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Sting in the Tail


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Oct 6th, Down South!


On a dusty road, in a dusty desert, full of desert heat...


Venomax was looking into poisons, toxins, and chemicals. And rumour had it, down here, in this strange remote landscape, there was some might fine poisons, of the toxic variety. And toxins of the poisonous variety. 




Venomax was entering the "town" of Littlebig Rock. It was hardly a town, more a collection of dusty buildings on a dusty road. But here, some old doctor lived, purpotedly proposing that the scorpions and toxins of this little old area of the world where the worst in the world?


Was he right?


He was drinking and smoking the day away just outside his home. Venomax could see him outside, drinking, and smoking. A thin leathery man, with dark wrinkled skin, dressed half like a cowboy, half like a shaman, and half like a gentleman. And probably half like something completely different. The sign above the door proclaimed this to be a dentists, for Doctor "Teeth" Whitefish as indeed a dentist. Or at least proclaimed to be. 

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Vernon bilker was by no means a sunworshipper, he much prefered the cool, clean sterile enviroments of computer rooms and labs to beaches and deserts and it showed, his pale skin shimmered with a heavy unto feverish sweat that dripped even from his hair onto his shirt as he made his way down the road towards Dr. whitefish's practise.


It had not been easy to secure the use of the equipment he carried on his back either, wavers and agreements and all manner of paper work had taken up his free time the last few nights.


So why then was he here? To aquire a specimine of these abnormally agressive (even for scorpions!) Arachanids and write a thesis on why they had become how they now were....and if he was lucky learn to synthesize their venom for his own....after hours activities.


"Doctor..whitefish..?" He gasped inquisitively as he wiped his brow and scrambled to regain his composure.


"Vernon bilker...we spoke on the phone?"

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"Schmblf--ha" mumbled Doctor Whitefish, picking up momentum to actually speak. He had a slow, quiet voice, his voice dry and raspy as if it was made of gravedust. 


"Can;t believe you actually came. Nobody believes me. 'All think I'm crazy. Crazy Doc Whitefish, the dentist. Think the sun fried ma brains or sumthin'" he croaked. "Here, come inside, in the shade. You don't look like you used to the sun, nor the desert..."


Inside his shop was an old dentists chair. Perhaps it had been used recently, but it was spotted with rust and blood stains. Somebody must have been pretty desperate to use Doc Whiteheads services. Aside from that, it had a certain bizzarre charm. Old books, old posters, lizards and scorpions dried out and preserved. A chess board which had most of the pieces. 


"Ah been scratchin' out a living here for twenty years or more. This part of the desert, its strange, son. They say its home to the Magic Mesa. And they would say correctly. They call me mad, but I seen it...wonderful, strange, horrific all at the same time. Its where dreams go, and where dreams come from, I reckon. Folks round here, they dream some mighty strange dreams..."


"And thats why the insects round here, they strange too. Now, you won't believe me, but I saw a scorpion big as a man two months ago!" he declared, fully earnest. 

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"Thank you." Vernon answered as he entered into Dr whitefishes practise.


He'd be lying if he'd claimed he wasn't a little bit more comfortable with the rust and blood then the heat and dust.


"Ah? Intresting!" He responded to the mention of the man-sized scorpion "I've seen a few strange things myself so i'd not disbelieve it outright." He confessed.


"Magic mesa huh...not heard of it before...sounds intrestin!"

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"Sure is" answered the Doc. "Keeps things interesting around here, sure. Also drives men mad. Or inspired. Often both...me, I dont think I could leave now. Dont want to" he grunted through his gravelled throat. 


"Look, if you want to look into this scorpion, there is a strange fella. Stranger than even the strange folks round here. They call him mister sting. Lives in a shack about ten miles from here. By a canyon. Lives with his momma, who is mighty odd herself. Has a big thing for insects, and poisons. Look, freind, he is a dangerous fella. Plenty of nasty rumours about Mister Sting. But he collects scorpions, and nobody on this continent knows them better" said the Doc. 


"Just promise me you'll be careful. And pack a gun" he added. "Just in case. And I hope you got thick boots and can run real fast, too...."

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"Thats mighty kind of you, don't worry though, sir, i mightn't beat the heat but i did come prepared." He had of course not packed a gun, his costume and applicator gauntlets however were more than a match for any standard or military grade fire arms.


"Ill go get myself packed away at the inn and after ive sorted myself ill get walkin." He shook the mans hand firmly.


"Thank you for your help and hospitality."

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And so...


Twas another short drive in sunshine and dust. The landscape here looked even more desolate, with only dry vegation sparsely littered on cracked earth. It stopped being flat and started being craggy, and soon Venomax was driving down a crevasse. 


Mr. Sting lived in what could only be described as half-cave, half-shack. It had a smoking fire outside, but if anyone was here, they were indoors, or possibly deep in one of the caves. 


Drawing closer, Venomax could see dried insects, particularly scorpions, decorating much of the outside of the shack. And across the smoking fire, something very insect like and large lay cooking...

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Slowly, the door opened with an alarming creak. 


