A classic tale of evil against... slightly less evil.Villains INC has been one of the most powerful organizations on the globe for about fifty years now, since the mastermind known as the Boss Man came into power. Even when a mutiny overthrew him five years back, and replaced him with Brent, Villains INC has kept going strong. Why? Well, for one, they're made up almost entirely of Supers and other metahumans like vampires and werewolves - not that that gets awkward. While objectivelybeing criminals, they do believe in their ideologynote that society unfairly rejects too many people just because of ideology or preference, and so they seek to provide a haven for all of these people and act as something of a charity organization for superhuman rights. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Villains INC fields one of the strongest armies of any organization currently active, and holds bases and research centers all over the globe.Until, of course, Nemesis shows up.Zealousworshipers of their mysterious 'God', this group seems to hold a grudge against Villains INC, and an even more severe one against Humankind in general. Like an Animal Wrongs Group on steroids, Nemesis is obsessed with the idea that homo sapiens' mere existence is catastrophically - and expeditiously - damaging to the planet earth... and they've come to a bit of a... radical conclusion. Of course, metahumans and other monsters, coincidentally who they happen to be made up of, are fine. Well, at least those that are aligned with Nemesis; they gladly kill superhumans as well, and frequently prove it by openly attacking Villains INC in their bases and facilities. And to make things worse, it seems like Nemesis' antagonism towards Villains INC may be informed by some past connection involving the Boss Man's former Number One who disappeared six years ago in her search for an ancient sentientPower Source...The coming war will determine a 50 year grudge, as well as the fate of the world.A Roleplay set in the Falling World, Nemesis was created by Mephiles666 and Spearofhope, and can be found here: http://www.fanfiction.net/topic/25562/61019048/1/NemesisCharacter page (very much still a work in progress) here.
After the New York mission, White and Kira's injuries need to be taken care of. White has been cut badly across the back, and his healing even includes untested mad science, and ends with him crippled. Kira's stab wound is less severe.
After the King's Creek Mission, Everyone is pretty badly off. Rikka self-nuked, leaving herself partially blown up, her braid burned off. Twelve and Cale were also caught in the blast, and they were hurt less badly.
After the Zhemen mission, Rikka is badly off. Having self-nuked again, she barely makes it back to the base with Kira's help. It also leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
The story opens in a Villains INC base in New Constantinople, something of a training center. It ends up being the first strike in Nemesis' campaign and the debut of Crucible, and the base ends up destroyed just a few scenes in.
Not long afterwards, the strike team on a mission to a base in New York, find it already half conquered by not one, but two attacking forces: DTI and the United States Military. They lose this base as well, but accomplish their objective.
However, the best example is later in the game - in the Chinese Base, after retaking it, the Villains are settling in when Crucible unexpectedly attacks, trying to take Lohman's Aether.
Ascended Extra: Both 17 and 51 started out as bit parts - they didn't even have names, merely ranks. However, both became important not long after their introduction, with the former (eventually named Ellie) ending up Running Villains INC for a period in Brent's stead and the latter (eventually named Michael Shi) acting as a loyalist towards Villains INC among Linghun's Villains, who had their own agenda.
The Assimilator: Lohman is this, though unintentionally - He absorbs the memories, personalities and, sometimes, the entire consciousnesses of the people he mentally probes.
Bad Powers, Good People: David, in a way. A remarkably moral (compared to the other characters, at least) man cursed with Vampirism, he also has to deal with powers that sap the life force from other beings.
Badass Normal: Though both a Vampire AND a natural user of light powers, David, when compared against his overpowered peers, might count... even if only for his poor grasp of his abilities.
Becoming the Mask: Xiu Mei seeks to do this, Brent seemingly has - if he ever even wasn't his mask.
Beneath the Mask: Again, Xiu Mei tries to put on the stoic, reliable face of an 'Agent'. However, underneath she is still Linghun's 'hua', and a girl deathly afraid of loss.
Big Bad: Best known as 'Her' and 'She', it could be said that the big bad for the story is The Heart of the Planet ... For Nemesis, AND Villains INC.
Bittersweet Ending: Though Nemesis is destroyed, Crucible stopped and Humanity protected for the time being, the destruction of the Font mandated Rikka or David die so the Aether stolen from it can return to the earth. However, they manage to Take a Third Option - an arguably worse one. The Heart of the Planet goes dormant, so the Earth can survive. In effect, the 'God' they were all fighting for ended up worse off, though alive for the most part. On top of that, a good many of them are dead and the group scattered off to the four winds, now able to find their own lives.
Breaking Lecture: Brent gives a particularly cutting one to Xiu Mei. It leads to her death.
