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Float Like a Butterfly, Sting like a Beetle

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Footage played on a projector showing the destructive wreckage of a buglike battlesuit destroying some sort of facility   There was fire, bloodshed, and above all corpses.  The bugman left swathes of bodies in his wake.  Blood dripping down his armor.  He looked up at the camera before the feed cut off.

Yves Zermeño, Alyssa Wild, Sven Johnson, and Carlos Zermeño were all sitting inside of a meeting room. Called together as part of an impromptu task force under Agent Lazeny.  "Who is this?"  Wild asked.

"A new player is in town.  We don't have any real data on him.  The higher ups have been referring to him as the Beetle.  Forensics thinks the building he destroyed was some sort of lab, perhaps a Powerhouse facility as there are signs of genetic modification.  All of the research in the facility had been destroyed.  Our techs were able to scrounge up and piece together this footage.  Recent sightings have seen the Beetle apprehending local criminals, no new confirmed casualties. "  Lazenby responded

"Are we sure the footage hasn't been tampered with?  Someone could be using AEGIS to hunt down an escaped science experiment.  If the subject has been fighting criminals without any confirmed kills.  It doesn't exactly speak to the blood soaked image we just saw."  Carlos asked.  Skeptical that they should take the footage at face value.

"We're not.  That is why the other Agent Zermeño will merely be conducting a threat report.  Whether ally or foe, AEGIS cannot afford to be left in the dark.  You and Sven will be monitoring her from an AEGIS relay station.  Agent Wild will standby and provide fire support if it is needed."

"..."  Yves sat there silently.  Somehow suspecting she'd be the one stuck with the investigating.  Collecting her thoughts for a moment she finally asked.  "How will I find this Beetle?"

"Hang around Freedom College.  His recent sightings all fall within a certain area around the campus.  We don't know if he's a student, faculty, an employee of a nearby business, or merely that it's all coincidence.  But, if he pops up you should be near enough to find him."  Essentially confirming AEGIS had absolutely no way to track "The Beetle" down yet.

*                 *                 *

Freedom College
Southside, Freedom City, NewJersey
Wenseday, May 6th, 2015
3:15 PM

Freedom College was hosting its annual Cultural Arts Festival.  A joint campus production with FreeSA. There were public performances.  Indoor galleries.  Even the food itself was a work of art.  Both in taste and production.  Students were urged to participate in the local productions or at the very least attend in support of their schools.

 

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Danny Randall would have rather been just about anywhere else in the world at that moment. It wasn't that this girl behind him in line wasn't nice. In fact, she seemed quite friendly, but she was one of those humans that just would not stop. Talking, dancing, pointing, yelling. All at a much higher volume than was necessary. He felt like he needed a nap just from being next to her. And he didn't even really go for most of this weird artsy stuff anyway. Heck, he liked to stay off campus as much as he could. But he had been lured here by one thing and one thing alone: the promise of authetic Etheiopian cuisine. And darn it all, he was getting some. This was a break from his daily routine, at least. Since the... Thing... His days had been kind of fast. Any time he wasn't  working or at school he spent patrolling the streets and trying to get the hang of these new powers. But even a cyborg human needed to eat, and not even this obnoxious girl could take this meal from him. "Yeah. Me too. I'm the exact same way." He feigned interest in whatever it was she was going on about. Nothing could happen now to keep him from enjoying some Injera wrapped beef. Nothing in the world.

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"Now that's... cool..." Naomi said, hunched down as she watched someone with a remote control start to have a bird-like flying machine take off from a clearing on the athletic field. It wasn't perfectly like a bird, as the wheels on it's lower balsa-wood body helped it on it's grass "runway", but this flying art project somehow worked. Whoever it was knew a few things about aerodynamics as the wings flapped to get it up to speed, then allowed the super-light flier to stay in the air, lightly gliding as it turned with it's phoenix-like wings. The combination of colored laminated paper, with a balsa frame made Naomi think this thing was doomed to shatter, but that didn't seem the case with all of the considerations that went into the design.

Naomi stood up, enamored by it. She was wearing her gear, but she had shifted the color on her suit to her typical test pilot colors with archetech markings on the shoulders, and hid her flight pack in her backpack. She decided to check things out, in particular the Kite exhibition, but this flying contraption caught her attention.

She walked over to the "bird"'s pilot and grinned. "Care to share the schematics? That looks like something I'd like to build."

"Well, I'm not the builder per-se. My friend set up the airframe I just did the paint job."

Naomi grinned, knowing the girl might have been more artistic than engineer. "I see. Got a way to contact him?"

"You're... not going to weaponise it aren't ya? Wouldn't want this to be turned into a drone."

"No, but I'm thinking this would be great in a SAR function. If it can carry at least a couple single person rafts and a camera for looking about."

The pilot looked at Naomi skeptically. "Umm... I'll see what I can do."

Naomi knew that face... it was a polite way of saying "go away."

Taking the hint, Naomi started looking at the kites, sighing. "Shot down again..."

