Description: Who could have ever expected that the USA Sports Team could have been ambushed in a dark alleyway. Spoiler Alert: There is a new USA Sports Team on the block.
Metro Square was typically safe, as long as you kept out of the alleyways.
Metro Square was pretty secure, even at night. You had cops everywhere, and while they were always spread thin, you always just had enough. As long as you didn't go down the alleyways. The alleyways, that's where the criminal scum was waiting. It didn't take a lot of instincts to know when that you just kept in the crowds, and stayed the HELL away from the alleyways of Metro City.
Unfortunately, the USA Sports team did not have good instincts.
"So like, Brian dawg." Lucky Glauber states, going down the alleyway in his full basketball gear. "I get what you are saying about Michael Jorden. Yeah, he can play basketball like nobody's business. Yeah, he can also play baseball. And he can even make friends with the Loony Toons. But you can't tell me that the man can play Football. It's just not possible!" Lucky looks around in the alleyway, and stops. "Uh, Brian?" The tall fighter begins, hands on his hips.
"Are you sure this is the right way to the registration, where we, the USA Sports Team, can take our finalized documentations, fees, and invites to complete our team registration?"
"WELL YEAH OF COURSE, MAN, DO I GOTTA SCREAM IT OUT LOUD FOR THE WHOLE FUCKIN' WORLD TO HEAR?!" Shouts Brian. He even punches a gutter that crunches so loud under his fist that one would believe that yes, this kind of gutter was made to the exact specification that it be loud when Brian punches it. Such is the world they live in.
Brian confidently strides further down the deep, dark, dank, deadly alley without much further care in the world beyond creaking his neck to and fro. "Pfft, like we need to wait for Heavy D! to come back with a fixed GPS or somethin' to tell us where to go. What are you, chicken? I say we say it again loud and clear, 'cause the streets are gonna be cheerin' when we come back with the title."
"WE'RE GOING TO KING OF FIGHTERS!" Can he shout it any louder?
"W E ' R E G O I N G T O K I N G O F F I G H T E R S ! ! !" No, Brian, that wasn't a chall--
"U! S! A!" He hoots and hollers, shaking a fist as he continues the totally discreet and direct path to sports superstardom once again(?). "U! S! A! U! S! A!"
Amusingly, perhaps ironically, in this case potential trouble follows the oft ill-fated comrades /from/ the well-lit, well-patrolled streets, /into/ the alleyways. It's just after they've turned that corner that a sleek silver Rolls Royce pulls up to the curb, letting a passenger out of the backseat. He does up one button to close the sleek black suit jacket over the paradoxically flamboyant, brilliant red silk shirt and tie he also wears. He brushes down similarly finely tailored black slacks and then fluffs his fingers through a bleach-blonde mane that flows luxuriously over his shoulders; something of a paradox to the man's distinctively Japanese features. He's a face that's been featured on magazine covers; only some of which were published by his family's companies.
Ken Masters, features set with grim determination and resolute purpose, sets off right after the shadowed Sports Team to occupy the mouth of the alleyway. It's not exactly posh surroundings with which to amplify an entrance and make a more profound first impression: not that it stops the Blonde Battler from striking a practiced pose and pointing dramatically down the alleyway as he narrows his eyes (and those intense, intense brows) at Brian and Lucky's backs, "You!" At least, that's what it sounds like he's interjecting, timing the projection to carry in one of those (rare) pauses in Brian's chant.
"S! A!" Ken finishes, in an M. Night Shamalayan level twist. "You two are going with -me- to King of Fighters!" Ken then decisively declares, correcting the record. "I'm the best the USA has." At least since Charlie's already in it. That Ken could have filed his own submission, entered on his own clout? That's irrelevant. Red tape and his own irresponsibility will not deny //destiny//.
Metro Square is home and habitat to plenty of kinds of folks. "Scratch", mind, is not quite a resident, but she spends enough time around the parts that she may as well be. And as for alleyways...she knows them all too well. Mostly because...well, her preferred kind of targets kind of dwell in these alleys.
Of course...most of them are loud. Most of them are brash. Most of them are violent, rude, crude, ugly, and all around terrible people. Brian...well, he checks off almost all those boxes by sound alone, and as the skater hangs along one of the fire escapes around this alley, she can't say she knows the loudmouth well enough to say he's not a bad person either. She just knows he's being TOO GODDAMN LOUD.
"Christ...I've been waiting here for an hour for these Gear assholes to come out and...." she mutters to herself. She interanlly cringes when the gutter gets crunched by the loudest of the two, and cringes even more when he keeps yelling. If she lurking for her 'prey', she'd have gone down to yell at him to shut the hell up.
That...doesnt' seem to be necessary though, as a more familiar voice comes not too far behind, prompting the skater to lean over the railing of the fire escape in confusion. "The hell...what's Ken Masters doing here?" she mutters under her breath. Celebrities don't go into alleyways in Metro City unless they're brave, stupid, doing a publicity stunt, or all three.
Brian was providing a strong counterpoint to Lucky's arguments.
