The Bug Knight Rises
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rating: +27+x

A window shattered, and a masked figure ducked out onto the fire escape carrying a sack stuffed to the brim with pilfered goods. They quickly ran down the stairs into the alleyway below and through the shadows between the buildings. A few steps more and they'd vanish into the night.

They let out a yelp as a hard round object hit them in the back of the head. They turned around and saw a potato lying on the concrete.

"Hello there, criminal."

They looked back up and came face to face with a man in an orange mask, wearing a body suit in the same colour. A pair of antennae sprouted from the top of his mask, and an orange and black striped cape was draped across his shoulders.

"Kindly drop the bag and surrender, I don't want this to get messy."

The thief swung the bag at the vigilante and made a break for the sidewalk as the masked man recovered from the attack. He regained his balance and dove for the criminal, activating the hidden wings behind his cape. He grabbed the thief and leaped onto the wall of the house they'd just robbed, somehow scaling the bricks with ease. Their captive struggled at first, but once they saw how high up they were, they surrendered.

"Alright, you got me. Just put me back on the ground, please!"

"I'm afraid that won't be happening just yet. You, my friend, are going straight to the police."

He reached into his back pocket and fished around for a moment.

"Oh, I, ahh, seem to have left my phone in my car. I guess we'll have to walk."

The masked vigilante tied the thief's wrists together, and lead them out of the alley and down the road.

"Don't worry, my car isn't too far away. Oh, and once you're in jail, if it's not too much trouble, could you tell them you were apprehended by the Colorado Potato Beetle Man?"

"… What?"

"That's my name, Colorado Potato Beetle Man. You know, like the insect that destroys millions of potato crops every year?"

"I can't believe I'm being arrested by a guy in a bug costume."

"Hey now, the Colorado Potato Beetle is nothing to scoff at. It's one of the most destructive pest insects on the planet. Maybe they're less notorious than, say, locusts, but they're still a considerable threat to any potato farm. And now I'm a threat to criminals like you."

A phone rang. The coffee machine buzzed. Someone complained about the printer not working. Megan sat at her desk, scrolling through an endless line of police reports. The dull sounds of the office did nothing for her mood. Her eyes were just about to glaze over when something interesting drew her back. It was a short clip of security feed included in a mundane robbery case. Someone in an orange and black costume climbing walls and punching a masked thug.

This might be worth checking out.

The masked protector sat atop a tower, his cape billowing in the wind. An old police radio in hand, he watched and waited for evil to rear its ugly head. And he would be ready. Wherever he was needed, Colorado Potato Beetle Man would be there to save the day. Or night. Evil didn't sleep, and neither did he.

"Hey, orange guy! Get down from there!"

He'd been spotted. He leapt for the next rooftop, but in his tired haze he forgot to engage his wings. He reached for the ledge as he fell, flailing his arms for something to grab onto. He plummeted to the street bellow, landing in a pile of garbage bags.

"Oh fuck. Please don't be dead. Please don't be-"

"Ahhg… I'll be… hrk- fine."

He looked up from the garbage pile to see a dark silhouette standing over him, shining a flashlight in his masked face.

"You don't sound fine."

"Don't worry about a thing, ma'am. Super heroes are great at getting back up. I'm just a little tired right now, so I'm going to lie here for a while."

"Are you sure I don't need to call an ambulance?"

"Yup. All good here."

"Alright then, get up. You're under arrest for trespassing, assault, and a whole bunch of other crimes."

"What? I'm no villain, I'm a hero. I've been protecting this city where you cops can't!"

"Well I'm afraid the cops don't see it that way. And neither do I. Get up."

The caped insectoid hero struggled to his feet and lurched forwards, getting a better view of his arresting officer. She was wearing an FBI uniform, which looked strangely out of place in the dark alleyway which was already quite muddled by his fall. He stumbled towards her again, but couldn't keep his knees steady. He fell again, and this time it all went dark.

Megan was not having the best day. First human anomaly she'd caught in months and the guy just fell off a roof without using any super powers. She couldn't decide if she needed to bring him to a holding cell or a hospital, so for now he was staying in the the back of her car while she drove to work.

"Wha- where am I?"

At least he was awake now.

"You're in a police car, and headed for containment unless you need urgent medical care."

"Containment? Don't you know who I am? I'm the good guy, I prevent crimes!"

"You're a madman who thinks he's a super hero, and you just fell off a five story building when I caught you trespassing."

"I AM a hero, ask anyone. They'll all tell you that Colorado Potato Beetle Man has caught more criminals than most non-superpowered police."