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Yves mulled about the festival.  It had been a full week since the investigation began.  A full week with no leads.  All so she could write a report about a guy or gal her husband wasn't entirely sure wasn't on the up and up.  Yves  was practically being paid to be the creepy adult who hung around the college all day.

Which also explained the lack of ongoing support.  Can't use AEGIS resources when there's nothing to use it on.  She had to actually call her backup in.  All in all this had to rank as the worst assignment she had ever been assigned.  Even worse than the one involving Friendly's Lor death ship.  "Amazing!"

The montone of hating her assignment was broken up by the girl in charge of the booth.  Yves had walked inside of a water gun shooting gallery sort of thing.  Hit the target and the LED background flashed bright vivid colors before filling in part of an obscured picture.  The picture at the end was of Centurion standing tall on one knee.  The prize was nothing more than festival T-Shirt.  But, in her absent minded state the AEGIS agent did manage well enough to earn herself a t-shirt.

"Hours hunting ducks."  She was trying to refer to the old Nintendo game her daughters played at one point.  In truth she wasn't a video game person.  "Say, any hot gossip?"  The words made the Omegadrone cringe internally.

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GM

While Naomi was walking away she suddenly bumped into a rather large man.  He was wearing a grey shirt with plenty of oil stains.  Some that may have gotten on her in the process of the collision.  "Oi, watch where you're going."  The man shouted at the dejected girl.  Seemingly angry at her for the crash.

In reality, it was merely a facade.  One that a partner lying in wait was all too willing to take advantage of.  While Naomi's attention was on the large brutish man.  A thin brown haired teen wearing a blue baseball cap snuck up behind Naomi.  He easily reached into her person and absconded with whatever he could pocket in  a hurry.

His technique was good enough to take the object.  But, not enough to prevent him from neither Naomi nor Daniel from spotting him.  Much less, when he quickly took off in the opposite direction.

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This was annoying. With a couple quick snaps she pulled out and secured her flight pack that was disguised as a backpack, and with a quick pulse launches into the air for a moment, landing in front of the thief with a second pulse to slow herself to a easy landing. She stared him down intently. "I'm thinking you'd better hand that over, buddy." Naomi said, staring the would-be thief down. "Might be against protocol but to be honest I'm giving you a choice." She said, slinging her almost empty backpack over her shoulder once more. "Hand it over, and we'll forget this happened, OR I can chase you until you tire out. Calling the police all the way."

She smiled. "Simple, or hard. Your choice." She said, adjusting the padded collar of her flightsuit... she wasn't normally supposed to keep the life preserver under the restraints of the flight pack, but then again... making an entrance requires quick thinking and quicker preparation. She held out her hand. "I'm no cape, friend. Just someone not wanting to make things awkward for the both of us. Particularly now that I just pulled that stunt I wager every cape in eyeshot's gotten interested."

"So... let's resolve this. Peacefully."

There was no appearance she wanted to resolve this with force, but her bravado in offering her hand suggested she wasn't easily intimidated. Then again it was in the news she survived a parachute failure whilst still in her ejection seat. She wasn't scared of getting hurt.

Edited by Endeavor

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After what seemed like hours, Danny was finally near the front of the line. None too quickly, too, as he could actively hear his stomach growling at this point. It was almost loud enough that he couldn't even hear the chatter of his noisy new friend standing behind him. Finally, he approached the food cart. Delicious aromas welling up in his nose, he opened his mouth to order... And that's when he noticed.

Several feet away, he heard a commotion in the crowd. Turning to look, he noticed a teenaged looking kid running frantically through the mass of people. Danny gave a pained look back towards the food cart, but when a jetpacked figure bounded over the crowd after this kid, Danny knew there was call for a Stinger. He sighed. "The things I sacrifice for you people..."

After a quick transformation detour behind a nearby stage, the Blue Stinger emerged. His jumping wasn't the best, but it was enough to clear the circle of people that had surrounded the boy and his pursuer. The pursuer in question was a young, blonde woman who would have passed for a student here save for the military-looking flight suit she was wearing. He noticed Aratech markings on the suit. She wasn't wearing a mask or anything. His money was on some inexperienced, hotshot compay recruiter trying to play hero. He decided to intervene before things got out of hand, moving to place himself in between the two. "Hi there! Blue Stinger. I don't know what's going on here, kids, but if we all play nice I'm sure this can end nicely and the lady here can go back to recruiting for her corporate masters or whatever. Good?"

Edited by JediDalek

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"Corporate masters?" She said, keeping her attention on the thief. "I came here on a lunch break to enjoy the festival." She said with a smirk. "I'm stretching protocol as I'm using my emergency equipment in a non-emergency."

She then leveled her gaze. "See what I said, kid? The capes are coming. This one's being reasonable. Just hand over what you stole and we'll forget this ever happened."

This was starting to get a little bit stressful. She didn't have time to change into her Seahawk mode, and her pointed ears started to be visible with the breeze blowing just right. The blond-haired test pilot was swallowing down annoyance, she had to keep her cool. There was a legit cape next to her, and if she overreacts... "Now the deal still stands. Return what you stole and I'll forget this happened. Deal? This is starting to make a scene and I wager there's a few recording this and probably calling the cops..."