"That's a good point dawg. We are going to the King Of Fighters. But where is it supposed to be? Like, I am pretty sure we weren't even supposed to go into Metro City. Wasn't it in Sunshine City?" Lucky's questions are unanswered, however, as he realizes that there were TWO USAs being chanted. Not the two Americas that Obama was talking about. But Two USAs. Lucky steps back, terrified...
And then he realizes who it is.
"Aw shit man, is that Ken Masters?
Lucky immediately becomes relieved. "Oh man, you are like the most famous fighter in America! Except like, that Lightning Spangles chick. But I am pretty sure she died of an overdose or something. Holy shit man! What are you doing here?" Lucky thinks for a moment.
"Are you here to give us tips in the King of Fighters tournament?"
"U! S! Aaaaaaaaa-wha?! Whoaaaaa nelly that's Ken Masters." That makes for two stunned super-duper-American athletes, as Brian succeeds in turning his head on that big ol' beefy neck of his. "Pff. Now let me use my HEAD MUSCLES."
He knows he has a brain? Sort of?
"Ken Masters, buddy, sounds like YOU didn't get invited, huh," Brian holds his invite way way up into the air for all to see, "don't got the golden ticket, Charlie? Ain't going to the ball, Cinderella! WE'RE the USA's biggest, baddest, and best, now!"
To Brian's credit, he physically towers over Ken. It is not much in the way of credit. He would not get a home loan with that credit score of being merely taller than Ken.
Brian keeps the invite just held out in open air, ignorant of all going around above, beneath, behind, and very arguably right in front of him.
Ken grins, somehow both winningly and smugly in equal parts. His pleasure with discovering that Lucky is a fan is only mildly diminished by the invocation of a comparison to 'that Lightning Spangles chick'; but what are you going to do? If you're mad when your fans are irrational, well; show business is not your business. "Better." Ken assures Lucky. At least, in his own estimation, it's definitely better. "I'm here to lead the way to Team USA becoming the King of Fighters."
And they'd totally still be somehow involved if it weren't last minute slapdashery to fulfill his own desire to be King of Fighters; swear! In his defense, it's a lot better than the deals Lucky and Brian have gotten /other/ times. Ken's smile diminishes in wideness and warmness, but does not disappear; it retains smug satisfaction, and completes a full mutation into raw smirk, the Blonde Battler's dark eyes flashing as he shifts to regard Brian. It's clear (a substantial) part of the Ansatsuken disciple prefers this avenue of discussion even over Lucky's fandom. "The paperwork snafus that brought us to this point are irrelevant to the road ahead." Somewhere approaching half of that definitely sounds enigmatic enough to be something Gouken or Ryu might say.
The other 50-60% just sounds a little bit gloaty, "I didn't say /you/ had to come." Apparently having some foreknowledge of the kind of man Brian is, or just being the kind of man Ken is, as he appends the last he's shucking off his suit jacket and tearing off his tie; using the crimson length to secure his long, luxurious blonde hair as he regards the pair evenly. If he's worried about there being two of them, it sure doesn't show on his smirking face.
Scratch stares down at the scene unfolding down below continues to irritate her. The novelty of seeing a genuine celebrity like Ken Masters somewhere not at one of those fighting functions she's crashed before is numbed by her continued irritation at the way this noisy throng probably killed her stakeout. She'd been planning on hitting these Mad Gear assholes near the square for weeks and in a matter of 3 minutes, some noisy meathead and his slightly more reasonable partner have screwed it up for her.
"Goddammit..." she grows under her breath...she even spots a door opening...and then closing just too late for her to do anything about it. "FUCK!" she hisses, before glowering down below.
"You stupid, stupid stupid assholes..." she growls before kicking herself off the fire escape. There's a telltaile ring of metal being struck before a neon blur swings from underneath one floor of the escape right toward Brian's hand. She really doesn't care what this thing is now, she's just trying to steal it from the meathead out of spite.
"Well, shit dawg!"
That is Lucky's response to Ken's purpose of being here. "Hang on Brian." He starts, the taller man putting a hand on his shoulder. "Well I mean, I don't think its hard to put you in. You are like the champ, right? But like, I mean, we only had like, two slots. And some standby. I mean, we could squeeze you in. Brian and I are a team."
"I mean, you'd have to show us a whole lot before we just let you in, right-?"
And then the metal ting comes.
Lucky's instincts are key. Immediately, he move himself in between the blur and Brian. "Whoa dawg! Brian! Somethings coming towards us! Hide your invite! It is very precious to us! Not even a million dollars could take it from us!" Lucky looks around nervously.
"Seriously Brian, protect that invite, that's the last one we got."
There was a buzz all around. A buzzing about the King of Fighters Tournament! Of course, that's what it was. A kind of buzz that attracts others, such as, in this case, the one and only, for her hive, Queen Bee. The loud sounds in Metro City of all places, where she and her swarm were shunted out after the Unholy Genesis concluded, there had been strange and mysterious vanishings. Tough and rumble gang members disappearing completely from the face of the earth, only to be found seemingly 'drained' of their everything. Bones and flesh remaining and at times punctured and shorn - yet very little of them seemingly wounded.
"(Oh, that's very loud.)"
