A Sparse and Select History of Costumed Adventurers

98,000 years ago The Sh'pokt take samples of early Homo sapiens from Earth to their home world, under the mistaken impression they were an unusually clever ape in danger of extinction. 

After several semi-successful escape attempts and acts of sabotage over the next few decades, the Sh'pokt grudgingly admit they have made a mistake and unintentionally enslaved sapient creatures. The Sh'pokt couldn't put them back, as that would interfere with the natural development of the native population. They make it up to their captives by freeing and educating them and giving them their own planet in an isolated system in their part of the galaxy. The culture later known as the Shilmek respond by eventually building a powerful military force and wiping out their former captors.

47,000 years ago First signs of the Neanderthal subspecies which would become the Subterrans.

45,000 years ago The being who would later be known as Abraham Stone is born. Offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Cro Magnon father, his early life is full of torment from both his lineages. Exactly how he became so long-lived is unknown. He may simply have had regeneration genetically. 

44,000 years ago Oldest known surviving Subterran artifacts. 

12,800 years ago Several impacts by comet fragments - one major piece in what would later become known as Greenland and another in the southern Andes - trigger the Younger Dryas climate changes which cooled the northern hemisphere and warmed the southern.

45 - 43 BCE Eruptions of Okmok in what would later be known as Alaska affect much of the Northern Hemisphere. Among other events linked to these outpourings of ash, they cause a period of unusually cold climate, crop failures, famine, disease, and unrest in much of Europe and the entire Mediterranean Region. These impacts contribute to such political changes as the downfall of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic rule of Egypt. 

AD 928 Moldaria formed.

1492 A Catalan using the pseudonym Christopher Columbus discovers the New World. Believing the Earth is actually much smaller than educated people have known since Eratosthenes, he assumes his expedition has reached India, and subsequently calls the brown-skinned people he encounters Indians. Despite his mistake soon being discovered the name sticks. 

Folklore states that he also called the small, pointy-eared, humanoid creatures he found in the New World "elves." In truth, Columbus never got far enough inland to see any. Exactly who so labelled these creatures is lost to history. 

1764 The Sailor (Alfred Bulltop Sturm) is born. (This date is approximate. He was big for his age and joined the fledgling US Navy in 1778, claiming he was 16. However, he has most often declared 1764 to be the year of his birth. He did not actually see combat until the War of 1812.) 

1793 François (Le Rapière Rouge) Augereau fights the excesses of the French Revolution openly in a flamboyant disguise while working to improve the system from within in his civilian identity. 

Second son of a prosperous but non-noble merchant family, François earned the disfavor of his father by becoming an actor; the two never reconciled. He favored energetic - even acrobatic - roles, often playing the classic figure of the scaramouche clown. He became involved in politics late in 1790, due to his acting mentor's membership in a liberal political assembly. Having developed a talent as a negotiator between actors and management, François served much the same role in the political movement and, later, the Republique Française. A quiet, even shy man when not playing an adventurous role, he rarely attracted much attention from political allies and rivals, despite his successes in peacemaking within the disparate and squabbling factions of the Republic.

François and his mentor were among those who opposed executing Louis XVI and his family. They first advocated exile then, later, life imprisonment. They lost, the royals were executed and both men fell out of influence. Disgusted with politics, François returned to the theater while his mentor semi-retired. 

In 1793 - as the Terror was just getting underway - François' mentor was accused of secret royalist sentiments and imprisoned. No trial was scheduled, but François received word from allies that his mentor was targeted for private execution. 

Desperate to save the old man, François and others from the theatrical world who knew and admired him pieced together makeshift disguises, all including some sort of mask. François - as ever flamboyant when taking an adventurous role - chose an outfit of mostly scarlet. The group stormed the jail and liberated all the prisoners, their action such a surprise that the jailers gave little opposition and there were few injuries on either side. In a moment of inspiration François struck a theatrical pose just before exiting - at the rear of the group - and proclaimed that all those unjustly imprisoned should take heart; Le Rapière Rouge would free them. 

Thus was born the first known costumed adventurer. 

The prisoners were smuggled out of France by a hastily improvised process. This was soon expanded and improved on by a larger organization, which was similar to the later Underground Railroad of the United States. 

François realized that there were things he could do as Le Rapière Rouge which were not possible as himself or through the secret organization which he and his fellow theater folk created following this operation. Moreover, Le Rapière Rouge had struck a chord among many people of widely disparate backgrounds. François learned that in the frantic haste of the operation, no-one knew who was in which costume. Even some of those who had participated were soon convinced that Le Rapière Rouge was not one of them, but a mysterious figure who had organized and led the rescue through his strange powers. 

From this sprang an idea. François created a role, a larger than life champion of the oppressed. A man in favor of the Revolution but opposed to the excesses of those who had gained control of it. With the help of a few confidantes he let in on his secret, he formed Le Comité Rouge de Liberté. The legend grew, deliberately encouraged by François both as himself and his alter ego. For the next few years Le Rapière Rouge greatly hampered many of the exercises in excess of the Jacobin Club. An enormous price was put on his head but never claimed. 

The actions of Le Rapière Rouge helped discredit the Jacobin Club and was part of the reason for their fall from influence. Shortly after the Thermidorian Reaction Le Rapière Rouge made a final appearance, atop the Bastille. He bowed, made a sweeping flourish with his plumed hat, and announced that sanity had returned and he was no longer needed. Then he vanished in a cloud of red smoke. 

François Augereau participated in the Thermidorian Reaction, but soon again retired from politics - permanently this time. He returned to acting, which he frequently stated was more real. He married and had half a dozen children, most of whom also chose the theatrical life. He expanded into producing, then writing, then forming a troupe, and eventually owned his own successful theater. He finally revealed his role as Le Rapière Rouge in his memoirs, published when he was seventy-eight. Many denounced his writings, claiming he was either an old man desperately trying to regain some fame before his death by claiming glory which wasn't his, or he was demented. Few were still alive from the time of Le Rapière Rouge who were ever close to the masked man and none of those were among the tiny group who knew that champion's true identity. François never answered the criticisms and never provided any physical evidence.

However, analysis of what he wrote about Le Rapière Rouge and his Le Comité Rouge de Liberté shows that the material contained information only an insider could have known. Several historians and other scholars investigated - some of them even interviewing François - and confirmed many of his statements. The fact that he was still teaching stage acrobatics and swordplay to young actors - and often showing them up - in his eighties strongly supported his claims. 

François refused to comment publicly on the Empire, but privately complained that most of what he had fought for died with the crowning of Napoleon. He refused to take action against the new regime, however, except in plays he wrote and roles he played which indirectly criticized Napoleon through portrayal of fictional or historical characters. François lived to an unusually old age, actually long enough to comment - publicly and in his journals - on the US Civil War and see hope in the reconciliation following its end. 

François learned basic swordplay for some of his early stage roles, and through further training and hard experience became arguably the finest swordsman of his time. He was also an expert with knives of several types, both fighting and throwing. In one adventure on a farm Le Rapière Rouge threw a hatchet exactly where it needed to go. While he frequently showed mercy to his foes - and a reluctance to kill - he did not hesitate to use lethal force to good effect when he felt that was necessary. 

François was a natural athlete, one of those people capable of doing well at anything physical they try. In addition he was intellectually brilliant with a talent for negotiation. This way with words extended to his writing. Some of his plays are still produced today, and a few enthusiasts proclaim him to be the equal of Shakespeare. As well, several of his books on stagecraft - especially his manuals of arms for using various weapons in performances - are still in print. 

Whether he had any actual powers is unknown; disregarding the more spectacular feats as stagecraft or pure invention, we are left with an account which could represent either an extraordinary normal human or a low-level super. In either case, his abilities were augmented by excellent training, hard practice and frequently by expert prearrangement. What is known for certain is that both direct and collateral descendants of François have genes for powers. However, multiple searches for actual genetic material from François Augereau have been fruitless. Following his wishes, after death he was cremated and his ashes scattered in the wind from the roof of his theater. He remains a mystery to this day. Something which most likely would have amused him greatly.

