Part 2: The Heteroptera Duel; Chapter 1: Enemy Arrival
The door opened multiple times after Primax’s arrival at the biosphere. Her antennae told her the identity of each of her new opponents; A female Tarantula Hawk wasp, a female Praying Mantis, an amount of hornets, a male Emperor Scorpion, multiple tarantulas, other scents that she recognized as other spiders and a strange new arachnid, and multiple dragonflies.
Immediately, she began her search for allies. She sought out the Praying Mantis, following the pheromone trail with antennae, but she had to stop three times to clean her feelers. Finally, she located the site of the mantis, but she couldn’t see her.
A green flash darted from the bushes towards Primax, and sharp spikes nearly punctured her armor.
“Do you want to die now, or later, and wait for me to eat you while still alive?” The mantis said evilly, with a slight maniacal tone to her voice. Primax retaliated by gripping the mantis in her mandibles, and whirling her around, slamming her against the trunk of a sapling.
“Ok, ok. I see how you want to play this game. Just to let you know, sweetheart, I’m a two time champ of this duel.” The mantis said as she flicked a claw at Primax, but that earned another slam against the trunk.
“What’s your name? Hmm? Mine’s Victoria.” The mantis asked. Primax dropped her but locked her in her legs, and pointed her stinger at Victoria’s slender abdomen.
“My name is Primax. I was told to form alliances immediately. I was seeking you out, but I’m starting to regret the thought.” Primax hissed. Victoria stared at her with her green eyes with her head cocked to the side.
“I like your spunk, Primax. Sure, why not form one. But let me tell you, if it’s just us two after everyone else is dead, one of us has to die.” Victoria said. She snapped her head to the side, and fled into the underbrush.
“If you don’t want to die, I suggest you get in here with me.” Victoria said from the shadows with a twitch of her head. She giggled a bit, but held as still as the ground.
A tarantula crawled into view, his fangs lustrous in the light that streamed through the glass, and he nearly doubled Primax in size. He turned his body towards Victoria and Primax’s direction when a loud buzzing sound resonated through the air. The tarantula went into defensive position, raising his four front legs in a threatening manner and flicked his fangs.
A blue streak slammed into the spider, making him curse aloud. Primax caught a glimpse of a massive stinger plunging itself into the tarantula’s abdomen, paralyzing him with the venom. The wasp cocked her head at the spider as he held still, giving a final twitch of a leg. She shook the dust off her wings and began to clean her antennae.
Primax scuttled out towards the wasp, staring at her with awe.
“What are you staring at, ant?” the wasp asked in annoyance.
“You. Obviously. I’m forming alliances with some of the others to help demolish the others.” Primax explained. The wasp rolled her head and continued to clean herself.
“Listen, pip, how do I know I can trust you? As far as I know, you’re already formed up with the camel and bolas spiders.” The wasp sighed.
“I’m not. I’ve only teamed up with a mantis named Victoria. I’ll prove it to you!” Primax said excitedly. She called to Victoria, who jumped from her position, waving her arms around threateningly and flashing her eye spotted wings. The wasp stared blankly at Primax but then said,
“Alright. But here’s the deal, when I say, ‘I kill this one’ I mean, ‘I kill this one.’ Got it?” she asked. The other two nodded.
“So…What’s your name?” Victoria asked, a slight giggle hinting her mood.
“Vespis.” The wasp answered back, giving Victoria a strange glance.
“Is she mental, or did she inhale too much hookah?” Vespis asked Primax as Victoria danced around, trying to catch houseflies that flitted by.
“I don’t know, to be honest.” Primax said, as she watched Victoria clumsily fall on her face. “I just hope she isn’t as clumsy in battle as she is when she tries to take a step.”
Victoria stalked towards them with jerky movements, bobbing her head with beat of her steps.
“You know, I don’t think it’s very advisable to just stand around and wait for our enemies to come to us…Why don’t we just go and get them?” Victoria said with a guffaw. Vespis ignored the comment and buzzed her wings, taking off to perch on the top of a sapling.
“Come on, Victoria; let’s go find my bush again.” Primax said as she dismissed Vespis. Victoria started to object, but gave up and followed Primax.
