Earlier today, the New Orleans Police Department received multiple reports of dangerous insects stemming from a containment breach that happened during a superpowered conflict at a laboratory in the vicinity of Audubon Park. The "berettaflies" resemble large black-and-white butterflies with red spots. So far, at least two deaths have occurred from their stings, and numerous other patients remain in medical care. Anyone knowing the victims is asked to maintain discretion until the families can be notified. NOPD has established two dedicated helplines to handle this crisis. If you have information pertaining to the case, please use the first set of contact information following this notice to speak with an officer; if you have concerns about safety or related issues, please use the second set to speak with a volunteer.
The Easy City Police Department has referred this incident to Threat Assessment. An advisory is being formulated using our standard range of Red (emergency), Orange (danger), Yellow (watch), and Green (low). Image files, stickers, and other indicators showing a butterfly design are in development and should become available to the public by tomorrow. Condition is currently Red. Citizens in the area are urged to stay indoors and avoid all unnecessary travel. If you must go outdoors, use extreme caution. All insect stings or bites should be reported to Emergency Services immediately. Parks, garden centers, and other outdoor areas attractive to butterflies are closed until further notice. Please read additional details and watch for updates on our Current Incidents page at the ECPD website. Thank you for your attention.
Recently a superpowered incident occurred when the Spectrum raided a zetetic laboratory run by Stylet and Mr. Pernicious in New Orleans. The resulting containment breach released a number of genetically engineered insects called "berettaflies." These resemble large black-and-white butterflies with red spots, but apparently they contain DNA from multiple species of venomous insects. They have a stinger similar to that of a wasp, which can sting multiple times; and stinging hairs similar to those of Io moth caterpillars. The stinger produces a large round weal, while stinging hairs may create oblong or spotted weals. Both types of venom are extremely toxic, and doctors advise that any contact should be treated as a medical emergency. The death toll currently stands at three, and some other victims remain in critical or serious condition. Easy City extends its sympathy to the bereaved.
Experts from Loyola, SPAZMAT, and other sources continue to study the berettaflies. Their preliminary findings suggest some helpful precautions. Maintain careful awareness if you must go outside. Should you see a berettafly, back away immediately and take cover indoors, as they are aggressive but seem no faster or stronger than ordinary butterflies. Then call Emergency Services to report the sighting. Anyone in need of moral support should contact their community health center for assistance, where counselors have training in acute stress response and communal trauma. Biologists from Loyola University further advise New Orleans residents to remove or cover all plants attractive to butterflies or bees. Threat Level remains at Red. Nonessential traffic is discouraged in areas near ground zero, with lesser warnings radiating outward from there; consult the Threat Assessment map to see how this impacts your home or work. For public advice, see the "Berettaflies" entry on the ECPD Current Incidents page. For clinical details, see the "Berettaflies" page on the LUNO Biology Department website.
The laboratory itself was concealed amidst a strip of light industrial and warehouse buildings, about half a mile from the Loyola University campus near the Audubon Zoo, designated ground zero for this incident. A large number of berettaflies escaped from this location, which is not legally zoned for zetetic activities of the type conducted there. SPOON dispatched Facet to the scene, where he assisted in the recovery of escaped insects until overcome by stings; he is currently in fair condition. A secondary zone centers on the greenbelt between Terminal Drive and East Drive at the southeastern corner of Audubon Park. The largest attack of berettaflies occurred here as a swarm descended on a class of Environmental Studies students. Some other attacks have occurred since then, but the majority of victims were struck on the first day.
Easy City police are actively investigating this incident, led by the New Orleans police with support from outlying departments to spread out the considerable burden of extra work. ECPD strongly encourages that everyone with any information about the berettaflies or persons present during the incident should come forward to share their observations with the police. We especially appreciate the blueprints and other details from Tinsdale's Tinting Services, the company housing the lab; and all the other citizens who have provided data helpful to our investigations. Thank you for your assistance.
Following the superpowered incident last week, investigations continue at the illegal zetetic lab and at local hospitals to determine the hazard posed by the berettaflies. Biologists report that the berettaflies contain DNA from at least five, and probably more, different species from the orders Lepidoptera (butterflies) and Hymenoptera (bees and wasps). Berettaflies show indifference to chemical repellents, but seem to avoid strong air currents, which may make fans effective as a deterrent. They also display resistance to insecticides, but the more potent ones with foaming action -- such as wasp spray -- may work. Citizens are warned NOT to engage berettaflies unless absolutely necessary; instead, call Emergency Services to deal with an infestation.