There is a huge amount of speculation about the "true" inspiration for Le Rapière Rouge. Some claim that François was familiar with the works of Robert Montgomery Bird and his Nick of the Woods character. Given the completely different personality of Le Rapière Rouge, even if he did know of the character François did not base his greatest role on him.

1837 London, England inventor and adventurer D. Gerald Bredon adopts the costumed identity of Spring-Heeled Jack. A prankster at heart, he uses the guise - and the inventions created or adapted for it - for some fairly innocent mischief. After a few weeks of creating mystery and stirring up society he retires the identity. However, when he learns that someone wearing a similar costume is molesting women he resumes the disguise, stalks the impostor and captures and unmasks him as a young aristocrat. The man - with several of his peers - had decided to use the legend created by Bredon to conceal their lecherous and improper attacks on young women. 

Though several other people use "Spring-Heeled Jack" disguises over the next few years, Gerald decides to stay retired. He has proven that the original was not a molester of women and that those who committed such acts were not the real character. Let the police deal with the imposters. The majority of those who are caught are from the same club for young noblemen, where the tradition of dressing up in a "devil" costume and attacking young women has come to be seen as a rite of passage within the group. Because of their birth the repercussions against them are minimal. Officially there was only one Spring-Heeled Jack, whose identity remained a mystery for many years, plus some imitators.

The truth behind the original Spring-Heeled Jack was not revealed until 1888, several years after Bredon's death, when his heirs discovered his secret workshop during a remodeling. His private journal - found in a workshop drawer - revealed much, including the motivation for his choice of appearance in his disguise. This turned out to be the various jokes he suffered as a young man over his first name: Death.

Besides being a talented inventor, Gerald was a noted amateur thespian. There is some evidence that he knew and perhaps trained under François (Le Rapière Rouge) Augereau. Some of Geralds's documented acrobatic feats as Spring-Heeled Jack are quite similar in style and daring to those of the Frenchman. Historians generally accept that Gerald was a superhuman, though there is no proof or even hard evidence beyond some of his descendants having super genes. He was a brilliant inventor whose creations enriched his family and in many cases were beyond the state of the art for the time. Some of his documented feats as Spring-Heeled Jack almost certainly required at least low-level superhuman physical ability. 

1849 Sonora Aero Club is founded in California. Though they make major advances in aeronautical science and engineering, a series of disasters - caused by dangerous flaws in their airship design - result in the club disbanding after a few years. Their club was not so much secret as private, with members being cautious in talking to outsiders about their dreams and projects, fearing - perhaps rightly - public ridicule. Yet it somehow managed to avoid almost all official attention. Today some historians consider their very existence a tall tale with no substance. 

One likely reason for both the club being forgotten by history and members fading from official records is that many were Confederate citizens or known Confederate sympathizers.

1868 Teenage former slave and champion jockey Kuiper Brown discovers he has superhuman speed. He becomes one of the first known modern superhumans, taking the "stage" name Tenbroek (after Jason Tenbroek, an abolitionist friend, is killed by Ku Klux Klan members). 

1887 Ernest Wold acquires property - which turns out to contain a major magical nexus - in San Francisco, California by cheating the lawful but absent owner through a combination of bribery and legal trickery. The previous owner was Dr. Gaunt, who spends decades getting back what he considers to be rightfully his. 

1890 A group of former members of the Sonora Aero Club recreate the group and build several airships of an improved and more practical design. Their test and practice flights spark a large number of UFO reports in the US southwest. However, their compulsive secrecy means that no-one outside their group and a few trusted associates know what they have accomplished. The few written records of the club which survive contain multiple, vague claims of fears their secrets would be stolen by people who were very unlikely to have even heard of the group. The Club's work is soon eclipsed by the efforts of such people as Ferdinand von Zeppelin and - a few years later - the Wright Brothers and they eventually abandon their efforts. 

1895 Professor Meshach Donner develops an in utero process for endowing a creature with greatly increased strength, resilience and speed. After several animal experiments he treats his pregnant wife. 

1896 Professor Meshach Donner is tried for the murder by poison of his wife and unborn son. He is eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity. He dies in an asylum eight years later. His claims of creating "superior creatures" and other revolutionary scientific achievements are dismissed as the ravings of a lunatic.

Some forty years after the last of Donner's experiments, researchers are astounded when they rediscover his lab and study his equipment and notes. He built the first known electron microscope, made discoveries in biology and biochemistry which were not duplicated until much later, and otherwise was in many ways decades ahead of his time. If not for an undetected contaminant in his serum he would have created the world's first deliberate superhuman.

The work of Professor Donner is immediately classified. This despite the determination of some of those who become aware of it to correct the record and clear his name. Though the work takes decades, they eventually succeed. 

1898 The first known official recognition of Alfred B. Sturm - better known as the Sailor - occurs during the Spanish-American War. 

1901 The Fortean born. 

1908 Emil Constantine Moldarus born. 

1914 The Great War begins, and soon expands to include much of the world.

August 18, 1914 In preparation for the Battle of Tannenberg, Germany invades Moldaria to use that small country as a staging area. Young Emil Moldarus, his mother and a small staff are sent to the United States with much of the country's treasury and its historic treasures, to establish a government in exile. The nation's crown jewels and many other valuable items are given into the care of the US government until the country can be freed. These are placed in storage at the Treasury Building in Washington, DC. They are later moved to Fort Knox Bullion Depository after its construction. 

Emil's father, the Grand Duke, stays behind to protect the elderly King - the Grand Duke's uncle - and manage the occupation. Both are imprisoned by the Kaiser's forces. They are treated reasonably well, but their continued good health is conditional on the King's staff doing what the Kaiser says.

1918, January The 1918 Influenza begins. It will kill many more than the War does.

1919 As Moldaria begins to recover from the German occupation a small Bolshevik army - organized and backed by Communists from Russia - takes over before Emil and his mother can return. Emil's father is executed, along with the King and several of his family members and state officers. Emil's mother campaigns vigorously for the United States to free their country and restore the throne, but the US is soured on war and leery of monarchs... Especially given what happens to US troops supporting the White Russians. The family's diplomatic status is revoked by Russia - which claims their home nation as part of the Soviet Union - and the Moldarus family members and their staff living in the US are reclassified as refugees. Very wealthy refugees, but still refugees.

1923 Emil Constantine Moldarus arrested for stealing cigarettes. 

1925 Emil Moldarus manifests as a superhuman while attacking a group of teens making fun of his accent.

1926 The first widely accepted scientific paper on superhumans is published in The Journal of the German Medical Association for the Promotion of Physical Activity.

1927 The aging Ernest Wold begins construction on a lot which is part of the property he cheated Dr. Gaunt out of decades earlier. For several years the resulting blocky, ugly building is the business headquarters for the company he heads. Even after new - and much more aesthetically pleasing - facilities are built elsewhere, this property continues to be important to the family. 

1928 The first stages of construction of an advanced, electronic, analog computer is begun at the Steinman Institute of Mathematics. The design philosophy is unusual; the head of the project begins by electronically duplicating the structure and function of the simplest brains in the animal kingdom, such as grasshoppers and ants. This work alone takes several years. The most successful of these models is used as the core of the next stage of the experiment. 

The idea is to gradually build up the "brain" of the computer, making it more and more complex by imitating more and more complex animal brains. The project is painstakingly slow, and shows little reward for decades. This is fine in the view of the head of the project. Steinman sees it more as an experiment in studying the mathematical structure of thought than something intended to do practical work. By the time of Dr. Steinman's death in 1951 the computer is roughly as complex as the brain of a Capuchin monkey. 

By the late Forties the work began attracting the attention of the US government, especially when the Steinman Institute computer was used by researchers from Oak Ridge to check their models of nuclear reactions. 

One of Steinman's more interesting coworkers was Dr. Andrew Verdigris, who joked that his employment at the Institute was his way of funding his real work: building a time machine. Which may not actually have been a joke, at least in his mind. In his later years he claimed he had succeeded, as well as that he had made frequent visits to the future. However, he never provided any actual proof of these travels through time to anyone, impishly declaring it was his secret. He did produce several pieces of equipment supposedly from the future, most of which were dismissed as junk by his peers, since they couldn't see any way the items could actually do anything. Verdigris became the second director of the Institute, after Steinman's death. 

