A/N: Hello everyone! I just got this fabulous little plot bunny in my brain and I hope you all enjoy it! It could be, I suppose, seen as a possible prequel to Bittersweet and Strange or at the very least taking place in the same universe, I don't know, that's something you guys can decide! I hope you enjoy! As usual, I don't own Wreck-it Ralph!
She named the runt Fortuna.
Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun was a level-headed woman who weighed the pros and cons of every decision she ever made, no matter how banal or boring they were. When she made her choice, she made that choice known with the proper authority of a high-ranking official. She was making patrols, rounding up the last few bugs who had escaped the beacon. She killed them without mercy, giant things that would have easily overpowered and eaten her.
But the mewling, chirping, wriggling mess in the net that was the infant cybug posed an enigma. The cybug larva was perhaps the size of one of her fists enclosed in the other, and was certainly no harm, especially compared to its brethren who were murdering her soldiers left and right. She'd lost too many good men to the bugs. Too many to count, too many lost friends. But she still had Brad.
Yes, it – she, Calhoun discovered after careful examination – would grow bigger. But that was many months from now, unless she grew aggravated. If the larva grew agitated in any way, its maturation process would quicken, and Calhoun would have to make the toughest decision any pet owner would.
"Come on, you," Calhoun said, picking up the chittering metal insect. She shielded it so that to her men, it appeared that she was holding her helmet. The larva had not attacked her, not even hissed, and instead yawned and stretched its antenna across her arm. "You're lucky, you little runt."
The cybug chirped, blinking its huge green eyes at her.
"I'll call you Fortuna."
The larva, of course having no grasp on the human tongue, chirped a confused note and stared up at her.
"It means 'luck'."
"Fortuna, no, you can't have Mommy's boot!" Calhoun cried out as the growing cybug baby chirped playfully, the piece of armor dangling from the cybug's mouth. Fortuna had grown to the size of a soccer ball, and her wings were just starting to work. To Calhoun's annoyance, she was hovering a good two feet above the soldier's reach.
"Want!" Fortuna chirped robotically as she lowered herself to meet Calhoun's cerulean eyes with her emerald ones.
"No, no, no," Calhoun chided playfully as she reached out to pet the bug's feelers. "No. Give it back, soldier."
Fortuna hissed playfully, nuzzling Calhoun's cheek.
"All right, Fortuna, Mommy has to go on patrol. You be good, and no leaving your post, understand?"
They had practiced the trick endlessly, and Calhoun couldn't help but smile as she saw the little bug raise its foreleg to its feelers. "Good girl, Fortuna," Calhoun said, scratching the area where the bug's feelers met its shell. "Good girl. Mommy will be home soon, okay?"
Calhoun cast a glance at the bug as she floated gently down to the ground, depressed without her owner. It was the same song and dance the creature pulled every day, and when Calhoun got a spare moment she would check on the surveillance cameras and make sure Fortuna didn't do anything she wasn't supposed to do. Most days, Calhoun found, the bug would just lay in her basket and sleep.
"Whatcha watchin'?" Doctor Brad Scott asked as he approached her in the mess hall.
"Hmm?" The sergeant perked up at the voice. "What? Oh, it's, uh, nothing. Nothing, honeyglow."
He grinned. "You love calling me that, don'tcha?"
"Yeah," she said. "What of it, soldier?"
"Nothing, I guess I was just thinking…well, Tammy, we've been dating for a while, so…I guess I was wondering if maybe you'd like to….you know, go to dinner at…at my place, for once. Something…romantic."
She chuckled. "What, and the mess hall, with….whatever the hell this is…isn't romantic?" She asked sarcastically, gesturing to the barely-palatable slop the cook had dumped onto her tray.
"Oh, all right, you win, Scott."
Calhoun ran a brush through her thick, short hair as she looked at Fortuna's reflection in the mirror. "It's not like it's the end of the world, you know," she said softly. "We went out to dinner, he proposed."
Fortuna anxiously flittered from side to side. "But Mommy!"
"Oh, he'll love you, Fortuna, don't worry about that. It will all be okay."
"But you said he hated cybugs."
"He hates the ones who are killers, honey," Calhoun said softly. "He wouldn't dare lay a hand on you, or he'll face my wrath."
"I promise, Brad Scott will never touch you."
"Well, he can pet my feelers if he wants to," Fortuna said, calming down and yawning as she lowered herself into the wicker basket that she barely fit into. "Night, Mommy."
"Good night, soldier. Get some sleep."
Calhoun couldn't help but think what could be done with Fortuna. The bug was almost fully grown now, and her man-eating instincts would take over sooner rather than later. She could release it, but then the cybugs would eat her alive, smelling the human scent.
She opted to keep the bug, Brad Scott's opinion be damned.
Brad Scott knew his murderer. It was Fortuna.
As the doomed wedding's gusts departed, the former bride-to-be sighed, staring at the cybug's body. Fortuna had grown, had murdered, just as Calhoun knew she would all those months ago. "Fortuna, I am so sorry," she said softly, trying to console the creature who was slowly dying, oozing green blood and its eye-lights fading. "You couldn't fight your programming…and neither could I."
In the end, Fortuna was a rather inappropriate name.