Lynch gives a little one to David, which undermines not just his trust in Villains INC, but his concept of himself.
Broken Pedestal: Brent is taken down from his when his followers learn that he had Xiu Mei killed to get back at Linghun for his Betrayal. After his death, some could say that the pedestal was rebuilt... to an extent.
Central Theme: In many ways, it's about Choice - as in, making your own Choices as opposed to others making them for you. Extended from that, it is present in the themes of Fatalism vs. Free Will. These themes are Championed by different characters at different times, and they are fundamentally at the heart of the story.
Chekhov's Sword: Twice with the same weapon - Mikki drop's her silver sword in the Chinese Base fight, and Lohman picks it up, later using it in his exhibition fight with Kira; Kira takes the sword after winning the fight, and later uses it to kill Brent.
Chess Motifs: All over the place, and a favorite of Brent's.
China: A Major hub of Villains INC power and the setting of most of the second half of the story.
Circling Monologue: Lynch circles David in the beginning of his conversation with him in the woods, though he stops when he becomes annoyed.
Complete Monster: Lohman - called 'The Tyrant of Acadia' more than once, he is known to be a frequent rapist and murderer.
Discussed by Lohman himself, who points out to Rikka that if he was truly a Complete Monster, he would not give her the cure for the zombie infection and have her tell Twelve that her parents still love her.
Deuteragonist: David Westing, to Rikka. The Tritagonist could be Kira, Brent, White, or even the Heart of the Planet, though she is more of an Axial Character.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Crucible goes one on one with a mini-Eldrich Abomination - or at least a man in the form of one. Thanks to his Aether, and an uncharacteristic level of being pissed off, Crucible took the day.
Differently Powered Individual: The Supers of this universe - those with superpowers. The main characters belong to a group called 'Villains INC.', after all...
The Dog Bites Back: Kira's reaction to Brent pushing his little 'trial by fire' method too far.
Drama Bomb: After weeks of building up for the assault on the Nemesis base, some tragically coincidental (or perfectly planned) events lead to Kira killing Brent in a fit of rage, losing the Chinese Villains, their base, all the equipment and the plans for the strike team, leaving them worse off than they were when they arrived and driving apart the group.
Dream Within a Dream: David has one - he 'escapes' The Holy Leader's illusion, or at least thinks he does. In reality, the illusion is just making him think he did.
Eldritch Abomination: Ian Anderson has the ability to turn into a mini-one of these. Crucible still manages to beat him in this form - see Did You Just Punch Out Cthulu.
Evil Inc.: Despite Villains INC's name, it is Livingston Macro that eventually takes this title.
Evil Is Petty: Averted/Played with. The Members of Villains INC, the 'good guys' (or at least Villain Protagonists) are petty, especially Kira and Brent (and sometimes Rikka and David). Meanwhile, all members of Nemesis are driven by much more selfless means - although Crucible's motives sometimes seem selfish, and Lynch clearly has a sadistic appreciation of the suffering he causes on the way.
Freudian Excuse: Rikka's drive and desire to be strong stems from an event in her past. When a close family friend that physically overpowered her forced her to undress and pose for photos, Rikka experienced an event of complete weakness and inability to avoid something she truly didn't want. Due to this, she trained herself never to be weak again - and by chance, her superpower solidified that. And she's been paying for that strengtheversince.
Hammerspace: Showcased repeatedly by Lohman, and once by Maryan.
Heroes Of Another Story: The Heart Keepers; This is even lampshaded in the opening text. Let's put it this way - a group of teenagers brought together by a prophecy, all with superpowers, working with the United States Government? While they occasionally clash with Villains INC (even to the result of White being permanently paralyzed), the Heart Keepers are just another faction existing in the same world, and they are neither protagonists nor antagonists.
Lohman, instead of just being a Rapist (Mind and Body) tyrant, Turns out to be universally affected by the Good thoughts of one of his minds as well as the bad ones - specifically, dedication to an unnamed 'Her'.
Hive Mind: Lohman, who is a conglomeration of all the personalities and memories of the people he has mentally probed. While one Personality is elected to be in charge, for the most part, in control, which makes this a situation with a...
Hive Queen: One of the Personalities in Lohman's mind, usually one of the more complete, intact or dominant ones, are nominally in control. For most of the story it is 'Lohman', who was not the original telepath or owner of the body, but rather a rapist and murdered who was absorbed into him and subsequently taken over. Later, Lohman puts Tyrone Hippert, a mild-mannered man, in control, and even later the Boss Man takes over, destroying the main Lohman personality.
