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Busy Little Bee (IC)

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May 6th, 2014


The sun was bright and the sky was wonderfully clear as Baxter Bowles entered his uncle's old storage unit with a printout of the blueprints and flash drives with the programming he had found in his email a few days previous.  It had taken some doing to find a few hours to himself but now here he was.  The lights flickered on as he flipped the switch, casting a soft humming glow over piles of assorted electronics and a small work table.

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Ah, the familiar coppery scent of old, decrepit electronics and mounds of dust. The old storage unit was more than just a nostalgic rendezvous for Baxter; it was a piece of his own history. Though not his in name, this place -- this relic of his uncle's previous life as a purveyor of high-end goods before his stint as a super-criminal -- was as close to a secret base as the young hero was likely to get. It was the place the mysterious letter delivered by the second Bee-Keeper's tiny robotic liaisons led him to. It was here, on that warm afternoon, that Baxter first laid eyes on the suit that would change his life. This was his refuge, his origin, his workshop; all of these things and more.


As the fluorescent lights flickered and buzzed their way to life, Baxter made his way inside the illuminated unit, careful to pull the shutter back down behind him. Today was a big day, and it showed on his face, a smile plastered firmly on his lips as he pushed his way past the old billboard remnants and defunct piles of computers towards the only pieces of furniture in the entire building: a lone desk, likely once used at his uncle's shop to check customers out, but now converted into a makeshift workbench, and its accompanying chair. Baxter was excited; how could he not be?! When that email showed up a few days ago, he'd almost deleted it as spam, given its gimmicky title and peculiar sender address. He was just lucky he'd had some sense to check it first, because what awaited inside could have only been sent by one person...


"Thank you, Uncle Barry," he mumbled with glee, his enthusiasm practically boiling over as he took a seat and gently set the familiar pack down on the concrete floor.


Pushing aside a slew of DIY and engineering books from his workstation, the eponymous new Bee-Keeper unzipped his backpack, pulling out the rinky-dink laptop he'd been given by his parents. Intended as a gift to get him started during his freshman year at FCU, it was now doubling as an instrument for justice. With a few wiggles of the touchpad, the screen brightened back into existence slowly. There, affixed on the display, was something of magnificence; the fruits of so much labor on Barry's part (or, at least, purchased therein by), now Baxter's to use as a tool to keep his hometown a little bit safer: a diagram detailing, in no small degree, plans for a robotic bee no bigger than a child. A marvel of mechanical mastery, the thing was nothing short of a motorized monitor to keep a discrete eye on the citizens -- and the ne'er-do-wells! -- of Freedom City from afar.


"Bionically Engineered Eavesdropper," Baxter read aloud as he looked over the dimly lit plans, fingers twitching slightly as he fished out the tiny USB drive from his pocket and set it on the desk. "Classy. I've got the digital brains, so hard part's done. Now I've just gotta figure out how to put you together."


Baxter was no machinist. No real engineer. This was gonna be tricky. He'd need parts. Scrap metal could be used for the frame; easy enough, the dump probably had loads of it just sitting around. He could use some of the old PC parts for the guts of the drone... yeah. Yeah, he could cobble this thing together. It might not be the most high-tech piece of gear out there, but hey, the Bee-Keeper wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth.


He just hoped it wouldn't explode in his face!

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Baxter finished tightening the last screw on the internal bits of his new aids in the pursuit of justice.  Wiping the sweat from his brow, he plugged the drives into the USB ports on the creation's back and pressed the power button near the base of his mechanical creation's stinger.  Drinking from the bottle of water he had thrown in his pack, he watched the wings flutter a few times before the eyes lit up and the naked mechanics of the drone moved.


Buzzing frantically the machine lifted off the table and turned towards the rolling shutter door before the stinger swung down and shot a beam the young gadgeteer could not readily identify through the steel.  Before he could react, the culmination of the last hour and a half's work had flown out of the hole and into the sky.

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Sometimes things seem like better ideas in hindsight. Playing a rousing game of Monopoly. Singing karaoke to impress the ladies when you can't sing. Choosing speedos over trunks. Strapping one of your uncle's defunct prototype lasers to the butt of a miniature bee-bot. Really, though, it's that last one that hit home the hardest for Baxter. Jaw agape, the impromptu inventor watched in both amazement and horror as the micro-sized robot powered on, came to life, and then aptly proceeded cut its way to freedom without so much as a how-do-ya-do to its young creator.


