"A B-Story" by NobodyAtAll

My name’s Professor Beckett Eerie. My friends call me Buzz. You can too, if you want.

I’m an entomologist. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a scientist who studies insects.

My area of expertise is bees.

Please don’t do that whole “Not the bees!” bit. I’ve heard it a bee-llion times.

Hey, they’re important little critters! They’re invaluable! Bees are your honey, your wax, your gum, your mead. They pollinate flowers! They’re vital creatures! Without bees, we’re all screwed!

Anyway. Moving on.

I live in a nice apartment, with my alicorn fluffy, Bumble. She’s got a unique pattern: black and yellow stripes. She loves honey. If you take the jar away, she’ll start poking your leg with her blunt little horn until you give it back.

And for the last few years, I’ve been working on a project that concerns the fate of the world:

Breeding bees that can survive climate change.

This project has changed my life in more ways than you can bee-lieve.


A month before the thing with the giant fluffy tree monsters, I had reached what I thought was a breakthrough: I had developed a serum that made bees stronger and hardier. I had a colony of bees in my lab, and they were thriving in any conditions I could throw at them.

Then they broke out of their enclosure and started stinging me. All of them.

Eventually, I passed out, and when I woke up, I was covered in stings, and the entire colony was dead. I was covered in dead bees.

I wrote the formula off as a failure. I scrapped it. I went back to the drawing board.

But then, the week after that tree fluffy thing, I started changing.

I developed powers.


I’m not like one of those X-Positives. My powers come from the serum I invented, altered by the venom in the bee’s stingers.

I’ve destroyed all samples of that formula I had left. I destroyed all my notes on it, too. I don’t want to imagine what the wrong kind of people could do with it. I don’t even fully understand what I had created in the first place. I was in a sort of fugue state when I made it, brought on by a lack of sleep. It was like I had a stroke of genius and it just took over my body.

But now, I can shrink to the size of a bee, I’ve got stingers that pop out of my wrists, and I can fly on big shiny bee wings that grow out of my back, and shrink away at will.

And I can control bees, too.

Obviously, I knew what came next.

Become a superhero.


And I’m not like the ChaotiX, who don’t even bother with secret identities.

They can afford that. They’re backed by the richest and smartest man on Earth, and his brother, who is the most powerful wizard on Earth. They don’t need to worry about their families being Gwen Stacy’d.

I, on the other hand, do.

So I decided to go the whole hog, and make a costume.

A goddamn superhero costume. You can probably guess what it looks like.

So I’ve been fighting crime ever since, as the Bombastic Bee-Man.

I swear to God, I didn’t come up with that name. It’s what the news calls me. It just stuck. Yeah, I’ve already made the news, though that might just be because of my costume.

My closest friends and family are in on the secret. I’ve always been obsessed with bees, so they figured it out quickly.

But, as far as I know, I’ve otherwise managed to keep my true identity a secret.

Bumble’s been keeping it a secret, too. She’s a clever little girl.


ding-dong

“Hold on, Bumble.”

I get up from the couch to answer the door, leaving Bumble to watch Captain Fluffy by herself. I’ve seen this one, I know how it ends.

Bumble’s catching up, she’s been watching other stuff. I’m not gonna spoil it for her.

I open the door, and holy shit, look who it is.

“Professor Beckett Eerie? My name’s Calvin Korkea. Call me Cal. Everyone does. But you probably know who I am. Can I come inside? I need to talk with you.”


Mr. Korkea walks inside, and after I close the door, he takes a device out of his pocket, and presses a button on it.

“What’s that do?”

“Just making sure nobody listens in. You’ll appreciate it. Mind if we sit down?”

We do so, and I turn the TV off.

“Daddeh, Bumbwe wus wutchin dat.”

“Later, Bumble.”

She huffs, but then realizes that she needs to make poopies, and scurries into the saferoom to do so. She’s a good girl.

“So, Mr. Korkea. What’s this about? Oh, but I haven’t offered you a drink, I make an excellent mead.”

“So you’re a Viking too, then? Hell, I’ll try some.”

So I get up, fetch two glasses of mead, and sit back down.

Mr. Korkea takes a sip.

“Damn, this is good. Let’s get right to the point: I know. About your powers.

It’s a good thing I hadn’t taken a sip yet, because if I had, I would spit it out in shock.

What?!? How?”

Mr. Korkea just shrugs.

“You know how powerful my friends are.”

Fucking Pierre! But wait, I’m not X-Positive. I’m not like you guys.”

“We know that, too. But you’ve got powers. You’ve got potential. But, and I don’t mean to be rude, what you lack is resources. And allies. I’m here to offer you those things. I’m inviting you to join the ChaotiX.”

“I’ve got allies…”

“Yeah, but again, not being rude, they’re normos. You don’t realize this, but we’ve been protecting them since you first made the news. We figured out your identity pretty quickly, and we know, if you make any enemies, that they could, too. I mean, look around.”

Mr. Korkea gestures at my apartment, and the many bee-themed decorations.

I did say that I was obsessed.

“It ain’t that hard to figure out, Beckett.”

“Call me Buzz. Everyone does.”

“Because of your buzz cut? You picked that on purpose, didn’t you?”

“…yeah…”

“My point is, you’ve got friends and family, but you’re still alone out in the field. If you fall, who catches you?”

I can’t argue with that.

“I see your point. I have kinda been working on a shoestring budget.”

“Yeah, I saw your costume. Was your budget a literal box of shoestrings? Sorry. Point is, if you join, you’ll get a better one. And you can help design it.”

“I can’t resist an offer like that.”

“Before you give me an actual answer, there’s something else you need to know. There’s a reason I’m here today.”

“Bee-sides offering me a job?”

Mr. Korkea rolls his eyes.

Hey, I like my bee puns.

“Usually, I would laugh at that, but things are kind of serious right now.”

“What is it?”

Mr. Korkea takes a deep breath.

Then he drops the bomb.

“The truth, Buzz, is that we need all the help we can get. Because there’s another war coming. And it’s bigger than the last two put together. This time, it won’t be contained to one city. Anyone who can fight, is going to have to fight.”

“Okay, but how big is it?”

Mr. Korkea takes another breath.

And then drops an even bigger bomb.

“How big’s the entire planet?

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