Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Bug's Life

Early one Monday morning, Alistair and Will were on their way to a class when they heard a scream from the office area; making their way there, they found a secretary standing at an open doorway, staring in horror at the body of Entomology professor Dr. Lyle Canton - covered in hundreds of insect bites and stings. A quick search of the office revealed nothing more than the few insects the professor kept in plastic terrariums. The professor appeared to have died Saturday. The door was previously locked, and there was no sign of forced entry (or exit) - nor signs of bugs.

Remembering Johnny Chafe, the group went to interrogate "bug boy". After some pressing questions, he revealed that his notebook was likely stolen. He had an alibi for the weekend, too, which helped the students believe him.

Back to Glaske, they asked around and discovered that Dr. Sheila West and a graduate student, Eddie Ruiz, didn't show up for class that day. A little more investigation revealed the professor's address; that afternoon, the students headed over. They found a beat up economy sedan in the driveway, but got no answer from knocking on the door. Realizing the neighbor across the street was snooping on them, they trooped over, and after convincing her they were not selling anything, asked about the professor. The woman pulled out the notebook she kept notes on the comings and goings of everyone in the neighborhood, and pointed out that the car's owner had showed up early Saturday, and hadn't left.

The group thanked her, then vaulted the fence into the back yard; Will picked the lock on the fence, and James quickly grabbed his tools from his truck. After picking the back door lock, Will and James headed inside. James flung open the mudroom door, and instantly had to dodge a swarm of flying and crawling insects, ending up shaken from the experience. The others were slightly farther back, and managed to get through the insect onslaught unscathed. Alistair rushed inside, and fired off the a circle of protection from insects he had prepared; most of the bugs were forced away, and fled. Eddie, now looking more like the main character from The Fly, screeched, calling two giant swarms of insects - one of creepy-crawlies, and one of wasps and other fliers. He stepped forward, ignoring the protection circle entirely, and struck at Alistair, thankfully doing very little against his body armor. Alistair was quickly joined by the others, who shot, bashed, whacked, and tazed the big bug-man (though the tazer seemed to have no effect). Will narrowly avoided certain doom (by burning a black chip!), while James took a few good thwacks. The flying insects didn't manage to get through the barrier, but the crawling insects did, though the heavy clothes of the students protected them from the bites and stings.

Having killed Eddie - or what was left of him, he was mostly bug at that point - James and Alistair, uh, ripped off his arms and fashioned them into melee weapons. Because of course they did.

After desecrating the corpse, the students broke open the cocoon Eddie had been watching, and found Dr. West! She was unconscious; after a bit of cleanup, the students called the police and an ambulance. After answering some questions, they headed over to Eddie's apartment, and ransacked the place, finding the notebook in the process. It seems Eddie had modified the formula, splicing DNA to make the liquid injectable; the process didn't seem to work well for him, however.

Two days later, she regained consciousness, and seemed perfectly fine - though Alistair followed her around a bit, and realized that she could control bugs, too. Filing that away in "useful information to have," the group left her to her own devices.

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