St. Henriette Delille Hospital reports that at least two survivors are developing superpowers; if you know either of them, please respect their privacy at this difficult time. Citizens should understand that the berettafly venom may have specific metagenic effects in addition to the usual, miniscule chance of manifesting superpowers due to any extreme event. In case of manifestation, call SPOON for support. Because of the intense toxicity, complications which are rare from other insect stings are much more common from berettafly stings; these include organ failure, nerve damage, blood clots, and localized tissue loss among others. The official death toll is now five: two from acute anaphylaxis and others from subsequent complications. However, assertive interventions such as dialysis are promising in the prevention of some problems. Later victims are faring better than earlier ones because of this increased awareness in helpful treatments. Doctors advise followup monitoring for at least six months after any berettafly sting.
As the staff of St. Henriette's also discovered that blue chamomile may lessen the damage from berettafly venom, the Easy City Council convened an emergency session to repeal a blue law dating from 1813 which prohibited the oil. BLUE CHAMOMILE IS NOW LEGAL in Easy City, and citizens near ground zero are advised to add it to their first aid kits. The Mayor calls on other locales with similar laws to repeal theirs, as blue chamomile is a valuable remedy for people with or without superpowers.
Investigators were pleasantly surprised to turn up fresh evidence while examining the laboratory. This includes a count of how many berettaflies the lab contained at the time of the incident: 144. Analysis of remains from berettaflies found deceased suggests that approximately half of them have died during the first week, as they appear poorly suited to life in the wild. Additional specimens have been captured alive and are providing valuable information to the biologists studying them. Traps have been set at Audubon Park, Daneel Playground, and the Jewish Cemetery on Garfield Street -- all of which remain closed to the public for now -- and SPAZMAT hopes to keep drawing down the population of berettaflies in that manner. This indicates a substantially reduced hazard today, compared to last week.
For these reasons, Threat Assessment has officially lowered the Threat Level to Orange. Practical travel (to work, school, etc.) may resume with situational awareness and precautions to minimize outdoor exposure; recreational travel is still discouraged. Individuals with insect allergies, phobias, compromised immunity, pregnancy, or other significant health conditions should consult with their health care providers to determine their personalized risk from the berettaflies. If you experience difficulty in stepping down your alertness, please contact your community health center or regular caregiver for assistance. Hypervigilance is a symptom of acute stress response and communal trauma; counselors can help you attain an appropriate state of awareness for this situation and your individual condition. The Bay Wreath Health Center on Laurel Street has established a helpline for citizens who need to talk about their feelings in regard to the berettaflies and related events. They also have a list of community resilience efforts to assist Easy City in overcoming this challenge.
Preliminary investigations at the zetetic laboratory suggest a mix of civil and criminal offenses. Search warrants are in progress to determine the full extent of those crimes and compile a list of possible charges. No arrest warrants have been issued yet, as best practice indicates a need for caution when dealing with superpowered incidents. In the meantime, Easy City police request that the individuals known as Mr. Pernicious, Stylet, and the Spectrum team consisting of Tanger, Blastwave, Levinbolt, and Limestrike all come forward voluntarily to discuss these recent events. The National Hate Crimes Office is assisting with the correlation of complaints and previous incidents involving the same persons, outside of law enforcement proper. ECPD particularly thanks Facet for his telephone interview from the SPOON infirmary. We extend our sympathy to the families of those who died from berettafly stings earlier this week: Bastian Awotwi, Renata DiPietri, Christine Ahn, Kennedy Ashwood, all students at Loyola University; and Abraham McCoy, a hobby rose breeder responsible for tipping doctors to the benefits of blue chamomile. Citizens should remain attentive for further updates via the ECPD Current Incidents page as the search for justice continues. Thank you for your patience.
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This map shows the area of the incident. GoogleMaps has an interactive one, where you need to zoom out a little to see beyond the perimeter of Audubon Park.
Easy City Police Department coordinates law enforcement throughout the metroplex. Individual cities have their own branches, and this incident features the New Orleans Police Department. Some busy neighborhoods have their own smaller offices as well.
Risk analysis aims to predict hazards such as explosions. A scale like red-orange-yellow-green may be used for such things as wildfires or volcanoes. After the worst of an incident has passed, people need to lower the level of alertness according to the decrease in threat.
Butterflies are attracted to specific garden features and flowers.
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Recombinant DNA blends several species to create designer animals or insects.
Wasp stingers are smooth and can attack repeatedly.
Stinging caterpillars have many sharp hairs to pierce the skin and deliver venom. Stylet used something like this as a source.