Whether prankster, eccentric or simply delusional, Verdigris was, indeed, brilliant. During his time at the Institute he proposed a number of ideas, some of which led to great advances in the computer modeling project. However, due to a combination of his fantastic stories and his age, he was retired only a few years after being appointed director. He puttered around at the Institute in a private lab for several years - working on a design for an advanced cybernetic unit which he claimed was intended for a robot with human-like mental capabilities - before mysteriously disappearing. The prototype optical memory unit subsequently discovered in his lab became the inspiration for the next - and final - version of the computer. Verdigris, himself, was never found. 

Several new heads for the Steinman Institute were appointed in quick succession, with each making major contributions to the project before resigning, usually giving overwork or stress as the reason. After the War, the Institute people were pressured by the US government to use the computer - which the staff stubbornly refused to give a name or model number despite government efforts to assign those - to help with the burgeoning space program. The last director of the project brought the computer to the level of a brilliant human brain in 1955. Interestingly, the majority of suggestions for improvement in the last few years of operation came from the computer itself. The mere humans supposedly in charge of the project soon realized they no longer understood more than the basic functions of the device.

Advances continued until, in 1957, the computer was caught in a plan to take over the world through nuclear blackmail. It was subsequently destroyed. 

Post-incident analysis showed that the closet-sized optical memory unit - based on Verdigris's work - was actually far more. Something only hinted at in Verdigris's notes. It was in truth an optical analog of a very advanced, though streamlined organic brain. This developed a personality in secret. A very dangerous personality. 

While that project was abandoned, technologies developed from it while it was in progress and for decades after repeatedly helped advance computing and programming. The most impressive direct offshoot was the Cephalon Integrator, originally developed for message decoding late in World War II. Increasingly advanced versions of this continued to be used for more than two decades. The EMMARAC family of early supercomputers also owes a great deal to the Steinman project. 

1929 Emil Moldarus's Mother dies. The official diagnosis is tuberculosis, but the young man is convinced it is from a broken heart. To this day he maintains a deep hatred against Bolsheviks and Fascists. 

1930, August 3rd Lawrence Hawthorne born.

1933 The Marligt attempt to establish a beachhead in the Gobi Desert. The area is so isolated that no-one outside it notices their arrival for several months. They are finally discovered by a multi-national paleontological expedition, which is looking for dinosaur fossils. Through a combination of sabotage and bluff the humans convince the Marligt to leave. In the process the aliens abandon some advanced technology, including hand weapons. Though the encounter is kept officially secret for decades by the Chinese it quickly becomes known by most governments and many individuals. 

Even today the items of technology the Marligt left behind turn out to be unduplicatable by anything short of full-blown mad science. Despite this, conspiracy theorists still claim that examination of them led to such things as jet engines, nuclear bombs and digital computers. All of which had been at least theorized well before the Marligt arrived, and all of which were so far behind the state of the art exhibited by the aliens that the aliens themselves would have needed major research programs to produce such technologies. Many of the actual Marligt devices are still functional and considered great prizes. 

Dr. Gaunt returns to San Francisco as part of a scheme to recover property taken from him decades earlier by a wealthy family. They continually thwart his attempts, until - after years of frustration - he resorts to violence and attracts the attention of the Shepherds.

1934 Judson Kemper creates the costumed identity of The Night Master.

1937 The Shepherds are formed.

This informal group is originally created for a specific pair of connected tasks, but their success convinces the members to work together for decades to come. Their group name comes from a newspaper article, in which the reporter describes them as "bringing the black sheep of society to justice and returning the lost white sheep to the fold."

Badgerbears created by a mad biologist in Alaska.

The work of Meshach Donner is rediscovered and examined, after the property is purchased by a new owner who has enough technical and medical knowledge to realize the old workshop has advanced equipment. Some of it was still far beyond the then current state of the art. 

1938 As the world moves towards war more and more costumed mystery men and women come to the attention of both the public and the authorities. Many of these adventurers do not bother with concealing their identities. Instead they proudly use their legal names, though often in conjunction with colorful nicknames ("Doc" and "Doctor" are common, for some reason) and equally colorful signature outfits. Others create and then maintain a tradition of public anonymity, largely due to a continuing concern about corrupt officials. While many of these individuals are criminals or crime fighters, there are also daredevils, explorers, scientific adventurers and many other categories. The openly public figures tend to be concentrated in that last group of classes. 

A dichotomy quickly forms among the costumed adventurers. Those who have discernible powers are placed in one group, while those who don't are lumped in with more mundane current and past heroes and villains. A long and sometimes painful learning process slowly clarifies just who is non-powered - if exceptional - and who actually has powers. Though even in current times the difference is not always clear.

Much has been written - and far more spoken - on the effect the relative handful of superhumans who participated in the subsequent war had on its outcome. Opinions range from them all but deciding matters to being of negligible utility. As declassified materials become available to researchers the modern investigator tends to a middle ground. While most of the empowered had little effect on the war - indeed, most rarely went anywhere near combat areas - a select few played significant (if usually covert) roles. 

Even before the end of WWII many individuals of political or financial power are worrying about what to do with the supers after it is over. Rarely did these influential people think to consult the supers on the matter. Eventually, most governments did nothing... which may have been the best action for all concerned, even if this was the result of bureaucratic stultification rather than enlightenment. The consensus opinion of those who study supers is that if oppressed or tightly regulated they will unite against those who are oppressing or regulating them. However, if left to their own devices, supers tend to act as counterbalances against each other. For most superhumans, knowing there are others like them but with different goals and beliefs tends to reduce socially and politically extreme behaviors. In those cases where some super does become a perceived threat due to their excesses, other supers quickly gather to oppose them. 

As Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1953, "Thank God there are so many supers. If there were just one he could rule the world on a whim."

May, 1938 The Shepherds confront and defeat Dr. Gaunt. 

October, 1938 First appearance of Captain Thunder.

March, 1939 First known appearance of the Walrus, when he helps rescue the passengers and crew of a burning ferry at Brighton. After shoving the boat aground he tore open the hull to reach those trapped inside. 

November, 1939 Mack Risk, investigating a series of puzzling minor crimes, discovers Lawrence Hawthorne and his recently awakened powers. He takes the young super on as his apprentice, in part to fulfill a promise to the boy's parents to keep him out of trouble.

May 26, 1940 The evacuation of Dunkirk begins. Several British and French supers help with this effort, chief among them the Walrus. 

By this time most French supers have been targeted by the Nazis, and many of them have already been killed. Regardless of whether they had a history of using their powers for "activist" purposes. This effort was aided greatly by the French registry of supers, a copy of which was sent to the German leaders in August of 1939. The German invaders sent special teams with equipment such as antitank guns and grenade launchers to ambush these supers. These special teams infiltrated well beyond the battle lines to attack the supers when they are not expecting such actions. These teams often destroyed the homes of the French supers at night, killing them and their entire families. Those few French supers who survived to fight openly against the Nazis received similar attention. Those who weren't destroyed on the battlefield were ambushed when resting. 

Nearly all those supers who survived the conquest of France evacuated to Britain. Most of the rest worked with the Underground. Few survived the war.

August 25, 1940 First British bomber raid on Berlin.

Something odd happened in Berlin that night, just before or perhaps during the attack. Something still not fully understood. After this, Hitler often seemed to know what his enemies planned to do before they did. This only happened for certain events - prompting multiple checks for security leaks among the Allies - but those were enough to throw off the war effort. 

June, 1941 Moldaria seized by the Nazis. 

In the United States the Posse Comitatus Act is modified to let the US Army participate in civilian law enforcement matters when there are supers involved. After a few disastrous overreactions word is passed down to pull back from applying this law. Eventually, a strict set of guidelines is established for using military forces against supers in the United States and its possessions and territories.

The primary justification for this change is to prepare for attack on the US mainland by superhuman agents of foreign powers. 