"Hoo you?" The voice was deep and rather beautiful, quite unlike its owner. 


She was nearly six feet, with an enormous frame that spoke of unnatural amount of bone, fat, and muscle. Skin as black as you might ever have seen, with a squat head that seemed built for eating rather than thinking. The woman was dressed in a dusty and filthy dress, and she was sweating. It was an unpleasant sight, for she was remarkably ugly, and the smell was hardly appetising either. 


And she seemed fierce. A sawn-off shotgun was in one hand. 


"No-wun here. Yoo go away or me eat you!" she grunted. 


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"Now, now....no need to be upset." He said calmly and cooly as he walked a little bit sidewards casually clicking his gauntlets into the correct settings.


This being had threatened to eat him, it was clearly too dangerous to be left alone


It worked for han solo...!


And with that he swung his arm up, trusting in his arm, his aim and his balistic armour fired a jet of extremely concentrated concoction of anesthetic!

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The puff of venom hit big Mama straight in the face. She was slow of wit and her responses sluggish, and she was wide eyed and open mouthed as the gas streamed into her. 


She took one step back and waved at the air with a spade-like hand, but had inhaled the gas already. Slow she might have been, but she had the constitution of an ox, nay! a horde of oxen. 


She lifted her Shotgun clumsily. "Me boom you! Boom!" she said with that lovely melodic voice quite out of keeping with her brute form and manner. And boom she did, letting a load of buckshot into the air - with Venomax managing to duck past the shot. 

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Vernon bilker could be accused of much but being slow or uncoordinated was not one of them, though he had never dodged the spray from a shotgun before he likely would be called on to do so a day.


"Feeling tired?" He teased as a quick spin of his gauntlets moduals changed the nozzle and mixture and a viscous cloud of aerosolized adhesive, based on the spitting cobra's own natural weapon filled the air in a whispy cloud.


"Let me tuck you in!"

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Big Mama was slow at the best of times, and she was slower still now. The goo filled the air with sticky strands, and in the blink of an eye she was webbed over, stuck to the ground, her limbs tight. 


Because she liked booms so much - and because despite her strength, she could not work her way free, she let loose the other barrel of the shotgun. The shot just clung to the strands which barely parted. 


"Sting!" "Sting!" she called out, with the frantic fear of the confused. Even living out here by the Mesa, this was a pretty unusual day. 


"I'm coming Mama!"


Mister Sting was quite unlike Big Mama, although it was hard to tell if they were actually genetically related. He was a short, wiry man, in jeans, boots, and a white vest. His hair was thinning and black as his eyes, his skin sun-drenched, of mixed heritage. He had a canny quickness to him, and a toothy grin (with more than one tooth missing). 


"What in darnation is this?" he said, eyes widening. "And what in darnation are you?" he asked Venomax. "Don't you mind Big Mama here, she ain't too smart, but she wouldn't hurt a fly!" he said as way of opening gambit. 

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"I am venomax and you, mr sting, have one chance to tell me what is going on here." He stated simply and cleanly, stoic as a steel pillar.


"I have been shot at and threatend with being eaten, which is by the way an exceptionally bad idea." He said as chemicals began to drip from him, hissing and smouldering in the sand.


"This had better be exceptionally good."

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"Aw...Big Mama didn't mean no harm, sir" replied Mister Sting, giving his big grin. "It's just a funny old place, this here" he explained, vaguely, showing Venomax his hut or cave, or whatever it was. 


"We don't get much company. And, well, Big Mama ain't exactly all there" he said. "Now then, Mama, if you just promise to be good and not eat nobody, then Ahm sure Mr. Venomax will let you go, ain't that right, Sir?" said Mister Sting. 


"Me no eat you" said Big Mama, although it looked like she didn't say the words easy. 


"Now, why in the world are you called Venomax, Sir?" asked Mister Sting inquisitevly. "Ah mean, we got plenty of poisons and venoms in this here place. Snakes and Spiders and Scorpions. Yes sir, we got scorpions like you wont believe!"

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"Very well." Venomax consented after a brief moment of consideration, he had no reason to not believe them and some small, arrogant part of him felt that he could take them both if the need arose.


With a flick of his finger he sent a globule of enzyme shimmering through the air and into the envenomed webbing big mama was ensared by, swiftly breaking it down.


"Take it easy, you're probably going to be a little dizzy for a few seconds." He advised before turning to mr sting.


"I am called venomax because i am the most poisonous thing on the earth...i came here to investigate the scorpions and learn from nature if you will."

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At the sound of Venomax proclaiming to be the most poisonous thing on earth (and quite likely, a correct proclamation!) Mr. Sting's eyes widened in rapture, although he had a spot on skepticm. Surely it could not be that wonderful!?!?


"Well you came to the right place for poisons. The scorpions here...well, they grow em large round these parts! Eh, these part's are queer, though. You seen the magic mesa yet? It comes, it goes. But it's always here, in some way or another"


"Now, as you let Big Mama go, all polite and courteous, I'll do you the same courtesy. Only fair. Let me show you one of my scorpions. If you can step inside...?" he asked, offering Venomax an entrance to his cave / hut. "And then you have to show me some of your poisons!" he requested, dribbling at the thought. 

