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Somebody get me an exterminator!

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The sun was starting to set, leaving the sky bright orange and casting long shadows over the abandoned playground.

Brad looked at his watch. "I better get home," he said.

Samuel punched his friend in the shoulder. It was a "playful" gesture, but a painful one nonetheless. "Don't be such a wus!"

"I can't get nailed by my parents again. I'll never see the light of day."

"Wus!" Samuel repeated.

The two boys had been friends since the second grade. The blood-brother kind of friends that only little boys can make. But now that they were in high school, their friendship had turned into something more dysfunctional than blood-brothers. Brad had steadily put on weight since his parents divorced when he was in the seventh grade. This made him the butt of many jokes, and somewhat of an outcast at school. Samuel stood by him anyway, but not as equals, not like the old days. Samuel knew that his social stats was vastly superior to Brads, but he kept Brad around anyway, especially when no one was looking. Brad was easy, compliant, and when he was around Samuel felt superior in every way.

That and Brad was an easy patsy for when they got into trouble . . . which happened a lot these days.

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The creature known as Maggot has spent most of the day dispersed and slowly drifting mindlessly from backyard to backyard, stopping occasionally to descend on the corpse of a dead animal or the husk of a rotten tree. In its loose configuration the swarm of insects went mostly unnoticed or just ignored by passersby. As sundown approached, the sometimes creeping, sometimes hovering just above the ground mass of bugs heard voices. And their sound called back to consciousness the broken mind of the creature. Whether it was the words that were spoken or something else, the two voices gripped the shattered fragments of Maggot's mind and focused them in. Maggot slowly continued creeping toward the playground and the sound of the voices.

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Daisuke pulled the collar of his coat up a little more to hide his face from view. No need to let people know that they had a metal boy running around amongst them - they tended to get a mite twitchy.

He'd kept to the back alleys of the city, just wandering and taking in the sights. That was, until he ran out of back alleys and emerged into the suburbs. He knew he should have turned back then, but he wanted to see all of the city. Who knew, his onii-chan could be here instead of in the city proper.

Darting through backyards instead of back alleys, Daisuke made his way across the impeccably manicured lawns of the upper class homes in Ashton. It was actually kind of exciting, moving and hiding like this. Daisuke pretended he was Solid Snake, infiltrating the enemy's hideout before taking on the forces arrayed against him. The urge to resist humming the theme song became almost irresistible as he crawled through what he assumed to be a pet door...

...And came face to face with a dog. A big one. Both boy and bog blinked, equally surprised to see one another. "Er... good doggy?" Daisuke tried, hoping it wasn't as mean as it looked from this vantage point.

For the dog's part, it merely sniffed about the metal boy's face, and then, satisfied Daisuke wasn't an intruder, snorted and turned around to go back towards it's doghouse. "Hey wait!" Daisuke hissed under his breath, struggling to pull himself the rest of the way through the doggy door so he could greet his new canine friend on more equal terms. He had always wanted a dog back in Japan!

And that's when he heard the voices. Two of them, kids, around his age. Daisuke pulled back into whatever shadows he could find around the doghouse to see if they were coming over towards him.

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After a few minutes of shoving and name calling, Sam cajoled Brad into hanging out on the playground with him a little while longer. The two boys climbed up on the top of the swing set, and Brad began going on and on about . . . whatever. Sam was distracted, not paying Brad any attention; he was looking out over the playground, waiting for something.

After a moment . . . "Look! There he is!" Sam pointed across the playground toward a third boy who had just crossed the street and was walking along the sidewalk just outside the fence on the other side of the playground. He was a scrawny little thing and wore a red baseball cap that was far to big for his head.

"HEY, LOSER!" Sam yelled. The boy in the red cap jumped!. He looked mortified and started running. "Get him!" Sam yelled. He jerked Brad so hard they both tumbled off the swing set, hit the sand hard, and Sam was already running toward the boy in the red hat while Brad was still picking himself up.

