"Heroes are investigating what appears to be a new villain on the rise. The villain was spotted at the scene of the explosion on the 11th floor of..."
"Multiple top government officials and others have been found dead. All evidence points towards a new villain; heroes are still trying to track them down."
"'We're doing everything we can to catch this new threat.' says the Heroes Association as the public becomes unsteady."
"Villain strikes again. The entirety of a building collapsed in on itself, killing all occupants. Heroes gave chase, but lost the trail."
"The Heroes Association is now creating a committee dedicated to the villain responsible for hundreds of deaths. 'We're going to find them, and bring them to justice.' says the committee head."
"Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the appearance of The Heroes Association's #1 villain, often referred to as Super Villain. Super Villain is still at large and is responsible for thousands of deaths across the country. The Association believes they are close to a breakthrough, but public outcry demands more be done."
"Super Villain's, The Heroes Association's #1 villain, hideout is believed to have been discovered..."
"You got it."
Three heroes slowly progress their way through a complex maze of tunnels in what is thought to be the hideout of The Heroes Association's #1 villain, known as Super Villain.
"Gamma squad checking in. Nothing so far."
The hero in the lead talked into a small earpiece. A muffled voice could be heard replying to his check in.
It's been over a year since this villain has appeared. Their targets are thought to be random, as no agency has been able to put together any connections. They appear, murder, and then disappear. They've somehow evaded capture all of this time. This hideout location is the first solid piece of evidence anyone has been able to dig up.
"It doesn't make sense.."
"What are you bitchin' about now?"
"This dude is the #1 villain, right?"
"Oh good, you read the briefing. Proud of you."
"Fuck off. He's the #1. So.. why in the hell are we in the sewers? You would think he would have a mass cult following and tons of cash."
"You have a point there. If this turns out to be valid info, it's kind of sad."
"Quiet, you two."
The hero leading the formation silenced the others, but after a few moments, couldn't help but add in his own two cents.
"This is most likely one of many operating bases, not the villain's actual residence. That explains the location. Easy for them to strike from, hard for us to pinpoint in this mess."
"Ah, good one."
"Yeah, that's gotta be it."
They continued on through the tunnels until they found what appears to be a doorway into a larger area. Silently communicating, they moved into position on either side of the arched opening. They could hear a faint voice talking, but couldn't make out the words. After a moment, they decide to push in.
They holler as they enter the area, then collectively let out sighs of disappointment. The area appears to be a giant circle, with tunnels leading in every direction off of it. In its center, they find what could only be described as a homeless person's belongings. Dirty clothing, newspaper, a ripped up sleeping bag resting on a janky looking raised cot.
"For fuck's sake."
Curses are whispered under their breath as they relax their guard. Homeless people are fairly common in these sewers, so seeing this isn't necessarily out of the ordinary. They look around and don't see anyone, though.
"Whose voice did we hear, then?"
"Thanks again, Paul. It was a great read!"
The heroes snap their attention to their left, where a figure appears out of the tunnel. The figure stops in their tracks once they look forward and see the heroes. A brief pause later, they continue into the room and toward the belongings in the center of the room.
"Heroes? Whatever could you guys need down here in the sewer?"
The three heroes are flabbergasted as they get a clear view of the figure, no, person, who just kicked up their feet lying on the janky cot. None of them can speak. It's not like none of them have ever seen a homeless person before, but the reality of the person in front of them is a lot to process. It does appear to be a homeless person, that's for certain; however, it also appears to be The Heroes' Association's #1 villain, Super Villain.
"Ar..are you...Super Villain?"
One of the heroes chokes out, their face in a state of disbelief.
"Whoa. That crazy villain that I keep seeing on the news?! You think I'm them?! Nah, you're crazy. I'm just a normal person. Well, super poor, normal person."
The heroes all look at each other, faces hard. Sweat can be seen formulating, and dripping down the sides of their faces. Despite the carefree attitude of the one in front of them, they all know the person perfectly matches the description of Super Villain.
"You deny the accusation?"
The lead hero regains some composure and pushes out the question with some authority.
"Absolutely. I'm no one that famous."
"Then... why are you wearing a costume that matches the description of Super Villain?"
The person looks down at themselves, before chuckling a bit.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot this matches their costume, doesn't it? Coincidence. I found this while dumpster diving ages ago. It was in such good condition. A rarity for folks like us who live here."