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"Wonderful!" Venomax concurred as he followed Mr. Sting into his residence "an exchange then! I will give you a sample of my venom for a small ammount of one of your scorpions."  He offers openly.


"My most potent concoction can reduce a boulder to putrified sand." A brag but one he could back up, a poison that could affect molecular cohesion and seal off atoms from weak force had proved vital in destroying dangerous devices and destroying automatons, in small doses and rare occasions it could also halt cellular regeneration.

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"Such glorious toxins! can it be true?" slobbered Mr. Sting, enratured by the thought of possessing such a toxin. "For myself, I never really understood chemistry and science. Home schooled, you might say. I have always been fascinated with insects, and most particularly, scorpions. I have studied them, and their venom, for as long as I can remember! I can distill a toxin so deadly that it will kill a man in ten seconds!" he said, proudly. 


One wondered if he had actually studied the time. A grisly experiment!


"But here, look!"


As they went deeper into the poorly lit cave, Venomax could hear a scuttling sound. And soon, he understood why. For Mr Sting had created a pen, or cage, of sort. And in it was simply the biggest scorpion he had ever seen! It must have been four feet in length, and that was without the stinger tail!

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"She sure does...and some mighty sting in the tail!" chuckled Mr. Sting, greedily, licking his lip. 


"Now then, how about you ah..produce...some of that their poison you were talkin' about?" he said, salivating at the prospect. "I bet that..."


A gust of wind, cool and strange, blew out from the tunnel ahead. The giant scorpion, locked in its wooden cage, got skittish - some animal, nay insectiod, instinct telling it that something weird and eldritch was ahead!


And lo, the insect was correct, for from the tunnel came two forms - a man made of smoke, and a devil made of dust!!!

Edited by Supercape
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Everything whirled by Cassidy, faster and faster. He saw worlds and realms that he had never imagined. Places that he thought impossible. He knew the Mesa was vast. He knew it reached everywhere, and yet, he had underestimated just how much was contained in everywhere. Everything whirled by him, as he chased after Abdul. The dust chasing the smoke, through impossible tunnels and cracks, through twists and turns and mad worlds. Through darkness and light, and finally, they emerged through a tunnel into a cave.


His body still a swirling mass of dust and sand, Cassidy gathered his wits before continuing. Where had Abdul led them now? Not dinosaurs again, but then what? They were not alone in the cave, at least. A short wiry man in jeans and white vest with thinning hair. A man in a costume. And finally, a giant scorpion. Because today was normal so far. 


They were still at the Magic Mesa. Or close to it, at least. He was sure of that. Abdul had not lead them too far away. "Where are we?" Past, present, future, sideways world? He had to know before making a decision on his next action.

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"We are here!" whispered Abdul, laughing at his own philosophical joke, for everyone is always where they are, and everyone is always when they are, too...


Except, maybe, when they are at the magic mesa!


"The snake is here, the snake is here!" he yelled down the tunnel, still able to speak and laugh and shout despite being made of smoke. And mad of smoke, too. 


"Abdul, abdul is that you?" hissed an incredulous Mr. Sting. 


"Stupid rich kid, wanted me to take him to the Mesa" explained Mr. Sting to Venomax. He was somewhat annoyed at this interruption, for his mind had been engrossed in Venomax's stories of potent venoms!


'Im made of smoke!" said Big Mama, behind them, quite redundently. She hefted her shotgun, although a shotgun blast to some smoke and dust would be just as redundant. 

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Of course Abdul didn't give a straight answer. That really would have been too much to ask for. The man of sand glared at Abdul, as much as a man of sand could. He was sounding more unhinged by now. Had the trip through the Magic Mesa scrambled his mind even further? Or was this just the effect of the leaf?


Hearing the old man talking to his costumed companion, Cassidy made the decision to approach, leaving Abdul behind for now. He hadn't proved physically dangerous yet, and he would remain as sand anyway, just to be on the safe side. Since they were at the Mesa, the reputation of his predecessor should be alive. Hopefully, it would be a help. 


"You led him to the Mesa?" The man made of whirling sand stopped right in front of the much older man. Again, he glared as much as a being made of sand could. "Are you the one that gave him his damn leaves too?"

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Ah things could never go smoothly could they? He'd accepted it of course, when he'd first put on his mask and turned a street of goons into babbling idiots that he was stepping into a world where coincidences and strangeness reigned supreme.


"There is clearly something going on here." He spoke at last after careful consideration stepping forward towards the two nebulous beings and between mr sting, big mama and potential danger.


"How bout we speak our pieces before this turns into a mexican standoff?" He offered as his tanks began to slowly fill with his chemicals.


"Im venomax...im a toxicologist, i heard about the scorpions around these parts and came to study them." He explained as he turned to look at the mass of smoke called abdul.


"You're here for some kind of leaf? Why?"

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