K-9 had made his way from the Anders building to the Theatre District by way of back alley, storm sewer and subway tunnel. Even Abaddon would have had a difficult time following him, he was sure. The farther he got from Force Ops, the more independent he felt. Instead of intentionally deadening his ultra-keen senses, so as not to intrude on another pack members privacy, he expanded his acute perceptions. It was almost like being born again, or being freed from prison. He was once again the apex predator, stalking his territory. The sheer excitement of it almost had him howling. Almost.
He did not make anoise though, for his home was beset by discontent and fear. The street urchins were disappearing at an even faster rate. He spotted the Future-eye-man skirting the periphery of his domain several times. There was an uneasy truce between those heroes who patrolled the back alleys and twisted paths of Freedom City's seemier sides. In general they stayed out of one anothers' way. Future-eye-man avoided the Silent sniper, who avoided the black carrion bird woman, who avoided Dovetail, who avoided him while they plyed their singular pursuits. He, in turn avoided them out of territorial respect. The very presence of the Future-eye-man at the edges of his territory meant things were worse than he had thought they might be.
His first stop was the abandoned mechanics shop the dead man had claimed for his own. K-9 was not worried about the dead man trying to take over his territory, the dead man was too deeply immersed in the shadow world of things that were real, yet not. That was Utu's world, not K-9's and K-9 left the dead man to it, unless something from that world made the mistake of crawling over into the real world. Unfortunately, the dead man's home was empty. From the faded, dried blood on the dead man's last meal, K-9 ventured he had not been in his lair for several days. There were other ways to find information on the street though.
Passing Fontana's on his way through, he had a fleeting desire to stop and visit Tony, but, he was here on business. As he moved through the litter strewn streets, he could practically smell the desperation and fear in the air. Arriving at Sister Agnes' shelter, he found it packed. those that couldn't fit within, were camped around with large drums filled with burning trash spaced every twenty to thirty feet. The air was thick with anxiety. Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, he gained access to the shelter from above. Surprisingly, there were guards here too. Street kids armed with bats and chains and knives, trying to project an aura of confidence. Their bravado could not fool K-9's nose. They were terrified.
He growled as he landed on the roof. "K-9 is here to see the Sister."
Backing away, the teens and toughs never took their eyes off of him. In the moonlight, their skin glistened and he could smell the acrid stink of their sweat. Stalking past them, the canine crusader, made his way down to the sisters' office in the shelter to find a peculiar sight...Sister Agnes rendering medical treatment to a man. A growl slipped from his throat as he recognized the collapsed on the sister's couch.
"What means this sister?"
K-9 gravelly voice broke the silence.
"He was injured defending the homeless, my child."
The nun said, not even turning to look at K-9 as she continued her ministrations.
K-9 then noticed the heavily tattoed youths' eyes flutter open. He coughed, a wet gurgling cough, then flipped K-9 off. "Nice o' you to drop the neighborhood homes."
K-9 assessed the damage to the brown haired criminal and shook his head. The man looked very much as if he'd been in combat with K-9...if K-9 were to act without restraint. "Maggot tell K-9 what Maggot knows."
"That ain't much homes. We went out....huch...huch...lookin' to do yer job. My posse split up to cover more ground. *huch, nng, ouch that effinhurts* It got the drop on us. Never saw it comin'. Sunset. Petey. Crooked Willie. They all gone. Bastard almost got me too, but, I lit it up with my fireworks. It tore me up pretty good...but...I saved a present for you."
Reaching into the pocket of his shredded jeans, he pulled out a wad of sticky fibers. K-9 examined them and frowned. It was tangly-rope-stuff like Dovetail or black-carrion-bird-woman used. Taking it, he stuffed it into his bandolier. He would have to take it back for Liz or La Rana to do science on.
"Maggot see assailant?"
"Naw, lawdog...I wuz too fu....messed up. That hobo what dragged me here said it wuz kinda like you...y'know, a man-beast, but, maybe like a tarantula."
When the thug mentioned that, the vague recollection of an unfamiliar spoor he'd smelled suddenly came rushing back. A many legged thing like him? To K-9 it sounded very dangerous. "That sound bad. Sister Agnes...you put out word, everyone who can to be off streets at night. this very bad thing K-9 hunts."
The nun sighed and lay her steady hand on the injured villain. "It is worse than that my child. Tell him the rest Terry."
The gang banger looked like he would've liked to argue, but, the pain was giving the sister the edge.
"Verman is out there still."
K-9 practically roared, his fur bristling.
"Sorry homes. He's been runnin' wit my posse an he said he could find this thing and stop it."
K-9 was quivering with rage. Verman. The rat-man's involvement just made this situation that much more dangerous. The bestial hero would need back up...and with the dead man missing, he knew of only one place to get it.
"K-9 returns soon. Brings more help. Not worry sister, K-9 stop this...monster. K-9 stop Verman too."
His evidence safely tucked away, K-9 bolted from the shelter and disappeared into the night. This was not Force-Ops business, but, he had to recruit one of his allies to help him. Most of the prospects were grim, since the underbelly of the city existed with its' own rules and many of his allies would be ignorant of them. Still, he was not without options...and he intended to explore those options fully.
"It party now."
He growled to himself as he loped along. "Regular monster mash."
OOC: Well it's finally up. I hope it was worth the wait.