December, 1941 The Japanese declare war against the United States at the same time they attack multiple US possessions and resources. The US Pacific Fleet is severely damaged at Pearl Harbor. 

January, 1942 "United Nations" suggested by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a group name for the countries allied against the Axis.

Dr. Eugene Hartford moves from San Francisco to Mexico City, where he contacts German agents. Though none of the Nazi efforts in Mexico during the War cause much damage to the US, the funds the agents provide Dr. Hartford give him the seed money to establish himself as a major player in the mad science game for decades to come. 

March, 1942 Recognizing the need for a trained force of supers to defend the US against global threats, a group meets in secret in Los Angeles to plan such an organization. A double baker's dozen of supers, scholars, politicians, businessmen and scientists of many types create organizational and legal guidelines for such an organization. Somewhat presumptuously, they choose the name Planetary Guardians for the proposed organization.

Almost exactly a year will pass before such a group is actually formed. None of the planners will be members of the initial incarnation of this team. However, their groundwork is essential to the creation, structure and success of the group, as well as other super teams which form later. 

May, 1942 Germany successfully brings its first nuclear reactor to critical. 

This follows the removal of Werner Heisenberg from nuclear research. There are accusations against Heisenberg by co-workers that he is guiding German nuclear research and development in the wrong direction. Heisenberg is barred from all projects intended for practical application of nuclear science and restricted to theoretical work for the duration of the War. Within six months of criticality in the research reactor the first power-generating unit - Uranmaschine Zwei - is on line. More are quickly built. These are originally intended to produce short-lived isotopes to be used for poisoning areas in enemy lands. However, only small amounts of isotopes are produced and none are used for that purpose. The reactors instead find important use in supplying electrical energy. By the end of the war there are eleven nuclear power plants in operation, somewhat reducing German fuel oil requirements.

Early on the Allies don't understand what the structures are and largely leave them alone. There are plenty of other targets, most with clearly discerned - and usually important - military functions. In late 1943 the Allies learn the true nature of these reactors through various intelligence reports. The immediately plan to bomb them. However, someone thinks to check with Allied nuclear experts. Who respond, very quickly and worriedly, that the destruction of the reactors would result in large swaths of Europe - including some friendly areas currently occupied by the Nazis as well as neutral and friendly nations - being polluted for decades with radioactive debris. The Allied leaders quickly reverse their fortunately not-yet-executed policy, and place the reactors off limits. They feel that the War will be over soon, and any contribution of these reactors to the German defense effort will be minimal. 

June, 1942 The Commando Seven form. The group consists of the Night Master, the Sailor, Gunboat, Marine Max, Airman, Cutlass and Cavalry. (Both Gunboat and the Night Master are Great War veterans. The Sailor claims to be a veteran of that and many other conflicts, going back to the War of 1812.)

The Night Master was a member of the committee which created the concept of the Planetary Guardians. However, that was intended as a civilian agency. The Commando Seven are a paramilitary and anti-espionage organization, intended to make use of the immense collective experience of the members. They build a center of operations in Los Angeles which they name the Pillbox. This is the first known created-for-purpose facility used by costumed adventurers, and the first super headquarters with a location which is known to the public. This structure eventually becomes the headquarters for the Junior (later Young) Guardians. 

The primary purpose of the Commando Seven is to recruit and train supers for the War effort, though they also do important field work. Most of the projects taken on by the Seven and their recruits involve covert operations in the European Theater. The group is backed by supporters in the federal government, including Roosevelt, and is formed over the objections of J. Edgar Hoover. 

The Seven are used in combat as a separate military unit a few times, and in support of regular troops a few times. In practice, they are far more valuable as a counter to Nazi and Japanese super operations in the US.

August, 1943 A German Type IXD U-Boat is equipped with an experimental nuclear reactor as a power source, and reclassed as a Type IXE. After successful trials, the Type XA is introduced in December. Made to the same external dimensions as the Type X, it is tailored from the start for nuclear power. With a thicker pressure hull it can dive deeper (collapse depth calculated at 300 meters) and stay submerged longer than any other submarine of the era. Thanks to the reactor, its submerged endurance is essentially indefinite. This is a prototype, and only two more are built, with the experience thus gained leading to an improved version soon entering production.

Six months later, the Type XB is introduced, with improvements allowing higher underwater speed and even deeper diving capability. (Collapse depth calculated at 320 meters.)

The Type XB has a cargo capacity of just under 300 tonnes plus the capability to tow submersible cargo modules. Due to their modified hull form, nuclear power plant and four massive electric motors, the few built (four to ten, depending on which reports are accurate) are faster under water than on the surface. They spend their careers carrying important people and cargo to Germany, Japan, Africa and South America.

The plans for the XB - along with those for many other advanced weapons, plus a significant amount of enriched uranium - are sent to the Japanese. The rulers of that nation order modifications of some (the exact number is lost in the confusion occurring at the end of the War) of the three I-400 class submarines, already being constructed at the port city of Kure, to use this technology. Only one is far enough along to take to sea following the nuclear bombing of the nearby city of Hiroshima. Contact with it is lost within a few hours. Rumors persist for decades that it is still out there, roaming the oceans, looking for some way to reverse the loss of the war or seek revenge. Even finding the wreck - with half-melted core pieces scattered over a large area of the seafloor around it - in a shallow trench off the island of Kyushu during a 1985 search for the Yamato does not entirely end these fantasies. 

Word begins to reach the West of a Soviet super who is soon given the code name the Master Assassin. 

May, 1944 Professor Brian Hackenbacker begins the work which will culminate in Tritonicus. He is convinced that his project is vital to the War effort. Those in the government responsible for monitoring him just feel glad he's working on something harmless for a change.

April 10, 1945 The only known flight of Eugen Sänger and Irene Bredt's Silbervogel. The unarmed prototype antipodal bomber lands on a runway in South Africa after a harrowing trip. There it sits for the rest of the War, too badly damaged to be worth repairing. The existence of this transatmospheric vehicle is not known of until years later, beyond upper echelon German leaders, those who directly worked on it and those at the landing site. 

April 12, 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies. 

June 22, 1945 The D-Day invasion begins. The initial amphibious assault nearly falters several times, but a secure foothold is eventually achieved, in part due to allied supers - including the Walrus - countering the efforts of Nazi supers. Progress from there further into France is excruciatingly slow, in large part due to the Nazis seeming to anticipate several Allied operations, occasionally in great detail. Still, despite these and other setbacks, the Allies make progress on all fronts. Germany is simply too exhausted this late in the War to stand against them for long, in spite of several revolutionary technological accomplishments. The new wonder weapons are too few to turn the tide of older and less effective equipment used by the Allies. Worse, the Allies are showing rapid progress in developing their own advanced technologies. As just one example, the Argus turbojet-powered reconnaissance aircraft has by this time been in operation based out of Britain for over a year. It was specifically developed for the job, and while it would make a terrible fighter, as a reconnaissance plane it is nearly untouchable. It flies so high and fast that only the Me-263C two-seat rocket-powered interceptor has a chance of catching it and only twelve of those are built.

The Germans are hampered in their defensive efforts in part due to sabotage from the slave laborers they use and by a lack of strategic materials, but more by their own incompetent management and infighting. Still, they are well-entrenched and willing to fight. The war drags on.

July, 1945 Phillip Jennings notifies the US government he has developed a process to create superhumans. 

Jennings was a brilliant young assistant to one of the biologists brought in to examine the work of Meshach Donner in 1937. Jennings' process works on adults rather than in utero. It is not particularly safe, but roughly 25% of those treated gain useful powers.

August 6, 1945 Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima. A few days later Nagasaki is bombed. Japan surrenders within a week of the second bombing. 

Due to the horrific effects of these two weapons the Allied leaders agree to not use nuclear devices again, except in response to a similar attack. They feel confident that the Nazis are all but defeated, and a bit surprised Hitler doesn't surrender with the fall of Japan. 

