After hearing about his phone call Wraith assumes a dramatic pose.
"Electron, I say to you 'Stop your evil ways!'" He drops his arm and continues.
"Don't worry too much about it. This bill of sale just proves that you were here, which you were. Doesn't show method or motive.
"I'll continue looking for real evidence. You'd better head out and give your story to the police."
Electron shrugs. "Well, on the bright side the police won't find my costume."
Charles Smythe's house
Electron drops down into the copse of trees on the edge of his property and enters the secret passageway that runs underneath his backyard. He makes his way through the tunnel, peels off his mask and presses his ear against the hidden door in his basement, just in case the police are on the other side. Halfway expecting to hear either silence or the sound of people searching, Electron is at first puzzled and then horrified to hear an incessant droning sound punctuated by gunshots and screams.
Electron grabs his civilian clothes from his storage locker quickly heads back up the tunnel. He takes to the air, his aura blazing brightly in the night sky. Circling around, he takes up a hovering position above the house and in a few seconds he has his assessment of the situation.
Down below his wife stands in the street, her arms clutched protectively around their two children. Next to her, shouting into his radio, is Lieutenant Graves. Ringing the perimeter of the house are a handful of police officers, their weapons drawn and trained on the open front doorway.
From inside the house come more screams and gunshots. They end abruptly and the body of another officer falls into view briefly before something pulls it back inside the house.
"Electron, thank God you're here!" Graves shouts. "We've got two men down in there, but whatever that thing is, we're no match for it!"
"Get those civilians to safety!" Electron points to his family. Not wanting to stay, for fear of being recognized by his children, he streaks into the house.
Just inside the front entryway is a nightmarish scene. The lifeless arm of one officer rests at the top of the basement steps. Presumably the rest of him is further down the steps. Bullet holes pepper the drywall. Even the kitchen window above the sink sports a hole or two.
But Electron's attention is drawn to the left, in the living room. A larger-than-human mass of swarming insects pulses on the floor next to the sofa. Thousands upon thousands of roaches, flies, centipedes and other arthropods crawl over each other. Every now and then the mass peels back to reveal the second police officer beneath, unmoving and quite dead.
As if sensing Electron's presence, the swarm lifts off the body and assumes a vaguely human shape. The head turns to look at the hero and a reedy voice, like an army of cicadas, speaks.
Crime Scene No. 5
Wraith answers his cell phone on the second ring. It's Graves. Within seconds he has the story: the search warrant for Smythe's house, the attack on the officers, Electron's fortuitous arrival.
"Our bullets went right through it. Electron's in there right now and hopefully he can take care of that creature, but it's a sure bet we found our killer!"
Charles Smythe's house, Round One
Wraith materializes next to Electron. "I presume since you didn't call you don't need any assistance with that. I'll just see whats in the refrigerator."
"He says he's my kid." Electron shouts to Wraith as he aims a blast of lightning at the swarm. The electricity plays over its surface, popping and sparking. "Must have been that stripper from Detroit. Man she was nasty."
"I see he got your looks anyway. You got a name, kid?"
The last of the sparks from Electron's bolt fade away, but amazingly the mass of insects looks even bigger. "Yesss..." the thing whispers. "The Collective requires more energy..."
The swarm raises its arms and a cloud of biting, stinging flies rush toward Electron. "We once required the blood of others to survive, but now you have shown us a faster way to grow. This will be your final gift to us, father."
Electron dodges out of the way of the pseudopods, and in seconds they are reabsorbed into the Collective's body.
"Your name is the Collective?? Man, whatever happened to names like Bob or Frank?" Wraith asks as he munches on an apple. "You sure you don't need any help? Its no bother. I mean I'm already here and all."
"You have any bug spray in that utility belt?" replies Electron.
Wraith pulls a cannister with a stylized bug with an 'X' drawn over it from his belt, thumbs the activator and tosses it straight at the Collective. There is a soft whump
followed by a hiss and an acrid green fog begins to spread throughout the living room.
The effects are immediate. Many of the insects begin to curl up and fall away, littering the carpet with tiny corpses. However not nearly enough die to reduce the size of the Collective's body.
"Wraith," the thing buzzes loudly as it drifts through the smoke towards him. "You should know we are a natural survivor. Your chemicals cannot hope to overcome us. And what fails to kill us only makes us stronger."
Initiative is rolled. Wraith rolls an 8, Electron rolls a 2, the Collective rolls a 1.
Wraith delays his action.
Electron attacks Collective, rolls an 18 and hits, but no damage is dealt.
The attack triggers the Collective's Growth power and it gains 1 rank as a free action. It then attacks Electron, rolls a 6 and misses.
Wraith spends a hero point to add a bug bomb to his utility belt array. As an area effect attack, no attack roll is needed. However the Collective is immune to chemical attacks so no damage save is required.
On account of the festivities next week it is quite likely I will not have another update until the new year. So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and other stuff!