Tsukauchi Naomasa had seen a lot of things over his career as a detective. He had had a lot of victories, and he has sat in his office many nights thinking of the “what-ifs” that came with defeats. But if there was one thing that Tsukauchi was always good at, it was interrogations. He supposed it came with the quirk.
That had to be the reasoning behind calling him in at a quarter past one in the morning to interrogate people on his day off. If not, then a lot of officers would be owing him some coffee. And from the looks of it, the pro hero sitting across from his desk would need a cut of the profit.
“Explain it to me one last time, Eraserhead,” Tsukauchi said, finally turning to look at the man head on. “From the moment you saw them, to the moment you stepped into the precinct.”
“I was on top of the Yamamoto Printing Company when I heard a scream,” Eraserhead started. “By the time I got there, there were four people in the alleyway: A man, mid-30s, heavier build, passed out; A woman, early-to-mid-20s, slender build, shaken but standing and looking at the man; and two suspects, gender and age unknown, both had stocky-builds, with the only difference being their masks. They completely covered their faces, but one was a light green and the other was a light purple.
“I called for backup and restrained the two suspects, unsure if they were the ones attacking the man and woman, or if they protected the woman from the man. The purple one struggled at first, but gave up when the green one didn’t fight. The woman confirmed that the two knocked the man out, but that he had been about to attack her. When the cars arrived we arrested the two in the masks, as well as the man, who had been starting to wake up.”
Tsukauchi took a deep breath, comparing the information Eraser had just provided to the file Sansa had handed him on his way to his office earlier. Logging into his computer, Tsukauchi connected himself to the cameras set up in the interrogation rooms, the two suspects being kept in separate areas to lessen the chances of them working together.
“Somehow, you found the Pantheon.”
“The what?” Eraser asked, raising an eyebrow. Tsukauchi passed him the file.
“The Pantheon. A vigilante organization, active for over two years, with an estimated count of 13-20 members. The only reason we know their name is because of criminals being arrested and blaming the Pantheon for double-crossing them. They seemed to have modelled themselves after the Greek gods, hence the name.” Tsukauchi stared at the cameras again, absorbing as many details as he could of the two. “The green one answers to the name Hermes, although I don’t think we have anything on the purple one.” Eraserhead grunted.
“So what does that mean? They got sloppy?”
“That doesn’t sound like them though. Active for all this time, and to suddenly give up when apprehended? Something isn’t right.” Suddenly, the purple one shifted.
“Uh, Hermes? Did they take your mask off by any chance?” Tsukauchi and Eraser both looked at the computer screen, confused. They were in two separate interrogation rooms, separated by layers of concrete and half of a police force. There would be no way for Hermes to be able to hear th—
“Nope,” Hermes replied, voice chipper considering they were currently handcuffed to a table. “They wouldn’t be able to take them off without our consent either way. Don’t sweat it Hades.”
“Right,” the purple one, Hades apparently, drawled. “You wouldn’t happen to have a clock anywhere near you, would you? All I got is a barred window and some cinder blocks.”
“Ummm yes! It’s kind of in my peripheral, but I can see it. Why? Did you have somewhere to be?”
“Hermes,” Hades sighed, shaking their head as if their accomplice could see them. “We both have somewhere to be. At one. What time is it?” Hermes froze as they appeared to read the clock.
“Fuck,” Hades mumbled, quiet enough the camera almost didn’t pick it up.
“Where the hell would they be supposed to be? A raid?” Eraser asked, looking at the screen with more interest than the detective would’ve expected.
“At this point, we would have already heard of it,” the detective said, shaking his head. “But I don’t know where else they would have needed to be. And the way they said it. It’s clear that they were both needed, but I couldn’t tell you what for.” The two men watched as both vigilantes suddenly froze. Hades coughed quietly.
“So Hermes,” they started, “What do you think Ares will say when he hears we’ve been arrested?” The two paused again, as if listening to something. Hermes looked even more uncomfortable in his seat.
“W-well, I think he’d be angry. The others probably will be too.”
“Speaking of which, do you happen to know where we are? I didn’t get a good enough look at the sign, I was too busy listening to that guy complaining about our ‘weird fuckin’ vigilante masks.’”
“Uhm well, before Eraserhead saw us, we were in that alley near Hokkaido Street, so based on the locations of the different precincts, I would say we’re at the station on Third Street.” Again, he tilted his head, as if listening to a voice that wasn’t there.
‘What are you up to?’ Tsukauchi thought.
“Either way,” Hermes continued, “It’s not like we did anything wrong tonight! We were just walking home and saw that woman in the alley with that guy. He swung at us! What we did was self-defense!” Hades shook his head, seeming to laugh at his companion.
“Oh yeah, we’re completely innocent. And my mask is yellow. So do you have a swanky window, or did I trade a clock for my window privileges?”
“No! No, I have a window. It’s barred up though, I don’t think I could jump out of it…”
“You know what Hermes, I don’t think they want you to.” The two chuckled at themselves before going silent again. They shifted around in their seats, tugging at the cuffs for the first time since they had been separated.
“Hey Hermes?” Hades called out.
“Wanna hear the magic word?” The magic word? What the hell are they talking about? Hermes seemed to stifle a laugh.
“Sure buddy, what’s the magic word?” Hades turned his head directly to the camera. Did they know they were being recorded?
“Ka-chow.” Suddenly, the precinct was thrown into darkness.
Eraser shot to his feet and was out the door before Tsukauchi had time to find a flashlight. Tsukauchi stumbled after him, towards the two rooms the suspects were being held in.
When the power is cut, the doors automatically deadbolt, which can then only be opened by shift-commanders.
By the time he had crossed the precinct, most of the on-duty officers were nearing the interrogation rooms. Tsukauchi shouldered his way to the front of the pack to stare through the one way glass, where an emergency light had kicked on in one of the rooms. If he were remembering correctly, it was where Hermes was being held.
It was empty.
Both rooms were empty.
As the power kicked on a minute later, Tsukauchi made his way back to his office as Eraserhead exited the station, potentially to look and see if he could catch a glimpse of the vigilantes again.
Tsukauchi Naomasa had seen a lot of things over his career as lead detective. He would like to think he was pretty knowledgeable about the different crimes and criminals of Mustafu’s underbelly.
It was sitting in his office, at nearing two in the morning, in desperate need of caffeine or sleep, that Tsukauchi Naomasa came to his newest conclusion:
The Pantheon was no ordinary group of vigilantes.