1963-11-02 - Them and Back Again
Summary: Jillian and Eddie make contact with Beatrice's number one minion. Emits and Herc by Anya.
Related: Them
Theme Song: None
jillian eddie 

It's late afternoon on Wednesday, and it's begun to rain properly. The light is dim, but for many people of the morally ambiguous persuasions, this is the perfect time of day. Word on the street, from the wrong side of the tracks, is that villains heading out to raid what's left of Grover's Mill needn't worry about the cluster of banks in the middle of town. They've been cleaned out by the one who wrecked the town - a mutant woman who calls herself Beatrice.

Further down that grapevine is a rumor that her number one henchman would be returning to Grover's Mill to disrupt the National Guard presence as much as possible, and generally sew chaos and destruction however he can, aided by a small army of giant, horse-sized ants. As a further enticement to join in, Beatrice has put out word that the former 'drive-through' town had a strip mall of cash-only pawn brokers, and jewelry stores which she doesn't have any interest in, and she would like to offer to local villains as a peace offering. Her henchman 'Herc' will help anyone who shows up for that kind of loot.

We find that henchman now, a kluged amalgamation of man and beetle, crouched in the cover of some wreckage, patiently waiting for a National Guard ATC to roll closer, still almost 100 yards away. He's nearly 8 feet tall, his arms and legs are thick and trunk-like, and the horn rising from his head is at least 4 feet long as well. The horn is hooked, serrated, and vicious looking. Also, his carapace is shiny, and thick. He has to be bulletproof at the very least.

And he waits, so patiently, as the Guard carefully pick their way through crumbling, unstable landscape.


Jillian isn't what one would consider a typical villain sort. She isn't known in the underground, hasn't worked on any heists, and has never put on a show whether for fun or to make a point. But she is opportunistic, and sensitive to the energy which can be found with enchantments.

She's also been cooped up in Central Park for WAY too long now, and with the Hellmouth officially closed she has a lot more freedom to go out into the world and hunt her dark little heart out!

Then there's the beetle-like henchman who's spiny enough to have come from the other side of Hell, himself. There's no shadow nor disruption of rain as she flies through overhead, landing in silence not far away from where the peculiar creature stands. Normally she wouldn't engage in conversation when she could simply fly onward and claim her prize, however there is activity ahead and this one seems to have some familiarity with it.

"What manner of beasts threaten to bar our path?" she speaks out from behind, little more than a dark shadowy outline with two thin illuminated golden lines hovering at where the eyes should be.


Eddie's going to get a scoop this time if it kills him (maybe literally): this time he's going to get to the scene before Parker or anyone else, get the money shots, and Jameson will finally give him the credit he is due. He *deserves* a praise, credit, a raise, more bylines. Its not that he should have them it's that they are his by all that's right. He knows it! Only it never seems to work out for him. That has to be on *purpose*. Someone is *on purpose* foiling him.

So he's sneaking to the site of craziness, he got a tip, right? And his camera is out. Fortunately its meant for outdoor use and is more or less water-proof. Camera out, he approaches the scoop. Beatrice. And…. whoa. Guard. Eddie is dumbfounded for a moment by GIANT BUG MAN.


"Humans," Herc says. His voice is like a bucket of gravel dumped into grinding gears. He wasn't born with vocal cords, but he has them now. "Want to flip their roly-poly. Watch it flail." It would be easy to think him an idiot with the way he speaks, but there is a hard, alien intelligence in his shiny black eyes. He glances around the barricade of broken walls and confirms they still have some time before an attack.

"My name Herc. Fight for Bea. You name? What you fight for?" He doesn't stand up, because that would reveal their position, but he does turn to face Jillian more fully.

80 yards away, the National Guard inches along, poking at the rubble and calling out for survivors.


Humans she understands. 'Roly-poly' she does not, though what a peculiar name for those dark wheeled vehicles they have rolling through the ruined streets ahead. By comparison 'Herc' is perfectly mundane.

"Jillian," the indigo-hued Neyaphem replies before pointing onward with the bladed tip of a long polearm she's rarely without. "And that meager stronghold contains something of value to me."

It's a jewelry store. She's not from around these parts.

"If you wish to butt heads with their army then go forth and let your legacy run true. I do not plan on announcing my arrival for one trinket." Though anything that tries to get in her way is going to be having a very bad evening in short order.