With Brad huffing and puffing along behind, Sam tore across the playground, scaled the fence, and caught up with the boy in the red hat in the middle of the street. Sam shoved the boy and sent him sprawling face-first into the road. The boy's red hat and glasses went flying in opposite directions, and his face scrapped against the merciless asphalt.

Sam was laughing hysterically. "How do you like that, loser? That'll teach you to rat me out!"

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Maggot didn't exactly see what was happening. Its attention was stretched too thin, but it did detect the spastic motion and the yelling. Like any good hive would, Maggot sent out scouts to investigate. The small swarm of red wasps zoomed across the playground and began buzzing around the fighting boys, trying to figure out what was going on. All the while the bulk of Maggot's body continued gliding along the grass toward the playground.

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Looking out across the playground from his hiding place next to his new doggy friend, Daisuke sighed wistfully at the sight of the two friends hanging out. He wished he could do the same thing. Of course, that brought up memories of the old group and what happened to them.

A snort from beside him drew Daisuke's attention, and he looked down at the dog, who had moved over to see what the metal boy was doing. "Hey... Buttercup?" he said, reading the odd name off of the tag around the dog's neck. Buttercup? That's a weird name for a pit bull... "Bet you wish you could play out there, huh?" Buttercup growled softly and began pacing about the yard. "Or maybe that's not such a good idea," Daisuke concluded.

The sudden change in voices made him look back at the boys, who had just pushed another boy to the ground while one of them laughed. And all of a sudden, it wasn't just the dog that was growling. Daisuke hated, hated, bullies. Now that he was metal, he didn't have to put up with them anymore, and as long as he was around, no one else would, either.

"Sorry, Buttercup, but I've got a job to do." Daisuke vaulted the fence wall, which creaked ominously under his weight, but held up. He hurtled across the playground, rolled over the teeter-totter, and made a beeline for the bullies, not even noticing that several hundred insects were doing the exact same thing.

"HEY!" he roared at the two. "Get away from him!"

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The shouting and the violent movements and the smell of blood managed to attract what passed for Maggot's full attention. These warm noise-makers were annoying. Perhaps the hive could drive them away . . .

Suddenly the street was filled with red and black wasps, stinking the boys and trying to sting the metal boy.

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Sam stopped and looked over at the strange looking boy. Brad waddled up behind him, huffing and puffing. The small boy they were bullying pulled himself up on his hands and knees as he began feeling around for his glasses.

"Who're you?" Sam bellowed. His voice was loud but had a note of uncertainty in it. "You better geâ€â€" Sam jerked his head and smacked at his neck. "OWWWWWW! What thaâ€â€"

There was a pronounced buzzing sound growing and getting closer. Mashin-kun could see the tiny black spots swarming around the boys, their numbers getting thicker by the minute.

"Beeeeees!" Brad screamed and began dancing around wildly.

The boy on the ground started waving his hands madly around his head, screaming at the top of his lungs.

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The kids began flailing around wildly. They killed quite a few wasps, leaving little gooey spots of bug guts on their hands and clothes.

Maggot was not pleased.

The creature raised itself up in a mound and launched a horde of flying insects at the nearest boy. The scrawny little boy, who was still looking for his glasses, was struck in the face with a swarm of flying bugs: wasps, bees, flies, mosquitoes, moths, everything. The boy tried to scream, but his mouth was instantly filled with bugs. The swarm immediately began stinging and biting the inside of his mouth and filling up his throat with their bodies.

Maggot was pleased.

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"NO!" Daisuke cried out as the wasps seemed to coalesce around the boy who'd been getting picked on. He rushed over, tearing off his jacket as he did, and began waving it around, trying to swat as many bees out of the air as he could. His inhuman nature had been fully revealed now; there was no hiding the fact that his bare skin reflected sunlight.

"Go! Get away!" he yelled, as much to the other boys as to the insects. Then he noticed the grotesque mound of vermin, from which the rest of the bugs seemed to be originating. With no other option, Daisuke threw himself at it, trying in vain to smash as many of the things as possible.