Walking so late at night alone, a school-girl dressed as if she was twelve hours too late to one of the inner-city schools comes around the corner, to face Lucky and Ken and Brian - and a little bit of Scratch. Then there is a sudden clang of metal. Eyes widen, even if they are purely decoration, and Q-Bee crouches a bit, antennae and eyes locating and following Scratch's motion, leaping down towards Lucky and Brian.
"(Oh! I remember that one!)"
Q-Bee had seen Scratch before - and she was certain she would taste delicious, though at the moment, there was a buffet of choices about her, her stomach rumbling, the schoolgirl standing there once more after her brief crouch almost entirely spaced out - is she drooling a little?
"Pff." Brian spits a hell of an AMERICAN LOOGIE into the AMERICAN ALLEY, in which a new CULTURE OF AMERICAN BACTERIA will rise from the mucus-bearing Mayflower of a mouthful. "Y'know what? I believe in a few things: smashin' stuff, and smashin' stuff harder!!"
Fists tense up as he stares down Ken while Lucky's got a hand on his meaty, less-armored shoulder (but the other shoulder is just as meaty).
"Y'know what, Lucky, you're right, I'm totally listening to reason and counting to ten like my parole officer gently suggeste--"
Stuff happens. There's movement. It's far faster than he can react. Even as his fingers tense together tighter, there is a blur of Scratch, and then... the alley gets a little less bright, without the light of hope and glory of the King of Fighters invite, for now she snatches it clean out of his hand.
"OH HELL NO IT'S ONNNNN, BIIIIIIIITCH!!" So snarls Brian as he hurls himself out of the calming touch of Lucky and just starts charging after Scratch, head lowered as though ready to charge as he snorts and goes through all sorts of snorting motions more appropriate for, say, a steer. (That is one of the things that comes out of Texas.)
There used to be a dumpster there, right in front of him. Now it is trampled, shattered, sad scraps of metal. The process in which this has occurred in Brian's presence is unimportant. Dust kicks up underneath stomping feet as he stands to rush past Q-Bee en route to trying to catch up with a younger, nimbler, more street-wise invite thief, whichever way she might choose to go.
"... !!!" Whatever snark Ken had to input into the exchange, whatever assurances he might have uttered to Lucky about the great and magnificent and just the best ever impact his presence and fighting skills would have on the entire affair, it all goes shitside up ahead of schedule. "Hey!" The Ansatsuken disciple articulately protests the snatching of that shiny envelope. "You go running off with that, you're just going to make me chase you." It might lose some menace in the moment, given... current events.
Brian's charge, its terrifying din, the vision of violent threat enough to menace just about anyone... these seem to concern Masters less just now than Scratch's snatch 'n grab-- of course that might be because Brian's charging at /her/. Ken bounces lithely from one foot to the other, kicking off his leather shoes in two smooth, quick motions; they line up perfectly parallel to the wall, a stark contrast to the randomly strewn litter previously occupying the area. Brian's helpfully adding a lot more of that, isn't he?
"If you're seriously roid-addled enough to think you can win without help, let's see it!" Ken challenges, punching one already-gloved fist into the other. Mocking Brian may not be quick enough to save Scratch the immediate impact-- but he's definitely keeping a keen eye on how she handles the aggression.
Sorry, Tex, but Metro City is Scratch's kind of city, and she knows the alleyways far better than either Brian the Longhorn or Ken the West Coast Pretty Boy. Not to mention...you know, wheels. So once she lands after snatching the invitation, the skater is already well in motion.
Charging after the dumpster is a good instinctual thought, Scratch having used it as a vault...but by the time the linebacker crushes it under his tackle, she's already wall riding away. "Sorry, like your fights!" she calls...to Ken, the only one she seems to deem worth it to call out, before trying to cut deeper into the alleyway, unaware of any weird things craving the teen's flesh.
Lucky was trying to keep some degree of peace.
As the full bear of the alleyway chaos was unfolding, the basketball fighting star was trying very hard to NOT let Brian mess this up. "Come on man!" He pleads as Brian loses his cool and runs down a young lady... who snatched his invite. "I already lost my invite to a drunk chick! Don't mess this up for me Brian!" He pleads even harder, as Ken looks practically outraged. Lucky begins to chase after the girl... as another girl shows up. "Watch out kid!" He warns the strange drooling schoolgirl. "This is a dangerous neighborhood! I- Ken!" He just dances from person to person. Lunging to one person, to another, to another, he didn't even know which way to go, and why, and how. Pointing towards the already fleeing Scratch, he was begging to the man. "Can you help us get the invite back? If we don't have that invite, we're not gonna fight in the tournament!"
"And that's just bullshit!"
Brian charges forth! Q-Bee, or the school-girl that is absolutely not Q-Bee, stares at Brian as he goes through a dumpster. The delicious sight is tantilizing to her, as to charge through and trash the trash in a way that compacts it more than a machine built to do such a thing is like seasoning a steak perfectly to taste. As simple as Q-Bee may be, it is not something that gives her pause.
Yet they are chasing that one, specifically. That one that happens to have such an important object. What is that object? She does not know. Brian may be unable to catch her, especially with Ken's advance. If things were not already curious and absolutely confusing, they only grow worse once the girl that was before Brian seems to simply disappear in the dust.