Those yellow eyes narrow further as she studies the troops and their vehicles, not so concerned as Herc is about crouching down as she's apparently very good at knowing exactly where to stand to be well hidden from the light. "They move slowly, their weight makes them cumbersome. They should not pose much trouble."


Consideringly, Eddie moves closer, head tilted. "Who is Bea?" he calls out, even though that will give away his position. If he can get a meeting with the star of the show, then that'll guarantee him a byline. So he rises, lifts his camera to aim at the giant bug thing, and flash! Flash. Now's the time to be brave, to make a name for himself, right? Right.


Herc nods as if he understands what she wants from the building in question. "Trinkets nice. But they see if you go now. Flip roly-poly. Then trinket." He nods again, sagely. When he glances beyond the barricade again, he smiles. Sort of. The piece of his carapace around his face make it hard to tell exactly, but he can make basic expressions.

When Eddie steps up, Herc is in the process of asking, "You not know Bea?" He seems curious rather than hostile, or at least, that was before the flash. He grunts in surprise and squints, clearly annoyed. "Bea is the boss," he grinds out, definitely suspicious. Anyone showing up here was going to know who Bea was. He takes a step toward Eddie, but this accidentally takes him out from cover. Herc sighs when he realizes, and then the National Guard open fire.

The .50 caliber machine gun on top of the vehicle rips through the quiet of the early evening, and heavy bullets smash through little area Herc was using for cover, but they don't smash through him. Several pang loudly against his carapace, but he only grunts as he turns and charges the armored vehicle, headfirst through a hail of gunfire.

As he runs, three giant ants shove upward, emerging from the rubble directly behind the soldiers, each one ripping an unsuspecting soldier in half, dropping the pieces of bodies of the ground sizzling from their acidic saliva.


A camera flash is something new to Jillian. She quickly determines that she does not like this evil Bright Flashy Thing. (She also doesn't admit to having no idea know who Bea is.) Though before she can go after the Bright Flashy Thing the Herc-Beetle is getting attacked by something very big and very nasty. Maybe it doesn't harm him any but it would absolutely -shred- her, and she's not that much farther away from him! And decidedly NOT behind cover!

With a sudden hiss her wings spring out to the sides and she's leaping up into the air, probably still unnoticed by the soldiers across the way.

If Herc wished to take care of this roly-poly then he had best get on it. She doesn't want such distractions bothering her while she claims her prize of the evening! Though speaking of distractions… While they're busy attacking the Beetle-Man..they aren't looking at the store she wishes to raid. Here is an attack of opportunity.


Crouching down, Eddie calls out, "Bea is the boss!" in agreement. But this is also news, so once more there's a flash and another flash to capture the beatle tank man going head first into the tank… And another pair of flashes capture the ants tearing into soldiers. Eddie beams: this is going to get him a /pulitzer/. So maybe he should be running away and-or feeling sorry for the soldiers but man, his job is to capture the NEWS and giant bugs attacking is NEWS.


Once Herc gets going, he's actually moving at a scary-fast pace. When the bullets do nothing to him, they try some grenades, but he just laughs as they go off around him. He even manages to bat one of them back at the soldiers who scatter, right into the jaws of hungry ants. Half the soldiers are ripped to shreds by the time Herc gets there, and when he does, his horn rips right through the armored hide of the troop carrier, low on one side. Then he stands up.

The ATC flips in a wash of rain water, debris and gore, finally silencing the hellfire of the machine gun on top. Several soldiers try to hold their ground, but most are fleeing. The ones who stay are shredded by the ants. Herc's booming laugh is pure glee. He kicks at one of the exposed tires, snapping the axle in one shot. "Look at them flail!"

The jewelry store is in fact very easy to approach in all this mess. The glass display cases are all shattered from the town's dead drop, straight down 5-6 feet. But the goods are all pretty much there. One of the ants gets curious about Jillian, but Herc shouts something unintelligible at it, and it turns back to shredding the remaining soldiers.

A man runs at Herc to bayonet him from behind, but the weapon is just deflected. Herc barely turns, backhands the man, and sends him flying 20 feet. He doesn't watch. He just stomps back over to Eddie, pointing. "What is that?" He sounds pretty grumpy about Eddie flashy bright thing.


