“Take care of yourself,” I said. “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Will do,” he said and walked out the door to his cousin’s car.
I followed and sat on the front steps and lit a cigar. I waved as they drove away. I was so relieved. And angry. And confused. Carl was alive and somewhat well but the government, the project I worked for, was controlling the innocent soldiers they experimented on and I had no idea what I could do to stop it. I could try and expose them but it would put my family in danger and they would no doubt find me. What could I do?
I sat there for about an hour when May pulled up in the driveway. She sat down next to me and I told her about Carl coming by and everything he told me. Except for the part where the guards mentioned my name a week ago. She could tell I was troubled and did her best to comfort me and tell me how there was no way I could expose the government right now. She assured me we would figure something out.
We got up and went inside to hear the phone ringing. May answered.
“Yes of course. Bring him over. Is everything alright,” she asked. “O.K. we’ll be here.”
“That was Richard,” she said. “They’re bringing Peter over to stay for a while. Something’s not right Ben.”
A half hour later, Richard and Mary were hugging Peter goodbye. He was balling. He knew something wasn't normal with this visit. He came over fairly regularly but this time he was scared. May took him to the living room while I stood with Richard and Mary in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry Ben,” Richard apologized. “I don’t know how long we will be but it isn't good. Thank you for everything. We will be back as soon as we can.”
“There’s no need to worry. He will be perfectly fine with us. Be Careful. We’ll see you soon.”
Richard hesitated for a moment as I said that then walked toward the door. Mary hugged me and said, “take care of our boy.”
We did our best to make Peter feel better. He settled in after a couple days but he was always quiet. I’m sure that’s hard to imagine for a four year old. Then a night two weeks later we got the phone call. I answered to hear a man who identified himself as Nick Fury informing me that my brother and his wife had died in a plane crash over Algeria while on a mission. I dropped the phone to the floor. At the time, it didn't even wonder how anyone knew who to call. I still wasn't using my real name. I saw Peter standing there looking up at me. I fell to my knees in front of him with tears streaming down my face and held him while I sobbed. May walked in to the kitchen and I looked up at her. She saw the phone on the floor and knew immediately was had happened. She calmly picked up Peter and took him upstairs to try and put him to bed.
She came back down shortly after and sat on the floor with me while I cried into her shoulder. At that moment I knew I had to use what had happened to me, to try and make the world a little better. My brother and his amazing wife, Carl, all the other soldiers they experimented with, they deserved justice. I was going to do whatever I could to help with that. The next few months were awful, but as they say, pain can only heal with time. Plus we had Peter to take care of and comfort Peter. We did our best to explain to him what had happened. He wasn't the same for a long time but we eventually moved past it and became a family.
Peter grew up like any kid would. He was so smart. If he wasn't reading, he was messing with a science kit I got him or playing ball in the street. He was always kind of shy and didn't have many friends but we were in a good neighborhood so I never worried. I remember one night. I think he was ten. I would wait for May to go to bed and slip outside about midnight to go downtown and see what kind of trouble I could find. She knew I did it but it was easier to just wait. I hated making her worry. I went to the back door so no neighbors would see me leaving. I had on my black hoodie and bandanna in my pocket. I heard something continuously slamming on the patio outside. I slowly walked to the door and peeked outside. Peter was on his skateboard trying some trick over and over. I thought he never used that skateboard. I got it for his birthday a month ago. I figured he didn't want me to see him messing up the tricks. Do you know how loud a skateboard on concrete is at midnight? None of the neighbors complained though so I let him keep at it. That night I slipped out the front door. The next day after school, Peter showed me the new trick he learned.
I continued my street crime fighting but always wanted to make a bigger difference. I had honed my skills over the last few years and had researched countless hours on the Project Captain America mind control issues. I got my hands on all the information I could concerning Richard and Mary’s missions and death. It was time to call Fury. It took me three weeks to get a hold of him by the way.
“Colonel Fury speaking,” he answered.
“Hi this is Ben Parker.”
“Ben Parker,” he asked. “Ah yes, what can I do for you? How’s Peter?”
“He’s doing well. I know you are busy. If getting a hold of you is any indication,” I laughed, “you probably don’t have much time. I wanted to talk to you about Project Captain America. I used to work…”
“This about the mind control? I assure you S.H.I.E.L.D. is already on it. We won’t let this continue. We are taking care of the soldiers and trying to erase anything they did to them. If I need any help, I’ll let you know. I might need you to testify. Your name will be cleared and you can be known as Ben again. But, from the sounds of it, the public has a different name for you,” he chuckled.
“What,” I asked.
“Oh yeah. A street name,” he laughed again. “Bandanna. Pretty original huh? You know, I can hook you up with some pretty good costume makers.”
“I think I’ll be alright. I’m a pretty simple guy. Somehow I think you already know that though. Bandanna? Really? What can you tell me about Richard and Mary’s mission?”
“I’ll send you a file. It’s got everything you could possibly know about their mission. Honestly though, the ones that brought down the plane were taken care of. They've been gone a while now. I think you’d be best in the alleys of New York. I can send you some work too if you’re interested,” he said.
“Thank you Colonel.”
“Take care Bandanna.”
The years passed and I worked a few jobs for Fury and prowled the streets. It was easy for me to notice when Peter had changed. I had been through the same thing. While I didn't know all the details of what had happened, I knew he became Spider-Man. He was going through a lot with becoming a superhero and trying to balance school. He became more interested with his parents disappearance each passing day after finding some of Richard’s things in the basement. I did what I could to help him without letting him know that I knew. I always tried my best to never keep anything from May but this was something she couldn't know. She would be devastated.
“What are you reading,” asked Peter as he sat down next to me to eat his toast.
“Luke 12:48. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required,” I answered. “Peter, with great power, comes great responsibility.”