“Kai Chisaki. Has the facility been treating you well?”
Typically, the villains Tsukauchi interrogated were bound and cuffed. But armless, allyless, and effectively quirkless, this particular villain was no longer much of a threat.
“Cut to the chase, detective,” Chisaki said flatly. “You’re not here to inquire after my wellbeing.” He was dressed in the standard gray prisoner’s uniform, the sleeves hanging limply at his sides. Despite everything, he sat with his back straight and his head level.
Tsukauchi frowned. “The guards tell me you’ve been very cooperative so far. I’d like for you to extend that spirit of cooperation to this conversation today.”
Chisaki stared at him, his eyes flat and unmoved.
“Let me start by recounting the known list of your crimes,” Tsukauchi said, glancing down to Chisaki’s files on the clipboard in his hand. “Illegal quirk usage, homicide, assault, production and attempted sale of quirk-altering drugs, and kidnapping. You used your quirk to place the boss of the Eight Precepts in a coma and take leadership. Afterwards, you kept his granddaughter in captivity and used her blood to conduct research towards creating a ‘quirk-destroying’ drug. You have, on multiple counts, murdered rival yakuza, drug traffickers, petty criminals, uninvolved witnesses, and even your own men.” He looked up. “Was any part of that false?”
“All true,” Chisaki said, a disturbing flippancy to his admittance of his capital crimes. “You’ve done your research, haven’t you?” His eyes flashed. “Tell me, which of my followers were the ones to run their mouths?”
Tsukauchi made a note on his clipboard. “Sorry, but asking questions is my job, not yours.” He scanned Chisaki’s file again. “Now. The quirk-destroying drug that you manufactured. Do any more exist—finished, unfinished, or otherwise—other than the four that are currently in the possession of the League of Villains?”
The temperature in the room seemed to drop as Chisaki pinned Tsukauchi with those unnervingly golden eyes. “Assuming you’ve destroyed everything in my base,” he said, “then no.”
“Then, did you have any other labs other than the one in the sub-basement of the Eight Precepts’ complex?”
“No.” Chisaki’s voice was cold.
Tsukauchi nodded, noting that as of yet he still hadn’t sensed any lies. Inwardly, he wanted to let out a sigh of relief that Chisaki was being so compliant. Most big-shot villains tended not to take imprisonment and interrogation so well; that Chisaki had so far been completely honest was a pleasant surprise, especially as the swirling chaos of the raid’s aftermath hadn’t allowed Tsukauchi a single moment thus far to catch his breath.
“I’m told you also have an antidote for the drug. Was there any of it remaining in your hideout?”
“No.” Chisaki’s eyes tightened. “The League of Villains took everything.”
Tsukauchi looked at the former yakuza leader, with his amputated arms and dead stare, and couldn’t help but agree.
“You’ve been in direct contact with the League,” he said instead, moving on to the most important topic of today’s session. “When did you first meet them?”
“Bubaigawara Jin approached me a month ago. He invited me to a meeting with Shigaraki Tomura in an old warehouse, one which I believe your hero agencies have already located and scouted.”
Tsukauchi nodded. “I see. And why did they ally themselves with the yakuza?”
“Ally themselves?” Chisaki tilted his head, the harsh lighting of the room casting sharp shadows on his face. “I wouldn’t describe their intentions as having been those of an ally.”
“Maybe not,” Tsukauchi agreed, eyeing Chisaki’s empty sleeves again. “But you understand what I’m trying to say. The police and I would like to know as much as possible about the League of Villains, to better our chances of taking them down. Currently, you’re one of our greatest sources of intel. And you want to see the League defeated, don’t you?”
There was a short pause.
Chisaki smiled. “Of course. I would be happy to tell you everything I know.”
Overhaul loathed this place.
He hated how filthy it was. It was like he was a child, living on the streets again—the disgusting meals, the foul clothes, the grimy cells, the unsanitariness of it all, down to the very air he was forced to breathe.
He hated that they called him “Chisaki”, a name he had abandoned long ago. He had discarded that name the moment he had made the choice of placing the boss under a coma and taking control of the Eight Precepts, overhauling it in his own image. Chisaki was a follower. Overhaul was a leader.
He hated how hypocritical the heroes and police were. When they had found him in the smoke and ashes of the highway wreckage, Overhaul had seen the hints of relief and gratification that flickered behind their horror. They were glad, he knew, that a quirk as dangerous as his was had been neutralized. Secretly happy, that he had received a taste of his own medicine.