The item which Jillian seeks isn't the sort of thing that would be put on display along with the other pieces. It's quite old, passed down from one power to another over the decades. It's also calling out, as if begging to be discovered and taken away from this place. The path leading to it is an easy one for the demon mutant to follow. The back door is easily removed with brute force, giving way with a loud *SNAP!*

A wall painting used to cover the safe set within the wall. Now it lies face down on the ground, forever ruined by coffee long evaporated into an ugly brown mess which has had ample time to seep through the frame's edges and spoil the canvas beyond. It takes her but a moment to ready her glaive, then drive the honed metal straight through the lock and bar alike.

There, waiting beyond, is a beautiful necklace made up in solid gold with a massive deep-hued emerald set within the ornate pendant. It's a priceless artifact. And now it is hers.

Though for as subtle as her approach to the store had been, the act of taking the item was somewhat less so. All it takes is one soldier catching sight of her. Then they have one more target to engage.


Yikes. Eddie backs away and tries to put a car between him and Herc, "Its a Memory Taker, its uh, how I will serve Bea! I am a Keeper of Memory! I will tell all that Bea is mighty and that they should all bow down to her, or else you will crush them. Right? That's what's going on right?" With the monster approaching him, his bravery with the camera flash is not quite on the high end so he holds off with more bright flashes. For now.


That necklace from the back office had been in there a long time. In fact, it's power had accidentally given the shop's owner the meager amount of luck it took to have a semi-successful shop in this nowhere town. Successful enough, at least, that when the town dropped, the shop's owner didn't flee. He hidden under his desk in that back office, waiting for a time he could dare to try and open the safe again. Fortunately, someone did the hard part for him.

BLAM The shop owner fires one of the two blasts from his sawed-off double barreled shotgun from under the desk, and then rolls his portly butt to standing. It was a terrible shot, even given the surprise attack, but he levels the weapon at Jillian again. "Alright you fucking /freak/, hand it over and I let you walk. That belongs to /me/." His voice hisses, and the need in his eyes is clear. He's been effected by the artifact, and not in a good way.

Meanwhile, with Herc and Eddie, Herc asks slowly, "Memory… /Taker/…" He rolls the idea around, and slowly begins to frown. He's used to being offended on Bea's behalf before, but he's quickly coming to the discovery of what personal offense feels like. An enormous hand grasps Eddie's entire upper arm, and not gently. "You take Herc memory? Give it back!" He shakes the reporter, and probably didn't mean to hurt him that badly, but in his grip the pressure is near to breaking the man's arm.


Squeak. Eddie squeaked. Eddie has never squeaked in his entire life, but at the moment with a giant bug grabbing him. THis is not his most manly and impressive display, but he doesn't piss his pants, so he's calling it a win, "I'm not taking away your memories! It takes away *my* memories of Herc! So I can share them with other people, how mighty it was that you flipped the roly poly. Did you see how they *squirmed*? I took my memory of that!"

And there's a wild ant, big and giant and with sharp mandibles, coming right for the big guy. Now Eddie has a choice: let ant kill the villain, and maybe get accidentally killed to.. or help the bad guy and maybe earn some gratitude.

Oh as if he had to think of that at all. "Behind you, Herc! That ant looks like it wants to eat you!"


HRK! Jillian's magic-sense is pretty darned good. Her life-sense for nearby creatures..is non-existent. So many of those lead pellets pepper the back and side of the winged creature, causing very much red-hued blood to bloom all across dark blue skin. Holes are neatly punched through her wings, now spread wide with the shock of the surprise attack. It's a solid hit! Anyone else would have probably fallen down, possibly in more than one piece

Instead she ducks low and spins about, -hissing- at the man with eyes once more narrowed into tiny golden slits. One chubby shop owner with a shotgun, now down to its last shell, versus one of Azazel's infernal army, armed with a six foot tall bladed staff.

There's not so much as a flash of light across the blade as it sweeps across between the two. The shop owner may soon notice that his weapon has been neatly cleaved in two. A moment later he may also come to discover that both of his arms have also been shaved a few inches short.

And now there's an injured and extremely pissed off demon stalking toward him. "This does not belong to you, fool," she snarls while pulling the leather mask away from her jaw. As it turns out, he has something else which she now desires.

A moment later he's lifted up off of his feet and slammed back onto the desk, the glaive jutting out from his ample stomach and pinning him in place like a bug. Hands and tail alike are right there to further hold him down as she moves in to sink pointed teeth into his jugular.

His blood will aid her wounds soon enough.