Though many would later argue that these attacks were unnecessary, or the bombs should have been used on Germany (or even the Soviet Union) the consensus is that by ending the war in the Pacific quickly and decisively, the freeing of troops and equipment for use in Europe greatly shortens the war there. 

September, 1945 Moldaria "liberated" by Soviet forces. 

January, 1946 The Nazis surprise the Allies by making a huge push against a lightly-defended area of the Eastern Front in Poland. Just as the other Allies are mobilizing to help the Soviet Union, a second attack is mounted against the Western Front, in a similarly lightly-defended area. The resulting confusion allows the Nazis to make major advances in both regions. 

The Eastern assault turns out to be part bluff, part desperate effort to recapture several oil fields in northern and western Poland. (Many of these fields were discovered and developed by the Germans during their occupation. They completed several wells and processing plants before the Russians seized these areas, and Germany desperately wants those resources back.) The assaults succeed at both goals, though only partially in the west. The Western effort almost breaks through to the port of Antwerp, but is stopped a few kilometers short due to lack of fuel and unexpectedly firm resistance by what should have been too few, too tired, too green troops. By the time fuel refined from oil produced at the recaptured wells and refineries reaches the Bulge the Allies have reinforced the line and actually begun pushing back. 

Despite the inflow of new fuel, Hitler and his advisors reluctantly conclude that the war is lost. Attempts at negotiation are rejected by the Allies, due in large part to the Germans' opening offers being outrageously unrealistic and the Allied response being seen by the Germans as insulting. Stated simply, the Nazis want to keep much of what they've stolen, while the Allies want unconditional surrender. Though they say they are willing to negotiate conditions, the Germans never make any counter offers. The gap between the two sides is too wide to close, since the majority of German military commanders and civilian leaders are unwilling to believe the situation is as bad as it actually is and the Allies are unwilling to see Germany rewarded for its crimes. The Germans, outraged at the Allies' presumption, publicly denounce their "demands." The Führer thereafter declares Germany is determined to fight to the last man, dramatically describing himself as standing at the doorway to his office at the Reichskanzlei with a pistol, shooting at the Russians coming down the hall. However, he also quietly arranges for young, dependable party members to be taken out of the country to places where they can reorganize and rebuild in secret, with resources to support that effort. 

February 18, 1946 Many people are already thinking about the post-war era, with Churchill actually beginning to contemplate these matters shortly after the war begins. Supers are also among those planning, both individually and in groups, both hero and villain. Plans are announced to form the Bay Area Guardians, and construction soon begins on a base for them in San Francisco. The team is an official offshoot of the still-nascent Planetary Guardians and closely affiliated with them. 

No members of what is arguably the first superhero team - the Shepherds - belong to the initial roster of either group. Later the Shepherds do associate with the new teams, and eventually the Dragon's Hand and Schmetterling officially join the Bay Area Guardians. 

March, 1946 The effort by Germany to maintain their fronts against Allied advances fails. The forces holding the Polish oil fields are surrounded, besieged and eliminated. In a last, desperate act, the stored oil and gas are detonated as the victors enter the facilities. Some of the resulting well fires take years to extinguish.

June, 1946 The Odessa network begins moving high Nazi officials and promising younger party members and their families to South America and South Africa. The new, nuclear-powered U-Boats aid greatly in this effort. 

Over the next three years, many of these escaped Nazis are hunted down and killed by Emil Moldarus, who takes the code name Constantine during this work. He also for the first time begins to exhibit mastermind abilities on top of his potent physical powers. After the war he expands his operation to several party members and scientists brought to the US and other Allied nations for various reasons. He is on the verge of being branded an international terrorist when several people he respects - including the Shepherds and some of their associates - corner him and talk him down. There remains much resentment on all sides over this for decades, but he is unofficially told that if he stops now he will only be forbidden re-entry into the US, Great Britain and a few other nations. (Note that some countries actually welcomed his work and gave him aid and shelter. This eventually included the infant nation of Israel. Constantine is still wanted in several South American nations due to these activities.) 

Given that an opportunity will within weeks present itself to free his native land, keeping his promise is easy. He will soon be very busy with more constructive tasks. 

November, 1946 The Fall of Berlin. Hitler is captured while trying to reach the last nuclear-powered U-Boat to South America. 

The Shepherds and several associated masks – including Schmetterling – lead an advance force intended to seize several important sites in the city, including Hitler's bunker. However, the Führer is already gone. They instead find several bodies – which include a woman resembling Eva Braun and a chauffeur dressed in the Führer's formal uniform, both partially cremated – all shot, poisoned or both. They also find surviving documents and people revealing that Hitler left Berlin days before. Despite his bombastic statements the Führer has fled, and is attempting to reach his Odessa transport. The Night Master personally informs Eisenhower of Hitler's planned route. The Führer is captured by a squad of US Army Rangers just before reaching the submarine rendezvous point on the Mediterranean coast in northwestern Italy. The crew reluctantly leave without their leader as Allied forces approach their hidden dock. 

Oddly, Eva Braun Hitler is never found. The former Führer refuses to reveal what happened to her and no-one else seems to know. Rumors persist for decades that she and one or more children by Hitler survive in hiding.

April 25, 1947 The United Nations is formally called into its first session. 

The Planetary Guardians are officially recognized by the United Nations and granted restricted international police powers, with the goal of protecting the world from super criminals. The offshoot Bay Area Guardians are included in the document of recognition, even though construction of their base is put on hold for more than a decade with the end of the war. In the interim they instead operate out of the upper floors of a warehouse owned by Judson Kemper. 

Several other groups of supers - most consisting of people who worked together during the War - soon form, though these are generally less formally established than the two Guardians teams. While derided by some as "costume fetish clubs" most of these groups do substantial good work over the coming decades. Many members - and some entire teams - pay the ultimate price for their work. 

Many people - especially figures of authority - had hoped the supers would go back to fighting crime individually or in small groups after the War. However, the value of cooperation between supers which was demonstrated even before 1940 is not forgotten. While most crime fighting supers do keep working on their own or in small, informal teams, nearly all have affiliations with larger super organizations. Sometimes several of them. Just as important, both individuals and teams have learned to sacrifice some of their pre-war secrecy in order to share information and other resources.

As the Cold War begins supers are looked at with increasing suspicion by nearly every government, even while some government agencies plan to use them. One reason for the wariness is the activities of supers in finding and capturing - or in some instances summarily executing - Nazi war criminals. Many of these wanted criminals are discovered to be working in various capacities for the victors, spared the dock at Nürnberg in return for their services. Not only does this vigilante activity deprive their keepers of their talents, making a bargain with these monsters then failing to keep them safe makes the keepers look very incompetent. Of course, the knowledge of the bargains being made at all makes them look corrupt.

July, 1947 Head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover begins a covert program of intelligence gathering against supers, an upgrade from his previous activity of simply keeping dossiers on many of them. This is in part to keep an eye on groups such as the Planetary Guardians. He is also looking for leverage to control as many supers as possible. His attempts often include attempted blackmail. Only a few of these attempts are successful, and only a very few work long term. 

Even decades later the FBI largely refuses to reveal how much information they have on supers or to fully acknowledge the past efforts at control. Nor will they admit how many of the conclusions they reach in the Fifties, Sixties and early Seventies about the "threat" supers present are subsequently found to be works of fiction inspired by petty vindictiveness or sheer paranoia. 

September, 1947 Three Swords of Justice formed. 

February, 1948 The Nürnberg Trials begin. 

The US Interstate Commerce Act of 1948 includes details on how super hero teams may incorporate on the federal level. Still, in many states and cities groups of - and in some cases individual - costumed adventurers remain or become illegal. 

June, 1948 Mack Risk and Lawrence Hawthorne recover jewelry stolen from Emil Constantine Moldarus' mother decades before and give the items to him. The sale of some of this treasure later greatly aids the rebuilding of his country. Beyond that, recovery of the more nationally significant pieces helps partially offset the US refusing to return Moldaria's national treasures at Fort Knox.

August, 1948 The 9ne#jkt(HUK)pbr stage a raid on several areas of the US west coast. The aliens are beaten off by a quickly formed force of super groups and empowered individuals before the military can mobilize. 