Overhaul loathed every last one of those heroes, who delighted in the fact that he could no longer use his quirk. The very existence of his quirk-destroying bullets was treated as the most vile of crimes on his part, a crime against humanity itself—and yet the destruction of a villain’s quirk was simply karma, fair game.
His cell was small and cramped, but Overhaul still paced around in it as much as he could. There was nothing else he could do to distract himself while he stewed in his thoughts. And he needed to adjust to maintaining balance with the thin, prosthetic hand attached to his right arm. At least the police had acquiesced that that much was necessary, given that Overhaul could hardly be expected to function on his own without any upper-body limbs at all.
The sound of approaching footsteps brought him out of his reflections. He straightened, turning to the bars of the cell. It was night; dinner had already been served. But he nevertheless watched as the outline of a guard’s uniform appeared before him, stepping right up to the cell bars.
Overhaul frowned. There was something bulky about the guard’s face, almost as if—
Shigaraki took the hand off his face and grinned, the small sliver of moonlight from Overhaul’s cell window illuminating his cracked face. “That’s a nice metal arm you’ve got there, Chisaki.”
Overhaul stared at him, rooted in place. His jaw tightened. “Come to gloat?”
“Of course,” Shigaraki said, grin stretching grotesquely across scarred lips. “Is this really where you’re being held? It was way too easy to get in.” His grin widened impossibly further. “They must not think very highly of you, huh, Chisaki?”
Overhaul gritted his teeth. He could shout for the guards to come, but it was just as likely that they were all dead. On top of that, Shigaraki wasn’t going to leave until it suited him, and nothing Overhaul said would be able to change that.
“You know, you didn’t make for a very good sidequest.” Shigaraki reached into his jacket. “I mean, all I got out of it were some useless bullets. And this.”
He dangled a severed hand through the bars.
Overhaul inhaled a sharp breath. “That’s—”
“A worthless lump of meat,” Shigaraki said. “Oh, sorry, I meant to say ‘your hand’.” He waved it at Overhaul, and a gleeful laugh broke through his lips. His eyes were maniacally wide. “You’re waving at yourself! Isn’t that funny? Isn’t it hilarious, Chisaki?!”
Fury simmered at the back of Overhaul’s mind. He pushed it down. “You act like a child,” he said, clipping his words.
Shigaraki’s grin faded. His eyes narrowed. “Do you think I care?” he said roughly. “I’ve won. I’ll do what I want.” He twirled Overhaul’s hand in lazy circles. “Besides, you should be nicer to someone offering you a gift.”
Overhaul’s own eyes narrowed in turn. He eyed his severed hand, then shifted his gaze to Shigaraki. “What are you implying?”
“Stupid, aren’t you? What does it look like I’m implying?” Shigaraki wiggled Overhaul’s hand, holding it by the wrist with three dry, cracked fingers. “Come on, you can take it.”
He paused. His red eyes glittered in the dark, bright and taunting. “What’s wrong? Don’t want it back?”
“I don’t want any part in your juvenile games.”
“Ah, what a shame,” Shigaraki murmured through a dark smile. “Well, since you don’t want it… and I don’t want it… I guess it’s garbage, isn’t it?” A fourth finger closed down on the hand.
Overhaul’s stomach twisted. “No,” he said sharply.
Shigaraki grinned. “What’s the matter? Your face looks pale, Chisaki. Need a hand?” He laughed at his own joke, his eyes wild as he stared at Overhaul.
Overhaul strode forwards.
And Shigaraki closed a fifth finger down, his eyes alight with gleeful malice.
Overhaul’s hand burst into crumbling flakes.
Overhaul hissed, swinging a punch at Shigaraki’s face with his metal arm. Shigaraki didn’t move out of the way, letting it connect. He kept grinning, not bothered in the slightest.
“Looks like you’ve got nowhere to go now, Chisaki Kai,” he whispered in a sing-song voice. “Checkmate.”
And the clone in front of Overhaul melted into the ground.
For a moment, Overhaul stood frozen. Then he closed his eyes, taking a calming breath.
He spoke out into the empty silence of his cell.
“Your illness,” he said slowly, “will be cured.”
“Transfer Chisaki Kai to Tartarus? Isn’t that a bit overkill, Tsukauchi?”
“He’s a major villain, sir. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“Ha! He’s no major villain anymore, not with those stubs for arms. I say we keep him on the mainland. Carting you off to Tartarus and back every day for your investigation will be a pain in the ass. We need you here for other duties! Can’t be wasting time on commute.”
