Call for an Exterminator?

March 31, 2018:

Titans members Black Bolt and Caitlin Fairchild clear out a factory filled with large bugs. Black Bolt is forced to whisper.

Bakerline - Metropolis

Bakerline is a primarily a middle-class housing community consisting of
three districts known as Lafayette, Oaktown, and Hamstead.Spread across
these three districts are homes that show what Metropolis was before it
became the large bustling and shining city.

Small businesses do not exceed more then three to four stories in height,
most ground levels turned into 'mom and pop' storefronts while they lease
the areas above out to tenants or reside there themselves.Like any older
neighborhoods the middle class can vary to that of lower, the old housing
nearly appearing derelict if not abandoned completely, but despite that
appearance there is still the bustling of life as block parties are hosted
by the communities within communities, residing closely and not just by the
separation of walls - most of these people have grown up together for
generations and enjoyed the peace they have from the bustling borough of New
Troy.

Small parks mottle the areas as well as Bakerline Zoo, centralized between
the districs of Lafayette and Hamstead, making areas for these families to
enjoy without having to venture too far from home.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The meatpacking plant at the edge of Metropolis lurks on the edge of the City of Tomorrow. It's one of those industrial bases that is absolutely critical to the infrastructure of any major city, but is unsightly (and smelly) enough that no one really wants to be near it. Here, the pasture and sea meet up— fish butchered and packed into thin blue trays, and beef ribs carved up to be sent to tables all over the city later.

"Pheeeow, it /stinks/," Caitlin complains, covering her nose. The big ginger is dressed for work, but covers her button nose with her free hand as she and Blackagar Boltagon approach the edge of the largest factory footprint. Inside, the machines are still, but a strange and discordant chittering echoes from the building. "They're just /bugs/, right?" she says, bringing up the holo-display of the mission assessment. Low priority, low danger, but still more than the locals can handle— hence, the Titans stepping up to assist. "How bad can they be?"

*

Blackagar was dressed for work as well…well, it was his usual clothing, just in different styles that were definitely not of earth. Or humans…anyway! hw ears his normal black coat with the royal sigil on the front (black bolt logo) and black pants with combat boots, hood on the coat, fingerless gloves on the hand, Blackagar looks around then for a moment, seeing that meatpacking plant, he shrugs a moment then, looking at Caitlin as she comically comments how bad it smells in there.

Black Bolt knew Gorgon. One does not simply know how bad something smells until they meet Gorgon.

alas, he reaches out to touch her shoulder softly, as if to quietly warn her. «Caitlin, one should not utter that phrase…life enjoys to prove those wrong who utter those words.» he winks at her and gives her shoulder a playful squeeze before he moves in with her, eyes peeled for these 'monster locust' that factory workers were screaming about.

*

The universe exists to prove people like Caitlin wrong, and to ensure genre-aware individuals like Black Bolt can give people stern "I Told You So"s as needed.

As the duo closes in on the plant, the size of the 'infestation' becomes more apparent. It's not just a few dozen bugs. There must be most of a hundred of them in the factory, and they look like a demented cross between a giant praying mantis and a scorpion. They chitter in their alien tongue and crawl over every surface, horizontal and vertical alike, with no regard for individual personal space.

"Oh man, that is a /lot/ of bugs," Caitlin whispers to Black Bolt, looking dismayed. "I don't know if we can do this without some collateral damage. The last thing we need is some of them escaping," she remarks.

She nudges Black Bolt and uplifts her chin to the overseer's office at the upper levels of the open warehouse floor. "There, see?" she says. Dozens of the strange mantid locusts are gluing strange oval shapes to the exterior of the office. Eggs, most likely. "We definitely can't let them get loose. Insects will form a new queen if the current one is killed," she explains. "I think we've got to take them all out in one go."

*

Oh so true, oh so true….

Either way, Black BOlt's eyes widen just a little bit as he sees just how -many- bugsthere are in this place. and they are -huge-. No wonder all the factory workers were absolutely terrified. However way you want to look at it, his eyes fall back onto Caitlin as she gives him a gentle nudge to get his attention, only to upnod and gesture to the office upstairs. <,Definitely eggs. Theirs gonna be a whole bunch move if we can't stop it.> he tells her then with a bit of concrn on his voice.

When it's mentiond to take them all out in one go, he tilts his head for only a moment, considering the smallest sound from him could probably level that building -and- it's neighbor, he shakes his head. «Then we'll do it in one go. I have faith in us.» he smiles to her warmly then.

He starts to narrow his eyes and he lifts his hood over his head. «So, you take all theo nes on the left, and I'll take the ones on the right?»