Health conditions are often described as critical, serious, fair, or good. Terramagne-America also uses another spectrum of deteriorating, unstable, stable, and improving to modify conditions. Deteriorating means that the patient is getting steadily worse, and treatment focuses on stopping that decline; if not stopped, death may occur. Unstable refers to ambiguous or fluctuating signs that make it difficult to predict outcome or determine the best course of treatment; it is not good and patients may take an abrupt decline. Treatment focuses on stabilization. Stable means that the condition has reached at least a temporary plateau; doctors often use this time to evaluate whether further treatment would be more beneficial. Improving means that the patient is getting steadily better, as well as can be expected; treatment is often stepped down at this point, such as switching from narcotic to non-narcotic painkillers to reduce the chance of side effects. Due to superpowers, there can be some odd combinations like "currently deceased but improviing."
Some of the precautions in this entry are drawn from public policies means to address the threat of killer bees.
Collective trauma is a complex response within a community to a shared disaster. Psychological trauma can cause traumatic stress, acute or chronic. Prompt and appropriate support can reduce the chance of a normal, short-term reaction developing into an unhealthy, long-term one. Know how to help someone with post-traumatic stress or grief.
Bees have slightly different tastes in garden traits and flower styles than butterflies do. At first experts based their recommendations on the butterfly shape, but after identifying multiple species in the berettaflies, expanded the advice to include bee plants too.
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Insect orders include Lepidoptera (butterflies) and Hymenoptera (bees and wasps). Both include others as well; the police were just summarizing to give people an idea.
Insects develop resistance to repellents and pesticides. Obviously Stylet designed his guardbugs so they wouldn't be dissuaded by ordinary bug spray. The level of toxin resistance required to survive their own venom makes them immune to moderate pesticides or glancing targets; you need a direct, potent hit to kill them. Use lots of wasp foam. Some people have already stashed cans of it outside. An enterprising gizmologist is probably working on how to modify a super-soaker to use a can of wasp foam.
Most butterflies dislike strong air currents. This is why butterfly gardens are built in sheltered locations, and are more attractive to berettaflies, which have large fancy wings.
Insect stings can cause acute or delayed effects.
Blue law -- a rule intended to enforce morality. In local-America it refers primarily to alcohol, commerce, and sexual contexts. in Terramagne-America, laws targeting superpowers are classified this way due both to the moralizing and their tendency to focus on soup-specific items such as blue chamomile. While many of these have been repealed, some remain in effect, although few of those are still enforced. Of the surviving laws, a majority are so old that people simply forgot about them. Easy City had a law banning blue chamomile that dates back almost to the state's origin -- targeting not soups, but voodoo practitioners, particularly due to the conjure oil known as Blue Moon (blue yarrow, blue cypress, and blue chamomile). Thus it can be found in some botanicas that carry questionable items, but not in regular stores or pharmacies. Easy City repealed that law in an emergency session of the City Council shortly after the berettafly incident, and called on other cities to do the same, because blue chamomile has valid medical uses for ordinary people as well as soups.
The history of Louisiana is long and colorful, leading to some odd laws.
Hypervigilance can be a symptom of collective trauma, acute stress reaction, or PTSD. There are ways to reduce hypervigilance.
Easy City is a trauma-informed city where citizens widely have training in how to handle disasters. Community resilience helps youth and older people to heal after an incident.
In Terramagne-America, "best practice" must come from "results-based management" and/or "evidence-based practices." In turn, RBM and EBP require a solid foundation of actual studies which demonstrate concrete ways in which the recommended course of action consistently outperforms other options. "Best advice" may be used for things like company policy and what actions seem to work better than others in a developing situation.
I used statistics on police car chases to extrapolate the effects of chasing or otherwise provoking supervillains, because both are extremely high-risk actions, and in local-America the risks are increasing. Evidence-based decisions indicate that fleeing suspects tend to slow down relatively soon after pursuers abandon the chase, reducing the risk of harm to innocent bystanders. Different jurisdictions have somewhat different regulations about when officers may pursue. Consequently some places have already placed or are considering bans on such high-risk tactics. T-American rules vary, but the trend is toward letting supervillains run rather than provoke them into a fight that could harm officers and civilians, unless the supervillains are encountered while committing a violent crime. The most effective method is to wait and ambush them in a carefully planned raid, preferably with a joint team of superheroes and police. The Spectrum has just demonstrated why chasing supervillains is a bad idea and why police involvement is advisable. Similarly, T-American justice prefers to solve problems at the lowest possible level and with the least force that will be effective. This minimizes the risk to everyone. It's also why they reduce penalties for mitigating circumstances and raise them for aggravated circumstances: to encourage people to surrender willingly and safely. The cops really dislike having to hunt people down, because it's more dangerous for everyone.