First, in the reclamation of the Chinese Villain base mission, the Goth Illusionist captures Rikka, Brent and David in these. David's dream is a normal life, Rikka's is being returned to the fight when she developed powers, and not developing them, and Brent is a life as some generic Captain of Industry. Of course, the Illusion holds no power over Brent and he almost immediately escapes, and of course, Rikka and David make no attempts to escape. That Is, until the illusions start to go awry and fall apart, as Lohman rapes the Goth Illusionist to break her.
Later, during the attack on the Nemesis Base mission, the Holy Leader puts an illusion over Rikka, David, Kira and Maryan, this time much more successfully. They construct the dreams around the main drive, the main psychological foundation point of the characters, the main desire, and construct a world where achieving those subconscious desires would destroy them and make their lives worse. Meaning at first it was a Lotus-Eater Machine, but in reality turns out to be a Mind Rape form of a Nightmare Sequence.
Lotus Position: A favorite of Linghun, who sits in this position a considerable amount of the time.
Manipulative Bastard: Played Straight with Brent (Lies and All), but Deconstructed with Kira. Kira is naturally good at it, or at least inclined towards it, but she is often operating on false information and her pettiness usually means she only manipulates people into being hurt. She never really accomplishes anything with her manipulative nature, and manipulation as a reflex is a burden for her and her main problem.
MiniBoss: The Large Zombie monster in the Chinese base fits best.
Moral Event Horizon: Lohman crossed his when he raped the Goth Illusionist. Brent may have done the same when he let him, but sending Xiu Mei to her death in return for a slight by her father was the final nail.
Na´ve Newcomer: David Westing is a stranger to Villains INC, Nemesis, and in many ways Superhumanity. He is both a moral compass, a provider of juxtaposition, and an Audience Surrogate.
Nebulous Evil Organization: Diamond Trifecta Industries, but also Villains INC... although the latter is distancing itself from that kind of activity.
Plot Irrelevant Villain: In a rare case where there IS a main villain, but the Plot Irrelevant Villain shows up anyways, we have Lucy Livingston, who only effects the plot in tertiary, dismissible ways throughout most of the story.
Powers via Possession: Lohman, who already had a superpower, gains a light form of precognition after the Boss Man Piggybacks into his mind.
Maryan is another excellent example. On her own, she is a perfectly normal (Well... physically so) young woman. But she is possessed by ZED, an unexplainable evil spirit which provides more than a few frightening powers through her.
David Westing: You know what I learned out here in these jungles, Lynch, in this hostile country? Gods don't care about us. *gun explodes next to Lynch's head*
He Got better.
Predecessor Villain: The Boss Man, though he did not precede the current big bad; in fact, the events that led up to his defeat in the mutiny were due partly to his attempts to stop Nemesis.
Protagonist Journey To Villains INC: The Arc of David Westing, who in many ways could be considered the Protagonist of a good part of the story, seems to be mainly about his consideration of the possibility of joining Villains INC. Hopefully it's still there when he makes his decision...
Punch Clock Villain: Most of the Minion-level members of Villains INC seem to be this, and anytime we see them they seem to be just regular people doing their jobs. This is especially true of the Maverick Doctor and the VTOL Pilot. Those in Nemesis, however, do not apply whatsoever.
Brent: It's Okay. You can cry. You've been strong enough for one day. It's okay, My Knight. You did well. You made me proud. You are the Only one I can count on. You are the only one I trust. Cry, my Knight. You have worked long enough, you can Rest.
Stealth Mentor: Brent is this to Kira, although his antagonism is of a more personal nature.
The Strategist: Linghun Shi Xin, leader of the Chinese Villains, counts as this, although he is not the impetus of the search for him - his army is. Still, his background puts him as a skilled master strategist.
What Is Evil?: Lynch tries to ask this kind of question to David, and the Jiang Shi says something similar. This could also be considered a major question or even theme of the work.
The Woobie: Rikka, without a doubt. Between being unable to touch anything and being unable to deal with failure (and treating everything as a personal failure, to top that off), she takes the crown.
Twelve, to some.
The Worf Effect: Ian Anderson is repeatedly mentioned to be the most powerful of the Heart Keepers and nigh impossible to defeat by Villains INC. All the same, Rikka still fights him (at least) to a draw, requiring his fellow Heart Keeper Anthony to come save him, and late Crucible wipes the floor with him - twice, the second time with Ian in his Eldritch Abomination state - just to prove how powerful Crucible and Proxy are.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A Sweet scene late in the game, where The Heart of the Planet - who rightly Rikka should hate - shows Rikka that she has the strength to endure within her.
And The Heart of the Planet delivers another one, by showing David that he fights anyways, even though he wasn't strictly supposed to, makes him more important and more heartening than the ones prophecised to fight.