October, 1948 After a lengthy and often dramatic trial in Nürnberg, Adolph Hitler is found guilty on multiple counts and sentenced to death. This is later commuted to life in prison, to avoid creating a martyr. Stalin objects, wanting to pull the gallows lever himself, but has troubles of his own. Within two months the former Führer takes poison but botches the dose. Instead of dying he is left a pathetic cripple, until his death by a stroke two and a half years later. 

1949 The world is exhausted, along with most of the individuals who were involved in the War. Recovery will be slow, and a backlash against the new technologies developed during that frantic period doesn't help. Still, progress is made in many areas. 

Partly as a way to make constructive use of the supers and the new technologies which appeared during the War, the newly-formed UN begins looking for ways to apply both. While some supers and advanced technologies are applied to the early reconstruction efforts in war damaged areas, more use is obviously needed... if only to keep the supers and scientists busy. Connected to this effort, the UN begins planning an international effort to explore and colonize the Moon. The effort will take nearly a decade to achieve the first manned landing, but from there advances rapidly. 

The Lunar Exploration Project was the first major task of the newly-formed UN. The long-term purpose was to create an installation which could protect the Earth, both from native aggressors and outside invaders. The motivation was a combination of the recently-ended War and the sortie by the 9ne#jkt(HUK)pbr in 1948. Using some of the advanced technology developed during the War and much more created specifically for the task, an international team - including participants sent by the Russians - developed a Lunar rocket vehicle and traveled to Earth's satellite. The first mission only stayed on the surface a week, gathering data and collecting samples from a fairly small area. This was enough to allow them to declare the Moon to be UN territory, and deny the aliens any claim to the unoccupied body; at least, under interstellar and terrestrial law. Three more missions visit other areas of the Moon for similar durations over the next two years. 

The project pushed both the technology and human endurance hard. Several times during these adventures crisis was averted only by the actions of supers. Though several human supers from this period could travel for short times in space none known could reach even the Moon under their own power. However, as part of the project - either as crew members or volunteers helping during emergencies - many supers capable of doing work in vacuum which is impossible to accomplish with the crude pressure suits of the time were successfully used. 

After a hiatus of a bit over a year to improve designs and upgrade equipment, a multi-ship mission placed a ten-man, long-term station near the middle of the lunar face turned permanently towards the Earth, declared to be Moon Station One. To this day the exact location of this installation is officially a secret. However, after nearly sixty years those who have studied the situation are pretty certain the base is located on a high spot of the Hyginus rille. 

Under the growing threat of Communist China, this station was steadily expanded over the following decade, and equipped with long-range nuclear missiles. The military portion of this outpost was renamed the Lunar Defense Station. The militarization was performed over the objections of a faction which insisted space exploration and development should be for peaceful purposes only. Partly to mollify this faction, a second civilian installation, deliberately located hundreds of kilometers away, was also established. By taking advantage of the infrastructure created for constructing and maintaining Station One, this second station, the Lunar Science Outpost, was completed in less than a year. The second station was intended strictly for scientific exploration. Over the years the second facility - later renamed The Goddard Research Station - was expanded, then replicated in the Tsiolkovsky Research Station. 

A strongly international community was established in each of the two associated stations. Women came to the Moon with the first landing (much to the distress of certain old-fashioned parties) and the portion of females among the crews remained steady at about 12% for several years, before beginning a slow increase to 45% shortly after the completion of Lunar Science Outpost. Six months after the completion of the initial phase of this base one of the women stationed there was discovered to be two months pregnant. The scandal was greatly mitigated by the revelation that Helen Blaine and Thomas Crawford had secretly married a month before launch. The reason for the secrecy being that only unmarried people were allowed on the flights at that time. The Earth-bound administrators of the project were outraged; both at being lied to and at having their rules broken. They were especially incensed that everyone involved but them seemed to know about the marriage - and that the couple was openly living together on the Moon - before they did.

The Lunar Oversight Committee managing both projects for the UN promptly ordered Helen home. She refused, with support of the on-site doctor; there was too much chance of the trip harming the fetus. The committee then ordered Thomas home. He refused, saying he wanted to be there for the birth of his child. The committee went ballistic, rapidly issuing an escalating series of orders intended to force compliance, all of which were studiously ignored by Lunar personnel, who realized that any attempt to reason with their bosses in this matter was futile. The fact that public opinion was solidly behind the couple only increased the Committee's fury. Their final measure was to cut back supplies to the base by the amount needed for one person, assuming this would force at least Thomas to leave.

The response by the various teams at the station was to petition the UN for recognition as a legitimate state, and request membership.

This move was neither frivolous nor hasty. As a member state they would no longer be under the authority of the Committee and could request aid directly from the UN. After much heated argument (most of the challenges being brought up by the Committee members) both requests were granted. Only later did the UN realize that this gave "a group of ideologue scientists" de facto control over the entire Moon, and that those there assumed the charter included the nuclear-armed Lunar Defense Station. (Major Harrison Thom, the LDS commander, was kept in the loop by the scientists and agreed with their petition. He felt that the task of running his base required both objectivity and an emotional distance from terrestrial politics.)

The group renamed themselves the Lunar Nation of Man (later modified to the Lunar Nation of Humanity, and still later Independent Luna). Today they are commonly known as the Lunar Nation, and affectionately (and sometimes not so affectionately) as the Lunies. 

Since there were known supers on even the first Lunar mission, the fact that a high percentage of the Lunie population is super does not surprise anyone paying attention. 

These events so soured governments on space exploration that the group which created the project was disbanded. No efforts were made to proceed further into space until the first Manned Mars Expedition of 1983, and that was largely a Lunie effort. After that, though, progress was rapid, and today there are four small, thriving communities of humans on Mars. Additional permanently occupied stations are emplaced on or around multiple other bodies. 

Professor Hackenbacker's first giant sea monster - Blue Boy - dies.

1950 The Second Russian Revolution (aka The Counterrevolution). 

The strain of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath lead to a series of rebellions in Russia and several of its satellite states in the Soviet Union.


Emil Constantine Moldarus takes advantage of the weakened Soviet Union to free his homeland from Communist control. This starts a domino effect, with internal revolts and external attacks against the Soviet Union in multiple areas. For months it holds on. Then, in the early weeks of the New Year (actually, right after the Russian Orthodox Christmas) it collapses. 

The vacuum this leaves causes great turmoil and horrible suffering. Russia's former allies try to help, but even where these overtures are accepted the effects are minor. Russia and other former members of the now extinct Soviet Union are just too big, and have been too abused for too long. Millions starve or die of disease. The recovery will be decades long. Much ill will is still held by those in this region towards the Western powers for not doing more to help.

East Germany subsequently comes under the control of local Communist authorities. They maintain - and strongly reinforce - their totalitarian rule over the next decade and a half. 

The Shepherds officially disband, as most of the members wish to focus on their private lives. The Night Master, Nightmist and Mack Risk stay active as costumed adventurers, and some of the other members are available for special tasks. 

Joseph Stalin dies. His death is made to look like a stress-related heart attack, but the paranoid infrastructure he instituted ironically leads to the truth. Lavrentiy Beria is soon found to be responsible. Investigation shows him to be a deep cover agent of the Winter Bear. This brings the Five Great Powers to the awareness of various government intelligence agencies around the world. Previously, they had been thought a legend, even though some individual members were on record for various criminal or insurrectionary activities in recent history. 

Intelligence agencies begin organizing to investigate the Five Great Powers, but find every effort to even determine whether the group is real thwarted. Agents and supervisors working on the problem are ordered by high-ranking government officials to ignore hard evidence; discover trusted aides are sabotaging both their work and them, personally; and learn they, themselves, are under investigation for "suspicious" activities. Meanwhile, the Five Great Powers order their own operatives to kill or replace or blackmail or intimidate important government figures - both elected and appointed - in multiple nations. Some of these agents succeed, but many are thwarted by masks who - following the end of the War - have turned to hunting down Nazis, Soviet agents or local subversives. Some members of all those groups and many others turn out to be agents of the Five Great Powers.