*

Caitlin shakes her head, eyes darting as she contemplates the situation. "No— I hate to say it, but I think we gotta bring the building down," she concludes, fretting at her lower lip in thought. "We can't risk this infestation spreading. If we collapse the building, it'll crush the egg creche."

She points at a few concrete pylons. "Okay. Those four? Those are the main support beams," she tells Blackagar. "I can pull those down and the whole thing will drop. But we'll need to cut a path to them," she says. "You go in from the right, and pull all the aggro you can. I'll come in left once you've got their attention, and I'll knock down the supports. If we time it right, we can bring down the whole building."

She gives the old structure a wistful look. "Nice old building like this, it's gotta be a century old," she exhales. "I hate to do it." She pats Blackagar on the back. "I'll give you a good thirty-count, then I'm coming in from the other door, 'kay?"

With that, she edges back from the window and scampers quietly towards the far side of the building.

*

Black Bolt looks at Caitlin then, clearly hesitating to provide an option, so he goes with what Caitlin suggests…take out the supports and let the building collapse on itself instead of Blackagar whispering this thing to absolute oblivion. Plus, Caitlin may get caught in the crossfire…if this goes horribly wrong though? Blackagar will be forced to use his voice.

Alas, he follows Cailtin's finger to those support beams, he nods then a moment. «I can do that. But….I need to tell you. If this goes horribly wrong…> if he starts confessing love choices or something, Caitlin should slap him. Thankfully, it's not. but there's room enoug hfor her to comically assume. «I need you to get clear.» He tells her then, looking her right in the eyes, before he looks back to the place, eyes narrowed.

«Truly a shame. But okay, I'll keep you covered.»

With that said? he starts moving to the right side of the building, waiting for about 25 seconds before he bursts a window to get the bugs attention, cracking his knuckles as he prepares to be swarmed at!

come on, Cait….

*

The locusts respond predictably to intrusion: they attack.

And there are a lot of them. A hundred, at least, rush at Blackagar in a hissing mass of chitin and slashing forearms and crushing mandibles. He's tough enoguh that one would be a joke, certainly, and ten might even be just a moderate irritation. But a hundred of them— possessed of the strength and implausible durability that an alien carapace requires— are a serious threat.

And apparently they spit some mild acid, as several of the ones unable to immediately lash at Black Bolt with their talons hiss and burble to spit thick green sputum at the Inhuman. It's only mildly caustic, probably mostly used to slowly dissolve organic matter, but there's an awful lot of it.

From the other side of the building, a juggernaut with red hair sprints into the factory floor and slams one shoulder into one of the four main support girders. Caitlin sets her hips, wraps her arms around the pylon, and with a shout of effort rips down the support and a fair amount of the ceiling above it. She immediately makes for the second one, wasting no time.

*

Blackagar merely lets out a small breath as he focuses on his many…MANY enemies today. Either way, he lifts his hands, using his ability to manipulate electrons to fortify himself, using that ability to use a form of electrokinesis, firing blasts of electric energy that chains between some of the bugs, causing them to either burst or fry. His hands lifted, he starts using the martial arts that he learned to easily bob and weave between those sprays of acid, using his super strength to augment his strikes, each one killing a big.

Though they just -keep coming!- he was doing a good job at keeping them away and off of Caitlin though.

Then? a use of crazy super speed, instantly blitzing at least 10 bugs before one gets a lucky hit on him, though it cuts his clothes, it does't even leave a mark on him. Need to be careful now with fighting….

*

Blackagar is cutting a swathe through the bugs, and the death of one spurs five others into a rage. Pheremones, or just a triggering death scent in their pulpy remains? It's hard to say. He's definitely not coming out of it clean, but he is keeping their focus from Caitlin. They're too animal to recognize the threat that is the big ginger's attack on the architeture around them.

Caitlin rips out one more pylon and moves to the third, smashing through several bugs while en route.

"Almost there!" she shouts, ripping out heavy steel bolts with her bare hands and shoving the girder off the pylon. Alerted to the scent of ichor, more bugs swarm at her reactively. Upstairs, the overseer's office creaks and groans in protest as something massive starts to stir. Several panels overhead fall off as one wall falls away, and heavily folded limbs start to creep outwards, exploring and looking for purchase.

Seems the Queen is awake.

*

Blackagar is on a roll! He cuts a hard swath through the bugs as they all attempt to swarm him, minus the ones that start to go after Caitlin. However, to handle that situation, he points his finger at some of the bugs going for Caitlin. «Look out, Caitlin!» and he fires a few bolts of electricity, sawing through some of the bugs like paper. However, now he has to deal with the majority of the horde….until he hears that -boom- of a step starting to stir.