“Still, he’s shown to be clever and unpredictable. He might be a dangerous influence in a regular prison.”
“By all accounts, he’s been docile as a lamb. Just another yakuza pretty boy. A quirkless yakuza pretty boy. What’s he gonna do without arms? And you know Tartarus is crammed to the brim as it is.”
“No, no, no, no buts. Chisaki’s going to a mainland prison. Somewhere close. Kakogawa, maybe. Or Osaka. That’s my final decision.”
“…If you really think that’s for the best…”
“Oh, show a little trust, Tsukauchi! Come on, what’s the worst that could happen?”
They had him transferred to Kakogawa Prison. It was almost an insult—this was the type of place where Overhaul’s expendables came from, and now he was here, too?
Then again, this had been exactly what he wanted.
“‘Ey, One Arm, what’re you in here for? You don’t look the type to get in someplace this bad.”
Overhaul inclined his head. “Drug trafficking.”
Today’s lunch was instant noodles and an unidentifiable meat. Revolting. Today’s inmates that Overhaul had decided to join were a tanuki-headed man, “Coon”, a lanky, sandy-haired man, “Eli”, and a short, bespectacled man, “Four”.
Eli’s eyes were wide. “Whoa. Must’ve been some serious drugs.”
“I suppose they were,” Overhaul said, swirling his noodles. He gazed at the three inmates. “If you don’t mind me asking, what are your quirks? I’m always curious about them, you see.”
“Oh, you a quirk hobbyist?” Four asked.
Overhaul raised an eyebrow. “In a manner of speaking… yes.”
Coon gave a booming laugh. “Well, I think it’s clear what my quirk is! Just a good ol’ mutation. It’s why they call me Coon, of course.”
“I can sense people’s moods if I touch them,” Four said. “It’s not much, but I can show you, if you like.” He reached a hand out across the table.
Overhaul jerked back. “Don’t touch me,” he hissed, pinpricks of sweat breaking out on his forehead.
Four, Coon, and Eli stared at him. Slowly, Four retracted his hand.
Overhaul exhaled, closing his eyes. “Apologies.”
When he didn’t elaborate further, Eli spoke up from beside him. “Well, uh, I heal super fast,” he offered awkwardly.
Overhaul’s eyes opened. He fixated them on Eli. “Really,” he said. “How fast?”
Eli paused. “Er, my finger was cut clean off once, but I stuck it back on and it was back to normal in about half a minute.” He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “Sort of useless in day-to-day life, though.”
“Fascinating.” Overhaul allowed for an amicable smile to slip out onto his face, his irritated mood from earlier gone.
“What a useful quirk to have.”
There were a few simple truths that Overhaul had discovered over his years on the street and in the yakuza. They were nothing ground-breaking, nothing earth-shattering—but they were true, and reliable, and made for a fine guide in moments of crucial decision-making.
(The first truth: One couldn’t get anywhere without taking a few risks.)
The small, gray, contraband razor blade camouflaged nicely within his metal hand.
Overhaul didn’t touch his meal that day. Instead, he watched the other inmates, and the moment a fight broke out—as it always did at least once during mealtimes—he took action.
“Eli, could you come with me for a moment?”
Eli cocked his head, confused. “What is it?” He glanced back at the fight, watching the guards rush in to hold back the two miscreants that both seemed to have some form of mild strength-enhancing quirk. A crowd was quickly forming around the commotion, cheering and jeering ringing loud and distasteful in Overhaul’s ears.
Overhaul stood up. “It will only be for a second,” he said smoothly. He walked over to the corner opposite from where the fight was taking place. Eli followed him, looking puzzled.
“What’s that?” Overhaul asked, frowning at something behind Eli.
Eli turned around. “Huh?”
Overhaul punched him behind the ear, and Eli crashed to the ground, unconscious.
(The second truth: The most effective course of action was almost always the most unpleasant one.)
Overhaul gritted his teeth, sweat already beginning to break out on his forehead as he knelt down next to the unconscious body. With the razor blade grasp tight in his hand, he jabbed it into the crook of Eli’s elbow.
The first cut was shallow. Too shallow. Even so, the spread of glistening red made Overhaul’s stomach turn. He took a shuddering breath.
This was the only way.
