1963-12-08 - Them Us
Summary: Doreen and Anya find some trouble when they show up to help with the NYU cleanup.
Related: Them! Plot
Theme Song: None
doreen anya 

It's mid-morning on the Thursday after the attack on NYU. Emergency crews have been and gone to help those injured, but what remains is a real mess. It seems the insects shrink back to normal size after being killed, but there is evidence of burning, and rubble scattered around the NYU science building. It spills out onto the street and into Washington Square Park across from there.

Big chunks of building and concrete are scattered around, as well as crushed and burned cars. Fires were put out pretty quickly, between the rain all last night and the quick response of the fire team. The building is definitely salvageable, but will take some serious repairs.

And this is where we find New York's own Spider-Girl hard at work. She's been on the scene in and around the city for four years now, but only recently has she been a more visible presence. Just now, she's hefting cars out of the wait. It's a job that would take a cleanup crew days, and at the rate she's going, she can probably clear most of the road by lunch time. It looks like she's piling them up on a big flatbed truck parked nearby.

Plenty of people have gathered around to watch, some shouting obscenities about mutants, and female mutants being even worse, but most just seem to enjoy the show. When she tosses an enormous Buick onto the pile she thwips it down with some extra webbing and goes to the driver's window.

"You should be good for at least an hour with that," she advises. "You'll just need something sharp when you get to the junkyard." Then she backs away while that truck pulls off and another slides in to its place.


Doreen would like to swing through the air with the greatest of ease and arrive on scene in heroic fashion. However, her powers don't really lend to that sort of thing, so she arrives in a somewhat unconventional way for her newfound profession: she took a cab. The cabbie got a little grumpy about Monkey Joe and Tippy Toe sitting in the passenger seat, but Doreen gives him a decent tip and tells him to stop being such a fart.

She sees Spider-Girl there just as the Webbed Wonder finishes depositing the car in there, running up in her costume, her tail floofing out behind her ass she approaches, 'Holy cow, Spider-Girl! You came back! I read that you were here before! Can I help? I really can lift an awful lot, I dunno if it's as much as you, but it's a lot, I'm Squirrel Girl, by the way, I'm new. Oh, and this is Tippy Toe and that's Monkey Joe! Guys, try to help out, get some coffee for the folks or something I have some change in my pocket…no, not that pocket, Joe, the other…there ya go. Don't lose my keys!"

She manages to get most of that out quickly, blowing some air at the end and making her bangs bounce, "So, where ya want me?"


"Oh geez, hi…" Anya says, her half mask making the slowly curling smile visible. She is delighted as she takes in the new arrival. There's a long moment, studying the squirrel friends, the tail, and then she shrugs. Strange? Yes. Strangest she's ever seen? Not by a long shot.

Finally Spider-Girl shrugs and sticks out her hand, "Hi Squirrel Girl, it's nice to meet you. And work is always more fun when you have help." Anya walks to where three cars are propped up like a terrible teepee. How did that even happen?

"Can you lift one of these? We just need to pile them on the flat bed over there… Oh, um…" It finally dawns on Anya that the little squirrels are actually following Doreen's lead. She tilts her head and whispers to Squirrel Girl, SG to SG, as if she's worried she might hurt the little guys' feelings.

"Hey, do you think they could find these?" Anya produces a little steel ball of some kind, about the size of a marble. "The geeks in the science lab said they had a bunch of them for some kind of experiment. They're not dangerous, I guess, but it would be helpful if we could round them up. Supposedly there's like… a hundred of them." Anya's expression clearly says she was thinking that would be the least fun part of the day.


Doreen follows along eagerly. She's doing it! She's superheroing! I mean, it's not fighting mad scientists or throwing fists with alien flying saucers, but she's doing it! And there's another hero here, talking to her like a real person and not even calling her a freak or throwing things at her! This is great!

"Yeah, I think I can lift that much," she says, squatting a bit with her thick legs and bracing herself to get underneath, "Oh, yeah, no problemo, squirrel power!"

To the last, she looks at the little balls and nods, "Tippy, c'mere!" she says. She then proceeds to chitter and squeak at the squirrel, following up with a loud, repetitive triplicate of squawks that echo through the space. The trees around come alive a little bit as five, six, seven other squirrels drop down and start to scramble close to line up.