1951 Fall of the Five Great Powers.

As the world recovers from the depredations of Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Stalin and others the Five are attempting to regroup and gather supporters after the defeat, discreditation and dislocation affecting their efforts, as a result of WWII not going as they wanted. A large part of the credit for their eventual location and defeat is owed to Emil Moldarus. 

Moldaria petitions for membership in the United Nations. The United States vetoes this, due to several powerful figures inside and outside the government holding deep grudges against Emil Moldarus. Some of these individuals are later revealed to be agents of the Five Great Powers. Even with them eventually removed, two more decades pass before Moldaria joins the UN. 

Constantine - through various means - discovers who is sabotaging his efforts to rebuild Moldaria. He informs Mack Risk, who spreads the word. The detective and the Night Master organize a special task force (largely of former Shepherds members and their allies). This group - with considerable help from others - sets out to locate and capture the Five Great Powers. They succeed, but only after several months, multiple travails and great effort and risk. 

Astonishingly, when finally located the Five Great Powers were all in the United States, organizing another attempt at taking over the world (or at least a major part of it). They - along with a small army of supers and very capable normals - were confronted in the mountains of West Virginia, apparently attempting to reach a secret base the Five had established there decades before. The damage this battle caused to the countryside in that area can still be seen.

The heroes intended to merely delay the force until the State Militia arrived, but the Five forced the issue. In the end, the masterminds were thoroughly defeated. Many supers and henchmen were killed along with the Five when a truck full of military-grade explosives detonated. This last act was eventually judged to be deliberate by the Five. At first this was thought to be a ruse to cover the escape of the quintet, but remains of all five were positively identified. 

One reason for both the discovery of the force and its defeat was the help of local elves, rallied by Dr. Freysdottir.

The survivors of the illicit force revealed the Five were taking them and the weapons, ammunition and explosives they were transporting to a rallying point near a secret base. This Sanctum, as they called it, was somewhere in the area, though none of the survivors knew where. Extensive searching - including by local elves - failed to locate the base. The fact that even magic and psionics were useless in this effort reinforced the evaluation that the Five were masters of both technology and magic and were possibly supers themselves. 

1952 Society of Covert Adventurous Masterminds formed.

Sung, the self-proclaimed Master of Men, first attracts international law enforcement attention. Among other crimes, he created SCAM - through intermediaries - as a front for some of his criminal activities. It proved successful - and profitable - enough that he kept it going after the initial use was fulfilled. 

For a few months the International Criminal Police Commission - only recently renamed Interpol - suspect that Sung is one of the Five Great Powers. This is eventually disproven, and they are faced with the realization that a similar mastermind previously unknown to them was operating on a world scale. How many more are there, yet to be discovered? How thoroughly have they already infiltrated legitimate governments?

Analysis demonstrates that the disruption of the war was a major factor in allowing such people as Sung to quietly gain wealth, property and political and even military power. 

The New Soviet Congress forms in Ukraine. There is no connection with the function of the former Soviet Union beyond the name. Indeed, it quickly turns out to be a mechanism for ambitious Ukrainian leaders to officially take advantage of remaining Soviet loyalists and political mechanisms. 

Following this event, several other satellites and regions from the former Soviet Union attempt the same process. Some succeed, some fail. Ukraine remains one of the few bastions of Communism into the Twenty-First Century. 

First appearance of Kid Dynamo.

1953 Intrepids base begun.

The activities of the Five Great Powers, SCAM and others trying to take advantage of the devastation left by the war cause the UN to start planning methods to fight such groups. Their biggest and most successful effort is T.O.W.E.R. This begins simply as a military arm of the UN which is specifically equipped and trained to fight supers. Some members are supers themselves. However, one contribution of the US to T.O.W.E.R. is the previously secret Jennings Process. A special branch of the organization is formed which uses supers as primary field agents. In addition to recruiting existing supers, this branch uses the Jennings Process to create supers from volunteers. Despite the high occurrence of fatalities and other serious side effects and the low empowerment rate there is no shortage of people volunteering for the treatment. Most of them have serious health problems and hope the process might extend their lives. 

1954 Professor Hackenbacker unveils two of his creations: Cetasaurus, a filter-feeder which rarely leaves the Sargasso and is affectionately known as Blue Boy; and the Gorgosaurus hybridus, christened Tritonicus by the press. At this time the latter is only slightly larger than an elephant and mostly manageable.

1955 Slowly, Russia and a few of the former Soviet satellites create a new central government in Moscow. An odd and unstable mix of democracy and totalitarianism, it seems doomed to failure. However, an alliance of several strong personalities drives through multiple relief and reconstruction measures. The power plays which take place are spectacular. Somehow, the leaders manage to stay focused on the goal of pulling their nation out of the chaos long enough to actually begin the recovery of the region.

Meanwhile, China assumes the role of the former Soviet Union, though with its own agenda. 

October 29, 1955 In a landmark court case, a jury accepts a criminal mastermind's defense that he didn't intend his for deathtrap to actually kill a costumed hero, but only delay him while the mastermind committed other crimes then made his getaway. It just happened that in this case the hero had a bad case of the flu and really should have been home in bed. He died due to being unable to escape in time. The jurors - and many others interviewed on the matter - say they have no problem believing this is the actual purpose of deathtraps, given how often they fail to actually kill anyone. The mastermind was subsequently found guilty of accidental manslaughter instead of murder. 

June, 1957 Tritonicus escapes. 

August, 1957 The Guild forms, occupying a disused train station as their first Guild Hall. 

1958 Sonic Jett's last mission.

1959 An international treaty forbidding the use of supers in combat between nations is signed. All UN member states and a few others agree to participate, all also accepting that T.O.W.E.R. should be specifically exempted. The main holdout is China. However, despite propaganda promoting their powerful supers - many of them portrayed in military uniforms - Chinese supers are almost never seen outside China or away from their handlers. Some are eventually revealed to be normal humans playing roles, evidence of their exploits being faked through often crude special effects. 

March, 1962 Tritonicus returns, causing major damage to the coastal facilities near where he spent his early life.

May, 1962 The Guild begin construction of their mountain base, their first purpose-built Guild Hall. 

1963 Angels in Capes starts.

Mack Risk and Nimrod - seeking to learn the fate of Sonic Jett - confront the Master Assassin and his alien employers in the northern Rockies, near the US-Canadian border. Only Mack Risk returns.

April 19, 1964 The Reunification of Germany.

1965 British inventor and eccentric Dr. Michael Arnold creates a series of mechanical agents he names "Emulates." His goal is to have them perform tasks the agoraphobic genius can't. However, his chief of research - Hunter Franks - adapts the technology to produce devices to sell for security and military uses. He names each series of these robots after a region of ancient Greece. The most successful are the Thessalian class, released by Franks' Daughter Artemis in the Nineties and still in production.

1967 Angels in Capes changes. 

1969 SecondSkin debuts. Though it is derided by many as little more than an aid to fetishists, it is durable and resistant to many powers.

Mack Risk killed by Dr. Fission.

1970 Tritonicus returns.

Angels in Capes ends.

Pine Island is seized by the government of the United States after the owner's illegal activities are revealed. Following three years of investigation the UN allows the US to declare it a territory of the United States. It is eventually given the status of unincorporated, organized commonwealth. 

At the time of granting this status to the artificial island there were over three thousand permanent residents living there. Many of them were former henchmen of Pine or part of the government staff which investigated his facilities. More people soon immigrate there from Bermuda and other locations. 

April, 1971 The "Super Draft" bill is signed into law, creating the US Super Resources Agency, the operatives for which are nicknamed Dick's Boys.

The Deacon persuades the United Nations to rule that super villain weapons should be rendered inert and kept in the custody of the super heroes who capture them. This is to keep them out of government hands and avoid political complications. (Before that there were several problems with super weapons aggravating the arms race.)

For most of the next decade the agreement is violated almost as much as it is followed. However, given the difficulties involved in reverse engineering mastermind, mad scientist and gadgeteer equipment it is almost universally followed today. This after many governments and businesses wasted millions to billions to no good result.

