Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Gaian Knight nodded, chuckling. "I'm with her. I already have the defense -" - he tapped a finger against his breastplate - "- but I wouldn't mind a little extra offense, and a taser sounds like just the thing. I've got a sneaking suspicion I'm going to feel pretty naked without my rocks."

"Still," he added, thoughtfully, "it speaks pretty well for him if no one else is loose. Giving the inmates the run of the place would make it harder for us to get in there and easier for him to escape, but people'd end up pretty hurt. If he's trying to minimize the damage it probably means he's crazy but not, y'know, crazy. Unless he's one of those ones who's twelve steps ahead and it's part of some plan or another. I hate those ones."

Share this post


Link to post

Heyzel took both armor and taser, dismissing his sword and natural armor both to fasten them on. There was nothing to do about his wings, which wouldn't support him in the air underground, so he folded them behind him gracefully. Luckily, he knew from his previous visits that the power nullification inside would not actually impede the internal workings of his angelic body. While he had no objection to mortality as such, aging to death as soon as he stepped into the building would surely make things more complicated for everyone. "The Bee-Keeper is a master planner," said the angel, "for certain values of those words. He can be unpredictable when in his madness."

"If he has evidence of his innocence, enough to convince a judge," Wallace said, "he goes back to Providence. We have enough issues with overcrowding that we're not going to keep a crazy battlesuit wearer here if the worst he's ever done is inject people with a venom that turns them into bees. Are you sure you're over that?" she asked Heyzel, just a little suspiciously.

"Completely," said the angel. "I have been cleansed of all earthly contaminants in the healing waters of the divine streams of Heaven." He smiled faintly, then added, "Though I fear I will never look at honey quite the same way again.

Share this post


Link to post

"Labour Day, hm? I'd say I carry it well. I've never been a slave to fashion trends."

Gabriel shook his head at the offer of the body armor.

"This coat's pretty thick, and I've gotten pretty good at rolling away from the worst of the blows I've taken. If nothing else, I've dealt with pain before."

With the offer of the taser, he hesitated for several moments, before sighing and accepting it.

'Not my typical fare, but I ought to be able to handle it alright.'

He looked thoughtful at the talk of what they could offer the Beekeeper.

"So, we offer to confirm his innocence, get him out of this prison, and maybe throw in an offer for news coverage of said innocence? Not a television interview. Just confirmation in the news that, yes, he's innocent of this particular crime."

He fiddled with his sleeves a bit as he contemplated things.

"So. Should we get moving? Whatever brand of crazy he is, he seems impatient. Anything else we should know before we head in?"

Share this post


Link to post

"His ego is enormous," Fleur told the others, rocking from foot to foot to alleviate the discomfort of yet another hit to her center of gravity. "If you want to get on his good side, treat him like a big shot. Make him feel important, compliment him on the bees, whatever. He wants to be in the big leagues, but I think, though I don't actually know, that he wants to do it like they did in the old days, without killing, just causing a lot of noise and confusion and mess. At least that's what I'm banking on." She headed towards the stairs with a sigh, walking slowly enough that it would be a trivial matter to catch up or pass her.

Share this post


Link to post

Together, the heroes headed down into the depths of Blackstone, the constant whining of alarms and flashing of red lights along the walls just loud enough to set their teeth on edge as they began the trek down the steps. The first couple of levels, where prison guards and staff usually lived, were deserted and locked up, the evacuations from this level having been orderly enough. When they'd gone enough steps, enough that Freedom Angel was reasonably confident that Fleur's pride was giving way to her sense of self-preservation, he murmured, "I am strong enough to carry you even without my angelic abilities, Fleur de Joie. Let me help." It was about that time they reached the first levels of the jail, where the medium-security prisoners were visible in their cells, some resting and looking bored, others pounding the walls and yelling at the heroes as they headed below, others just trying to figure out what was going on. Evidently the prisoners this far up hadn't seen the Bee-Keeper.

"All will be well!" the angel informed them with great authority. "Calm yourselves, and your prison will be safe. We are here to help protect you all against the threat of a madman who has seized control of this place." Just as he'd expected, Freedom Angel's words had the salutory effect of calming some prisoners, and making others settle into hot cell-by-cell debates over who it was that had seized control of the place. "With any luck," he told the others, "that will give us as much time as we need to get below without warning the Bee-Keeper."

