|Date posted||17 July 2012|
Mannequin quickly closes the distance to Skitter and begins attacking with the blades on his arms, using momentum generated by rotating his body to swing them and extending his reach by increasing the length of the chain his arm is attached to. Skitter blocks his inital attack with her baton and narrowly dodges the follow up, comparing the force of his strikes to that of a sledgehammer. Mannequin appears to destabilise himself by having his hand grab his foot and starts falling over, but then reveals this is a feint by lunging at Skitter with the blade that is now on the end of his foot, catching her with a slash from stomach to collarbone.
Skitter's costume prevents any cutting by the blade, but she is thrown onto her back. Before she has time to scramble to her feet, Mannequin has already reattached his arm to its normal place and is again moving towards her. She attempts to cover her movements using her swarm of bugs, however Mannequin has no problem striking her in the back and knocking her to the floor. He grabs her head and pulls one of the blade up to her throat. As the blade is drawn across her throat she forms a plan. Despite having been saved by her costume, she makes a choking noise and goes limp as if dead, and also drops all of her bugs out of the air.
Lying on the floor, Skitter has some time to think and strategise. She determines that Mannequin's methods of sensing his surroundings are clearly not vision based, as his could not tell she didn't bleed and he was easily able to detect her bugs and detect her through her swarm. She thinks through how he would have constructed his body, concluding that cracking it may be able to disrupt the fine balance that has likely been created for the systems within. However, she realises that this is irrelevant if she is unable to hurt him, and finds inspiration from the fact that bugs naturally have to deal with enemies that encase themselves in shells. She judges that her bugs will take two minutes to fetch everything she needs from her lair, and when Mannequin prepares to attack a mother and her young child she has to start acting early.
Skitter stands from the floor, stirring bugs around her into a storm and shouting at Mannequin in at attempt to distract him from the civilians. Mannequin ignores her and walks towards the mother and child, prompting her to charge him and knock him over by grabbing his legs, despite her knowledge that it is likely his attempt to bait her in. Mannequin manages to slash the mother's leg nonetheless but she is helped away by another person. Mannequin pulls his leg around Skitter's neck in a headlock and raises his other leg above her and springs blades out from it. The blades begin rapidly spinning, but Skitter hits them with her baton. This causes the baton to be sent flying away but seemingly deals sufficient damage to the mechanism of the blades to prevent them spinning up to full speed, causing Mannequin to retract them. He then hauls her into the air so that her body weight is entirely being supported by her neck, although his grip doesn't limit blood flow or cause serious breathing issues. Skitter uses her knife to stab at the joint of his leg repeatedly until he decides to instead hurl her across the room into a pile of wooden boards. His hand remains gripping her face and he begins to reel her back in. She manages to stick the knife between the hand and her face and lever the hand off. Mannequin quickly pulls his arm back into place and the two pause for a moment.
Skitter ponders if Mannequin still remains mentally troubled over the deaths of his family, but decides that no matter what he once was, he is now a monster who must be stopped. She initiates her first plan, swarming him with bugs and filling accessable internal workings of his body with them and their dead remains. Her attempts at sabotaging potentially sensitive components are unsuccessful due to cleansing heat and pressure that he emits,clearing alll traces of bugs from the mechanisms. Mannequin attacks in a frenzied manner, spinning blades around rapidly and then lashing out to kick Skitter into the wood pile a second time. Her effort to retrieve her baton using bugs is thwarted when Mannequin notices and kicks it back across the floor. She is forced to pick up a length of wood instead. When he charges her again Skitter smashes the wood into one of the blades, but he still crashes into her and lands heavy hits on her chest with the blades before throwing her away again. As she sprawls on the floor, the bugs from her headquarters finally arrive.
Among the bugs brought from the headquarters are around 1000 spiders, each paired with a large flying insect. Relying on the idea that Mannequin's strange senses may fail to tip him off to her intentions, Skitter has the spiders make passes around him while drawing out lines of silk. As planned, Mannequin ignores the bugs, attacking Skitter directly as before. After the bugs have made three passes he begins to notice their effects, nearly being unbalanced when they target his legs. He lanches his hands out on chain extensions again, and Skitter targets the exposed chain on the next pass while dropping spiders directly onto the chain to spew highly sticky webbing. Reeling one arm in sees a noticable slowness when it reaches the final quarter of the distance, and when Skitter targets the mechanisms for retracting the second arm Mannequin finds himself unable to pull it back.
Mannequin rips the chain off the arm and reattaches it to his elbow socket, and then begins spinning up blades all over his body to cut the silk before it can gather in large amounts again. Skitter attempts to switch tactics, dropping silk in loose clumps so that it will snag on the blades instead of simply being cut apart, but Mannequin moves to attack civilians again. Skitter uses the supplies that she brought from the base along with the aerial spider swarm, dropping incomplete costume components, paint, dye and glue into the blades. Using another length of wood she attacks him and happens to strike one of the blades, throwing him off balance and tumbling onto the floor. His body seperates into its various chain linked parts, theorised by Skitter to be a defensive measure. She grabs his disconnected arm and throws it away before grabbing his head, knowing that it almost certainly doesn't contain anything important, it's easy to get hold of. She attempts to pull it over to a metal frame, but the strength of the mechanisms in the torso of his body are too much until a bearded bystander appears, and helps pull it over. Skitter ties the head around the frame as Mannequin manages to reassemble his body, but many of the blades have been stalled by the various things Skitter dropped onto him.
Mannequin detaches the chain from the head to give his main body space to move and his arm tries to crawl back towards him. Skitter swarms the appendage with silk and bugs and situates herself between it and Mannequin. He withdraws Armsmaster's knife from within his torso, activates it to create a Nano-thorn blur. He advances on Skitter and she scrambles backwards, knowing that she has no chance to block the knife. Mannequin is distracted when the bystander begins smashing the detached head with a cinder block. Ignoring both Skitter and the bystander he strides over to it and investigates it, eventually dropping it onto the floor. Skitter's swarm brings the arm up to the ceiling and encases it in a silk coccon; Mannequin's next attempt at lunging at her fails when the silk hampers his movement sufficiently to cause him to fall over. Mannequin gives a final wag of his finger before he leaves the factory. Covered in bruises and suspecting herself to have sustained some kind of fractures, Skitter does not prevent him leaving, and falls onto her knees once he leaves the range of her power.
Charlotte helps Skitter to her feet again. Skitter looks at Mannequine's head and observes that a small amount of fluid has leaked from it, aparently enough for Mannequin to abandon it. She looks into the eyes of the dead doctor and apologises to her, and then orders Mannequin's hand and head to be thrown into the ocean. Promising to keep an lookout for more trouble using her bugs, she limps towards the door.
- Skitter fights of Mannequin, a much more experienced cape.
- Mannequin is forced to retreat.
- People see the Bug villain defeat a feared member of the Slaughterhouse Nine.
- Multi-weave silk is know to be highly resistant, some examples.
- It is seen to be an improvement on kevlar.
|Chapters||12.1 • 12.2 • 12.3 • 12.4 • 12.5 • 12.6 • 12.7 • 12.8 • 12.x • 12½|
|Battles and Events||Meeting at Crater Lake • Skitter vs Mannequin|