He stabbed the razor deep this time, then again, and again, despite his mind screaming at him to stop and the rolling waves of nausea that rose up in him. Time was limited; extremely limited. It was likely seconds before someone noticed. He couldn’t afford to hesitate, not even for a heartbeat.
With a clack, Overhaul’s razor made contact with the concrete flooring. His head felt light; his heart pounded. Blood, unclean blood, was everywhere—soaked through clothing that clung wetly to him like a leech, the filth seeping into his skin—
But the arm was severed.
It was already starting to heal itself, the rougher-cut areas with dangling strips of muscle and skin beginning to sew themselves back together. Overhaul stared at the utter uncleanliness of it all, his hand shaking. He tried to calm his breathing. He wouldn’t be able to think, let alone act, if he couldn’t even breathe.
“What the—what the fuck’s going on over there?” came a hushed voice from someplace behind him.
This was the only way. He steeled himself.
Not allowing himself anymore time to hesitate, Overhaul raised the contaminated razor and brought it down on the nub of his left arm, slicing the tip straight off.
The pain was excruciating. Extraordinary.
And yet it was no worse than when he had willfully disassembled and assembled himself over and over again in his fight against Midoriya Izuku.
It was bearable, and that was all that mattered.
Sweat rolling down his face, Overhaul shoved the disgusting, severed arm against the tip of his own as well as he could, and prayed—prayed that the cut had been deep enough, that Eli’s quirk would cooperate with foreign flesh, that the nerve endings hadn’t been completely destroyed.
He heard more shouts and whispers as other prisoners began to notice the two bloody figures in the corner of the dining hall. How long had it been? Likely only a few seconds since Overhaul had knocked Eli out, but in the heat of the moment it felt like an eternity.
“Where are the guards?” someone shouted.
Overhaul glanced up. He could see a guard staring at him in horror, but the man didn’t seem overly rushed or panicked as he hurried towards Overhaul—but of course. He had no reason to be; he wasn’t aware of Overhaul’s quirk. Overhaul had been registered here as quirkless, after all.
But temporarily not having access to his quirk did not make him quirkless.
With a grimace, he bent and lowered the macabre patchwork of his and Eli’s arms down, so that the tips of Eli’s fingers touched the concrete. Past the mind-numbing pain, Overhaul could feel the inner tissue twisting, shifting, fusing.
And then, with a sharp twinge from somewhere inside his arm, he could feel the concrete through the tips of Eli’s—no, his—fingers.
A mad grin coloured his face through the sweat.
Concrete, as it so happened, was one of Overhaul’s favourite flooring materials to work with.
The ground of the entire dining hall erupted into a million chunks of floating concrete.
Spikes formed across the entire hall, jutting out of nowhere and piercing guards and prisoners alike. Tables were upturned, food flying, people screaming and running. Overhaul sealed off the exits with walls of concrete.
In the end, they were all sick, and barring Overhaul’s drugs, death was the only other solution.
(Overhaul’s quirk was different. He needed his quirk, needed it to bring the world to enlightenment and to cleanse these people of their disease.)
One by one, the occupants of Kakogawa Prison stopped their screaming and running. It was almost too convenient, that there were no strong quirk users here due to it being only a mid-security facility. Still, Overhaul panted as he surveyed the dining hall to ensure that there was no one left, beads of cold sweat still dotting his skin.
Satisfied, he released his touch on the ground and instead used his newly fused hand to rip his right arm’s prosthetic off. The stabbing pain was immediately followed by a searing one as he reconstructed both of his arms, but in mere seconds it was over.
Overhaul breathed out slowly, flexing his fingers and turning his arms over to inspect them. Pristine. Whole. Clean.
He stood up and walked to a nearby table, where laying in the center was a stack of clean napkins. Overhaul picked it up, watching as it shaped itself into a simple surgical mask. He put it on over his face, and the stark relief it provided was elating—for the first time since he had lost his arms, he felt almost like himself again.
The alarm system was blaring, and he could hear the rumbling of footsteps in the distance, but it hardly mattered—he had his quirk back.
A few expendables wouldn’t be able to take him down.
Next, to retrieve Chrono and Mimic, take his serum and bullets back, and destroy the League of Villains.
Overhaul stepped around the impaled bodies and walked up to the edge of the dining hall. He placed one hand on the wall, and with his other hand wiped the sweat from his forehead. A wild smile danced on his lips as he heard the footsteps grow louder.
Shigaraki should have killed him when he had the chance.
(The third truth: In the end, Overhaul always won.)