"Show 'em to those guys, they'll find 'em. Don't eat 'em either. SQUEAK!"


"That's great!" Anya says when Doreen hefts the car. Then Anya takes a step back from the squirrel army before she realizes everything is ok. "Right, ok…" Turning, she thwips a line to one of the other cars and yanks the hubcap to herself. Could she have just walked over there and gotten it? Of course! But this is cooler.

Bending the hub cap a little, Anya makes a serviceable, wide bowl thing. She sets it on the ground and puts the three steel balls in there that she found already. "Ok, so we need all of those, in there, ok?" She tries smiling at the little guys too, just in case.


The squirrels seem to be paying attention, although they look over to Squirrel Girl for confirmation as she nods. There's a little chittering at her and Doreen laughs, "I know she's just a human, but she's good, I swear. And I'll get you some roasted chestnuts after, all shelled and everything," she says.

She squat-walks the car over, her knees bend and bracing it against her chest, her tongue sticking out the corner of her mouth as she tries to keep it balanced, "So, what happened here anyway? They ssaid something about bugs in the paper, but this seems a little bit much for a pest control problem!"


Anya grins as the squirrels scatter, and she walks over to pick up the next car, shifting it around to get the balance right. "Well, you've heard of that monster, Beatrice Garretson, right? Apparently she makes little bugs into really really big bugs. There ants the size of these cars. There were bees or wasps or something too. Huge ones." She shrugs and places the car on the truck, shoving it to straighten out the pile.

Moving back, looking for the next thing to pick up, Anya points up at the hole in the side of the building when Squirrel Girl has a chance to look. "And apparently she busted in there to kidnap some scientist guy. And no one has any idea even /why/. He was just a regular guy, you know?"


Doreen sets down the car she had, dusting her hands off before she goes to try and get more, "Yeah, she seems pretty scary! I dunno, I mean, I have my squirrel army, but there's limits to what I would do. Like, I ask them to help, I don' tmake 'em. And I don't like putting 'em in danger," she says. "But she just…uses her bugs. Like a big ol' jerk!"

She brushes aside some rubble as the squirrels start to return piecemeal, dropping little balls in the upturned hubcap for collection before skittering off again. "Was he, like, a bug scientist or something? Maybe she needs someone to make, like, giant nuclear superbug food or who can help her get rid of huge mutant bug doodoo?"


"Yeah," Anya says, nodding. "She's pretty terrible. Makes the rest of us mutants look even worse, you know? And he was researching particle physics or something. I'm not even totally sure what that /is/. But it doesn't sound like bug-stuff to me."

She moves to a big pile of wall chunks, several pieces, each as big as a person, and fires a series of webs until she has it in a big web bag. But she she goes to pick it up, she only gets about half of it into the air. Floppy bag of rubble is floppy.

"Hey Squirrel Girl, could I get a hand with this? It's kinda awkward."


Doreen puts a hand on her chest, "Oh my god, you're a mutant? Me, toooooooo! I know some superheroes are, like, Iron Man and Captain America and get all their powers from science and technology and stuff. But I'm glad more of us are helping, too. Humans will learn to trust us faster if they see we're willing to help and do the right thing!" she says with spunky determination.

Upon request, Squirrel Girl leaps, a massive jump that carries her to land over next to Spider-Girl, "Of course! Between the two of us, I'm sure we can manage it! Teamwork!"


"And yeah, who knows with those guys," Anya says as they fiddle around with the bag of rubble, getting ready to move it. "Maybe their mutation is to be super smart or something, to come up with all that stuff." She gives a short count down and then it's TEAMWORK INDEED. The rubble goes up and they're able to dump it onto the flatbed.

The webbing is definitely sticky though, and if Squirrel Girl isn't careful, she might get a little stuck. At this point, the biggest pieces of the rubble are mostly collected, and Anya looks the place over to see how the cleanup is going. The hubcap is half full of ball bearings, and the squirrels are still busy.

Then, down at the base of the hill in the park, several squirrels are digging up more bearings (and nuts). But all of a sudden the dirt they're digging in explodes outward with an audible FOOMPF. The squirrels are scattered as giant ants burst from the ground, but only three ants come out. Stragglers who must have gotten lost.

The squirrels seem to be ok though, one, two, three - nope, one is missing.

