No one knew that the new mayor was a supervillain until the day he lost his temper with his secretary and tried to force-choke her from across the room.
But then, no one knew that the mayor's secretary was a supervillain until the mayor tried to force-choke her. The resulting battle lasted for six hours and destroyed the court house, as well as much of the surrounding area.
That was the first outbreak, and soon it became clear that the phenomena was not restricted to one city alone. An epidemic had broken out all over the world and was quickly becoming uncontrollable. Many victims sought out medical advice, but there was little conventional doctors could do. Symptoms included superhuman abilities, mental deterioration, and strong inclination towards violence and chaos.
During the first two weeks of the outbreak, reactions from the ordinary inhabitants of the planet spanned from disbelief to panic. Once it had been unalterably established that supervillains did exist and were taking over the world, the panic changed to a kind of incessant demand that someone do something about the problem. No one knew what to do and so, as a general rule, nothing was done.
There was no way to cure the supervillains, no way to contain them, and rarely was there any way to kill them. The initial reaction of the public was to scream for a superhero. Many tried to oblige, but none were successful. Those with superpowers either went insane or succumbed to the dark side. Those without were ineffective. Scientists worked with medical practitioners to try to artificially create superpowers without the unwanted side effects, but their attempts were disastrous. Some of the worst villains came out of laboratories, although most of the experiments resulted in horrible deaths for the would-be superhero volunteers.
At last the population of planet Earth simply gave up. They settled down to live their lives, making minor adjustments to accommodate their superhuman neighbors, and hoping the phenomena would die out eventually and the world would go back to normal.
Those lucky few who were fortunate enough not to be affected by the supervillains flaunted their good fortune and laughed at the rest of the world. One of the most notable villain-free zones was London, England. They declared that the peacefulness of their streets was a sign that they were indeed the greatest city in the world.
However, not everyone was as grateful for London's reprieve as they should have been. In fact, for the editor of the London Star, the lack of supervillains was an intolerable situation. The London Star was a tabloid paper specializing in stories of the paranormal and supernatural, and what could be more of both than supervillains?
Mr. Stephen Hendrick, known to his friends as Steve, was fifty-six years of age and should have, in his opinion, retired six years ago. He hated newspapers almost as much as he loved them. He despised people. He believed in nothing. His personal opinion of the world was that the entire thing was a giant hoax. He delighted in telling the biggest and most elaborate lies to his audience to see how many believed them, thus proving how gullible most people were. Anything remotely plausible was never printed in his paper.
He had a face that could be described as red and jovial, without the jovial. He was short and round and wrinkled – somewhat like a slug. When he wasn't shouting at his employees he was shouting at his friends, his wife, inanimate objects, or at total strangers. At the moment, he was trying to explain the situation, very patiently, to one of his lead reporters who simply failed to see the point.
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