Lucky had to tell her to 'watch out - a dangerous neighborhood', "(Yes. It is very dangerous.)" She seems to say, because she no longer is there when it's gone.
Scratch may know the area but Q-Bee doesn't need to, only to know where Scratch was. Her smell would not hide that, especially since it is a smell that is unforgettable when she is as hungry as she is. It would also not help as it has been her hunting grounds for the last few months.
A stark buzzing sound radiates out between the hallways as something darts in and out of them, following the qheels that Scratch uses to cut into the darkness, vibrating off the walls. Antennae twitch and turn as Q-Bee closes the distance, wings sticking out from her clothing but abdomen missing for the moment.
Whatever is chasing her at such a speed is definitely not human. "(Stop! Why are they all chasing you! Why are you sorry? Are you a 'meal on wheel' that I have heard of?)"
All important questions.
This is Scratch's home turf... but Brian, like any good athlete, has played plenty of away games. She has the leg up on him in terms of agility, youth, and knoweldge of the streets.
Brian has... a lack of invite, and a strong desire to take it back. It's not hard to see what just kind of man this guy is - all brawn, all violence. He doesn't care what's in his way. There's a telephone pole that gets uprooted with hardly a pause in his pace beyond what it takes for him to shift his upper body back to the ideal posture for ramming into things, coating the night sky in flashes of wild sparks lighting the sky as fireflies, clouds of splinters, and cacophonous symphonies of shattering wood.
"SHUT IT, BLONDIE!" Brian screams, with letters being arranged into coherent words a service by what force presents these events in written word. "THIS BITCH'S RUNNING MEANS NOTHING! NOTHING TO MY TACKLING, THAT IS!!"
He comes along a ways behind the flying Q-Bee, lacking their wings to fly and weave through things that would largely entail him needing to, instead, just go right through them. There goes a mailbox! Now, the railing to a staircase leading down to the subway.
His patience long since shot and finding new lows to sink to, Brian flat-out punts a fire hydrant straight from the street, adding the rush of spewing water into the night air, a throbbing pain in his striking foot, and a big ol' piece of reddish metal soaring through the air in which it threatens to dampen Q-Bee's wings as it flies en-route - almost leading, even! - where he seems to believe Scratch is going to go.
It is so on.
Lucky doesn't have to ask Ken twice-- in fact, it's an open question whether Masters even heard the plea from the basketbrawler, since the moment Scratch apologizes and bolts? Ken bolts right after her. He's faster barefoot, the product of a childhood spent in the mountains... and more than a little training and natural agility. Ken may not know the terrain like Scratch does, but he's every bit reflexive enough to fake it, vaulting up and around a corner and lightly launching himself over an interposing dumpster.
The Blonde Battler remains a stark contrast to Brian Battler as he executes a perfect, graceful somersault and kicks off one alley wall to land in a clear span of ground and pick his sprint right back up where he left off, seemingly not missing a step despite the show of verticality. While quickly running down Scratch seems to be the initial goal, the buzzing, the voices from the darkness, Ken (finally?) notices them but scarcely relents in his own pursuit, instead murmuring "... the hell is /wrong/ with this city?"
It's incredulous, and rather rhetorical, spared along with a darting squint to try to figure out, well, what the hell-- while keeping at least line of sight on Scratch, "I could be wrong, kid-- but I don't think that thing's going to do /you/ much good." Masters observes Scratchward, with a matter of fact ease that suggests the insult that could be taken from it hasn't even occurred to him. Eyes on the prize, Masters. Eyes on the prize.
Ken feints sidelong rather abruptly as that fire hydrant comes hurtling through the night with the rush of water and the whoosh of sharply shorn air, prompting a moment of sideye for Battler with the instinctive wariness, ".. the hell is wrong with you, man?" Like the town isn't shitty enough, here comes Brian. Ken shakes his head, and keeps his guard well and truly raised.
Home field advantage means more than just being familiar with the locale, but also knowing how to use it to your advantage. After all, it's not like Ken would know about the carved out doorway on the corner, or the slight stair drop coming on the next part of the alley. Sure, it's not much, especially against a speedy basketball star, a rampaging linebacker, someone with a whole lot of buzzing going on, and a world-famous martial artist...but every little bit builds up, especially on wheels.
Then again...speed only does you so good in a race. When they start doing things like throwing fire hydrants at you, it becomes a survival game, one Scratch barely stays in after a sharp deke to the side saves her from the flying metallic field goal. "The fuck is wrong with you?!" the teen shouts back, still trying to pump her skates for the life of her, a catch and swing on another fire escape to get higher ground.
Ken manages to catch up to her on a grind as she tries to cut a line away from this alley. Blinking as she realizes he's keeping up, she smirks a little. "I don't care, you guys killed my chance at kicking a few Gear heads in, so whatever this is, it's mine now." She pauses...before turning back to Ken. "The hell kind of vibrate does your phone have?!" she asks, mistaking the buzzing behind her for a mobile. She's not about to look back anytime soon after all...
There are many dangerous things in the demon world. Many dangerous things that should not exist and others that certainly exist and leave you with a wondering, questioning 'why?'. A few of them may have acted like Brian did now - yet none did so for 'an invite'.