Share this post


Link to post

Gaian Knight looked...extremely uncomfortable, or at least as uncomfortable as he could look with a costume that covered so much of his body. It was in the little things: the way he hunched, the somewhat lower confidence in his step, the way he kept a hand on the hilt of his still-sheathed sword, the way he kept looking around like someone who'd lost one of their senses.

Because, really, he had: he'd spent the last many years growing comfortable with a whole other sense of things, an awareness of what was around him and a connection to something far bigger than himself. As they went deeper into Blackstone that connection had thinned, wavered, and then cut off completely, leaving him feeling...just less, like he'd lost part of himself or misplaced something important. Keeping the sword close helped, but he couldn't help but wryly appreciate that with all the time he spent wondering and even worrying about how he'd been getting tougher, stronger, and just all-around better, it took a prison for super-villains and a sudden power loss to really drive home how comfortable and natural it had become.

Share this post


Link to post

Jill pulled a bit of a face as the group walked through the first levels, moving to stand a little behind Freedom Angel's wings as she did up the zipper of her crimson jacket a little self-consciously. The young woman didn't have quite the reckless bravado of her elder sibling, but her defensive powers had allowed her to take risks and place herself in situations that normally would have been far too dangerous. Without them, she was forcibly reminded of her own vulnerability, but the option of staying above ground never entered her mind. I was patching Erik up long before I had any powers; if anybody gets hurt, they're going to need a medic on hand.

Share this post


Link to post

Gabriel was unusually pensive as they descended into the prison. Indeed, his whole "presence" seemed to lessen somehow as they were overtaken by the power blocking field. He was still undeniably confident, still had a certain something about his person; but by the same token, it was like there wasn't nearly as much as their had been.

For his part, the hero in white glanced at his hands a couple of times, unconsciously flexing them.

"Hn. Quieter all of the sudden."

None of the others likely knew what he meant; the volume of background noise hadn't really changed. But for the sonic-controlling hero, there had always been an unconscious sense of sound, music, movement in his life ever since he first received his powers. Not enough to distract or, Heaven forbid, madden him, but just enough to let him know, at least in the back of his mind, that the power was there and ready to be used. It had given him a bit of a confidence boost. Stripped of that power, he found himself worrying more.

'Okay, I need to set goals. First goal, talk down Bowles. Second goal, make sure my Big Sister stays alright. Third goal, get out of here alive.'

He shook his head and continued on, unconsciously moving a bit closer to Fleur, his gaze sharp as he tried to keep watch for sudden attacks.

Share this post


Link to post

Stesha, too, was feeling the effects as they moved deeper into the prison. Not only did her connection to the plant life all around weaken and then snap, but the superhuman physiology that regenerated her body and let her skip out on food and sleep began to give way as well. There was no use in complaining about what couldn't be changed, but she muttered under her breath as they walked down the many, many stairs. While Freedom Angel delivered his speech to the prisoners, she took a moment to rest, hanging onto the railing and taking deep breaths, trying to relax the muscles that were aching and contracting from the long walk. "I'm betting he already knows we're here, or can make a good guess," she said, her voice unusually tight. "He'd need some method of surveillance to hold this place."

Share this post


Link to post

When they reached the door down into the central core, Freedom Angel took point. He was durable even without his powers, and had the best chance to recover from a serious injury or worse if things went very badly. Putting his back into it, he pushed open the door that led them to the highest level of the multi-story rocky shaft lined with row after row of cells that was the heart of Blackstone Prison. There was a lot of noise here, too; the sound of shouting prisoners, the calling of alarms like giant angry birds, and the low humming of mechanical bees. And a squishing sound? He looked down to see his sandal just about to come down on a surface beneath his feet. Bending down, he raised a hand to hold the other heroes back, then dipped his head to investigate. "Honey. He has...yes." Heyzel raised his head, understanding in an instant the strange, half-melted color on most of the walls. "There is honey everywhere. Walk with great care."