It looks like Herc could probably be tricked with a good old fashioned, 'Hey, look out behind you!' anyway, so given a semi-plausible scenario, it definitely distracts the insectoid giant. But his distraction is mainly in the form of a furrowed brow, and turning slightly to look over his shoulder. His tone is matter of fact disbelief, "Huh? No, ants work for B-"

Herc is cut off by a giant ant that looks like it wants to eat him. Herc's response is mostly confused instead of any level of anger or aggression. "What? No! Stop that!" Mandible chomps that sliced men in half in one go clomp against his forearm in loud, hollow-wood thunking sounds. Herc shoves Eddie to one side as he turns to face the ant fully, really very befuddled by this situation. It doesn't seem to bother Herc much, but the ant's highly corrosive spittle spatters all around the two wrestling insectoids.

But when the other giant ant race forward and bites at the back of the ant attacking Herc, the beetle-man finally gets it. His voice is strangely, genuinely sad. "Oh no! Ant queen dead…" He holds the ant at bay with one arm and lifts his free hand up to cup and shout to Jillain, "Jillian lady! Look out! Ants go crazy!" Then his fist goes up in the air, and he drives his elbow down hard into the top of the ants head. The impact sounds like a car accident with how metallic-like their carapaces are. But the ant's skull cracks wide open and the creature collapses. The other ant wastes no time climbing over its fallen comrade and taking over where it left off.

In fact, all around the Grover Mill disaster site, wild ants are roving uncontrolled, fighting each other when they don't have anything else nearby.


Giant ants. Gone crazy. Jillian pulls herself away from her twitching, and very bloodied, victim to watch the scene unfolding outside. That oughta keep the soldiers out there plenty occupied, there's no more organization to speak of. Just pure chaos! It's delightful, truly it is. With a sickening *Schluk!* she pries the glaive out of the desk and owner alike, dark blood running down the length of the polearm as she quickly wipes the crimson away from her mouth with the back of a hand.

Earl was just a normal human, while she will heal faster after feeding off of him it will still take a while to erase her injuries. Flight is possible, though it won't be terribly comfortable. Still, it beats becoming giant ant food! She just..has to make it out of the store first.

With a twist the glaive separates into two pieces, tucked low and ready as she navigates through the doorways. Wings, weapon, and tail don't always make it easy! Though she got what she came here for, maybe it's time for her to simply leave this place altogether?


This is getting a little bit out of hand. But, its not immediately the bad kind of out of hand: its the literal out of hand as Eddie is shoved away, and he goes stumbling pointedly away from either giant bug man and giant ant. Fortunately, he manages to avoid the immediate splashing of acid, so he's lifting up his camera: Flash, flash! He still has a job to do and he's not entirely the brightest — "SHIIIIIIIIIT" he exclaims, as a drop of spittle had flown across and landed on his fingers. SHaking it, he can't help but *scream*, as three fingers dissolve into nothing at all.

He manages— just— to hold onto his camera with the right hand, though.


ROLL: Anya +rolls 1d10 for a result of: 8


Jillian was right to be cautious leaving the jewelry store. It seems the smell of the owner's blood has attracted the attention of a lone ant. It seems fairly aimless though, and it was about to pass the shop by, but something about her presence drew its attention. The huge head and body swivel to focus on the demon lady, and it shoves in through the front of the shop, splintering glass and plaster as it comes after her, mandibles snapping.

At Eddie's scream, Herc whips his head back around and skewers the ant. It's still wriggling when he stands with the impaled ant in the air above him. Herc seems unconcerned with that, and instead squints at the noise Eddie is making. "What? That?" he asks, pointing at Eddie's hand. "Herc only have six finger. You fine." Herc holds up both his hands showing the two fingers and a thumb on each one.


ROLL: Jillian +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 22


Battling large gruesome creatures with bad attitudes? Nothing new for Jillian! She approaches the lone ant with caution, ducking low with wings spread wide as she 'dances' with the monstrous insect. Get a read on its motions, find an opening, then -go for it.-

A retreat suddenly becomes a forward assault, the Neyaphem darting forward and catching each of its opened mandibles with her hands. The idea here is for her tail to push the blade up through the creature's head, quick and swift.

What she doesn't anticipate is just how strong those mandibles really are. What should have been an easy 'catch' suddenly has her feet sliding across the floor, golden eyes widening in surprise as they start to close down around her even with the added resistance. Not cool. So -very- not cool.