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"So Julie's been two timing with Ken the fish dealer."  The girl droned on to Yves chagrin.  Instantly regretting her earlier query.  If not for the one bit that caught her attention.

"Repeat that last part."

"So Jul-"

"No, before that."

"Oh, yeah there's been a lot of pranks pulled today.  Thieves.  Art ruined.  Really weird."

"And no one's think to call the police."

"Weeell, kinda hard.  No one's seen who has been doing it.  Seems to be multiple people who disappear without a trace."

===========

 "No, yeah I can totally do that crazy people who bring a full set of  armor and a jet pack to a festival.  Or I can not."  The thief taunted poorly.  Not scared by the presence of the hero or the girl in the jetpack.  In fact his taunt served to act as a distraction.  As the large man that had bumped into Naomi originally came barreling through from behind him.  Crashing shoulder first into Blue Stinger.  With a level of strength that bordered on superhuman.  

At the moment of impact, the thief did not stop to wait.  Turning his baseball cap around he began running for dear life.  Making his way to the nearest crowd in an attempt to shake any pursuers.

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Naomi wasted no time in vacating. It was company policy for all employees, even one like her to avoid being caught up in a super-brawl. Then again, Naomi as Seahawk was about to participate in one.

Seeing no one was paying attention to a blue porta-potty near the scene she lands behind it. "Heh... Turdis. Cute company name." She mused as she changes the color of her suit to the trademark navy blue and white colors of The Seahawk, pulling up the cowl and putting on her helmet from her back pack. Her pack now empty she adjusted her flight pack's straps once and over-drived her engines to fly once again, this time into the fight, her coolant dumping into the repulsor framework keeping them cool as a white streak of water vapor streamed behind her as she closed to the battle once again!

At a loss for words, she did what any rookie superheroine would do as she did a fly-by punch. She shouted her move... "SEAHAWWWWWK PAWWWWNCH!" As she swung for the jaw of the brutish thug before keeping out of his grabbing ability using her flight. "Didn't'cha know not ta mess with a cape, boyo? They're nevah alone!"

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"Uhh... yeah what she sai... WHOUUUUFFF!" The big guy's shoulder charge caught Danny completely off guard. It was like getting hit by the team linebacker in high school. Not that Danny played football in high school. He just tended to get on the wrong side of linebackers fairly often. It wasn't his fault, really. When someone torments you daily and has a last name like "Dukhey", the retorts basically made themselves up. 

Landing back on his feet, Danny's mind snapped to the present once more. The present where, unlike the past, he had more than enough strength to put this guy in his place. He noticed that jetpack girl had disappeared. "Typical," he thought, "they always talk a big game but as soon as the going gets..." he was interrupted by the sound of a jetpack building in the distance. His opponent seemed to notice this too, and Danny seized the opportunity. Thinking of every high school jock of comprable size, Danny ran towards the guy, sliding into a kneel and, doing his best Johnny Cage impression, sent an uppercut right in between his opponent's legs.

Edited by JediDalek

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GM

The large man's head was sent upwards by Seahawk's kick.  It visibly hurt, but the man wasn't actually budged from where he was.  There was no visible indication that the punch had hurt.  As in oddly there was no bruising, no blood, heck if it wasn't for the second of hesitation one could be forgiven for thinking the blow had unaffected him.  But, hurt he was.  Enough to buy Blue Stinger a moment of distraction.

Blue Stinger came in.  The punch struck true right in the family jewels.  There weren't many ways you can roll with that sort of punch.  Which made it all the more surprising when the large man simply smiled down at Blue Stinger.  "You two are puny."

Elsewhere, the smaller thief was making his way into the crowd.  Blending into the passer-biers and pushing his way through.  Each second creating a greater distance as he pursued escape.

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"Hey, new guy! That scrawny thief went that way!" Seahawk said pointing in the direction of where the pick-pocket went. "I got Bluto here."

She grinned, dashing in once more like a harassing hawk, she used the momentum of her flight and her own power as her foot glowed with energy. "That's right, your quarrel is with me!" She shouted... but her real intent was to anger the brute to focus on her as after she swings her kick she once again gets just out of reach. Her grin was getting wider!!! "C'mon fatso... ever fought a pretty bird like me before?"

Edited by Endeavor

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Danny slid back to his feet as Seahawk took a swipe at aggro boy. "Hey, I was doing alright with the big guy! I'm the one he cheapshotted after all!" Despite  his complaints, Danny considered what was going on. If she was outfitted with tech like that, there was no telling what the pickpocket could have nabbed from her. And it wasn't as though he was doing much damage, anyway. And... he hadn't heard a Popeye reference in a while, so she must at least kinda know what he was talking about.... "grr... Just save some action for me when I get back!" With that, he dashed off after the snatcher. This guy would pay for cutting into his lunch time.

Edited by JediDalek

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