Looks of question and confusion are exchanged between the heroes, who don't seem to know what to ask next. Is this person just playing dumb, and they are Super Villain? Or are they actually not involved in any way, and it is just a coincidence?
"So you aren't the person responsible for the murder of Congressman Blake?"
The lead hero decides the best way to get a grasp on the situation is to ask a very direct question, and read the answer. He doesn't anticipate the very sudden response along with... laughter?
The person belts out and chuckles loudly.
"Me? Oh heavens, no. I could never murder anyone. What would my mama think of me if I did something like that? No, sir. She would roll over in her grave, for sure."
The lead hero regains their composure after a moment and considers the response. There's no real hint that the person before them is lying. They seem innocent.
"Be that as it may, I'm going to have to ask you to come-"
"We sentenced him to die. Completely different."
A silence fills the room. They don't know which one laughed first, but soon all three heroes and the person are laughing together over the last comment. The laughter is a contagious one, but eventually it dies down.
Another chuckle slips out.
"Good one. You got us there. Ballsy joke, considering the situation. I like you."
The person's smile disappears almost immediately and puzzlement fills their face.
"Joke? I'm serious. We found him guilty, and under our current laws, the penalty for his crime is death. So I carried out the sentence."
The heroes are taken aback by the change in demeanor. Realization starts to settle in, little by little. The person before them just admitted to murder. They exchange glances as their bodies start to stiffen up in preparation for what's to come.
The lead hero makes a movement with his hand for them to spread out and surround the person, who is now sitting upright on the cot, still stern faced.
"The only law, for which I'm aware, where the penalty is death.. is murder. Are you saying the Congressman committed murder?"
"Yes. In fact, it's pretty common knowledge, isn't it?"
"What do you mean?"
"There was a man jailed for some heinous crimes. I'm talking real sketchy shit. Well, he named several people that were in the works with him, which included the congressman. Then, tragically, he died of suicide in a maximum security prison under suicide watch by beating, then strangling, himself to death. Tragic accident."
The heroes pause in their encirclement for a moment to ponder looks at each other. They know of the man in which he speaks, and the connection. It was a big deal when it happened, but the public lost interest in a week or two and no evidence, nor charges, were brought up against the names that were given.
"There was never any eviden-"
"See, that's where you're wrong."
The figure slaps his knee and shakes his head.
"There's plenty of evidence, just no one wants to look at it out of fear they'll suddenly want to commit suicide themselves or, accidentally, fall out a window."
"Even so, you can't judge someone guilty all on your own."
"I didn't, I wasn't on the jury."
"You said you sentenced him!"
"Wrong, I said we did. If formal charges were brought against the man, he would stand trial. So, I brought forth charges, put together a jury, presented evidence, and together, we found him guilty on all charges."
The heroes, now in a triangle formation surrounding the figure, look in utter bewilderment.
"You can't just put together a jury!"
"Isn't that exactly what the court does? And lawyers pick the ones they like? My jury just happened to be unknown people with nothing to lose because they've already lost everything."
"Does that mean.. it's all true? You also killed the Congress Woman, and the others?! And the building you wiped out?!"
"I'd need a more accurate list, but yes we also found a Congress Woman, among others, guilty on similar charges. The trail is really easy to follow, guys, it's not hard. Also, there's so much evidence. It really is just staring everyone in the face."
"And... the building?"
"Quiet! No more questions. We're taking you in!"
"I did take down a building once, that is true. The owner, and all occupants, were running a very elaborate, deep dwelling, human trafficking ring. To be honest, I'm still tracking down all the corners that the web touches. After taking them out, instead of just leaving such a filthy place there, I made sure to demo it to save the taxpayers some cash."
"What.. in the fuck.."
"How.. how many people.. have you.. mur-"
The person corrected, and finished, the question.
"Phew, that's a tough one. We'll have to check the records. We do the best we can, with what we got, to record it all. You're more than welcome to have a look."
"Good. Then we'll have all the evidence we need to take you down!"
"Hm. Technically I'm already down. We are in the sewers below a city."
"And, if by some chance, you meant to arrest me..."
The calm, lighthearted figure stood with an expression that changed the entire mood of the atmosphere. A heavy, dark weight seemed to pour down onto the heroes. Their hearts quickened. A sixth sense told all of them of the danger the person now standing before them.
"... you can certainly try."