[San Luca, 10:38 AM, August 30th, 20XX] The television flashed unrelentingly, casting an abrasive glare over the otherwise inky darkness of the apartment. Tightly drawn curtains blocked out any hints of the time outside of the barricaded suite. Dust streamed through the ever-flickering beam produced by daytime infomercials, much more rapid and intense than befitted the junk on display. A figure moved, the sudden jerks muffled within the cushions of a long-abused sofa. Something had caused the sole human in the space to stir, and a soft scuttling revealed an arthropod invader, one desperate to escape beneath the cover of one of many monoliths of paper and folders. Lightning fast fingers snatched the roach, mercilessly holding it between thumb and forefinger as its legs moved with cartoon freneticism, pressing upon its exoskeleton with just enough pressure to feel the extent of its ribbed, segmented abdomen, giving another squeeze as its wings flickered to futile life. It was an almost intimate experience, having company after all this time. A sickly smile passed over the face of the human relic, one that died before it even reached the corners of the mouth. A program roared to life across the screen, accompanied by tinny music that sounded strangled through outdated stereo equipment. A breaking news story, not that the likes of which surprised residents of the city any longer. There had been one almost every day a few months back. Closer to a year back, hourly updates of horror-stricken faces marked the phases of an average day. Things were better now, though. Breaking news meant a sex scandal, or a natural gas explosion, or child pornography busts. The piles of bodies were done with. The figure's eyes narrowed, catching a glimpse of a familiar name. Kahuna. Alternately, the Great Kahuna or the Big Kahuna. He had gone through many changes at the behest of his publicist, with modifiers coming and going like women to the mayor's bedside. But the news wasn't using his cape name. They were calling him Otto Ahone. This wasn't a crisis so much as an obituary. Words blurred into a steady stream of noise and syllabic interference. The roach wiggled violently once more, snapping its captor back to attention. "Ahone, a relatively new member of the prestigious Aegis, was found dead just this afternoon. An autopsy has yet to be performed, but eyewitnesses claim to have seen strange scorch marks near the corpse. As Kahuna, the hero had the ability to shield himself from tremendous amounts of damage, so more information will be needed before cause of death can be determined," the woman was Asian, wearing a dour expression, and her hand quickly flew to her ear to accept incoming facts from her production crew. She was a daytime newscaster, one the night owl was wholly unfamiliar with. A few moments of agonizing silence passed as her expression waned from dutifully impassive to weak with terror. The hand fell limp from the device in her ear, and with color rapidly falling from her face, despite layers of makeup and rosy studio lights, she uttered, "The Aegis themselves have just confirmed expert opinion that the attack was shroud-related. We will keep you updated as the story unfolds." It had been a year and two months since a wave of shambling zombies, heroes and villains alike that had lost their minds to their powers, had carved bloody tracks through the streets. If the cycle was continuing, there were even fewer now to fight back. The public would be in an uproar by noon. Light flickered from the onlooker's fist, engulfing both fingers and insect in a pale glow, crackling like electricity, but duller than any natural illumination. In fact, it seemed almost to dull the surrounding air, sapping from the surroundings to cast an eerie sheen. The roach hissed, struggling once more as it fought the strange conditions around it. More flickering soon caused the bug to expand, quickly and violently, then burst. Entrails that seemed far too complex for such a simple creature stained the hand that had captured it, the blood sizzling under the strange heat that had caused its demise. The newscast faded from the television, and all light and color seemed to fade from the dim room. Everything was being sucked into the void that slowly traversed the length past a thick wrist and vein-laced forearm. Grunting, the lone resident shook the glow away, banishing the creeping menace to a spot deep within. Speaking with a gruff voice, one that had seldom been used in years, came a tumble of heavily accented words, "The fuck are we going to do now?"