Christopher Arthur III
Chris sat at his desk while he peered over the small amount of evidence he had on the Hounds of Humanity. He started with metahuman traffickers, whom he and Slipstream, a new speedster on the west coast, had booked the night before. This incident occurred prior to the big world-wide broadcast that the Hounds used to reveal themselves. The first lead in this case was the white van that the Hounds were using to traffic the metahumans. However, the Hounds were at least smart enough not to register under their name. In fact, the plates on the vehicle revealed that it belonged to a local utilities repair company and had been reported stolen a few months ago.
Inquiry into both the victims and the perpetrators was equally fruitless. The metahumans who were being trafficked were high-risk victims since their “powers” made it difficult for them to blend into the rest of society, unlike some of the current heroes, like Icon and Lyger, who looked nearly identical to a regular person, or like the Albany kids, who can fake a normal appearance with technology. It was also taking some time to dig up dirt on the Hounds involved. He would have to wait for the Tri-P Police to conclude their initial investigation until Chris could work more on this angle.
The Hound’s worldwide broadcast was equally frustrating. Tracing the video back to its source had been just a wild goose chase. The signal bounced from server to server, country to country until it was evident that discovering where it was broadcasted was hopeless. He even tried using what he learned from Doctor Diplodoc’s broadcast when he announced his intent on bestowing metahuman powers upon the entire human race. But even this did not produce any results.
Other than S.T.R.I.K.E., the other targets that the Hounds more or less burned to the ground did not seem like relevant targets for the Hounds. The little S.T.R.I.K.E. intelligence that he could scrape up from the organization’s ashes did not shed any light on why these establishments were targets, although that did not mean Chris’ former business partners were not privy to the true dealings of those organizations, since there were secrets that S.T.R.I.K.E. even withheld from Chris’ knowledge. All Chris could do it make a wild guess that they must had some connection to the superhuman community.
Chris took one last swig of his whiskey before turning in for the night. The one thing that was biting him was the fact that he really had no solids leads on the Hounds. The only way he could advance his search for them was by the Hounds committing another atrocity, which meant more innocent lives would die. What pained his heart even more was that he was powerless at the moment to stop it.
While Chris was ascending the main flight of stairs in his mansion, he noticed that his half-sister was still watching television.
“If you’re still up when I’m heading to bed, that means it’s way too late.”
“But it’s not a school night!” Veronica pouted as she remained firmly planted on the couch.
“I’m fine with you staying up a bit later, but it’s ridiculous when it’s past four in the morning.”
“Fine,” Veronica whimpered while she dragged herself off the couch and up to bed. When she reluctantly passed Chris while making her way to her room, Chris noticed that she was not wearing her power nullifier. While her teenage rebellious nature to act contrary to what she’s told was not breaking news to Chris, he was stumped on why she still had her human appearance without wearing her power nullifier.
“Where’s your power nullifier?”
“Um…what?” Veronica asked with her usual teenage attitude.
“After last night, I’m not in the mood for your little games. I’m talking about the device I reverse engineered to hide your metahuman powers.”
“I think you better see a doctor for a concussion. I’ve never had superpowers, let along being a superhero.”
Veronica then turned and continued to her bedroom. Chris, on the other hand, remained on the stair case. Chris knew he was not going insane. He was in West Virginia where he saw Veronica’s serpentine abilities manifest. At first, he wondered if she had had some help curing herself of her metahuman condition. However, Chris knew that this could not be the case. Her snakelike abilities gave her one more outlet for acting like a rebellious teenager. And now that S.T.R.I.K.E. was more or less defunct, she would have even more license to be lax about her metahuman status.
Something strange was going on. First it was William Kovacs, who had called himself the Game Genie. He had no clue who the majority of the publicly known heroes were, except for maybe Icon. He also continued on about wanting to face a superhuman who went by the alias the Blue Blur. However, when Chris checked the database that he salvaged from the S.T.R.I.K.E. servers moments before Hounds blasted the spy organization to kingdom come, he could not find any recorded individual by that handle. Then, last night there was Newton, who was convinced that his family had blinked out of existence. And now, his own sister showed no signs of being a metahuman.
The last thing I need is another mystery to investigate. Chris thought as he once again headed to his bedroom. On top of the terrorist attacks instigated by the Hounds of Humanity, he also needed to look into the prison break that allowed Doctor Diplodoc and his associates waltz out of a S.T.R.I.K.E. containment facility. He was just fortunate that only the villains who had allied with the doctor escaped. All the rest of the prisoners were accounted for. After the Hounds had dismantled S.T.R.I.K.E., the United States government took the initiative to seize the facility to prevent any more villains from finding their way out. At least this would allow Chris to look in a few leads in both the Hounds and whatever was going on with the Game Genie, Newton, and his sister.
Chris was going to have many sleepless nights over the next few weeks and, unfortunately for Chris, none of them would be caused by Maya.