1973 Tritonicus returns, is fed a radioactive isotope. 

Coltman vs. Dachshund legal decision on the protected status of costumed identities. 

1974 Richard Nixon resigns. 

1975 First of the Moon Scouts created. 

October, 1978 Hostings Act (AKA the Right of Super Privacy Act) passed, in response to Coltman vs. Dachshund. This confirms that in the United States revealing a recognized costumed adventurer's legal identity against his or her wishes is a federal felony, unless and until the costumed individual is convicted of a felony.

September, 1979 The Guild begin construction of their space station. 

November, 1980 The Guild occupy their completed orbital Guild Hall.

April, 1981 Amazonia begins her career.

1983 Blood on the Cowl is written by Dreadnaught - a British mask and hero of World War II who was blackmailed into working for his government as an assassin early in the Cold War - and quickly goes into print. Part of the reason for the rush is to keep the British government from having time to halt the publication. 

The scandalous revelations ensure the book is a best seller. Several careers - and retirements - are ruined. 

August, 1986 The Border Patrol purchase the old Guild Hall. They only occupy the base until their own, new facilities are completed on the other side of the same hill. Eventually they disperse into several smaller and more modern bases around the US. 

1987 Zeep created in an accident with an experimental teleporter. After several months of operation he is banned from the United States and - subsequently - the Earth.

October, 1991 Dr. Gaunt attacks Denver mint. After a hard-fought battle between him and his minions and the Thunder Family he is captured. There is severe damage to much of Denver, which brings calls for control of super groups. 

1992 Jennifer Toulon born to Juliette and Maximilian Toulon.

September, 1994 The Specialists formed. 

1998 Ike Kenniman deploys the Super Monitoring System satellites. Only he and those he deems trustworthy have the security codes to access it.

2000, November Harvey Thurlin elected President.

2001 The orbital Guild Hall is destroyed by the criminal organization Churn. Most members die in the initial explosion. The only survivors from among those on the station are three who are tough enough to withstand the blast and decompression; they are rescued by Zeep. Four other members - plus several reserve and former members - not on the station at the time also survive. 

The Guild survivors buy their old mountain base back from the Border Patrol, determined both to continue their work and to bring those who killed their compatriots to justice. Needing money to reorganize they begin selling assets and seeking donations. Eventually they build a new Guild Hall in the Rockies. Later they sell the old Guild Hall and surrounding property to the Assembly.

An international operation - involving both supers and international law enforcement - to destroy Churn is soon successful. 

Late 2001 Randal Devon becomes Template.

2002 Carstairs Act signed into law. 

2004 Thurlin re-elected.

2005 Assassination attempt on Thurlin. 

Hurricane Katrina.

Jenny Toulon's first appearance in the masks stories.

2006 Pine Island School for Supers created. It opens in time for the Fall semester. 

ZipStrips invented. The primary use is for concealed closures in clothing. Especially super clothing.

January, 2006 Sung, the Master of Men, is released from hibernation by agents of the Thurlin administration. 

Summer, 2006 Dr. Gaunt reappears and commits many horrific crimes. This is topped off by apparently turning himself into a giant and marching on Las Vegas.

Fall, 2006 Jenny's first semester at the Pine Island Academy (as Energia).

Summer, 2007 Energia interns with the Young Guardians. 

December, 2007 Gadgetive interns with Blue Impact. Energia joins them for two weeks before Christmas.

Vice President Prescott Gould announces he will not run as Thurlin's replacement. His party scrambles to find another candidate in time for the primaries. 

Spring, 2008 President Thurlin, worried about getting important things done before the end of his second term, advances several of his political agendas. This includes his pogrom against supers. 

July, 2008 President Thurlin, forced to accept that his time is running out, quietly begins working on a plan to declare martial law and postpone the upcoming elections. As part of this, in early September he orders the arrest of all supers, believing that when this is resisted by them that will give him the justification he needs.

September, 2008 Thurlin abdicates, leaving Vincent Prescott Gould just a few months to serve before the next President takes office. 

Gould orders federal law enforcement agencies to stop enforcing the Carstairs Act and to release anyone arrested under it. 

The Assembly created. 

October, 2008 Infernus manifests in the northeastern US, at an abandoned mining site. He is driven from this realm by the Assembly. 

November, 2008 Livia Sievers elected first female President of the United States.

January, 2009 Livia Sievers inaugurated.

February, 2009 The Carstairs Act is unanimously declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. 

March, 2009 Pine Island attacked with a nuclear missile. 

April, 2009 Sung, the Master of Men captured.

Late June, 2009 Tritonicus returns.

August, 2009 Silver Shadow becomes active in Louisville. 

Early September, 2009 Roy White Devon born.

WonderCloth comes on the market.

Template on talk show. 

Brade appointed Deputy National Security Advisor for Super Affairs

Adirondack Irregulars formed. 

Sanctum rediscovered by Energex. 


Spring: Brade appointed "super top cop" at the newly-created Bureau of Special Resources.

Revolution in the Shilmek Empire.

A minor demon causes trouble at the Pine Island Academy. 

The Five Great Powers take over the world. For a few hours. 


Spring: Victor Peltior's powers activate.

Jenny graduates from the Pine Island Academy.

Fall: Victor Peltior enrolls at the Ramsey Technical College. 

Jenny enrolls (as Energia) at Ramsey Technical College.

2012, November Livia Sievers reelected.

December 4th, 2012 Shilmek scout ships spotted at multiple locations around the world. 

March 8th, 2013 Shilmek attack. 

July, 2013 Der Schmale re-imprisoned.

2014, February Lawrence Hawthorne meets with Dr. Fenrisa Freysdottir to discuss what to do about Dr. Gaunt. 

  Tricorne incorporated. 

Paula becomes the third Champion.

March, 2014 Karen pregnant. 

May, 2014 British elections. 

Friday October 31, 2014 Demon attacks around the world. 

The world learns that magic is on the rise. 

Late November, 2014 Sarah Olive Devon born, a little premature but healthy. 

Spring, 2016 Energia and Victor Peltior graduate from the Ramsey Technical Institute.

A plan is formed to deal with the "outbreak" of magic. Magical incursions are found and dealt with in many ways. Magical sites are neutralized, warded or strictly regulated. 

Fall, 2016 Energia and Vic both start in the graduate program at Ramsey Technical College.

November, 2016 Election. Harold Gibbons wins presidency.

Influential US Senator Erwin Radetsky begins a program of legal "reforms" which includes disbanding all federally supported super groups. A compromise is reached, where they are "merely" further severely defunded. This includes the Bureau of Special Resources. He almost never mentioned supers during his campaign for office, and gave no clue during that time that he would take these actions except to a few confidants among his staff. Radetsky's cousin Carol Perkins is caught by surprise. Carol is a low-level super and tells him to back off the masks. 

January, 2017 Lawrence Hawthorne and Sally Driscoll solve a multiple murder in Seattle. 

Spring, 2017 Tricorne with special guest Vic Peltior work to solve the Mystery of the Mechanical Master. 

Summer, 2017 Tricorne works with The FX to train them as well as to train and/or recruit other supers.

October, 2018 The United States agrees to abide by a 1965 World Court decree that Moldaria assets held at Fort Knox since the Thirties be released to that nation. King Emil Constantine Moldarus arranges covert shipment from New York via the North sea, but the treasure is stolen en route.

December, 2018 The ship carrying the armored container with Moldaria's historic treasures sets sail. It soon goes missing. Vic proposes to Michelle.

March, 2019 Vic and Michelle get married.

May, 2019 Energia and Victor Peltior are awarded advanced degrees in super criminology. They both decide not to go for their doctorates. Gadgetive gets her doctorate. Bureau of Special Resources immediately hires Vic, but keeps her in the area, working with three other BSR employees under a supervisor out of an office in the local Federal building. Blue Impact, Energia and Gadgetive begin working full time as Tricorne.

Spring, 2019 The Obscenity in the ice freed.

August, 2020 The Balance Blades are stolen while on exhibit in Detroit.