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The other two boys continued swatting at the bugs and tried to run away from the strange newcomers. Brad ran back toward the playground, apparently forgetting about the chain link fence. He ran headlong into it and fell to the ground, out cold. Sam headed in the other direction, hoping to duck behind the nearby row of houses to get away.

The third boy turned blue and collapsed to the ground completely limp.

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The little metal boy rushed at Maggot and punched right through her. It was like kicking at sand, only it was a shower of maggots that the boy's punch sent flying into the air. Now he had the swarm's undivided attention. With unbelievable force the swarm hurdled a mountain of bugs at the metal boy.

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Narrowly dodging out of the way of the clump's bug-arm, Daisuke gave himself a pat on the back for at least diverting whatever this thing was's attention from the boy it had been attacking before. Of course, now it had him squarely in it's... sights, if it did indeed have that kind of thing. It seemed to be at least partly aware of it's environment, which meant it might be aware of other things.

"Hey, over here, y'big buggy goon! Come and get the metal boy!" With that bit of improvisational taunting, (genius stuff, really) Daisuke made off for the nearest fire hydrant. Maybe the thing would be more vulnerable to water.

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With Maggot's attention successfully diverted, the swarm of nasty bugs attacking the smallest boy began to disperse. He coughed and spat the remaining insects out of his mouth and throat and gasped for air. He couldn't stand, so the poor kid began trying to crawl out of the battle zone.

Mashin-kun crossed to the opposite corner of the street where the bright red fire hydrant was waiting for him.

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Skidding to a stop near his objective, Daisuke hunkered down and awaited the arrival of his foe. He had to stop himself from smiling at the thought of facing an actual bad guy after so long! Well, maybe it wasn't a guy... more of a insect blob. But it was definitely bad, of that he was sure.

And Mashin-kun was going to stop it!

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It only took Maggot a second to regroup its swarm. The mound of bugs slithered after the metal boy and as soon as it was close enough, lashed out with another strike. Thousands of stinkging, biting bugs struck Mashin-kun with the force of a speeding bullet.

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Daisuke watched in something akin to awe as the insect beast flowed towards him like a flood. At the last possible moment, he smashed the top of the hydrant he stood over, and shaped the resulting water jet into a liquid laser with his hands, which unfortunately missed the fast-moving monster by a mile.

Unfortunately, at the same time, thousands of bugs flew out of the amophous blob, slamming into his chest and injuring him slightly. "Ite!" he cried out in pain and surprise, more the latter than the former. He didn't expect and bug bullet could hurt him. In rataliation, he took a swing at it, missing yet again.

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The blast of water hit the swarm dead on and punched a hole right through it, taking out a huge pile of bugs with it. The metal boy followed it up with a punch, dislodging another huge chunk of bugs. But the swarm barely noticed. With a nasty buzzing Maggot formed another insect fist and pounded the metal boy in the side of the head with tremendous force.

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This time, Daisuke was able to resist the hit, although he didn't hold out much hope for continuing to do so. The bug thing was tremendously strong, and despite the fact that concentrated insects shouldn't be able to do that much damage, it was gradually wearing him down.

He swung again, this time hitting the buggy monstrosity, before turning and running the other way. Even if he had harmed it, he had absolutely no idea if it would do enough damage to bring it down. But since water hadn't hurt it... maybe fire would.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The little machine boy delivered a vicious blow, sending a huge chunk of the swarm scattering in all directions. The mean little thing then took off running away. But he could not outrun Maggot. It quickly recollected the swarm and lunged out across the distance to strike again. But the little metal thing was quick, quick enough to dodge Maggot's sting.

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Just barely dodging the bug bullets leveled at him from his pursuer, Daisuke made a straight line towards the door of the nearby household. The door only held him up for a second as his five hundred pounds of mass made short work of the comparatively flimsy lock, and he quickly made his way towards the kitchen.

Unbeknownst to him, every home in the area had an alarm system attached, and the police had already been notified... and dispatched.

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