From the Story Arc: Bitter Pill

Previous Story in the Arc: Belle Lettre by Re-Bear (Tuesday, March 27, 2007)

(posted Sunday, June 03, 2007)

Claxons rang out into the cool air of Brickstown, providing a pleasant harmony to the sound of gunfire and the groans of the dying. Arachnos agents were swarming the Zig yet again, and Longbow forces and prison guards, hard men who have seen much over their careers, were running in a panic. The original thrust of Project: Destiny, which liberated many dangerous criminals and transported them to the Rogue Isles was a skirmish compared to the invasion force that landed this time. Three Arachnos fliers filled with Bane Spiders and the Toxic Tarantulas landed in the courtyard and began a very precise extraction mission.

Bejouled smirked, the scar running down her face parting her lip above the left side of her face, revealing her gleaming incisors. She bore the expression of a feral animal as she glided down the halls of the zig, dark red sparks flying from her body. She knew why Arachnos was here; she had no doubts at all. She was useless to them as a weakened girl, a radiation poisoned child who had a streak of bad luck.

A guard ran toward her, looking over his shoulder to watch the encroaching Arachnos forces and look out for bullets. Bejouled waited until he was near and let loose with a vicious punch to the throat. A sound that echoed a thunderclap filled the halls, and the lifeless body of the unfortunate guard fell to the ground, already turning cold. She was no longer a useless girl. She was a genetically engineered assassin, now more powerful than ever before.

Bejouled found herself bent over a table in the prison laundry. Since she had no powers, she was deemed harmless enough for placing with the non-meta criminals in the Zig. Given the choice between working in the wood shop or the laundry, she chose the one that would give her the least amount of oversight. Now, however, the lack of visibility was causing problems.

'Stay still and stay quiet,' the Longbow sergeant said, leaning close to her ears. He spoke with a growling whisper. Things were not going as expected in the Rogue Isles, and losses in the Nerva Archipeligo were heavy. Officers such as this person were now being promoted through the ranks, according to Operative Dover, who was still sending his old boss coded messages through the mail. One of his hands was holding her head to the table, the other was stroking the outside of her thighs. 'You never know, you might like it.'

'Hurry up, Mikey! The Lieutenant could be coming any minute.'

'Sergeant Mikey brought a lookout,' Bejouled thought, her anger welling inside of her with each passing moment, 'how intimate.'

Mikey fumbled with his tactical belt and struggled to get his uniform off, 'Damn spandex,' he muttered, trying to wrestle the fabric from his body, 'I wonder how Manticore takes a piss... You're a fine one, prisoner, no doubt about it.'

'Damn it, Mikey, get it over with.'

'Private Simmons, shut the hell up,' Mikey hissed, 'I'm the commanding officer here.'

It was at this moment Bejouled felt a very familiar tingle. The florescent lights in the laundry grew very dim and began shaking in their ballasts. The industrial washing machines, the size of small trucks, began dancing, hopping inches off the floor. Filling her whole being with electrical energy, her eyes began to glow a deep red. She reached back and grabbed the sergeant by his engorgement...

Bejouled was careful to hover over the broken bodies of her Longbow captors that littered the hallways. An Bane Spider scout materialized to her left. "Agent Bejouled?" he inquired.

Bejouled laughed slightly, "Da, Comrade. You have come for me, nyet?"

"Um, yes, we have come to release you. Follow me, please."


"Agent, follow me."

"Nyet," Bejouled repeated, more coldly than the first time. "We must retrieve something of mine."

"I have orders to take you in by force if..."

The Bane Spider was cut short by a furious punch to the chest. Smoke poured from the fist-sized hole in his armor and he crumpled to the ground. "In a moment, Comrade," Bejouled said quietly, "In a moment."

After the unusual assault on Sergeant Michael Hunt, Bejouled was transferred to the Female Metahuman Detention Wing of the Zig. Longbow found it easier to enforce discipline by having 'Floor Leaders', usually the biggest and toughest woman in the block, who would act as informants for the administration while imparting beatings to potential disruptions. It wasn't an officially approved policy, of course, but it was pragmatic, and the guards looked the other way while it was happening.

