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 Post subject: Some History and Setting Information
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:58 pm 
Adroit Pirate
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The year is 1949. Metahumans first appeared in Russia and Western Europe nearly 40 years ago, but didn't appear in the States until close to 1920. The origin of all this metahumanity was soon traced to the Tunguska Explosion, which released a substance into the atmosphere -- since called "Vril" -- that has had a dramatic effect on a portion of the population's DNA. It's a firmly held scientific belief that the Vril released by the explosion drifted across Russia and Europe first, then eventually made its way through the upper atmosphere to the rest of the world, which explains why metahumans appeared so much later in the US and hardly at all in Asia and the South Pacific. In some cases, especially in the US, this effect initially proved deadly, but as the presence of Vril in the environment has decreased, so too have have the fatalities. Instead of the rather sudden and pronounced mutations seen in the 10 years following the Tunguska Explosion, methumans today are mostly the result of parentage.

The actions of certain metahumans on both sides of the conflict in WWI spurred an increased awareness of and interest in genetics and eugenics, so much so that splitting the atom took a backseat to these other areas of research. The Vril Gesselschaft, or "Vril Society," was founded in Germany in 1921 by a group of scientists and metaphysicists interested in exploring the specifics of Vril's effect on the human body. This group would later become closely associated with the Nazi party, and according to party doctrine, Vril "cleanses" the body of impurities and unlocks latent powers inherited from one's ancestors. This line of thinking was just part of the justification of the Aryan race as superior to all others. The exact truth of how Vril interacts with human biology isn't known, although Germany certainly fielded a great many metahumans in WWII.

The first appearance of metahumans in the US followed unfortunately on the heels of the polio epidemic of 1916, and shortly preceded the vicious TB epidemic of 1918. For whatever reason, Vril affected the American population much more severely than that of the rest of the world, resulting in deaths and deformities unheard of elsewhere. However, it also resulted in more metahumans per capita of any country on Earth, as well as some of the most powerful yet seen, including the super-soldier Vanguard, who was so instrumental in Operation D-Day, and the Atomic Man, who destroyed Hiroshima in the latter days of WWII and in so doing sacrificed his own life.

Over the years, quite a few other genuine "superheroes" emerged besides these two, such as Kamikaze and Brittania, but most were killed off during WWII. The ones who are left generally have pretty weak powers, or at least ones with powers so limited that they aren't considered to be of significant military value (and who, as a consequence, aren't issued goofy codenames like the big-shots are), though the government keeps an eye on them through the Bureau of Metahuman Affairs. In an effort to make full use of its metahuman assets, the US created special Army infantry units -- the "Alpha squads" -- composed entirely of metahumans hand-picked according to the applicability of their specific abilities in the field. Other units, "Beta squads," experimented with a mix of humans and metahumans. The more powerful metas were frequently important parts of all-human military units. The Gray Ghost, for example, was part of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, and Bombardier often led bombing raids over Nazi territory. In order to further encourage their enlistment, all "metas," no matter their position in the military, typically received higher pay and better food than their human brothers in arms, which would've caused a good deal more resentment than it did if it weren't for the fact that metas, owing to their special abilities, tended to face a good deal more risk than the average soldier, evidenced by the fact that so many gave their lives to secure an Allied victory. If it weren't for the courage of these unique men and women, we'd all be speaking German.

But the war's been over for four years now. Four years since ticker-tape rained down on those metahuman heroes who made it home, four years since the medals, four years since society had a use for "special" people. That's where our story begins.



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Mike Olson
‎"In this economy, it's not easy to feed a growing family. So we eat Haunkkah gelt for dinner and look at a picture of broccoli." --Paul F. Tompkins
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:54 am 
Adroit Pirate
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Now that my desktop computer is up and running again (w00t), I can finally get back to this timeline I was working on when it went down. I'll post it here as I go.

This obviously isn't an extremely detailed account of history, of course; it just covers major world events, personalities of note, important developments in metahuman history, and a few weird things. Make of it what you will.


1908: An unknown object explodes in the atmosphere several kilometers over Tunguska in Siberia. It is, in fact, a meteorite, and its explosion releases a shower of spheroids and a cloud of particulate matter which stays in the upper atmosphere, illuminating the night sky for several weeks. Over the next few weeks, the particulate cloud disperses southwards through Russia and into Europe. These particles contain the genetic extraterrestrial material which will be the seed of the first metahumans.

1910: First metahumans appear in Russia.

1911: First metahumans appear in Europe.

1912: An American scientist, obsessed with the advent of the metahumans, theorizes that the Tunguska Event was involved and mounts an expedition to Siberia to investigate, backed by private interests. The local Tungus population considers the site sacred and try to bar his entry, but he persists. He returns to the US several months later with a number of recovered spheroids.

1914: WWI begins.

1915: After three years of extensive testing and experimentation the American believes he has cracked the code of the spheroids and attracts the attention of the US government. He calls the genetic material inside “vril,” after a 19th-century novel, "The Coming Race," by Henry Bulwer-Lytton.

1916: The first metahumans appear in the US. The first widespread polio epidemic occurs in the US as well, with over 27,000 cases and 6,000 deaths reported. Also, the Communist Revolution in Russia and the Easter Uprising in Ireland.

1917: The US enters WWI.

1918: WWI ends, although the Treaty of Versailles will not be ratified for another two years and the US doesn’t formally end its state of war with the Axis powers until 1921. The TB pandemic kills millions worldwide.

1919: Prohibition begins. A mysterious wave of molasses sweeps through Boston. Twenty-one are missing and presumed dead. The cause of this bizarre disaster is never discovered.

1920: With the proliferation of metahumans in the US and abroad, and continued world tensions even after the end of the Great War, a bill is introduced in the Senate to mandate government registration of metahumans. It fails to be ratified. French president Paul Deschanel suddenly disappears from a passenger train and reappears three days later, wandering lost and confused along the train track. George Polley, alias “The Human Fly,” climbs the New York Woolworth Building without the aid of tools or equipment. He is soon found to be a metahuman, and turns his condition to financial advantage when he licenses his likeness and name to a pulp publisher. The tales of the Human Fly, all of which involve heroics via wall-crawling, soon become some of the most popular in the genre.

1921: Stanley Clifford Weyman, who will come to be known in the press as the Human Chameleon, is arrested for impersonating a naval officer and found to be a metahuman capable of altering his appearance at will. He creates a brief sensation in the papers, is sentenced to two years in prison, and is never seen again (as far as far as anyone knows, anyway). In Germany, the All-German Society for Metaphysics is formed by a group of three female metahumans with the stated aim of advancing and purifying the Aryan race through the study and careful application of vril. The All-German Society for Metaphysics shortly becomes known as the Luminous Lodge.

1922: The Department of Metahuman Affairs is established in response to concerns related to continued conflicts abroad.



More to come!



_________________
Mike Olson
‎"In this economy, it's not easy to feed a growing family. So we eat Haunkkah gelt for dinner and look at a picture of broccoli." --Paul F. Tompkins
Spirit of the Blank: A blog.
Roll Some Dice: Another blog.
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