She was so focused on the masked man locked in the backseat she missed her turn.

"I'm sorry, did you say your name was Colorado Potato Beetle Man?"

"Yes, like the insect that can decimate potato farms. Except I stop crimes instead of potatoes."

This was the dumbest criminal she'd ever arrested, but she'd be rid of him soon. Once they got to the station he'd be someone else's problem. Maybe if she was lucky, she'd even get to hand him off to the Foundation.

But it had been too long. They should be there now, but she was still driving. She must have made a wrong turn. Pulling into an empty parking lot, she began to turn around.

"Stop the car!"

She hit the brakes and looked back at the hero.

"What's wrong?"

"Didn't you hear that? Gunshots, coming from over there."

The costumed hero tried to point to the closed warehouse across the street, but his hands were cuffed behind his back.

"I didn't hear anything. You just want me to let you out."

"No, I really heard it, you're just too far away. You think these antennae are just for show?"

He waved the goofy looking appendages that sprouted from his head.

"Come on, what am I going to do if you leave me? I'm still handcuffed and locked in a car."

She let out a sigh and stepped out of the car, walking towards the warehouse. There wasn't much inside, and she was just about to head back to the car when she heard a voice. She duked behind a stack of boxes and listened.

"- I just don't get why they hired me if you guys have guns."

"Why does the boss ride around in a limo when taking a cab could get them there just as fast? You've got style."

"Style doesn't mean much to a dead person."

"That was just today, who knows who we'll be intimidating tomorrow. Maybe they'll get off easy, just a little shock."

The two voices got closer, seemingly headed for the door. Megan stayed perfectly still, hoping they wouldn't notice her. She was outnumbered, and her best bet was to stay out of sight and send in a report to the usual police.

Two men in leather jackets walked past her, then one in a dirty grey tracksuit with a messy afro. The last one paused for a moment as he walked by, and Megan held her breath.

"We're not alone here. I can feel the dust."

The two leather clad men turned away from the exit.

"You can feel dust? I thought you were Lint Man."

"Meh, it's close enough to work. I can feel them nearby, you two guard the door."

The guy with the afro, evidently "Lint Man", slowly crept across the warehouse floor, getting ever closer to Megan's hiding spot. She clenched her hand on her gun and inched away from him. There weren't many boxes left, and she was just about to run out of hiding space.

A gunshot echoed through the building, and muffled shouts came from the door. Taking advantage of the distraction, she jumped out and tackled the dusty man to the ground.

Over by the door, one of the thugs was on the ground and the other was trading punches with a fellow in an orange and black striped cape.

"Don't worry officer, I'm doing my part to uphold the law!"

She could deal with him later. Right now, she needed to cuff the guy who was covered in lint. And making weird popping sounds. That wasn't good.

A flash of light and Megan was thrown back, letting Lint Man stand up. The clump of lint on his head crackled with electricity.

"Why so surprised, cop? You never seen a super villain before?"

"No, but she's seen a super hero!"

Colorado Potato Beetle Man jumped across the room, planting his heroic fist across the face of the Lint Man. He received a small static discharge, but it wasn't enough to faze the masked protector. Quickly recovering, the villain let out another burst of charged lint and grazed the orange hero. He leapt out of the way just in time, before circling back around with a kick, knocking the dusty evildoer to the floor. He went in for another punch, but the villain caught his hand and gave him a nasty shock. The surge brought the hero to his knees, giving Lint Man the upper hand. He stood over the insectoid hero, bringing down his boot to the spotted mask. Again, he kicked the hero, this time applying a nice bit of electricity to the mix. He raised his boot again, this time sure to defeat the orange and black guardian of the night. But the hero wasn't alone.

A sweep of his legs and Lint Man went down, Megan standing over him. She quickly restrained him, before helping Colorado Potato Beetle Man to his feet.

"Good rescue there, almost as if you're a real hero."

"That's twice today you've been hit in the head, shouldn't you be unconscious?"

"Please, I'm a super hero. I can get hit in the head all day."

He stumbled forward, and leaned against the wall.

"Great. You're still coming with me, so please don't make this difficult and come back to the car."

The hero jumped up and quickly scaled the wall.

"Sorry to leave on such short notice, but evil never rests. Maybe you'll catch me one day, but for now, the people need a hero!"

He dove out the window into the night, climbing up to the roof and watching over his city. Somewhere out there, someone was in trouble. Someone needed help from the Colorado Potato Beetle Man.

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