The Floor Leader of Bejouled's block was Mavis Rottman, 'The Brick Bitch'. She was responsible for the maiming and hospitalization of several prisoners since becoming Floor Leader, which gave her a fearsome reputation with the other felons in the wing. She was a squat, ugly woman, with piggish eyes and mottled skin, big flat pita mouth filed with crooked mint chiclets. Her hands were like a lion's paws, her fingers arthritic sausages with long, black jagged nails. Bejouled was least impressed with her voice, which sounded like contestants on the Jerry Springer Show speaking through syrup.

Bejouled sized her up in the cafeteria. It would be an unpleasant day.

'Whacha doin', Girl?' Mavis demanded with provincial glee, in anticipation for a conflict, 'Gonna get your ass all down in here like you belong? Think you hard, girl?' She cracked her knuckles. Several of her gang appeared behind her, crossing their arms and glowering in support of their leader.

'You are going to have to repeat that,' Bejouled said, smiling, 'I do not understand ignorant Kulak speech.'

Mavis wore a confused look. 'Are you all up in insulting me?' she petulantly inquired.

'Da, Comrade,' Bejouled said, 'Because you are a disgusting fool.'

Mavis lunged at Bejouled, her claws swiping at her face. She was not expecting such a large woman to move so quickly, and Bejouled was unable to get out of the way of the first strike. Blood poured into her left eye as the crooked claw tore through her flesh. Blind with blood and rage, Bejouled began to harness the electricity in the room.

Bejouled herself launched at her assailant, but her stout opponent simply grabbed Bejouled into a bear hug and began choking the life out of her. With a great flash, Bejouled drove her thumbs through the Brick Bitch's eyes...

“Fool!” Bejouled shouted, reaching over the desk. She pulled the thin clerk up by her ponytail and twisted her head to the desk.

“D..D.. Don't hurt me,” the clerk whimpered, “I... didn't do...”

“Silence!” Bejouled shouted. The halogen light in the desk lamp exploded into shards. The clerk was crying now. “Compose yourself, fool.” Bejouled slapped her hard on the ear.
The woman continued crying. Bejouled became increasingly frustrated. “I need my possessions back. Check under 'Bejouled'.”

Explosions went off sporadically in the rear hallway. Realizing her interrogation was going nowhere, Bejouled slapped the clerk in the ear again and let her slump to the floor. Bejouled hovered over the desk, back into the lockers and banker's boxes where the criminals' personal possessions were kept.

Sveta checked the labels on the boxes. “Branigan, Bentley, Bio-Warrior... Ah, here it is!”

She pulled out her box and removed the lid. It was all there. Designer shoes, designer skirt, official Arachnos issue military vest. She hastily ducked behind the boxes and changed her clothes. It was liberating to cast of the neon orange skin of the convict and put on something flattering.

Another Bane Spider materialized at the entry of the Requisitions Department. “Agent Bejouled?” he called out, weakly, fully aware of what happened to his squad-mate. “Are you ready to leave?”

Bejouled hovered out from around the corner, electricity humming in the air. “Da, Comrade. Let us go.”

They fought their way back down the hallways of the Zig, past rioting prisoners and the bodies of guards. Heroes were on their way, called from other parts of Paragon City and beyond. Bejouled and her Bane Spider assistant hurried across the courtyard into the waiting Arachnos flier. With a quick thumbs-up to the pilot, the flier lifted off the ground and plotted a course back to the Rogue Isles.

Bejouled's eyes adjusted to the darkness, and she immediately recognized the face of her subordinate. “Operative Dover, you did not forget about me after all.”

Dover's eyes moved slightly to the left and he grew pale. Bejouled turned her head and saw what was disconcerting him. “So you were behind this scheme? Eh, Scirocco?”

Scirocco, Recluse's lieutenant and arch-nemesis of the genie Serafina, was hunched over in the seat next to dover, carefully concealed by the shadows. He rested his elbows on his knees and stared at Bejouled with deep, empty eyes.

“Lord Recluse was disappointed with your apprehension,” he gravely intoned, never breaking his gaze, “You were too valuable to leave rotting in there.”

“After I got my powers back, I assume.”

“You are no good to us otherwise,” he replied. “You work for me now, Agent Bejouled, so I must demand that you perform no foolish stunts like going back to Paragon uninstructed. Arachnos will not be so generous as to do this again.”

“Understood, Comrade Scirocco.” Bejouled forced a grin.

Nothing more was said between them, and the Arachnos flier went unmolested to Mercy Island.