Something big just woke up…
r Blackagar looks for Caitlin then, as if to see where she is, but there's SO MANY BUGS. He fights them off as best he can while Caitlin does her thing. One problem at a time.

*

"Huh?"

Caitlin looks exactly the wrong direction, and just in time to get creamed by a swinging, long insect limb from above. The girder shifts on the pylon but doesn't slip off, and she smashes through a freezer and disappears into an explosive decompression of argon gas from busted cooling lines.

The Queen's big, easily the size of a car. Green and yellow, with the subtle dark spots that would be camoflague if it weren't, y'know— most of two tons of bug. With spiderlike grace she descends from the rafters, hissing and screeching incomprehensible commands at the remaining insects. Blackgar's taken his measure of almost three score of the bugs, but they're still furiously attacking him. The queen, displaying some hideous alien intellect, grabs a nearby forklift and with little effort, heaves ten tons of steel at Blackgar, screeching outrage and heedless of the damage it'll do to her remaining minions. Above, several insects change course and scuttle up the walls, hastily gathering eggs from their sticky mounts as if preparing to flee with them.

*

Blackagar looks at Cailtin with a worried expression on his face. THen a forklift is flyin' at him! hile he manages to stop it by crossing his arms in front of him to take the blow, bugs start attacking him from behind, causing him to fall over, until he exerts some more of his power, some Bugs literally turn into sand as he manipulates their cellular structure. Alas, it's not enough, he continues to fight off a few of them, but it's clear he might start to get overwhelmed.

«Caitlin, are you alright?» he asks her, and if she does't answer….he's gonna take matters into his own hands. Because nobody hurts his friends.

Now? he needs to take care of the queen, or so he thinks. So what does he do? he throws the forklift right back at it!

*

"'m okay!" There's a *crunch* of steel being pushed aside, and Caitlin sprints out of the deep crate she'd left in the big walk-in freezer with her bare legs pumping. They couldn't time it more perfectly— she gets the Queen's attention just as Blackagar hurls the forklift at her, and the impact clearly injures the distracted Queen. The overseer's office lurches and sways dangeorusly, the support cables snapping and the enture superstructure whinging protest as it starts to fall apart.

Caitlin wastes no time and hurls herself at the last pylon and the support girder. She wraps her arms around the girder and braces her feet against the pylon's shelf, and sets her legs.

Muscles tense and strain as she starts lifting, causing the ceiling overhead to buckle as the bolts holding the girder in place snap and break apart with sharp *pings* of steel being ripped apart.

"Almost… there!" she grunts, sweat beading on her brow, and trusting Blackagar to watch her back— though the Queen, sensing the greater danger from Caitlin almost too late, screeches outrage and starts clambering rapidly across the trellis overhanging the workstations, a spider crossing a steel web with the intent of vivisecting the ginger Titan.

*

Blackagar fights off some more bugs when he hears that Caitlin is okay…and that bit causes him to almost sigh in relief. However, it's when he hears the building start to rock and shake as it's about to Come crashing down….it was a -massive-= building, so it would benefit both Blackagar and Caitlin to make a run for it while they could after that last structural column was down and out. However….

That queen was coming after Caitlin, only getting Black Bolt's attention from the scream it yelled at Caitlin, coming right for her with those razor sharp claws and way too much nastiness for one queen to have. That said?

It's almost in slow motion, perhaps panicking at seeing Caitlin in danger, but he runs at incredible speeds, using the electrons around him to increase his acceleration…truly, he could do a greta many things with that one ability. But after bouncing off two walls and dodging about 15 sharp talons coming at him from many different angles, he wraps his arms around Caitlin protectively and starts running, moving with her in such a manner that the bugs are now behind him, but he warns Caitlin. «Stay behind me.» kind of a dumb thing to say, given he's carrying her, but he turns to face their foes and he finally…uses one word. The first time anyone on this world has heard him utter a single sound. Caitlin would hear his beautiful voice…if only it was meant to be kind.

"Begone."

Blackagar whispered it softly, using his quasi-sonic WMD of a voice to attempt to destroy all the bugs..queen included, and possibly even knock that building down in a show of remarkable force at just one -whisper-. Imagine what a shout could do.

*

"What— no— Bla—"

Caitlin realizes what Black Bolt's plan is and her green eyes turn into saucers. She's whisked away, and clamps her hands over her ears, gritting her teeth in anticipation of the Inhuman King's voice.

The results don't disappoint. The shout hits the queen head on, stopping her cold in her tracks. Blackagar would see the frission of the voice crack the insect's hard exoskeleton, now a liability in the face of his sonic attack, and then the pulsing waves demolish the Queen into a blurred, vibrating mass of chitin and ichor.