It must be very delicious to have this gorilla like man charging after it and actually tearing up the street. Flitting through the air, ducking under a stop-light pole, darting through a catwalk, something screams in Q-Bee's head. It's a fire hydrant, the bee suddenly swerving to the side and low to let it soar over, the water suddenly streaming against her wings.
Q-Bee actively pulls upwards, to where the buzzing dark-stalker ends up at the top of a builting, rolling along the top of the building as the wet wings begin to vibrate. It's almost a heap of darkstalker, save for the fact that Q-Bee's wings are vibrating quickly still. Wet wings continue to do so while she gets back to her feet, running for once, awkwardly, at the roof of the building, before taking off again.
A bit too late to just catch up the normal way, Q-Bee ... improvises. Shooting straight upwards, Q-Bee accelerates faster and faster upwards before she flips about and becomes a living, or unliving, dart. The darkstalker spears through the air, her abdomen suddenly appearing and two foot stinger lancing downwards, twisting her path back down towards Scratch and the group - she doesn't need to hit her in particular.
Any of them would make a wonderful meal, yet the buzzing is still distance as she has quite a bit distance to travel down.
Lucky isn't that slow either.
The long legs and excellent fundemental footwork brings the lanky fighter in strides after. "Brian! Seriously, don't hurt her too much! We just wanna get the invite back!" As Ken cuts her off, he reaches on her. "Come on kid... come on kid..." He gasps, hung over with his hands on his knees. Picking his head up, he looks around. "Yeah, why hasn't anyone picked up their phone yet-"
That was the response from Lucky as suddenly, he has a stinger driven deep into his back. Gasping, he feels around behind him. "A hornet... like the Charlotte Hornets? Oh slam dunk." Was what Lucky groans as he struggles, attempting to shove the bee creature off his back. He lashes out both hands, attempting to grab by the antenna, trying to rip the thing off. "Brian! Brian dude, I am in deep shit now!"
"Oh man this is just like that episode of Futurama!"
Brian sweeps his hand inward at nothing in particular when Q-Bee pulls up out of his sight, as though his mind were tricking him into thinking there was something smaller right in front of his face, not something further way, way out of reach of that big meaty hand. For a while, that's about as much mind as he's willing to give the flying bee thing.
"THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! THAT'S OUR INVITE!" There goes yelling Brian again in tandem to both Ken and Scratch, whose speed has been slowed by account of sore foot. It is only his many years of fighting through niggling injury that sees him stay upright, and pure rage that sees him willing to hurt that foot even further by trying to work back up to a jog, which weakens his place in the big giant race for the stolen invite. He falls right back to last place, in time to watch Lucky get... bee'd.
"Huh... huh..." Brian considers the possibility, for a fleeting second, of finding another teammate. Like, some other sports personality guy or something. Maybe that tiny kid Bobby who also likes to play basketball that he's seen in weird places with scary-looking people, like some kind of aggressor for poorly-lit combat or whatever.
"GET UP AND SUCK IT UP!" Brian yells - maybe at this point this should just be 'says,' almost everything he's said has been yelled - as he tries to grab the back of the buzzy bee's neck with both hands to facilitate getting her off him.
"What the hell?! First with the Bulls mascot, then the Hornets?! IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR FUCKING INVITE BEING STOLEN?"
This gives Scratch a breather, but for how long? Assuming that Q-Bee puts up far more of a fight to get her food.
"That's no phone..." Ken has no chance to act on the ominous realization before the predator descends on them-- Masters furrows his brow intently, turns his eyes towards the skies, but by the time he's picked out a target, the damage has been done. That, and to do anything to intercede-- he'd have to go THROUGH lucky. Once Ken flanks around two short sidesteps and it's /Brian/ in the way with the... homicidal bee creature, though? That's an entirely different story. "SHORYUKEN!!!"
It's probably the first warning anyone wrapped up in Lucky's predicament gets of the danger, which comes in the form of Ken, launched not so much by the legs tightly coiled beneath him as he crouches-- thought those help-- as by the ridiculous force and velocity of his leading, ascendant fist, suddenly wreathed in a searing sheathe of roiling crimson flame. The Blonde Battler launches himself like an incindiery rocket, and unless the situation suddenly shifts? Said impact vector runs straight through the Queen Bee-- and, totally incidently, Ken swears, the point where Brian grapples for her. Going to King of Fighters: Good, even great. Stopping demonic predators: ... well, Gouken said it's better than glory, so.
Scratch simply continues on her rail grind, keeping herself balanced as her skates glide her along the rail. Her far hand keeps her stolen invite away, still no idea what it actually is or what value it has. But when Ken informs her that the buzzing wasn't for some phone, that's when Scratch blinks...and leaps down. Spinning around, she catches herself just in time to watch Mr. Masters rise up with the legendary technique...and takes in the aftermath of what was going on behind her.
The tall basketball dude, down and impaled. The meathead...trying to strangle....a giant fucking bee?! "THe fuck?!" she shouts, eyes wide, before she starts to finally put a few things together. "Oh hell no..." she scowls, flashbacks to Jedah's little playground from months ago. Glowering, she wallrides again...BACK toward the group, hoppping onto the rail she had been on before and leaping off it to fly, skate first, toward the giant bee monstrosity. It's no kung-fu flying kick, but even without martial arts technique, speed can kill.
