|Date posted||2 August 2012|
Interlude 13.5 (Donation Bonus)
The Undersiders' pursuit of Mannequin has been delayed several minutes retrieving Lucy's corpse. something Skitter deemed necessary to guarentee Bitch's participation. Despite the speed of the dogs, once Mannequin stops evading Skitter's bugs and silk lines he is able to move faster than them and escapes from Skitter's range. Skitter makes calls to Genesis, requesting that she put together a body to fight Mannequin, and to Sierra, ordering her to clear the area and pass that message along.
Arriving at her territory, Skitter quickly locates Mannequin standing in the middle of the road. To her horror, she sees that he has already killed a number of her people and defeated the form Genesis sent against him. Mannequin opens his mouth and silently laughs at the Undersiders. Bitch commands Bentley to charge him, but Skitter realises her bugs around Mannequin have begun dying. Bitch turns Bentley to run, but the dog collapses before escaping the gas. Skitter manages to get Bastard to retrieve Bitch, and she helps Grue to pull Bitch onto Sirius' back. After explaining the gas problem to Grue, the two agree to signal one another if they run into trouble and then split off in seperate directions. Mannequin closes his mouth before following after Grue, Bitch and Sirius.
Skitter attempts to think of a solution and tries to understand Mannequin's actions. She questions why he didn't shoot Bitch or Bastard when they were so close to him. Meanwhile, she senses Mannequin firing his shotgun in the direction of Sirius, although he doesn't seem to succeed in inflicting any serious further injuries to Grue or Sirius. Skitter realises that after Mannequin closed his mouth, he started running and shooting again. She deduces that something about the gas is making him move carefully, theorising that it is most likely the case that the gas is highly flammable. She sends orders for her bugs to fetch a lighter and some matches to use as an emergency measure, since an explosion would be very likely to cause severe collateral damage. A spear of Grue's darkness in the sky serves as a signal to Skitter, and she spurs Bastard along as she runs to regroup with Grue and Bitch
Skitter finds the others in an alley, Sirius and Bitch sprawled in a pile of rubble by a building while Grue is engulfed in his darkness right next to Mannequin. Skitter quickly determines that the gas is not far enough from Mannequin to pose a risk to Bitch and Sirius, but Grue is only safe for as long as his darkness keeps it away. She talks to Mannequin, lighting a match and having her bugs hold it in the air and then threatening to blow him up if he doesn't let Grue go. Mannequin steps off of Grue's chest where he had been standing and allows Grue to limp over to Skitter, but then closes his mouth and reveals the shotgun again. Skitter pushes Grue to the ground and puts herself between the gun and Grue, gambling that Mannequin intends to kill the people in her territory in front of her rather than killing her. Mannequin shrugs, and then fires the gun.
Skitter is shot in the chest and blasted by the explosion that is set off by the gun firing. She writhes on the ground in pain, struggling to breath. Grue, who had been shielded by his darkness, helps her to her feet to see that Mannequin has been left almost unscathed, having disconnected his body parts to reduce the impact of the explosion. Grue calls for them to run, but Bastard, with his chain no longer held by Skitter, pounces on Mannequin and whips him around by one of his arms. Mannequin stabs knives from his toes into Bastard to gain leverage and then brings the shotgun around to aim at Bastard's eye. Skitter intervenes to push the shotgun off target as it fires and Bastard swings Mannequin into her, knocking them both to the floor. Grue helps Skitter up again as Mannequin opens his mouth again to release gas into the area. Noticing that flames behind them that the explosion seems to have started are closing off the space they can work with, Skitter commands Bastard to back off and then retrieves some tissues that had been used to contain loose change from the compartment on her back. She lights the tissues with the lighter and has the bugs deliver them to Mannequin's gas cloud. Grue successfully shields the group from the explosion, and as the darkness dissipates Bitch manages to increase Bastard's size further before setting him on Mannequin again. Bastard breaks the material of Mannequins arm with his next bite and then grips hold of the lower body. Grue helps Bitch out from the rubble and leads her to stand with Skitter before approaching Mannequin, picking up a large piece of cone-shaped rubble on the way. Bitch orders Sirius to hold the other end of Mannequin to keep him in place as Grue hefts the rubble above him.
Then a hot flash of fire tears through the area; Burnscar arrives. Grue's protests about this being against Jack's rules are reluctantly acknowledged by Burnscar, who then quietly talks to Mannequin. Burnscar helps Mannequin to his feet, where he raises his hand to high-five her. Burnscar explains that Mannequin has forfeited his turn and tagged her in. She raises the flaming debris into pillars of fire and sends fire across the surfaces of the water, cutting off any escape routes.
- Mannequin assaults the boardwalk for the second time.
- Burnscar arrives.
- While it isn't a true shotgun it Skitter's body suit again proves its resistant properties.