This is a bigger mess than I thought I signed up for. Apparently I was wrong, because I've made up my mind to get inolved, but I want it on the record that when I started heading this way, this isn't what I expected to find.
Well...yes and no, to the definitely thing, but I have to keep myself convinced. Even from here, I can tell that none of them are dead. They're still bleeding, still breathing, more obvious by how labored it is. There's one still on his feet - not DLL, not even pretending to be. His vocal patterns and tones are all wrong. Too serious, but at the same time, too young. Barely older than me if I had to try to pin a year on it. This guy, at least, is definitely not Daddy Long Legs.
But the way DLL - Waldo - is carrying himself, is yelling, the things he's saying... He's convinced he's the real one. I know there's a name for that kind of psychosis, the one where you start to believe your own lies to the point where they become active delusions. Yelling at him to stand down isn't going to help. I close my eyes behind my goggles as the situation rises to a fever pitch, and breathe. I need to intervene before the younger spider-person gets hurt, but I need to do it carefully.
Thwip, swing, release.
Here goes nothing.
I don't land in front of the delusional Waldo, however. Instead I thump to the ground beside Ms. Elektra, who probably doesn't recognize my costume but would probably know my voice from the training exercise. Even though I'm currently at that weird stage in puberty when it cracks ever so often without rhyme or reason, I manage to keep it level with a little extra concentration.
"Hold on," I say, softly enough for only her to hear me, "Let me talk to him. H-he knows me. Maybe. But he's delusional - and I can try."
I don't wait for an answer before shoving my hands in my pockets to hide the pseudomaterial claws forming, and stride out between the real-or-fake-DLL before I can have second thoughts. Truth be told, Doc would be way better suited for this than me, even though he gets delusional himself sometimes and would probably prefer Elektra's way for the sake of ease.
"DLL, it's Spider-Sane." I take several more steps, until I'm between him and the fleeing spider-kid. "Look, I know listening to me is a thing you don't like doing, but... but hear me out, this time, because people are getting hurt. People who aren't Waldo. Who aren't even involved."
I turn and point not to the wounded, but behind me, toward the fleeing kid. "I know you're smarter than me, and we both know Waldo's smarter than us. Listen to that guy's voice. If he was Waldo, he'd bother to sound older. As it is, he'd have better luck at pretending to be me than you." My hand slides back into my pocket, and I turn cautiously back toward the subject of my attention.
"He wants you to get careless, DLL. He wants to see as many people hurt as possible before he finally gets caught. You're just playing right into his hands. Call off the robots. I know people have failed so far but-" The idea is so stupid, but it flashes across my mind and out my mouth before I can stop it. "- but I have a lead that can help us actually find Waldo instead of trying to flush him out like this."
My hands tense, and in the corner of my mind I feel Annie stir, but the rest of me is completely relaxed throughout my lie. My chances of getting blown up are increasing exponentially with every second I spend talking, so I decide to wrap it up with all the enthusiasm expected from a teenage hero with idealistic values.
"Please. We want to make up for not helping so far. Let us help you now."