The buzzing grows considerably faster as the darkstalker spears downwards, louder, antennae and multi-faceted eyes capturing the necessary changes in altitude and direction as it spears downwards. That is, until, Lucky is the lucky recipient of Q-Bee's stinger, digging into the back, Q-Bee being shoved off the man's back - she wasn't about to be squashed, by hand or newspaper, if she could help it. /Especially/ when her antennae are involved.
"(Do not lay hands on those!)" Q-Bee speaks, in mostly human tongue, as she 'complains'. The stinger slides out, coated with some of Lucky's blood, but the darkstalker looks far more devilish now that she has her entire 'real' body now, buzzing, before Brian immediately attempts to grasp the /neck/ of the Darkstalker.
No. No that would not do at all! Q-Bee is quite hungry, but it is the difference between trying to feed on a bull or feed on a calf! As hungry as Q-Bee was, the plan was for Lucky to be left behind... and that is not a plan that is occurring! "(Don't you want the thing that they have? I want this thing! I'm hungry, let m-") That's when a target becomes the targeter.
Scratch slams into Q-Bee, slamming into it with such a strike - and causing Q-Bee to stagger into the air, but however harmed, still hungry.
Fire. If there is one thing to get rid of bees and hornets, smoke would do. However, fire is something that is quite effective as well. Amazingly so. As strong as Q-Bee is, she is but the Queen of the Soul Bees - a matriarch, but one that has not had time to grow. Young as she looks, eyes, human, stare at Ken - and the other eyes see what they do not.
The Demon bee is slammed upwards, skywards, burning slightly, as she manages to avoid all but the uppercut. It's too fast, a far too skilled fighter for Q-Bee to avoid, as she is launched upwards. The, if any, saving grace is that the demon bee catches herself in the air instead of falling downwards.
"(Ow! Ow! Are you not interested in that thing as well?!)" The bee-ing speaks for itself, complaining of the pain! Of all the strong ones, singed as she is, the hunger remains.
Scratch - when she struck out towards Q-bee, a knee 'stinger' had elongated, digging into the invitation. Damaged as she was, the Q-Bee demon had seen them all chase after it. Now, she has it!
Perhaps. "(Do you not want this?)" The Bee asks, tilting her head, two smaller bees holding it infront of her. "(I will trade for the small one that stole it initially. She is enough to satiate our hunger for now.)" Q-bee remarks."(It is a good trade, she is small! It should not be much!)"
"Oh god, man, oh god."
As the stinger withdraws from Lucky's body, he slumps to the ground. Leaning against a wall, he shivers, the venom running through him. "Oh man, Brian? Brian?" The basketbrawler shudders, a cold sweat breaking over him. "Ken? Oh god, I don't think..." Lucky tries to stand up again, but collapses.
"... I don't think I'm gonna make it..."
There's a second big plume of fire lighting up the night air as Brian - far less attentive
Far less attentive to the goings-on, the initial impact of Scratch to Bee, and to a lesser extent Bee to Brian when the former is knocked back, would be laughed off in a less dire situation of ALL THE DREAMS AND HOPES BEING STOLEN. It would elicit such amusement that it'd seal the deal even further for when Ken comes along - maybe he was in the process of snarling some response back to Q-Bee about matters of barter and circumstance that belies his humble level of education.
We won't know for sure, as where she nimbly gets away from the flames, Brian... doesn't.
There's a second big plume of fire lighting up the night air as Brian - far less attentive and now paying for it - gurgles something vulgar or at least with four letters as he is caught by the spewing geyser of toilet hydrant water he helped create in his vicious bid to halt Scratch in his tracks, extinguishing him of his flames... and of gravity's hold of him.
Brian hits the ground, creating cracks in the sidewalk as he lays face-down. His vision swims as he looks up to where the Bee offers the thing. The big thing! The invite!
"C-C'mon, Lucky, hold it together," Brian whimpers, "that's our invite... just hang on... don't, don't die until we beat the piss out of every... last... one of..."
Is that a yes to the deal? Does he really care about the life of the girl or the circumstances of which that led to being in a place of negotiation with a huge demonic bee girl?
He crawls forward pathetically, slowly, and uselessly while Lucky suffers from their poison. Soaked and scorched alike, he reaches out with one grabby hand that has no chance of ever coming close to the held invitation.
The grabby hand goes limp as he lies half-conscious next to a half-dying Lucky.
America's best! Right there.
As he lands with a forceful thwump in a three point crouch, Ken calls out reassurance to the impaled basketbrawler. "Hang on, man-- she didn't get you that bad!" Whether it's true or just supposed to make Lucky feel better, or to make Ken feel better about not making sure, who knows? That's not important. What is important is the look of utter disgust that's painted on Ken's face as he lands, and stares upwards at the invite-bearing bee. "Y-you can't //eat people//." Masters protests, somewhere between nausea and alarm. "You're not going to last long with that kind of shit-- some warriors dedicate their lives, entire clans to eradicating just that kind of threat." Ken? Ken's more of a hobbyist.