The force of his blast echoes through the building in an expanding bubble. The entire superstructure flies *outwards*, two full walls and several stories of rubble being flung a few hundred yards in response to the magnitude of his tremendous voice.

Caitlin and Black Bolt come to a stop outside the blast zone, and Caitlin gives the now-lopsided building a look of desperation. It starts to come down, but terribly slowly, collapsing from the far edge like a flan in a cupboard. Several sturdier components remain upright, though, including old steam stacks and a large part of the exterior outbuildings that were outside the immediate zone of control.

"I DON'T THINK WE KNOCKED IT DOWN!" Caitlin yells at Black Bolt. "I— WHAT? WHAT?" She wiggles a finger in her ear as she's sat back down, grimacing. "MAAP. MAAP. I— CAN YOU HEAR ME? AM I TALKING?" she hollers, her ears clearly rung by Black Bolt's whisper.

*

Blackagar does't take no for an answer from her for -only this once-. Once he speaks to the spider queen, while it was only a soft word, the sonic boom from that voice was enough to cause such a deafening of Caitlin that she couldn't understand how loud she was being. After he sets her down on the grond gently, he sits down next to Caitlin so that they are shoulder to shoulder.

Even thoug has she screams, he covers one of his ears slightly because she's quite the screamer, his attention shifting only briefly to the destruction only -one-, soft -whisper- did to that building. Either way, his eyes fall back on Caitlin, touching her shoulder and leaving his hand there. She can take that as she will. «Caitlin, are you alright? I can hear you just fine. I apologize for my actions…but it was either that, or risk you being quite possibly severely hurt by that queen. the decision was obvious for me.» he looks at her truly apologetically.

Though he also seems to put a finger on her ear, as if checking to see if it was bleeding or anything like that. But, they are far away from the impact zone that was Black Bolt speaking, such that they were alone, and had all the time in the world to recover.

*

"I MEAN" Caitlin gestures at the partially collapse building, helplessly. "I'M FINE, REALLY, BUT…" She wiggles her finger in her ear again, brushing off Black Bolt's concerned inspection. "YOU KNOW I'M AN ENGINEER MAAP. MAAAAAP," she says, holding a palm to one ear, then the other. "WE DIDN'T TAKE APART THE SUPERSTRUCTURE ENOUGH."

She pops her ears repeateldy, trying to get it to normalize.

"I can handle a building getting dropped on me," she tells Black Bolt, still loud, but not shouting anymore. "We should have finished the job. I'm pretty sure a few of them got away with those spare eggs," she remarks. "We'll have to put an all-points out for any more nests," she says, thin pressing her lips in frustration. "Hopefully, none of the eggs are Queens."

*

Black Bolt looks a little saddened at Caitlin's a bit more aggressive with him, clearly frustrated that he simply blew the building sky high instead of making sure every single nook and craynny of that place was dead to rights. He sighs softly then, before he's brushed off, his concern frusratedly waved away.

Either way, Black Bolt made a call, and he didn't regret it, a small sadness on his face before he looked back to the building. «I'm sorry.» is all he says in the calmest voice, looking her right in the eyes as they still sat shoulder to shoulder with each other, at this point…Blackagar is more surprised that she hasn't tried t hit him yet in her frustration. But he knows she has a big heart.

«Hopefully…far as we know, they could have gone into the sewers.» he offers then.

*

Caitlin exhales, catching Blackagar's downturn in mood, and pats his shoulder. "It's okay, Blackagar. We did a good job," she says. "They're at least not going to take over the district in two days. This gives us some time to plan a response," she remarks. "No plan is perfect, and the perfect ones never last after meeting the enemy! I think we can still call this a win." She gives him an encouraging smile. "C'mon, we better talk to the Metahuman Task Force, though. They're going to want to know why we took the building apart," she explains. "Maybe they can get in there and get some viable samples from the corpses and work out a super bug spray, huh?"

*

Blackagar eventually smiles to her as she eventually calms down, accepting of her touch. Though as he hears her plan, he nods a few times to her. Calling it a win! He knows the standard protocol, but it's always good to hear it from one of his dear friends. That said, he nods a moment. «Of course….but, perhaps a small breather would be acceptable…» between the two of them, Blackagar was far more beat up. His clothes were torn in various places where those claws managed to break his guard, a little bit of cuts here and there, but the overall damage made him rather tired, that…and exerting himself that much was only slightly draining. He starts to lean slightly before he straightens himself out, shaking his head.

«hnnh….never thought I could say I felt tired aftering fighting a horde of bugs…» he leans the other tway then before he straightens out.

He's cool.

totally.

He might fall over. But he's fine!

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