Wait, no, there he is… accidentally riding on the back of one of the giant ants! He looks terrified and holds on to the ant's carapace for dear life.

The ants are as big as cars, just as advertised, and they charge the place where Anya and Doreen are standing.


Doreen looks up at the sudden noise and can hear the squeals from the squirrels at the sudden arrival of the stragglers. To everyone else, it just sounds like terrified shrieking, but to Doreen, it's a very clear "OH CRAP BIG OL ANTS RUNRUNRUNRUNRUN!"

"BIG OL ANTS!" she translates, ouching as she loses a bit of armhair to the rubble before she sprints into action. She may not be experienced, but she's gotta protect her friends. "You leave those squirrels alone, you exoskeletal banditos!" she yells, raising a fist in the air as she leaps, intending to land on the head of the one with the rider so that Tippy Toe can leap up onto her shoulder and ride her to freedom.


"Crap!" Anya shouts. "Are they ok?" And then Squirrel Girl is sailing past her to land on the ant's head. Anya leaps into action as well, but not quite into the middle of things. With both hands she spreads a net of webbing, trying to tangle up the two not being ridden by squirrels.

Unfortunately they are much stronger than they should be. They're tangled up for a moment, but they are quickly tearing the webs and chomping them with acid-dripping mandibles. The ground sizzles where their spittle lands.

Anya takes advantage of the delay by webbing up a single chunk of rubble left over in the street. She makes an extra strong net around it, and then a long line to hold it by, finally picking it up to swing it like a flail. She even looks a little off balance for once. That thing must weigh more than she does!


Doreen hears the concern and shouts back, "They're okay, although Tippy's hoppin' mad!" she says. The little female squirrel was embarassed at being scared like that and is now up on Doreen's shoulder, chittering and gesticulating madly for her friend to avenge her.

So Doreen does, riding the ant like a rodeo rider, gripping an antenna in one hand while she uses the other to pummel at the back of its big old head, smacking it, "I hope it can feel this! I don't wanna kill it, I mean, I know it's gross, but it's still a living thing! I've never killed anything I don't wanna start with a giant ant thing, especially if it's just a victim enslaved by evil! Maybe we could…rehabilitate it and put it in a zoo! WILL YOU FALL DOWN ALREADY, ANT JERK?!?" she cries, adding a few healthy kicks to the thing as it careens her around, "Watch out for the webs, whoa, nope nope nope!"


Doreen's mount bucks and rears at having its antennae yanked on. It knocks over a good-sized tree in the process, perhaps indicating the difficulty of keeping it in a zoo. But her punches definitely leave a mark, literally. The extra hard carapace bends and then buckles under the force of her blows, an crack forming in the back of its head, letting out a gross yellow goo of some kind. The wound staggers the beast and it stumbles to a near stand still.

Spider-Girl, on the other hand, has had an unfortunately darker past being a hero so far. Her big rock is in motion already before she registers what Squirrel Girl is saying. It travels in a big overhead arc on the end of the web line and comes down with a crunching <SMASH> on the head of another ant, not Doreen's.

"Shoot, sorry! I don't know how to coral them though. Open to ideas!" Anya is hoisting her stone back into whirling position, watching as the third ant breaks free of the webbing and tries to decided which SG to attack.


Doreen gasps as she cracks the carapace of the thing, leaping up and off of it in horror, "OH GROSS, I BROKE IT! I'M SO SORRY OH YOUR GOOEY BRAINS OH NO NO THIS IS WRONG OH GOD!" she cries, landing and then just hopping her legs up and down and shaking out her arms as she gets the heebie jeebies in a big way, "This is badbadbad, ew, I'm so hopping mad at that Beatrice person, I'm gonna kick her in the creamies when I see her, she's a mean old poop fart, oh goshhhhhhhhhh!" she yelps, shaking her arm to try and get the goo off, only to find herself facing off with the third one.

As she does, though, squirrels gather up behind Doreen and not just a few this time. It looks like about three dozen, all of them baring their teeth and floofing out their tails in as intimidating a fashion as they're going to get, letting out this unholy chittering chorus behind her, "Just…back off, Ant Boy!"