They arrived at the bush, entering the protection of the thorns and the lush leaves. They began to settled down and wait for Vespis, when they smelled the musky, displeasing scent of an arachnid.
Primax’s eyes caught the sight of a strange, six legged creature, staring at them with its multiple eyes and chomped its four jaws at them.
“I’ve been expecting you.” It said in a gravelly voice, marking it as a male.
“This is my bush. Leave at once.” Primax snapped. The creature crawled towards Primax, snapping his jaws. Victoria snuck behind him, ready to deliver a blow to his abdomen if needed.
“Victoria! Go find Vespis!!” Primax screamed, as the camel spider backed her into some branches of the bush. She scrambled into a pocket of thorns, ignoring them as they scraped against her armor.
“Clever, little tick, but it won’t save you completely.” The camel spider said. He began to chomp through the thorns and advancing towards Primax.
Primax’s heart began to thud, pumping adrenaline filled blood around her body. She leapt, clearing over the camel spider, and lured him into the open. He scrambled towards her, stalking jerkily.
Primax began to dance wildly around the open area. She caught a glimpse of Victoria and Vespis making a wide arc around the top of the dome, followed by a few hornets. She returned her attention to the camel spider, which was dizzily chasing after Primax as she continued to dance in circles around him.
“You clumsy fool; I thought for sure you would’ve been able to catch me.” Primax sneered, taking sudden delight in the camel spider’s confusion. She lured close to the small cement pond, backing into the water. The camel spider leapt into the water, and began flailing around, sending water droplets flying into the air and splashing onto the leaves and dirt. Primax waded to the drowning camel spider, and snapped her mandibles around his middle, and inserted her laced stinger into a soft spot of his abdomen.
The spider held still after receiving 4 more stings, and Primax waded out of the water, and watched for Vespis and Victoria. Seconds later, they appeared, still pursued by a few of the hornets, and disappeared behind tall trees again. They popped out again, losing their energy.
Victoria landed, gasping for breath. Two hornets landed behind her, stalking menacingly. They leapt, buzzing their wings to help them reach towards the mantis.
Victoria suddenly gained new energy, and snapped her arms around a hornet, puncturing its body. She opened her jaws, clomping off the hornets head as she slammed a claw onto the other hornet’s head.
Primax rushed forward, grabbing the pinned hornet. She curled her abdomen towards her head, injecting the hornet with venom. She dropped the insect, watching as it finished thrashing around. Victoria finished demolishing the body of the other hornet, dropping what was left of it onto the ground.
Vespis reappeared again, and the hornets that were chasing her were suddenly dispatched by large dragonflies that leapt from their cover. Vespis circled back towards Victoria and Primax, resting her rust colored wings. The dragonflies that killed the hornets reformed their squad, and zoomed off, heading towards the other side of the biosphere.
“What did you do, Victoria? Annihilate the remains or something?” Vespis asked as she stared the mangled remains of the hornet. Its body was ripped into small shreds, and blood pooled from the wounds and the stinger was barely connected to the body.
“Close enough.” Victoria hissed. “It’s my method of killing. To show the other opponents that I mean business, and that I’m not afraid to draw blood.” Primax shuddered at Victoria’s tone. Vespis gave Victoria a cruel look, but started to walk into the darker underbrush.
“Vespis, where are you going?” Primax said as she scuttled towards the Tarantula Hawk.
“If the others smell the blood, and if we were still there, they’d be there before we’d even have a chance to take a step.” Vespis snapped.
Primax looked behind her to see Victoria eat the remains of the hornets, and then run towards them.
“You know, you do have to eat soon. Granted, it’s only been a few hours, but we need to eat.” Victoria warned.
“I refuse to eat the remains of my opponents. I’m a nectivore, not a brainless killing machine.” Vespis barked. Victoria hissed, and snapped her head to the side, watching the underbrush.
A worm inched in front of Primax, tempting her to eat it. She snapped it up, craving more food.
They stopped at a lush spot, where Primax and Vespis could drink nectar and find another shelter spot. Darkness soon fell over the biosphere, and Primax expected cold to sweep in after it; but it remained comfortably warm. The insects slipped warily into their sleep stases, getting out of reach of the nocturnal enemies as they stalked the biosphere.