The strike isn't as slow or precise as she had counted on, the blade swiping across one of the mandibles and severing it as neat as you please. It gives her a way out, though not without a cost. With the loss of resistance the other mandible snaps toward her, gashing her nice and deep. Insects aren't so great at offering blood donations, either!


Breaking out in a sweat, Eddie hesitates, then grabs his shirt and pulls it over his chest. He's not showing off, honest! Instead he wads it quickly over his hand, staunching bleeding, and then grabs for his belt awkwardly, he tugs it open and wraps it around his hand as well. With a grunt he tightens it as much as he can, trembling. Not gonna keep out the infection but it'll have to keep until he gets to a hospital, "Herc's not the same kind of thing as I am, I needed those!" But he's in some shock.


The crashing of the ant charging into Jillian's shop gets Herc's attention. "No! Ant stop!" Sorry Herc, Ant no stop. Frowning more, Herc looks at Eddie and sighs. He actually sighs. "Too squish to stay here. Come with Herc." And Herc /hauls/ Eddie up, setting him on his back, where his carapace has a lip which is surprisingly easy to hold on to. With two hands, this would be a fun ride, sort of. With one, it's a little wild.

Herc tears off across the rubble field and stops himself with a giant push kick against the side of the ant's abdomen, or rearmost section. The ant butt. It slides sideways, confused, but is still scrabbling desperately to get at the juice demon inside the shop. "Jillian lady ok?" Herc calls out. He's too tall to see down into the rubble.


Jillian lady -angry.- It isn't an immediate thing but once free of that awful huge bite she starts cutting the ant down to size, claiming one of its legs after another until half of it is completely limb-less. Then she drives that massive blade of hers into the ant's side and -wrenches- downward with a snarl, nearly slicing it in two.

"I do not understand the question," she responds in a low, -seething- tone. "But it is past time to depart this wretched place."

Her take-off isn't nearly as clean nor swift this time around, various tears in the wings and wounds in the body all working against her. Fortunately she's a determined little hellspawn, and used to operating after taking some harsh abuse.

So long as none of those ants have wings..she should be just fine, indeed.

Those soldiers may wind up losing another one of their own on her way out, however.


This… is entirely not at all what Eddie had in mind, when he was going to get a scoop. But he does keep hold of his camera, the strap in tact, at least: with like one and a third hand he's wide eyed and crazy when he's riding a … bullbeetlebugthing. "Uhh, I'm Eddie, by the way, and uh, I can probably make it to safety, and then tell the world of the Glory of Bea?" Like put me down please?


With the ant slain, and nothing else nearby to offer any great resistance, Herc does indeed put Eddie back on the ground. He pauses to watch Jillian take flight and nods to himself, as if committing something to memory. Turning, he looks down at Eddie. "Herc not dumb," he says. And lets it hang there for a long moment. Just when it's awkward enough that Eddie probably wants to say something to fill the silence, Herc says, "Eddie guy can't tell glory. Not met Bea. Eddie meet Bea?"


There's a pause, as Eddie considers that. "No, no, I don't think Herc is dumb, but do I need to meet Bea? After all I see she commands Herc and the Ant Queen and the pants— well until they went crazy— so clearly she is very powerful." A little faint, he's not exactly thinking clearly, "But an exclusive with Bea… I can tell people what she wants them to know, so… Eddie meet Bea!"


"Eddie talk funny," Herc says, with a tilt of his head. But he's not judgmental. Instead, he takes a knee, and indicates through a series of joints and gaps in his shell, a fairly easy climb up to his shoulders. Herc has put people up there before, it seems. Once Eddie confirms he has a good grip, things get weird. The carapace of his back splits down the middle, revealing stunningly beautiful beetle wings, shot through with iridescent blue and green. They shimmer with the rain, until they start to move. In seconds they 'power up', and the noise they make is something like the old B-52 bombers from the news reels. Double checking that Eddie is secure, Herc launches them both into the night sky.


"It's part of the job." admits Eddie, but he climbs as indicated, and gets as good a grip as he's going to get top a giant beetle. He did not expect the wings, "Hey, those are pretty, Herc." And then they're flying. He can't help it, in excitement, he hoots, waving his injured hand while his other holds on for dear life. Then he decides holding on with both would be a much better idea, "How… far… is… she?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License