ROLL: Anya +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 27


Larry is definitely fertilizer at this point. The overzealous Spider-With-A-Rock saw to that. Curly is finally free of the webs, but Moe is looking mighty unsteady with that head wound, wobbling as it tries to come about. And this is when the two survivors see the squirrel army. This was not in the handbook. And at some level, the ants know, they /know/, that squirrels are dangerous to them. Especially Moe, who isn't tracking real life quite so clearly at the moment.

Ants don't have much in the way of facial expressions, but if it's possible, it seems like Curly's eyes get a little bigger, and he starts to back away from the chittering threat display. When Moe sees that, he just turns and skitters back into the tunnel they opened. Once solo, Curly's resolve melts as well. Turning, he skitters after Moe.

In the mess that Anya made of Larry, the body is already shrinking down. It'll be a normal sized ant in less than a minute. Anya lets her big rock thunk into the cold dirt and stares open-mouthed at Doreen. "Wow! I've never seen them back down like that! How did you do it?"


Doreen is, of course, completely shocked and amazed herself. Still, she can't let the other superhero know that. "Um…squirrel power?" she says, flexing an arm for a moment. She turns to the rest and chitters back at the army.

With the orders given, the squirrels deploy, starting to chase the ants, "I think I saw an empty moving truck back there. We're going to see if we can corral them into it!" she calls out, waving for Spider-Girl to follow her as she joins the squirrels in their pursuit.


The ants indeed are on the run. They are cut off and discouraged from going back down the tunnel, but they quickly line up with the direction the squirrels have them going in. They are spooked and ready to run in whatever direction is free.

"Oh yeah, I saw that one too!" Anya shouts, thwipping past Doreen in the direction of the truck. Parked in the alley nearby is a box truck some students bought together to have a little moving business and supplement their incomes. Fast as she is, Anya lands in a gravity-defying crouch against the back of the truck and then hops to the ground, hoisting the roller-door open. They'd be moving more than furniture today!

"Squirrel Girl, you are my kinda crazy! I really hope this works!" Anya bounces away from the truck and pitches in with the corralling effort.


Doreen keeps the ants a-moving, having the squirrels add in a bit of pelting with bits of rubble they snag along the way, a veritable mob of furry-tailed peasants driving Frankenstein towards the castle, "Go on, keep movin'!" she says.

As she gets closer, she leaps again to land up next to Spidergirl as her squirrel army starts to push the ants up towards the ramp, "You're really cool, too! Thank you for letting me help!" she says.


Spider-Girl offers Squirrel Girl a hearty high-five that only two superheroes could match. When the two giant ants get chased into the truck, followed by the army of chittering squirrels, Anya waits for the furry critters to get clear and then thwips the truck door down, and adds more webbing to keep it that way. There's a good deal of clattering and thunking around inside, and one wall of the truck buckles out, but then all at once the truck gets very quiet.

"Uh," Anya says, astutely. She turns her unsure frown to Squirrel Girl and it's clear that her brow is furrowed behind the mask. "Did the ants just go to sleep or something?" She approaches the back of the truck with trepidation, looking back to make sure Doreen is with her.


Doreen hops down next to Spider-Girl, "Oooooooooooh, I so wish I had, like, X-ray vision. Mr. Marvel, in the comics, he has x-ray vision. And he can fly. And bullets bounce off him. And he once moved the moon to hide the Earth from alien invaders by creating an eclipse!" she says.

Realizing she's rambling, she says, "Um, helloooooooooooooo…?" she says, knocking on the side of the truck and then jumping back again pre-emptively in a kung fu stance.

She does not know kung fu.


The echoes of an empty truck, and then silence, are all that greet the two women. "That's…" Anya says, bracing herself before hauling open the truck door again. "Not possible."

It's empty. It's beat up and bent inside, but empty.

Except, perhaps, for those two little ants roaming around in the corner? One looks like it's a little confused. Neither is any bigger than it should be.

Anya turns back to face Doreen, hands on hips, confused. "I got nada. You?"


Doreen cocks her head and scratches a claw in her hair, "Huh," she says, "Um. Okay, let me see if I can speculate about a hypothesis or two," she says. "One: teleportion. Two: shrinking. Three: Invisibility. Four: I have no idea what I'm talking about and we should go get, like, Tony Stark or Reed Richards or somebody who is actually super smart to figure it out. That or we just be glad they're gone and go on with our lives."

She shrugs, "I've been a superhero for literally, like, weeks. I dunno nothin'."


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