"That invite is going to do you even less good than it does /her/...." The tasty small one Ken apparently, mysteriously, does /not/ want imminently dessicated. "The only deal on the table is that if you can it /maybe/ you don't get your ass kicked!" Ken declares, lifting a fist in challenge. A frown comes to his face as he glances askance at Lucky, and then back up to Q-Bee, "And even that's stretching it." The urge to hadouken, it builds within him, the blue fires backlighting his angry, dark gaze, locked again on the airborne assailant.
The kick seems to land, but not nearly as hard as Scratch was hoping for. And as she lands and circles back to face the Darkstalker, she sees something that should have been in her hand in the bee's instead. "The he-" She looks at her grasped hand and sees it empty. Scowling, she turns back up to Q-Bee, eyes narrowed at it up there. Shaking her head, she turns back to Ken.
"Screw you. Invite to what anyway?" she asks before turning back to the two fighters piled down on the ground. She was pissed off by them, but this isn't exactly what she wanted made of them. "Bitch, I don't know what you are, but you don't fuck with a Metro Citizen."
With Brian and Lucky both out of the way, falling to the ground, one 'dying' the other half concious, Q-Bee sees, of all things, two WONDERFUL meals that are calling to her. Pleading to her to be devoured. Q-Bee looks at the invitation again, "(King Of Fighters)." Q-Bee reads off, buzzing, "(I am not certain, but it sounds as if there will be many delicious snacks.)" Q-Bee theorizes.
Yet, Ken speaks - she 'looks' at him. The fake eyes stare but the real ones glance at Lucky and Brian. So much strength and ... souls! A few droplets of saliva might hit the ground nearby as she thinks of the delicacy.
Brian votes 'yes'.
Or she could eat him. The choices.
Ken's words reach Q-Bee, but the darkstalker, fluttering, shakes her head. "(I cannot? But I have. I have eaten many people here. Why would you say I cannot? I am hungry now. They look delicious.") The Q-Bee exclaims. Of course, being /NEAR/ the fire was enough to singe her. More than, potentially, from the looks of things. She did not fare well.
Yet as Scratch and Ken roar at her, the Q-Bee floats down - the buzzing intensifies. A swarm of Soul Bees do as well, surrounding her, willing to die for the queen if they were to make any motions against her. Two bees grasp the invite, showing it to Scratch. "(An invite, to a Tournament. To a King of Fighters Tournament.") Q-Bee notes, showing her.
Ken, meanwhile, gets to hear her stomach growling. Pleasant, isn't it Ken? That is because Brian and Lucky are right there and look delicious.
Lucky, meanwhile, sees his teammate reaching for him.
"It's okay Brian..." Lucky says. "It's okay." He reaches his own hand to him. All he can muster is falling over. The world was going black. "I know that the USA Sports Team... The USA Sports Team... will be number one. We'll smash all those suckas...
Lucky falls quiet, his finger tips falling into Brian's own hands... before slipping away again.
"How 'bout in four years instead," Brian wheezes out a suggestion off-handedly.
Ken's look of disbelief and disgust continues unabated, at least until he starts looking that much more pissed off as the weight of the information fully dawns on him. Eaten... lots of people. Just -here-, and let's face it, life is rough enough for anyone in Metro without having their juices sucked out by a man-eating... hive of sentient killer bees? Look, Ken isn't an expert on this crap. What he /is/ rather good at, however, blooms to the fore as he answers the declaration with action, blasting a swirling sphere of white-cored blue chi forward in a ragged-tailed blast of sheer spiritual power; pure force.
"HADOUKEN!" He intones fiercely, and this time, luckily (sadly), there are no members of the US Sports Team in the blast. Then again, right now, it might just convince Lucky he's dying /twice/. "Screw /me/?" Say whaaaa? He seems genuinely confused, and besides-- how did she miss Brian's incessant yelling! "Look, I think that thing's the problem-- you want a shot at the big time, I can help you get it, but we need that paper. And we should probably stop the man-eating bug colony." Duty is rough.
Blink. Blink blink. 'King of Fighters'. Ok, that definitely rings some bells now. So that's what's so damn important about that envelope. "Crap," she mutters, before getting a little more serious looking.
"You are sick as hell," she mutters toward Q-Bee. She thought this stuff was finished after the whole thing with Jedah finally got dealt with. But well...she sees living proof of it still being around here. "Fine, deal, pretty boy," she says before racing to a nearby wall. Doing the same wall-riding trick she did earlier, she flies off, this time trying to catch and grab Q-Bee by her head once the Hadouken flies and makes it mark, whether it be on the Q-Bee or on the alley wall. And...well, she might not weigh much, but a good grip and some momentum gives gravity a little extra oomph.
Well, there are lots of BEES to feed, Ken. Obvious as it is with the wall of Soul Bees that flank Q-Bee as it is, that is only part of the swarm that lays, a hive deep within Metro City in some of the abandoned apartment buildings. Building up. Feasting on certain members of Metro City that were fighters but not much else. No one would miss them, right? They were tasty, too. Yet as Ken comes forwards with a HADOKEN towards Q-Bee and the backup buzzers. It is catastrophic. "(MY HIVE!)" Q-Bee calls out, some of the buzzing Soul bees falling from the sky and dying right there and then, the rest going every which way.