Share this post


Link to post

Gaian Knight cast a rather dubious eye over the walls and floor, shifting his feet a little to try to not step in anything sticky. Or, at the very least, to avoid as much of it as possible. "I'm...probably going to regret asking this," he said, trying to keep his voice down but still audible over the assorted interfering noises, "but where did he get this much honey? They're mechanical bees. I mean, I'm glad to just not think about how he made mechanical bees - I leave that stuff to...oh, what's his name - Doctor Archeville? - and people like him, but honey? It's either terrifying or impressive that this guy can do this - all of this - in Blackstone, and in such a short amount of time."

Share this post


Link to post

"Honey everywhere? Seems kind of unsanitary, and a waste. Me, I prefer my honey on my food. Not as home decor."

Gabriel glanced around, trying to stay away from the walls or rails as he could manage; it was one thing to clean honey off his boot soles. It would be quite another trying to clean his impressive coat of the stuff. Unless it cleaned itself off again.

He glanced back at Fleur, then moved himself to be behind Heyzel and Gaian Knight, but directly in front of Fleur. If she fell (Heaven forbid!), he'd have a better chance of catching her alongside Jill, while still keeping himself between the pregnant heroine and potential harm. He quirked a smile at Gaian Knight's words.

"A bit terrifying, but mostly impressive. The guy must be something of a logistical genius. He'll probably want to detail how it was done anyway, but I'm genuinely curious, myself."

Share this post


Link to post

"I think you mean mostly gross," Jill groused, squinting one eye closed a bit as she glanced about the dripping prison with a grimace. "Okay, granted, the logistic involved here are kind of mind-boggling, but seriously: why?" A small twitch in her expression suggested that the complaints were her way of dealing with the less than ideal situation as she kept a sharp eye out around them and periodically glanced back over her shoulder. "Who looks at an underground prison and says, 'You know what this place could really use? A coat of honey!' There isn't a big enough or flat enough 'what' in the world."

Share this post


Link to post

"It's his identity," Fleur said with a shrug. "He doesn't take it off, far as I know, it's who he thinks he is. I mean, this is the same guy who spent years developing a colony of semi-truck sized bees to use as weapons, then when a lucky accident meant that some of them started breathing fire, he rejected them for not being bee-ish enough. That's his mentality there, he is not as interested in what works as in what fits. But he is a bona fide genius, if a crazy one, and he's very resourceful. He's already escaped more than once, despite not having any natural superpowers." She stopped again for another breather, but this time didn't hang onto the soiled railing.

Share this post


Link to post

Suddenly, a robot bee swooped up from the darkness beneath, scanning the assembled heroes with thin red lasers that emerged from its scintillating faceted eyes: it looked like the sort of thing you'd find in a high-end production lab, a truly bizarre sight to encounter given that it was allegedly the work of one mad genius in the prison workshop. At the sight of Fleur de Joie, the robot's eyes lit up. "The Fleur de Joie has been sighted! The Fleur de Joie has been sighted!" it called out in a loud robotic voice, before it swooped down to try and scoop up Stesha in its robot jaws!

Share this post


Link to post

"Mandibles off, buzz brain!" Jill O'Cure shouted, the nimble young woman the first to launch into movement as the robotic bee's dive at Fleur de Joie went wide. "Why are you even shouting? We're in a prison, it has cameras." Wielding her borrowed stun weapon like a foil, she waited until the massive mechanical menace dropped into range before jabbing it squarely and sending electricity coursing into its delicate circuitry. Unfortunately, the robo-bee simply shrugged off the attack, making Jill wish fervently for her powers' return.

Share this post


Link to post

Gaian Knight was - contrary to his normal reflexes - right behind the young woman in trying to shield Fleur from the mechanical insect. He actually caught himself trying to reach out for a rock, despite having just been contemplating the temporary loss of his abilities; he was a little better, at least, about stopping himself before he tried to smack himself in the forehead.

"We go where Fleur de Joie goes," he insisted, managing to reach out and catch the bee with his own taser. "She's a capable woman, and doesn't need to be hauled around by metal mandibles."

Share this post


Link to post

Despite the timely assault by the two heroes, the robotic bee proved to be made of implausibly stern stuff. "FLEUR DE JOIE! FLEUR DE JOIE! CAPTURE FLEUR DE JOIE!" Despite the bee's tough talk, the press of heroes around the pregnant lady made it impossible for the bee to reach her. Evidently all that armor didn't make for a particularly fast or maneuverable bee. "STATEMENT: I JUST WANT TO TALK, HONEY." it added as it swooped and dived to try and get at Fleur, sounding oddly like the Bee-Keeper for a moment.

