IC: Saracen Rune - Makuhero City, Apartment.
He stared at the charger cable for a long time, pondering. It would be so, so easy to simply let it drop, wait for his already-low core to drain completely. He'd slip into sleep mode to conserve power... and never wake up. He had very few friends in the factory, he hadn't told anyone where he was living, and his feed was switched off. It would be days before anyone found him. It was a quiet, peaceful way to go. Cleaner than a laser blast to the head, less painful than ripping his own core out of his chest. And this way, when Hero Factory eventually recovered his remains, they could perform a core transfer, and maybe, create a new Saracen.
One who could actually get the job done.
Every day since his return from Mechna, Saracen had been haunted. For 40 years, he'd tried to get it right, to follow the law and give villains the justice they deserved. He'd been wounded, on dozens of occasions. He'd lost teammates, more times than he wanted to remember. But he'd always brought in the bad guys, caught them and cuffed them and carted them off for incarceration.
That was, until Tranquis. That was when it had all started to go downhill for him. Every villain he'd gone up against since then had slipped through his fingers, no matter how much pain and suffering he put himself through to apprehend them. Karter, Dumacc, the Brain Master, Fravi, Arsenal, Traferous, and so many others. They'd either escaped completely, or been caught by some other heroes after Saracen had been beaten and battered into submission. He and another hero had even been willing to let themselves get blown to smithereens to ensure Traferous' destruction, after the monster had reduced Hero Factory to rubble. But Traferous had escaped, survived, then fled... only to die pointlessly in another explosion, elsewhere. A senseless sacrifice, but one that had allowed the wretched creature to escape justice, nonetheless.
And then had come Mechna... Saracen wasn't ready to think about what had happened there. What he'd done. The lows he'd stooped to. He was no hero. Heroes didn't do what he'd done.
He tried to make himself drop the cord, to let it all end. But just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before than, and every slagging day since his return from Mechna, he slumped down in the charging station, and plugged himself in.
IC: Mr Vyle - Makuhero City.
In a very different apartment, a very different person was going through a very different crisis of faith.
For the first time in over a decade, Mr Vyle had no idea what to do.
His plan hadn't been perfect, to be sure. The villains hadn't been willing to cooperate; they'd bickered and bumbled and tripped over each other in their efforts to be the best. But the plan had worked. Thanks to a group of extremely resourceful, extremely powerful villains working in unison, Hero Factory had been reduced to rubble and ashes, hundreds of its soldiers and employees slaughtered. And yet, like some kind of unholy, implacable phoenix, that abominable factory had risen again from those ashes, a new H symbol of dictatorship adorning the side of its new tower of tyranny.
He stared out the window, fingers tightening around the head of his cane. What will it take to destroy you?