"No, no, no! Come back here, you stupid hunk of junk!" cried the Bee-Keeper as he absconded after the flighty mechanical wonder, flinging the shutter-style door of the storage unit up in a fit of bewildering panic as he watched it fly off into the wild blue yonder. Whatever cries the drone might have picked up on, however, seemed to fall on deaf audio receivers. In a huff, Baxter wasn't left with a lot of options. He'd put it together, and what he'd hoped would be his new eye-in-sky was quickly evolving into an engineered monstrosity. He had to get it back. Shut it down. Whatever it took!


"Geez. Why can't things ever just be easy?" the teen grumbled as he made his way over to his backpack and the suit of armor carefully concealed inside. Pulling the smaller, albeit significantly heavier satchel from its confines, Baxter slung the straps over his arms and activated the trigger to begin the envelopment process. "Just plug it in and go. No fuss. No muss. But nooooo, there's always a bug."


Through a series of whirrs and clicks, Baxter ceased to be visible to the outside world, instead replaced by an insectoid suit of armor in yellow-and-black bands, antennae twitching slightly as the OS his uncle had devised booted itself up. He had no time to waste. Baxter had to find his new little friend, and apply some serious firmware updates... with his fist.


"Now if I were a bee-bot with a blazzter for a butt, where would I go?" the Bee-Keeper mused. "Guezz I'll juzzt have to follow the trail."


And with that, the apian avenger launched himself into the air, wings abuzz as he fluttered his way into the clear blue sky in search of his wayward wreck.

Edited by SpicyWaffle
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  • 2 weeks later...

Bee-Keeper didn't need to search terribly long to find his creation's path of destruction.  Though several cars along one street looked like they had been attacked, though in their case it was simple neglect on their owners part until coming up on the one on fire.  At least two near by buildings, one of which was pawn shop and the other an auto garage had crashed in windows, people standing several yards away or flat out fleeing the scene.


Traffic, as light as it was on this side street in a neighborhood that mostly walked or took public transportation, began to back up as the witnesses and onlookers started snapping pictures of the scene.

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Jennifer Owens tapped her fingers on the wheel of her Tesla, looking for the address of a piece of property she was considering purchasing for her use as a lab for her night-time operations as Silver Spider.  She intended to spin it as being better place for her to work on her car restoration hobby if her parents or friends got curious.


A few hundred yards from where her in-dash GPS said she needed to pull in, she saw the burning wreckage of a car and a small crowd of people standing in front of the buildings snapping pictures.  "Well, this can't be good.  Time to suit up," she said to herself while pulling a quick u-turn and driving away to find a place first to park and another to change into her costume.

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"Oh. Way to go. Thizz izz juzzt zzuper," Baxter moaned from behind the guise of his insectile mask as he flew above the streets of Freedom City, hot on the trail of his little experiment. On the other side of the mask, the Bee-Keeper's face was twisted into what could only be described as an amalgam of utter displeasure and bewilderment as he surveyed the trouble the bee drone had caused. "Not even online for an hour, and look what you've done!"


Totaled cars? Check. One on fire? Double-check. Ransacked stores, and the Average Joe's all riled up by his mechanical monstrosity's machinations? Oh, boy. It was gonna be one of those days.


Plopping down next to the growing gaggle of Freedom City's citizens with an audible thud of metal-against-asphalt, the Bee-Keeper did his best to retain his composure. The last thing he needed was everyone thinking he'd gone bananas and intentionally let this thing out onto the streets!


"Yo!" he greeted, granting the group of would-be photographers as congenial an informal greeting as the armored apiary could muster, antennae twitching slightly as he conjured the courage to stand before the tiny mob. "Any of you guyzz happen to zzee a haywire robo-bee around here?" he continued, miming the size of his latest contraption with his hands. "'Bout thizz big? Made of junk? Accidentally... uh... inzzinerated thozze carzz back there with a lazzer on itzz butt?"


That's when he saw it. Like some gaping maw of shame, his wayward contraption had made its own entryway via giant hole into the likely now ruined garage, barreling (or, perhaps, blasting) its way into the auto business.


At least he knew where his bee'd gone.


"Everyone zztand back," motioned the Bee-Keeper, waving his arms as if to shoo them away from the newly minted crime scene. "Thingzz are totally under control. No need to freak out! Juzzt zztep back and get zzomewhere zzafe. I'll fix thizz mezz."


Taking a deep breath, Baxter stepped forward into the garage. This bee-bot business was becoming bothersome! It was time to bring his li'l drone home, and make some much needed changes to its li'l fried CPU.

Edited by SpicyWaffle
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