Share this post


Link to post

"Hey! Back up from the pregnant lady! We're coming in to talk anyway, tin can!"

With that, Gabriel dashed forward and jabbed at the robotic construct, managing to strike the bee with it.

"This thing's handy, but no replacement."

He made sure to hold the "trigger" down for a couple of extra seconds.

"Come on, robo-bee. Go run and tell your boss we're coming to talk, and he just needs to chill out a bit!"

Share this post


Link to post

"I know you are just an automaton," said the angel of Freedom, dodging and weaving himself as he tried to score a hit on the giant bee, his electrical probe bouncing off its metal hull. "but I believe you have a consciousness of your own, however limited. I have no wish to injure you..." Freedom Angel's stungun didn't seem to do any more damage than had anyone else's attack, "but if you continue to threaten innocents with kidnapping, I will be forced to use...violence!" And with that, he hauled off and punched the robot bee in the face! It jerked back, a fist-sized dent in its face-plate, and flew away, yiping like a startled puppy.

Freedom Angel peered over the side after it, careful not to touch the honeyed rail. "I did it no serious damage." Sure enough, the bee was still down there, watching them but making no move to attack. "Perhaps we've persuaded it to embrace diplomacy?"

Share this post


Link to post

"We could've just asked it to lead us there," Stesha pointed out acerbically, squirming around the people who'd stepped in front of her when the bee had descended. "He wants us to come to him, and heck, he might even have spared us the rest of the walk." She grimaced and rubbed her side as she stepped over to the rail herself and looked down. "Can you behave yourself and take us to the Beekeeper with no taking prisoners or other funny business?" she asked it sternly, in the same voice she might've used with one of its organic brethren who was being unruly. "I'm not in the mood for games, so if the Beekeeper wants me, he'd better be civil about it."

Share this post


Link to post

Gabriel blinked as Fleur spoke rather snappily to the group. He blushed a bit and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, tucking his taser away with the other. He gave out a nervous chuckle.

"Heh. Sorry about that. I think we all just sort of...reacted, you know? Instinct, reflexes, all that. Plus, it wasn't really giving us a chance to just ask it for a ride..."

He trailed off as Stesha asked the bee to come back.

'I guess I'll play along if the giant robot bee plays nice. Hn. There's a sentence I didn't believe I'd be thinking today.'

Share this post


Link to post

With an air of injured robot dignity, the bee buzzed up to talk to them, this time staying well out of melee range of the heavily armed heroes. "Follow me," it said, sounding a little less agitated, its voice now more like a robotic person than an angry automaton. "I will show you." The path the bee led them on was through the dark, red-tinted corridors of the prison, their feet squicking in honey as they went. Some of the prisoners here were calling out from their shuttered cells, some with taunts directed at the Bee-Keeper in particular, but so far no one else in the prison knew the heroes were associated with what was going on. "It izzz not faaaar...."

Share this post


Link to post

More than a little chagrined, Gaian Knight was satisfied to let cooler heads prevail and follow the robotic bee into what he certainly hoped wasn't a trap. Not that he has a good reason to trap us, since all he seems to want is to talk to Fleur, but still. Less strange people have done stranger things, I think. He kept an uneasy hand resting on the hilt of his sword, just in case...and because it somehow made him feel a little bit better about the whole cut-off thing.

"You kinda remind me of your...er, non-robotic cousins," he told the bee, in the hopes of having something besides being powerless and in a prison to focus on. "Excitable, but reasonable; unusual, and very...enthusiastic."

Share this post


Link to post

For his own part, Freedom Angel kept a close eye out as they went. He couldn't read the bee the way he could a being with a soul, and that made him naturally inclined to be suspicious of it and its motives. Though the bees who'd served the Bee-Keeper before had turned out to be friendly, those had been living insects with souls. A robot was a considerably trickier task. Sure enough, his feelings about the bee were reinforced when the robot said, "Yez, quite similar to those inferior organic beez. But we are programmed for loyalty to the Bee-Keeper, not disloyaltee!" As they headed down through a dark, honey-covered prison full of shouting inmates, the bee's pride was one of the brighter things around.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...