Q-Bee manages to avoid it only after singing herself, her body burning from the unusual hadoken that burns and tingles all at once.
"(There are many mouths to feed, still. Why do you want me to go hungry? And my hive?") Q-Bee does not understand, simply, why this man will not share his feast with her! "(As delicious as you are, I am not going to eat either of you!") Well, not any more - oh, and then Scratch grasps Q-Bee out of the air.
There is a THUNK as she, and Q-Bee, hit the wall and group, stunning the bee momentarily.
The strange dichotomy of the creature's nature and her-- its? appearance gives Ken pause, where otherwise he might still be attacking. It's likely by design, that. "Come on, Ken, remember-- schoolgirls are usually the MOST evil." It lacks a certain conviction, but certainly not from lack of opposition to the stated goal of eating lots of Metro's citizens! ... even the scummy ones. "You can't just murder people to produce... more swarms of freaking BEES, man!"
It's like Ken's taking crazy pills-- he's NOT involved in a conversation he anticipated having, this evening. "If there's nothing else for you to eat, no way to survive but killing people.... then I have to stop you!" It's a bit of an impasse, all things considered. A surge of inner power, a hard swallow as he focuses, and Ken flanks the point of collision, still ready for trouble. It doesn't seem to matter one lick to the Ansatsuken disciple just -which- of them Q-Bee wants to eat!
After slamming Q-Bee into the wall with that acrobatic pull-down, Scratch lands in her own three-point stance of sorts, pivoting on her planted skate's wheels and skidding to a stop. He lets Ken handle the lectures. Right now, she's not in a talking mood.
Instead of talking, she goes in right for it, regardless of what Ken's planning. She doesn't want to give the bee woman any time to breathe, trying to slide and slam her skates wheels first into Q-Bee's legs. This is her style, after all: pour on the speed and leave 'em breathless.
The demonic makai bee lays against the ground, breath-less as she may be, stunned for a moment. Ken and Scratch seem to want to get rid of her, exterminate her, as immediately as possible. It's true - without the abdomen and the antennae and eyes, Q-Bee would look positively harmless. Yet Ken asks, no, dictates to her a requirement. "(Y-Yes, I can. I have to. I hear a call to provide them food. To provide me food. To make more.)" Q-Bee declares.
She was, after all, once a girl - unless you thought the soul bees all around her were just young-lings? Once a Metro student, sucked into the leylines that erupted, resulting in - that. Not that they would know. This particular girl was declared missing, then dead, half a year ago.
"(The hive... must survive.)" Q-Bee states, certainly.
So it's when Ken blocks the path out, while Scratch goes back in for the kill, that it happens. Towards her legs, Scratch aims, to slide and slam into Q-Bee's legs. Where her legs would be.
A giant ball of honey simply erupts around Q-Bee, Scratch likely running into it - which would be all the time, and space, the Makai Bee would need. Shooting up through the honey, Q-Bee ascends as quickly as possible as breakneck speeds, in almost a miraculous display of a surge of energy, likely demonic.
"(If you are an enemy of the hive, It will remember you. If you are not a threat...)" Well, they are still food, so Q-Bee actually stops - but does not stop, retreating as far as possibly skywards, energy being burned to do this, leaving her even hungrier.
An indirect problem.
Somehow honey seems so much more appetizing when it's -not- being expunged from a strange mutant bee-hive-girl all over someone else. Ken gapes momentarily at the spectacle of the launching Q-Bee's proverbial inkjet, but really... there's not much he could do to oppose the sudden, skyward flight. It's not a trick he's learned yet, no matter how hard he tries to flap his arms. Ken grimaces and lifts a hand to scratch at the back of his head, loosening the mass of hair held in that tautly tied red tie.
"Well, damn." He squints skyward, as if he could somehow track Q-Bee's flight into the night-- or, indeed, perhaps sense the energy of that strange, alien hive. Neither is in the cards at the moment, however, "... I'm sure that's not going to be bad, or anything." It kind of puts the whole spectacle in a different light, suddenly, as Ken looks to the distraut and dismayed (and possibly dying) Brian and Lucky, and stoops to pick up the envelope dropped in the tussle. "... Team USA lives!" The tone, the laughter that follows Ken's words? Just a liiiiittle weak, and a touch sheepish.
Speed klls. That's what they say. The problem is just who it kills. In this case....Scratch's haste to put the pressure on Q-Bee helped chase her off, sure...but the skater's not going to be feeling TOO happy about it in the end.
Not just because Q-Bee got away. That's irritating, yes, but the fact that she's now covered and completely stuck in a gigantic pile of demon bee honey is....let us count the ways. Humiliating, constricting, disgusting, infuriating, suffocating, humiliating, revolving...did we say humiliating yet? Because yes, it's worth repeating three times.
"Good, yay, go America. Help me out," she deadpans, much like the teenage girl she is as she tries to pull herself free of Q-Bee's parting gift.
SOME TIME LATER...
Heavy D! happens by. He sees Brian and Lucky sprawled out, and just brings a hand to his forehead in shame, and sadness.
"What a D!saster," he laments.
Log created on 16:04:15 05/30/2016 by Lucky, and last modified on 21:58:34 05/30/2016.